Civil Disobedience

Historic Win for Labor and New Direction in University of California System

April 22, 2014 by Source

By Daniel Gutiérrez / San Diego Free Press

Grad student strikers and their allies block a pedestrian walkway at UCSD.

La Jolla, California — On Tuesday, April 15th, UAW Local 2865, representing graduate student-workers across the University of California system, reached a tentative agreement with UC management regarding the procurement of all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations.

UC management succumbed to the necessities demanded by UAW Local 2865, acknowledging that both all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations are a labor right to graduate student-workers. The historic achievement was reached after the union went on strike for two days early this month, in which nearly two dozen students were arrested and many others intimidated.

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Book Review: Cesar Chavez Remembered, Warts and All

April 21, 2014 by Source

chavezbookMiriam Pawel offers the most comprehensive look at Chavez and his movement in her new book, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez.

By Mark R. Day / Labor Notes

“Cesar was not a humble man,” narrator Luis Valdez says at the conclusion of the new documentary “Cesar’s Last Fast,” about the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez. “Nor was he a simple man.”

Indeed, Chavez was a controversial and complex figure. That’s the problem with Diego Luna’s feature film “Cesar Chavez,” whose release coincided with the charismatic leader’s March 31 birthday.

Chavez was, of course, a genius and a master organizer. His successes in the vineyards and lettuce fields of California came about as a result of enormous personal sacrifice and his ability to reach out to a wide audience: students, priests, nuns, ministers, labor leaders, and average housewives who made up their minds not to buy grapes.

He broke the back of the open shop in the fields and is credited as a founder of the Chicano movement. Just a decade after he began organizing grape pickers in Delano, California, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

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A Review of “Cesar Chavez” the Film: Sí, Se Puede

April 3, 2014 by Source
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By Byron Morton

Cesar Chavez shows the political evolution and the struggles of the man behind the movement during the 1960s to organize the farm workers in California. Through the United Farm Workers (UFW) Chavez (played by Michael Peña) brings bargaining rights and dignity for the impoverished farm workers. The UFW motto during this time was “Sí, se puede” or yes, it is possible.

It is important to remember at that time in the 1960s the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 did not protect farm workers and others. The Act “is a foundational statute of US labor law which guarantees basic rights of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining for better terms and conditions at work, and take collective action including strikes if necessary.”

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UCSD Grad Students Protest Controversial Employment Policy

April 3, 2014 by Source

UCSD grad students protesting.Doctoral students rally against the 18 Quarter Limit

By Daniel Gutiérrez

La Jolla, California — Students at the University of California, San Diego stormed the Office of Graduate Studies Tuesday, April 1, to protest a controversial employment policy implemented across the University of California.

The “18 Quarter Limit” restricts doctoral students by only allotting them 18 quarters to be teaching assistants, readers, or graduate student researchers. Such positions, if secured, reduce a graduate student’s tuition from roughly $5,200 a quarter to a mere $196. The action came on the eve of the two-day strike that will be held April 2nd and 3rd at UCSD.

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Snowden Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

February 4, 2014 by Source
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Former NSA contractor named for ‘contributing to a more stable and peaceful world order’

From Alajezeera America

Two Norwegian lawmakers say they have nominated former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen said [last week] that the public debate and policy changes “in the wake of Snowden’s whistle-blowing (have) contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

Snowden fled to Russia, where he has requested temporary asylum after leaking classified security documents detailing widespread phone and email surveillance by the National Security Agency. In some cases, the agency shared the data with British, French and other countries’ intelligence units. The files also showed that the agency spied on international heads of state, spurring a fierce debate on privacy, sovereignty and security issues.

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NSA Spy – the Most Boring Pointless Job in the World?

January 29, 2014 by Source
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By John Filthy

In the ongoing international debate over NSA spying there are few voices of reason. The NSA would like you to think they are the eye on the pyramid of the great seal. An all-seeing all-knowing department of the most powerful government on earth. A division of James Bonds and Bondettes with the latest gadgetry spying on all manner of digital communication to protect the world from the scariest terrorist de jour.

