Democrat-ruled Oakland, California, targets news crews

For decades now, the Left has been excusing crime with the old “root causes” argument:  criminals are made, not born, and they’re made by a confluence of poverty, racism, peer pressure, etc.  Because white Leftists feel guilty about this, they’ve tended to give ghetto-based criminals a pass.  It’s not their fault they’re criminals; it’s our fault, so we should not judge them harshly.

Of course, regardless of its cause, the problem with giving criminal behavior a pass is that it takes away disincentives for crime.  Anyone with a lick of sense knows that you have to attack crime at both root and branch, with the branch being those disincentives.

I mention all this because the media has been one of the major purveyors of the “pathetic criminal” meme, which is consistent with the media’s 90 Democrat demographic.  But the one thing these Lefties forgot is that revolutions always eat their own.  And that’s why we get this story coming out of Oakland, the city next door to Berkeley, with a population made up of rich white liberals and poor blacks.  Municipal government hews Left even by California standards, which may explain the abysmal poverty in which many of Oakland’s blacks live — and the crime.  Hitherto, the media has been somewhat sympathetic to the crime.  I wonder, though, if that’s all about to change:

The violent robbery of a television news crew outside an Oakland school last week was the latest in a series of similar incidents in a city where the rate of strong-arm robberies and holdups is surging.

But the brazenness of the attack – which occurred during a live broadcast in the middle of the day – has brought fresh urgency to the problem.

Union officials who represent reporters at most of the Bay Area’s major television and radio stations said Tuesday they had asked the broadcasters to immediately hire security guards to accompany news crews when they are in Oakland. At least one station has already enlisted guards, and others are considering it.

You can read the rest here.

I suspect that what brought “fresh urgency to the problem” isn’t a criminal act in a violent city, but the fact that the reporters were the targets.  (Shame on me for being so cynical.)

 

 

Occupy’s cost

Not only is the Occupy movement ugly, divisive and violent, it’s also expensive:

The news spotlight has moved elsewhere, but Oakland continues to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars a month for the Occupy protests.

Every week for the past month, more than 100 cops, or roughly one-fifth of the city’s patrol force, are called in to work the Saturday night Occupy demonstration held downtown.

Estimated cost: about $50,000 a week.

City officials now estimate their overall Occupy tab is up to $3 million and counting – this at a time when up to 400 city workers will likely be laid off Feb. 1 for lack of money.

Is there something missing from this story about the OWS attempt to shut down the Port of Oakland?

As I was up early, I listened to KSFO’s Brian Sussman show.  A man called in, identified himself as someone who works at the Port of Oakland, and described with some amusement the eight or so luxury buses that pulled up, disgorging a bunch of people in their 30s and 40s, completely with mass-produced signs, who then set up trying to block the port.  He was pretty sure the bus company was Galactic, which is amusing, because this company offers “party” buses.  I wonder if the Galactic people knew what party they were hosting.

What’s peculiar is that I read the SF Chronicle’s account of this morning’s strike, and the Chronicle makes no mention of the buses, instead describing the protesters as walking to the site from BART:

Carrying signs saying “Shutdown Wall St. on the Waterfront” about 200 protesters marched the three blocks from the West Oakland BART Station to the port entrances before sunrise today.

Was the caller making it up?  Did the reporters not see the buses?  Did the reporters see the buses but ignore them, deliberately or because they failed to understand their import?  I don’t know.  I’m just asking questions here.

Do you think liberals, reading the paper, are beginning to catch on that Occupy is a problem, not a solution?

I present to you, without comment, a collection of headlines from today’s Bay Area news section of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Many Oakland stores close for strike
Jill Tucker,Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writers
Many businesses in downtown Oakland are closed during today’s Occupy Oakland general strike, whether in support of the movement or in preparation for the mass of protesters marching through the streets. The closed…

Mercedes hits 2 Occupy Oakland protesters
Matthai Kuruvila, Demian Bulwa,Kevin Fagan, Chronicle Staff Writers
A car struck two Occupy Oakland protesters tonight as they marched with a crowd along Broadway, and an angry mob surrounded the car as emergency workers tended to the injured. The driver, who was not identified, sat in…

[snip]

Oakland protest disrupts AC Transit downtown
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Public transit is being rerouted in downtown Oakland because protesters taking part in a general strike today have blocked a busy intersection. AC Transit buses on several lines are taking detours around 14th and…

