OB Rag Coverage of the Occupy Wall Street & Occupy San Diego Movements

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead

The OB Rag has been following the Occupy Wall Street Movement since it moved into Zuccotti Park on the 17th of September, and several of us have been involved, on some level, in Occupy San Diego since it began planning later that same month. The articles on this page are an archive of pieces we have posted about the Occupy Movement.

Occupy San Diego

Get involved! For more information; on the Web, #OccupySD, Twitter, Facebook, Ustream & Livestream. For daily updates on issues relating to local efforts, subscribe to the OccupySD email newsletter maintained by Ray Lutz. Occupy San Diego needs bodies on the ground at 3rd and B St, Downtown San Diego

The 99% and All that Stuff is a Movement That’s All About US

June 13, 2012 by Ernie McCray

The 99% and all that stuff
is a movement that’s all about US
and with that in mind
one might opine
that many of US
can remember times
when we could barely
pay the rent
and when the rent
was made good with all good intent
the food money
was gone…spent.

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China: Treatment of Occupy Movement Protesters Proves US Applies “Double-Standard” in Human Rights Accusations

May 26, 2012 by Source

China cited the treatment of protesters participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement, stating that their arrests can provide a “glimpse of the truth regarding the United States’ so-called freedom and democracy”.

China Daily/ May 26, 2012

Beijing on Friday swiftly hit back at Washington’s annual report on China’s human rights, saying in a report that the US government’s crackdown on protesters in the Occupy Wall Street demonstration is the real illustration of American democracy.

In the report, Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011, the State Council Information Office demanded the US stop its double standards.

Beijing issued the report less than 24 hours after the release of the Washington report, which Chinese experts said used harsher wording than previous editions and reflected US double standards that meet political needs in an election year.

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NYPD Raided Activists’ Homes Before May Day Protests

May 2, 2012 by Source

Editor: Here’s a disturbing report about how New York police raided the homes of activists preparing for the May Day protests on the day before.

By Adrian Chen / Gawker / April 30, 2012

A day before Occupy Wall Street hopes to shut down New York and cities across the country in massive May Day protests, the NYPD visited at least three activist homes in New York and interrogated residents about plans for tomorrow’s protest.

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May Day Reports from San Francisco and Seattle

May 1, 2012 by Source

San Francisco Commune Resurrected

by Michael Steinberg / May 1, 2012

As part of Bay Area May Day actions, Occupy San Francisco resurrected the San Francisco Commune. The SF Commune began exactly a month ago today, on April 1. The following day the SFPD shut down the Commune at the behest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the legal owner of the vacant building.

_____

May Day protests turn violent in downtown Seattle

By Casey McNerthney / Seattle pi / May 1, 2012

May Day protests and traffic jams quickly turned to vandalism and chaos in downtown Seattle Tuesday, resulting in eight arrests, late school buses and an emergency order from Mayor Mike McGinn.

After vandals smashed cars and business storefronts, McGinn signed an order allowing police to confiscate such potential weapons as sticks.

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San Diegans Join Global May Day – Occupy Protests

May 1, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Hundreds of San Diegans rallied and marched today – May Day – in solidarity with janitors and teachers here – and joining a global May Day and Occupy joint focus in demonstrations around the nation and world.

Major protests were also held in New York City, Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco and up to a total of 135 cities across the U.S. Corporate media reports on these demonstrations – the first major wave of Occupy Wall Street protests in months – focused on some trashing and violence – plus arrests – in Seattle, New York City, and Oakland.

The day of rallies and protests in San Diego began at City College in downtown. There was another rally sponsored by mainly labor groups at the Civic Center Plaza at the noon hour – with a march from there to two local banks a couple of blocks away: Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Meanwhile, teachers and their supporters were rallying up at the edge of Balboa Park in front of Roosevelt Middle School in protest of teacher and budget cuts. After hearing speeches – including one from mayoral candidate Congressman Bob Filner – the crowd marched to the Education Center.

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Debate: Occupy Wall Street vs Spring99% Co-optation?

