Skip to main content


This is breaking news and will be updated as events warrant.

Judge Frances McIntyre of Suffolk Superior Court this afternoon issued her decision based on the December 1 hearing regarding Occupy Boston's presence in Dewey Square. She has ruled against the Occupation and lifted the Temporary Restraining Order which prevented the City of Boston from forcibly removing the encampment.

From the text of her opinion, available in full at PrivacySOS:

This proceeding arises out of the demonstration known as Occupy Boston, which occupied Dewey Square in Boston on September 30, 2011. Protesters have been living on the site since, and hope to continue to do so, and govern themselves as an exemplary democracy. Plaintiffs claim that their occupation of the site and the community they have establihed thereon are protected by the First Amendment. They seek a preliminary injunction against their removal by defendants [the City].

But the injunction is denied because, while Occupy Boston protesters may be exercising their expressive rights during their protest, they have no privilege under the First Amendment to seize and hold the land on which they sit. The distinction is key.

...

This decision clears the way but does not order the plaintiffs and other protesters to vacate the site and request permission to set up tents of other equipment for expressive purposes, should Occupy Boston wish to continue its association with the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. Overnight sleeping and living at Dewey Square are not options under the Conservancy guidelines, however.

As a point of information, Dewey Square is arterial land owned by the state, hence public, but administered by a private entity, the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. Again, we see the intersection of public-private spaces, and how privatization of public spaces is stripping us of our First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble.

Ben Wish, attorney for Occupy Boston, has stated that he will file an appeal of the decision.

Occupy Boston has declared an emergency 7 pm General Assembly this evening to discuss next steps, and plan for the inevitable violent police raid. Following a raid, Occupy Boston will meet at 8:15 a.m. the next morning at 24 New Chardon Street, and then at 7 p.m. at the bandstand on the Commons.

Please come and support as we plan next steps and our move into Phase 2.

Discuss

Sat Dec 03, 2011 at 08:02 PM PST

Love and the Occupy movement

by Keori

I have come to a conclusion: Love is a lot like the Occupy movement. Having participated in romantic love relationships, and in Occupy Boston (to varying degrees depending on what was happening in my life at the time), I've noticed a lot of similarities.

Both love and the Occupy movement are messy. They are both difficult and fraught with problems wildly individual to each relationship, or Occupation. They are both an exercise in coming together into a whole greater than the sum of its parts through differences of background, opinion, and priorities.

Love is meant to bring people together, to build families and tribes, to lift people up and make us stronger, capable of overcoming the crap the world throws at us. So is the Occupy movement. For every individual cause it is about, the Occupy movement is a labor of love. It is love for other human beings, other non-human living beings, love of the planet, love of justice and compassion and equality. It is love in action.

Both love and Occupy movement are lifelong works in progress. The beauty of both is that neither one is ever perfect. Both will always be, at the core, striving to become better. Both love and an Occupation must learn and accept their limits, and work to expand past them in healthy ways.

Some loves and some Occupations fall apart, either because of internal conflict, or because some people involved are abusive and exploitative, or because the external pressures forced upon them are too much to bear. Some are forcibly broken apart, leaving hurting hearts in the wake.

There is always someone who looks down upon love or an Occupation, who sneers at the imperfections in each, who derides it as directionless or silly or pedestrian. For those in the LGBTQ, kink, or poly communities, there is always someone who demonizes love, just as they do Occupy, for being immoral or decadent or just-not-acceptable. There is always some stuck-up NIMBY snob who thinks that "that kind of thing" doesn't belong in their community. And funny thing: the heartless people who look down upon and sneer at real love are the same heartless people who sneer at the Occupy movement.

It's no coincidence, I think, that the people I've met through the Occupy movement have been more willing to love than those who deride it. We love each other, we love those around us, we love justice and practice compassion. We love the world and its inhabitants enough to stand up against unimaginable power and say, "No more."

We love. And we put our love into action, and we Occupy.

Discuss

Another December 1st, another World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day website

Back in June, during Pride month, I wrote a post about HIV/AIDS, and getting tested, and linked to a few other posts from Kossacks psychodrew and FogCityJohn. If you want CDC data on HIV/AIDS, check back in that post. It's critical that we understand WTF is going on with HIV/AIDS, the LGBTQ community's response to it, and the global response to it.

From psychodrew: The Stigma of HIV

From FogCityJohn: HIV: A Question of Priorities

I'm only 33. I'm too young to remember hearing about "gay cancer," GRID, and then finally HIV/AIDS. I do remember Ryan White, and the uproar in schools over HIV+ children attending. I remember the fear, the panic, and the ignorance amongst the adults in my life.

