May 22, 2012 : Tens of Thousands Globally Hit the Streets, Putin Crackdown Continues

Tuesday morning and the dust begins to clear in Chicago. The “NATO 3” represented by the National Lawyers Guild protest their innocence of plotting violence amidst claims of police entrapment and brutality, with the Guild saying cops itched for confrontation and did not allow easy exit from demonstrations. The NATO 3 meanwhile sit in solitary confinement, the result of a bust that was tipped by informants, occurred without a warrant, and confiscated beer-making materials. Defense lawyers for the accused say they haven't seen the full evidence yet.,

In echoes of Vietnam-era protests, approximately 40 Veterans of Afghan and Iraq wars discard their war medals, hurling them in the direction of the NATO Summit. The vets also participate in a “reconciliation ceremony” with women from the indigenous group Afghans for Peace. Readers interested in viewing the ceremony may do so at gets into why Boeing was also a target of the demonstrators. In addition to building the planes that fly the missions, Occupiers take issue with the company's domestic policies : “Despite making a profit of $9.7 billion between 2008 and 2010, Boeing laid off 14,862 workers, and it increased executive pay 31 percent,” said an Occupier through a megaphone.

Let's be candid, the mainstream media weren't impressed by thousands of demonstrators in the streets in Europe and the US over the weekend, and they generally ignore the smaller, less sensational stories of Occupy's working groups. What they really want are 1) police “clashes” and 2) a political party they can cover, horse race -style. This will allow pundits and politicos to parse the meaning of electoral results and ponder the meaning of Occupy.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy : be generally dismissive then crow about the demise of Occupy. Dagblog wades in with analysis and discussion.

Case in point : “Occupy going nowhere”sniffs Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart. Capehart says the group needs to follow in the steps of the Tea Party and embrace electoral politics in time for 2012 or risk losing its relevancy. He points to 99% candidate Dick Elden, running in San Diego as an independent against graft poster bot Darrell Issa.

Chris Longenecker, Occupy participant in May Day, offers an insider's view and a balanced take on where things are at at

Spin doctor Bill O'Reilly takes issue with an OWSer he says approached he and his family outside a Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar. O'Reilly claims the OWSer was rude and confrontational, chasing his car down the street and spooking his kids. O'Reilly is urging the Prez to back away from earlier comments in support of the group.

Global :

Meanwhile, as economists and pundits sift through the implications of this little thing called “Europe's Lingering Debt Crisis” demonstrators take to the streets to protest austerity policies far and wide. Much banker teeth-gnashing over Greece, its impact on the Euro, and fate of the union itself. Credit the Wall Street Journal for noticing the 20,000 or so protesters who attempt to disrupt the European Bankers Convention in Frankfurt, Germany, calling themselves “Blockupy.” About 400 are arrested there in generally peaceful protest.

Further East, Occupy Moscow continues to feel the heat as Putin's cops bust three encampments and disperse demonstrators. They claim the camps are anti-sanitary and causing a disturbance to neighbors. Sound familiar?

As the camps come down, an “artists walk” of about 2,000 proceeds peacefully, with several participants bearing caricatures of Premier Putin.

Moscow activists say they are undaunted by the police crackdown on their camps and plan to continue “round the clock demonstrations until mid-June.”

Cities :

Count it as part-demonstration, part sub-group, Occupy holds its first “General Feminist Assembly” in Washington Square Park. About 300 attend and many say it's about time. Other cities follow-suit in a Day against Homophobia. The Women's Caucus and Women Occupying Wall Street (WOW) are all in attendance. Lafayette, Ind.; Bend and Portland, Ore.; Chicago and a handful of other cities also hold feminist G.A.s

From the left coast, another set of charges levied by the Oakland DA against Occupy demonstrators has been dropped. Readers of this space may recall the incident in which three protesters were charged with a hate crime for making anti-lesbian remarks to a woman who they alleged had used racial slurs in an altercation occurring Feb. 22nd. Attorneys for the defendants claimed the charges were politically motivated.

Ditto for the City of Sacramento where prosecutors lose their latest case against a demonstrator for violating a city curfew by being in the park after dark. The DA lost interest and dismissed criminal charges, so the city tried to bring a civil case and win a $100 judgment. However the Supreme Court rules this violated the standard of not trying someo9ne twice for the same offense.

Defense co-counsel adds, in a masterpiece of understatement : "This raises questions as to why the city is wasting so much time and resources to prosecute these cases," Soluri says.

No dice for Occupy Lincoln who wanted to re-create their tent city in the main Lincoln Plaza at Centennial Mall. The city councilors, not wanting to view Occupy Lincoln : the Sequel, voted 6-0 to declare the plaza a public park, thereby banning tents.

Finally, as the world convulses in the throes of occupy protests, harsh economic restructurings, and bank misdeeds, this space continues to provide updates on the Volvo Ocean Race - “two days into Leg 7 race fleet cop a pasting,” - with all over it

Accordingly, the leader board has shuffled, with French Groupama making strides, benefiting from the conservative approach it takes to the tropical storm to climb the leader board.

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