October 26, 2012

Occupy Oakland isn’t what it used to be

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:32 pm

Occupy Oakland held a new rally on Thursday October 25, 2012.
A year ago Occupy Oakland was front page news.
Some folks disagree with Occupy’s aims.

On Monday night, watching the NLCS’s final playoff game with the sound turned down so that we could hear the Presidential debate was one of those epiphany moments that life serves up occasionally.

The World’s Laziest Journalist is suffering from a case of Propaganda Gridlock. We know that the fate of the free world rides on the outcome of the rapidly approaching American Presidential Election but lately TV is outrageously infantile and radio seems to be a tsunami of political propaganda, but the saturation point has been reached, so we have been desperately searching for better quality diversions and entertainment as a change of pace to get away from the relentless onslaught of “important” news.

The prospect of watching the Presidential debate in the hopes of being given a possible column topic seemed very unlikely. Both candidates have their script and will stick to their main talking points very rigidly.

The last time we were interested in baseball’s annual pennant race, Gene Woodling, Hank Bauer, and Allie Reynolds were providing depth for a team that featured a boy wonder batting star in the outfield.

Watching the playoff game while pondering the question “who will win this year’s World Series,” we were reminded of the title of a 1971 movie: “They Might Be Giants.”

In an introduction to a book titled “The New Journalism,” Tom Wolfe informed readers of the 1973 copyrighted anthology that one of the branches of literature that preceded the era of writer involvement was “The Literary Gentleman with a seat in the grandstand.”

The calm, cool, detached observer seems like such a quaint old fashioned idea now that the golden age of propaganda in America has arrived.

One prominent political pundit in Germany proclaimed: “It (propaganda) must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” He also warned politicians to never concede any point: “As soon as our own propaganda admits so much as a glimmer of right on the other side, the foundation for doubt in our own right has been laid.”

Does that sound like an accurate assessment of the “dialogue” surrounding this year’s Presidential election? To any columnist who thinks that sounds like an accurate description of the quality of debate in the current American political arena, the task facing political pundits is not to provide eloquent journalism but to offer some sensational cheerleading support.

The Literary Gentleman with a seat in the grandstands has become completely irrelevant in the contemporary American Political scene and, in many cases, even in the realm of sports reporters.

The fans are becoming quite ferocious in their blind enthusiasm. If you doubt this, would you be afraid to attend a World Series Game wearing a T-shirt sold by a non-participating team? Heck, even wearing a T-shirt that was obviously intended to proclaim neutrality (such as a West Coast Eagles T-shirt) would probably draw some animosity from some enthusiastic supporters of the home team.

“New Journalism” quickly became known as “Gonzo Journalism” and San Francisco was the place where Rolling Stone magazine raised it from being a fad to the level of being a strong and vibrant branch of the news reporting industry.

In the Introduction to the 1973 anthology (on page 27) Wolfe noted: “But the all time free lance writer’s Brass Stud award went that year to an obscure California journalist named Hunter Thompson who ‘ran’ with the Hell’s Angels for eighteen months – as a reporter and not a member.”

Inadvertently Hunter Thompson also pioneered the possibility that Gonzo Journalism can be used as a disguise for the old fashioned “convenient excuse for having a good time” tradition relished by writers seeking ways for getting their enjoyment of living subsidized by gullible accounting departments at various news media organizations and publications.

Over the years, the World’s Laziest Journalist, who has covered the Oscars™, the Emmys, the Grammies, been a passenger in a B-17 G, the Goodyear blimp, and given his autograph to Paul Newman, may have adopted a rather cavalier attitude about mixing fun and job performance. (Isn’t that a rather common personality trait among folks with Irish heritage?)

Hence the challenge of post election column topics is beginning to take on all the ominous potential for becoming an identity crisis.

If Mitt Romney becomes President of the United States will it be worth the time and effort of someone, who has provided content for liberal (or progressive or “lefty”) websites since before George W. Bush was named President by the U. S. Supreme Court, to continue the efforts to tell Americans: “Wake up!”? That will be hard work and not much fun.

