FAIL: SF Chronicle sees seemliness, not significance of Occupy SF

31 10 2011

Gary Kamiya, co-founder of and five year veteran of the SF Examiner, describes the ongoing failure at the San Francisco Chronicle in this piece posted on on 10/29/11:

Great city forced to read swill: The San Francisco Chronicle’s Occupy SF problem

It’s the most significant progressive protest movement in years. And yet in America’s most left-wing city, pundits for the San Francisco Chronicle, the city’s daily newspaper, are coming across like the smarmy voice of the Chamber of Commerce. They’re so obsessed with the Occupy San Francisco movement’s illegal encampment, its effects on local businesses and the unruliness of some of its members that they have failed to grasp its historic significance.

You’d expect this from a paper in Salt Lake City. But San Francisco? The place famous for nurturing the Beats and the hippies, the women’s and gay rights movements? The free-spirited city-state that has always laughed at American Babbitry and fought for social justice? We deserve better than this.

After providing detailed examples and analysis of the Chronicle’s failings, Kamiya concludes:

There is an inevitable tension in this nascent movement between the homeless and the middle-class, between the hardcore types who welcome confrontation and the moderate types who don’t. But the tents at the foot of Market Street are literally big enough for all of them. And San Francisco, of all cities, should welcome those tents. They may be ugly, but there is something beautiful about them. Saint Francis, for whom this city is named and who began his saintly career when he gave his clothes to a poor man, would have understood that.

Full story here

[Elsewhere on  “OWS has transformed public opinion: For the first time since the Great Depression, the majority of Americans favor wealth redistribution,” Robert Reich, 10/31/11.

And “Report: NYPD steers drunks to Occupy Wall Street“, 10/31/11]

Finally, OccupySF – Weekly Recap – 10/31/11 video


@Occupy Oakland: Police Infiltrators exposed

31 10 2011

In this video, Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs

Copwatch identifies Occupy Oakland protesters who are actually police officers.

Here are a couple frame grabs for easy identification.

OPD officer Fred Shavies, undercover and in riot gear

OPD officer Fred Shavies has a history of violence (click for more)

The first is officer F. Shavies, who if the same officer Fred Shavies was among several OPD officers sued last year for attacking a KGO-TV cameraman and breaking his camera in 2009.  Shavies’ attack is captured in the first ten seconds of this video (explicit language).

A couple others in the Copwatch video appear undercover below, the one on the left shown getting a little aggro, in the midst of a protest movement that has rapidly spread worldwide due in no small part to its absence of aggression.

OPD officers allegedly posing as Occupy Oakland protesters

UPDATE (via Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner)

In response to the above video going viral, OPD Officer Fred Shavies “speaks about infiltration, the Occupy movement, activism, and his allegiance to the 99%… produced by Justin Warren.”

Teen denied cancer treatment finds her place at OccupySF

30 10 2011

From the Guardian (UK), 10/28/11.

As 18-year old Miran Istina puts it, she has been living on borrowed time since she was 14. Diagnosed with cancer, she was given just months to live after her health insurer refused to provide her with life-saving surgery.

After spending three years traveling the US in search of a health care provider who would treat her, only to repeatedly and ultimately come up empty, Istina was attracted to the Occupy movement because “she ties the corporate influence on American politics to the decision that has sentenced her to death.”

“The decision was absolutely influenced by some corporation or some bank saying, ‘we can’t afford her. She’s not worth our money.’ In end terms, corporate greed is going to cost me my life.

Occupy San Francisco protester Miran Istina stands outside the US Bank building on Market Street, San Francisco. Photograph: Martin Lacey

Occupy San Francisco protester Miran Istina stands outside the US Bank building on Market Street, San Francisco. Photograph: Martin Lacey, Guardian UK

“I used to be really upset about it. I’m not as much any more. I’m angry, for sure, but I think me being here might help it never happen again. That’s why I’m here. It’s that there are other people this is going to happen to if this movement doesn’t succeed and that’s not healthy. I’m done being the victim. However long I have left is dedicated heart and soul to this movement, no matter what it takes.”

She has immersed herself in the movement, becoming the chief media relations officer for Occupy SF and organising fundraising events around the city. On Thursday afternoon she led a CNN television crew on a walk through the camp, to show how they were living, explain their motives and refute claims that the living conditions are unsanitary.

She said of her new life: “My heart is finally satisfied.”

Full story at the Guardian.

Are Bankers People too?

30 10 2011

You may have seen this nasty leaflet that’s making the rounds on the ‘net, reportedly dropped by someone at the Chicago Board of Trade on top of “Occupy Chicago” protesters Wednesday afternoon as they rallied alongside unions in the city’s financial district.