April 13, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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There is a debate going on right now within certain progressive activist circles and communities around the country. It’s a debate generally between Occupy Wall Street activists and supporters with those individuals and groups that have coalesced around a loose network called Spring99%.

There are accusations from Occupy folks that Spring99% is trying to co-opt the OWS movement. That MoveOn is a front for the Democratic Party. And there are denials both from activists within the Spring99% network and members of the Occupy movement itself. It is a needed debate, even though it’s probably under the radar for many progressives and irrelevant for mainstream politics – except for the accusations that Spring99% is a front for the Obama re-election campaign. Meanwhile, paranoia of being co-opted has been a mainstay within the anti-Wall Street movement for months.

Here are half a dozen or so articles from various sources that either address or explain two of the sides of this debate. Following these articles, is another piece about local trainings and a link to sign-up:

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April 14th Is Kick Off Date for Occupy Wall Street’s Spring Offensive

April 12, 2012 by Source
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OWS’ ‘Spring Awakening’ in Central Park Will Kick Off a Season of Activism, Attract New Faces

By Simran Sachdev /AlterNet / April 11, 2012

This Saturday’s family-friendly event will draw some new individuals into the movement while also energizing existing Occupiers and facilitating cross-organizational cooperation.

The Spring Awakening 2012, a day of rejuvenation, celebration, and intense movement-building, will take place this Saturday, April 14, in Central Park. For Occupy supporters who may have been disheartened by any struggles over the winter, this event will help propel Occupy Wall Street forward over the next six months. It is designed to welcome new people into the life of activism and strengthen existing ties of those already embedded in the movement.

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Nearly Eighty Arrested in San Francisco During ‘First Real Occupation’ of 2012

April 4, 2012 by Source
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Allison Kilkenny / The Nation / April 3, 2012

Once the last major Occupy camps had been razed by police forces, pundits began to crow that the movement was finished. Of course, once it became clear that thesis was not grounded in reality, the professional ponderers went on to wonder aloud (and in print) if occupations would still be a major part of the group’s agenda. In other words: could Occupy still be Occupy without ongoing occupations?

An Occupy Wall Street action in San Francisco of between 100 and 300 activists achieved what New York Magazine calls “one of the first real occupations of 2012” when they took over a building belonging to the city Archdiocese. (photo via @OCongress)

Police in riot gear stormed the two-story building Monday afternoon after breaking through a barricade the activists had built and arrested nearly eighty Occupiers.

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Michael Moore: The Purpose of Occupy Wall Street Is to Occupy Wall Street

March 22, 2012 by Source
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By Michael Moore / The Nation / March 14, 2012 (April 2 issue)

Occupy Wall Street. What other political movement in modern times has won the sympathy and/or support of the majority of the American public—in less than two months? How did this happen? I think it was a revolt that has been percolating across the country since Reagan fired the first air traffic controller. Then, on September 17, 2011, a group of (mostly) young adults decided to take direct action. And this action struck a raw nerve, sending a shock wave throughout the United States, because what these kids were doing was what tens of millions of people wished they could do.

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The ‘Bat Signal’ – “Projection Bombing” by Occupy San Diegans at Convention Center and Other Public Buildings

February 15, 2012 by Source
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Occupy San Diego Throws the ‘Bat Signal’ Up While Democrats Convene at the Party Convention

By Eugene Davidovich / Special to the OB Rag

SAN DIEGO – There are dozens of commercial buildings in San Diego with large flat windowless surfaces which most people would consider an eyesore. But for Occupy San Diego (OSD), during the weekend of the Democratic Party State Convention, many of those buildings including the convention center itself, served as a canvas for the OSD ‘Bat Signal’.

The ‘Bat Signal’ or guerrilla projections; images shown in public without any necessary approvals or permits, have gained steam in recent years in art communities across the world, and are seen on buildings and landmarks from Los Angeles all the way to London.

With the accelerated growth of the Occupy movement, protesters wishing to send a strong, visible, and defiant political message have also begun to employ this tactic in cities across the nation. The first Occupy ‘Bat Signal’ was cast by Mark Read, an artist and activist with Occupy Wall Street, who threw an image of ‘99%’ and the names of different Occupies across the world onto the Verizon building in New York City on November 17th of last year.