If, on the other hand, the President is reelected, he will be lucky to get a Democratic majority in Congress and if he doesn’t the Republicans will continue their “sit down strike” level of job performance and prolong the political gridlock.

If the President is reelected and gets a Democratic majority in Congress, is it very realistic to think that he will get some new ideas by reading the World’s Laziest Journalist’s columns? Ridiculing politicians is easy but after doing it for a number of years, the fun quotient evaporates completely.

On Wednesday, October 24, 2012, the World’s Laziest Journalist reconnoitered the outside of AT&T Park just before Game One of the World Series was scheduled to begin. That was a good photo op and fun to see.

We intended to go back the next day for more, but on Thursday October 26, 2012, Occupy Oakland scheduled a protest and march at Frank Ogawa Plaza to mark the one year anniversary of a mêlée that had made headlines when it occurred. We felt duty bound to go check it out rather than hang out at AT&T Park.

It became obvious to this columnist that the unlimited supply of energy and enthusiasm that was accessible approximately 38 years ago, when the opportunity to attend the Oscar™ was offered, is no longer available to sustain a long wait and a long walk to cover protesters in the fall of 2012 at an event which ultimately did not make big headlines.

A new generation of firebrands will have ample opportunity to criticize the winner of the November election, but more and more it is becoming obvious that is a young man’s game and it may be time to throttle back and let the political chips fall where they may.

The few reviews of Tom Wolfe’s new novel, Back to Blood, we’ve seen have sounded rather dismissive in tones hinting that one of the founding fathers of Gonzo Journalism has lost his magic touch.

When a high school and college classmate was recovering from some wounds received in the Tet Offensive, we found that he would get very annoyed if we prefaced any comments on contemporary culture with: “Back in 1968 . . . .” He would address me in the same way that my family used and say: “Goddamn it, Robbie, it is 1968. Knock that shit off!” As we used to say back in the Sixties: “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”

The New Journalism is celebrating the start of the second half of its first century and that perhaps is a signal that, if nothing else, it is time for some new stars in journalism to be anointed and for some new labels to be coined.

On Wednesday October 24, in the San Francisco Chronicle’s World Series Preview section Scott Ostler wrote (on page E-6): “I’m a reporter. I’m not here to root.”

Now the disk jockey will play The Who’s “My Generation,” the Stones “Mother’s Little Helper,” and Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Someday Never Comes.” We have to go dig out our Nikon F and relive some past glories. Have a groovy week.

May 1, 2012

May Day Photo Report for Occupy Oakland

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 6:21 pm

Police prepare demonstrator for arrest.
Photogs scramble to record Police vs. Protester scuffle

Police in riot gear cordon off Broadway in Oakland, Tuesday morning, after first arrests were made.

The Noon May Day rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland CA was marred by a scuffle between Police and Demonstrators.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has learned a thing or two about photo editing and we realize that the photos taken early on May 1st in Oakland aren’t strong candidates for winning any of the press photographer clip contests for this month, but after putting in time to get to the event, get images, edit them, and then get to the Public Library to post them, we figured: “What the heck, they are better than no images at all.”

Specific details were lacking in the initial news reports on Bay Area media. The World’s Laziest Journalist will include more details in Friday’s Week in Review Column.

February 10, 2012

The Case of the Missing Journalism

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:36 pm

KTVU got there Thursday
Tents popped up again onSproul Plaza Thursday
Little tents seen on Frank Ogawa Plaza

As the first full week in February ends, the overwhelming temptation for political pundits is to compare the chaotic process of getting the Republican primary elections voters to choose the man who is ultimately going to get the nomination to Bach’s Little Harmonic Labyrinth, and so the World’s Laziest Journalist will skip that because it is too obvious. The executives for the Democratic Party know who their nominee will be just as surely as Karl Rove knows who his party will select.

