The first thing you need to understand about government in America today is that the public story has nothing to do with what is really going on behind the scenes in the political back rooms.
That’s why all these politicians are surrounded by experts in spin – public relations experts, strategists, lobbyists, manipulators of the truth of all sorts who invent myths for the media and the public that purposely obscure the real purpose of their policies and actions.
Decades of the system evolving sophisticated techniques and complex inter-relationships among themselves and with politicians, business and civic leaders, non-profits, mainstream media and ethnic and economic “cohorts” has created a political system that is nothing more than a political machine, a politburo, that is exclusionary by its very nature.
It is corrupt to its core but though not usually criminal since he who makes the laws, enforces, prosecutes and adjudicates the laws has great leeway to decide who to punish, who to forgive and who to reward.
It is a conspiracy of consciousness for the most part with its unwritten, unspoken rules of propriety and acceptance. If you are in the game, you know the rules. You know you are getting a piece of the action while the masses are out there begging for crumbs from the table of power; some pigs clearly are more equal than others and the ordinary variety of human being is just an algorithm willfully or ignorantly waiting to be manipulated.
On Friday, the LA Political Machine produced a masterpiece of propaganda — a three-hour carefully orchestrated and scripted production broadcast live on Channel 35, the City Council’s final vote closing the deal for Anschutz Entertainment Group to build a football stadium and rebuild the Convention Center.
It was an event without even the pretense of drama since this was a done deal even before it was made public two years ago.
Still, it was great theater because of the shameless way the final act was scripted to exploit public sentiment on everything from the military to the Dodgers to the Watts Tower with hundreds of schoolkids bused to City Hall as extras.
It even had a 15-minute infomercial for Time Warner Cable which will launch its sports networks in English and Spanish Monday to exploit its long-term ownership of exclusive rights to broadcast Lakers games, something fans will find means they now have to pay to view what previously was free.
AEG, The Movie, ACT ONE: “Los Angeles — Open for Business or Up for Sale?”
It’s a work of art, an act of genius, bravo to the producers, directors, editors, writers and the performers whoever they are – propaganda so brilliant that light of truth could never shine in.
Consider the set-up of the narrative that is what Part One is about. On this historic day – the day the machine says the future of LA will be decided – there is no drama. This was a done deal long before the public ever heard a word about it.
The two years since have just allowed time for refinements, legalities, technicalities and a massive sales campaign to obliterate all oppositions, all questions, about a plan to bring the NFL back to LA – the city it twice abandoned two decades ago because it wasn’t that popular and still shows no signs it isn’t any more in demand today.
How else would you start the show but with a salute to the flag and the men and women who protect us and who better to provide this interruption of getting to where the emcee is so anxious to get than the former Council emcee, now a candidate for mayor, none other than leading man Lt. Eric Garcetti who brings out his fellow Navy reservists for a well-deserved round of applause whether or not they have been in combat.
Cut to the emcee ready to move forward … Oops, Bernard Parks interrupts to introduce an emergency measure to get approval to offer a $50,000 reward for information about who killed an innocent youth, Patrick Caruthers, 19, a learning disabled park volunteer sitting at a picnic bench – a crime that would have been caught on camera except somewhere along the line someone dropped the ball the Councilman acknowledged by apologizing to the youth’s grieving mother.
Her heartbreaking story of loss and her pleas for help in catching the killer, her dignity and faith could not but help touch the coldest heart. They did inspire mayoral candidate Jan Perry – who competed throughout the event for air time with her rival Garcetti – to sound a lot like a law-and-order candidates who wants her community locked down in the name of public safety.
Much to the feigned irritation of Wesson, Ed Reyes interrupted his march to finalizing the billion-dollar gift to Phil Anschutz and AEG by staging a “presentation” for Time Warner Cable, something that turned into a free 15-minute commercial for the company which is launching its regional sports networks in English and Spanish – a national first – on Monday.
There were so many Time Warner executives introduced that any who did not make in to the introductions probably ought to be looking for another job.
The source of this excitement is the cable company has paid $4 billion to lock up the Lakers game broadcasts for simultaneous live showing for a fee on cable and hopes to sign the Dodgers to a similar deal next year.
The games no longer will be free to fans – now that’s something City Hall can celebrate.
With a tip of the hat to patriots, blacks, Latinos, it’s time for an interruption to touch the hearts of the Jewish community and Paul Koretz gets the honor to ask the Council to support him in renaming a park after Roz Wyman, who at the age of 22 became the first woman LA Council member in the 1950s and played a critical role in bringing the Dodgers to LA.
Who better to speak to Wyman’s historic role than Peter O’Malley who recalled how his father Walter never wanted to leave Brooklyn but the city wouldn’t help him get hold of the land. Roz Wyman let the effort to clear the hurdles to make Chavez Ravine and the Dodgers happen, allowing the city to not only have the Rams (stolen from Cleveland 10 years earlier) but Major League Baseball as well.
Top that for making it sound like history was repeating itself which it isn’t.
Cut then to Richard Alarcon. He is standing with a group of beautiful grade school kids around his desk – just a handful of the dozens of kids from all over the city who were bused in to be props for this historic event, though most of them were relegated to hallways and the overflow room to watch on TV.
And now the climax to the setup: The Invocation of the iconic Watts Towers.
Garcetti showed his clout by getting camera time – something he needs badly since the AEG deal belongs for good or ill to rival Jan Perry – to close out the set-up portion of the show with an homage to Simon Rodia and the man who saved his sculpture from destruction more than 50 years ago, William Cartwright, now frail and elderly.
COMING SOON, ACT Two of the show of shows: “Los Angeles — Open for Business or Up for Sale?”