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NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators protesting corporate greed filled New York City’s Times Square, mixing with gawkers, Broadway showgoers, tourists and police to create a chaotic scene in the midst of Manhattan.
“Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” protesters chanted Saturday from within police barricades. Police, some in riot gear and mounted on horses, tried to push them out of the square and onto the sidewalks in an attempt to funnel the crowds away.
Sandy Peterson, of Utah, who was in Times Square after seeing “The Book of Mormon” musical on Broadway, got caught up in the disorder.
“We’re getting out of here before this gets ugly,” she said.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators had marched north throughManhattan from Washington Square Park earlier in the afternoon. Once in Times Square, they held a rally for several hours before dispersing. Over the course of the day, more than 80 people were arrested.
After midnight, about 10 people were loaded into a police van after refusing to leave Washington Square Park, where protesters had returned to convene a meeting following the Times Square rally. The police had warned protesters that the park had closed, and began massing in riot gear and on horses a few minutes before then; most people had left by then.
Police spokesman Paul Browne said 42 people were arrested in Times Square on Saturday night after being warned repeatedly to disperse; three others were arrested while trying to take down police barriers.
Two police officers were injured during the protest and had to be hospitalized. One suffered a head injury, the other a foot injury, Browne said.
Earlier in the day, demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York City paraded to a Chase bank branch, banging drums, blowing horns and carrying signs decrying corporate greed. Marchers throughout the country emulated them in protests that ranged from about 50 people in Jackson, Mississippi, to about 2,000 in the larger city of Pittsburgh.
“Banks got bailed out. We got sold out,” the crowd of as many as 1,000 in Manhattan chanted. A few protesters went inside the bank to close their accounts, but the group didn’t stop other customers from getting inside or seek to blockade the business.
Police told the marchers to stay on the sidewalk, and the demonstration appeared to be fairly orderly as it wound through downtown streets.
Later, police arrested 24 people at a Citibank branch near Manhattan’s Washington Square Park. Most were detained for trespassing after they ignored a request by the bank to leave, police said.
Overseas, violence broke out in Rome, where police fired tear gas and water cannons at some protesters who broke away from the main demonstration, smashing shop and bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles. Dozens were injured.
A dozen demonstrators were arrested, the Italian news agency reported. Those arrested came from several Italian cities, especially in the south. Police said they seized clubs and incendiary devices from the protesters.
Tens of thousands nicknamed “the indignant” marched in cities across Europe, as the protests that began in New York linked up with long-running demonstrations against government cost-cutting and failed financial policies in Europe. Protesters also turned out in Australia and Asia.
In Canada, hundreds protested in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. Some of the protesters announced plans to camp out indefinitely in St. James Park and protests were also held in other cities across Canada from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver, British Columbia.
In Mexico City, a few hundred protesters gathered under the towering, stone Revolution Monument to protest “exploitation” by wealthy elites. In the border city of Tijuana, about 100 protesters gathered in the banking district, including many university students protesting against the lack of jobs for graduates.
In the U.S., among the demonstrators in New York withdrawing their money from Chase was Lily Paulina, 29, an organizer with the United Auto Workers union who lives in Brooklyn. She said she was taking her money out because she was upset that JPMorgan Chase was making billions, while its customers struggled with bank fees and home foreclosures.
“Chase bank is making tons of money off of everyone … while people in the working class are fighting just to keep a living wage in their neighborhood,” she said.
“We aren’t going to be a part of this system that doesn’t work for us,” said another demonstrator withdrawing her money, 20-year-old Brooklyn College student Biola Jeje.
Other demonstrations in the city Saturday included an anti-war march to mark the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan War.
Among the people participating in that march was Sergio Jimenez, 25, who said he quit his job in Texas to come to New York to protest.
“These wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were all based on lies,” Jimenez said. “And if we’re such an intelligent country, we should figure out other ways to respond to terror, instead of with terror.”
Elsewhere in the country, nearly 1,500 gathered Saturday for a march past banks in downtown Orlando. In Arizona, reporters and protesters saw an estimated 40 people detained around midnight Saturday at a park just north of downtown Phoenix.
In Colorado, about 1,000 people rallied in downtown Denver to support Occupy Wall Street and at least two dozen were arrested. Nearly 200 people spent a cold night in tents in Grand Circus Park in Detroit, donning gloves, scarves and heavy coats to keep warm. Helen Stockton, a 34-year-old certified midwife from Ypsilanti, said they planned to remain there “as long as it takes to effect change.”
