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“For your own safety…” AND occupation of BofA

A simple question for the “Occupy” protesters in New York City and elsewhere:

“Did you think that the 1% were going to sit idly by while you threatened their control?” :-)

A private 33,000-acre park, significantly (and FORMERLY :-) ) called Liberty Plaza Park, now Zuccotti Park, was raided VERY early yesterday morning by hundreds of police officers in full riot gear in New York City. Over 100 protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement were arrested, and hundreds more were displaced. (What can I say, the name of a corporate Chairman will often “trump” Liberty in America. :-) )

“Police arrested more than 100 people, according to Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne. New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez was among those arrested, his spokesman, David Segal, told CNN.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had THIS to say (according to CNN):

“We have an obligation to enforce the laws today, to make sure that everybody has access to the park so everybody can protest. That’s the First Amendment and it’s number one on our minds,” Bloomberg said. “We also have a similar, just as important obligation to protect the health and safety of the people in the park.”

Public health and safety have been used as excuses to erode the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments in the Bill of Rights in recent years.

The “Occupy” movement is so rapidly changing that even 24 hours makes stories seem weeks old. Today DOZENS of college students from Northern California were arrested after “occupying” a Bank of America in San Francisco’s downtown financial district. They even pitched a tent and chanted “shame, shame, shame” until they were arrested.

The protesters occupied the bank during a march through downtown San Francisco “to denounce the University of California regents, calling them rich people who are callous to the economic woes of public higher education.” (Well, you aren’t going to get many arguments from knowledgeable people with regard to THAT! 😉 )

About 200 protesters stormed the bank, then some left to rejoin the march, leaving about 100 protesters inside the bank. The protesters said that one reason they targeted Bank of America is that UC Regent Monica Lozano is on the bank’s board of directors. The 400 protestors involved in the march had come in from as far away as UC Merced to picket a UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco. That meeting was canceled for fear of violence, and demonstrators targeted the bank instead.

On the basis of my professional interactions with Bank of America when I was in high tech, I think that the protesters picked an appropriate target. College tuition and fees have SOARED at the University of California system in recent years, pricing education out of the reach of many who are not in the nations top 1% of income earners.

In another California story, in Long Beach, the trustees of the California STATE University (CSU) system raised tuition another 9% as students protested. This was the SECOND tuition increase THIS YEAR! CSU police used pepper spray to combat students. According to

This year, lawmakers reduced the university’s budget by $650 million, leaving CSU with just above $2 billion for 2011-12. If state revenues fall short as expected, an additional cut of up to $100 million would be triggered.

The tuition hike will take effect next fall and add about $500 to each student’s bill.

The price of a year at CSU has risen steadily for years. Next fall, basic tuition will be $5,970. With a mandatory fee averaging $1,047 across the 23-campus system, the price will stand at $7,017. That’s more than triple what it cost in 2002-03.

Students, faculty and some trustees urged board members not to “use students as an ATM,” noting that the Legislature won’t fully fund the university as long as students’ wallets are open to them.

Anyone who thinks that the Occupy protests and protests by students struggling with the costs of higher education are going away anytime soon is living in a fool’s paradise. (Hint: The economic top 1% do not believe that you should RECEIVE a higher education. Educated people are much harder to rule.)

The worst is not over yet:

California faces deep midyear cuts to its universities, community colleges, social service programs and public schools – which may have their year shortened – because the state will collect billions of dollars less in revenue than expected, according to a report released Wednesday.

(Note added November 17, 2011: Today was a “day of action” with Occupy protesters clashing with the police on Wall Street and taking to the streets in Miami, Portland, Los Angeles, and Boston.

-Bill at

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