University Spent A Lot Of Money So You Wouldn’t See This (

April 14, 2016

UC Davis made headlines in 2011, when a campus police officer pepper sprayed a line of peaceful protesters, during a sit in. They have since spent a great deal of money trying to erase that incident from the internet, and using taxpayer dollars to do it. John Iadarola, Kim Horcher (Nerd Alert), and Cara Santa Maria, hosts of The Young Turks discuss.

The University of California, Davis spent at least $175,000 to improve its reputation on the internet after images of campus police pepper-spraying protestors went viral in 2011, according to documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee. The money went to public relations firms that promised to clean up the university’s search results.

One company outlined a plan for “eradication of references to the pepper spray incident,” according to the documents, and was eventually paid nearly $93,000, including expenses, for a six-month campaign in 2013. After that, the Bee reports, the university paid $82,500 to another PR firm to create and follow through on a “search engine results management strategy.” The latter firm was later given thousands more in other contracts to build a university social media program, and to vet its communications department.”

San Francisco Chronicle editorial on April 15, 2016:

UCDavisA campus police officer pepper-sprays protesters at UC Davis, Nov. 18, 2011. Photo: Thomas K. Fowler, AP

Here’s Rule No. 1 in public relations: If you do something stupid, don’t do something stupider to try to airbrush it. UC Davis is providing a case study in what not to do for communications classes everywhere.

Robert Scheer v. Torie Osborn: A Heated Debate on Sanders vs. Clinton with Two Longtime Progressives (

Democracy Now! hosts a debate on the 2016 election between two longtime progressives: Robert Scheer, a veteran journalist, and Torie Osborn, a progressive activist. Scheer worked for almost 30 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he interviewed several former U.S. presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Osborn has served as Northern California director for the National Organization for Women and was the first female executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

“Occupy Wall Street rises up for Sanders” by Gregory Krieg (

Story highlights

  • A big march is planned in NYC on Saturday
  • The Sanders cause has helped reunite Occupy

April 14, 2016 (CNN)  The forces of Occupy Wall Street, splintered and faded in the aftermath of their 2011 demonstrations, are getting the band back together to boost Bernie Sanders ahead of next week’s critical New York primary.

Nearly five years since Occupy was evicted from Zuccotti Park, blocks from the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan, a coalition of organizers, labor leaders and progressive activists who lined up under the banner of “the 99 percent” are renewing their efforts in pursuit of a more traditional cause: Getting voters to the polls on April 19.
That begins with traditional canvassing, but will extend to what is expected to be a large pro-Sanders, Occupy-inspired march on Saturday in Manhattan.
“This is the place where the message of income inequality resonated across the country and across the world — it’s where it really began,” said “People for Bernie” co-founder and Occupy activist Winnie Wong. “He’s bringing it back home.”
In Sanders and in his campaign, the more mainstream elements of Occupy Wall Street have found an ideological ally. The Vermont senator’s laser focus on economic issues are a big draw, local organizers said, but they also delight in his affection for the shoe-leather activism of past generations.
“Canvassing and using apps to get people to vote and all that microtargeting stuff, that’s important, but so is marching in the streets,” said Charles Lenchner, who joined with Wong after efforts to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren into the presidential race fell flat. Their “People for Bernie” popularized the “Feel the Bern” hashtag, a potent organizing tool and, nearly a year after its launch, a world-famous meme.
For Lenchner and many of his peers, the Sanders candidacy represents a logical extension — and validation — of the original movement.
“Occupy was a reaction to the financial collapse, to what happened because of Wall Street’s power to destroy the economy, and Bernie’s campaign is the one that has been consistently focused on the role of the ‘1 Percent,’ large corporations and financial institutions,” he said. “It’s a very natural connection.”

The Occupy-Sanders mind meld

A public show of electoral solidarity — and a sign of things to come — came last month, when prominent Occupy organizer Beka Economopoulos led a phone-banking effort for Sanders from Zuccotti Park. “It was another one of those moments that helped solidify the connection between the folks who had been part of Occupy and the Sanders campaign,” Lenchner said.
Occupy Wall Street as a coherent political project had already begun to fray by the time the New York Police Department, acting on orders from the city’s then-mayor, Michael Bloomberg, cleared the park, arresting more than 240 protesters nearly two months after the “occupation” had begun.
Many of the more pragmatic activists had become baffled or frustrated by the avant-garde in their midst, and had largely soured on the spectacle. Questions about the immediate direction of the movement could not be settled.
“Occupy Wall Street helped create the political climate that helped Bernie’s message to resonate so widely, simply by shining a spotlight on issues of Wall Street greed and income inequality,” Sanders spokesman Karthik Ganapathy told CNN.
The Sanders campaign is now seeing various elements of the old Occupy coalition working together to build momentum ahead of what could be a make-or-break contest in the primary battle against Hillary Clinton.
“We’ve been able to tap into the energy of (Occupy) and channel that into something tangible and concrete and forward-looking,” Ganapathy said. “They’re here [working on the campaign]. I see them, I see a lot of them volunteering, making phone calls, knocking on doors. It’s a natural fit.”
Occupy’s laundry list of economic grievances largely mirrored Sanders’ own, and in 2011 he emerged as one of the movement’s earliest defenders.
“I applaud them,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the time. “They are speaking to the real anger and frustration that millions of Americans feel at a time when the middle class is collapsing, poverty is increasing, the people on top are doing phenomenally well.”

