In today's On the News segment: Weekend sees a spate of crackdowns against Occupy camps nationwide, new report foreshadows global economic slowdown, reports surface on social media of sabotage against effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and more.Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. More arrests and police crackdowns against the 99% movement over the weekend. Occupy Portland patriots were given a deadline to leave their 2-week old encampment on Sunday morning. But when thousands of patriots showed up at the deadline in support of the movement – police balked. But later Sunday afternoon – after many people had gone home – the police finally moved in – arrested 50 people – and shut down the occupation. The same thing happened in Salt Lake City – where police arrested 19 patriots on Saturday and shut down that occupation. In Albany – 24 people were arrested. And in Denver – it was another week of police violence. Four people were arrested, and according to a statement from Occupy Denver – Denver cops kettled people in together and riddled them with pepper-balls – another patriot was hit by a police motorcycle and had to be hospitalized – and police were threatening to “break people’s teeth” and “shoot people.” Meanwhile – in New York City – where the mayor has been unwilling to shut down the occupation – the original Occupy Wall Street patriots have big plans for this week to coincide with the movement’s 2-month anniversary. According to reports – a peaceful march is planned for Thursday to shut down the New York Stock Exchange. Let’s hope the patriots’ first amendment rights are protected along with the rights of the Exchange to operate.
From Occupy Wall Street to occupy the living room. As thousands of patriots around the nation get forced out of their occupations – they’re setting up camp on the lawns of homes on the verge of foreclosure, to save the families from getting kicked out too. The coalition of activists spearheading this movement known as “Occupy Homes” have been successful in many cases. In California – Fannie Mae was forced to hold off on an eviction when patriots held a vigil outside the home. In Minnesota – a woman is crediting the Occupy Homes movement for buying her critical time to move out before her home was foreclosed on. And in New York – the movement occupied a boiler room in an apartment building until the landlord agreed to provide adequate heating to the tenants living inside. From protecting foreclosure victims – to convincing people to move their money out of big banks and into small credit unions – to changing the dialogue in the media from the debt crisis to the jobs crisis – to getting even members of the Republican Party to talk about wealth inequality – the success of the Occupy movements so far have been substantial.
In the best of the rest of the news…
According to Murdoch's paper the New York Post – Occupy Wall Street has cost businesses around Zuccotti Park nearly a half millions dollars. The right-wing newspaper reports business owners complain that the sight of patriots organizing nearby deters customers from shopping. Whether or not that’s true – it’s a small price to pay compared to what the banksters have cost our economy. American families are nearly $8 trillion poorer today as a result of the financial meltdown – more than 44 million people are on food stamps today – and only 58% of working-age Americans has a job. Even if Murdoch's numbers are accurate, does that mean the local storeowners should be helped out by the city? Or how about breaking up the big banks, stopping their predatory practices, and fixing Wall Street?
Speaking of broken economies – the world economy is sputtering. As both Italy and Greece move forward with new Prime Ministers – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – also known as the OECD – just released its numbers showing that all the world’ major economies are headed for a slowdown. For the seventh straight month – economic ratings of all member nations fell – and growth estimates for the United States and the EU in 2012 were slashed downwards. It looks like the austerity measures being pushed in Europe and by Republicans here at home aren’t working.
The effort to recall Governor Scott Walker begins tomorrow – but self-identified Conservatives in Wisconsin are plotting to sabotage it. According to messages on Facebook – one man said he plans to canvass the state asking people to sign on to recall petitions and then destroy all the petitions he collects. The man – named Will Jenkins – boasts that he will destroy “15 to 20” thousand signatures. Others said they will purposefully mislead Wisconsin voters, telling them it’s illegal to sign more than one recall petition – something that is complete untrue. After last week’s electoral backlash against Republicans in Ohio – Conservatives in Wisconsin are now apparently going to resort to cheating.
When Republicans argue that “burdensome regulations” are what’s keeping our economy in the tank and killing millions of jobs – they’re lying. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – only three-tenths of one-percent of people who lost their jobs – were let go because of some sort of government regulation. Just three-tenths of one-percent. So when Republicans push to eliminate the EPA – cut funding to food safety programs – and defund Wall Street reform – they’re not doing it to create jobs – they’re just doing it so that transnational corporation can pollute more – poison more – and gamble more.
Crazy Alert! The next evolution. Pigeons in Stockholm, Sweden are now frequent travelers on the underground metro. According to metro officials, the pigeons “stand calmly at the platform and wait for the subway train to arrive. When it does, they get on, travel one stop, jump off and then head for their favourite haunts.” Pigeons travel one stop from their homes to a Stockholm district known for its cafes and shops – where the pigeons know there will be plenty of food. At the end of the day – the pigeons get back on the metro and ride it back to their homes. Metro officials are trained to shoo pigeons away from trains, but as one man said, “They behave well while on board and don't seem to be making much of a mess. They also choose to travel later in the day, cleverly avoiding rush hour.” Perhaps because they don’t want to be stepped on – and reveal their true robotic nature of computer chips and wires. That’s right – the robotic pigeons from Planet Zenu have now started using our public transportation. Their takeover of the world could be just around the corner.
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, November 14th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.