Isn’t it obvious to non pundits that Romney is a Potemkin candidate? For most Republicans the situation is like when they learn beforehand that they will be honored via a surprise party and that they will have to act surprised when it happens right on schedule.

The paid pundits in the mainstream media know this but their weekly (“Yeah, I get paid weakly – very weakly”) paycheck is whatcha might call “hush money.” When the inevitable happens watch and see just how authentic the surprise is on the faces of TV’s regulars on the weekend analysis shows. It’s like they say in Hollyweird: “If you can fake sincerity, you have it made in Hollywood.”

Didn’t Republicans fight hard to get ranked choice voting established and now aren’t they using the Liberals’ arguments against the change to discredit Romney who isn’t getting much more than about 50 percent of the voters in any one primary?

Speaking of Republican inconsistencies; what about the possibility of sending Americans into Syria to help them win freedom and democracy? Is it an oxymoron when Republicans staunchly endorse sending American youth to die in a war to establish a democracy overseas? Shouldn’t they want to establish a Republic and not a Democracy?

The Oakland city council at their regular Tuesday night meeting voted down a measure to order the Police to use more stringent measures when dealing with the Occupy protesters.

Some cynics question spending money for keeping people out of a public park or plaza or from seizing a vacant building on a weekend when five murders are committed in other areas of Oakland. Isn’t the answer that there is always going to be gang violence but cleaning up the downtown shopping area makes business associations happy?

Periodically at Frank Ogawa Plaza tiny teepees will appear. Apparently they are meant to be a gesture of defiance regarding the ban on the use of tents in that area in front of the Oakland City Hall.

This week the Guardian weekly newspaper in San Francisco ran an article, on page nine of the February 8 to 14, 2012 edition, written b Shawn Gaynor, about new legislation which is designed to prevent the San Francisco Police Department from working with the FBI to investigate local citizens.

Isn’t it one thing for the police to tell a fearful wife that they can’t do much about a husband’s threats until he actually does something unlawful, and another thing for a country that might send troops to Syria to investigate the possibility of future reprisals inside the USA?

This week the New York Times in a lead story on page one reported that the USA plans to downsize the number of diplomats stationed in Iraq. Were they trying to hint that the massive Embassy constructed under war conditions in that country was an example of overspending that precipitated the numerous cuts to welfare programs inside the USA? If that’s what they wanted to imply, why not just come out and say so in an editorial?

How can it be that there isn’t a week that goes by without some liberals protesting the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Prison but the allegations of prisoner abuse in the Los Angeles County Jail gets little (if any) notice outside that gigantic county?

On Thursday, February 9, 2012, Occupy Cal held a rally on the Mario Savio steps at Sproul Hall.

The World’s Laziest Journalist went early to the noon event and, while waiting for the start time to arrive, chatted with a local political activist, Russell Bates, who attends many of the political events in the area.

Bates (who emphasizes that he is not related to the mayor of Berkeley) related a version of the events in Oakland on January 28, 2012, that didn’t quite mesh with the way it was reported in local news media.

According to Bates, the marchers who trampled a fence down at the Kaiser Center in Oakland that day were trying to move away from police aggressive police officers and when the marchers encountered the fences the crowd movement away from the police was a greater force than the fence was engineered to withstand.

Bates went on to assert that the people who were arrested for burglary entry into the YMCA later that night, were merely trying to avoid being arrested in a kettling maneuver by the police and that the marchers were merely rushing through the only avenue of escape. Bates alleges that of the 408 people arrested that day, only twelve were charged.

Bates claims that the news media is complicit in spinning the events of that day because they did not provide aerial coverage from their news choppers of the kettling process.

On Thursday, news coverage of the attempt to restart the Occupy Cal movement initially could be described as meager. A camera man from KTVU was covering the noon rally as well as reporters from the student newspaper, radio and TV studio.

Last fall Occupy Cal received news coverage from a much larger contingent of journalists.

A police officer informed the protesters that the tents they were erecting on Thursday afternoon were not permitted. The police did not take action immediately and attempts to learn about subsequent developments by listening for news reports on KCBS news radio were unproductive.

