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Let’s be careful out there

Friday, Oct 28, 2011

* Last night, somebody on my Twitter list retweeted a post by Occupy Chicago

State police has brought canines to break up vigil. We are leaving Thompson Center and are on sidewalk

I went to the Occupy Chicago Twitter page and discovered that the occupiers were holding a candlelight vigil for Marine veteran Scott Olsen, who was allegedly shot in the head by an Oakland “police projectile.”

Also according to the page, the State Police asked the protesters to leave the Thompson Center plaza in 5 minutes or they’d be arrested. They claimed the cops had dogs.

The governor’s office said there were police dogs nearby as part of standard procedure. A different administration official said the coppers were advised not to provoke anybody and to keep things calm.

* So far, the only real violence involving the Occupy protesters here in America has happened when the police tried to break up a demonstration. Despite lots of fears, everything has been peaceful, as long as you don’t have to hear their loud drumming or their bullhorns. Let’s hope it stays that way.

I do wonder though, why the state felt that so many police had to be deployed last night. Here’s a photo posted by the “occupiers.” Click it for a better look…

* I count 38 police officers in that photo. I was told there were no specific threats made in advance.

The Thompson Center plaza officially closes late at night, so technically the vigil was in violation of the law. They don’t want to give the occupiers the idea that they can camp out there permanently, so I get that they had to tell them to move along. But that’s a lot of cops for a peaceful crowd.

* My point here is that Gov. Pat Quinn needs to continue to make sure that everything stays calm. There’s no need to be provoking folks who are just expressing their 1st Amendment rights.

* By the way, I asked Quinn the other day what he thought of the occupy protesters. Here’s what he said

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Will - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:35 pm:

    National Occupy Your State Capital day is October 29. An eviction notice will be delivered to the Illinois Capitol Building at the 1pm rally Saturday.

    Notice of Eviction

    The lobbyists for the 1%, and their cohabitating servants in elected office, are hereby notified that your occupation of the Illinois State Capitol Building is terminated. You are ordered to vacate for violation of your lease agreement with the people of Illinois. We, the 99%, demand that you return state government to the people due to your violations of the public trust:

    • You have created barriers to direct democracy, concentrating power in the hands of a few Legislative Leaders and special interest lobbyists, who block most bills which serve the people from coming to a vote before the full legislature.

    • You have maintained an unfair tax structure that does not require the super-wealthy 1% to pay their fair share.

    • You have erected barriers to our right to receive an education by allowing the cost of tuition at state universities to skyrocket while also cutting financing opportunities.

    • You have given millions of our tax dollars to fossil fuel interests that poison our air and water.

    • You have betrayed the trust of public servants employed by the state by ignoring their right to collective bargaining and failing to pay your share of their pensions.

    • You have enacted budget cuts which harm the most vulnerable among us rather than asking sacrifices from the wealthy few.

    • You blocked legislation that would require banks to know the name, age and disability status of those being evicted, showing you have no regard for the fate of those you make homeless.

    For these and other breaches of the public good you are hereby ordered on this day, October 29, 2011, National Occupy Your State Capital Day, to return this Capitol Building to its rightful owners, the people of Illinois.

    Occupy Springfield

  2. - OneMan - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:35 pm:

    “I would like to welcome all the members of Illinois’ law enforcement community here tonight”…

  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:37 pm:

    LOL, OneMan.

    And Will, that’s your one allowed post with that treatise. Beyond that, it’s considered spam. Thanks.

  4. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:38 pm:

    Are you sure the police weren’t having a “protect our pensions” rally against Cross and 512?
    So hard to keep track of these things.

  5. - OneMan - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:39 pm:

    Does the state constitution require a flat tax rate?

  6. - just warmin up - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:41 pm:

    wait until the G-8 meeting in Chicago in May…

  7. - OneMan - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:43 pm:

    just warmin up — says you, I work in a bank building. I plan on bringing my sleeping bag.

  8. - BCross - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:46 pm:

    On one recent flight my seatmates were two young men born in the US of Libyan parents. They were headed to Libya to help rebuild the country. What was fascinating to me was how readily they equated the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement with what the press calls the “Arab Spring” protests in various middle eastern countries. I never made that connection and I’m still not sure how valid it is, but it was blindingly obvious to them. It made for an interesting conversation — one of the few times that I didn’t fake sleep to avoid talking!

