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.

Citizen’s Arrest!!

I always liked this scene from the Andy Griffith Show.

 

The reason I bring this up is because of this story I saw in the New York Post. It would seem that in New York there are indeed two sets of laws, as Gomer Pyle says, one for the citizens and one for the police and their friends and families.

Hundreds of NYPD cops rallied in front of the Bronx County Courthouse yesterday to support 16 colleagues who were indicted in a long-simmering ticket-fixing scandal.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association was out in force, passing out various signs to the off-duty protesters.

One sign asserted the supposed mild nature of fixing tickets: “It’s a courtesy, not a crime.” Another called it “NYPD Culture.”

Well, PBA culture, anyway.

When the trials get under way, it will be interesting to pull back the covers of these “courtesies” — and the underlying culture.

Apart from the blatant criminal charges against Jose Ramos, the police officer whose ties to a drug dealer first sparked the investigation in 2009, the “courtesy” in ticket-fixing seems pretty much an insiders’ game.

Call it cops’ “Friends-and-Family” plan — with union officials cutting breaks for the rank-and-file’s relatives and pals.

But over the course of the investigation, wiretaps revealed widespread fixing that extended beyond parking-violation favors to potential cover-ups of DWI and domestic-disturbance incidents.

In short, it’s serious stuff — and it sure doesn’t seem like a “courtesy” that’s ever been extended to the general public.

Another sign at the courthouse read, “Collective prosecution is unfair.”

Yeah, and so is “selective enforcement.”

Fact is, the best way to cultivate contempt for the law is to create the impression that the rules apply only to some.

It’s ultimately for a court to determine whether crimes were committed.

But if it comes out during the process that PBA officers plotted to help out friends, family and those in a position to help the organization, then the union itself needs to be prosecuted as a criminal conspiracy.

“A courtesy, not a crime”?

These police officers who are rallying in support of this practice fail to understand that if people begin to feel that there are two sets of laws, or that the police are to be considered above the law, that will, in the long run, make their jobs a whole lot more difficult.

Where is Sheriff Taylor, when we need him?

And thanks once again to Instapundit.

The Last Testament

Brent Bozell, the founder and President of the Media Research Center usually writes about liberal bias in the media or our rapidly decaying popular culture. This week, however, in his column at Townhall.com, he writes about a book called The Last Testament, shortly to be published by Simon & Schuster. The Last Testament, written by one David Javerbaum, is a book length parody of the Bible, allegedly written by God Himself.

Those prestigious publishers at Simon and Schuster selected All Saints Day to unleash the book world’s latest attempt at mocking Christianity. It’s called “The Last Testament, by God.”

The author is David Javerbaum, a top writer for 11 years for “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, perhaps America’s leading religion-hating TV network. Is it any surprise that the critics love it?

Publishers Weekly raves, “The Almighty opens up in this blithely blasphemous satire of monotheism.” God, in this alleged autobiography, is “a complex, troubled Deity: vain, petulant, desperate for praise and burnt offerings, guiltily pensive in the after-wrath of unhinged smitings. Adherents of every Abrahamic faith will find plenty of hilarious, offensive manna for thought in these revelations.” Kirkus Reviews bluntly adds, “Damned comical. Amen.”

Hilarious, offensive.” What they mean is that it’s hilarious because it’s offensive.

Simon and Schuster’s Executive Vice President and Publisher, Jonathan Karp announced the book by poking fun of the Jews. “We feel like we are the chosen publisher,” Karp cracked to Entertainment Weekly. “A lot of writers are creative, but this writer is really creative.” Karp was much more obsequious and reverent last fall in selling the last testament of Ted Kennedy, the posthumous memoir “True Compass.” Perhaps it’s because it’s Kennedy, not just God.

Javerbaum’s God is a doofus full of imperfections. In the beginning, God created the world so he could dominate someone. “In my humble opinion, thou canst hardly call thyself the LORD, if thou hast created no other beings to LORD it over,” Javerbaum imagines. “I had a burning ambition to rule the world, but I knew such a world was not going to create itself; no fully formed planet was going to suddenly appear and say, `Here, LORD, take these 20 burnt offerings,’ or `Here, LORD, take these 50 infidel heads,’ or `Here, LORD, take these 200 years of religious warfare.'”

You should really read the whole column to get a better idea of what this book is about.

Have you ever wondered why it is acceptable, even cool to make fun of Christianity while another certain peaceful religion is off-limits?

I guess that is the answer. Make fun of Christianity and all your liberal friends praise you for your courage. Make fun of Islam and you risk your life, plus your liberal friends will ostracize you as a Islamophobe.