The columnist functions as the writer, typesetter, editor, fact checker, for this column but also has to do the computer work necessary (download from the Coolpix, edit the photos and transfer the ones selected for possible use to a memory stick and then posted online in a place where the html process can find and fetch it for use when the column is posted on Friday morning) to add photos to the column.

[Note: there is a labor dispute in progress at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s headquarters and the proofreaders have been locked out until they give up their silly demands for wages and other benefits.]

Would it be appropriate if the World’s Laziest Journalist were to be well paid to not cover Occupy Cal? How can “hush money” be spun so that it sounds commendable?

On Friday morning, KCBS news radio was not making any mention of the Thursday student protest and so the World’s Laziest Journalist will have to take a circuitous rout to the computer which will be used to post the column online and check to see if the tents are still making their mute protest or if the protesters have folded their tents and faded away into the night.

On Friday morning, that news station was reporting about a Thursday night public meeting in Oakland where members of the public made charges of police brutality against the participants in the Occupy Oakland events.

Recently this columnist has suggested that there might be a need for an unofficial meeting place for a Berkeley Press Club. Apparently the columnist misjudged the level of enthusiasm such a suggestion might generate. Only one reader responded to the idea of such a group.

On Thursday, the news media seems to regard Occupy Cal as a fad that has faded.

This just in: On Friday morning the tents were still on Sproul Plaza and more TV news crews had arrived and interviews were being conducted. The story on Friday morning seemed to focus on the symbolism of a mushroom as indicating regeneration. The World’s Laziest Journalist will try to file updates next week.

To be continued . . .

California Governor St. Ronald Reagan once said: “If it takes a bloodbath to end this dissention on campus; let’s get it over with.”

Now the disk jockey will celebrate the Beach Boys reunion by playing their “Smile” album. Tuesday in San Francisco there will be several events to mark the 50th anniversary for Tony Bennett’s original studio session for making the recording of “I left my heart in San Francisco,” so the DJ will play that song. He will also play “Desert Caravan.” We have to go and see if we can watch the Grammies. Have a “nothing to see here” type week.

February 1, 2012

Will Kettling boil away the free press?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 9:27 pm

The World’s Laziest Journalist has known about the origin of the word “stringer” and the explanation of the tradition of typing “XXX” at the end of a story for a long time, perhaps even since when the Rolling Stones were guests on Dean Martin’s TV show, but we had never heard the expression “Kettling” until this week when that word popped up in stories about the events in Oakland last Saturday.

Ironically we had seen an example of Kettling occur in San Francisco last summer but were unaware that what we had seen was one of the first occurrences of kettling.

When police surround and cordon off a group of people and heard everybody (press, perps, protesters and bystanders) into the busses and take them off to a booking facility that is an example of the latest law enforcement trend called “Kettling.”

Initial news reports said that said that Occupy Protesters invaded the YMCA on Saturday night. Later stories explained that the area had been cordoned off and the protesters (and perhaps pedestrians caught in the Kettling?) were trying to pass through the YMCA in an effort to avoid arrest. Would the use of the words like invasion be poor journalism or spin?

Last summer during one of the “No Justice No BART” protests in San Francisco, the police rolled the doors of the Powell Street BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station and detained the people inside their perimeter.

This columnist/photographer took some photos inside that area and then when the doors began to be rolled down, we moseyed outside to get some additional images from a different perspective. Journalists were detained along with protesters. The San Francisco Police glossed over the incident as a bit of a law enforcement agency’s version of a clerical error. The journalists didn’t write many complaints into the various accounts of that event.

If the wealthy media owners don’t want law enforcement officers criticized and express that preference in strong managerial directives, could the paychecks issued to writers, reporters, photographers, and TV camera men, be considered “hush money”? Just asking.

We have seen reports that indicate a similar example of this kind of clerical error may have occurred at some events at Occupy Wall Street in New York City.

