frijoliz
Occupy the Superbowl
Occupy protesters in Indianapolis are gearing up to use the media spotlight on Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI to rally for union rights outside the statehouse. Earlier this week, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a so-called “right to work” measure into law that critics say will result in lower wages and diminished collective bargaining rights.

Occupy the Superbowl

Occupy protesters in Indianapolis are gearing up to use the media spotlight on Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI to rally for union rights outside the statehouse. Earlier this week, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a so-called “right to work” measure into law that critics say will result in lower wages and diminished collective bargaining rights.

The New York Times is Hella Tired of NYPD Blocking Its Photographers

New York Police officers continue to interfere with photographers and reporters trying to cover news, and a New York Times photographer who was prevented from shooting an arrest at an Occupy Wall Street rally last weekend said police had reason to hide their actions from the press.

The department’s treatment of reporters in the field has been so bad, media outlets say, that 13 news organizations signed a second letter to the New York Police Department from a New York Times lawyer on Wednesday, demanding responses and follow-up after their first scathing criticism of the department’s handling of the press. The new complaint to police comes after two officers prevented Times freelance photographer Robert Stolarik from photographing a protester’s arrest at Sunday’s rally in support of Occupy Oakland, the letter says. The letter, which Capital New York posted in full, cites a Times storythat reported “officers blocked the lens of a newspaper photographer attempting to document the arrests.” 

The police’s interference with the press extends past Occupy protests, the organizations say. An inspector threatened New York Daily News photographer David Handschuh at last year’s Macy’s Day parade, theNational Press Photographers Association writes, and another Daily News reporter had his press credentials pulled while covering a fire in December, Capital New York reported.

We’ve reached out to the New York Police Department for comment, and will update this account when they respond.

Update: The department responded to The Times lawyers with a letter of its own, explaining the scope and nature of its updated media training. Scroll to the bottom of this post for more.

Stolarik told The Atlantic Wire on Wednesday that after two officers put their hands in front of his camera lens, a sergeant told him they had every right to do so, since he was shooting while an arrest was in progress. The arrest, he said, was messy. “It was an un-badged officer who was making the arrest. He didn’t identify himself as an officer, and he threw a girl to the ground,” Stolarik said. The officer “was in plain clothes. The girl didn’t do anything, so maybe they just didn’t want it to be documented.” When Stolarik tried to photograph it, “one officer had his hand on the lens of my camera, pushing it down. The other was in front.” Reporter Colin Moynihan’s account of the arrest says uniformed officers ultimately took the protester into custody:

A few moments later, on Park Avenue, a man wearing dark clothes and wearing no visible badge grabbed a woman by the arm and threw her to the ground. Uniformed officers arrested her and a second woman as other officers blocked the lens of a newspaper photographer attempting to document the arrests.

Stolarik has been here before, but the last time he was stopped from shooting an arrest, during another Occupy protest last December, somebody took video of it, and the department responded with an investigation. This time, no video has surfaced. But Stolarik’s become sort of a poster child for the Timesand its colleagues’ case against the police. In the demands put forth in Wednesday’s letter, Stolarik’s name comes up twice, cited as the only full investigation the department’s carried out in a case of interfering with the press. 

The media outlets first wrote to the department in November, after several reporters were arrested while covering the city’s crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park. After a Thanksgiving meeting, the department pledged to provide first-amendment training to its officers, Wednesday’s letter says. It requests the department to provide details of that training, as well as updates on officer discipline, and results of a meeting among borough task force commanders. But the media groups’ first demand is its most intensive, as it calls for a written response to each case of press interference that’s been brought to the department:

As for Stolarik, he said he hadn’t even reported the interference to the paper. Interference by the police, he said, was “a pretty regular thing,” and by the time he’d finished shooting on Sunday, “I was just so tired.” But tired or not, Stolarik’s become something of an it-boy for the New York press’s showdown with police, at least until other internal investigations start coming to light. 

Update (6:10 p.m. EST): The New York Police Department hasn’t responded to us, but Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown did respond to the letter from The New York Times. In his letter to The Times’ attorneys on Wednesday afternoon, Brown wrote that two incidents involving reporters at the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden last December (including the one involving Stolarik) had resulted in reprimands. But those have been the only two so far.