What the movement can do for Sanders

Now, they are returning the favor — and their effort is transcending routine “get-out-the-vote” activities.
The independent journalists and activists who helped write the free “Occupied Wall Street Journal” in fall 2011 are now poised to produce 500,000 bilingual broadsheet newspapers, as part of their crowdsourced “Battle of New York” project. The special edition, which they hope to begin printing on Wednesday, will feature essays, art and — in a clear pivot to the mainstream — a direct call to vote for Sanders next week.
The blitz will continue on Saturday, when a coalition led by the Millennials for Bernie group launches a “March for Bernie.” Their preliminary route is slated to take supporters north from Foley Square in Manhattan’s financial district to Union Square, a path familiar to those who joined the demonstrations five years ago. Organizers expect as many as 15,000 people to attend.
“It is unique in itself that a presidential candidate has sparked people to use the protest tactic of marches, which isn’t very typical in our electoral politics,” said Heather Hurwitz, a post-doctoral fellow at Barnard College who is studying social movements like Occupy Wall Street.
She said that while the march’s lead organizers weren’t directly involved in Occupy Wall Street five years ago, there is “an inspiration from Occupy and training and strategies that people have gained.”
Sanders is also expected to receive significant rank-and-file labor support in the days leading up to the New York vote. Clinton remains the clear leader in overall endorsements, but Sanders will be counting on battle-hardened unions like the Communications Workers of America to help drive turnout.
CWA political director and Working Families Party co-chair Bob Master believes Verizon workers, who were caught in a tense contract fight when Occupy took root in 2011, benefited from the spirit surrounding the demonstrations. Those same workers are, once again, without a contract and thousands began a strike Wednesday morning on the East Coast. Sanders joined some of the Verizon employees on a picket line in Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Now, the CWA is working as part of a familiar coalition to help win New York for Sanders.
“Bernie’s campaign — like the de Blasio campaign (for NYC mayor in 2013), like the Warren campaign (in 2012) — are lineal descendants of Occupy,” Master told CNN. “These campaigns, and Sanders most dramatically, are Occupy Wall Street translated into electoral politics. This is the revolt of the 99%.”

Blondie back in the hospital (from Mike Zint)

First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless

April 14, 2016

Less than 24 hours after the destruction of the 17 month post office occupation, disabled occupier Blondie is back in the hospital. This is a direct result of the raid. Blondie needed to recover from emergency surgery. He needed a walker to get around. Being homeless and having to recover from surgery is not something you want to experience.

Get well soon, Blondie.

–Mike Zint

Action Council Events — April 13 to April 19


~ Action Council ~

Occupy San Francisco Bulletin Board:

Wednesday April 13
       12 noon    Union Local Hall    3271 18th St. 
                       TOWN HALL MEETING ON SHOOTING OF A 
                       HOMELESS MAN
                       S.F.P.D. will provide the Mission Community with an 
        5:30 pm   No Code Pink peace vigil this week.  Please go to the
                       Police Commission meeting at City Hall.
        5:30 pm   Police Commission Meeting       City Hall room 400
                       REPORT ON DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS 
                       The S.F.P.D. has killed again!   We must show up to 
                       STOP THE KILLING BY POLICE! 
        6:00 pm   Mission Police Station 630 Valencia St S.F. 
                       SILENT VIGIL FOR AMILCAR:  D.A. GASCON
                       MUST BRING TRUTH TO LIGHT.  
        6 – 9 pm   California Historical Society    678 Mission St. S.F.
                       THE BLACK PANTHER  PARTY IN S. F.:
                       6:00 to 7:00 there will be tables set up to show 
                       collected articles, provide hand outs and speak to guests.
                       7:00 to 9:00 speakers:
                       Billy Jennings, black Panther archivist, Judy Juanter SFSU 
                       student striker in 1968, Reema  Calloway, Black Priorities
                       Project Organizer.
                       Moderated by USF Professor of African American Studies,
                       James Lause Taylor
Thursday April 14
    6:00 am       McDonald’s   609 Market St. S.F.   
                       Day of Action! 
                       WAKE UP S.F.  STRIKE FOR 15 AND OUR HOMES!
                       We are the life blood of the city.  We will not be kicked 
                       out without a fight!   Stop mass displacement. poverty
                       wages and systemic racism and police violence! 
                       FLOOD THE STREETS! 
  12 – 1:00 pm   Corner of Larkin and Golden Gate Ave
                        450 Golden Gate Ave.
                        American Friends,  Buddast Peace Fellowship, 
                        San Francisco Friends
  6 – 9:00 pm     350 Rhode Island near 16th
                        JUSTICE 4 MARIO WOODS 
                        Another S.F.P.D. murder of a person of color.
                        We must control our police force and stop the killing 
                        of our citizens.  Come to plan future activities. 
7:30  pm         Green Film Fest at the Castro Theater
                      film by Josh Fox 
                      HOW TO LET GO 
                      Film investigating climate change. Fox travels the world
                      filming the state of climate change and the remedy for
                      those giving up hope to stop the disaster.  
Friday April 15
   4:30 pm      Dolores Park
                     Solidarity Forever Celebration 
                     FRISCO DAY AT DOLORES  PARK  
                     Native and long time residents of S.F. need to stand in 
                     solidarity with our fellow San Franciscans.  Bring food, 
                     music and art to celebrate our culture and diversity.
                     We don’t want displacement and gentrification.  We are 
                     the last ones left!  Fight for those who are trying to stay or 
                     come back to the city that raised us.
   5:30 – 7:15  Corner of Jones and Washington S.F. 
                     Hillery Clinton will be in town for a fundraiser.  supporters 
                     of Medicare for All, Single Payer with be there with banners
                     SINGLE PAYER!   
                     Contact Don Bechler if you can help make the banners.  
    6:30 pm    UU Center  1187 Franklin St. at Geary
                    Sensible Cinema
                    THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING! 
                    This film tracks nine countries and the effect of climate 
                    Free admission, pop corm and refreshments available
                    info  415-722-6480
                    sponsored by UU Social Justice Council
Saturday  April 16
     9:00 am   Central Harbor Park  Pittsburg
                    REFINERY HEALING WALK 
                    We will meet and all agree to non violent principles.
                    We will be led by Native Americans in prayers for the 
                    waters.  We will walk for clean air, water, soil and safe 
                    jobs.  At each ‘circling up’ sites we hear local leaders in
                    the climate justice movement. 
                    There will be pick ups at the Bart station to the starting
                    point and pick ups for return to Bart from the circling 
                    up sites.  The total walk is 13 miles and many of us can
                   only do part of the walk and can get a ride back to Bart.
                   For pick ups to and from Bart go to the web site 
                   Sponsor Idle No More
Tuesday  April 19
    12:30 – 2:30   50 Phelan Ave, MUB rm. 140
                        Joint forum for San Francisco State University
                         and City College of San Francisco
                         STUDENT – FACULTY FORUM 
                         In defense of student services and programs and for 
                         a fair contract.
                         Join our strike education forum and strengthen our
                         community and combat the attacks on our colleges.
                         sponsored by AFT Local 2121 AFL/CIA
       7:00 pm         Treasure Island, Casa de la Vista building 191
                            RESTORATION ADVISORY BOARD MEETING 
                            Topic: Navy’s cleanup meeting for Treasure Island
                            There are people living in dwellings that are toxic
                            and causing serious and fatal illnesses.  The Navy
                            must clean up the site and move people to other
                            homes at the expense of the Navy.  People bought
                            these homes but were not informed of the toxic
                            radiation dangers.  Now they can not sell the  homes
                            and can not afford anything else.  These people must
                            be assisted in getting new homes NOW.  This has
                            been discussed for years as the health of  the
                            people deteriorates.

