Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy LA standing!

Occupy L.A. Eviction: Is LAPD Restricting Coverage With Last-Minute 'Pool Media'?

Categories: Occupy L.A.
occupy la lapd standoff.jpg
Will the final LAPD-Occupy standoff be photographed?
​Creating limited media pools at high-profile, heavily policed events isn't an uncommon practice at the Los Angeles Police Department.
"When we don't have resources to accomodate every single outlet that wants to be there, we often do that," says Officer Karen Rayner in the media-relations office.
But a last-minute email to the LAPD's press list last night -- saying "any outlet interested in being considered for the [Occupy L.A. eviction] pool must have a representative attend this meeting, no exceptions" -- has raised some concerns among smaller-time reporters covering Occupy L.A.
(And in the case of Occupy Wall Street, the bloggers and freelancers are often the only ones getting the story right.)
We've contacted Lieutenant Andy Neiman, who heads media relations, for a full list of this year's "pool media" events. But they're usually big trials like Dr. Conrad Murray's or O.J. Simpson's, and other scenes where the police might have trouble keeping crowds at bay.
The pending Occupy L.A. eviction is a trickier beast. Police in other cities are under close scrutiny for their individual treatment of occupiers, and though the LAPD has proven a gentle giant so far (at the mayor's bidding, no doubt), their precise actions at the upcoming eviction are of great importance to Occupy Wall Street observers all over the world.
"At some time in the future, whenever they decide to shut down the park -- once it's declared an unlawful assembly -- only the 'pool' people are going to be allowed in there," says Rayner.
Neiman's "pool media" email was sent to select media outlets (not including the LA Weekly, strangely) around 5:30 p.m. on Monday evening. The notification went up on the City News Service wire (which not all outlets subscribe to) at about 6 p.m. The meeting began at 7:15 p.m.
Frustrated blogger/reporter Ruth Fowler quotes the following from an anonymous attendee of the meeting:
"They were only going to let in one media outlet for each medium (print, tv and radio) but we convinced them to let in three....the only media eligible for pool were those who were on the LAPD press release list and able to get to headquarters with an hours notice. So very few were represented at the meeting. I asked about independent radio/blogs and they said that only media with LAPD-issued badges would be allowed in the vicinity. I asked about those already at the camp and they said after the unlawful assembly order everyone who doesn't leave will be arrested, even those who are journalists. Our attorney was looking into whether there were legal challenges to be made."
Rayner tells the LA Weekly: "You can send your concerns to pio@lapd.lacity.org, but at this point in time, it's kind of a moot point. It's too late."
So we ask what the perimeter will be -- how close we can get to the camp, come eviction time.
"That's the big question of the hour," says Rayner. "That's not going to be released until right before the event occurs."
So basically, reporters can be jailed if they find themselves within this yet-to-be-announced V.I.P. area. That's a sensitive subject, after numerous journos were strongarmed and jailed by NYPD during their raid of Zuccotti Park.
The LAPD-issued badges are another area of concern. As we noted during a tight L.A. City Council meeting on NFL stadium plans:
LAPD passes are issued only to crime reporters; on each personalized application, a journalist must either prove he's on the police beat or, essentially, lie about it, or the application will be denied. For a political writer to need to prove he's buddy-buddy with the LAPD in order to avoid dickish police hassling at a purely political meeting is childish, and reminiscent of Los Angeles' overly protective, V.I.P. approach to press regulations. Like the LAPD can somehow prevent the next Loughner by screening every journalist that comes within 15 feet of a precious local politician.
Now, it appears police are using this press badge, issued exclusively by themselves, to clear the premises for the swift cleanup they're planning. (Along with the shotgun "pool media" meeting last night and, coming up, an undisclosed eviction time/place.) It's engineered it perfectly to keep up the pristine PR image that L.A. has maintained through this Occupy revolution.
Update: From the front page of today's Los Angeles Times:
The city's concern about its image was underscored Monday when police announced they would be allowing only a small group of print, television and radio journalists past police lines when the eviction is finally carried out. Police said the rules were to protect journalists from being harmed during the operation.
When they say "harmed," they're probably talking about the extensive injuries inflicted upon a couple of reporters by LAPD officers at the infamous May Day Melee in 2007 -- the same brutal police-protester clash that many believe prompted the department's delicate handling of Occupy.
And going back to 2000, the LAPD was widely criticized, and sued, for its handling of the crowd -- including indiscriminate rubber bullet-firing at member of the press -- outside the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Since then, they've been super cautiousabout stepping on reporters' toes.

