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Via Huffington Post

Technically, the economy has been in recovery for two years. But it turns out the rich have been doing most of the recovering.

In 2010 — the first full year since the end of the Great Recession – virtually all of the income growth in America took place among the country’s very wealthiest people, says an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. The top 1 percent of earners took in a full 93 percent of all the income gains that year, leaving the other 7 percent of gains to be sprinkled among the vast majority of society.

Those numbers come courtesy of Emmanuel Saez, the Berkeley economist who co-created a resource known as the World Top Incomes Database. Saez and his colleagues crunched the data on income growth from 2010, the most recent year available, and found that it was shockingly lopsided.

While much of the country is simply treading water, with a growing number of people either edging toward poverty or already there, the richest of the rich seem to be coping nicely.

Saez’s findings suggest that even though the recession dealt a blow to the 1 percent, it did little to push the U.S. off the path it’s been on for decades — that of a vast and growing disparity between the richest and poorest citizens.

Income for most workers has barely risen in the last 30 years, but the top 1 percent of earners have seen their income almost triple in the same amount of time. Economists and other experts say that could be the result of any number of factors, including the decline of labor unions, the explosion in capital gains during the middle part of the aughts, and tax policies put in place in recent years that favor the wealthy.

In his State of the Union address this past January, President Obama called economic fairness “the defining issue of our time,” perhaps mindful of the growing number of voters who say they can’t even afford basic necessities like food.

The wealth gap has been cited as a major concern for the nationwide Occupy movement, and research has suggested that income inequality might be associated with the kind of underwhelming economic growth the country has experienced for the past two years.

RAN activists took to the streets of San Francisco last night and turned every Bank of America ATM in the city into an Automated Truth Machine.

The activists used special non-adhesive stickers designed to look exactly like BoA’s ATM interface. But instead of checking and savings accounts, these new menus offered a list of everything BoA customers’ money is being used for, including investment in coal-fired power plants, foreclosure on Americans’ homes, bankrolling of climate change, and paying for fat executive bonuses.

The stickers also encourage BoA customers to “Stop doing business with Bank of America until they start behaving responsibly” and have the URL to our new blog, which we’ve just launched along with New Bottom Line:

BankruptingAmerica.tumblr.com.

We’re using that blog to track all the ways BoA is bankrupting America, hence the name. We’ve received so many submissions it’s clear to us that this website was badly needed. There are lots of grievances to be aired with regard to how Bank of America is conducting its business these days, as it turns out. (Not that that’s terribly surprising.)

Check it out, and feel free to submit if you’re so inclined.

Republican Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann proclaimed “there is a 180 degree difference between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street” during a campaign stop in San Francisco Thursday.

The Minnesota Congresswoman, who co-founded the Tea Party Caucus in Congress last year, told a crowd of businesspeople and retirees at the Commonwealth Club that the tea party favors liberty, while Occupy Wall Street supports more government intervention, which would “bankrupt” the country.

“The Tea Party picks up its trash after a demonstration,” she added.

Bachmann also declared her affection for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, her distaste for the Postal Service, and willingness to take a strong line against the Iranian regime during a speech titled “The Revival of American Competitiveness.”

The Congresswoman, a strict social conservative, stayed away from any commentary on San Francisco’s liberal values and large gay community. Instead, she focused her opening remarks on the Bay Area’s tech industry saying San Francisco has “given much not only to this nation but for the world.”

Bachmann mentioned recently deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs at least five times in her speech, saying Americans should all aspire for the “Steve Jobs spirit” of innovation and focus. She then criticized the United States Postal Service for lacking Jobs’ focus on profit-making and declared that the private sector in general would do a better job than the government of delivering the mail.

She also accused the government of creating a “higher education bubble” by financing too many student loans.