Is it too soon to write a trend-spotting story about these examples of kettling?

Hang fire, we’ll send the link to this column to the tip desk at the Columbia Journalism Review and if subsequently, they do a story on Kettling, well then, we can brag about the fact we gave them the “heads-up” on the story. If they ignore the suggestion, then the folks who are firmly convinced that this columnist does moonlighting work at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory will have some more evidence to explain their firm conviction.

Speaking of firm convictions, how are the cases against the Occupy Movement protesters going? Can an effort to use some exemptions to proper procedures be fast-tracked to the Supreme Court to speed up these cases? Aren’t there some privatized prisons with empty cells?

Recently James Richard Armstrong II, a homeless writer in Berkeley CA, has been writing a series of columns for the Smirking Chimp website alleging that various Bay area cities are using some members of a brigade of street sweepers to spearhead an effort to “get rid of” the homeless in the downtown area. If it weren’t for the fact that Darwin BondGraham corroborated Armstrong’s facts in a story that appeared on Page 8 of the January 25 – 31, 2012, print edition of the East Bay Express (and it also appeared online); it would be easy enough for patriotic critics of Armstrong to dismiss his work as another example of a product from the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory.

Wouldn’t it be embarrassing for Armstrong’s critics if he appeared on David Letterman’s Show and made his assertions that “things aren’t what they seem” to a nation wide audience?

Some hypersensitive writers for the alternative press media contend that since Columbia University receives research grants from the Government, the politicians in Washington will use that money as a bargaining chip in an effort to convince the college types that “there’s nothing to see here – move along!” is the principle (school pun alert?) that should be use to make any decisions about the trend-spotting journalism value of such material originating in the digital era version of the underground press.

We could dig out some digital files from the event last summer and some from last weekend, and add images to this posting, but lately our inclination is to just add photos to the end of the week wrap-up columns.

[We’ve got a question for the folks who enjoy the esoteric and sometimes enigmatic information that is liberally scattered about in our columns: “If the name of the San Francisco’s guy who claimed to be the World’s Greatest Disk Jockey was Don Sherwood why did locals call it the Will Sherwood Show?]

In the pre Internets era some newspaper writers were paid (what’s that?) on a per column inches basis. I.e. the amount of material that got published would be used to determine their pay check. Editors would take the bound copy of last month’s issue and use a ball of string to measure out all the writer’s stories for that particular time period. If all the fellow’s stories used up 35 inches of string and if his pay rate was $10 an inch – wait just a dang minute, let’s call it a buck an inch – you do the math. (It doesn’t take a professional trend-spotter to know that Americans are going to get used to smaller paychecks.) That’s how the part time editorial employees got to be called stringers.

In the age of telegraphed news stories there was no word with three x’s in a row. (That was before adult movies started to run ads in newspapers.) So the telegraphers got in the habit of designating the end of a story by inserting XXX, which was the Roman numeral for “thirty.”

Speaking of which . . .

To be continued . . . (but not necessarily tomorrow.)

January 29, 2012

The arrests started early at Move In Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:47 pm

The first arrest
Marcher prepares to step off at Ogawa Plaza
Protesters at Ogawa Plaza watch events live-streamed from elsewhere

Those, who have made the prediction that Oakland will be the place that will provide a plausible reason for conservatives to assert that martial law is needed in the United States to maintain order, just got a specific newsworthy example of how things could hypothetically get so out of control that the only possible remedy would be a brief experiment with martial law.

Stories have been emerging in the regional news media that predict that the budgetary crisis in the city of Oakland will soon require a need to bring some national control over the Oakland Police Department.

Since the topic of what happened in Oakland starting at noon on Saturday, January 28, 2012 will be a popular subject for use on the Internets during the coming week, and since a columnist/photographer, who contributes regularly to this website, was a witness with a Nikon Coolpix for the first four hours of the Move In Day Protest, we will provide readers with a subjective report on Oakland’s latest contribution to the evolving history of the Occupy Movement.