Brown also outlined the department’s training efforts following The Times’s initial letter, saying 1,600 new officers had received training in dealing with the media, as well as sergeants, inspectors, and bureau commanders throughout the force. Of that training, Browne wrote:

I emphasized 1st Amendment protections, guideline requirements, and addressed specific scenarios. For example, periodically, we receive complaints that an officer may try to deter a photographer, even one positioned outside of the crime scene, from taking the photograph of a dead body before it has been covered. I’ve used this as an example where subject matter is the photographer’s concern, not the officer’s. The message was well received, no objections were voiced, and the commanders said they would do their best to see that policy is adhered to in the field.  I’ll send you training material under separate cover.

99serbia

1. THE STRATEGY OF DISTRACTION

An essential element of social control is the strategy of distraction, which is to divert public attention from problems and important changes decided by the political and economic elites. Through the technique of flooding, constant distractions and trivial information the mind becomes more docile and less critical. The strategy of distraction is also essential in preventing mass interest in science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics. “Keep the public busy, busy, busy, with no time to think; back on the farm with the other animals.(Quoted in the text Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars).

2. CREATE PROBLEMS AND OFFER SOLUTIONS

This method is also called “Problem-reaction-solution.” They create a problem, a “situation” to cause some reaction in the audience, so that this becomes the norm of the measures you would accept. For example: ‘let us intensify urban violence, or organize bloody attacks, so that the public becomes more accepting of the laws and policies that are detrimental to their freedom’. Or: create an economic crisis in order for the public to accept as a necessary evil the annulment of social rights and dismantling of public services.

3. THE STRATEGY OF GRADUALISM

To make an unacceptable measure acceptable, gradually apply enough pressure, drop by drop, for a few consecutive years. It is in such a way that new, radical socioeconomic conditions (neoliberalism) were imposed during the 1980s and 1990s the minimal state, privatization, insecurity, flexibility, mass unemployment, wages that do not ensure decent incomes, many changes that would have given rise to a revolution if they had been applied all at once.

4. THE STRATEGY OF DEFERENCE

Another way to accept an unpopular decision is to present it as “painful and necessary”, in order to win over public acceptance at that time. It is easier to accept a future sacrifice than an immediate sacrifice. First of all, because the measure is not used immediately; secondly, because the public, the masses, always have the tendency to expect naively that “everything will improve tomorrow” and that the sacrifice required may be avoided. This gives more time to the public to get used to the idea of change and accept it without resignation when the time comes.

5. ADDRESS THE PUBLIC AS YOU WOULD A LITTLE CHILD

Most ads targeted towards the general public use discourse, arguments, characters with especially childish intonation, often targeting frailty, as if the viewer were a creature of very young age or mentally impaired. The more you try to fool the viewer, the more childish the adopted tone. Why? “If one goes to a person as if she had the age of 12 years or less, then, due to suggestive quality, the other person tends, with some probability, to respond or react without much thought as a person 12 years old or younger would (see “Silent Weapons for quiet wars “)

6. APPEAL TO EMOTIONS RATHER THAN REASON

Make use of Emotional response’ is a classic technique to cause a short circuit on rational analysis and finally the critical sense of the individual. Moreover, appealing to emotions opens the door to the unconscious and makes it easier to implant ideas, desires, fears and doubts, compulsions, or induce behaviors…

7. KEEP THE PUBLIC IN IGNORANCE AND MEDIOCRITY

Make sure the public is incapable of understanding the technologies and methods used to control and enslave. “The quality of education given to the lower social classes should be as poor and mediocre as possible so that the gap of ignorance between the lower classes and upper classes is and remains impossible to achieve for the lower classes (see ‘Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars).

8. ENCOURAGE THE PUBLIC TO BE COMPLACENT TO MEDIOCRITY

Make the public believe that being stupid, vulgar and uneducated is fashionable, while at the same time suffocate culture, science and art that do not conform to the norm.

9. REINFORCE SELF-BLAME

Make the individual believe that he/she is the culprit of their own misfortune and make them doubt their intelligence, their abilities, or their efforts. So, instead of rebelling against the economic system, the individual devalues and blames himself, which generates a depressive state, the purpose of which is to stifle action, and without action, there is no revolution!

10. UNDERSTAND INDIVIDUALS BETTER THAN THEY UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES

During the past 50 years, rapid advances in science have generated a growing knowledge gap between the public and the dominant elites. With biology, neurobiology and applied psychology, the “system” has enjoyed a sophisticated understanding of human beings.. The system has gotten better at knowing the common folk than what he knows of himself. This means that in most cases the system has a greater control over individuals than what the individuals have over themselves.