 

 

Update: I understand that Mr. Javerbaum does, in fact, make fun of Islam in his book. You wouldn’t know it from the description in Amazon.com and frankly I am surprised that Simon & Schuster  had the courage to publish a book critical of Islam. It must have slipped by their editors. That doesn’t invalidate my central point, though. People who pat themselves on the back for their courage in mocking Christianity or Judaism tend to be curiously reticent about mocking Islam, probably because they don’t want their arms pulled out of their sockets.

 

Don’t Stay at the Hutton Hotel

If you happen to be in the Nashville Tennessee area, you might not want to stay at the Hutton Hotel. It seems that Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller of Jihad Watch had planned to have a “Preserving Freedom” conference there. Unfortunately some unnamed Muslim groups (probably CAIR) complained, and others made threats so the hotel cancelled the entire conference.

Here is more information. And here, and here.

What the heck, just go over to Jihadwatch. You should be anyway.

I actually think the hotel had every right in the world to cancel the conference, but I, for one, am not going to patronize such a spineless company. I don’t like bullies who want to suppress free speech and I don’t like cowards who cave in to them.

 

Sharia Law in Libya

Lest anyone get too optimistic about Libya’s post-Qaddafi future there is this news item from Yahoo News.

The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil set out a vision for the post-Gadhafi future with an Islamist tint, saying that Islamic Sharia law would be the “basic source” of legislation in the country and that existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified. In a gesture that showed his own piety, he urged Libyans not to express their joy by firing in the air, but rather to chant “Allahu Akbar,” or God is Great. He then stepped aside and knelt to offer a brief prayer of thanks.

Laws that contradict Sharia would include such concepts as freedom of religion and speech, not to mention treating women as thought they were human beings. I would imagine the new government based on Islamic law would encourage jihad against the infidel.

As incredible as it may seem, the time may come when we miss the madman of Benghazi.

 

Qaddafi Dead

Well, they got him. I’m surprised, really. I thought he would have fled the country. Drudge has the story along with a link to some graphic video that I really don’t need to see. The details are still a bit hazy but here is an account from the BBC.

Libya’s ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after an assault on his birthplace of Sirte, officials say.

The circumstances of his death are not yet clear. Video has emerged purporting to show Col Gaddafi being captured alive and bundled on to a truck.

Fighters loyal to the National Transitional Council (NTC) said they found him hiding in a hole, and shot him when he tried to escape.

Col Gaddafi was toppled in August after 42 years in power.

Western leaders welcomed the news.

US President Barack Obama said this was a “momentous day” for Libya, now that tyranny had fallen. He said Libya had a “long and winding road towards full democracy”, but the US and other countries would stand behind it.

The colonel was fighting in Sirte alongside his two sons, Mutassim and Saif al-Islam, according to reports.

An NTC fighter told the BBC he found Col Gaddafi hiding in a hole in Sirte, and the former leader begged him not to shoot.

The fighter showed reporters a golden pistol he said he had taken from Col Gaddafi.

Arabic TV channels showed images of troops surrounding two large drainage pipes where the reporters said Col Gaddafi was found.

Later, another video emerged of the colonel being bundled on to the back of a pick-up truck after being captured alive.

NTC fighters said he was shot when he tried to escape.

None of the video footage has been independently verified.

Later, the NTC’s acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril confirmed Col Gaddafi’s death: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”

Mr Jibril promised that NTC chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil would give more details of how Col Gaddafi was killed.

His last words were reported to be “What have I ever done to you?”

There is no doubt the world is a better place without Qaddafi in it but Libya is in for a very rough time. They don’t really have any institutions that hold the whole country together. Before Qaddafi’s rule they were still largely a tribal society and he didn’t go out of his way to develop the sort of institutions that might have integrated Libya better, and challenged his government. I think the most likely scenario now is something like Somalia on the Mediterranean.

 

Occupy Wall Street Anti-Semitism

Remember how the Main Stream Media insisted that the TEA party movement was racist, despite all evidence to the contrary. They even imagined that anti-Obamacare protesters shouted racial slurs at members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Amazingly no one managed to capture these comments on video, in an age when everybody has a camera in their cell phone.

Well, Zombie has some pictures of the good people at Occupy Los Angeles over at Pajamas Media. Apparently some of the people at the Occupy protests are just a little well anti-Semitic.

I am not quite sure these people represent 99% of the American population. Maybe 99% of Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

There’s more, including videos at Pajamas Media.

 

 

 

What Liberal Media?

I think that this cartoon says it all.

I find it interesting that the same people who were telling us that the TEA partiers were violent extremists are warmly embracing people who are real violent extremists. Not to mention the civility police who insisted that targets on Sarah Palin’s website could cause violence who somehow don’t have a problem with people who call for the murder of millionaires and billionaires.

I found this cartoon at the House of Eratosthenes who got it from Netright Daily, both blogs that I should read more often.

