Friday, January 22, 2016
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
January 18, 2016
If you refuse to lead
Oh black mayor
State Farm martin luther king
the young woman said
if you refuse to lead
seizing the stage
Black Matters Matter
Michael Marshall (release the
No camping ban
No hooded Stapleton
refuse to follow
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Reverend Coleman is an old friend from Harvard and national SDS who has long worked in the latin community in Chicago, including with the great fighter Elvira Arellano.
Here he speaks to the demonization of Barack and Carlos, a resonant linking (demonization is what the "Republican" party, the authoritarian dead-enemy of Lincoln lives off). Carlos has emigrated from a murderous regime in Honduras (the democracy there was overthrown, with at least American toleration, early in the Obama administration). Carlos seeks a decent life here as every immigrant has before him (my family, too, were immigrants, fleeing the tsar).
Coleman analogizes the crowds at anti-immigrant i.e. "Republican" rallies to those "Democrats" who had picnics at lynchings in the South. See the Equal Rights Initiative's report here. This is the same racist demonization, sometimes called nativism.
That this demonization is used to throw sand in the eyes of ordinary white folks while shoveling tax cuts to the .00001% is visible to anyone who looks carefully at American politics. Such politicians particularly recommend "austerity" for black children on food stamps in the Mississippi delta and to block government programs that might put everyone back to work (the white male death rate is rising between 49-54, alone among the rates, including of American chicanos, in all developed countries - see here). Fear and confusion are linked, for many whites and others, to racism and self-destruction. h/t Jack Womack.
Fear and demonization have also licensed to US invasions of the Middle East, with as Coleman says, increasingly disastrous consequences, But one must also note: the nuclear treaty with Iran is a move, by Obama, to alter this dynamic and this week, resulted amazingly in the 16 hour negotiated release of American sailors. Quite a contrast with the onetime hostage crisis or the capture of British sailors in Iranian waters in 2007. Still, Coleman is right that Barack's continuing use of bombing/drones, mostly killing civilians and heralded sadly in the State of the Union this week (Barack is the President of the Empire...) is unlikely to defeat the "beehive" strategy of ISIS.
And Bernie Sanders is right to speak directly to the Trump/Republican attempts to divide ordinary people, and represents, in this election, a decent and increasingly strong alternative.
BARACK AND CARLOS By Rev Walter L Coleman
President Obama has been the target of the phalanx of Republican Presidential candidates – just as he was the target of the Republican Congress for the last seven years. There is no question that he has been targeted by these politicians in an effort to awaken support from the hard racism that exists throughout the United States.
No less than the President, “Carlos” is also a target of politicians seeking to build their support in racism. Carlos is a young Honduran refugee. We recently won Special Juvenile Immigrant Status for him. Carlos will now apply for the next step: an adjustment of status to become a legal permanent resident.
The Republican Presidential Phalanx targeted those like Carlos who come as refugees to the southern border of the U.S. The Phalanx claimed that youngsters like Carlos are “magnets” for illegal immigration and terrorism. The cheering crowds of candidate supporters during the recent debates vented their fear, hatred and racism much as southern white crowds once cheered and celebrated at lynchings. You don’t feel the effects of this vicious combination of emotions until you look into the eyes of Carlos and see that he is the object of their hatred.
While Carlos (among thousands like him) was attacked but not named during the debate, the President was pointed to directly.
The threat of ISIS terrorist attacks in the United States has changed the focus of their attack on the President but has made it even more openly an appeal to racism.
The rise of ISIS is part of both a general and a specific response to U.S. efforts to dominate the countries of the middle east and to control the oil as well as U.S. blind military and political support for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. ISIS has gathered support generally from the Muslim populations of the Middle east because of long standing and deep resentment against U.S .policies in that region. ISIS established its land base in Iraq because the U.S. instituted a government which suppressed the rights of Suni Muslims.
President Obama inherited this history when he became President. I believe he made a sincere effort to reposition the United States in relationship to the region. He was not successful because, as the CEO of the Empire, he could not implement a strong enough break with the past. He tried to ease out of the history of the U.S.in the middle east and was confronted with the rise of Suni militarism and religious fascism.
