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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

As tweeted live during last night's raid on Occupy Wall Street...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2011 4:20pm PT  

One of the most remarkable moments we were able to follow, as it occurred, during the events of last night, as NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg carried out his middle-of-night eviction of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators at Zuccotti Park, happened at about 4am or so Eastern Time.

Despite the (outrageous) ban on media at the park, as hundreds of NYPD cops in riot gear cleared the peaceful demonstrators for "health" reasons --- tossing them out of their tents, onto the streets and into the night --- Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson was able to make his way under the barricades and back into the park.

At the time he did so, there were a few dozen protesters left, holding firm around what had been the Kitchen Tent. It seems he may have been the only reporter in the park at that moment. Then, as he described this morning, the cops began "indiscriminately dousing the peaceful protesters with what looked like pepper spray or some sort of gas." He tweeted at the time that "Everyone I witnessed being arrested was resisting peacefully."

But it was his incredible account of what had happened to him after that moment, as told in a series of tweets that he shared after he had made his way back out of the park last night, which was extraordinary. Here is that remarkable set of tweets, in the order he tweeted them...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/15/2011 2:14pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Occupy Wall Street's bicycle-powered generator trashed by police in raid?; A huge victory for Keystone XL pipeline opponents --- but will it last?; Fracking chemicals found in Wyoming drinking water; PLUS: A prominent climate change skeptic calls for climate change action in Congress ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Clean energy: highest rate of return of any federal program; Why solar is better than stocks; American Electric Power CEO: 'No doubt' EPA regulations create new jobs; The false gospel of green marketing ... PLUS: Reinventing Fire: How the U.S. can change energy use forever ... and much, MUCH more! ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2011 3:03am PT  

I was up most of the night following Mayor Bloomberg's NYPD eviction of the original Occupy Wall Street demonstration at Zuccotti Park, as it happened, via live streaming video (which may still be rolling at this hour right here) and via Twitter.

The surprise eviction by hundreds of cops in riot gear after midnight in NYC was done as protesters were told to suddenly clear the park for "health" reasons. In other words, Bloomberg threw hundreds or thousands of folks onto the streets of NYC in the middle of the night, for their health.

You can scroll through much of what happened tonight (in reverse order) via http://Twitter.com/TheBradBlog.

If I can offer any order out of the pointless, NYPD-caused chaos tomorrow, I will. Hopefully by then, others will have offered sufficient coverage.

Suffice to say for now, at least, what thousands of us witnessed tonight was appalling. At least those of us who sought it out, as none of the NYC local channels were covering it live and neither were any of the cable news channels MSNBC, CNN or Fox. As a matter of fact, other than citizen media streaming live on the Internets, only Al-Jazeera jumped in to offer live coverage.

Hours on end, thousands of peaceful demonstrators were roaming and marching the streets after being evicted from the park, all of the belongings, tents, gear, from two months of the Occupation in the park --- including thousands of books from The People's Library and their bicycle-powered generator --- were trashed and thrown into garbage trucks.

Network news helicopters were reportedly grounded during the raid, as air space above the park was shut down and --- perhaps most maddeningly --- media were not allowed into the park itself as the park was cleared, and as the last of the demonstrators who refused to leave were evicted, arrested, and, reportedly either tear gassed or pepper sprayed (though that is not confirmed --- because media were not allowed in the park!)

First Amendment, RIP.

I took a "quick poll" of my Twitter followers late at night to ask who would be hurt the most by the events of tonight, #OWS or Bloomberg? The vast consensus --- all but one --- replied to say that Bloomberg would be hurt, and that OWS would grow because of this. I don't know if that'll prove to be the case or not, but if I had to guess, I'd say they're probably right. The entire thing does seem to have been incredibly stupid and ill-considered on the part of Bloomberg and the NYPD.

Too tired to add links to any of the above, or offer more tonight. But, as I say, scroll through my Twitter page for detailed coverage of much of what happened tonight. If need be, I'll try to fill in any holes tomorrow. Signing off at 3am PT (6am in NYC as crowds continue to try and regroup as the sun will soon rise.)