  9. - Irish - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:49 pm:

    It is interesting to see the different ways each community handles the Occupy movement. From the way New York seems to be trying to work with them to the confrontational way Oakland handled their group.

    I believe that this movement will not go away. Those who see them as a rabble rousing bunch are not taking them seriously enough. Several of the GOP candidates for president have referred to them as a mob. Those in high places need to understand that the feelings held by this group are pervasive in a lot of people in this country. While there are differences the Tea Partiers and the occupiers have many of the same goals. I know polls show that a lot of people say they don’t agree with the occupiers but if the right questions were asked of those same folk they would find their answers fall right in line with what the occupiers are saying. I see the movement gaining momentum as their message becomes clearer. The occupiers need to be careful in keeping their message from being hijacked by extremists that would taint the message and they need to take a page from MLK’s book and keep everything peaceful.

    I think Mayor Rahm needs to follow Mayor Bloomberg’s ideas of wotking with these folks.

    A perfect example of what the occupiers are fighting is being played out in our state captital. There is a group of 1%s, the Chicago civic group of CEO’s, who are trying to take away the earned pensions of the rank and file blue collar state workers, the 99%. I would like to see someone publish a frank and honest comparison of each member of the civic group’s salary and pensions compared with the average state workers salary and pension.

  10. - Will - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 1:50 pm:

    Rich, I’d never spam capitolfax. Just helping out since I’m sure you would have posted or linked it yourself had you seen it before.

  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:01 pm:

    Let’s address the points:
    1. concentration of power, legis leaders, etc:
    A: thank you cut back amendment. might want to take it up with the guy who lives over at the mansion, if he’s there.

    2. unfair tax structure …
    A: Is Terry Duffy part of this protest? We just raised taxes. There’s this part of the state constitution that requires a flat tax. (changing this will be addressed below)

    3. millions to fossil fuels, poison air …
    A: But the governor installed rain barrels at the mansion (I know, kinda weak)

    4. Ignoring collective bargaining and skipping pensions.
    A: just about everyone in Illinois government save the aforementioned evil legislative leaders is in a union. Really. And we’re now 16 years into a 50 year plan to make up for skipping the pension payments for decades. (see above mentioned tax increase needed to pay for huge pension costs)

    5. budget cuts without making wealthy pay fair share.
    A: Perhaps you all should have hit the campaign trail for former Rep. Mike Smith. He sponsored and brought to a vote a constitutional amendment to do away with the flat tax and impose a higher tax rate on the wealthy. It lost. Rep. Smith was then defeated last year. Dan Hynes made a progressive tax amendment part of his campaign for governor. He also lost.

    6. blocked legislation to require banks to know name, age, etc of those being evicted.
    A: OK, I know nothing of this one. Great issue. Good luck.

  12. - Slick Willy - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:03 pm:

    I have a hard time suporting the OWS movement. Simply put, I simply cannot support much of what they are demanding. Free college education for all? A minimum wage of $20/hr? Guaranteed living wage - regardless of employment? Open borders - allowing anyone to move and live wherever they want? Immediate debt forgiveness for all - everyone, everything, everywhere?

    Sounds like a recipe for anarchy and economic failure. They should be allowed to gather and wave their signs, per the first ammendment. However, if they get out of hand, I have no problem with the CPD releasing the dogs and getting out the firehoses. :)

  13. - Shore - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:05 pm:

    bcross, what happened in the middle east has nothing to do with what occupy wall street is about. One of the 10 commandements of posting here is no national talking points, but in those countries those were governments where they hadn’t had a change of leadership in a generation. In contrast this movement has people like elizabeth warren and jan schakowsky who are bff with the president supposedly with them and marching with them. There was also a certain victory party 36 months ago in the city of chicago.

    I’m not an occupy wall street person, but people deserve to have the right to be out there protesting and it seems like overkill from the police. I know mayor emanuel doesn’t want any pimples like these protests on the public face of the city he seems to spend all of his time tending but all those police out there make it look like he’s trying to intimidate these people.

  14. - Just Observing - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:08 pm:

    So, Will, I assume Occupy Springfield is opposed to union, education reform, and environmental lobbyists too? You want to evict them too?

