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Monthly Archives: August 2014

 

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20140814-MISSOURI-HP-slide-LJII-superJumboFerguson, Missouri, 2014

 

In our supposed “post-racial” America, where the election of a biologically 50% black man to the office of President has loosed, under an imaginary mask, the livid bigotry which animates our culture to its core, reality has once again reared, visibly, its ugly head.  It exists all day, every day, in the most mundane and common of ways, with the on-going, never-ending oppression of dark-skinned people – economic ghettoization, cultural hypocrisy, profiled policing, a constant onslaught of prejudice fashioned as policy: where you can live, how you can live, if you can live.  The statistics of black life in America (and as well others – Native American, hispanic) are appalling, as are the simple human realities.  America has pretended to have dealt with this, but it never did.  A tiny minority of millionaire sports and show-biz “successes” have been used as a veneer to cover the daily offense which America at large heaps on people with the “wrong” color.    In Ferguson, Missouri, this disease has exposed itself yet again, with a nearly all-white police force, now armed with tools for military actions, carrying out the underlying policies of oppression which our culture enforces other ways every day, all day.   Living while black, a capital crime in America, most often kept conveniently hidden, and periodically erupting to the “surprised” populace of the non-black (or Native American, or hispanic or others) for whom everyday America is a perpetual enemy.

When will it change?  Probably never.  A dishonest, self-deluded people cannot change what they refuse to acknowledge as a problem.  That’s US(A).

 

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Birmingham_campaign_dogsBirmingham, Alabama, 1963

Addendum, August 16, 2014. 

The situation in Ferguson has wobbled, tensions heightened by an inept town police captain who released the surveillance video of Michael Brown, the unarmed now-dead young man gunned down by a police officer for walking in the middle of a residential road, against the request of Federal authorities after a day of relative calm.  This was followed by a day of rioting and looting.  A curfew has now been imposed, and tensions are once again very high.  Comments in a New York Times article on the matter received responses such as this, which were heavily approved by the enlightened Times readers:

DS
NYC 10 hours ago
I grew up poor. I never shoplifted, I never punched out a store owner. I never made excuses. I worked. I worked two jobs, three jobs, I didn’t stand on the street and yell about my rights being violated. I worked, I learned to speak proper English and read until I was literate. I feel for Mr. Brown’s family, but he was not just getting ready for college, he was breaking the law and getting ready for jail. And a community that protests with violence is no less different than a community that fails to denounce terrorism as means to attract support for their cause. This country has become a country of causes and we wonder why we are polarized. Go to work, organize, and stop breaking windows and stealing, if you want to be recognized as a viable alternative. Stop whining and throwing rocks, do something constructive.

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RS
Philly 10 hours ago
Judging from the casual and menacing way Brown strong armed the poor store clerk as he robbed him, I have to believe that it was not the first time. Not exactly the sweet and gentle child he’s been portrayed to be. The police account that Brown scuffled with the police officer and lunged for his gun is completely believeable. By the way, one of the so called witnesses supporting Brown was his partner in crime in the convenience store robbery. So much for that.
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redstorm
Home 10 hours ago
Michael Brown looks like a thief and a bully. I believe there are two sides to this story and the officer should not get railroad to satisfy local dissatisfaction with the handling of this death. The police officer went 6 years without firing his weapon at anyone – I don’t think he randomly shot Mr. Brown. Also, I believe Mr. Brown’s behavior in the 15 minutes leading up to his death is extremely relevant and the police had every right to release it.

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And so on. (I note that DS from New York, while noting that they “grew up poor” doesn’t mention which skin-tone they have.)
Far down on the list came these:
MetroJournalist
is a trusted commenter NY Metro Area 10 hours ago

Yes, shoplifting is a robbery, but the reaction to it was disproportionate. Meanwhile, Wall Street gangsters got a way with tons of money and not one of them was arrested, let alone shot, and no armored vehicles were brought in. Just sayin’.

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Fiona
New York 6 hours ago

It would be very convenient and perhaps comforting if we could blame the events of Ferguson on a) a bullying thug, b) a racist or perhaps scared police officer, c) an apparently witless police chief, or d) outside agitators determined to loot and create mayhem. By picking one of these, we can dismiss the fundamental problems that the events of Ferguson have revealed, yet again.

We have a vastly unequal society, whether one considers results or opportunity. Racism still thrives in the United States, and is sometimes still fatal. We are deeply divided in countless other ways as well. Our justice system and our system of policing ourselves is severely flawed. We spend more time, energy, and money punishing, denying, and excluding than we do in providing hope and opportunity. A large portion of our citizens do not feel that their government is responsive to their ideas, needs, or wishes, and feel that it no longer represents them. I am sure that others could add to this list. What Ferguson makes clear is that we have a lot of work to do if we wish to live up to our own espoused ideals, and we had best stop blaming someone else and roll up our sleeves.
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I replied to this last with:
Yes, the fundamental “problems” of America will once again be conveniently swept under the rug: racism (from the beginning), economic disparity (from the beginning); denial of our communal behavior (genocide against Indians; slavery and its aftermath); militarism (America’s answer to almost everything); that 5% of the world’s population, the USA, consumes (by strong arming and military conquest, and economic extortion) 25% of the world’s resources; etc. etc.. Nope, we’re not gonna talk about that.