* * *

UPDATE: Read about the horrifying experience of Mother Jones journalist Josh Harkinson with an NYPD cop, as he snuck back into Zuccotti after the park had been cleared of media...

UPDATE 11/16/11: After the riff-raff was cleared from the park, they were replaced by upstanding folks hired by Brookfield Properties, the "owner" of the public park, as security. One of those fine folks called a citizen journalist a "faggot" on video, in the bargain. Details/video...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2011 2:09pm PT  

Wow. Until very recently (like, today recently, when Newt Gingrich --- yes, Newt --- found himself atop two new national polls! Party like it's 1994!), this man was the front-runner for the GOP nomination for President of the United States...


* * *

UPDATE: NBC's Chuck Todd tweets to say the Cain campaign responded to the video above by saying he "Didn't say anything wrong or inaccurate, it just took him a while to recall the specifics of Libya."

And NBC's Andrew Rafferty tweets: "Cain camp tells @NBCNews that Libya video being taken out of context. Cain going on 4hrs sleep, just took him a while to gain bearings."

The complete, 5-minute answer above was..."taken out of context." Got it.

Now back to news that actually matters. Sorry for the distraction there. But sometimes the insane freak show that has replaced actual political affairs in this nation is just too much to not take notice of here. This has been one of those moments.

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By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2011 12:05pm PT  

The effort to recall Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker begins in earnest tomorrow, November 15. As TPM's Eric Kleefeld reports, Democrats and other opponents of the WI GOP's big government removal of public union collective bargaining rights will have just 60 days to collect more than 540,000 signatures in order to put the controversial Governor onto a recall election ballot early next year.

It won't be easy, as the initiative must succeed in gathering an average of more than 9,000 signatures each day between now and the 60-day deadline in January. To make matters worse, if indications on a number of Facebook pages are to be believed, some Walker supporters are planning to sabotage the effort with a number of dirty tricks, including collecting signatures under cover and then burning and shredding the petitions...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2011 10:17pm PT  

On Sunday afternoon I found myself in a spirited Twitter debate about Occupy Wall Street, its effectiveness as a movement and, of most interest to me, the First Amendment rights of the Occupations around the country as the attempts to evict the Occupiers, by local mayors and police departments in a number of cities have been slowly, but surely, ramping up over the last several days and weeks.

This particular debate was not of the sort you're likely to see in the MSM, in that it didn't include any Rightwingers and their fake arguments. (If you're interested in one of those debates, see my radio debate with a RWer last week here.) It included a few self-identified progressives, a few self-identified Democrats and Obama supporters (who do not necessarily consider themselves progressives, and often view them with scorn), and a few attorneys. None of the participants were Republicans or Tea Baggers...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2011 11:40am PT  


--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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OPD Officer Shavies: 'I’m part of 99 percent, this movement could be the turning point, the tipping point'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2011 2:08pm PT  

Some of the police brutality that has occurred at Occupy demonstrations around the country has been appalling. It's particularly upsetting to watch as those cops seen violating the law and the Constitutional rights of demonstrators are also part of the "99 Percent" themselves.

One of them --- Officer Fred Shavies of the Oakland PD, who was revealed as an undercover infiltrator at Occupy Oakland --- now concedes as much in an extraordinarily moving interview in which he condemns the violence by his fellow cops and says he sees the Occupy movement as a possible "turning point, the tipping point" for our generation.

"It looks like...police shot tear gas into it, right?" says Shavies, referencing the October 25 violence in Oakland at the intersection of 14th & Broadway that The BRAD BLOG has documented in great detail here (see here, here and here for example). "That could be the photograph or the video for our generation. That’s our Birmingham," he explains, alluding to the police brutality that occurred during the otherwise peaceful fight for voting rights in the South during the 60s.

"So, twenty years from now this movement could be the turning point, the tipping point," Shavies says during the interview, as he identifies with the protesters in the "99 percent" movement, adding that he is one of them. [Video and more excerpts below.]

