But what we didn't realize at the time --- not apparent from the photo, but seen in the following, remarkable video --- he was also standing stone still as tear gas canisters were exploding all around him...
I can't help but look at the faces of the police in gas masks, presumably from the Oakland PD (though there were some 17 other agencies there that night) in that haunting video, as they look at the sailor, and wonder what they must be thinking to themselves as that hero stands facing them. We have previously written about the extraordinary violations of the First Amendment that have occurred across the country during these otherwise peaceful demonstrations. What thoughts are going through the minds of those men --- all of whom are undoubtedly also a part of the same "99%" for whom Occupy protesters are fighting --- during that moment?
[UPDATE: The sailor has now been identified as Joshua Shepherd. See his interview on DemocracyNow! here.]
And, as another photograph now reveals, look who happens to be standing right next to the sailor seen above, in the moments just prior to the Oakland PD's tear gas assault...
Once again, late last night, as is becoming a too-regular nightly ritual, after the 11p news was over, police moved in again to violate the Constitutional First Amendment right "of the people peaceably to assemble." And, for the second night in a row, late last night in Oakland, CA, it resembled a war zone as police in riot gear unleashed a punishing onslaught of "non-lethal" flash-bang grenades, rubber (and or bean-bag) bullets and tear gas --- hour after hour, round after round --- injuring demonstrators, including women, the disabled, and even Iraq War veterans...
The results were horrific, according to video, photos, and eye-witness reports as it all happened and was reported on Twitter, including this scene appearing to show a member of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War knocked out by either a concussive grenade or a tear gas canister or another projectile, and being carried away...
[Update]: The veteran seen above was shot in the head and the UK Guardian is now confirming his name is Scott Olsen and that he is in "critical condition" with a "skull fracture and swelling of the brain" at Highland hospital.
"It's terrible to go over to Iraq twice and come back injured, and then get injured by the police that are supposed to be protecting us," his roommate, Keith Shannon, also 24, who served alongside Olsen as a Marine in Iraq, told the Guardian in a late follow-up today.
Other scenes were similarly gruesome and, yes, shameful...
As is reflected at right in a 1912 photo taken in Cincinnati, OH, Electric Vehicle (EV) technology has been with us for a very long time.
Underscored in the 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? (see video trailer below), the principle obstacles to the development of practical and affordable Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs, as opposed to PHEVs, or Plug-in Electric Vehicles) have been political and economic, as opposed to technological.
As today is National Plug-in Hybrid Day, a look at the current state of our nation's struggle to realize the massive benefits of truly green automotive technology seems in order --- particularly as the job-creating industry continues to face uphill battles from both fossil fuel-funded obstructionist Republicans in Congress and aggressive attempts by China and other nations to "win" the fight for renewable energy technology at any cost...
I'm still largely off the grid for another day or so (as I have been for the last 24 hours+), but delighted to check in to see so much great conversation on D.C. Douglas' #OccupyWallStreet video we posted in the previous item. Also delighted to check in to see that the worldwide #OWS movement is today's top story across all the major corporate media outlets!
Incredibly, I'm here in Las Vegas (for a conference) and find huge signs advertising CNN's next GOP debate here on Tuesday being held at The Venetian. The embarrassing perfection and irony of the next Presidential debate being held at a CASINO is something I don't have time enough or perhaps even skills enough, to adequately elucidate upon at the moment.
All as some 20 #OccupyWallStreet protesters were reported arrested just minutes ago attempting to close their accounts at Citibank near Washington Sq. Park in Manhattan! More irony there than you can shake a GOP debate in a casino at.
In the meantime, cursorily related --- on both the irony scale and several others --- I was interviewed by Bob Jimenez on LA Business Today, about two weeks ago on our local LA Cityview 35 channel as the uprising was just begin to force its way onto the national corporate mediascape.
The segment, seen below, aired earlier this week. We discussed blogging, journalism, capitalism, the "occupation," e-voting and more in the very quick 12-minute segment...
Los Angeles is no New York City. Following a torrential down pour on Wednesday, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a hundred rain ponchos over to those who had been encamped outside of L.A. City Hall since last weekend, as the core of the Occupy Los Angeles movement.
Later that same day, the Los Angeles City Council filed an extraordinary Resolution [PDF] in support of the L.A. "occupiers" and of the larger "Occupy Wall Street" movement as a whole.
The resolution, to be adopted "with the concurrence of the Mayor" (and supported by the L.A. County Federation of Labor), comes very close to a formal governmental endorsement of "Occupy Wall Street," a movement which Michael Moore describes plainly enough as "an uprising of people who have had it."
Amongst the powerful WHEREAS statements in support of the L.A. City Council Resolution, adopted "with the concurrence of the Mayor," was a recognition that "corporations hold undue influence and power;" that wealth disparity in the U.S. is greater than many of the nations in the Middle East that have been racked by "violent revolutionary protests;" that "our economic system" is "broken," creating an "economic crisis" that is "eroding the very social contract upon which the Constitution of the United States of America was founded"...