The panic has pretty much gone away, but the stigma remains.

My law school's GSA is doing a food drive for local families living with HIV/AIDS. Thanks to cuts to HIV/AIDS testing and treatment programs, the inflated costs of prescription drugs, and the rising cost of commodities like food and gas, PWA are affected by hunger more often than others. The food drive boxes have remained largely empty, while the boxes next to them containing items for the troop care package drive are full.

I see that and I want to scream at my classmates, "What the hell is wrong with you people? You can go out and buy bags of beef jerky and Skittles and magazines for our troops deployed, but you refuse to buy a bag of rice to give to a local family living with HIV?"

This goddamned disease is 30 years old this year, and it is still killing our friends and family. The "healthcare" industry is making it more expensive to mitigate HIV/AIDS, the 1% in Congress and in Statehouses across the country are slashing funding for community health care and trying to eliminate needle exchange programs, and the social safety net to help care for those positive is being devastated.

I'm so angry about this. I'm so angry at the obscenely rich, who are willing to watch us all die just so they can take home another stock option. I'm angry at their puppets in office, who kill community healthcare programs that help the least among us. I'm angry at the christian right, who demonize LGBTQ people and PWA, saying that HIV is "God's punishment" for our "sin," and who withhold accurate information from their children, putting them at risk to preserve their own sense of sanctimony.

Please, everyone, take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Get educated about HIV transmission, infection, and treatment. Practice safer sex. If you use, please use clean needles, and get help to stop. Get tested for HIV at least annually. For a list of free testing centers, go to the CDC's National HIV and STD Testing page to locate one. You'll find where Ryan White services and needle exchanges are available, where you can get conventional blood testing, or rapid oral swab testing. There is no reason to not get tested.

Discuss

As reported at Privacy SOS, the ACLU of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts chapter of the National Lawyers Guild are filing a suit in Suffolk County Court (Boston) to protect the Occupiers in Dewey Square.

The ACLU of Massachusetts and the National Lawyers Guild, together with cooperating attorney Howard Cooper from the law firm Todd & Weld, have filed suit to preemptively prevent the kind of surprise police raid that we've witnessed in Portland, OR, Oakland, CA, and New York City this week from happening at Occupy Boston in Dewey Square.

In light of the news that Mayors from 18 cities spoke on a conference call last week about destroying the encampments, the organizations are taking the position that a preemptive action is necessary in order to protect the peaceful assembly at Dewey. The Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, has not stated publicly whether or not he was on that conference call. But the ACLUm isn't waiting to find out the hard way.

The suit, filed in Superior Court, seeks a Declaration from the Court defending the right to peaceful protest and assembly under the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, as well an injunction to prevent the police from staging another night-time raid, such as the one that occurred on October 11, 2011, when the Boston Police arrested 141 people in the middle of the night.

For those in the Boston metro area, if you can, please join us in solidarity tomorrow at the Suffolk County Courthouse (Suffolk Superior Court), 3 Pemberton Square in Boston, room 1008, at 10 a.m. for the hearing. Justice Frances McIntyre will be presiding.

Press release from ACLUm below the fleur-de-kos.

EDIT: If you want to donate to either of these fine organizations working to protect your civil rights, you can donate to ACLU Massachusetts HERE, and the Massachusetts chapter of the National Lawyers Guild HERE.

Continue Reading

Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 05:03 PM PST

Why We Die - Veterans in Crisis

by Keori

Tomorrow is Armistice Day, now known in America as Veterans' Day.

Today, at Occupy Burlington, in Vermont, a 35-year-old veteran named Josh shot and killed himself.

As a veteran, and as someone who is helping the Occupy movement, this hurts deeply. This didn't have to happen. It didn't. Why did it? I'll tell you why.

Continue Reading

Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:04 AM PDT

#OccupyBoston Day 2 - The Humanity

by Keori

For images of Day 2 of #occupyboston, check out bozepravde15's photo diary from last night.

In less than 24 hours, since we set up camp in Dewey Square, across the street from the Fed building, #OccupyBoston's little tent city has doubled in size. There isn't a whole lot of room, but what we do have is well-planned out.

ACTION ITEM: Food Not Bombs has been feeding us, but cannot be there today because of an earlier commitment. On Friday, Crooks & Liars got people to donate pizzas. Kossacks, can you step up, and order pizzas to be delivered for the 3 pm hot meal? (Please keep them vegetarian, thank you!) As reported at C&L:

The lovely folks at Al Capone's are giving us a special: (tax and tip included) $10 per pizza $30 minimum. You can call in an order there at: (617) 426-1800.