We're not among the anti-cop folks around here. We have, however, reported in great detail on the lawlessness demonstrated by some of the "law enforcement" officials in Oakland, referenced by Shavies, as well as the serious injuries they've inflicted on peaceful demonstrators and even some who weren't demonstrating at all.

So while we don't oppose the lawful men and women of law enforcement, some of them seem to be working awfully hard to give their brothers and sisters a very bad name. Those who have done so must be held accountable for their actions.

You've seen some of the videos of NYPD officers violently pepper spraying peaceful demonstrators, and the videos from Oakland as seen in the articles linked above. Here are two more recent examples of appalling police behavior as witnessed on video tape.

The first is from Occupy Berkeley on Wednesday, where the actions seen below were reported by AP as little more than police "nudging" demonstrators:

Television news footage from outside the university's main administration building showed officers pulling people from the steps and nudging others with batons as the crowd chanted, "We are the 99 percent!" and "Stop Beating Students!"

Really, AP? "Nudging"?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2011 1:41pm PT  

The developers of Yelp updated their iPhone app yesterday, and tossed in a pretty good joke to those paying close attention...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2011 11:11am PT  

We're posting this on 11:11 on 11/11/11, just because we can and will never get another chance to do so. At least until maybe later tonight...


We'll also take this opportunity, on Veterans Day, to thank those who have put their lives on the line in service of our nation to help protect the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. Today, we are particularly thankful to those who are continuing the fight for our freedoms back here at home, where they are most at threat, as part of the Occupy Movements across the country.

There are not enough 11s in this moment to thank you all for what you have done and continue to do. We only hope this nation can remember to return the favor.

* * *

P.S. In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan vets seriously injured during lawless "crackdowns" by law enforcement officials at Occupations around the Nation, including Scott Olsen and Kayven Sabehgi who are still recovering, and like Joshua Shephard who was willing to face tear gas in order to stand up for the First Amendment, our great thanks also goes to folks like decorated Iraq War veteran, Sgt. Shamar Thomas, the former U.S. Marine who loudly reminded the police of New York City, in the early days of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, of their Constitutional duty on behalf of all of us.

If you've not seen following video of Thomas schooling members of the NYPD, in early October --- after witnessing some of them "pulling people from the crowd" and "beating" the --, by loudly reminding them that "this is not a war zone...It doesn't make you tough to hurt these people...there's no honor in this," please take a few minutes to both watch it below, and then read on for a personal note...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2011 4:36pm PT  

- Brad Friedman (Originally published by Truthout on 11/8/11)

Yeah, I know, the GOP is at War against citizens' rights to do just about everything that isn't U.S. Chamber of Commerce approved these days. That's just one of the reasons citizens are finally taking to the streets to fight back. One of the ongoing Republican Wars getting very little attention is their War on the right of citizens to sue huge corporations for negligence, malfeasance and other wrong-doing.

A few weeks ago I spent some time at a conference for mass tort plaintiff attorneys in Las Vegas, as hosted by my friend Mike Papantonio, the co-host of radio's Ring of Fire (along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder). Pap is one of the nation's premier class action plaintiff attorneys, one of those folks willing to go to bat for the little guy when they're screwed over by huge conscience-free corporations.

I was invited to the conference to speak on a panel concerning the proposed $12 million hit scheme discovered earlier this year being plotted on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to turn tools developed by U.S. government contractors for the "War on Terror" against U.S. citizens like myself and my family. According to emails released on the Internet, the Chamber was working with mega-law firm Hunton & Williams and three federal cyber-security firms (HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and Berico Technologies) to smear, defraud, plant false documents, and spy on their perceived political enemies such as myself and other progressive organizations.

