Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One day after police teargas Occupy Oakland protestors, Los Angeles city councilman, Bill Rosendahl, tells Occupy LA "It's time to move on" (UPDATED)

Scott Olsen, a 24 year old Iraqi war veteran is carried away after being struck in the head by a tear gas canister. When people tried to help him, they were shot with rubber bullets and flash bang grenades. 
Olsen remains hospitalized with a skull fracture, and is listed in critical condition.

Less than 24 hours after Oakland police forcibly cleared the encampments of Occupy Oakland with tear gas and rubber bullets, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl is telling Occupy protestors in Los Angeles it's "time to move on."

"They've made their statement. I agree with their statement, but it is time to move on. The trees are in the process of being impacted. The grass is being impacted. Other activities that we need to do on the lawns are being put on the back burner," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

In Oakland, where nearly 200 Occupy protesters had taken up residence, police moved in, claiming the encampment had become a health hazard. Police in riot gear arrested 85 protesters on Tuesday....

Some Los Angeles protesters said despite concerns about damaged grass and run-ins with police at similar encampments across the country, they plan to stand their ground on the lawn of City Hall.....

"I frankly think if we can be civil about it, they should get the message that it's time to move on from our lawn at City Hall. It is everybody's lawn, not just those with their tents right now," said Rosendahl.

Only three weeks ago, Rosendahl and other City Council members were described as "giddy" in their support of Occupy Los Angeles.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, when he still cared more about people than lawns.

“It’s an entourage of peace makers!” Walsh said giddily as he walked toward the protest with Councilmen Bill Rosendahl, Eric Garcetti, Ed Reyes and Dennis Zine.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Zine, who until recently was a registered Republican. “We could just drive by them, or we could go talk to them.”

The lawmakers, dressed in dark suits and surrounded by aides, caused  a stir when they approached the rag-tag collection of tents, tarps and sleeping bags just off of Temple Street. News media and protesters armed with video cameras swarmed as the officials shook hands and introduced themselves.

Rosendahl told one woman that he empathized with the demonstrators, especially with their complaints about the role of banks in the foreclosure crisis.

“We are not enemies with the people here,” Rosendahl said. “Many of us totally agree with you that the situation we’re in is truly intolerable.”


Rosendahl and Garcetti, the two council members who remained, called for equality in fiery speeches. When Garcetti shouted, “This is your City Hall!” the crowd repeated, "This is our City Hall!"

“Stay as long as you need," Garcetti told them. "We’re here to support you.”

Or, if Councilmen Rosendahl gets his way, until the lawn gets ratty enough to embarrass the neighbors.

Feel free to give my councilman a call if you think people are more important than lawns. His number is 213-473-7011


Occupy LA is reporting the following on their Facebook page:

"News from inside Rm 340 at City Hall. Bill Rosendahl just stated to an occupier that he was misquoted by ABC news, comments were taken out of context. He supports the occupation, and won't be doing any more interviews with news outlets."

Rosendahl emailed me, essentially saying the same thing. I asked him how he was specifically misquoted, and if he would like to make another statement for the record. On Rosendahl's own Facebook page wall, he had this to say in reaction to the original KABC story:

They've made their statement. I agree with their statement, but it is time to move on.

I haven't heard back from Bill. I'll let you know if I do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Herman Cain parody ad already up on the interwebs!

Faster than you can say "hipster cop", a parody of Herman Cain's creepy X-Files Smoking Man ad is up on the interwebs only 24 hours after the "real" ad hit the airwaves.

It's Not Class Warfare. It's Math.

In 1953, the top tax rate was 92%, unemployment was at it's lowest rate in our history at 2.5%. The deficit was 1.7% of GDP

In 2011, the top tax rate is 35%, unemployment is at 9.1%. The deficit is 10.9% of GDP

It's not class warfare, it's math.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Are The Occupy Wall Street Protests Inherently Anti-Semitic? (Hint: No)

Oct. 10, 2011 - In this photo, hundreds gather at Occupy Wall Street to celebrate Yom Kippur.....

....and in this photo, a single anti-Semitic whackjob holds up his sign. Guess who got more press?

Do a Google News search with the words "Occupy Wall Street" and/or "Yom Kippur" or "Sukkot". Got it? Good. Now do another search with the words "Occupy Wall Street" and "anti-semitic".

Notice anything?

I did. The first search will get you about 60 blog posts about the various Yom Kippur and Sukkot services being held at Occupy Wall Street protests around the country.