I'm not going to write about the events that happened. Aside from the march to Hynes Convention Center (which bozepravde15 covered quite well), yesterday was mostly about logistics and forward movement on our community. If you want to read about that, check out the Twitter feed at @Occupy_Boston, or see the webpage. Instead, I'm going to relay some of my experiences yesterday at the Dewey Square encampment, where our common humanity resounded.

Continue Reading

Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 06:36 AM PDT

#OccupyBoston's First Night Out

by Keori

Greetings and Salutations from Massachusetts!! Boy, do I love my city. I REALLY love my city. Here, in the heart of the American Revolution, a group of activists, students, artists, lawyers, chaplains, medial personnel, tech geeks, and everyday people have come together to Occupy Boston.

In only three days, The Majority went from its first General Assembly of about 200 people at the Gazebo on the Common to a 1000-person strong protest at Dewey Square, in the financial district.

Come below the squiggle for some highlights.

Continue Reading

Today the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals paved the road for the reinstatement of the ban on LGB servicemembers in the military. A three-judge panel dismissed the case Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, declaring the issue moot since the trigger repeal of DADT went through on September 20. Going a step further, the panel also vacated the federal court ruling which declared “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” unconstitutional, leaving the door wide open for a future President, Secretary of Defense, or a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to reinstate the ban at will.

What does this mean for LGB troops and veterans discharged under the law? A lot. Come below the Orange Squiggle to find out.

Continue Reading

Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 11:20 AM PDT

NH Gov. Lynch Vetoes Voter Photo ID Law

by Keori

Well done, Governor Lynch.

Democratic New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch vetoed a voter identification law on Monday night because he said it "creates a real risk that New Hampshire voters will be denied their right to vote."

"Voter turnout in New Hampshire is among the highest in the nation, election after election. There is no voter fraud problem in New Hampshire. We already have strong elections laws that are effective in regulating our elections," Lynch said, Reuters reports.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed the bill with a veto-proof margin. The Senate, however, was not able to get a two-thirds passage. Both chambers are revisiting legislation also vetoed by the Governor.

Governor Lynch joins North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in vetoing a piece of "Voter Photo ID" legislation, designed by Republicans to keep the elderly, impoverished, and college students from voting.

Lynch said the bill's provisions were among the "most restrictive" in the nation and could adversely affect seniors, students, disabled voters and those who don't drive.

"We do not want to disenfranchise our seniors or our young people or low income voters," said House Democratic leader Representative Terie Norelli, who opposed the bill. "Those are the groups that would have the most difficult time complying."

Voter suppression laws are currently in play in 27 states. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states require ID at the polls.

Discuss

Since the signing of the bill which would allow for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal on December 22, 2010, the military has continued to discharge servicemembers suspected of or found to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Yesterday, the Advocate reported that the Pentagon has confirmed a new round of investigations and discharges under DADT.

The Pentagon confirmed Monday that more service members have been discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” pending certification of the policy’s repeal, with one individual’s discharge approved as recently as Thursday.

A total of four airmen have been discharged under the policy in the last several weeks, Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez confirmed Monday.

An Air Force spokesman, Maj. Joel Harper, stated that these discharges were for individuals who voluntarily came out and sought discharge. While this may be true in these cases, they are not the only ones. Yesterday, Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis made the following statement:

These Air Force discharges underscore that DADT investigations and discharges continue. Unfortunately, SLDN has a client right now who was recently recommended for discharge at a board hearing, and his paperwork is headed to the Navy Secretary. He made no statement, and he wants to continue serving. We have another client who is having a board hearing later this week, and if this senior enlisted person is recommended for discharge, her paperwork will likely be before the Navy Secretary in short order. She, too, wishes to continue serving. Let me be clear. At SLDN, we have scores of clients who have been advised they are under DADT investigations. Some of these clients have between 10 and 15 years of honorable service, few made voluntary statements, and none to my knowledge has asked to be ‘separated expeditiously.’ For these service members, especially, certification and final repeal cannot come soon enough. The continued stress of investigations and the risk of separation under DADT is real and very much imminent.”

That "more humane" DADT doesn't seem to be working out very well.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said on Thursday that he will not certify DADT repeal before his retirement, effective June 30. His replacement, former CIA chief Leon Panetta, has not stated whether he will certify repeal. In a prepared statement he has said only that, "If confirmed, and in the event Secretary Gates does not sign such a certification prior to his departure from office, I will work closely with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to access whether the elements for certification in the law are met before signing it myself."