On the other side of the same coin are the whistle blowers like Edward Snowden. He has now joined the ranks with Julian Assange and the Wikileaks hacktivists. They fancy themselves a gang of revolutionaries striking fear in the heart of evil government ‘leaders’, and corporate CEOs. Digital warriors, exercising their superior-hacking skills to bring nefarious secrets into the light of day. The truth is not nearly as sexy as the media, the NSA, or the hacktivists would have you believe.

In reality NSA spies are cubicle-dwelling keyboard jockeys not tuxedo-wearing international men of mystery.

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Joy Arises, Rules Fall Apart – Thoughts for the Second Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street

September 17, 2013 by Source
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By Rebecca Solnit / TomDispatch.com

I would have liked to know what the drummer hoped and what she expected. We’ll never know why she decided to take a drum to the central markets of Paris on October 5, 1789, and why, that day, the tinder was so ready to catch fire and a drumbeat was one of the sparks.

To the beat of that drum, the working women of the marketplace marched all the way to the Palace of Versailles, a dozen miles away, occupied the seat of French royal power, forced the king back to Paris, and got the French Revolution rolling. Far more than with the storming of the Bastille almost three months earlier, it was then that the revolution was really launched — though both were mysterious moments when citizens felt impelled to act and acted together, becoming in the process that mystical body, civil society, the colossus who writes history with her feet and crumples governments with her bare hands.

She strode out of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City during which parts of the central city collapsed, and so did the credibility and power of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI that had ruled Mexico for 70 years. She woke up almost three years ago in North Africa, in what was called the Arab Spring, and became a succession of revolutions and revolts still unfolding across the region.

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BREAKING: Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy

July 30, 2013 by Source
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By Julie Tate / Washington Post

An Army judge on Tuesday acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy by disclosing a trove of secret U.S. government documents, a striking rebuke to military prosecutors who argued that the largest leak in U.S. history had assisted al-Qaeda.

The judge, Col. Denise Lind, found Manning guilty of most of the more than 20 crimes he was charged with. She also acquitted him of one count of the espionage act that stemmed from his leak of a video that depicted a fatal U.S. military airstrike in Farah, Afghanistan.

Bradley Manning arrived at court to hear the verdict in his military espionage and aiding the enemy trial at Fort Meade Tuesday. Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy.

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California Prison Hunger-Strikers Enter Third Week

July 29, 2013 by Source

Editor: The hunger strike by hundreds – at first thousands – of California prison inmates is entering its third week. One inmate has died. The strike is getting some media attention. There was a front page article on the LA Times today – Monday, July 29.

By Paige St. John / LA Times

PELICAN BAY STATE PRISON — Inside the concrete labyrinth of California’s highest-security prison, an inmate covered in neo-Nazi tattoos and locked in solitary confinement has spearheaded the largest prison protest in California history.

Convicted killer Todd Ashker and three other inmates — representing the Mexican Mafia, Nuestra Familia and the Black Guerrilla Family — called for a mass hunger strike July 8, largely to protest indefinite incarceration in solitary confinement.

More than 30,000 prisoners answered.

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Tim O’Shea Medical Marijuana Case Update – Motion to Dismiss Granted!!

July 1, 2013 by Source
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San Diego, CA – On Thursday, June 27, 2013, legal cannabis patient and defendant Tim O’Shea’s jury came out of deliberations hopelessly deadlocked in a three guilty; nine not guilty split and Judge Charles Rogers declared a mistrial.

Defense Counsel, Mark Bluemel, immediately gave an oral motion to dismiss the case in the interest of justice, which the judge delayed hearing arguments on until today, July 1, 2013. His reasoning was to allow the District Attorney’s office time to decide if they would re-file against Tim, which is their right in cases of deadlocked juries.

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San Diego’s Chalk-Gate: City Attorney Goldsmith’s Waste of Money, Gag Orders and Movement to Recall Judge Shore

June 28, 2013 by Doug Porter
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City Attorney and Judge Move Against Bank of America Chalk Protester

By Doug Porter

Things are going out of control for City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. His office’s decision to prosecute 40 year old Jeff Olson for using children’s washable chalk to scrawl protests on sidewalks adjacent to Bank of America branch offices has garnered world wide notice. And it’s not the kind of publicity the Downtown Tourism folks appreciate.