Since the World’s Laziest Journalist is particularly fond of the coffee sold at De Lauer’s Newsstand (you read that right it’s an old fashioned store that specializes in newspapers and magazines) we went to Oakland and arrived about a half hour before the noon event was scheduled to begin.

There was about a hundred protesters gathered on the North side of Frank Ogawa plaza when we arrived. We took the opportunity to take some photos of the signs and artwork because, even if the event turned out to be a total non-story, pictures of the signs would be the kind of feature photos that one website could use later.

Just before noon a fellow came up to the World’s Laziest Journalist and requested that we not take photos that showed protesters’ faces.

At morning coffee earlier in Berkeley, a fellow in Berkeley predicted that there would be no arrests would be made at the day’s event.

The OPD (Oakland Police Department) got the first arrest on the scoreboard before the event was five minutes old thus giving writers the opportunity to use a sports metaphor such as a kick-off return that produces a touchdown.

The protesters took a winding march route that led them to the campus of Laney College where it looked like, to this columnist, they were cordoned off. Then protesters who were passing by reported that local news media was reporting that the protesters had moved to a new location to the north of the College.

At the college one police officer advised citizens to stay as far away from the event as they could. Recently in similar news events in the greater San Francisco Bay area, reporters with press credentials have been detained along with protesters and so the advice seemed, to a fellow who no longer carries a current press pass, like sound advice.

If nothing else, the police and protesters seem unanimous on the idea that photographers should get lost.

When this photographer covered an event known as the Venice Canal Riot in the Seventies it didn’t seem like fatigue was a factor in the day’s events.

Why then could that same photographer now claim that after only four hours of walking around Oakland, going back to Frank Ogawa Plaza to catch a bus going back to Berkeley, might cause some negative comments on his next job performance report?

In the old days when carrying a Nikon F and needing the skill of loading 35 mm film onto a Nikor reel was part of the job qualifications, it was necessary to be aware of deadline limitations. The photographer had to be aware of the time not only in Los Angeles, but in other cities in the USA.

A sports photo that moved at 9 p.m. PST, would arrive in sports departments on the East Coast at midnight, which was deadline time for getting material into the next morning street edition.

It was a commonly accepted rule of thumb that if a photographer didn’t see his work move on the wire before 6 p.m. Pacific Time, it didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being used by the Los Angeles Times.

There are, we understand, some state of the art digital cameras that can download onto the Internets directly and instantaneously from the scene where news has occurred. We understand that live steam video “live from the scene” is being provided to some people with the right computer equipment.

We got a feature style photo of a hand held device showing a teargas attack somewhere in Oakland to the protesters at back Frank Ogawa Plaza. No deadline lag there.

Santa Claus has not yet delivered any computer hardware that would drastically shorten the amount of time that the World’s Laziest Journalist requires to post any material online. We have to go back to the laptop, download the files from the Coolpix, edit the images and select the best ones, then go to a place where a wifi connection can be accessed, and then post photos and a story on the Internets.

A quick check of the Internets on the way back to the laptop in Berkeley provide a glimpse of some excellent images on the Contra Costa Times website and that had the effect of slightly diminishing the World’s Laziest Journalist’s level of enthusiasm for the process of posting.

On Saturday night, we noted that KCBS’s hourly CBS radio network news was very focused on the fact that Herman Kane had endorsed Newt Gingrich. While we were listening and editing the digital images, KCBS reported that the Protesters had entered a WMCA and interacted with some people there who were exercising.

Obviously the explanation of just what going into that place had to do with the day’s announced goal of entering an abandoned building and establishing a claim that such a move was a humanitarian effort to provide shelter for the homeless will have to be elaborated by the nebulous Occupy Movement protesters, who take pride in featuring no management hierarchy that can provide authoritative replies to any reporter’s inquiries.

Initially, the unexplained visit to the YMCA, which KCBS reported added another one hundred arrests to the scoreboard, might seem inappropriate as part of the argument that action has to be taken to prove that empty office building might be a viable alternative to the Occupy Campsites which drew extensive criticism attributed to local business men.