“It’s easy to ignore us,” Stockton said. Then she referred to the financial institutions, saying, “But we are not going to ignore them. Every shiver in our bones reminds us of why we are here.”
Hundreds more converged near the Michigan’s Capitol in Lansing with the same message, the Lansing State Journal reported.
Rallies drew young and old, laborers and retirees. In Pittsburgh, marchers also included parents with children in strollers and even a doctor. The peaceful crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 stretched for two or three blocks.
“I see our members losing jobs. People are angry,” said Janet Hill, 49, who works for the United Steelworkers, which she said hosted a sign-making event before the march.
Retired teacher Albert Siemsen of Milwaukee said at a demonstration there that he’d grown angry watching school funding get cut at the same time that banks and corporations gained more influence in government. The 81-year-old wants to see tighter Wall Street regulation.
Around him, protesters held signs reading, “Keep your corporate hands off my government,” and “Mr. Obama, Tear Down That Wall Street.”
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick visited protesters in Boston’s Dewey Square for the first time. He said that after walking through the camp, he better understands the range of views and was sympathetic to concerns about unemployment, health care and the influence of money in politics.
And in Denver, about 1,000 people came to a rally in downtown Denver to support the movement.
Associated Press writers Kevin Begos in Pittsburgh, Eric Tucker in Washington, Jay Lindsay in Boston, Corey Williams in Detroit, Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee and Jack Elliott Jr. in Jackson, Mississippi, Charmaine Noronha in Toronto, and Colleen Long, David B. Caruso and AP Radio correspondent Martin Di Caro in New York contributed to this report.
The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) — even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they’re carried out. H.R. 313, the “Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2011,” is sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and allows prosecutors to bring conspiracy charges against anyone who discusses, plans or advises someone else to engage in any activity that violates the CSA, the massive federal law that prohibits drugs like marijuana and strictly regulates prescription medication.”Under this bill, if a young couple plans a wedding in Amsterdam, and as part of the wedding, they plan to buy the bridal party some marijuana, they would be subject to prosecution,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for reforming the country’s drug laws. “The strange thing is that the purchase of and smoking the marijuana while you’re there wouldn’t be illegal. But this law would make planning the wedding from the U.S. a federal crime.”The law could also potentially affect academics and medical professionals. For example, a U.S. doctor who works with overseas doctors or government officials on needle exchange programs could be subject to criminal prosecution. A U.S. resident who advises someone in another country on how to grow marijuana or how to run a medical marijuana dispensary would also be in violation of the new law, even if medical marijuana is legal in the country where the recipient of the advice resides. If interpreted broadly enough, a prosecutor could possibly even charge doctors, academics and policymakers from contributing their expertise to additional experiments like the drug decriminalization project Portugal, which has successfully reduced drug crime, addiction and overdose deaths.The Controlled Substances Act also regulates the distribution of prescription drugs, so something as simple as emailing a friend vacationing in Tijuana some suggestions on where to buy prescription medication over the counter could subject a U.S. resident to criminal prosecution. “It could even be something like advising them where to buy cold medicine overseas that they’d have to show I.D. to get here in the U.S.,” Piper says.Civil libertarian attorney and author Harvey Silverglate says the bill raises several concerns. “Just when you think you can’t get any more cynical, a bill like this comes along. I mean, it just sounds like an abomination. First, there’s no intuitive reason for an American to think that planning an activity that’s perfectly legal in another country would have any effect on America,” Silverglate says. “So we’re getting further away from the common law tradition that laws should be intuitive, and should include a mens rea component. Second, this is just an act of shameless cultural and legal imperialism. It’s just outrageous.”Conspiracy laws in general are problematic when applied to the drug war. They give prosecutors extraordinary discretion to charge minor players, such as girlfriends or young siblings, with the crimes committed by major drug distributors. They’re also easier convictions to win, and can allow prosecutors to navigate around restrictions like statutes of limitations, so long as the old offense can be loosely linked to a newer one. The Smith bill would expand those powers. Under the Amsterdam wedding scenario, anyone who participated in the planning of the wedding with knowledge of the planned pot purchase would be guilty of conspiracy, even if their particular role was limited to buying flowers or booking the hotel.The law is a reaction to a 2007 case in which the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals threw out the convictions of two men who planned the transfer of cocaine from a Colombian drug cartel to a Saudi prince for distribution in Europe. Though the men planned the transaction from Miami, the court found that because the cocaine never reached the U.S. and