A newly organized group calling itself Liberals for Liberty has announced plans to create a chalk mural of the Constitution with focus on the First Amendment in front of the San Diego Hall of Justice. A Facebook page set up for the event calls for local artists to meet up Saturday (June 29th) at the courthouse, 330 West Broadway, San Diego.

At Change.org, a petition went up Friday morning calling upon City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to drop the prosecution of Jeff Olson for chalk graffiti, citing “an obvious abuse of power and a wasteful use of the resources of the City of San Diego.”

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Support Grows for NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

June 20, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Restore the 4th Protest Planned for San Diego in Balboa Park – July 4

Public support for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is growing across the country in leaps and bounds.

Already over 62,000 people – as of 10:30 am 6/20/13 – have signed an online petition in support of Snowden. The petition can be accessed here.

The online petition at RootsAction states:

Thank NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

Our country is in the midst of a struggle between the growing surveillance state and our precious civil liberties. Now a whistleblower has boldly stepped forward to expose the National Security Agency’s vast spying on our phone records and online communications.

Explaining his actions, the 29-year-old computer expert said:

“I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

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Reader Rant: The “Vigilante Stop Signs” in Point Loma

June 17, 2013 by Source
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Editor: The following rant is an unsolicited article by Don Sevrens on the issue of “vigilante stop signs in Point Loma”. For earlier posts on the issue, go here, here, here, and here .

By Don Sevrens

Ever wonder why there seems to be a stop sign every two blocks whether needed or not?

The San Diego City Council has a curious policy that allows uninformed community planning groups to overrule the city’s traffic experts and, with the concurrence of one district council member, order stop signs installed.

There are no standards for collecting signatures or even telling the neighborhood what is going on. Just get a couple friends together, ask some community planner to schedule a vote and – presto! – you have new stop signs up.

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Former CIA Employee, Snowden, Blows Whistle on NSA’s Dragnet Surveillance

June 12, 2013 by Source
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By Marjorie Cohn / truthout

Just as Bradley Manning’s court-martial was getting underway, another brave whistleblower dropped a bombshell into the media: The Obama administration is collecting data on every telephone call we make. Nearly 64 years to the day after George Orwell published his prescient book 1984, we have learned that the “Thought Police” are indeed watching every one of us. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” Edward Snowden told the Washington Post.

A former undercover CIA employee who has worked at the National Security Agency (NSA) for four years, Snowden provided a secret order of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to the Guardian. The order requires Verizon on an “ongoing daily basis” to provide the NSA information about all phone calls in its system both in the United States and other countries.

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Mayor Filner to Speak at Press Conference Against Gag Order in Federal Medical Marijuana Case – Today – Monday May 20th

May 20, 2013 by Source

Press Conference with Mayor Bob Filner

Ronnie Chang is a state legal medical cannabis patient, an alleged former collective operator and victim of the 9/9/09 raids on cannabis collective in San Diego County. A widespread and brutal attack on legal cannabis patients, the raids were part of a joint effort by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to senselessly destroy the public safety collectives provide the community.

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Point Loma Imbroglio Continues Over “Bogus” Stop Signs After Peninsula Planners’ Compromise

May 17, 2013 by Staff
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Point Loma Planners’ Recommendation That “Bogus” Signs Be Replaced and Official Signs Removed Continues to Split Local Community

CBS8 reports that the Peninsula Planning Committee’s decision last night – May 16th – to find a compromise on the “bogus” stop signs continues to divide and rile the local hilltop community in Point Loma.

The Committee voted 4 to 3 to send a recommendation to Councilmember Faulconer’s office that the controversial stop signs that appeared and installed by anonymous parties, outside of city regulations, will be replaced – there’s 2 of them – and that 3 official stop signs in the area be removed.

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Celebrate May Day and Know Its Origins

May 1, 2013 by Source
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Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers’ Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as “American” as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.