Big Banks Received $13 Billion Income Gift From Government: More 1% Socialism for Wall Street

Big Banks Received $13 Billion Income Gift From Government: More 1% Socialism for Wall Street

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent me an email enticing to me to buy Republican swag as a gift for the holidays. Frankly, I thought it was a parody when I looked at the individual items.
One of the bumper stickers I am still wrapping my brain around for some sense of sanity says, "Vote Democrat: It's Easier Than Working." Then, there's a button that evokes a GOP rapture of sorts: "Visualize No Liberals."
Of course, for sale is the inevitable Republican freeloader slogan: "If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Taxes." Ah yes, "the everything for nothing party."
Priebus' offering of holiday gifts manages to be hypocritical and unimaginative at the same time - sort of like second grade insults.
But what makes it all the more perplexing is how the Republican Party in DC - short of the libertarian wing such as Ron Paul - vigorously affirms subsidizing corporations and Wall Street with tax dollars. That's socialism for the moneyed class that the GOP supports.
This most recently came to light, ironically, with a Bloomberg news report, "Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion."
This occurred under the Bush administration, and it was a clear taxpayer subsidy in the billions of dollars to Wall Street that were not paid back. As Bloomberg Markets magazine reveals, "no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed's below-market rates."
This means the working stiff that the GOP so blithely mocks in its holiday "gifts" underwrote Wall Street with taxpayer dollars to the tune of billions of dollars.
Bloomberg news also notes in its analysis of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, "While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger."
Ah, so much for the faux Republican holiday sloganeering. Did Priebus have Fox "News" design the GOP Store gifts?
In fact, Priebus' shilling of misleading propaganda for the holidays comes on a day that a federal court ruled that Citigroup's $285 million slap-on-the-hand settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is not acceptable. Why?
Because the federal judge in New York said that the SEC fine doesn't reveal the truth about Citigroup's financial misbehavior. According to The Associated Press report:
Judge Jed Rakoff rejected the settlement Monday. The deal would have imposed penalties on Citigroup even as it allowed the company to deny allegations that it misled investors on a complex mortgage investment. The SEC has accused the bank of betting against the investment in 2007 and making $160 million, while investors lost millions.
The judge wrote that there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth about the financial markets.
What would an Occupy Wall Street holiday button read?
Maybe, "Visualize the Republican Fraudsters Going to Jail."
Or, "Vote Republican and Ensure Taxpayer Subsidies for Wall Street."
That's a store at which I would shop.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Anti Immigrant laws in ALABAMA


The Price of Intolerance

It’s early yet for a full accounting of the economic damage Alabama has done to itself with its radical new immigration law.

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Farmers can tally the cost of crops left to rot as workers flee. Governments can calculate the loss of revenues when taxpayers flee. It’s harder to measure the price of a ruined business reputation or the value of investments lost or productivity lost as Alabamians stand in line for hours to prove their citizenship in any transaction with the government. Or what the state will ultimately spend fighting off an onslaught of lawsuits, or training and deploying police officers in the widening immigrant dragnet, or paying the cost of diverting scarce resources away from fighting real crimes.
A growing number of Alabamians say the price will be too high, and there is compelling evidence that they are right. Alabama is already at the low end of states in employment and economic vitality. It has long struggled to lure good jobs and shed a history of racial intolerance.
That was turning around and many foreign manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Honda, have set up there. Its business-friendly reputation took a serious blow with the arrest in Tuscaloosa of a visiting Mercedes manager who was caught driving without his license and taken to jail as a potential illegal immigrant.
Sheldon Day, the mayor of Thomasville, has aggressively recruited foreign companies to his town, including a Chinese company — Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group — that plans to build a $100 million plant there, with more than 300 jobs.
Mayor Day is now worried about that project and future prospects. He wasquoted by The Press-Register in Mobile as saying business inquiries had dried up since the law was passed. “I know the immigration issue is being used against us.”
Alabama’s competitors certainly won’t waste any time. After the Tuscaloosa incident, the editorial page of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch invited Mercedes to Missouri. “We are the Show-Me State,” it said, “not the ‘Show me your papers’ state.”
Undocumented immigrants make up about 4.2 percent of Alabama’s work force, or 95,000 people in a state of 4.8 million. For all of the talk about clearing the way for unemployed Americans, there is no evidence that Alabamians in any significant numbers are rushing to fill the gap left by missing farm laborers and other low-wage immigrant workers.
The loss of job-filling, tax-paying workers may get even worse if Alabama is allowed to enforce a law requiring people who own or rent a trailer home to obtain an annual registration sticker. This puts the undocumented in a Catch-22 — criminals if they don’t have a sticker, criminals if they try to get one. For now, a judge has issued an order blocking enforcement. But if the state wins, many thousands may simply join the exodus, tearing more shreds in the economy.
The law’s damage is particularly heartbreaking in poor towns across the state, where small businesses are the economic lifeblood. We’ve spoken with Latino shopkeepers and restaurant owners in places like Albertville who say business is catastrophically down, with customers in hiding or flight. The situation isn’t much better in Huntsville and Birmingham.
There should be no doubt about the moral repugnance of Alabama’s law, which seeks to deny hardworking families the means to live. But even some of the law’s most enthusiastic supporters are beginning to acknowledge the law’s high economic cost. There is growing talk of revising or repealing the legislation. The sooner Alabama does so — and other states learn — the better.
NY Times