I leave this afternoon to go visit my family for a few days, so expect updates to be a little sporadic. I will be keeping an eye on things, though, so you may find me posting at odd times if I see something that must be shown.
-- Russian investors and citizens alike are fleeing the country to save their funds from the reign of newly elected President Putin. Opposition leaders are now facing up to three years in prison, and fears of crackdowns have many scrambling to get their money out of harm's way. Putin declared he would make the country more democratic, but with arrests and raids already swinging into action, it seems unlikely that his promise will be kept. Putin has decided that Russia will not be attending either the NATO or G8 summits, further isolating the country from the rest of the world. Putin said one of the reasons he is not attending is to show President Obama his displeasure over America's criticism of Russian elections.
-- Thousands of Occupiers from numerous cities are making their way to Chicago as this is written. Buses from across the country, as far away as NYC, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, will be arriving between Friday night and Saturday morning. Chicago police have cordoned off an area for buses to release passengers. Several churches have opened their doors to Occupiers, saying they will provide a place of rest for as many as they can.
-- Four members of Occupy Little Rock were arrested yesterday, only a few hours after the group's permit expired. They were charged with failure to disperse, while other Occupiers chanted nearby. A Police Chief initially sat down with the four and asked them to leave. He told the media that all four responded very politely that they would not do so, then were arrested by officers. He praised the Occupiers for being peaceful and polite throughout the entire process.
-- Many Occupiers may be surprised to find that the U.S. Justice Department is siding with protesters. The Dept. released an 11 page letter to the Baltimore P.D., as well as many other larger police departments and agencies, reminding them that the recording of police officers doing their jobs is a First Amendment right, and that any officer who takes a camera and deletes or destroys footage under any circumstances should be punished. Some agencies are pushing for a stronger statement from the Justice Department, asking them to address First Amendment rights in America as a whole.
-- The NYPD is struggling to save face now that the first major Occupy trial blew up in their face. It turns out that the student journalist they arrested for blocking traffic on disorderly conduct charges was there to help out the NYPD, by showing that the police were being mis-characterized. A video from Tim Pool, the well-known NYC livestreamer, proved that at no time were the protesters in the street, it was, in fact, the police blocking traffic. The NYPD blatantly lied in court concerning the events surrounding the arrest, and may, if the judge so desires, face perjury charges.
-- A Federal Judge ruled yesterday that a class-action suit may be brought against police for their biased use of Stop-and-Frisk techniques, leading to a blown up controversy between Mayor Bloomberg and the media. Bloomberg says that the majority of the population agrees with Stop-and-Frisk policies, and that the media is blowing things out of proportion by covering the minority's opinions on the topic. He cites an unknown poll with no numbers, saying only "majority" and "minority," yet polls actually show that more people disagree with the tactics than agree: 49% to 46%.
-- A grandmother in Minnesota is fighting back against her local community after they told her she must remove her lawn signs supporting Occupy or face fines. The woman first decorated the signs with holiday attire in order to make them legal, as she could not afford an attorney, and was then told she could leave them up until the holiday season was over. The woman then found multiple other violations in the city and turned complaints in regarding them, but they did nothing to the others. The woman has received threats because of her complaints, and now heads to Federal Court to have the city ordinance declared unconstitutional.
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