Rushkoff’s Algorithm
(Oct. 2007)
"Like the participants of failed cultural eras before our own, we have embraced the new technologies and literacies of our age without actually learning how they work and work on us," claims writer and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, in a recent email. He continues:
The 22-letter alphabet did not lead to a society of literate Israelite readers, but a society of hearers, who would gather to hear the Torah scroll read to them by a priest. The printing press and television set did not lead to a society of writers and producers, but one of readers and viewers, who were free to enjoy their own perspective on the creations of an elite with access to the new tools of production. And the computer has not led to a society of programmers, but one of bloggers — free to write whatever we please, but utterly unaware of the underlying biases of the interfaces and windows that have been programmed for us.
I’d dropped a line to Rushkoff to ask him to explain the following algorithm, titled “Social Control as a Function of Media,” which he contributed recently to a special exhibition (on “Formulae for the 21st Century”) at the Serpentine Gallery in the UK. (The question was asked by the same folks who brought us recent books in which bleeding-edge thinkers answer questions like, “What Is Your Dangerous Idea?”)
What does this algorithm, which is the subject of his next book (“The Slope: Corporatism and the Myth of Self Interest”), have to do with bloggers like me, not to mention Rushkoff himself? He explains:
Our controllers — be they pharaohs, kings or corporations — always remain one dimensional leap beyond us. When we learn to read, they gain monopoly over the presses. As we now gain access to Internet distribution of our text, they create the framework for such publication — blogs, basically — by monopolizing the programs, interface, and conduit. Worse, we tend to remain unaware of the new context shaping all our activity. And that’s why no matter how much of a revolution Time magazine grants us by calling us “people of the year,” we’re still paying them for our access, and their sister corporations for our technologies.
As Curly from “The Three Stooges” used to say, I resemble that remark!

Rushkoff’s Algorithm

(Oct. 2007)

"Like the participants of failed cultural eras before our own, we have embraced the new technologies and literacies of our age without actually learning how they work and work on us," claims writer and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, in a recent email. He continues:

The 22-letter alphabet did not lead to a society of literate Israelite readers, but a society of hearers, who would gather to hear the Torah scroll read to them by a priest. The printing press and television set did not lead to a society of writers and producers, but one of readers and viewers, who were free to enjoy their own perspective on the creations of an elite with access to the new tools of production. And the computer has not led to a society of programmers, but one of bloggers — free to write whatever we please, but utterly unaware of the underlying biases of the interfaces and windows that have been programmed for us.

I’d dropped a line to Rushkoff to ask him to explain the following algorithm, titled “Social Control as a Function of Media,” which he contributed recently to a special exhibition (on “Formulae for the 21st Century”) at the Serpentine Gallery in the UK. (The question was asked by the same folks who brought us recent books in which bleeding-edge thinkers answer questions like, “What Is Your Dangerous Idea?”)

What does this algorithm, which is the subject of his next book (“The Slope: Corporatism and the Myth of Self Interest”), have to do with bloggers like me, not to mention Rushkoff himself? He explains:

Our controllers — be they pharaohs, kings or corporations — always remain one dimensional leap beyond us. When we learn to read, they gain monopoly over the presses. As we now gain access to Internet distribution of our text, they create the framework for such publication — blogs, basically — by monopolizing the programs, interface, and conduit. Worse, we tend to remain unaware of the new context shaping all our activity. And that’s why no matter how much of a revolution Time magazine grants us by calling us “people of the year,” we’re still paying them for our access, and their sister corporations for our technologies.

As Curly from “The Three Stooges” used to say, I resemble that remark!

10 Ways the Occupy Movement Changes Everything

Many question whether this movement can really make a difference. The truth is that it is already changing everything.

1. It names the source of the crisis.
The problems of the 99% are caused by Wall Street greed, corrupt banks, and a corporate take-over of the political system.

2. It provides a clear vision of the world we want.
We can create a world that works for everyone
, not just the wealthiest 1%.

3. It sets a new standard for public debate.
Those advocating policies and proposals must now demonstrate that their ideas will benefit the 99%. Serving only the 1% is no longer sufficient.

4. It presents a new narrative.
The solution is no longer to starve government, but to free society and government from corporate dominance.

5. It creates a big tent.
We, the 99%, are made up of people of all ages, races, occupations, and political beliefs, and we are learning to work together with respect.