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Bogus Stop Signs in Point Loma Get Support From City and Many Residents

April 18, 2013 by Frank Gormlie

Not Every Resident Is Happy, However

Two bogus stop signs have been discovered in the tony neighborhood of southern Point Loma, near the Point Loma campus of Nazarene University. In July, 2012, a stop sign appeared on Jennings Street. The counterfeit signs have many supporters among local residents, and even the City signed off (no pun intended) on one of them – but, not everyone is happy.

Residents along Jennings at Albion Street and Silvergate Avenue are divided on the issue. Some say the bogus signs have made their neighborhood more safer for pedestrians, children, and walkers.

And some of them have been complaining to the City about traffic speeding through their ritzy neighborhood for over a decade. In fact, residents in 2000 asked the City to do something and allow stop signs, but the City declined, and installed a “Yield” sign. Residents also asked the City again later in 2000, and also in early 2001, and city staff deemed stop signs unnecessary.

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OB Citizens’ Patrol to Meet Tuesday, April 2nd

March 29, 2013 by Staff

Perhaps spurred on by the latest sexual assault (and though the suspect has been caught), OBceans are organizing the next meeting of the OB OB Citizen’s Patrol.

The first meeting of 2013 will be held Tuesday, April 2 at 5 pm. The meeting will take place at the Tower 2 Cafe, in OB.

Tower 2 Cafe is located at 5083 Santa Monica Avenue, OB, CA 92107; and their phone is (619) 223-4059.

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March 28th Is the 42nd Anniversary of the Largest Community-Police “Disturbance” in Ocean Beach History

March 28, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Today, March 28th, marks the 42nd anniversary of the infamous Collier Park Riot – the largest “disturbance” between the community and police in the history of Ocean Beach.

Hundreds of OBceans and students from area colleges were gathered on March 28, 1971, at a peaceful anti-Vietnam War protest that was combined with a community clean-up of a large corner lot for parkland when they were attacked by police. This unprovoked assault by police resulted in a riot that spread from Soto and Greene Streets all the way to the beach and lasted for hours into the night. Fifty people were arrested, many injured, a patrol car was burned, but over time, the wounds were healed, the war ended, and a park was created in northeast OB: Collier Park.

Here are a series of articles about the Collier Park Riot and what it meant for Ocean Beach.

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Reflections from a Rally at the Hilton Mission Valley

March 4, 2013 by Ernie McCray
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Much has been made of Bob Filner crashing the City Attorney’s news conference a little while ago but we shouldn’t forget that in that flurry of feistiness he pointed out that there are people among us, fellow citizens, family, friends, you name them, who are paid tacky wages. Like hotel workers.

He made it clear that the tourist industry isn’t going to ply their trade with $30 million dollars of the city’s money unless they pay hotel workers what they deserve.

How refreshing is that, a mayor for the people, a man standing up for the folks who make visitors to “America’s Finest City” comfortable and well fed, with nice pools for a swim on well manicured hotel grounds. These people get out and about town and spend money by the ton and the people who added so much to the fineness of their stay don’t get anywhere near their fair share of this bounty.

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Bill Moyers: The Hubris of the Drones

February 13, 2013 by Source
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By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship / February 12, 2013

Last week, The New York Times published a chilling account of how indiscriminate killing in war remains bad policy even today. This time, it’s done not by young GIs in the field, but by anonymous puppeteers guiding drones that hover and attack by remote control against targets thousands of miles away, often killing the innocent and driving their enraged and grieving families and friends straight into the arms of the very terrorists we’re trying to eradicate.

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50 American Leaders Risk Arrest Today – Feb. 13th – in Front of White House to Protest Lack of Action Against Climate Change

February 13, 2013 by Source
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Sierra Club – for first time – to participate in civil disobedience that includes RFK Jr

From EcoWatch / February 13, 2013

Fifty American leaders—including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Waterkeeper Alliance), Michael Brune (Sierra Club), Bill McKibben (350.org), Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. (Hip Hop Caucus), civil rights legend Julian Bond, actress Daryl Hannah, and others —will risk arrest today in front of the White House to demonstrate the depth of their support for decisive action against climate change. For the first time in its 120-year history, the Sierra Club will participate in this civil disobedience action to convey the severity and urgency of action on climate.