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A Dialogue Within the Occupy Wall Street Movement Over “Black Bloc Anarchists”

February 14, 2012 by Source

Editor: Author and radical observer Chris Hedges has opened up a current dialogue and debate within the Occupy Wall Street movement, in the shadow of last month’s confrontations between Occupy Oakland and the Oakland police. He points the finger at what he calls “the Black Bloc anarchists” and calls them the “cancer in Occupy.” In response to Hedges, David Graeber’s article below asserts that Hedge’s rhetoric is inaccurate and even “dangerous”.

The Cancer in Occupy

by Chris Hedges / TruthDig / Posted on Feb 6, 2012

The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists—so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property—is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state. The Occupy encampments in various cities were shut down precisely because they were nonviolent. They were shut down because the state realized the potential of their broad appeal even to those within the systems of power. They were shut down because they articulated a truth about our economic and political system that cut across political and cultural lines. And they were shut down because they were places mothers and fathers with strollers felt safe. …. (Come inside for the remainder of this article.)

By David Graeber / n+1 / Posted Feb. 9, 2012

I am writing this on the premise that you are a well-meaning person who wishes Occupy Wall Street to succeed. I am also writing as someone who was deeply involved in the early stages of planning Occupy in New York.

I am also an anarchist who has participated in many Black Blocs. While I have never personally engaged in acts of property destruction, I have on more than one occasion taken part in Blocs where property damage has occurred. (I have taken part in even more Blocs that did not engage in such tactics. It is a common fallacy that this is what Black Blocs are all about. It isn’t.)

I was hardly the only Black Bloc veteran who took part in planning the initial strategy for Occupy Wall Street. In fact, anarchists like myself were the real core of the group that came up with the idea of occupying Zuccotti Park, the “99%” slogan, the General Assembly process, and, in fact, who collectively decided that we would adopt a strategy of Gandhian non-violence and eschew acts of property damage. Many of us had taken part in Black Blocs. We just didn’t feel that was an appropriate tactic for the situation we were in. … (Come inside for the remainder of this article.)

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Occupy San Diego InterOccupy Conference – Activists Converge on Democratic Convention

February 12, 2012 by Source
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By Eugene Davidovich

After a busy morning, participants in the Occupy San Diego InterOccupy Conference arrived at Children’s Park. News reporters from CW6, as well as other local media outlets, converged in anticipation of the protesters’ arrival and a planned action to take place at the San Diego Convention Center.

Frank Gromlie of Save The Bill of Rights group and Occupy San Diego took the bullhorn and spoke about the dangers of the National Defense Authorization Act recently passed Congress and signed into law by the president.

He explained the government can now indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without trial, judge or jury for simply being dissenters. He went on to talk about how the bill limits U.S. citizen’s rights to a fair trial, free speech, and pointed out that both the Democratic and Republican party failed their constituents by allowing such a draconian measure to pass.

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Occupy San Diego InterOccupy Conference – Morning Update

February 11, 2012 by Source

By Eugene Davidovich

On Saturday morning as planned at 8:30am, protesters with Occupy San Diego began to assemble at Civic Center Plaza on 3rd and B for the all day InterOccupy conference.

The first couple hours at the plaza were filled with sign making, passing out welcome packets which contained information about the day’s events, and getting to know the protesters who came down to Occupy San Diego from other cities and states for the day.

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Occupy San Diego Calls Out the San Diego City Council on Protecting Free Speech Rights

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

Now with its fourth month anniversary, Occupy San Diego continues to make a presence in the San Diego community, this morning challenging a proclamation by the City Council that the City of San Diego is re-committed to protecting the rights of free speech expression in San Diego.

The proclamation was in response to the 100 year anniversary of the Free Speech fight in San Diego during which the 1912 San Diego City Council passed Ordinance No. 4623 banning free speech or assembly in a 49 block radius of downtown San Diego.