“Oakland DA Conducting Show Trial to Squash Squatting and Political Dissent” by Andy Gillis

April 12, 2016
At last week’s Occupy Forum we heard the inspiring and appalling story of three Oakland squatters who, in a attempt to address housing in a creative, progressive manner, have been targeted by the Alameda County DA in what appears to be a show trial to discourage squatting and political expression generally.
I would encourage you to read the description below from the Land Action website ( and then to donate to the activists who appear in court this Friday, April 15 and could face long prison sentences for their views and activism.
In a nutshell, Land-Action looks for homes which have been vacant for years and have fallen into disrepair. They will search for owners and/or heirs of owners and if non ecan be found using deeds on record at government offices, they will occupy the property and will use old squatting laws to eventually take ownership of the property. In an area with a huge housing shortage and with a large number of long vacant residential units, this is a creative way of addressing the crisis which doesn’t depend on giving developers public land in return for building luxury condos.
Unfortunately, in this case, the owner did turn up a couple months after the squatters moved in and started repairing the house. She is an elderly woman who has been flipping properties and who hadn’t paid taxes on this property in years. Unfortunately for the squatters, she has a family connection to the DA’s office so that, combined with pressure from the real estate industry, has lead to the DA taking the extraordinary measures of charging the squatters with felonies instead of the usualy misdemeanors even though the squatters had agreed to move out within a week and were in the process of doing so.
Steve Di Capprio, former CEO of Land-Action says the only reason he thinks the DA has taken such aggressive action is to make an example out of them, even though they were following age-old state laws on squatting to the letter – Di Capprio himself has actually finished his schooling as a lawyer, but the California Bar Association won’t issue him a license because it frowns upon his squatting activities.
Even though they have a team of well-known, seasoned defense lawyers representing them, including Tony Serra, they need plenty of support and the DA needs to know people are watching and are aware that her prosecution of this case is political and that she needs to drop it right away. Di Capprio feels that if this case succeeds, and if he and his fellow activists go to jail for years, it will send a chilling message to people who want to use legal means to address the housing crisis, even if they are unconventional. It must be reiterated that everything the squatters did abides by California laws regarding squatting so the DA must be pursuing the case because she has alterior motives or is representing the wishes of family members, the real estate industry, or both.
Please come to the courhouse this Friday if you can, donate to their defense fund and spread the word. Squatting could become one way to make use of the many abandonned homes in the Bay Area when most governments are providing woefully inadequate responses to the housing crisis.
Oakland, CA- On Wednesday January 20, 2016 the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office issued arrest warrants for 4 organizers working with the non-profit Land Action. The organizers, now being called The Land Action 4, face 7 criminal charges-3 of which are felonies, up to 8.5 years imprisonment and $89,000 in fines . Among the allegations is that these organizers were involved in a “Conspiracy to Trespass,” a common charge used to target civil rights organizers.
Hundreds of abandoned/vacant properties have been occupied in the Bay Area in recent decades. Disputes over these properties generally remain in the civil realm. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the court rules in the title-holder’s favor and the occupiers are ordered to leave. Very rarely do they end with arrests, and never before have they resulted in felony charges. But this time, the DA has pushed what has historically been considered a civil matter into criminal court.
The defense has attracted a noteworthy team of civil rights attorneys known for their advocacy on behalf of defendants targeted for their political views and organizing efforts. The defense team includes Tony Serra, Dan Siegel, Walter Riley, John Hamasaki, and Mark Vermeulen. A Motion to Dismiss by attorney Tony Serra will be heard on April 15, 2016 at 9 a.m. in Department 115 of the Alameda Superior Court, Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse, 661 Washington St, Oakland 94607. The press is invited to attend the hearing, as well.
The criminal charges are brought against members of Land Action who occupied an abandoned property in Oakland, California that had fallen into disrepair. Land Action assisted the homeless social justice organizers seek shelter in the property while assuming responsibility for maintenance and rehabilitation.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is targeting these housing rights organizers at a time when there is an acute housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay Area. On January 5, 2016 the Oakland City Council adopted an Ordinance declaring a shelter crisis.
“The District Attorney’s harassment of those attempting to address the current housing problems in Oakland is diverting precious resources that could be used to create solutions rather than engage in frivolous prosecutions.” says Angeles Gottheil, CFO of Land Action.
According to attorney Dan Siegel, “This prosecution is a blatant attempt to target these organizers because of their political views

“Berkeley Post Office Occupation Raided This Morning, Dismantled, Hauled Away” by Mike Wilson

Police raid the Berkeley Post Office Occupation and abuse the homeless.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

At 5:00AM this morning, US Postal Police and Inspectors, with support from the Berkeley Police Dept., arrived at the Main Berkeley Post Office, 2000 Alston Way, and literally dragged protesters out of their tents, seized all their belongings, and tore down the information tent, the shelter for our 17-month occupation.  While trespassing was given by Postal Police as reason for the raid, no protesters were cited for any infraction.

Two groups of activists – First They Came for the Homeless and Berkeley Post Office Defenders – have occupied the grounds of the Main Berkeley Post Office continuously since late November, 2014.  For most of that time – from Feb, 2015 to Feb, 2016 – we have been told by the Postal Police, repeatedly, that they had no intention of enforcing trespassing rules against us; yet, this morning they put their hands on sleeping protesters, dragged them from their tents, and confiscated all their belongings.

