Oakland police arrest about 300 Occupy protesters

OAKLAND (AP) – About 300 people were arrested Saturday during a chaotic day of Occupy protests that saw demonstrators break into City Hall and burn an American flag, as police earlier fired tear gas and bean bags to disperse hundreds of people after some threw rocks and bottles and tore down fencing outside a nearby convention center.

Oakland police deploy smoke and tear gas to stop protesters with the Occupy Oakland camp as they march through downtown Oakland on Saturday.

Dozens of police officers remained on guard outside City Hall around midnight following the most turbulent day of protests since November, when Oakland police forcefully dismantled an Occupy encampment. An exasperated Mayor Jean Quan, who faced heavy criticism for the police action last fall, called on the Occupy movement to “stop using Oakland as its playground.”

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Occupy My Class: OWS becomes a college course

The terms 99-percenter will soon refer to more than just the majority of Americans disenfranchised by a corrupt Congress and bailed-out banks.

Landing a 99 percent in a Roosevelt University course will turn many students this semester into top-of-the-class occupiers.

Chicago’s Roosevelt University is now offering a class on the recent Occupy Wall Street movement, allowing students to enroll in an up-to-date political science course that tries to examine the protest campaign that has spread across the US and the globe.

A course at New York University opened up last year that examined the historic ties between Washington and Wall Street, but the latest offering from Roosevelt emphasizes the Occupy movement in particular, which began in Lower Manhattan in September 2011. After an encampment began at New York’s Zuccotti Park, several other demonstrations developed across the country, including a large protest in the Windy City as well.

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Canada Pledges to Sell Oil to Asia After Obama Rejects Keystone Pipeline

Laborers’ International Union of North America hold up signs in support of the Keystone XL pipeline during a rally in Washington, D.C. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

As I reported yesterday on this site, Canada has decided the Obama administration is too unstable to work with on matters of economy, energy and job creation.

Canada has turned to China as a partner to help supply the world’s energy needs.

As I was working on yesterday’s post on this subject Obama was in Orlando delivering his speech about curing the unemployment problem in this country by making it easier for Chinese tourists to visit Disney World.

How does trying to entice more visitors to an already full to capacity theme park create more jobs?

When Obama promised thousands of “shovel ready jobs” he obviously didn’t mean 20,000 high paying construction jobs that build infrastructure, reduce our dependance on mid-eastern oil, create permanent employment for people from Canada to Texas constructing and maintaining the pipeline and and all of it’s off shoot support jobs. He meant minimum paying parking lot attendant and grounds keeping jobs at Disney World.

I have nothing against Disney World. It is a wonderful theme park, but that’s what it is. It is not the backbone of American industry.

It’s the place where we go to take a week off and relax.

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EXCLUSIVE—Mark Levin on ‘Ameritopia:’ ‘We Now Live in a Post-Constitutional Country’

By Terence P. Jeffrey
January 16, 2012

(CNSNews.com) – In an interview with CNSNews.com about his new book—“Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America”—Mark R. Levin said he believes America has already largely become “a post-constitutional country.”

The book, released Monday, compares the Utopian and unworkable schemes laid out by political philosophers from Plato to Thomas Hobbes with the vision of natural law, God-given rights, and individual liberty that inspired the Founding Fathers when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

“Utopianism is not new,” Levin writes in “Ameritopia.” “It has been repackaged countless times—since Plato and before. It is as old as tyranny itself. In democracies, its practitioners legislate without end. In America, law is piled upon law in contravention and contradiction of the governing law—the Constitution.”

Levin’s verdict: Barack Obama and modern American liberals are firmly in the Utopian camp—pursuing a vision fundamentally at odds with limited government and human freedom.

“I believe to a great extent we now live in a post-constitutional country, where much of the Constitution is ignored or evaded,” Levin told CNSNews.com.

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Wikipedia goes dark on piracy bill protest day

Wikipedia’s English home page says, in part, “Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”

By Suzanne Choney

Updated at 5:05 a.m. ET: Any student burning the midnight oil Tuesday may have been disappointed as what has become a primary research tool, Wikipedia, blacked out its Web pages as part of a global protest against anti-piracy legislation making its way through Congress.

“Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!,” warned Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on Twitter, and with that, one of the most heavily visited websites began a 24-hour “blackout.”

Google slapped a virtual black tape across the word “Google” on its home page, as if it were muffled, although it continued to be available for search. Social news site Reddit said it will be blacked out for 12 hours, starting at 8 a.m. ET. The metaphor by the protesting sites: To shutter and silence the Internet the same way many in the tech world say will happen if the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act in the Senate move forward.

Google’s protest of proposed anti-piracy legislation includes blacking out its own name on its home search page.

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Prosecutors aim new weapon at Occupy activists: lynching allegation

Screen grab from youtube video showing the arrest of Occupy LA activist Sergio Ballesteros on Thursday, Jan. 12. Ballesteros, 30, was released on $50,000 bail early Tuesday. He is charged with “lynching”–a felony charge originally drafted to deal with vigilante mobs.
By Kari Huus, msnbc.com

Sergio Ballesteros, 30, has been involved in Occupy LA since the movement had its California launch in October. But this week, his activism took an abrupt turn when he was arrested on a felony charge — lynching.

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Occupy Congress: Could it be politics as unusual?

Thousands of Occupy protesters from across the country are expected to converge Tuesday on Capitol Hill to take their message to the halls of Congress, in what some observers say is the movement’s overdue moment to engage the American political system.

Protesters already have set up camps in public spaces, taken over foreclosed homes and shut down key shipping ports, but for the most part they have shunned the political system, viewing it as beyond salvation.

The congressional protest – which falls on the movement’s four-month mark and the beginning of a new session of Congress – appears to represent a strategic shift aimed at winning support of the many Americans disillusioned with the legislative branch.

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SOPA Protest nears zero hour

Internet companies and activists are hoping to join the Arab Spring and other online democracy movements by taking an estimated 7,000 websites offline Wednesday to send a message to Washington: Don’t pass a pair of anti-piracy bills.

The websites that have announced plans to go dark include Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit and WordPress, but some of the most visited websites are conspicuous in their absence.

“It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users and arm them with misinformation,” said Jonathan Lamy, spokesman for the Recording Industry Association of America. “It’s time for the stunts to end and those who claim to care about rogue website theft to back up their rhetoric and work with us on meaningful solutions.”

Google announced Tuesday that it will stop short of a blackout and instead the company plans to post a link on its iconic homepage explaining its opposition to the two arcane copyright bills that are suddenly fodder for the evening news: the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act.

“Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. “So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. homepage.”

A mix of watchdog groups, content creators and grass-roots activists on Tuesday touted the planned mass Internet blackout as the largest online “revolution” in the U.S. to date — saying it is needed to stop legislation that the Internet industry claims will potentially put restrictions on the Web that will halt innovation and undermine free expression.

“Tomorrow will be a big day of action,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, director of fightforthefuture.org, which is organizing the blackout. “The fight will continue until we get the final say from members of Congress that these bills will be dropped, and we’ll start from the beginning on how to balance protection of copyright with expression online.”

Providing an Internet-age twist on backroom lobbying, the campaign is attracting attention on Capitol Hill.

“I’ve rarely seen an issue that has come up from the grass roots as effectively as this has to slow down, and it appears to be stop, a legislative mistake that was about to be made,” Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) said on a radio show on Sirius XM Tuesday called “The Morning Briefing” on P.O.T.U.S.

Senate leaders are pushing forward with a plan to hold a test vote on Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) version of the bill — known as PIPA — on Jan. 24. But divisions in both parties in the Senate suggest the fate of the bill remains in doubt, and sources say they believe Leahy is trying to rework the bill to find a compromise that can win passage.

House leadership aides are reluctant to talk much about SOPA’s prospects, pointing to the fact that it’s stuck in the Judiciary Committee.

Will someone please explain to me the difference between Egyptian police brutality and American police brutality?

Egypt responds to demonstrators.

America responds to demonstrators.

Egypt’s military rulers accused pro-democracy demonstrators of being part of a “systematic plan to destroy” the country as clashes between the security services and angry youths continued for a fourth day on Monday.

At least 12 people, all civilians, have been killed in the violence said to have started on Friday when soldiers savagely beat up an activist in a protest camp blocking a road leading to the prime minister’s office.

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U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Pays Homage to Obama—But Not Jesus

This ornament, celebrating President Barack Obama, adorns the Capitol Christmas Tree that was officially lighted on Dec. 6, 2011. (CNSNews.com/Terence P. Jeffrey)

(CNSNews.com) – The 63-foot Sierra White Fir that was lighted at the U.S. Capitol Grounds on Dec. 6 as the official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama, but includes no ornament readily visible to a person standing near the tree’s base that uses the word “Christmas,” or includes an image of the Nativity, or bears the name or image of Jesus Christ.

On the north side of the tree–at a height of about 4 feet and easily visible to people standing near it—there is an ornament that says: “I ♥ President Obama.”

When asked whether the tree included any ornaments that mention or depict Christmas or the birth of Jesus, the office of the Architect of the Capitol, which is responsible for the tree, told CNSNews.com that it “does not have a policy nor any restrictions concerning the themes for the ornaments” that go on the tree. The office could not say, however, whether or not this year’s Christmas tree does in fact include even a single ornament that directly references or depicts Christmas or Christ.