The second search will get you three times as many articles from major mainstream TV, print, and internet news outlets (Washington Post, Politico, Forbes, The Daily Caller, etc...) describing Occupy Wall Street protests as having a "problem." with anti-semitism.

It's a pattern as predictable as it is infuriating. First, Rush Limbaugh, then conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks began cherry picking isolated anti-Semitic incidents to undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In an October 10 column dismissing the Wall Street protests as “trivial sideshows,” Brooks wrote:

Take the Occupy Wall Street movement. This uprising was sparked by the magazine Adbusters, previously best known for the 2004 essay, “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?” — an investigative report that identified some of the most influential Jews in America and their nefarious grip on policy.

The Emergency Committee For Israel, a far-right Republican group run by Bill Kristol,  was next with this video showing three anti-Semites and two anti-Semitic signs among the protesters in New York - out of a crowd of thousands.

So what's the endgame here? The Jewish Journal lays it out.

I don’t know the first time the tactic was used, although it dates back almost to the beginning of the Jewish diaspora.

Perhaps its most famous use was by the viciously anti-Semitic Czar Nicholas, whose supporters concocted the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” at the start of the 20th century to prevent Russians from joining socialist movements and other reform efforts that were fighting to get the czar to cede some power to an elected parliament.....

The Protocols have had a long life, used by the czar, the Nazis, and even today by extremist and fringe Muslim groups opposed to the existence of Israel.

But they were primarily used not so much against the Jews as against reform and revolution. Linking a progressive movement to the Jews would destroy progressive movements and preserve the power of those in control.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a bizarre variant of this phenomenon is now being deployed against Occupy Wall Street.

Because utilizing anti-Semitism directly would not succeed in this country today, the reactionary defenders of the economic status quo are using the flip side of the coin: the fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. They are accusing Occupy Wall Street of anti-Semitism, relying on the old myth that Wall Street is Jewish and hence that opposition to Wall Street’s agenda is just opposition to Jews.

The mainstream media, whether through incompetence or ignorance, is more than happy to carry water for the likes of Limbaugh, Brooks and Kristol, and by extension, the corporations who pay them.

This story yesterday from LA Weekly is typical.

Anti-Semitism in the community of protesters came to a head this week after an LAUSD teacher identified as Shirley MacAllister unleashed her own rant at Occupy L.A. downtown. It was aired last night on CBS Los Angeles.

Here's what she said:

I think that the Zionist Jews that are running these big banks and the Federal reserve, which is not run by the federal government, need to be run out of this country.

What the LA Weekly left out however (but the CBS news report, which I posted above, did not), was that on the same day that video was shot, nearly a hundred people gathered just a few feet away for "A Just Sukkah", to celebrate the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. The event was co-sponsored by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, the American Jewish University, CLUE-LA, Habonim Dror, IKAR, PJA & JFSJ, Sholem Community, USC, and Workmen's Circle.

Look, anti-Semitism should be roundly criticized whenever it rears it's ugly head. And that includes Occupy Wall Street. But that's not what's going on here. This is the first in what will be a long line of smears meant to discredit a growing and popular movement.

The elites are scared as hell.

A photo is worth a thousand words. Below are some of my photos from the Occupy LA Sukkot services. THIS is what the real relationship is between Jews and the Occupy Movement.

Pass it on.

Holding up the etrog and lulav, used in a blessing ceremony

A member of ACCE discusses the mortgage and housing crisis with partipants
Participants break out into separate study groups to discuss issues brought up by Occupy Wall Street
Overwhelmed with emotion, this woman hadn't been involved in any
protest movement since the freedom riders.

You can see the rest of my photos here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Notice Of Default"

Since "Occupy The Boardroom" went live today, over 3,000 people have become "pen-pals" with the 1% who control Wall Street - the top executives of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

You can read their letters here. Their words are intense, heartfelt.

But this letter to a CEO of Chase brought me to my knees. It was a plea for help.


We are sadly sending this message to the guys who can help us to keep our home. We recently received a notice of default after many attempts to get a loan modification in our property. I think we deserve a chance to keep our property since we put a 20% down-payment in order to buy it, and we had spent a lot of money to fix and improve this property. Because of this Notice of Default we have been forced to hire the services of a Law Firm called Siringoringo, located at Upland, CA. They charged us with a flat fee of $4,000 just to represent us. 
Chase said that there is no need to hire a lawyer, that we can do it by ourselves, truth is we could not get a loan modification despite all our efforts and despite we always sent all the documents they requested from us and always we received the same answer that they did not received some documents, we keep the proof and fax confirmations of all documents we sent to them. 
They gave us a Trial Period Plan Payment and even though we sent not only 3 but 6 payments, always on time, they did not gave us the loan modification, even though we have been told we qualify to get it.

