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Rolling Jubilee Peoples Bailout Buys 1.2 Million in Medical Debt

3:14 pm in Uncategorized by John Washington

On March 14th Strike Debt proudly announced the second in a series of Medical Debt Bailouts. Over 1 million Dollars in Medical Debt was purchased and abolished providing relief to over 1,000 people with an average of $900 per person. This is a testament to the Strike Debt’s dedication to details on this project maximizing its effectiveness by evaluating the best options to provide the greatest good. The majority of the portfolio will absolve the emergency room debts of people in Kentucky and Indiana mitigating the circumstance create by our nations for profit healthcare system. 62% of bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical debt and 75% of those people had health insurance when then incurred the debt. Heath care is a human right and the Rolling Jubilee has brought some humanity to the Midwest.

The Rolling Jubilee has been Rolling since November 15th and shows no signs of stopping so far over $570,000 has been raised and close to 12 Million has been forgiven. That is about a 20 to 1 ratio as a former debt collector I find it inspiring to see the effort and effectiveness that has been placed into this project. Strike Debt is following this announcement up with a series of actions on March 21st in Bryant Park there will be a rally and protest against Private Insurance Companies at 4pm. Then on the 23rd at Judson Church there will be a Free Health Fair and March to highlight hospital closings with  on call to answer questions online all day at StrikeDebt.org/lifeordebt/

 

For More information on the Rolling Jubilee visit RollingJubilee.org


[VIDEO] #OccupySupply Skill Share: #S17 Anniversary Actions

4:36 am in Uncategorized by John Washington

#S17 Anniversary Action from Firedoglake on Vimeo.

On our last #OccupySupply Skill Share we discussed #S17 and the action surrounding the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street with a dynamic panel of OWS organizers.  We were joined by Tamara Shapiro from InterOccupy, Austin Guest and Nina Mehta from OWS. The One Year Anniversary is poised to be a creatively significant event full of innovative action and education. People from all over the country are organizing buses and ride shares to converge on the financial district of New York City.  Solidarity actions and events have been planned from Honolulu to Syracuse and even around the world.

The discussion started with Tamara Shapiro outlining the overall themes of #S17 actions around the country. Most participating cities are holding convergences occupying public space to celebrate the accomplishments of the movement and conduct open space education sessions. Those who aren’t holding actions in their area are encouraged to join regional assemblies and Occupy Capitol Cities.  The actions and discussions are going to be centered around  environment, economics and government if you are planning an event you can post it on s17nyc.org.  If you are planning to go to NYC register on the website so folks can figure out how many people will need food and housing.

Tina Mehta then expands the conversation by discussing the activities that will take place throughout the #S-17 anniversary weekend. Saturday #S-15 the festivities kick off in Washington Square Park at 10:30 am with a focus on education.  Open public space will be utilized for tabling, workshops, skill shares. Open discussions will take on exploratory and solution driven tones surrounding a range of topics which include debt, health care, environmental issues, and other overarching themes that are affecting  us all. Sunday #S-16  is is a day of celebration and preparation which will include both direct action trainings in preparation for Mondays #S-17 actions and a march starting at the Spectra pipeline which leads into a concert of musical performances held in Foley Square, featuring  a mix of high profile artists discussing high profile issues. A schedule of events is available on the #S-17 website.

Finally Austin Guest describes the events poised to take place on #S-17 to mark the  anniversary of a momentous year. He invites participants to rise up and celebrate the cycle of liberation by taking part in a schedule of exciting and well organized events. He goes into detail about the fine-tuned plans for a full day of actions which he colorfully describes as a swirling mosaic amid the static of Wall Street. Maps will be handed out to participants which will outline both the day’s events and possible corporate locations for autonomous actions. Information is available on the website  s17NYC.org/99rev.

Occupy Buffalo Joins CODEPINK Pakistan Peace Delegation

5:39 pm in Uncategorized by John Washington

After taking the trip from Philadelphia and the Occupy National Gathering, I and other people from Occupy Buffalo and the Western New York Peace Center have been invited to be a part of the CODEPINK Pakistan Peace Delegation. Western New York has been as active as any area in the fight against drones in the US and abroad. Several members of Occupy Buffalo and WNY Peace Center have been arrested in Syracuse at anti-drone actions at Hancock Air Force Base. Buffalo recently became the first city to hear in front of City Council the Protection of the Public Against the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) which will be addressed after summer recess in September. In recognition of our efforts locally, 3 members of Occupy Buffalo have been given the honor of being part of the group going into the areas most affected by drones. Karen Hopkins, Bonny Mahoney and myself will be going along with CODEPINK organizers and people from all over the country who are dedicated to downing drones and ending the executions.