In comments to reporters after the conclusion of her formal remarks, Bachmann argued that the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan should be forced to “reimbuse” America for the expenses incurred during the wars. Bachmann, who voted against U.S. military involvement in Libya, said she thought that involvement should end now that deposed leader Muammar Ghaddafi has reportedly been killed, but declared she was willing to use “absolutely everything” against Iran.

Bachmann is in town for at least two Bay Area fundraisers, a campaign spokesperson said, though she will not be meeting with any leaders of Silicon Valley tech firms during her visit.

Since June, when she polled second, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Bachmann’s support as slipped, and her campaign has struggled to hold on to staffers and raise money. She told supporters earlier this month she would stay in the race through the New Hampshire in January.

When Bachmann visited the Bay Area last month, she optimistically declared at a fundraiser in San Rafael that “Marin County could go red.”

This time around, her local fundraising events are closed to the press

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/13Jdc)

Video by Queena Kim

Sup ya’ll.  After many people asking about them, we have finally printed 99:1 t-shirts!  They are now available online for only $12 (includes shipping)!  We aren’t doing it for the money.  Here’s a little explanation on why we chose to print the shirt, and why we chose to charge for the shirt.

99:1 is a collaborative effort between,artist, Eddie Colla, clothing line, fiftyseven-thirtythree, and you.  With your help, we were able to form a street campaign to help those in the 99% speak out against corporate greed through this thought provoking image.  After thousands of sticker requests, we distributed over 10,000 stickers to over 40 states and 13 countries.  All costs were covered out of pocket.  And we were happy to do so! We have finally decided to print a t-shirt with the image.  You (the 99%) were so great at making the image seen, we now want to give you guys something which is a little more permanent.  

We are producing the shirts and making them available at cost. What that means is that shirts we be available for $12, which cover the cost of the shirt, the printing and shipping. We will not be making a profit on this. We will also be giving away a portion of shirts to our local occupy movements. We would strongly encourage people to go and create their own propaganda, in the form of shirts, signs, stickers etc. However, not everyone has the resources or time to do so.  So we are honored to do it for you. We are certain, the Occupy Movement is here to stay.  We are the 99% and we are not going anywhere.

99:1 T-Shirt, $12, at fiftyseven-thirtythree.com

via Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Nearly three weeks ago, the Oakland Police Department made international headlines when it razed Occupy Oakland’s encampment under a hail of rubber bullets and lung-stinging clouds of tear gas. The police deployed the same aggressive response on the subsequent protest march that night.

YouTube videos and Twitter carried images of a wheelchair-bound woman caught up in tear-gas haze and close-ups of point-blank wounds left by rubber bullets and bean-bag pellets. Iraq War vet Scott Olsen became an icon not for his service in Iraq, but for being severely wounded when a police projectile fractured his skull and put him intensive care. He has only recently left the hospital.

It has not been a good time to be an Oakland police officer, or the city’s top official. After initially praising the police for their morning raid on the encampment, Mayor Jean Quan then went into damage-control mode amid the ensuing marches and candlelight vigils for Olsen, visiting the 24-year-old at his Highland Hospital room.

By then, Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan promised to investigate his officers’ use of force. Quan vowed to make sure his investigation was thorough. On her Facebook page, she went a step further, issuing a mea culpa:

I am deeply saddened about the outcome on Tuesday. It was not what anyone hoped for, ultimately it was my responsibility, and I apologize for what happened … We have started an investigation into the use of force, including tear gas, on Tuesday. I cannot change the past, but I want to work with you to ensure that this remains peaceful moving forward. When there’s violence, there are no winners — it polarizes us and opens old wounds.

Quan has since had law enforcement clear out the encampment for a second time, after which both her top legal adviser and her deputy mayor abruptly resigned.

Her administration’s investigation into the allegations of excessive force would not have to go back too far into Oakland’s municipal archives to find that the police department has violated its own policies and procedures before.

A similar incident in April 2003 at the Oakland port. Cops fired bean bags and wooden bullets at hundreds of anti-war protesters, leading to condemnation by the United Nationsmillions in settlements and the department agreeing to a court-ordered, wide-ranging overhaul of its crowd-control policy. It was a substantial victory for activists that promised at least a respectful detente between them and the cops.