–Mike Wilson

“San Francisco’s mayor wants to destroy all homeless camps so he can move them into shelter that doesn’t exist” by Michael Rosen (

Last Thursday morning, San Francisco police shot and killed 45-year-old Luis Gongora. Witness reports contradicted claims that Gongora, a homeless man, charged at police with a knife, and video obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle shows the police shooting and killing Gongora within 30 seconds of arriving on the scene.

As Julia Carrie Wong illuminates in this great piece in The Guardian, police brutality and homelessness are two of the most pressing issues facing the city of San Francisco today. Gongora’s death, has already led to a conversation about what ought to be done to prevent these killings from happening again.

Late Friday, the Chronicle reported that Ed Lee, the mayor of San Francisco, supported a citywide “crackdown” on homeless camps:

In the wake of the fatal police shooting of a homeless man on Shotwell Street in the Mission District, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is declaring all homeless tent encampments to be safety hazards and has ordered his department heads to draw up plans for a systematic citywide takedown policy.

“Once the various investigations have finished collecting evidence and completed their interviews of witnesses, I will be ordering the Shotwell camp to be taken down and for it not to come back,” Lee told us.

On Saturday, city supervisor Scott Wiener (who just so happens to be running for State Senate) wrote on Facebook that he supported the Mayor’s plans:

“What kind of atmosphere is the city allowing when people are arming themselves in these encampments?” Wiener wrote. “I support the Mayor’s citywide directive to transition people living in tent encampments into shelter and to remove the tents…Tents aren’t housing.”

Moving people from the streets into shelters is a good and noble idea, except neither Wiener and Lee acknowledge that in the interim, there’s no available shelter for the homeless.

As of late February, 650 people were on the waitlist for 90-day adult emergency shelter. According to Scott Wiener himself, there’s 700 people living in homeless encampments. And there’s thousands of homeless beyond those who aren’t living in encampments or on a waitlist.

“There aren’t enough shelter beds for everyone,” Jennifer Friedenbach, the director of the Coalition for Homelessness, told me. “Just removing an encampment doesn’t remove people from the streets.”

The shelter problem is vast, and not this simply solved, which Lee acknowledges:

Still, the plan appears to be far from complete. The 180-bed shelter at Pier 80, for example, has only 20 empty beds. An additional 93 shelter beds are expected to come online in the next six to eight weeks.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Lee said.

Hundreds of homeless people in San Francisco are looking for permanent shelter. It’s a problem that’s going to take time and effort and plenty of money to solve. If the “crackdown” Wiener and Lee propose involves removing people from their tents and giving them no alternative, that isn’t going to accomplish anything but leaving potentially thousands of people with no place to live at all.

Note from Mike Zint:

The goal is not to help the homeless. It’s to remove the homeless. Torture them out of town. And if they don’t go, they might get shot.

OccupyForum presents . . . “From The Heart of the World: The Elder Brothers’ Warning” on Monday, April 11

Monday, April 11th from 6 – 9 pm at Global Exchange

2017 Mission Street near the 16th Street BART station

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

OccupyForum presents…

“From The Heart of the World:

The Elder Brothers’ Warning”

A documentary about a South American Indian tribe and their plea for ecological sanity in a time when the earth is being ravaged by so-called civilized people.

One of the best films of 1992 is a warning by a South American Indian tribe that people give up their self-destructive ways and honor the planet before it is too late. After four centuries of seclusion, the Kogi, descendants of a pre-Colombian civilization, asked BBC filmmaker Alan Ereira to visit their homeland in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern Colombia. From the Heart of the World: The Elder Brothers’ Warning delivers their prophetic message to the world.

Seeing themselves as guardians of life on earth, the Kogi have a spiritual understanding of the bond between humankind and the natural world. This bond, they insist, must be honored. The Kogi are governed by priests called “mamas.” As children, the mamas were educated in the dark and this early sensory deprivation has made them finely attuned to the mysteries and pleasures of their mountain environment. The Elder Brothers, as they call themselves, are convinced that we, the Younger Brothers, have wounded the earth through industrial exploitation, mining, and clearing of forests. They have seen signs of an ecological crisis in changing bird migrations and the lack of snow in the highest regions of the Sierra Nevada. The Kogis warn that unless we change our ways, the world will end:

“If we act well, the world can go on.”

There have been many articulate calls for citizens of this planet to live in harmony with the natural world. But this video stands out as an especially cogent and moving plea for ecological wisdom.

Time will be allotted for announcements.

Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged; no one turned away!