Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Rising Cost Of Fascism.....

A moldy oldie by microdot. I made this photoshop version of La Grande Jatte by one of my favorite artists, George Seurat, in 2011 after I saw the video of Lt. John Pike of the University of California Police, who will live in infamy as Sergeant Pepper Spray strolling through a crowd of peaceful protesters, blasting away with his extra large economy size can of pepper spray with gay abandon. The protesters were being told to leave, but in reality, the police had made it impossible for them to leave. There were private monetary settlements later made with the protesters and resignations of police officials. Pike was fired, but later to the outrage of everyone, was able to legally get a settlement of $38,000 for his mental anguish. I can only hope with my viral image that I somehow contributed to his mental anguish.
Meanwhile, at the same time in Oakland, California, a few miles away, Occupy protestors were being brutally suppressed by the Oakland City Police Force. I wrote a lot about what was going on at the time. There were many incidents of outrageous unwarranted naked brutality and many victims whose lives were destroyed by the injuries they received from the Police. Most of these cases went to court and the judgement is brutal against the tactics that the Police used. In Oakland, last July a group settled a class suit for over 1 million dollars against the city. There was a settlement with former Army Ranger Kayvan Sabeghi, who I wrote about in the links above for $654,000. In NYC, there has been a few million dollars paid out in settlements with victims of police aggression during the Occupy Wall Street Protests including a judgement for the Occupy Librarians who had their books consficated, computers destroyed and were brutalized in Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011. They alone were awarded $365,000!
But one of the most tragic stories was the story of the Iraq War Vet Whose Skull Was Fractured By Oakland Cops During Occupy Protest Settles For $4.5MAfter he was struck with a lead-filled bean bag fire by a police officer from 20 feet away on Oct. 25, 2011, Scott Olsen, who was 24 at the time, suffered a skull fracture and permanent brain damage.

I hope you remember this. This was a real tragedy -- and an outrage:
An Iraq war veteran whose skull was fractured by a police bean bag during the Occupy Oakland protest has settled with the city for $4.5 million, his attorneys announced Friday, as part of a federal civil lawsuit. After he was struck with a lead-filled bean bag fire by a police officer from 20 feet away on Oct. 25, 2011, Scott Olsen, who was 24 at the time, suffered a skull fracture and permanent brain damage.
Today, Olsen can speak and do basic tasks. But, according to a recent interview with the East Bay Express, his memory, concentration and speech are still impaired, and he still owes $200,000 in medical expenses. According to his suit, Olsen is unable to work as he once did as a computer systems administrator at Opswat in San Francisco.
"I didn't win, uh, part of my brain back that's dead," Olsen said, faltering a bit at a Friday news conference outside Oakland City Hall. "Um, but you know, I.. I... It's hard, it was a hard recovery process. This isn't everything."
In a statement, city attorney Barbara Parker said: "Mr. Olsen suffered a tragic injury that will affect him for the rest of his life. This settlement will save the city the far greater costs of a trial and potentially much higher judgment. This is a fair settlement given the facts of the case and the significant injuries Mr. Olsen sustained.”
Oakland will pay Olsen $1.8 million, according to the city, with the rest paid by the city's insurance company.
Olsen, in many ways, became the national symbol for what the "99 percent" viewed as police brutality during the Occupy movement. Vigils for his recovery at Occupy camps across the country, including in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, were held -- all in Olsen's name.
His past -- serving two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine -- galvanized the already disenfranchised protesters, and became a negative, lasting PR nightmare for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who came under attack for not doing more to control what many saw as an overzealous police department.
Quan was on her way back from Washington, D.C., when this protest occurred, and police had evicted the Occupy camp from Frank Ogawa Plaza, prompting a crush of people to return to downtown later in the day.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Quan said, "We wish the best to Mr. Olsen and hope for success in his continued recovery. I want Oakland to know that because of that evening’s events we took determined, constructive steps to change our policing procedures,” Quan said in the statement.
Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales spoke to Olsen about his ordeal, and you can watch their interview with the former marine below: Scott Olsen, U.S. Vet Nearly Killed by Police Beanbag at Occupy Oakland, Settles Lawsuit with City.

Fascism is not acceptable. Maybe Vladimir Putin can get away with these tactics in his Police State, but we still have the right to protest and the duty to resist as well as the legal means to fight back. The bastards who enabled the violent suppression of the Occupy Movement have cost the taxpayers they represented many millions of dollars, not to mention the $38,000 paid to Sergeant Pepper Spray for his mental anguish. The conservative press tried to demonize the movement, but it still stands and is an active force for positive social change and action that has brought many different and seemingly disparate groups together in a common goal.  But there is a punch line here. You might as well burn your abaci...I guess that is the plural of abacus, because a paltry few tens of millions dollars means nothing. It is a bargain if you are the financial institutions of America, the world which made gazillions of bucks scamming everyone. That is what this little David, The Occupy Movement was up against. A few skulls crushed? A million bucks here, a million bucks's all part of the reality of doing business as usual. 

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