  15. - Shore - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:09 pm:

    I’m waiting for a chicago columnist to write about what kind of a tough position this movement puts rahm-not exactly a working class guy, the daley brothers, and obama who seems to do a 35k a head fundraiser every night now. I think this movement is more a problem for democrats internally pitting their wall street technocrat rahm/bill daley wing against their activist liberal working class base as it is for republicans. I have yet to see duckworth, halvorson, jesse jackson, krishnamoorthi or any of these other democrats who are railing against the koch brothers and wall street out there marching with them.

  16. - Slick Willy - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:14 pm:

    ===My point here is that Gov. Pat Quinn needs to continue to make sure that everything stays calm. There’s no need to be provoking folks who are just expressing their 1st Amendment rights.===

    Why is this Quinn’s problem? I can see it if the ILNG is involved, but it seems like this is an issue for the mayors of the respective towns. Am I missing something?

  17. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:15 pm:

    ===Am I missing something? ===

    Yeah. The STATE Police. Get it?

  18. - Will - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:29 pm:

    Just Observing, are lobbyists for those groups representing the 1%? Or do they represent a much broader *public* interest constituency? The eviction notice is addressed specifically to “special interest” lobbyists “for the 1%.”

    Michelle Flaherty, you seem to be making the assumption that the people who wrote the eviction notice are unaware of the things you mention. That would be incorrect.

  19. - BCross - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:31 pm:


    My seatmates point was that both “movements” are all about concentration of power. They didn’t differentiate between power concentrated in a single elderly dictator and power concentrated in the banking/financial industry. To them both scenarios involve people trying to amass wealth & power at the expense of and to the detriment of others.

    Like I said — I’m not sure that I can equate the two but I can understand what they were talking about.

    I totally agree with you that these people have a right to be out there protesting and — other than trash — there don’t seem to be many complaints. But then we also live in age of “sneak & peak” searches, warrant-less wiretaps & surveillance cameras on every street corner. I can kind of see a trend there also!

  20. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:35 pm:

    Well where the HELL have they been the last several election cycles?

  21. - BCross - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:36 pm:

    BTW - I’m curious if “Occupy Your Capitol Day” was scheduled on a Saturday because it was convenient for the ‘occupiers’ or because no one else will be there?????? ;-)

  22. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 2:53 pm:

    My hope is that the OWS folks identify candidates they can support and work their tails off to get them elected. The elected officials respond to two groups: folks with money & folks with votes. Because the folks with votes don’t show up at the polls (about 41% last year), the folks with the money retain power.

    While I appreciate the symbolism of the Occupy movement, if the followers do not work for candidates and then vote, the movement will die and it’s principles will fail.

    Low voter turnouts are unfortunate, but they also provide an enormous opportunity for motivated groups to swing elections. The ability to organize a one-day or multi-month occupation indicates tremendous potential. I hope there is follow though.

    After posting their demands on the door of the State Capitol on Saturday, the Occupy folks should fan out and collect signatures to put their candidates on the ballot. The political leaders will be amused by Saturday’s efforts at the Capitol, but they will really take notice if a few Occupiers file for office the first week in December, especially if they have lots of signatures. There is a way to occupy the Capitol for years…

  23. - Slick Willy - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===Am I missing something? ===

    Yeah. The STATE Police. Get it?

    Veto session been a bit rough? Sorry I asked.

  24. - jerry 101 - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 3:16 pm:

    slick willy - i wasn’t aware that OWS had made any demands. In fact, I’m pretty sure that OWS is very clearly against making any demands. They have made statements about the way that things are and have asked questions about why they are that way, but I was not aware of any demands being made.

    Shore - Contrary to whatever you’ve heard, Elizabeth Warren is, at best, ambivalent about (if not outright hostile toward)OWS. About halfway down is a video clip from a debate which Warren participated in, and she was certainly not pro-OWS.

  25. - sal-says - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 3:25 pm:

    “But that’s a lot of cops for a peaceful crowd.”


    Maybe a ‘large’ law enforcement presence helped to keep it peaceful?

    What would have been the right number? 3 - 5 - 10 - 15?

  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 3:28 pm:

    sal, have they been anything less than peaceful anywhere they’ve been in Chicago?

  27. - Responsa - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 3:34 pm:

    Will, and anyone else from Occupy Anywhere who may read this: I respect completely your first amendment rights to speak your piece as individuals and as like minded people to gather together in a peaceful group. But I, and many many others will not take your “movement” seriously as long as you persist in claiming that in whatever you say and do, you represent 99% of the state’s or the US population.