By 6 a.m. Sunday morning, KCBS was reporting that the total number of arrests had risen to the 300 level.

The Sunday 7 a.m. PST CBS radio network newscast made a brief mention of the Move In Day arrests in Oakland.

Some protesters entered the Oakland City Hall on Saturday evening. Initially KCBS was relaying the information that photographers at the City Hall had noticed that the protesters did not have to force entry to the facility. By Sunday morning, reports stated that Occupy protesters had broken into the City Hall and then trashed the place.

On a quiet Sunday morning in Berkeley, the columnist/photographer wrote up his subjective report on the newsworthy Saturday protest and then planned to travel to a place where he could post it.

What makes it worthwhile for a fellow to spend all that time and effort to produce something which conservatives will ridicule as glorifying thugs and liberals, other than the ones who stumble across it where it is posted, will ignore? . . .

Can we get back to your later with the answer to that question?

November 20, 2011

Will Jean Valjean run for Congress?

Filed under: News — Tags: , — Bob Patterson @ 7:03 pm

Protester in Oakland on Saturday.
Protester in a one-sided debate Sunday.
There were more Police than protesters and journalists on Sunday morning.

On Saturday afternoon of November 19, 2011, protesters gathered in Oakland. By Saturday night a new Occupy Oakland encampment had been set up at a different location. By 9 a.m. Sunday morning, it was gone.

November 14, 2011

Photo update from Occupy Oakland

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 5:32 pm

DWP workers doing clean-up tell the story visually.
Officers from SF relieve the Oakland PD
Protester is shown Monday morning in Oakland

On Monday morning, November 14, 2011, DPW crews in Oakland were at Frank Ogawa Plaza cleaning up the debris from the former site of the Occupy Oakland encampment.
The columnist/photographer observed officers from San Francisco relieving the Oakland PD (in riot gear) on the perimeter of the “crime scene,” sometime between 8 and 9 a.m.
A small number of protesters tried to block the intersection of Broadway and 14th St. A sergeant from the Oakland PD told them they would be arrested. They moved. No arrests could be seen.
News photographers and TV crews focused on the DWP workers doing their jobs.

November 2, 2011

Update on General Strike in Oakland CA

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 6:49 pm

General Strike in Oakland CA
Protesters stop SUV in Oakland Wednesday.
Broadway and 14th in Oakland gets some new decorations.

Perhaps the most surrealistic moment at the General Strike in Oakland was a chat with Mayor Quan’s husband. He was scrambling to help her regain the goodwill of the protesters.

The atmosphere at the latest general strike was similar to that we noted at a previous visit to the L. A. County Fair, a few years back.

The last general strike in the USA started at 5 a.m. on December 3, 1946 in Oakland.

Some businesses which were open at 8:30 a.m. on November 2, 2011, were closed later in the day.

When given the choice of giving in to fatigue early and then posting some photos with a short roundup or staying longer and not being able to get to the Internets on the same day as the event, this columnist chose to get the photos posted at about 4:47 p.m. PST.

October 29, 2011

Revisiting OO

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:37 pm

Is Fox slanting coverage?
Michael Moore encourages protesters at Occupy Oakland
Michael Moore spoke at Occupy Oakland on Friday

Between a visit to Occupy Oakland (=OO) on October 17 and Friday, October 28, the nature of that particular protest site changed and it seemed that a new visit would provide the basis for a subjective report on a comparison of the before and after phases of the cutting edge installment of the OWS movement.

The first visit had reminded this columnist of a camp out inside a delivery van visit to the 1965 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glenn, New York. The atmosphere there had been a preview of the “in this together” spirit later exemplified by the musical concert at Woodstock, New York. The non-violent community spirit prevails and everyone seems to make a concerted effort to provide a living example of the philosophy of the brotherhood of man. That was the same impression we got at the first visit to Occupy Oakland.