Despite the various service chiefs stating that they have encountered no problems with the force in adminstering repeal training, there is still no target date for completion. Comments made by VADM William Gortney to the House Armed Services Committee indicate that recommendations from the service chiefs to ADM Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), could be ready by late July or early August.

The President, the CJCS, and the Secretary of Defense must certify repeal before it can be implemented. After certification, per the "trigger" repeal legislation, a 60-day waiting period will commence. Then, and only then, will DADT repeal be completed.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is not dead. It is not repealed. It is still the law, and servicemembers and their families are still suffering under it.

For a comprehensive timeline of DADT repeal, please click here.

Discuss

I've prepared a timeline of events concerning Don't Ask, Don't Tell going back to 2006. Some brief facts on the background of DADT, courtesy of Servicemembers' Legal Defense Network.

    * Passed by Congress in 1993, DADT is a the nickname for Federal Title 10, Chapter 654, which states that homosexuality is incompatible with military service, and mandates the discharge of openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual service members.

    * According to official numbers, over 14,500 active service members have been fired under the law since 1994. However, this number does NOT include personnel discharged from the Reserves or National Guard.

    * The numbers of discharges over the years show a marked decrease during times of war, illustrating commanders' willingness to look the other way when mission-critical personnel are revealed to be gay. (Chart courtesy of Servicemembers United DADT Archive)

FY94-09-Graph

    * The full title of the policy is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't Harass." This means that commanders cannot ask troops regarding their sexual orientation, troops must not divulge if they are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and "witch hunt" pursuits and harassment of a suspected gay troop is prohibited. (We all know how well that translates in reality.) "Telling" is constituted by admission of homosexuality to anyone, regardless of intent to act on it or not, a homosexual act, or marriage or attempted marriage to a person of the same gender.

    * H.R. 1283, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, was re-introduced in the House in March 2009. The Senate version was S.3065. On May 27, 2010, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of Fiscal Year 2011 (FY2011) by a vote of 234 to 194 that would lead to the repeal of DADT. The amendment did not mandate repeal; rather, it allowed for repeal if the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that repeal will not harm the military. On December 15, 2010 the House passed a standalone bill matching the NDAA amendment language 250-175. On December 18, the Senate passed the House’s stand-alone DADT bill, 65-31. On December 22, President Obama signed the bill allowing for DADT repeal into law. On July 22, 2011, SECDEF Leon Panetta, CJCS Admiral Mike Mullen, and President Obama "certified" repeal, kicking off the additional 60-day waiting period. As of today, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" remains in place.

 A recent history of the fight over "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is below the fold. It is my hope that this comprehensive timeline of actions from the White House, the Pentagon, Congress, activists, advocates, and opponents will illuminate the past and ongoing war to get DADT repealed.

As of September 20, 2011, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is finally repealed. However, transgender servicemembers still cannot serve. LGB servicemembers are not protected by nondiscrimination policies, or fall under Command Managed Equal Opportunity, nor can their same-sex partners be recognized or cared for as heterosexual spouses can. Finally, because the "trigger repeal" law mandates open service at the pleasure of the Commander-in-Chief, future Presidents or Pentagon leadership can reinstate the policy at will, unless the ban is declared unConstitutional.

Continue Reading

I'll keep this short and sweet.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is going to kick the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal can down the road just a little more.

Congress voted to repeal the ban in December and Gates had said previously that he might be able to sign off on the change before he steps down at the end of the month.

The new law requires the Pentagon to make any necessary changes and then the prohibition would end 60 days after the defense secretary, the top military officer Admiral Mike Mullen and President Barack Obama certify that the military is ready to move ahead.

"I will not certify," said Gates, but added he had launched preparations to pave the way for the move.

So, Gates has made repealing DADT his legacy, but he's not going to certify. Instead, he's "launched preparation to pave the way for the move." Sounds a lot like assembling a task force to form a panel to commission a study and so forth.

DADT repeal must be certified by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS). Then, an additional 60 day waiting period must be endured before certification is final and our LGB troops are out of danger of discharge. Robert Gates' replacement, current CIA chief Leon Panetta, has made no statements as to whether he will or will not certify DADT repeal, and is not likely to even look at the issue for at least several months. The current CJCS, Admiral Mike Mullen, is stepping down from his post on October 1. Who will replace him? Will that person be willing to certify repeal? Just what the hell is it going to take to get this thing finally done?

Discuss
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.

RSS

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site