Our last hope is that this law firm can help us to save our home.

Jorge E. -  El Segundo, CA 

ACTION ALERT! It's Time To Occupy The Boardroom

105 US cities occupied. 1,499 meet-ups around the world. 50,000 people in the streets of New York and tens of thousands more in cities across the country. Wall Street occupied continuously for one month.

Today is the biggest action yet - Venice For Change is proud to join with dozens of progressive organizations from all over the country to participate in an Occupy Wall Street Global Day of Action.

Today, you, the 99%, can make your voice heard directly to the Wall Street elites who wrecked the economy and made the rest of us pay.

We have the direct contact information for the 1% who control Wall Street - the top executives of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.***

You, the 99%, have the messages.

Find a pen pal at this link and tell them a story that explains why they need to listen to you after acting for so many years like your words don't matter.

Maybe you're facing eviction while the banker who's foreclosing on you gets a bonus. Maybe just got a college degree and have nothing to show for it but a mountain of debt and no job. Whatever your story, the day has arrived when you can share it with your pen pal in the 1%!

Click here to OccupyTheBoardRoom and join in the Global Day of Action online.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has struck a deep chord with ordinary people around the world and changed our idea of what we, the people, can accomplish by doing one simple thing: bearing witness on the very doorstep of those responsible for the global economic crisis.

But despite our growing strength, the top 1% who crashed our economy still act like they can ignore us. So we're aiming our voices directly at the people who caused this global crisis by sending our stories of how their recklessness affected our lives.

Last year, Jamie Dimon CEO of JPMorganChase, received a $17 million dollar bonus. At the same time Chase has foreclosed on millions of families in California. Millions at the top, homeless shelters at the bottom. That's how the 1% plays the game.

Click here to Occupy the Boardroom by sharing your 99%er story with the executives at Chase

Occupy Los Angeles - The Beginning Is Near from Marta Evry on Vimeo.

Last weekend, I shot this video of Occupy Los Angeles. Thousands of people rallied or visited the tent city while I was there. Conversations were numerous, anger was tangible, and hope was still very much alive. What I witnessed was the rebirth of the American Dream in a new generation. The road will be long, the going hard. They will need our help, and we must not fail them.

Click here to be informed of future Occupy The Boardroom actions. 

This is our moment. Seize it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy Los Angeles - The Beginning Is Near

Occupy Los Angeles - The Beginning Is Near from Marta Evry on Vimeo.

I shot this video in downtown Los Angeles on October 8th and 9th, 2011. OccupyLA had already been camped out at Los Angeles City Hall for two weeks, hundreds of tents surrounded the building.

For a "leaderless" movement, the activists are incredibly organized. Already they have a media tent, kitchen tent, first aide center and a lender library. Monetary donations are meticulously recorded and receipts given back to the donors. Their A/V systems are solar powered. Crews of organizers patrol the grounds, cleaning up refuse, recycling cans and bottles. They hope to have a weekly newspaper up and running in the next few days.

I have no idea what's going to happen next, but I was excited by what I saw. Thousands of people rallied or visited the tent city while I was there. Conversations were numerous, anger was tangible, and hope was still very much alive.

If we're lucky, what we are witnessing is the rebirth of the American Dream in a new generation. The road will be long, the going hard. They will need our help, and we must not fail them.

The beginning is near. Be the change you're looking for.

Click on these links to find out what you can do to help.

On the web:

On Twitter:
hashtag: #ows

Friday, October 7, 2011

BREAKING! Governor Brown Signs The Shark Fin Ban Into Law

From Capitol Alert

Gov. Jerry Brown announced today that he has signed legislation banning the possession and sale of shark fins in California.

Assembly Bill 376, by Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, is meant to combat "shark finning," an illegal fishing practice used to procure the main ingredient in shark fin soup.

Brown said in a statement that he signed the bill "in the interest of future generations," noting estimates that shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent.

"The practice of cutting the fins off of living sharks and dumping them back in the ocean is not only cruel, but it harms the health of our oceans," Brown said.

Brown also signed Assembly Bill 853, a companion measure to allow stores to continue selling current stock and exempt sharks legally caught by California fishermen, that was crafted as part of a deal to win the bill's passage.

The shark-fin ban, which was the subject of intense lobbying by environmental and animal-rights groups, attracted high-profile support. Brown mentioned recently that he had received a call from business mogul Richard Branson urging him to sign the bill.

Critics argued that the bill was discriminatory because it targeted a traditional Chinese delicacy and that the ban would would hurt Asian stores and restaurants owners.