He has rightly understood the strategy of ISIS, which we could call a “beehive” streategy. They established a land base because of the history of the U.S. in that region. Once established, they became a beehive. If the U.S. used its military power to attack the beehive then “the bees” would attack the U.S. both in country and around the world.
Obama has followed a strategy of using air power to contain ISIS while mobilizing an international coalition with Suni Muslims in the lead – to actually defeat the temporary nation they have established. It is a slow and painful process – and may not be possible.
We should also recognize the limitations that the President faces.
On the one hand, he faces a Republican Party which is making an unparalleled attack on the U.S. presidency while openly mobilizing the racism in the country against its first African President.
At the same time, President Obama is as much the captive of the Democratic Party as its leader. We have had to fight to “Free Barack.” We had to fight to get Barack to side with Carlos – but when when we fought he did! There has been a failure to develop a movement in the United States that could challenge U.S. foreign intervention policies of the democratic party. This failure has made the President much less effective than he could have been in establishing a new history for the United States.
In the same way, the movement has failed to confront the myth that refugees from Honduras come here for the American Dream. “Carlos’” situation is a consequence of the U.S. sponsored military coup of Honduras in 2009 which gave rise to the conditions from which young Carlos had to flee for his life!
The grassroots movement that has arisen to challenge the Democratic Party on domestic issues has timidly stayed away from U.S. foreign policy. We are paying the price. And so are young people like Carlos.
It was wonderful to see Carlos reunited with his sister, who fought hard for his security. Familia Latina Unida, our churches and our ministries will continue to find ways to stand up for young people like Carlos and we will continue to stand up against efforts to use young people like Carlos – as well as the first African American President - to mobilize the racism in this country by political opportunists. It took a movement to beat back Jim Crow and to force the Democratic Party to oppose segregation. It will take a movement organized community by community to beat back Donald Trump and then bend a Democratic President towards justice. The strong hold of racism in this country that has been laid bare in the demonization of “Barack and Carlos” should be a wake-up call to the next generation.
Monday, January 11, 2016
In response to the very instructive letter from Andy Reid on the shelding of cops from danger here, including their lower risk of on the job death than lumberjacks and garbage workers, a former police officer and peace activist in Minnesota (one who lets people know his past) sent the following, striking thoughts. He underlines that "clothes" - the gun and taser - "make the man," that an officer feels dangerous and in danger (a potential target). Despite the statistics, this point is, I think, right, and helps explain the isolation and clannishness of cops. The first point about how the police protect the murderers among them by blackmail is also really striking, evoking what J. Edgar Hoover notoriously had on Presidents, Congresspeople and even Martin Luther King (the film “Selma” gets this, as many other matters, right – see here). Every police department, as the letter suggests, lives off, tries to achieve this. This point underscores Andy’s general argument, as does the letter in general.
I think there is something missing in the answers to why the police are protected by the establishment.
Surveillance of politicians, court personnel and attorneys in general has been going on in some areas for decades. It is likely that a dossier on most potential "friends and enemies" is maintained by many police agencies and certainly state police agencies. That dossier comes in handy when negotiating contracts and influencing decisions. The nastier the scene videoed or audio-ed the more value it has in influencing behavior.
For example; want the bishop to make a statement about something? check the files, ask the bishop and make a reference to his latest dalliance. Need a vote in a legislative matter, check the files and see who is sexually involved with who...usually all that is required is a snippet of information on past indiscretions and people will behave.