The text, which dates back to more than a year and a half ago, is so vicious that it makes one wonder if it wasn’t somehow written expressly to demonize financial traders themselves.  If there’s any question what a livelihood devoted to greed and craving does to one’s soul, the misery of the leaflet’s author speaks for itself.

Nasty leaflet dropped on Occupy Chicago

Are bankers really people too?

The more enlightened among us would respond with compassion, and the reminder that bankers are people too, and unlike the above example, some of them are very nice people at that.

But at rarefied moments of global tumult such as this, we can’t help but wonder, “What would Noam Chomsky say?”

When you look at a corporation, just like when you look at a slave owner, you want to distinguish between the institution and the individual.  So slavery, for example, or other forms of tyranny, are inherently monstrous.

But the individuals participating in them may be the nicest guys you can imagine:  benevolent, friendly, nice to their children, even nice to their slaves; caring about other people—as individuals they may be anything.

In their institutional role, they are monsters, because the institution is monstrous.  The same is true here.

—Noam Chomsky, in the award-winning documentary The Corporation

Noam Chomsky in The Corporation

"They are monsters, because the institution is monstrous."

Update:  “Did You Hear the One About the Bankers?” NY Times Op-Ed, 10/29/11.

Shot Heard ‘Round the World: Tahrir Square march in support of Occupy Oakland

29 10 2011

When folks say “The whole world is watching,” this is an example of what they’re talking about.

“As they vowed earlier this week to do, Egyptian pro-democracy protesters marched from Tahrir square to the U.S. Embassy today to march in support of Occupy Oakland—and against police brutality witnessed in Oakland on Tuesday night, and commonly experienced in Egypt.”

There is a rare beauty in the humanity of this historical moment, as we watch it unfold around the globe.  It’s not just that the whole world is watching; it’s that the whole world is actively participating.

Pro-democracy march from Tahrir Square in support of Occupy Oakland

Click for more photos from Egyptian blogger Mohammed Maree, via

And as we’re witnessing, the corporate media can no longer control the narrative.

Although, they continue to try:

#OccupyWallSt sign of the day: "It's Wrong."

Brooklyn-based journalist Caitlin Curran, pictured here, got fired the next day when her boss saw this picture. Via

Curran tells her story, along with Lisa Simeone’s, in a piece on Gawker:  How Occupy Wall Street Cost Me My Job.

Similar to Curran, Simeone was fired as host of the public radio program “Soundprint,” and then NPR canceled distribution of “The World of Opera”, which Simeone hosts, after conservative site The Daily Caller criticized her (and NPR) for supporting Occupy D.C.  The national media watch group FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) has an action alert petition in response to NPR’s appalling attack on Freedom of Speech, as well as an outline of the facts and ethical issues.

Fear is a natural response to moving closer to the truth. — Pema Chödrön

There’s a reactive violence in these firings not unlike the escalated police violence in Oakland on Tuesday, rooted in fear, as traditional, coercive means of controlling whose truths get told increasingly give way to a multiplicity and transparency which refuse to be contained.

It’s feeling more and more like this is the Truth that Shall Set Us Free.

Update:  In follow-up to the firing of Caitlin Curran, “Stop Forcing Journalists to Conceal Their Views From the Public,” authored by Conor Friedersdorf, the journalist whose words are quoted in the poster held aloft by Curran. The Atlantic, 10/30/11, via

“Forbidding newspaper reporters and public radio producers from being regular citizens only empowers the enemies of the press”

Stay Peaceful: Defending Against Tear Gas

29 10 2011

From Mother Jones: Flier to OWS Protesters: “Defending Against Tear Gas”

Flier for OWS Protesters:  "Defending Against Tear Gas"

"Stay Vigilant. Stay United. Stay Informed."

Possessive Fantasy of Empty Luxuries: “Maharaja” Reviewed

27 10 2011

“Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts” exhibition at the Asian Art Museum reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, 10/27/11:

“Maharaja” leaves a most peculiar impression of vacillating between nostalgia for empire and for a pre-colonial authenticity, between imperialist chagrin and a vague hope for riddance of hereditary elites, chiming incidentally with the global protest events of recent months.

But more depressing than the downward narrative arc of “Maharaja” is the fainter arc it traces faintly from museum projects centered on artworks to ones centered on emptier luxuries whose value makes itself felt only in possessive fantasy.

“Essence of Indian Art” (25 years ago) equipped its visitors to look understandingly at things they had not yet seen. It presupposed – perhaps mistakenly – a widely shared curiosity and receptivity that “Maharaja” and its ilk no longer take for granted or seem interested in reigniting.

Read full review by Kenneth Baker.

%d bloggers like this: