Posts Tagged ‘Zuccotti Park’

Occupy Wall Street After the Expulsion

November 16, 2011

Like the rest of the world, I woke this morning to learn of the dead of the night expulsion of the Occupy Wall Street protestors from Zucotti Park where they have been encamped since September 17th,  inspiring millions across the country and the world as they did so.    The NYPD raid led to some 70 arrests and  the destruction of all manner of property.  The pretense for the assault was that the park had become an issue of public safety. For this reason the entire area was sealed off, the Brooklyn Bridge shut down and the press forbidden from witnessing the eviction – a transparent and terrifying violation of freedom of the press.

The expulsion is almost certainly part of a concerted effort by mayors across America to stomp the spreading Occupy Wall Street movement out in one brutal blow.

It will not work.

Reports on the internet and in emails were confused and confusing.   People were gathering in Foley Square.  People were being arrested at 6th Ave and Canal St.  The courts ruled the protesters could return to the park.  The courts ruled that the protesters could not  return  to the park.  Around 4:00 pm I got on my bike and made my way through all the places people were said to have gathered but found not a  one.  Not knowing what else to do, I continued downtown to Zuccotti Park  and arrived  there around 4:30 to find first an army of police.  Some wore riot gear and carried rings of  plastic  handcuffs and  huge black batons which you do  not want bashing in your brain.

The NYPD had surrounded the park and were refusing entry to anyone but their own.  The police, in effect, occupied Zuccotti Park.  Surrounding the park were hundreds of  citizens of all ages and races, many carrying signs.  The mood was somber yet defiant.  It was also  tense and very, very different   than any I’ve  felt there before.

Many people wore hand written signs reading “99%,” which someone had made by the hundreds and was handing out.  Little by little I made my way around the circumference of the park looking for familiar faces and finding none but I did meet the maker of the little signs and took one. Occasionally, for unknown reasons, the police would block a sidewalk. This led on two occasions to chants of, “ Who  are you protecting? ”  The police remained  silent but people called out the names of various corporations, the most popular being Goldman Sachs.

Just after 5:00 I was told by a member of the National Lawyers Guild that the court  had ruled  the protesters could  return to the park but they could  not camp there.  A few minutes later, someone else told me he had just heard something entirely different. Meanwhile, as more and more people left their  work and joined in  the crowd was silently swelling.

As darkness fell, three helicopters appeared, hovering high above the park.

Jimmy McMillan, The Rents Too Damn High Party candidate for governor ambled through the crowds shacking hands and  telling all and sundry that their rents are too damn high.

Then, a cheer broke out as it was announced that the police were letting people re-enter the park if only a couple at a time.  I stood upon a steel barricade and glimpsed two young men gleefully running through the park waving American flags.

The mood seemed to lighten and some of the tension lifted.

Still, it was clear that neither side was budging.  Like the economy, like the culture, like the country, this was a situation that could not be sustained.  Something had to break.

Shortly thereafter as I was riding down Maiden Lane, four or five blocks away, I could hear  helicopters flying slowly  over my head in the darkness.

This is getting very interesting.

“Meet New York’s New Hero: “: Sgt Nick Penis to the Rescue!

November 16, 2011

The following  is, admittedly, very small potatoes in the wake of the nocturnal raid on Zucotti Park but since it was written before that fact and is part and parcel with the same mentality I send it forth.

“Meet New York’s New Hero: “: Sgt Nick Penis to the Rescue! 

 I know it’s the New York Post and one should expect nothing less than this kind of macho fascistic nonsense but somehow the praising of a former member of the NYPD  — a man who once swore to uphold the law —    photographed in the act of  dragging a human being outside a building as if he were a bag of trash seems to me to cross a line.

Even for the New York Post.

Here, however, is how the Post puts it: “Tough-as-nails ex-cop Kevin Hiltunen drags Occupy Wall Street protestor Adam Weissman from a Queens auditorium yesterday for interrupting the swearing in of Rep. Bob Turner.”

Just so you don’t miss their  point,  beneath  an action shot of Hiltunen’s heroics and a  typically  juvenile headline ( “Ass Haul” ), the Post placed a  head shot of  “Tough-as-nails ex-cop Kevin Hiltunen” bad-assing  the camera while  sporting the perfect Sgt Nick Penis haircut.

And here from the surreal attendant article:

“I guess you could say I sorted him out,” said Hiltunen, 48, his jacket and tie barely mussed after dragging the scruffy protester out on his rear end.

“I’m a citizen who believes in democracy. I did not ask this man if he was part of any movement,” the former cop said.

Hiltunen was a member of the NYPD from February 1994 until June 2009, when he retired in good standing on a disability caused by an accident, a source told The Post.

Some questions.

What right does this person have to “sort” anybody out ?   Is that a perk of former members of the NYPD ?

Does this man look “disabled” to you ?   What, precisely,  is this guy’s disability ?

Would I be wrong to suppose that the disabled Hiltunen, who worked for the NYPD for a grand total of 15 years, receives a pension rewarding him ¾ of his salary tax free for the rest of his earthly life thus allowing him ample time to volunteer to help Tea Party anti socialists (excepting those socialistic policies that grant disabled NYPD employees ¾ tax free pensions for life) like Bob Turner?

Most importantly, can anyone explain to me why this man was not arrested for assault and battery?  Especially when there is what appears to be an active uniformed member of the NYPD prancing a few feet away from this vicious scene ?

Does being an ex-cop really allow you to make your own laws ?

Or is that only if you have a haircut like Sgt Nick Penis ?

Updated: Mon., Nov. 14, 2011, 10:29 AM

WS heckler from congressman’s swearing-in


Last Updated: 10:29 AM, November 14, 2011

Posted: 1:09 AM, November 14, 2011

Meet New York’s newest hero.

Kevin Hiltunen, a former NYPD officer, yesterday grabbed an Occupy Wall Street demonstrator by the collar and dragged him out of a Queens school where he’d been heckling US Rep. Bob Turner at the congressman’s swearing-in ceremony.

“I guess you could say I sorted him out,” said Hiltunen, 48, his jacket and tie barely mussed after dragging the scruffy protester out on his rear end.

“All I was doing was trying to stop this historic occasion from being disrupt-ed. There is a time and place to exercise your First Amendment rights,’’ said Hiltunen, of Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, who was identified by people at the ceremony as an ex-Marine.

Adam Weissman, 33, of Astoria, was one of three demonstrators to disrupt Turner’s local swearing-in ceremony at Metropolitan HS in Forest Hills.

Turner won the congressional seat once held by disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner by defeating Assemblyman David Weprin.

“Bob Turner has only been in office for two months and . . .” was all that the bearded heckler could blurt out before he was taken down by Hiltunen.

Holding a sign that read, “Rep. Turner [heart] the 1%,” Weissman remained seated and quiet until Turner, who was there with his wife, Peggy, took the stage about 1:30 p.m. and began to speak.

“He was close by to where I was standing, and he started yelling something about Bob Turner,” said Hiltunen, who described himself as a Turner supporter and a volunteer for his congressional campaign.

“So I grabbed him by his sweat shirt and escorted him out. I just had to do what was right. I was just here to witness this historic occasion.”

Afterward, Turner blasted the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators and praised Hiltunen.

“Protesters are on the wrong track. Socialism has been tried again and again, and it doesn’t work,” said Turner. “He picked the wrong guy to pee off.”

The no-nonsense Hiltunen said he hadn’t known Weissman was part of the raucous demonstration based at Zuccotti Park since Sept. 17.

“I’m a citizen who believes in democracy. I did not ask this man if he was part of any movement,” the former cop said.

Hiltunen was a member of the NYPD from February 1994 until June 2009, when he retired in good standing on a disability caused by an accident, a source told The Post.

Weissman, meanwhile, was unapologetic for disrupting the ceremony. After getting the boot, he was distributing OWS fliers on Metropolitan Avenue.

“Before I got grabbed by those people, I wanted to say that Bob Turner has only been in office for two months and he has already sold out his supporters,” said Weissman, adding that he twisted his ankle in the melee but otherwise was “OK.”

“How can you support a man who is a backer of free backdoor trading with China?” he asked.

Additional reporting by C.J. Sullivan

Occupy the Department of Education: Walcott Takes it On the Hop

October 26, 2011

Officially it was billed as the Chancellor’s Conversation On Raising Standards In the Classroom and Chancellor Dennis Walcott was to welcome the audience and Common Core Standards presenter and co–author David Coleman at the stroke at 6:00  PM at Seward Park High School in the Lower East Side.  Unofficially it was the first (of doubtless many) manifestations of Occupy the DOE.   By the time I arrived in the delightful company of  my unjustly fired former colleague  Jafar Smith and his son at about 6:15, neither Walcott nor Coleman were anywhere to be seen.  They and their entourage had already fled the auditorium leaving in their wake what struck me as a perfect image of their essence: a silent, empty stage surrounded by the police.

You know you have reached a strange moment in your history when someone bearing the title of   chancellor of education needs police protection.

The auditorium, on the other hand, remained packed with passionate, articulate and very, very angry parents and teachers who made no mystery of their disgust and fury at Bloomberg’s ever deepening corporate education reform blitzkrieg, its ever-deepening failures, and what these failures  are doing to their children, their children’s teachers and their communities.

Using the “people’s mic” made famous by the folks down the street a bit at Zuccotti Park, one speaker after another told all too familiar stories of their children being tossed out of charter schools because they were “too difficult, of ballooning class sizes, of having no books or supplies, of having to subject their students to constant test prep, of psycho or clueless administrators and of an overall degeneration of anything resembling a humane and serious education.

I can’t say I blame Walcott for fleeing. Herein was an audience that was going to demand that something billed as a “conversation” was, indeed, going to be a conversation and not the contemptuous ( if ever so civil ) monologue Walcott was doubtless meaning to present.  He would have been eaten alive and he knew it.    So too David Coleman, yet another shameless operative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation whose latest creation, the Common Core standards, are being rammed down teachers’ throats across the country without having any say whatsoever in the matter.   Why not?  He’s Bill Gates, after all.

People are no longer afraid.  They will no longer tolerate insanity in silence.  Not on Wall Street and not in their schools. Not with their future and not with their children.  Rest assured this Occupy the DOE was the first of many such gatherings.  As many, that is, as are needed to set things straight. As many, that is, that is takes to make the public schools truly schools and truly public.

Occupying Wall Street: A March of All Americans

October 7, 2011

And so they came, all races, all ages, all trades and all creeds, all manner of Americans pushed too far for too long, all united in some variation of one major impossible-to- ignore-anymore theme:  something has gone terribly, terribly wrong in and with America and something must be made right and made right starting right now.

Never in a lifetime of protests have I witnessed a march as diverse and representative of this country as the one I saw yesterday afternoon march from Foley Square to  “Liberty Square.” The only group missing were   farmers but maybe I just didn’t see them.

Something is at last beginning to awaken in America and it feels good, so good  to see it.