was never intended to reach the U.S., the men hadn’t committed any crime against the United States.But the Smith bill goes farther than necessary to address that outcome in that case. “They could have limited this law to prohibiting the planning of activities that are illegal in the countries where they take place,” Piper says. “That would have allowed them to convict the guys in the Miami case. There was an amendment proposed to do that and it was voted down on party lines. They intentionally made sure the bill includes activities that are legal in other countries. Which means this is an attempt to apply U.S. law all over the globe.”It wouldn’t be the first time. Over the last several years, a number of executives from online gambling companies have been arrested in U.S. airports and charged with felony violations of U.S. gambling, racketeering and money laundering laws, even though the executives were citizens of and the companies were incorporated in countries where online gambling is legal.Last May, one U.S. citizen saw how the policy can apply in reverse. Joe Gordon, a native of Thailand who has lived in America for 30 years, was arrested while visiting his native country for violating Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, which bans criticism of the Thai royal family. Gordon had posted a link on his blog to a biography of Thailand’s king that has been banned in Thailand.In recent years, officials have also attempted to impose U.S. white collar crime policies on other countries as well, such as pressuring Switzerland to soften its privacy laws to help American officials to catch tax cheats and money launderers.But Silverglate says the Smith bill breaks new ground. “I’m horrified by the pressure on Switzerland, and that’s probably the libertarian in me, but at least there you have an argument that there’s an American interest at stake. Here, I don’t see any interest other than to a desire to impose our moral and cultural preferences on the rest of the world.”Source:(Huffington Post)Linked by FM5’s GingerGee
From Michael Falcone and Amy Bingham:
Values voters love Ron Paul.
Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011.
The Texas congressman and presidential candidate who remains in the single digits in most national polls emerged as the choice of 37 percent of those who cast ballots at the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.
Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who has been surging in national presidential primary polls, came in second with 23 percent of the vote, followed by Rick Santorum who garnered 16 percent. Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann tied for fourth — both with 8 percent.
Current GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, who addressed the conference on Saturday, wound up near the bottom of the pack with 4 percent.
Here are the results of the straw poll:
Ron Paul – 37 percent
Herman Cain – 23 percent
Rick Santorum – 16 percent
Rick Perry – 8 percent
Michele Bachmann – 8 percent
Mitt Romney – 4 percent
Newt Gingrich – 3 percent
Jon Huntsman – 0 percent
Undecided – 1 percent
Here are the top four vice presidential choices: Michele Bachmann; Herman Cain; Marco Rubio; and Rick Santorum.
Saturday’s results were very different from last year’s Values Voter straw poll. The support for both Romney and Newt Gingrich declined markedly. Last year, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., won the straw poll and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took second place. Paul barely registered in 2010.
As ABC News’ Jason Volack reported, Rep. Paul spoke to the audience of hundreds of social conservatives in Washington earlier today, telling them that war was the greatest threat to the modern family.
And ABC News’ Amy Bingham spoke with several attendees at the annual conference this weekend to take the temperature of the cultural conservative voters. Despite Paul’s straw poll win, Bingham heard lots of support for Cain, but the door is still clearly open for other candidates:
Bruce Gordon of College Grove, Ore., said he supported Cain because he seems “down-to-earth.”
“He came up through hard times,” Gordon said. “His success wasn’t handed to him.”
Mary Lynn Scott from Le Sueur, Minn., said she was also a Cain supporter.
“The biggest problem right now is the economy, and he turned two companies around,” Scott said. “He has a good approach to problem solving, a solid sense of humor, he is a man of his word and he has never been in politics. So those things are all in his favor.”
Scott said that while she did not know if Cain’s 9-9-9 economic plan would solve all of the country’s fiscal problems, she supports him because he has a “real plan” and it is a “good place to start.”
But while Cain may have drawn the largest crowds, there was plenty of support to go around. Kelly Shackelford of Plano, Texas, said he was planning to vote for Texas Gov. Perry because “he has been around long enough and he knows what he’s doing.”
“I wasn’t satisfied with the [GOP] field until Perry entered the race,” Shackelford said. “Then we finally had someone who was conservative across the board and who had the heft to compete nationally.”
He said he was looking for a candidate who not only shares his views but who also has executive experience, such as a governor.
“We need someone who as taken those values and then actually accomplished something through the political process with them,” Shackelford said.
Perry’s recent decline in the polls is just a symptom of entering the race with so much hype, Shackelford said, adding, “Eventually, that bubble is going to burst.
“I think it’s a matter of just bumps in the road,” he said. “Clearly, he has to do a better job of communicating the long list of conservative things he has accomplished.”