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security guysAlexander, Brennan, Clapper

Following the confessions of Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, and of James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, that they had, uh, misspoke, uh, lied, committed perjury and little things like that in testimony before the US Congress, comes the hardly surprising mea culpa of John O. Brennan, that he too had in such testimony, done the dirty deed.  This triumverate of the nation’s security apparatus each and every one committed a Federal crime, a felony, when, after raising their right hands and swearing “to tell the truth and nothing but the truth” they proceeded to tell falsehoods, prevaricated, mislead or otherwise lied before Congress.  The proper legal procedure for such behavior in our supposed system, would be for these people to be charged with a serious crime, be tried, and since they have more or less admitted to their crime, be convicted and sent off to a Club Fed, there to ponder their misdeeds and be “rehabilitated.”

However this is the United States of America, in the year 2014, and while elements of the lumpen proletariat (rednecks, white-trash, discolored folks of all tonalities, the economically poor and educationally disadvantaged) can be tossed for life in jail for 3 very minor transgressions of the law (like smoking a joint) under the Three Strikes & You’re Out laws which exist in many states, those on the other end of the social spectrum, have been issued a permanent Get Out of Jail Free card.   And indeed, just a day ago, our President, the famous Kenyan, declared his full confidence and trust in Mr. Brennan, and his actions with regard to the others indicates the same view of them.   While it would be sort of comforting to imagine that the roll-over-&-play-dead response to these professional snoops and liars is owing to the doubtless endless dirt they have on all our honorable politicians, I am inclined to think it is because Mr. Obama, and more or less anyone down the pecking order of our government are all essentially in support of the crimes these folks committed which caused them to commit the crime of lying about it all.  The entire cesspool of our political system is in on it all.

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At the present moment – though moves seem afoot to alter this modestly – the United States, constituting about 5% of the world’s population, houses some 25% of its prisoners.  I suppose it is no irony that the same approximate figure applies to the nation’s share of global resource use: we’re 5% of the global pop, and we gobble up 25% of the world’s resources.   Hmmm…    Need I note that the disproportion of our consumption of global wealth is rooted in what many in the world regard as great crimes.  Recall the adage:  “Behind every great fortune is a great crime.”

So perhaps it is only natural that we have evolved into a condition in which the greatest crimes – war crimes, financial crimes, or little Constitutional crimes (after all, the Constitution is, as famously described by our previous President, “just a goddam piece of paper”) such as, uh, lying to Congress in sworn testimony, are all quickly dismissed and forgotten. (Recall also the willfully unsworn testimony of the tandem duo of Bush & Cheney in the commission on 9/11?)   So in the new 21st Century America, criminality has become the norm, acts just too big for our little 20th century minds to embrace.   Criminality like letting the 9/11 attack occur since it had certain political advantages in the minds of a cluster of people who just happened to be in the government at the time.  People who had called for just such an incident, publicly, in their 1998 Project for the New American Century announcement, which they removed from the net after 9/11 and it was noted by many.

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So, lying has become – as perhaps it always was – our political and social norm.   The news is full of stories of corruption, though usually this isn’t the word applied, which itself is a kind of corruption: refusal to call things what they are.  Lies are lies; cheating is cheating; war crimes are war crimes.  But for some time now our society was wormed away from such a view:  torture is “enhanced interrogation,” war crimes are “we are not going to look back; we are going to look forward;” trillion dollar financial scams built on fraudulent loans and sliced and diced “derivatives” are called “too big to fail.”  And the higher one is in the hierarchy of power and control, the more protected one is from failure, indeed, failure becomes a mark for advancement.  Failing upwards signals total acceptance and complicity in a thoroughly corrupt system.  And so, in the current case, for sure to be forgotten tomorrow, as the rush of today’s hyper-kinetic news smears collective memory and leaves it roadkill, a thin plasma squashed against the windshield of a hystrionic now, Mr. Brennan, having said his “Gee, I’m sorry I lied to you Senators” will retreat into the black hole of our vast “security” apparatus and carry on, as have his partners in crime, General Alexander and Mr. Clapper.  Federal felonies simply don’t matter if you are high enough on the pyramid of power in the USA.  For taking your part in the vast system of corruption, you will be rewarded.  It rather reminds of the old USSR in its terminal days.

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How swiftly does time go these days?  A mere six months ago the world was enthralled with the Sochi Winter Olympics, thought to be a triumph for Vladimir Putin; a month later Russia seized the Crimea; Malaysian flight 370 went missing and remains “a mystery.”  The World Cup came and went; Malaysian flight 17 went down over the Ukraine; Israel invaded Gaza; 50,000 kids from Central America showed up at the US border (owing to things America imposed on their native countries); the Ebola virus returned – the adrenalin race of events finally exhausts, and leaves a vacuum into which the worst is drawn.

Open Carry March on March 12, 2014

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Open carry gun supporters; if you ask their politics it is very likely to run to the right: American “militia” or maybe Brownshirts.

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The private military-style contractors, Craft International, at the Boston Marathon, whom no one says were hired for anything there, though there they were, “helping” the FBI, and then vanishing.  They carried black back-packs of a kind looking just like the one which the FBI alleges held one of the bombs.  The balance of the Marathon story is so full of fishy things one must wonder.

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