Iraq War Veteran Critically Injured at Occupy Oakland

I was sickened to learn that a young Iraq war veteran was in critical condition last night, with a fractured skull and brain swelling, after being hit by a tear gas canister in an assault by the Oakland Police Department on peaceful Occupy Oakland protesters.

According to The Guardian, 24-year-old Scott Olsen, seen at the end of the video above as fellow protesters carry him away and frantically call for a medic, did two tours of duty in Iraq. Olsen is a member of both the Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War, and I noticed a Veterans for Peace flag as well as the fact that Olsen was wearing a t-shirt with their logo, and the group was standing near the cops.

What happened gets even more disturbing, however. Keith Shannon, one of his friends who served with him in Iraq, mentions he has seen ” the video footage showing Olsen lying on the floor as a police officer throws an explosive device near him.” As you can see in the footage below, the police officer is throwing the explosive into the crowd of people coming to Olsen’s aid. Truly outrageous, and there can be no excuse for this, even if they claim the original injury was accidental.

Another horrifying image, from Occupy Together‘s Facebook page is of a woman in a wheelchair trying to escape the tear gas:

Woman in Wheelchair, Trying to Escape Tear Gas in Oakland

MoveOn has an online action to the Mayor of Oakland in protest:

http://civic.moveon.org/oaklandpolice/?rc=c4_oaklandpolice_letter.fb.v2.g1

MoveOn also posted a link to a great video about what the protests are all about:

Wall Street still isn’t finished with trying to pass off their bad investments on American taxpayers. Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi reports about Bank of America’s attempt to shift risky investments to FDIC insured accounts in his article Occupy Wall Street: Washington Still Doesn’t Get It:

Bank of America is shifting a huge collection of Merrill Lynch derivatives contracts onto its own federally-insured balance sheet. This move of risky instruments off the uninsured Merrill balance sheet onto the commercial bank’s balance sheet was done to prevent Bank of America’s creditors from attacking the firm with collateral calls and other sorties. Essentially, an irresponsible debtor, B of A, is keeping a loan shark from breaking his legs by getting his rich parents to co-sign his loan. The parents in this metaphor would be the FDIC.

The FDIC naturally is not pleased with this development, but the Fed, the supreme banking regulator, is apparently encouraging this move. Here’s how Bloomberg characterized this move:

In short, the Fed’s priorities seem to lie with protecting the bank-holding company from losses at Merrill, even if that means greater risks for the FDIC’s insurance fund.

Risks for FDIC’s insurance fund. Think about that a bit. That’s the fund that protects our savings and checking deposits.  Would you let your savings be used to bankroll gambling? Yet, that’s what we’re doing if we cover derivatives, otherwise known as futures – gambling on the future worth of something like stocks or farm commodities (pork bellies, anyone?). Its fine if you chose to invest and know the risks, but that is not what safe savings and checking accounts are supposed to be all about. All this making it safe for Bank of America, because, if it all goes bad, well. . .we can’t let FDIC fail, can we, and take all Americans’ savings?

Taibbi also reports:

Barack Obama is apparently expressing willingness to junk big chunks of Sarbanes-Oxley in exchange for support for his jobs program. Business leaders are balking at creating new jobs unless Obama makes compliance with S-O voluntary for all firms valued at under $1 billion.

Here’s how to translate this move: companies are saying they can’t attract investment unless they can hide their financials from investors.

Doesn’t seem like life is too good for the investors, even, if we let Wall Street have its way.

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