Once again we'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
JOSHUA HOLLAND, senior writer/editor at Alternet.org from the #OccupySF demonstrations on what happened last night after we went off the air and police moved in to clear out tents and other property of protesters in San Francisco. And on his latest article on decades of increasing inequality as the top 1% has robbed the bottom 99% blind.
PLUS! More calls from "Occupation Nation" and "Occupiers" around the world (leaving Hour 3 open for calls from you all again!) and anything else that you'd like to talk about at 877-520-1150 and with your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
More on Occupation Nation tonight, as I continue to guest host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show. Tune in tonight at 6p PT / 9p ET. We'll have live listening links and an occupied chat room right here at The BRAD BLOG! (Audio archives of last night's show are here.)
"What is a vote worth?" Venango County, PA's Election Board Chairman Craig Adams, a Republican, asked last week. "If the vote is counted it is priceless. If it is not counted, I don't care what it costs. Let's get a right."
"After months of legal wrangling," Marybeth Kuznik of the non-partisan Election Integrity advocacy group VotePA told The BRAD BLOG last week, Venango County's landmark independent forensic examination of the notoriously unreliable and 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, most often touch-screen) e-voting system finally got under way.
Kuznik explained that the study comes in the wake of the heavily Republican-leaning county having experienced "numerous reports of vote-flipping, candidates missing from screens, write-ins missing, and high undervote rates in their May 17 Primary." Some candidates on the ballots even were reported by the voting machines to have received zero votes...
The case arises from the secret video taping by O'Keefe and Giles of then ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera, as part of the deceptively edited hit videos the pair would later release on Breitbart's several propaganda websites. Vera was terminated after the release of the videos, despite having committed no wrongdoing --- he had even notified local police about the pair, after he suspected they were up to no good --- as confirmed in a detailed report by the California Attorney General last year. O'Keefe and Giles, on the other hand, as the CA AG found, most likely "violated state privacy laws." While they were given criminal immunity by the AG in exchange for the raw, unedited video tapes, they remain liable for civil violations of the that law.
Now it appears Breitbart himself may be pulled into the case, and we're likely to soon learn how much he paid O'Keefe and Giles for their hit tapes.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin has adjudicated a discovery dispute by ordering both O'Keefe and Giles to disclose payments Breitbart made to them, as well as email communications and other relevant documents concerning the illicit video taping of Vera.
While that is likely to offer an interesting expansion of this story soon (and we'll offer a few more details from the court's ruling below), more than anything what caught our eye in this story for the moment, was the reporting by local journalist Heather Johnson of Courthouse News. She broke the story this week, and managed to actually report accurately on the details of O'Keefe and Giles' ACORN hoax.
So, to offer you (and, actually, the New York Times) an idea of what accurate reporting on O'Keefe --- a man who has, since his ACORN con, also pled guilty to a scheme involving an attempted wire-tap plot of a sitting U.S. Senator --- looks like, just read the first three grafs of Johnson's coverage this week...
The OC Weekly's Matt Coker picked up on my Monday report describing my experience over the weekend at the Orange County Registrar's booth at the Orange County Fair wherein my attempt to try out their 100% unverifiable Hart Intercivic electronic voting system, um, didn't work out too well.
Coker's amusing take on the apparent system failure that occurred while I was testing it out with assistance from employees of the OC Registrar's office is described as "akin to making an illegal U-turn in front of a motorcycle cop. ... or letting it slip to 'Woodstein' that Tricky Dick audio taped everything in the Oval Office."
His coverage is much briefer than mine. So if you've yet to read my account of what happened and want a more-to-the-point version, please see Coker's piece.
For the record, for those who've asked, no, I've yet to hear back from either OC Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley or from anyone at CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office about what happened on Sunday. I've contacted all them via email, with a link to my original article, seeking comment. If I hear back from any of them substantively, of course, I'll let you know.
Yesterday, The Post & Courier of Charleston, South Carolina reported that a local "Council of Governments [COG] approved a resolution...asking for the state to audit how its voting machines are working."
The "machines" are the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems.
The Post & Courier not only mentions the fact that state election officials insist that the "iVotronic machines reliably tally votes," but buys into the canard that "increased skepticism" is based upon [emphasis added] "human errors made during last year's elections." It adds that the COG resolution expressed "a concern [that the] voting machines...do not incorporate a 'paper trail' that could facilitate unequivocal confirmation of election results."
If there is any state in the nation that should realize that casting a vote on the ES&S iVotronic amounts to an exercise in blind-faith, with or without a so-called "Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT), it would be South Carolina...
So I forced myself to take a few hours off yesterday. As too often happens, it turned into a busman's holiday.
We took a trip out to closing day at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA, had a great time in the bargain, and even shared a bunch of fun/snarky photo tweets throughout the day (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here if you're interested, or are not otherwise already a Twitter follower of @TheBradBlog.)