Oakland schools affected by Occupy strike
Will Kane,Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
At least 15 percent of Oakland teachers took today off to participate in the Occupy Oakland general strike, the school district said. A little more than 300 teachers missed work to join the strike, said Troy Flint, a…

Occupy strike descends into chaos
Demian Bulwa, Matthai Kuruvila,Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writers
A long day of mostly peaceful protest on Wednesday in Oakland descended into chaos after midnight. Masked vandals shattered windows, set fires and plastered downtown businesses with graffiti before police moved in,…

One port entrance closed, longshoremen absent
Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Trucks were stuck outside the Port of Oakland this morning after protesters dragged fencing across a major entrance and a shift of longshore workers didn’t come to work. About a dozen demonstrators followed up on…

[snip]

Costs of Occupy Oakland disputed but on the rise
Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer
Oakland’s police union has estimated that last week’s sweep of the Occupy Oakland encampment – which re-established itself within days – cost taxpayers more than $1 million. But Oakland officials say they do not know…

Incidentally, the above stories weren’t the only “muggings by reality” that the SF Chronicle delivered to its online readers today:

The Department of Energy’s inspector general said Wednesday that the 2009 stimulus program for green energy was so at odds with the realities on the ground that it was akin to “attaching a lawn mower to a fire hydrant.”

Inspector General Gregory Friedman, testifying to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s panel on stimulus oversight, outlined a range of problems, from a flood of $35 billion in stimulus money that overwhelmed the department’s $27 billion annual budget to weatherization programs of such shoddy quality that more than half of those audited failed inspection because of substandard workmanship.

Preparing for mob rule in Oakland *UPDATED*

Last year, an Oakland transit police officer, Johannes Mehserle, killed Oscar Grant, in a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station.  Grant was being, to put it mildly, obstreperous.  Mehserle’s defense is that he meant to taser Grant but, instead, shot him.  Video footage made at the time indicates that Mehserle did indeed make a terrible mistake, and never intended to shoot Grant.  For that reason, trial watchers assume that the jury, if honest, will acquit Mehserle.

Oakland’s Communists and, therefore, Oakland’s merchants are making the same supposition.  To that end, the Communists are working hard to foment riots and the merchants, aware of that fact, are working hard to protect themselves in advance.

Zombie has a photo-rich post documenting precisely what is going on in Oakland:  both the Communist efforts to ensure a riot, and the merchants’ hard work, both physical and psychological, to protect their property and their employees.

I have to admit to being a bit nervous about the whole thing.  I’m fairly far away from Oakland, but quite near Richmond, which nestles immediately on the east side of the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge.  Marin, of course, is on the west side of that same span.  Richmond is a pure Democratic city, with a desperately high crime rate.  A significant part of Marin’s crime, especially shop lifting and car theft, originates in Richmond.

If Richmond explodes along with Oakland, who knows what will travel across the bridge?  I’m hoping that our Marin police are paying attention and not just assuming “it can’t happen here.”

And a little bleg:


UPDATE: Mehserle convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Two serious storm warnings, one national, and one local *UPDATE*

There are two storm warnings I want to give you, one of which requires action on your part, the other of which, depending on where you live, falls into the “sit, watch, and thank God you’re far away” category.

First warning:  Drastic cuts to the military, courtesy of Bawney Fwank, that noted military expert.  (And yes, I am being incredibly sarcastic describing him as such.)  The Navy Times provides some details:

Cut two carriers and 40 percent of new ballistic-missile subs, then slash the fleet to 230 ships and eight air wings. Terminate the F-35, Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and V-22 Osprey. Drop down to six expeditionary strike groups, eliminate the maritime prepositioning force and place greater emphasis on surging smaller naval groups as needed.

These are but some of the eyebrow-raising recommendations provided to Congress on June 10 by the Sustainable Defense Task Force. The group was formed at the request of Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Walter B. Jones, R-N.C.; and Ron Paul, R-Texas; and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. The task force proposal amounts to $1.1 trillion in defense cuts over 10 years. Slightly more than half of that amount comes from personnel budgets; the rest comes by cutting research, development and procurement of weapons systems.