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Join us at the Sat. Feb. 4 – Occupy San Diego County Summit

February 3, 2012 by Staff

Join us at the Sat. Feb. 4 – Occupy San Diego County Summit

Workshops at Centro Cultural de la Raza, Park Blvd, Balboa Park

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 –

(10:30a- 7:00 pm) Occupy SD County SUMMIT at Centro Cultural de la Raza.

  • Teach-ins,
  • Work-Shops
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Willie Nelson Song to Appear on Occupy Wall Street Album

February 2, 2012 by Source
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By Brittany Joy Cooper / Taste of Country / Jan. 29, 2012

Occupy this AlbumAs previously reported, Willie Nelson is rallying behind the Occupy Wall Street protests. While many country artists have kept mum about their thoughts on the movement, Nelson posted a video in October of him and his wife reciting a poem they wrote in favor of Occupy.

Now, he’s joining forces with other famous musicians who share his stance on the topic by contributing to the album ‘Occupy This Album: A Compilation of Music By, For and Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the 99%.’ The album is expected to release in the spring.

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Darrel Issa in tift over sod with DC Park Service and Occupy camps

February 1, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Our very own Congressman Darrel Issa is currently in a snit, a tift, a rift – over – among other things damaged sod – with the National Park Service in DC. It seems he doesn’t like the Service’s attitude toward the encampments of the Occupy Washington movement. Issa doesn’t support the Occupy movement and he feels the Park Service has been too liberal with them – and he’s using the power of his panel to do some snooping around. And the Park Service has pushed back.

In the meantime, there is a waiting game going on in DC between the Park Police and the Occupy protesters. There have not been any large-scale arrests such as has gone down at other Occupy campsites around the country. The U.S. Park Police began enforcing a ban on Monday, Jan. 30th, on anyone camping at two parks. Dozens of Occupy protesters took refuge at one park under a huge blue tarp. This all according to CNN .

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What’s Up With All This Occupy?

January 23, 2012 by Ernie McCray
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Hey, there’s people
out there stressin’
going”What’s up with all this ‘Occupy?'”
Well, I tell you one thing
and this ain’t no lie.
Occupy
as a concept,
ain’t something
that just dropped from the sky.
Unh. Unh.
Not even a close try….

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Occupy Wall Street Descends on Congress, Says: Money Out of Politics!

January 19, 2012 by Source

by Ralph Lopez / truthout / January 19, 2012

It’s a quid pro quo. Only the most gullible rube ready to buy swampland in Florida could think otherwise. The citizen’s watchdog MAPlight.org found that congressmen who voted for TARP, the “Troubled Assets Relief Program,” received nearly 50 percent more in campaign contributions from the financial services industry (an average of about $149,000) than congressmen who voted no.

And House Energy and Commerce Committee members who voted yes on an amendment in 2009 favored by the forest products industry, to allow heavier cutting of trees, received an average of $25,745 from the forestry and paper products industry. This was ten times more than each member voting no. The pattern repeats itself over and over, ditto for why wars go on when polls show most of the population is against them.

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The Beat Goes On (Reflections in a Moment in Troubled Times)

January 19, 2012 by Ernie McCray

Sitting reflecting
on my lifetime.
And, man, I’ve ridden
the currents
of many kinds
of times:
times when I’ve danced in the street
like when Mandela was set free
as though he was ever really imprisoned,
if you hear me;
times when I didn’t want to open my eyes,
knowing the ugliness that was in front of me;
times when life was just a flatout mystery,
like George W. Bush
twice winning a presidency
in the land of the freakin’ free,
do you hear me?;
times when they played my song,
“Ernie, Ernie, he’s our man
if he can’t do it nobody can!”

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Amarillo Greyhound Bus Adventure for San Diego Occupiers Picked Up by Rachel Maddow Blog

January 16, 2012 by Staff
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The (mis-) adventures of our pals traveling to Occupy Congress demonstrations that begin tomorrow, Jan. 17th, was picked up the Rachel Maddow Blog (see above). This drove hundreds of viewers to our site – thanks Rachel – we watch you nearly every night. By 9:00 a.m. this morning (1/16/12) the post had over 1700 hits.

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What really happened when the San Diego Occupiers got kicked off the Greyhound bus in Amarillo, Texas.