And it lasted until Occupy Oakland.

The rules of engagement stemming from the 2003 incident prohibit such police escalations like the one that led to Olsen’s injury. Stinger grenades containing rubber pellets as well as any weapon meant to be fired at the ground are banned. Less-than-lethal weapons, such as rubber bullets, bean bags and flash-bang devices, can’t be used for crowd control.

Tear gas can only be used as a last resort, and only after warnings are given and “reasonable” time has been given for citizens to disperse. “Crowd control chemical agents shall only be used if other techniques, such as encirclement and multiple simultaneous arrest or police formations, have failed or will not accomplish the policing goal,” the policy stipulates.

The policy went a step further in addressing who the police can target for arrest.

“The mere failure to obtain a permit, such as a parade permit or sound permit is not a sufficient basis to declare an unlawful assembly,” the policy states.

Dan Siegel, Quan’s former legal adviser who resigned Monday from his post, told The Huffington Post that the recent incidents at the Occupy camp clearly broke the policy. “There were agreements made about tear gas use and so-called non-lethal weapons that were just egregiously violated,” he said.

The mayor’s office did not return a request seeking comment.

Rachel Lederman, one of the attorneys in the litigation that spurred the policy changes, had a simple reaction when she saw the news reports on Olsen and the others: “Not again!”

The new incident could lead to a new case, she explained.

“Pretty much every aspect of the crowd control policy was violated,” she said. “We are prepared to take legal action.”

A civil suit has just been filed on behalf of those injured in the Occupy incidents. The gist of thecomplaint relies heavily on the agreement spurred by the port incident.

Officer Johnna Watson in the OPD’s media relations office told HuffPost Tuesday that the department did not violate the agreement stemming from the port incident. Its use of bean bag rounds and tear gas fell within the scope of the agreement, she said.

But James Chanin, another prominent attorney from the 2003 class-action case, said the incidents are eerily similar.

“I’d like to see the supervisor go down for this, including, if necessary, the police chief,” Chanin said.

Few have been as intimately tied to both incidents as the interim chief. Jordan was a defendant in the 2003 case. He had been involved in the planning stages of the police operation and on the scene that day, when more than 50 activists and bystanders were injured.

As the news clips from the Occupy Oakland incidents showed a downtown filled with tear-gas smoke, John Nishinaga said he watched in disbelief. He had been in the middle of the activity at the port in 2003, shaken by pain and fear.

“It reminded me a lot of what I experienced,” Nishinaga recalled to HuffPost. “That scene. And those wounds. And the panic.”

Willow Rosenthal had been there too. “It was really hard for me to see,” she told HuffPost of those images. “I certainly shed tears over it. Emotionally, it’s still very close to the surface.”

* * *

In the morning of April 7, 2003, Rosenthal and Nishinaga joined hundreds of activists at the Port of Oakland for a peaceful — if noisy — demonstration against the country’s just-launched invasion of Iraq. They had set out to picket two shipping lines with ties to the war build-up. It was a mild day, matched only by the tempered chants of the activists.

“It was a pretty boring protest,” Nishinaga admitted.

It took a while for people to show up. The port is fairly isolated from public transportation, and activists had to get off at a nearby BART stop before slogging it down long, wide roads and crossing railroad tracks. It was still dark out when Rosenthal arrived that morning, before the police.

Gradually, at least two picket lines formed. They began to get louder and stronger as the demonstration gained more participants. When the police showed up, they soon moved on the crowd.

“The police were corralling people along one side of this very long roadway,” Nishinaga said. In full riot gear, officers herded the activists and choked off access to the port. During that time, they began firing — without warning — on the crowd, according to Nishinaga and Rosenthal.