And that’s just cuts to the Navy.  As I understand it, the proposals are far-reaching, and involve drastic cuts to every aspect of our military.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea how the military feels about these cuts.  Maybe they worked with this committee, and honestly tried to trim out deadwood made unnecessary by technological advances.  However, given the committee’s composition, and given the Navy Times own raised eyebrows, I have a suspicion that the military might be less than sanguine about those suggestions, especially given that the world’s bad guys, seeing a weak man in the White House, are acting up like crazy (that would be Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China, the Norks, Syria, etc, etc, etc).

Given my suspicion that the military may have its own ideas about the virtue of these cuts, and the coming storm they may bring about, it occurred to me that concerned citizens might want to make sure that groups that have the military’s interests at heart are sufficiently funded to make their presence known on Capitol Hill.  As you know, my pet group is the Navy League, a non-profit organization dedicated, in significant part, to “foster[ing] and maintain[ing] interest in a strong Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine as integral parts of a sound national defense and vital to the freedom of the United States.”

As I said, the proposed cuts may still leave us with a “strong” military as part of a sound defense for a free United States, but, well, I’m just not so sure.  I therefore urge you to join the Navy League or, if you have a pet military organization that provides a voice for the military before Congress, by all means, send money to that organization.

The second storm warning is for Oakland, California, residents.  If you remember the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, you might want to batten down the hatches in case similar rioting strikes in Oakland.  Here’s the problem, as Zombie describes it:

Nearly everyone in the Bay Area agrees that a major Oakland riot is brewing if the verdict in the trial of policeman Johannes Mehserle, accused of murdering BART passenger Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day, 2009, comes back anything other than “GUILTY!” The problem for Oakland’s sense of security is that Mehserle is almost certainly not guilty of murder, and the jury is likely to give him a comparatively light sentence or even let him go completely.

You should, of course, read Zombie’s entire article, which goes to the impending lawlessness in Oakland, a city on the verge of cutting 80 positions from its active duty police officers.

UPDATED:  It doesn’t quite belong here, but since there is a storm brewing in the Gulf, this seems like the best place to put Ace’s post about the way in which overreaching government bureaucracy destroys all functioning.  One of the stepping stones on my journey across the Rubicon to conservatism was Phillip K. Howard’s The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America, in which he describes the way in which government bureaucracy, by aiming for some elusive perfection and by working to keep itself funded, destroys efficiency, innovation, and basic functionality.

Being punished for thought crimes in Oakland, California

A Mormon in Oakland who is seeking re-appointment to a city-run board is being turned away because he supported Prop. 8.  There’s no indication that he is homophobic.  Like me, he favors civil unions for gays, which would extend to them the full panoply of legal rights available under the law.  (I also favor civil unions for all couples, thinking that we should, once and for all, leave marriage to the marketplace of religions, and let the states figure out what unions they wants to promote for society’s overall benefit.)  For supporting marriage, Lorenzo Hoopes is being banned from civic participation on a matter entirely unrelated to redefining marriage in California:

A $26,000 contribution to the initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California appears to have cost a 96-year-old former Mormon temple president his seat on the board that oversees Oakland’s historic Paramount Theatre.

Amid rising criticism from the gay community, Mayor Ron Dellums said Tuesday that he was putting on hold the reappointment of Lorenzo Hoopes, most likely signaling an end to Hoopes’ 30-plus years on the Paramount board.

“The community is asking us to reconsider, and that is what we are going to do,” mayoral spokesman Paul Rose said.

Hoopes, a past president of the Mormon temple in Oakland as well as a former Safeway executive, has been on the Paramount board since before the downtown theater was restored in the early 1970s.

Even if Dellums had gone forward with Hoopes’ renomination, there was little chance the City Council would have approved it, council President Jane Brunner said.

“A lot of us don’t think that he represents our thinking in Oakland,” Brunner said.

Maybe, but from what we hear, some council members were nervous about even having to vote on the matter and were happy to see the mayor take them off the hook.

Mormon church members contributed an estimated $20 million to the Proposition 8 campaign. Hoopes, who supports civil unions for gays but not marriage, said his support for the 2008 initiative – and the contribution he made – was a personal matter.

“I don’t know if it’s fair or unfair,” Hoopes said of his imminent bouncing from the Paramount board. “I happen to think that they are wrong, but that’s just my opinion.”

Hoopes, as you can see, is handling the situation gracefully.

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