Pakistan has been one of the countries hardest hit by the unconstitutional attacks on so-called suspects. We will meet with survivors of US drone attacks, lawyers who are representing drone victims, and political figures. As citizen diplomats from the United States, we will join with people from the region affected by U.S. drone attacks and call for an end to the killing. The Delegation hopes to get permission to march to Miranshah, the capitol of Waziristan.

In an effort to raise consciousness about extrajudicial executions carried out by CIA – controlled drone attacks on Pakistan, a Pakistani human rights organization called Foundation for Fundamental Rights is inviting US citizens to visit Pakistan to meet with surviving victims of CIA-controlled drone attacks and to hear their tragic stories.

In the U.S., the effort is being organized by Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink.

Please support activists from Upstate New York who will be joining Code Pink’s delegation to Pakistan. Leaving in late September 2012, the group will also participate in a large peace demonstration in the Northwest region of Pakistan — the site of most of the CIA’s drone attacks on Pakistani citizens.

The Western New York Peace Center is using this web page to collect monies that will be dedicated to sending 5 members of the Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars to Pakistan as part of Code Pink’s delegation.

The five Upstate New York residents who will travel to Pakistan are:

Judy Bello, Rochester NY
Jordan Eck, Binghamton NY
Karen Hopkins, Buffalo NY
Bonny Mahoney, Buffalo NY
John Washington, Buffalo NY

All monies collected from this web page are dedicated to pay for the Pakistani trip-related expenses of these four dedicated individuals. We estimate the total cost to be about $2,500 per person. Hence, $12,500 will have to raised by mid-September 2012 to make this trip a success.

If you prefer, you may also donate at the: WNY Peace Center’s main website.

The Western New York Peace Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Your donation is tax deductible.

If paying by check, put “Pakistan Delegation” in the memo line. Send your check to:

WNY Peace Center, Inc.
1272 Delaware Ave
Buffalo NY 14209
Ph: 716-332-3904
Director@WNYPeace.org

Thank you for your support!

Buffalo First City to Bring Drone Ordinance to City Council

9:18 am in Uncategorized by John Washington

On Tuesday, Buffalo became the first city in the country to take the drone issue seriously after the presentation of a drone ordinance to Common Council President Richard Fontanna. Author and co-founder of CODEPINK Medea Benjamin, Occupy Buffalo, and the Western New York Peace Center were given a date to present their case to the Common Council Legislation Committee headed by Darius Pridgen. After bringing Medea to Buffalo for an appearance on Book TV at Talking Leaves, both groups spent plenty of time in City Hall lobbying council members to sponsor the ordinance. Most had no idea about drones and it was a great opportunity to educate our elected officials before the DHS got a chance to leave out the inconvenient truth about drones. Meetings with Pridgen’s assistant and council members LoCourto, Scanlon and Smith sparked genuine concern over the implications of the use of drones in our city. These meetings were complemented by demonstrations in front of City Hall, giving out flyers, and using a 1/6th model predator drone and PA system to educate anyone who happened to have business with the city that day.

At the last demonstration just prior to our chance to speak, we were greeted with our usual warm welcome of “you guys can’t be here” from the Building Superintendent (and constitutional scholar). We were able to speak to plenty of people about the issue outside, with the model drone drawing people’s attention. In the chambers, a group of around 25 local activists filled the seats on the left side of the Council Chambers and waited patiently for item number 12 to come before the Council. Victoria Ross began the hearing, highlighting the constitutionality of 24 hour surveillance and conveying the idea that the use of drones would make warrants obsolete. Charles Bowman, Director of the WNY Peace Center, said “Drone manufacturers will push this hard on you and other elected officials. They will say that one of the reasons [for drones] is fighting crime. …We don’t need drones in the city of Buffalo. We don’t need further militarization of our police department.”