As court records and news accounts revealed, cops shot wooden dowels and beanbags, tossed “stingball grenades filled with rubber pellets” and tear gassed the crowd. In the pandemonium, officers struck fleeing individuals with batons and motorcycles.

“Defendants’ actions were the result of unlawful and unconstitutional policies and practices of the City of Oakland and the OPD,” the lawyers for one lawsuit wrote in their complaint.

“One minute I was picketing,” Rosenthal said. “The next minute it felt like a war zone. There were very loud booms going off overhead. Then they started shooting these weapons out of their rifles.”

Rosenthal recalled the police forming a line, dropping to one knee and shooting at activists with bean bags and wooden dowels. “It was very confusing,” she explained. She and others fled down one road only to be cut off by the police dragnet and fired upon.

Many of the injured were shot in the back.

Rosenthal went down after being shot in the back of the leg. A wooden dowel crushed skin and tissue and caused internal bleeding that would require 10 days in the hospital, two surgeries and skin graphs [see slideshow for photos of her injuries], she said.

“There are these moments in life where you know something has happened to you, and right away, I knew my life wouldn’t be the same,” Rosenthal said of being first struck with that wooden bullet. “I felt an impact on my right and I felt my leg go numb. I could tell that something was wrong, really wrong. It brought me to an almost state of terror.”

The police didn’t stop shooting. Activists carried Rosenthal into a tunnel for safety. “I remember looking back at my right and having this feeling of ‘Am I going to have a leg?’ she said. “I was afraid to look.”

“When they started firing, people were just trying to get out of the way for cover,” Nishinaga added. A wooden bullet struck his hand. “I was walking backwards. When I got hit … I was just holding some picket signs that people dropped. I was trying to not litter. It hit the hand I was holding the picket signs with.”

The primitive bullet fractured and mangled Nishinaga’s hand. He said he didn’t get much use out of it for at least a year.

Jack Heyman, the now-retired longshoreman union official, came down to the docks in the early morning to figure out what his fellow workers should do. Could they cross the picket line? Should they wait for the protest to end? A group of longshoreman stood on the sidelines trying to figure it out. Heyman told HuffPost that the police gave no warning before firing on the demonstration.

“It was kind of like ‘Apocalypse Now,’” Heyman said.

Heyman tried to drive over to a terminal. He said police dragged him out of his car and roughed him up. “They mashed my head onto the pavement, foot on my spine, and they twisted my arms behind my back and handcuffed me,” he recalled. Much of his arrest was caught on tape. A reporter is seen asking him what he was arrested for. Heyman replied that he didn’t know.

Some of the police were not bewildered by the events that day. One cop, according to a witness’ affidavit, bragged about shooting activists at the port. According to the statement of the witness, Officer Chris Del Rosario told her shortly after the incidents that day “that he was very tired because he ‘had to shoot a lot of people today’ … and that he ‘shot this one bitch in the forehead and her titties popped out.’”

Interim Chief Jordan has said his officers had no choice but to use tear gas at Occupy Oakland. Officers claimed that Occupiers had thrown objects at them. They had made similar claims in 2003.

In his April 2005 deposition, Jordan said that no officers had infiltrated the activists prior to April 7, but he admitted that he was in favor of such police tactics. Two officers, Jordan confessed, had infiltrated a demonstration against the police violence that May. He said that the two officers had planned “the route of the march and decided, I guess, where it should end up and some of the places that it would go.”

“I think together we probably all decided it would be a good idea to have some undercover officers there,” Jordan stated in his deposition.

The incident stayed with Jordan. He added later in his deposition that he kept a file on the events of April 7. When asked why he had done so, Jordan replied that it was used “for future planning, any kind of training.”

Jordan stated, “In the event it happens again, you want to have some documentation so you can recall incidents, maybe change things the way you did them.”

UPDATE Wednesday morning:

Late Tuesday night, Sue Piper, a special assistant to Mayor Quan, responded via email to questions concerning whether the police department had violated its crowd control policies stemming from the 2003 port incident.