January 15, 2012 by Source

Occupy San Diego Road to Congress – Update Day 2

From Las Crusas to the Amarillo 13

By Eugene Davidovich/Special to the OB Rag / January 15, 2011

With no breaks from the road all night, and after traveling hundreds of miles through California and Arizona, the group of activists from Opccupy San Diego finally got a chance to stretch their legs in Las Cruces, New Mexico in the early hours of Saturday, January 14th.

When the bus pulled into the Las Cruses station at 7:30am, everyone’s hopes for a working restroom were shattered as the sign on the door read, “Restroom Not Operational.”

To add to the difficulties, weather outdoors was a crisp 30 degrees Fahrenheit, a sharp change form the relatively blazing 70 degrees most protesters are used to in San Diego.

At the Las Cruses Greyhound station the group was met by Jeff and Stella Miller from Occupy Las Cruces who brought loafs of freshly baked hot bread and coffee for the travelers. After everyone got their fill and had an opportunity to stretch, the group quickly organized a small rally with protest signs and chants outside the bus station.

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Day 2 of OSD On the Road to Occupy Congress – Thrown Off the Greyhound

January 15, 2012 by Staff
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It appears our brothers and sisters from Occupy San Diego who are on their way to Washington DC to “Occupy Congress” were rudely thrown off the Greyhound bus by an unsympathetic bus driver. This was in Amarillo, Texas in the middle of the night, Saturday, Jan 14th.

Here is a report from Michael All-In Ponsler:

“Don Ainsworthy, Greyhound’s most psychotic driver really screwed up tonight. This man was completely rude to all passengers waiting to board and when he saw our Occupy logos he made several negative comments.

Once we were on the bus this guy began shouting at people to sit down and shut up. This did not go over well with any of the passengers, but I made it clear that we will not be treated so disrespectfully.

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Occupy Activists Charged With Felonies for Interrupting Mayor Sanders’ State of City Address

January 14, 2012 by Frank Gormlie

Local News Website Denies Police Claims That Activists Were Warned Before Being Arrested

The most disturbing thing during Mayor Sanders’ “State of the City” address that he delivered last Wednesday night (Jan. 11th), was not the swam song of a lame duck politician, but that four Occupy San Diego activists who interrupted his speech were all charged with felonies.

Usually, disturbing a public assembly, like a City Council meeting, is a simple misdemeanor. But in a spiteful frenzy of vengeance, police have charged Alberto Ordonez, Christopher McKay, Tahra Ludwig – who is an OB Ragster, and Michael Garcia with felony conspiracy to commit crimes. The crime here, of course, was that these activists stood up during Sanders’ speech and called out the human megaphone “Mic check! Mic check!”

In a twist of the law, disturbing an official meeting or speech is a misdemeanor. But if one conspires to commit a misdemeanor with others, that’s a felony. It’s a stupid law, but one that has been on the books for a long time. So, if two people enter a store to stage a petty theft – misdemeanors – and they conspire to do it – it’s a felony.

Keegan Kyle, of the Voice of San Diego, called our well-known by now assistant police chief, Boyd Long, to ask why.

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Occupy San Diego Activists On Road to “Occupy Congress”

January 14, 2012 by Source
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Preparations and Departure – Day 1 Update

Editor: Over a dozen activists from Occupy San Diego are going to Washington, DC, in response to a “call” to “Occupy DC” and Occupy Congress, which is to begin on January 17th, when Congress officially returns. About a dozen of these activists are traveling by Greyhound – and this is the first of many reports by our special OB Rag reporter for the trip, Eugene Davidovich – an OBcean. Other OSD folks are also heading to DC but later this month. Eugene will be sending us periodic reports on this historic 3000 mile journey and about what they find and do in the nation’s capital.

By Eugene Davidovich / Special to the OB Rag / January 14, 2012

On a sunny San Diego Friday afternoon, January 13 2012, a group of eleven dedicated and passionate activists from Occupy San Diego (OSD) embarked on a historic journey by bus, from the West Coast to Washington D.C.