A clear statement was made to the city Of Buffalo:

Drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to public safety in the air and to persons and property on the ground in the city of Buffalo due to limitations in drone “vision,” capability to avoid other aircraft and adequate control,

and

Armed drones and surveillance drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to the rights of individual privacy, freedom of association and assembly, equal protection and judicial due process in the city of Buffalo

The council tabled the item until after recess and we encourage all who care about this issue to contact the Mayor and Buffalo Common Council members and urge them to keep drones out of Buffalo:

Byron Brown -  Mayor,  Room 201.   Phone: (716) 851-4841, E-mail: Mayor@city-buffalo.com

Richard A. Fontana – Council President.   Phone: 716-851-5151, E-mail: rfontana@city-buffalo.com 

David A. Franczyk.   Phone: 716-851-4138, E-mail: dfranczyk@city-buffalo.com

Darius G. Pridgen.   Phone: 716-851-4980, Email: dpridgen@city-buffalo.com

Christopher P. Scanlon.   Phone: 716-851-5169, E-mail: cscanlon@city-buffalo.com

Michael J. LoCurto.   Phone: 716-851-5155, E-mail: mlocurto@city-buffalo.com

Bonnie E. Russell.   Phone: 716-851-5165, Email: brussell@city-buffalo.com

Demone A. Smith – Majority Leader.   Phone: 716-851-5145, Email: dsmith@city-buffalo.co

Joseph Golombek, Jr.   Phone: 716-851-5116, Email: jgolombek@city-buffalo.com

David A. Rivera.   Phone: 716-851-5125, Email: darivera@city-buffalo.com

#OccupySupply Skill Share: Panopticon in the Sky, Drones in the US and Abroad

8:04 am in Uncategorized by John Washington

Our next Occupy Supply Skill Share is Wednesday August 1st at 8 pm Eastern Time

Drones are a major issue in the antiwar movement that has come to the forefront after their unconstitutional and excessive use. Drones in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and other countries cause high civilian casualties and have no accountability. In Washington, Congress pushes for relaxed regulations of drones in US Airspace and Department of Homeland Security has been posturing to put them in local police departments. Some have even stated that they want to see 30,000 drones in the US by 2020. The acceleration of drone proliferation has become exponential and some have began to take an ardent stance against drones.

More and more people have become aware of drones since the publishing of Medea Benjamin’s book Drone Warfare. Her organization CODEPINK and her partner Tighe Barry have been at the forefront of this issue educating people around the country about what they can do to keep drones from being used in their community. There have been actions around the country targeting Ddone bases like Hancock Air Force Base in Syracuse where 38 people where arrested. Several cities under their direction have submitted community ordinances against the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. On Wednesday, we will be talking to Tighe Barry and other CODEPINK Organizers about the Panopticon in the Sky: Drones in the US & Abroad

 

Click Here to Register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/609369206

As always, this discussion is open to the public and we encourage you to invite your fellow Occupiers join in this discussion.

I look forward to speaking with you this Wednesday. If you have any questions contact occupysupply@firedoglake.com

Occupy Supply Skill Share: NDAA and The Future of Dissent

11:48 am in Uncategorized by John Washington

 


Our next Occupy Supply webinar is this Wednesday July 18th  at 8:00 PM Eastern

Our presentation this week is a discussion on the NDAA and its implications for the future of dissent in the US. Since it was signed by President Obama in January, indefinite detention has been a contentious issue especially in the Occupy Movement. Chris Hedges and other journalists and activists initiated a lawsuit against President Obama and other officials over the indefinite detention clause in this years NDAA. With demonstrators being arrested and detained as terror suspects in Chicago and Cleveland the issue has become more immediate. Recently Judge Forest, who is presiding over the case, has ruled that Section 1021 of the NDAA is facially unconstitutional and provided for a temporary injunction; this is an incredible victory.

On this week’s Occupy Supply Skill Share we have a tremendous panel featuring a few of the 7 plaintiffs in the case against the Obama Administration.

We will be joined by:

Alexa O’Brien a content strategist who has written a number of articles about Guantanamo detainees and founded the group US Day of Rage. She joined the effort to combat the unconstitutional NDAA after finding that there where attempts to link her US Day of Rage to terrorist organizations.

Kai Wargalla is a London based activist whose use of social media was instrumental in the initiation of Occupy London and founder of Justice For Assange UK. She is also Deputy Director of Revolution Truth. She became a part of the suit due to a bulletin issued by the City of London Police in a terrorism and extremism update. Both have major concerns with the constitutionality of the NDAA will share their insights and experience as plaintiffs as well as thoughts on the implications of the lawsuit on Wednesday nights NDAA Discussion.