By Friday, October 28, 2011, the atmosphere at “Oscar Grant” park in Oakland was much more somber and serious as epitomized by the tribute to Scott Olsen the Marine who had been hit by a teargas canister during Tuesday’s camp clearing effort by authorities.

On Friday, the port-a-potties were gone. The free library was gone. The food cooking facilities were gone but there was one large new factor, a massive media presence.

On October 17, this columnist observed one TV news van and about three digital photographers. On Friday, October 28, we counted 13 TV vans during our visit.

After arriving and noting the large number of journalists there, we learned that film maker Michael Moore was scheduled to address the protesters later in the afternoon.

On the day that John Wayne received his Oscar™, California Governor Ronald Reagan had said at an impromptu news conference: “If it takes a bloodbath to end this dissention on campus, let’s get it over.” His spin doctors immediately amended the pronouncement but about four weeks later when four students at Kent State were shot, conservatives breathed a collective sigh of relief. It seems that the conservatives’ tolerance level for dissention has remained constant.

The former actor/governor used his harsh response to anti-war demonstrations to establish his credentials as a conservative and then launch a campaign that he was able to parlay into gaining the Republican nomination for the Presidency.

Will the harsh response to Occupy Oakland provide the mayor of that city with a launch pad for a Presidential bid? We’ll have to wait and see how that works out. One thing for sure, the folks at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory’s product development division have, in Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, a poster child for criticism of the first high profile winner of the instant runoff voting process.

Could Michelle Bachman exploit the recent turmoil in Oakland? Why doesn’t the design department at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory whip up a whacky prediction that Bachman might assert that Police Brutality is a variation of the right to free speech and therefore it is guaranteed by the First Amendment? She could publicize the thought by urging the Conservative dominated United States Supreme Court to legislate from the bench on that possible legal loophole. Would Governor Reagan have hesitated to do that?

We were out of Northern California when the Police cleared out the Occupy Oakland protesters and camp site earlier this week, but we noticed that in a photo caption on page one of the UCB student newspaper, The Daily Californian, on Friday October 28, 2011, that stated: “Violence on Tuesday at Occupy Oakland provoked police intervention.” The online liberal media sites had convinced us that it was unprovoked. Is the UC Berkeley Journalism School being funded by Rupert Murdoch?

On Friday, October 28, while revisiting the Occupy Oakland site, we thought that perhaps the Tuesday confrontation might have had some unintended consequences such as the fact that now as much (if not more) media attention seems to be concentrated on the Oakland site than on the original Wall Street protest in New York City.

Activist and film maker Michael Moore gave a speech that seemed to be a morale booster for the Oakland protesters. We counted 13 TV news vans or satellite trucks at the Moore speech. Did all 13 of those news organizations “scoop” Fox Views?

One of the more extreme ideas percolating in the product development department at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is that it would be very convenient for the next Republican President if the liberal Democrat now in the White House increased the speed at which America seems (according to leftists) to be sliding towards fascism. Wouldn’t the next Republican to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue be grateful if the current occupant could provide a Reaganesque type bloodbath to diminish enthusiasm for all these Occupy events?

Friday night on October 28, Mike Malloy, on his talk radio program, mentioned that during the TV coverage of Tuesday night’s activities in Oakland two of the local Bay Area TV channels suspended their live TV coverage just before the police started their response to the “Violence” because they both noticed that they were running low on fuel and had to go “gas up” again.

We have seen one online story that indicates that Google was asked to remove videos indicating that there may have been some Police brutality that occurred in Oakland when the Police shut down the first installment of Occupy Oakland.

It may seem, to those addicted to conspiracy theories, that not only is the right to peaceful protest obsolete, but that freedom of the press is on the endangered species list, in the Land of the Free.

October 18, 2011

Occupy Oakland Photo Report

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , — Bob Patterson @ 8:00 pm




The Occupy Oakland site is a vibrant place with a high energy/karma level. It is fast becoming a media magnate. These photos were taken on October 18, 2011.

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