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Federal Court Denies Lawsuit Claiming Marijuana’s Medical Benefits

January 29, 2013 by Source
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By Steven Wishnia / Alternet

Preserving the main legal barrier to medical marijuana, a federal appeals court on Jan. 22 rejected a lawsuit intended to force the Drug Enforcement Administration to move marijuana out of Schedule I, the federal law that classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug with no valid medical use.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that the medical-marijuana advocates who filed the suit—Americans for Safe Access, a California-based patient-advocacy group; the Coalition to Reschedule Cannabis, Patients Out of Time, and four individual medical users, including Air Force veteran Michael Krawitz—had not proved that the DEA’s decision to keep marijuana in Schedule I was “arbitrary and capricious.” The court held that marijuana had failed to meet the five standards the DEA sets for drugs to qualify as having a valid medical use.

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Remembering the Real Martin Luther King Jr. Without Apologies

January 21, 2013 by Jim Miller
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As we celebrate the rich legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am drawn back to my favorite speech of his, “Where Do We Go From Here?”. This was Dr. King’s last address as President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, given toward to end of his life in 1967. It outlines two core principles of King’s unfulfilled legacy that united the questions of racial injustice with those of economic inequality and rampant militarism.

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FBI, Homeland Security and Local Police Coordinated the Crackdown of the Occupy Movement with Big Banks

December 30, 2012 by Source
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By Naomi Wolf / Guardian UK / December 29 , 2012

New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy:
totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police.

The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves -was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

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Occupy San Diego: A Year Later

October 9, 2012 by Source
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By Nadin Abbott

Occupy San Diego reached an important milestone this weekend. Occupy San Diego is now one year old, and like all children, it has learned a lot this year, but also achieved quite a bit.

The weekend saw a series of events, some low key, some going back to it’s roots in the streets, celebrating the fact that OSD is still here. The first event was at Balboa Park on Saturday afternoon.

When I reached the Park I was no longer surprised to see San Diego Police coming in to talk to an Occupier. Well, so what is new? Same old, same old – right? This time, the officers had cause. No, not the usual we saw over the course of last year. They had a call, from another occupier, reporting what can best be described as a domestic dispute. Given the Occupier in question wore a Guy Fawkes costume with knives (which I could not tell at a distance were plastic either), the cops showed up in force. This is standard.

Moreover, while the Police kept an eye on Occupy, like they do on every demonstration that happens in this town, they also kept their actual contact to a minimum, and kept their distance.

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‘Occupy’ Anniversary Protests in New York, San Diego & Around the World

September 17, 2012 by Doug Porter
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Go to San Diego Free Press for updates.

Welcome to September 17th. Today is the 225th Anniversary of the Constitution of the United States. It’s also the first year anniversary of the start of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests/movement.

Over the weekend people streamed into New York from around the nation for a three day event remembering the protests last year. Although OWS events are scheduled for 30 cities around the world, most in the mainstream media are running with the meme that the Occupy movement is dead. There will be events in San Diego today. (See Below)

The Huffington Post, that so-called bastion of liberal news, ran an Associated Press report

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One Year Later at Occupy San Diego – Checking Up on Our Own Occupy Wallstreet Movement

September 7, 2012 by Source
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By Kali Kat / Special to the OB Rag

With the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street just around the corner on September 17, and many other cities’ occupy anniversaries falling in the weeks just after, like Occupy San Diego’s one year anniversary on October 7, the question being begged is:

“What is the current state of the Occupy movement?” If you go down to the Civic Center or your local City Hall, are people still living there?

The Occupy movement, including Occupy San Diego (OSD), is still alive and well, but no, there are not people still living there – well not people flying the Occupy flag anyways.

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Michael Moore and Oliver Stone Speak Out on WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and Free Speech

August 21, 2012 by Source
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By Michael Moore and Oliver Stone / New York Times / August 20, 2012

WE have spent our careers as filmmakers making the case that the news media in the United States often fail to inform Americans about the uglier actions of our own government. We therefore have been deeply grateful for the accomplishments of WikiLeaks, and applaud Ecuador’s decision to grant diplomatic asylum to its founder, Julian Assange, who is now living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Ecuador has acted in accordance with important principles of international human rights.

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