This meeting is open to anyone – liaison, occupier, or otherwise - who wants to join this discussion and share there opinions on the NDAA.

Can you make it to our Occupy Supply Skill Share on Wednesday 7/18 at 8:00PM Eastern?

Click here to register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/837660446

Click here to see the slideshow: http://www.scribd.com/doc/101549668/Occupy-Supply-Skill-Share-NDAA-and-The-Future-of-Dissent

Occupy Supply Skill Share: Journalism and Activism

2:21 pm in Uncategorized by John Washington

Our Next Occupy Supply Skill Share is on Wednesday June 20th at 8pm Eastern.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION, REGISTER HERE

Recent articles about the death of the Occupy Movement have shown the mainstream media’s effort to conceal the work of grass roots activists. With large turnouts for NATO, Occupy Caravan moving across the country toward Philly, and successful foreclosure defenses, the movement is far from dead.

This week’s presentation is joined by Mark Taylor-Canfield, member of the Occupy Seattle Media Working Group and independent journalist with articles published in Huff Post, Daily Kos,CounterPunch, Seattle Times, Alternet, Crosscut, IMC, Washington Free Press, and Capitol Hill Times. Mark will give us his unique perspective on the relationship between activism and journalism. Mark has been a part of the movement to bring back journalistic integrity, testifying before the FCC about corporate influence over the media, as well as working with the National Lawyer’s Guild on reporting police tactics against protesters.

With the “Occupy is Dead” idea spreading through the mainstream and alternative media worlds, there is no better time to analyze the current state of media in the US and expand on specific ways to overcome the hurdle that is the failure of the fourth estate. Join us for what is sure to be a stimulating discussion on Journalism and Activism.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION, REGISTER HERE

This meeting is open to anyone – liaison, occupier, or otherwise – who wants to join this discussion and share ideas and experiences about the relationship between journalism and activism in the Occupy Movement.

If you have a skill to share or a topic to discuss we always welcome feed back please send me an email at John.Washington@firedoglake.com

[VIDEO] #OccupySupply #NATGAT Presentation

10:16 am in Uncategorized by John Washington

Occupy National Gathering – Occupy Supply Skill Share 6/13 from Firedoglake on Vimeo.

The mainstream media is busy painting Occupy as dead meanwhile Occupiers are continuing the fight for social and economic justice on all fronts. Occupy Philadelphia has been organizing for the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia since October, and now only a few weeks away, everyone is gearing up for an action packed week in Philly. Nate Kleinman who has been a major part of the organizing process joined us for a National Gathering Presentation to discuss the process used to create this sure-to-be historic event.

On October 20th, the Occupy Philadelphia General Assembly unanimously passed a proposal to begin a working group designed to facilitate a National Gathering the Occupy Movement. From that point, a working group of Occupiers from around the country began reaching out to get people down to Philly on the 4th of July. Interoccupy was used to coordinate efforts and a specific emphasis was put on making sure that the Gathering was planned in an organically democratic fashion. Once this directly democratic self-organizing group was created, it was on to getting the endorsements of General Assemblies around the country. Currently over 70 general assemblies have endorsed the National Gathering.

In order to get representation from all over the country to Philadelphia the Occupy Caravan was created. Leaving from locations all over the country groups of Occupiers are joining together in different locations, eventually converging on Independence Mall. The caravan started on June 11th and will be arriving in Philly on June 30th.  Once at the Gathering, there is a full schedule of events for people to engage in. In order to facilitate functions and stimulating assemblies a visioning.process has been created to help Occupiers communicate in large groups during the gathering. The goal is to make sure all voices are heard, while letting common ideas rise to the surface. Days will be filled with meet-ups, speakers, workshops, teach-ins, and of course, direct actions. Some food will be provided though Occupiers will be encouraged to bring their own. People are encouraged to hold sleepful protests at banks in the area and legal preparations have been made to make this and park occupation sustainable.

For more information on the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia check out Occupy National Gathering, and for info about the Occupy Caravan you can look at Occupy Caravan.