6. It offers everyone a chance to create change.
No one is in charge. Anyone can get involved and make things happen.

7. It is a movement, not a list of demands.
The call for transformative structural change, not temporary fixes and single-issue reforms, is the movement’s sustaining power.

8. It combines the local and the global.
People are setting their own local agendas, tactics, and aims. But we also share solidarity, communication, and vision at the global level.

9. It offers an ethic and practice of deep democracy and community.
Patient decision-making translates into wisdom and common com-mitment when every voice is heard. Occupy sites are communities where anyone can discuss grievances, hopes, and dreams in an atmosphere of mutual support.

10. We have reclaimed our power.
Instead of looking to politicians and leaders to bring about change, we can see now that the power rests with us. Instead of being victims of the forces upending our lives, we are claiming our sovereign right to remake the world.

How Occupy Boston’s PR Strategy is Working

Occupy Boston a new tent arrives. 

Something clicked with the often savvy, yet sometimes self-destructive Occupy Boston info disseminators. As demonstrated at their inclusive off-camp assembly in Copley Square this past Saturday – attended by dozens of newly interested Occupiers – Hub operatives are actively showcasing that they’re not the dirty and disorganized Neanderthals that bureaucrats have pegged them as.


With the sink showdown went viral thanks to lifts from Daily Kos and Wired, Occupiers highlighted the irony in claims that their encampment is unsanitary; the powers-that-be say that Dewey Square is infested, yet won’t let them improve conditions (they’ve also yet to cite them for health-related violations). Similarly, despite claims that the camp is combustible, they’re not permitted to install protective measures.

On Monday, Dec. 5th, Occupiers gathered on the South Station side of Dewey for the arrival of a military tent the likes of which police have been instructed to keep out (along with any other building materials or so-called structures). This was no sneak job, like when their ninja unit smuggled in the current food tent two weeks ago. This was a PR job – announced days ahead of time.

Occupy Boston a new tent arrives. 

Whereas the sink incident was a phenomenal lesson that evolved from a practical mission – to secure an apparatus with which to help clean dishes – the tent event was pure theater. Occupiers never intended to actually erect it or throw down with cops – they just wanted the press, whose attention they had after the sink story, to see first-hand how ridiculous police are being.

Beyond the symbolic cue of the tent, Occupy forces got an opportunity to debate inspectors and authorities in front of a crowd filled with reporters. On that front protesters also delivered a decisive beat-down, as Boston is essentially arguing that while it was alright to bring tents in before, that is no longer the case. The city’s insincere stance was cherry-topped with its suggestion that Occupy secure permits.

This campaign can’t go on forever, as looming decisions in county court – and ultimately at City Hall – will dictate the fate of Dewey Square (whether Occupiers stand their ground or not). There’s also an outside chance that campers will dismantle things themselves and call it a win. But for the time being, there’s no doubt about which side looks justified, and which is making rules up on the fly.

Class Warfare

"Why do Republicans and the corporate news media only play the ‘class warfare’ card when someone stands up for the middle class?"

I heard this question asked and it struck me. Why do they play nasty when it becomes a debate about middle class? Could it be because they feel threatened? The “middle class” are people who have enough money and education (theoretically) and enough people who comprise the group to make them a viable threat to power.  Why does the corporate news media often feel free to completely ignore minorities or disregard when someone stands up for minorities? Because by definition they are in the minority and therefore have a disparate amount of power. But why is that? Because tragically, this reality exposes our xenophobia, lack of empathy and neglect of marginalized groups. It shouldn’t matter who is being shit on, as humans, we should care. Those in power should always be afraid to shit on the People, regardless of class, creed or color; because as fellow humans, we should all be outraged and standing in solidarity against such injustice, regardless of whether it affects you personally. 

thesmithian

Independent journalist SHOT with rubber bullet FOR NO REASON!!

Occupy Oakland General Strike November 3rd after midnight.

The young man filming is clearly heard asking “Is this ok? Is this ok?” before he starts walking across the street and filming the line of police in riot gear amassed there. He gets almost all the way across when an officer fires at him for no apparent reason.

There is nothing being thrown at the officers. While there is some yelling going on in the background, it’s not coming from this young man. He is simply walking across the street, filming the line. You can see the flash of the gun. It’s aimed right at him and it hits the mark.

I have to wonder if the Oakland police have decided to just take out anyone with a camera.