It was all fun and games and sassy social observation until we had the good fortune to chance upon a booth being run by the Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, where two delightful representatives of the office where on hand to help folks register to vote and to offer a demonstration of the country's 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting system.
As I would come to learn, the two delightful representatives of the office had no idea that their own e-voting system was actually 100% unverifiable until I explained to them how that was the case. Equally as troubling, as I was testing out one of the Hart Intercivic eSlate demo systems set up for voters to try and learn how to use them, it failed on me while I was running through the demo ballot created for fair goers...one of my selections disappeared entirely...or at least appeared to...
Earlier today, Brad Friedman reported that, despite high unemployment and food stamp usage at an all-time record high, U.S. corporations were experiencing record profits.
Simultaneously, Los Angeles Times reported that Senate leaders have reached an accord to pass three more NAFTA-like "free trade" agreements (Panama, Colombia, and South Korea) when Congress returns from its August recess. The Times stated: "Proponents [e.g.,the U.S. Chamber of Commerce] say the trade agreements...will pump as much as $14 billion into the U.S. economy and add more than 250,000 jobs."
The reality was better captured by Ross Perot during a 1992 Presidential Debate when he warned (video reminder below) that NAFTA would produce "a giant sucking sound of jobs headed South"...
On my Pacifica Radio show on KPFK in Los Angeles today, I interviewed Karen Bernal, chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party (CDP) on their new resolution in support of a primary challenge to President Obama. [Audio posted below.]
I was struck during my conversation this afternoon with Bernal when she mentioned the CDP had actually considered "punishment" for the caucus for, apparently, even daring to suggest such a challenge to Obama, much less for overwhelmingly passing a resolution in favor it by some 75 of their members. While attacking the party's nominee might be in violation of the party's rules, the fact is, to my knowledge, the DNC has yet to nominate a candidate for the 2012 Presidential election.
It seems the CDP might do well to remember what the "D" stands for in their name.
Since today's interview, the San Francisco Chronicle's Joe Garofoli has posted a column on the matter, including some comments from Bernal and, of more note here, some, uh, colorful comments about the Progressive Caucus resolution and the idea of a primary against the President, by California Democratic Party chair John Burton. It's worth noting, as Garofoli did, that Burton supported the primary challenge against President Jimmy Carter by Sen. Ted Kennedy back in 1980. He's singing a different tune now. Of course, Kennedy didn't win that primary challenge, Carter won the re-nomination and he ended up losing in a landslide to Reagan --- for whatever that comparison may be worth. (Not too much, in my humble opinion.)
Also, progressive author and journalist David Swanson sent me a link to this new website, StopHoping.org, at which you can vote on whether Obama should be primaried and, if so, by whom.
[NOTE: My radio interview today with Karen Bernal, head of the CA Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus, on my KPFK/Pacifica show, about the groups' resolution in support of a Democratic primary challenge to Obama, as detailed below --- and the state party's troubling reaction to it --- is now posted here. - BF]
Nader argued that without a primary challenge and vigorous debate on issues important to the Democratic base, Obama would "be able, for another four years, should he win, which is likely, to turn his back on the liberal progressive base and become Obama/Bush Administration 2. Just look at all the similarities with the Bush Administration."
Host David Shuster challenged Nader by suggesting that "a primary challenge to President Obama would hurt him, cause fissures in the democratic party and possibly impede the party efforts in the the general election."
"Well, it's just the reverse," Nader countered. "It will challenge him, bring the best out of him and there's nothing worse for a candidate in terms of lessening the enthusiastic level for him than to go through an unchallenged routine of repetitious primaries."
The former Green and then independent Presidential candidate discussed a soon-to-emerge, campaign by Democratic progressives to organize an initiative in the coming days "not designed to defeat [Obama], in the Democratic Primary, but designed to generate a robust debate, and put the liberal progressive issues on domestic policies, including job production and foreign and military policy, on the national Presidential agenda in 2012."
He said that without such a challenge, Obama would be allowed to continue serving little more than just "the corporate warlords and corporate barons of Wall Street."
By the way, in an article last January, Canning called on Nader himself to register as a Democrat and consider exactly such a primary challenge to Obama.
Nader is not the only high profile figure to discuss the possibility of a primary challenge to the President. Vermont's extremely popular Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said on Thom Hartmann's radio show the Friday before last that he thought "it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition."
Then, over this past weekend, as word of the debt ceiling "deal" brokered between Obama and the Republicans, featuring historic spending cuts but no increases in revenue, leaked out, word came in that some 75 Progressive Caucus members of the California Democratic Party (CDP) had passed a controversial resolution in support of, you guessed it, a Democratic primary challenge to Barack Obama.
According to a statement posted with their resolution at WarisaCrime.org: "Gathering in Anaheim during an Executive Board meeting of the CDP, the group overwhelmingly endorsed the resolution following a discussion on the importance of not only challenging the far-right agenda of unmitigated corporate greed but also the current administration's willingness to slash 650-billion dollars from Social Security and Medicare."