The purpose; to stand in solidarity with a call from the D.C. Occupation for a mass convergence on Congress January 17th. A convergence of all occupations from across the nation to stand in solidarity and speak loudly for social and economic justice.

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Active Duty Occupy San Diego Activist (Maybe) Killed In Action

January 10, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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NEW NEW UPDATE from 1/12/12: A reporter from a local news website who has been researching this story, says this in an email this morning: “He [Jay] died in the line of duty and what he was doing is supper, duper classified,…”

NEW UPDATE from 1/11/12: There is research still going on over this case about whether Jay Polk was killed or not. It is still possibly true that he was killed. To speculate why the DoD has not publicized his death yet, we understand that in certain black ops where lives are still in danger, info is carefully squeezed out – or not at all – until it’s over.

UPDATE FROM EDITOR: Unfortunately for all involved, there have been some real questions raised as to the validity of Jay’s death. Our original source was within Occupy San Diego, but who is now having second thoughts themselves. Their source was reportedly a member of Jay’s family. Others have been making calls and have found NO confirmation of his death, either at the DoD site, Jay’s hometown, there’s no funeral home, no obituary, no report of his death except via this family member. And that person is not returning calls.

Jay Polk – presente! uh, wait …

Sergeant Jay Polk was (maybe) killed while on active duty in the US Army.

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Join Occupy San Diego In Its 3rd Month With March Today – Saturday, Jan. 7th

January 7, 2012 by Staff
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In a celebration of its third month anniversary, Occupy San Diego is holding a “March Back Again to Freedom Plaza” – event. It starts off at 4:40 pm, today, Saturday, January 7th, at Children’s Park, located on First Avenue and Island.

Organizers will lead the march through the GasLamp to Civic Center Plaza – renamed “Freedom Plaza” – at Third and “B” Street.

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Local Company’s Sonic Device Used In ‘Occupy’ Protests

January 4, 2012 by Source
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LRAD Corporation Says Sales Of Sonic Blaster Are Booming

10News.com / January 3, 2012

Business is booming for a San Diego company that is making its presence felt – and heard – at protests, including the “Occupy” movement.

The LRAD, or long-range acoustic device, is the creation of the LRAD Corporation, which is based in Carmel Mountain and employs about 40 employees. The device was initially used the military on ships and vehicles to issue warnings. Now, the LRAD is being used by law enforcement during “Occupy” protests.

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Free Speech Ballot Measure Proposed By Occupy San Diego

January 4, 2012 by Source
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Recent Police Crackdowns Mirror Infamous San Diego 1912 Free Speech Fight

January 2012 named “Free-Speech Month”

100 years after the San Diego City Council infamously suppressed free speech in downtown San Diego, Occupy San Diego will commemorate this historic event by naming January 2012 as “Free-Speech Month,” and by proposing a ballot measure to amend the City’s municipal code to improve the respect of free speech in San Diego. This amendment will create an explicit exception to the current encroachment law (SDMC 54.0110) to allow for “peaceful picketing, lawful labor activities and peaceful political activities.”

“As San Diego gears up to commemorate the now infamous Free Speech Fights of 1912, Occupy San Diego will present the San Diego City Council with the choice to protect free speech or to repeat the mistakes of a hundred years ago and continue to allow the arrest and imprisonment of peaceful citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in San Diego,” said Martha Sullivan, an active San Diego community volunteer and supporter of Occupy San Diego.

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A Thorn of Beauty Upon the Rose – Occupy Protesters Join the Parade

January 4, 2012 by Source
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By William Gagan / Special to the OB Rag

A parade that was originally founded by a group of social and economic magnates in the late 1800’s, was for the first time in history, occupied by protesters speaking out against large corporations and big banks early Monday. They were members of local Occupy Wall Street groups from southern California and neighboring states. Some even came from as far away as New York and Atlanta.

They came together to form what was a sizable but inspiring tail section to the notorious Rose Bowl Parade. The goal behind joining the parade was to bring the Occupy Wall Street movement cause to almost 40 million television viewers nationally. The City of Pasadena had negotiated with organizers of the event to allow them to march behind the last float in the parade.

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