“The police are already doing investigations on the concerns about police use of force during Occupy Oakland,” Piper wrote. “We will be naming an independent investigator — probably next week — to determine if there are any violations.”

CLARIFICATION:The civil suit mentioned in the initial story was filed this week by Rachel Lederman, the ACLU and other civil-rights lawyers. Along with the suit, a motion for an immediate temporary restraining order was filed against the city. Both relied on heavily on the crowd-control policy generated from the 2003 port incident.

 

 

Proof that Jean Quan is losing all support.  Maybe YOU are the one that’s making the wrong choices Mayor Quan.

via SF Gate

(11-14) 08:51 PST OAKLAND – Mayor Jean Quan’s chief legal adviser resigned early this morning after what he called a “tragically unnecessary” police raid of the Occupy Oakland camp.

Dan Siegel, a civil rights attorney and one of Oakland’s most active and vocal police critics, said the city should have done more to work with campers before sending in police.

“The city sent police to evict this camp, arrest people and potentially hurt them,” Siegel said. “Obviously, we’re not on the same page. It’s an amazing show of force to move tents from a public place.”

Siegel strongly and vocally opposed any plan by the city to take down the month-old camp in the days leading up the police raid.

“I am really disappointed with the city,” Siegel said at the protest near City Hall. Oakland has become “the most hostile city to the Occupy movement. Where else are they having 600 police officers take down some tents?”

At a news conference today, Quan said she has known Siegel since the two attended UC Berkeley together and noted that they have been known to disagree. She said Siegel had been working on “a small project on a volunteer basis in my office” and would only say this of his departure: “He’s moving on. I’m moving on.”

Siegel said he wasn’t impressed with Quan’s response to the protest.

“She worked so hard to get into office,” he said. “Obviously her inauguration was a tremendously optimistic day for so many people. What can you say? She didn’t deal with it well.”

Siegel had previously sparred with police officials over the city’s gang injunctions and the handling of violent protests after the a jury found Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer, guilty of involuntary manslaughter after shooting an unarmed rider.

In a statement, Quan said it was time for the camp to come down.

“Camping is a tactic. It is one that has divided Oakland, a city of the 99 percent. It’s time to work together on the issues of unemployment, foreclosures and education cuts. While the camping must end, the movement continues.”

 

 

If these 10 people can see the logic behind Occupy Wall Street, some of you negative critics should really take a step back and do your research on why people are angry.

via The New Yorker

10) Henry Blodget: Disgraced Wall Street analyst turned online media mogul empathizes with the mob. Provides handy charts to back up case

9) Suze Orman: Schoolmarmish personal-finance maven says banks deserve to be criticized. Grades OWS as “approved.”

8) Deepak Chopra: New Age guru leads protesters in a group meditation. Tells them to go to place of “compassion, centered equanimity, and creativity.”

7) Larry Fink: Head of world’s biggest asset-management firm says demonstrators “are not lazy people sitting around looking for something to do.” (Not to be confused with the photographer Larry Fink, who also supports the protests.)

6) Bill Gross: Manager of world’s biggest bond fund says it’s no surprise the 99% is fighting back “after 30 years of being shot at.”

5) Charles Moore: Tory sage and official biographer of Mrs. Thatcher says he is starting to think the left “might actually be right.”

4) Alec Baldwin: Actor and Capital One front man tweets support and advice to protesters. (Not clear if he’s donated the fees from his ads to OWS, though.)

3) Jeffrey Sachs: Columbia economist and former godfather of free-market shock therapy visits Zuccotti Square and tells protesters they are on right track.

2) Vikram Pandit: Citigroup chairman says “trust has been broken” between Wall Street and Main Street. Offers to meet with demonstrators.

1) Ben Bernanke: Republican-appointed Fed chairman says he “can’t blame” protesters for taking to the streets.

Photographs: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Bennett; Ben Rose/WireImage; Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

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