According to government data, approximately 85 percent of dried shark fin imports to the United States came through California last year, making the state a hub of the US shark fin market.

California is the fourth state ban the sale and possession of shark fins, Washington State, Oregon and Hawaii have all passed similar bans. Globally, the Pacific nation of Palau created a shark sanctuary two years ago,  this summer Chile passed a national ban on shark fining. More recently, Mexico and the Marshall Islands have announced plans for new shark protections.

Calling all Policy Wonks! 2PM Conference Call with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood TODAY

My apologies for the short notice, but if light rail, highway infrustructure projects, and promoting clean alternatives to gas-powered automobiles are the kinds of issues that are near and dear to your heart, have I got a conference call for you!
In response to our meetings between Courage Campaign CA activists and White House officials two weeks ago, the WH Office of Public Engagement will be hosting what I hope will be the first in a series of conference calls on different policy issues.

This afternoon, Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood and the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Jon Carson will be joining us on the call.

Even if public transportation is not your issue, we would still love for you to join in. Jon Carson will make himself available to answer questions about other issues that concern you as well.

TODAY - 5pm ET/ 2pm PT
Call In Number - (800) 230-1059

Please go to this link to RSVP and to submit a question you'd like us to ask.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The "Occupy Wall Street" Interview You'll Never See On Fox News

After the Bill O"Reilly Show broadcast highly edited video clips of the Occupy Wall Street movement to make the protestors there look like idiots, Fox went back for seconds.

This time, Fox picked the wrong guy to interview, Jesse LeGrecca, a New York activist who blogs under the name "MinistryOfTruth" (BTW, if you'd like help Jesse continue his work, you can make a donation to PayPal)

Needless to say, this interview never made it on Fox, but you can watch it here.


Fox: Jesse, so Ray, your partner here, colleague, your commerade, she got, ya know, received the protest idea from Greece and Europe and elsewhere did you guys take your cue from that? Are you hungry to incite ya know certainly what is a lot of attention if not police activity? I know over the weekend, there was over 100 arrests you guys got things fired up. Are you taking your cues from international events in …
How do you want to see this end? What do you what do you if you could have it end in a perfect way, how would that be?

Jesse: Well, I don’t know, it’s really difficult to kind of answer questions leading to those conclusions. I’d say we didn’t take our cues from anybody really, it became more of a spontaneous movement. As far as seeing this end, I wouldn’t like to see this end. I’d like to see the conversation continue. This is what we should have been talking about in 2008 after the economy collapsed. We basically patched a hole on the tire and said, yeah, let the car keep rolling. Unfortunately, it’s fun to talk to the propaganda machine in the media, especially conservative media such as yourself, because we find that we can’t get conversations on the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation of NewsCorporation for which you are an employee, but we can certainly, you know, ask questions such as why are the poor engaging in class warfare. After 30 years of having our living standards decrease while the wealthiest 1% have had it better than ever, I think it’s time for, I don’t know, some participation in our Democracy that isn’t funded by news cameras and gentlemen such as yourself.

Fox: OK, but let me give you this challenge, Jesse,

Jesse: Sure

Fox: We’re here giving you an opportunity on the record with (unintelligible) to put any message you want out there, and give you fair coverage and I’m not going to in any way

Jesse: That’s awesome

Fox: give advice about it. So here’s an exception to the case, because you wouldn’t be able to get your message out without us. [I just have to say, I could not type this without laughing!]

Jesse: No, certainly! I mean, take for instance, when Glenn Beck was doing his protests, and he called the President a person who hates white people and white culture. That was a low moment in America’s history, and you guys kinda had a big part in it. So I’m glad to see you coming around and paying attention to what the other 99% of America is paying attention to, as opposed to just the far right fringe who would love to just destroy the middle class entirely.

Fox: Alright. Fair enough. You have a voice, and an important reason to criticize myself and my company and anyone else. But let me ask you this. In fairness, does this administration, Pres. Obama, have any criticism as to the the financial situation in the country and the … [he sticks the mike in Jesse’s face]

Jesse: I think that myself as well as many other people would like to see a little bit more economic justice or social justice, Jesus stuff as far as feeding the poor, health care for the sick. You know, I find it really entertaining that people like to hold the Bill of Rights up while they’re screaming at gay soldiers, but they just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that a for profit health care system doesn’t work. So, let’s just look at it like this: if we want the president to do more, let’s talk to him on a level that actually reaches people, instead of asking for his birth certificate and wasting time with total nonsense like Solyndra (sp).