    I did not vote for you to represent me. I assure you I am nowhere near the economic level of a one percenter. I assure you I see many problems in our society bound by a toxic combo of government, morally deficient “cronies” and our seriously bastardized form of capitalism. But it’s the height of arrogance to claim that you speak for ALL those Americans who are not in the top 1%. You are silly if you believe that your methods/complaints/demands/solutions represent the exact same ones (and also the same ends) that each of your fellow citizens want.

    You may think “We are the 99 percent”, and “this is what democracy looks like” sound cool as chants while banging drums and as media talking points. It may make you feel self-important to say those words. But that still does not in any way authorize or legitimize an ability to speak and act on behalf of 99% of the populace. In other words–you are fully entitled to speak in your own name– but not in my name.

  28. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 3:35 pm:

    Point being, is this a proper government response to a bunch of kids with candles?

  29. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 3:57 pm:

    for those of you who question what role an illinois governor could play in chicago economic protests please google john peter altgeld.

    as a chicagoan i am terrified about what natog8 could unleash on this city not because of my fellow chicagoans but what could come from people showing up here from other cities/countries and with rahm at war with the cpd rank and file and rahm at war with the commander of the illinois national guard where does that leave the people of chicago?

  30. - Colossus - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 4:02 pm:

    Responsa -

    The question then becomes: what are you doing to help correct the “toxic combo of government, morally deficient “cronies” and our seriously bastardized form of capitalism”? Making a donation? Walking a precinct for an incumbent?

    Look at the tone of news coverage. No longer are we absorbed by talk of the deficit or cutting, you’re actually starting to hear about jobs, about income inequality, about projections for the young (

  31. - Colossus - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 4:05 pm:

    people in this nation, and where they can expect to be in 30 years compared to their parents. The movement is slowly making the media see that the economy isn’t just something that affects who wins the presidential election. It affects every citizen in the united states and the majority those citizens are not being served by the system we have in place.

    If you don’t like the more theatrical elements, that’s fine. I can’t stand drum circles or street performers, but that doesn’t undercut the fact that OWS/OS are helping to bring the very issues you say you care about into the public discourse. Every time my Congressman opens his mouth I want to tell everyone in earshot that he doesn’t speak for me, but that’s the legal representative I have. If you’re truly concerned about these issues, I hope to see you tomorrow at one. If not, then you can keep sitting on the sidelines and throwing your rocks and watching as the same thing we’ve always done gets us the same thing we’ve always got.

  32. - Niles Township - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 4:09 pm:

    Based on what I have seen of the movement on LaSalle Street, I would say police presence to protect state property is appropriate. The Chicago cops do the same thing when the larger groups gather. A large visual presence is a deterrent to things getting out of hand as long as the police don’t provoke (see Oakland).

  33. - Niles Township - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 4:11 pm:

    BTW I am not the one percent for sure, but there is no way in **** that the OWS represents me. I have as much problem with them as I do the 1%. What happen to the moderate middle, the slient majority?

  34. - oz - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 4:15 pm:

    We sure are expending a lot of our resources on these what so far have been proven to be peaceful protestors. If the number of officers seems excessive here in this instance people should look at the manpower and resources that were used at the last two Grant Park OWS protests in Chicago. I have to wonder if the potential max fines of $500 dollars a head for the approximately 300 people arrested will come close to cover the cost.

  35. - Wensicia - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 4:26 pm:

    This does seem a bit excessive, especially if Quinn supports the OWS protests.

  36. - Responsa - Friday, Oct 28, 11 @ 4:42 pm:

    –If not, then you can keep sitting on the sidelines and throwing your rocks and watching as the same thing we’ve always done gets us the same thing we’ve always got–

    Yeah, that comment pretty well covers the insulting, simplistic and narrow thinking, “my way or the highway” arrogance, and self-importance of OWS/OS I referred to earlier. Thanks for illustrating my point so neatly.

    So, if people don’t join you tomorrow, you automatically assume they are just slug citizens sitting on the sidelines and watching? Or throwing rocks? Doing nothing to change things? Not participating in society or politics? Not pursuing other additional parallel avenues to fix things? Geez, get over yourself.

    Tomorrow’s supposed to be a beautiful sunny fall day. I sincerely hope you have a nice time and a fulfilling day in Springfield.

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