ACORN Behind Occupy Wall Street

Remember how Nancy Pelosi and some other Democrats insisted that the TEA party movement was just astroturf. That is to say a fake popular protest funded by the Koch brothers and Fox News. Well, it seems that maybe they were doing a bit of projection, according to this article on Fox News.

Officials with the revamped ACORN office in New York — operating as New York Communities for Change — have fired staff, shredded reams of documents and told workers to blame disgruntled ex-employees for leaking information in an effort to explain away a FoxNews.com report last week on the group’s involvement in Occupy Wall Street protests, according to sources.

NYCC also is installing surveillance cameras and recording devices at its Brooklyn offices, removing or packing away supplies bearing the name ACORN and handing out photos of Fox News staff with a stern warning not to talk to the media, the sources said.

FoxNews.com’s report identified NYCC as a key organizing force behind the Occupy Wall Street protests. Sources within the group also told FoxNews.com NYCC was hiring people to carry signs and join the protests. NYCC — a nonprofit organization run almost entirely by former ACORN officials and employees –did not reply for comment prior to the publication of the initial article, but later posted a statement on its website dismissing the article and denying that it pays protesters.

A source said that immediately following publication of the FoxNews.com report staff were called into the Brooklyn office for meetings headed by NYCC’s organizing director, Jonathan Westin. Westin handed out copies of the article and went through it line-by-line, the source said.

Staffers were also given copies of photos of Senior Fox News Correspondent Eric Shawn and three other Fox News staff members, including this reporter.

“They reminded us that we can get fired, sued, arrested for talking to the press,” the source said. “Then they went through the article point-by-point and said that the allegation that we pay people to protest isn’t true.”

“‘That’s the story that we’re sticking to,’” Westin said, according to the source.

The source said staffers at the meeting contested Westin’s denial:

“It was pretty funny. Jonathan told staff they don’t pay for protesters, but the people in the meeting  who work there objected and said, ‘Wait, you pay us to go to the protests every day?’ Then Jonathan said  ‘No, but that’s your job,’ and staffers were like, ‘Yeah, our job is to protest,’ and Westin said, ‘No your job is to fight for economic and social justice. We just send you to protest.’

“Staff said, ‘Yes, you pay us to carry signs.’ Then Jonathan says, ‘That’s your job.’ It went on like that back and forth for a while.”

Of  course,  I don’t imagine that all, or even most of these protesters are getting paid, judging by the pictures I’ve seen. Or, if they are, it’s not enough to allow for basic hygiene.

And then there is this from Yahoo News.

Many “Occupy Wall Street” protesters arrested in New York City “occupy” more luxurious homes than their “99 percent” rhetoric might suggest, a Daily Caller investigation has found.

For each of the 984 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in New York City between September 18 and October 15, police collected and filed an information sheet recording the arrestee’s name, age, sex, criminal charge, home address and — in most cases — race. The Daily Caller has obtained all of this information from a source in the New York City government.

Among addresses for which information is available, single-family homes listed on those police intake forms have a median value of $305,000 — a far higher number than the $185,400 median value of owner-occupied housing units in the United States.

Some of the homes where “Occupy” arrestees reside, viewed through Google Maps and the Multiple Listing Service real estate database, are the definition of opulence.

Using county assessors and online resources such as Zillow.com, TheDC estimated property values and rents for 87 percent of the homes and 59 percent of the apartments listed in the arrest records.

Even in the nation’s currently depressed housing market, at least 95 of the protesters’ residences are worth approximately $500,000 or more. (RELATED SLIDESHOW: Opulent homes of the ’99 percent’)

The median monthly rent for those living in apartments whose information is readily available is $1,850.

Not exactly the wretched of the Earth, are they?

While it would not be fair to conclude that the arrested protesters are fully representative of a movement that is not completely understood, this information forms the most complete snapshot yet of the demonstrations’ more militant participants.

It also reinforces the persistent critique of protesters as entitled, upper-class agitators with few legitimate grievances.

I think that would be about right.

Buy American?

John Stossel has some words here to say about the idea that buying American made products will improve the economy.

One sign of economic ignorance is the faith that “Buy American” is the path to prosperity. My former employer, ABC News, did a week’s worth of stories claiming that “buying American” would put Americans back to work.

I’m glad I don’t work there anymore.

“Buy American” is a dumb idea. It would not only not create prosperity, it would cost jobs and make us all poorer. David R. Henderson, an economist at the Hoover Institution, explained why.

“Almost all economists say it’s nonsense,” he said. “And the reason is: We should buy things where they’re cheapest. That frees up more of our resources to buy other things, and other Americans get jobs producing those things.”

He goes on with the usual arguments in favor of free trade and his piece is worth reading. One thing I wonder is, how can you determine what is American? Is a Toyota made in an American factory with components from Japan American? How about my iPod made in China for an American company and with some components from America? What about a shirt made in India from cotton grown in Egypt but sold in Wal Mart, and the workers eating American corn?

It seems to me that the world’s economy has become so integrated that it must now be very difficult, if not impossible to say that any product is produced in any one country. Any thing you find in any store is made from components from many places.

Another thing occurs to me. If the US erected trade barriers and we insisted on only buying American, what is to stop the Chinese from deciding to only buy Chinese, or the Germans only buying German, etc.

Stossel is right. Trying to interfere with free trade is only a way to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Reading Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the best known autho...
Image via Wikipedia

I like to listen to audiobooks while I drive and lately I have been listening to a complete collection of Edgar Allan Poe‘s short stories. I have to say that I am starting to get just a little creeped out. I think I am going to have to alternate, listening to a story, then something else since a little of Poe goes a long way.

On the other hand, it’s too bad that I am not a wine drinker. The last story I listened to was The Cask of Amontillado and I wonder if amontillado is good enough to risk being walled up in a tomb.

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