Category Archives: Occupy Wall Street

Protester’s account of Citibank arrests

So, Gawker has just published a first-hand account of yesterday’s events at the Citibank branch in New York, where 24 people were arrested, including one woman whose arrest was caught on video, making the police look not so good.

Elana Carroll, one of the protesters arrested at Citibank, provided a first-hand account of events.

One thing that struck me was the description of the police. It sounds as if the particular group of police involved in the arrest were sort of a bunch of dicks.

However, she also added this:

Certainly the arrest was a big moment. But all of the interactions with the police and seeing what it was like to be processed etc. was really eye-opening as well. Aside from the cops who arrested us, many of the cops we interacted with told us that they “commended” us and were proud that this movement is happening.

This is something that I think most protesters and observers are aware of, but should be repeated, often. The police are not the enemy, and it would be a mistake to let the protests be taken over by an us versus them mentality. The economic and regulatory reforms that protesters are after are going to help everyone in the long term, and almost everyone in the short term. I think most of the police know that, and the couple of times I’ve been down there, I’ve been impressed with how professional the police have been, and how congenial the environment seems to be.

There are, of course, a handful of cops who are authoritarian bullies — it’s probably why they became cops in the first place — but most of them have genuinely devoted their lives to public safety, and are just trying to do their jobs. Similarly, there are a handful of protesters who are there because they like being annoying assholes, but most of them are selflessly trying to change a broken and unjust financial/political system.

We have to shine a spotlight on the high-profile events, like bank arrests and face-macing, while not losing sight of the fact that this is a struggle for the economic and political security for everyone.

You can’t close your bank account in Santa Cruz either

So, the news earlier was about how some Occupy Wall Street protesters went into a Citibank branch to close their accounts, were locked in by the bank, and then arrested. Video shows protesters milling about, causing no trouble, and a woman exiting the bank, identifying herself as a customer as she is manhandled by the NYPD. See the video here at LiT, or at Gawker, or Wonkette (and surely lots of other places).

Well, a much less violent and disturbing drama unfolded at a Bank of America branch in Santa Cruz, where the manager refused to let people close their accounts. According to Addicting Info, goes like this:

Rather than allow their customers to close their accounts, they told them that “you can not be a protester and a customer at the same time.” The bank manager threatened to lock the doors and call the police to have their own customers arrested for the simple act of requesting the closure of their own accounts. 

Here’s the five-minute video made by the two women who tried to close their accounts:

Welcome to America. You can have your First Amendment, or you can have your own property, but not both!

NYPD will arrest you if you try to close your bank account

So, this is pretty depressing. This is apparently a woman attempting to close her Citibank account when she is seized by a surprisingly large number of New York’s Finest.

Via Wonkette, who note:

Be patient through the first 90 seconds — haha, attention span of a gnat! — because a remarkable little drama unfolds with protesters inside the Citibank branch communicating with protesters outside, all very reserved, collecting names and birthdates of the people about to be arrested inside. And then, brutish cops seize a woman in a business suit who is saying, “I’m a customer, I’m a customer,” and showing her Citibank checkbook. Apparently she is here to close her account, and for that she is manhandled by a bunch of thug cops who should be careful where they go from now on. Anyway, closing your account is now a go-to-jail offense.

Sunday Linkasaurolophus: October 16, 2011

So, a few items for the Linkasaurolophus this week.

Remember, it’s like Linkaroni, but 100% gluten free.

Let’s start with the good news. If you haven’t seen it, this is a beautiful articulation of what the whole Occupy Wall Street, 99% thing is all about. It was written as an open letter to “the 53% guy,” a critic of the protests, on Daily Kos. If you’ve got relatives who think that the protests are just a bunch of lazy whiners who want someone to blame for their lot in life, send them this. Here’s an excerpt:

So, if you think being a liberal means that I don’t value hard work or a strong work ethic, you’re wrong.  I think everyone appreciates the industry and dedication a person like you displays.  I’m sure you’re a great employee, and if you have entrepreneurial ambitions, I’m sure these qualities will serve you there too.  I’ll wish you the best of luck, even though a guy like you will probably need luck less than most.

I understand your pride in what you’ve accomplished, but I want to ask you something.

Do you really want the bar set this high?  Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs and work 60 to 70 hours a week?  Is that your idea of the American Dream?

Hat tip to Jon Woodward on that one.

Next up, New York is currently all out of the Plan B (“morning after”) contraceptive. This was covered by the Health Editor at an online magazine called XO Jane. You can read the column here, but I really don’t recommend it, as it is excruciatingly self absorbed, written in a style you might expect from someone so famous, or so rich, that they are accustomed to having to put no effort into their conversations, because everyone laughs at all of their jokes no matter what.

But, more importantly, it contains statements about birth control that are just factually wrong. It has been tackled by scicurous, who details some of the problems, and end with this piece of advice:

Far be it from me to tell XO Jane how to handle their hiring, but I do think it’s generally wise to have a heath editor who’s taken a health course. And who can read. But perhaps I’m too picky.

Finally, there’s an update on the faster-than-light neutron thing. A paper has appeared on the Physics ArXiv that claims that the Italian physicists who wrote the original paper failed to account for certain relativistic effects, and that when those effects are taken into account, the correction of 64 nanoseconds is just enough to bring the neutrino speeds back under the speed limit.

The paper, by Ronald van Elburg, can be found here.

The result has been covered by the Physics ArXiv blog, and at Bad Astronomy. Both writers caution that, while the results seem convincing, we need to wait for the response from the Italian team, and generally let the process play out before concluding that the result has definitively been debunked.

If van Elburg is right, though, it is worth noting that, rather than being a refutation of Einstein’s theory, the neutrino experiment looks more like a dramatic confirmation of it.

Recall that last week, the Wall Street Journal published a moronic editorial as part of their ongoing commitment to propagating lies about climate science. The pinnacle fo moronicity in the moronic editorial was the following moronic claim:

The science is not settled, not by a long shot. Last month, scientists at CERN, the prestigious high-energy physics lab in Switzerland, reported that neutrinos might—repeat, might—travel faster than the speed of light. If serious scientists can question Einstein’s theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Do you think that, in light of van Elburg’s calculation, the Journal will now publish a retraction, saying that, well, maybe we should be recognizing the broad consensus among climate scientists?

Yeah, me neither.