Occupy Buffalo Chasing Chase Out of Buffalo

4:47 pm in Uncategorized by John Washington

Since its inception on October 1st, Occupy Buffalo has taken their part in the fight against “Too Big to Fail Banks” holding several actions in Buffalo’s financial district a couple blocks away from the Niagara Square encampment. Though there is only one location in the City of Buffalo, an office in the dubiously named Liberty Building which is occupied by bankers, lawyers and other representatives of the one percent, JPMorgan Chase Bank holds all of the city’s money. Over 400 million dollars of our taxpayer dollars are leveraged against the people of Buffalo every year.

On Wednesday May 30th, City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder announce that 45 million dollars will be withdrawn from JPMorgan Chase Bank and put into First Niagara who has agreed to a lower interest rate “funding will earn 0.30 percent interest, more than the 0.25 percent interest rate it had been getting with JPMorgan” according to Schroeder’s statement.

“Not only will the funds earn more interest with First Niagara, a major local employer headquartered in Buffalo, but it also sends a crystal clear message to JPMorgan Chase that the City of Buffalo is not happy with their business practices,”

City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder

As a one of the organizers of the series of actions held against JP Morgan Chase in front of the Main Place Tower, this small victory is proof that activism has an effect. Too often we are disillusioned by the absence of immediate response to our efforts. When this issue was first addressed, members of the Council showed little genuine concern for our objections to City funds being held with an unscrupulous bank, one with no presence in the city of Buffalo. Many on the Council referred to the responsibility of the Federal Government to regulate Big Banks. Supposedly due to its size JPMorgan was the best option because they could provide the best interest rate. We persisted and returned to the Council Chambers to push the issue, and we also went to the JPMorgan Chase office to send a message to the Chase executives in Buffalo.

Our Most recent action was a Wall Street Casino held in front of the Chase Office after reports of their $2 Billion (and counting) loss. During the action, Chase Executives observed with a typically one percent air of superiority refusing to engage in any kind of dialogue except to ask if we had jobs. Occupy Buffalo returned to Common Council on May 22nd to push further as the Council had offered a compromise of a loosely worded Good Banking policy that did little but ask for more information from banks about their practices. Though Council Member LoCourto expressed some concerns, the rest of the Council seemed to view the issue as a nuisance. Demone Smith said simply, “we have been looking in to it…and we have some ideas” About a week later the announcement to withdraw $45 million dollars was made. Persistence is the path to progress and Occupy Buffalo’s efforts are proof that activism can create change, even when it looks like it’s being ineffective.

 

Through Rain Through Snow Occupy Buffalo

Occupy Supply Skill Share: NATO 5 Occupy & The War on Terror

2:31 pm in Uncategorized by John Washington

The next Occupy Supply Skill Share NATO 5 Occupy & The War Terror is on Wednesday 5/23 @ 8pm est.

The 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago has been on of the most anticipated events in the Occupy Movement since it started. Mimicking the tactics of the NATO representatives in Chicago, police raided an apartment in Bridgeport with out a warrant.

FDL Dissenter’s Kevin Gosztola will give us some background information based on his coverage of the five activists arrested during a raid on a South Side Chicago apartment and held without charge. They were arrested during the night around 1 a.m. on May 17, along with four other activists who have since been released.

Join our discussion on The NATO 5: Occupy & The War On Terror on Wednesday 5/23 at 8:00pm

Among the activists arrested were MyFDL Blogger TarheelDem and Darrin Annussek who walked to Chicago as part of “Occupy The Highway.” The remaining group, now being called the NATO 5, was held under suspicion of terrorism without trial.

Kevin Gostola will be joined by TarheelDem and others involved in this weekend’s protests, to talk in-detail about what happened.

Click here to register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/940458030

For More Information Check Out Kevin’s Blog Posts on This Topic

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/17/police-preemptively-raid-apartment-arrest-activists-ahead-of-nato-summit/

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/18/activists-raided-arrested-ahead-of-nato-summit-continue-to-be-held-without-charge/

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/18/cpd-chief-wont-talk-about-night-raid-that-resulted-in-disappearing-of-activists/

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/19/nato-3-came-to-chicago-to-commit-terrorist-acts-of-violence-cpd-fbi-secret-service-claim/

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/20/occupy-journalists-stopped-searched-handcuffed-interrogated-at-gunpoint/

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/21/the-preemptive-prosecution-of-the-nato-5/

 

Click here to see the slideshow: http://www.scribd.com/doc/101550050/NATO-5-Occupy-and-the-War-on-Terror