Here is exactly what I mean by violent extremists. If anyone at a TEA party protest had called for this sort of violence, we’d never hear the end of it.

RIP Steve Jobs

Thanks, Steve.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple died yesterday. There was no cause of death specified, but he had been battling pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is probably the worst form of cancer to have as it spreads quickly and generally displays no symptoms until it has metastasized. Jobs was only 56 and I would consider that a great tragedy if he had not accomplished more in those 56 years than most of us would if we had lived two lifetimes. Now he has gone on to his eternal reward.

Speaking of which, it seems that the Westburo Baptist Church is planning to picket Steve Jobs’s funeral. I am not sure why.

It may seem like all of America is sad to hear the news of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ death at age 56, but Westboro Baptist Church can find a reason to hate anyone, and Jobs is no exception.

Margie Phelps, daughter of rogue church’s pastor Fred Phelps, tweeted their plans to picket Job’s funeral FROM HER IPHONE.

She wrote that Jobs went in hell. He served himself and not God, and he taught people to sin, Phelps said.

Phelps defended her use of Jobs’ technology, saying “Rebels mad cuz I used iPhone to tell you Steve Jobs is in hell. God created iPhone for that purpose!

Baptists usually have a congregationalist organization, meaning that each congregation is independent and not subject to any hierarchy or authority. They do organize in voluntary associations, such as the Southern Baptists, etc but many, including the Westburo Baptist Church, are completely independent. This is unfortunate because this means that no one has the authority to tell the Reverend Phelps and his church to shut up and leave people alone.

Of course, I don’t have any such authority either, but I wouldn’t consider them Christians because some of the doctrines they teach are unbiblical. God does not hate anyone. He hates our sins, but that is because He loves us and does not wish us to be harmed by our sins.

 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. 8 The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. 10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  11 Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  15 If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. 17 By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he loved us first.
20 If anyone says “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too. (1 John 4:7-20).

If they are not acting in a spirit of love, than they are not doing the will of God.

Scientology Book Author Reveals Church’s Inner Workings

From Yahoo News and Reuters. Janet Reitman has written a book on the mysterious and somewhat frightening Scientology cult titled Inside Scientology. They really don’t like negative publicity so I imagine that researching this book must have been at least a little dangerous. Of course I don’t think they still break into offices but you never know. L. Ron Hubbard’s  paramilitary organization SeaOrg is still in business.

Judging from this interview though, I am not sure that Ms. Reitman has revealed anything particularly new or surprising to those who already know about this cult. We already knew they were more of a business than an actual religion, that they attract not too bright celebrities to improve their public image, etc. Here are some excerpts

A: Is Scientology still a big religion in celebrity circles?

Reitman: I totally think that celebrity Scientologists are hesitant to be public about it these days, but I don’t think they’ve ever had as many celebrities as people think. There are really very few. Cruise is a big celebrity. Travolta is a long-time celebrity. Jenna Elfman had a TV show, but most of these people aren’t huge celebrities. Kabbalah has gotten the superstars. Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Madonna — those are big stars.

Q: How effective has Cruise been as the public face of Scientology?

A: I don’t believe he’s been an effective face in terms of getting new members, but he’s been very effective in terms of getting the existing members excited. There was a specific strategy in place to make Cruise into the model Scientologist. It was a promotional strategy and it’s been good and bad.

Existing members are not necessarily aware of how the church is perceived. They are told they should not read newspapers, they would not have watched the “South Park” episode that makes fun of them, and they would not have read the magazine article that became the basis for my book. So from their viewpoint, Cruise’s behavior would be perceived completely differently than what we see. It would have made them really excited to see him jumping on Oprah’s couch.

 

Q: Why do you think Scientology remains so controversial?

A: I think it has to do with its history of secrecy and also its history of litigiousness. I do think that’s changed slightly. In so many ways it tries to not be so secretive anymore. It tries to be less aggressive than it was in the past. You don’t see them filing those giant lawsuits any longer. I think it’s a residual effect. They pled guilt to conspiracy once. They conducted a domestic espionage operation. And you have all these people who left the church coming out about their experience.

Q: What shocked you the most about Scientology?

A: I didn’t expect to find out how much of a business they were. They are almost like a multi-level marketing firm. They have a very shrewd marketing sense. They are drilled on how to sell. They use a book written by a car salesman that talks about sure-fire sales techniques and it shows you how to close the deal. It’s an essential part of their training.

I think that L. Ron Hubbard’s death might have caused them to mellow a little, along with the very negative publicity when the details of more of their more unsavory and illegal actions came out.

I am not sure I will get around to reading this book. I already know enough about Scientology. On the other hand, if I discover hundreds of one star reviews on Amazon.com that were obviously written by the kool-aide drinkers, I might just buy it out of spite.