The Chamber, which is all too happy to use mafia-like tactics to take down its perceived opponents, has also long been leading the charge on behalf of their enormous corporate members for so-called "tort reform," meant to do little more than make it next-to-impossible for citizens to fight back in a court of law against corporate abuse, neglect, and malfeasance...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/10/2011 1:38pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Perry can't remember the name of the Dept. of Energy --- but wants to shut it down; BREAKING: State Dept. may re-route controversial Keystone XL pipeline; Australia passes world's first carbon tax; More wacky extreme weather in weird places; PLUS: IEA: 5 years to avoid the worst consequences of climate change ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Oil Executive: use military-style 'Psy Ops' to fight opposition "insurgency"; Video: 'The Story of Broke'; U.S.-China trade war in solar taking shape; Studies link auto pollution to autism; 1st commerical plane flight using biofuel; Oil Lobbyist likes oil industry subsidies: 'There Are No Loopholes ... PLUS: Current global warming unprecedented compared to last 20k years ... and much, MUCH more! ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2011 7:17pm PT  

If you had the pleasure of not sitting through tonight's GOP debate on CNBC, here is the only thing you missed...

P.S. About fifteen minutes later he remembered: The Department of Energy.

* * *

UPDATE: AP's story on the flub starts this way:

ROCHESTER, Mich. — Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry says he would eliminate three federal agencies. Just don't ask him to name them.

"Oops", indeed.

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OPD officer appears unprovoked before firing on citizen journalist...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/9/2011 12:47pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

New video has emerged (posted below), courtesy of ThinkProgress of an apparently unprovoked Oakland police officer shooting a cameraman during a recent stand-off with Occupy Oakland demonstrators.

In an email to The BRAD BLOG, Sgt. Christopher Bolton, Oakland PD's Chief of Staff, confirmed that the incident involved an "OPD use of force" which took place at 16th Street near San Pablo Ave. in Oakland on the morning of Nov. 3, 2011 and that the matter was "under investigation." (Recall that a general strike took place in Oakland on Nov. 2. This event, per the cameraman, took place shortly after midnight.)

However, Bolton did not directly answer specific follow-up questions designed to pin down details of the incident.

At YouTube, the unidentified cameraman denied that there had been any "violence or confrontation of any kind underway" at the time the OPD officer can be seen aiming and firing (as seen 31 seconds into the 40 second video below.)

Because this potentially involves an unprovoked police assault on a citizen-journalist, the issue at stake entails more than police misconduct. If it was unprovoked battery, the incident reflects nothing less than a direct assault on the First Amendment, democratic accountability and the public's right to monitor police misconduct.

Video captures moment officer fires...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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But bad news for Mississippi voters...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2011 10:34pm PT  

The voters of Maine appear to have registered a stinging rebuke to their Republican Governor and Legislature's attempt to kill the state's 38-year tradition of Election Day voter registration at the polling place.

As the Lewiston Sun Journal reports tonight: "And it wasn't close."

That's an understatement. The People's Veto of the GOP bill was on the ballot tonight and, if the results are accurate as reported, the people of Maine couldn't have been clearer. Question 1 has is said to have passed by a remarkable 61 to 39% 60 to 40% margin (with 90% 98% 100% of the results in), quite literally winning in every single county in the state:

The overwhelming victory for voters' rights in the Pine Tree State comes on the heels of Maine's GOP Chair Charlie Webster embarrassing himself and his party over the last several months with his complaint to the GOP Sec. of State Charles Summers, Jr. that out-of-state college students were committing "voter fraud" in the state.

Despite some 200 names Webster submitted to Summers for an investigation, no evidence of fraud was found by the SoS. That lack of evidence of voter fraud, however, didn't keep Summers from sending intimidating letters to those legal student voters.

Nonetheless, Mainers of all stripes today appear to have soundly rejected the GOP's "voter fraud" fraud in their People's Veto at the ballot box.

"The advantage we had was the truth," David Farmer, a spokesman for Protect Maine Votes told the Sun Journal. "The facts carried the day. Same-day voter registration works and it has for nearly 40 years. Unlike other states, Mainers wouldn't stand for the erosion of their voting rights. They should be very proud of that."

They should indeed.

The contrast was stark, however, from results being reported in Mississippi tonight...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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