I think most of what Reid states is accurate. As an ex-cop I disagree with the "significance" of the following paragraph; "All of this is, of course, justified to the public with the argument that police officers are faced daily with extremely high risk to life and limb and need to be protected by their military /assault style weaponry, by their job security, and by the courts and doctrines of law. Bullshit. It's an absolute myth that they "put their lives on the line" for the public. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, fishermen, loggers, aircraft pilots, trash collectors, roofers, iron workers, construction workers, farmers, ranchers, truck drivers, miners, and taxi drivers are more likely to die on the job than cops. To put it in perspective, fishermen and loggers who make half what cops do are 10 times more likely to be killed on the job than a police officer - a garbage man is 3 times more likely to die while working than a cop. The annual death rate for cops is around 12.6 per 100,000. For loggers, it's 127.8 per 100,000. And, as anyone who is familiar with the operation of police departments is well aware, most police officers die on the job from traffic accidents, not from anyone shooting them. Of the 76 cops who died in the line of duty in 2013, 18 of them were from gunfire and the rest were from traffic fatalities or slips and falls. The murder rate of police officers is about 3 per 100,000 while that of the general population is 5.6 per 100,000. In other words, you or I as ordinary citizens are more likely to be murdered than a police officer. When a cop is killed "in the line of duty" it is sensationalized and published widely and nationally. When a farmer, logger, construction worker, taxi driver, etc. is killed, much more frequently, we hear very little about it."
If you are on the street and see the blood and injuries to other officers and the public, and the mythology is that you could be killed or crippled, then fear becomes a factor and the goal is to get home alive and live to enjoy your pension (in MN it is 95% of your high five after 30 years). People who work in other occupations don't wear a gun and tazer to work and the old adage "clothes make the man applies"...try wearing an exposed weapon around for eight hours and see if you don't feel different...people will definitely.
The only answer is total community control and that isn't likely to happen for the above reason(s)."
Total community control probably will not happen, at least under capitalism, but as Black Lives Matter shows, much can be achieved by scrutiny and democratic protest from below, even some prosecutions (the same is true for the anti-war movement).
Catherine MacArthur corrects my claim about zero police murders in England in 2015; there was one racist police killing in London (and possibly several). Still, the startling general contrast with the US holds, down to the marksman's arrest...
There was at least one shooting by a police marksman last month in Wood Green, which is just 1 mile from to Tottenham.
Meantime, may I wish you & your family a very Happy New Year.
Jermaine Baker, 28, died last Friday morning after a single bullet struck him in the neck as he sat in a car 100 yards from Wood Green crown court in north London.
The Guardian has learned that Baker, claimed by some media reports to have been a gangster, did not feature on the Metropolitan police’s databases of gang members.
It was revealed on Thursday that a homicide investigation, which is focusing on the armed officer, is looking at how far Baker was from a weapon allegedly found inside the car.
Two other men in the car have been charged with plotting to help release two prisoners from a van as they were being brought to Wood Green crown court that day for sentencing.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating Baker’s death and the actions of officers in a criminal homicide investigation, which saw the armed officer suspended from duty on Wednesday.
Baker was from Tottenham, north London, which for decades has had tense relationships with the police and has seen riots, deaths at police hands, an officer killed and battles through the courts.
IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts told a public meeting on Thursday that the officer who shot the suspect had been arrested and interviewed under criminal caution on Thursday afternoon. The IPCC declined to say what the officer had been arrested for.
Butts stressed the arrest did not mean the officer would be charged.
Baker was in a black Audi at the scene and the IPCC said its investigators had discovered a “non-police issue firearm” in the car. The other men in the car face charges over an imitation weapon, according to the Met.
IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts speaks at a meeting about the shooting of Jermaine Baker by armed police. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters
Baker had been shot while in the vehicle and Butts declined to say where investigators suspect either the firearm or Baker were as those issues are “the focus of our investigation”.
Butts told the meeting that no relevant CCTV footage had been identified. Officers were not wearing body cameras, which drew repeated criticism from the meeting and shouts of “Why?”
Butts told the meeting, which was attended by more than 200 people, of the events leading up to the decision to arrest the officer.
On Friday, police started forensic examination at the scene, which was completed 24 hours later. Independent witnesses were located and the car sent away for forensic examination.
On Saturday, officers involved in the intelligence-led operation gave their initial accounts of what happened and Butts said “the officers were warned about conferring with each other”.
By Sunday, barely 48 hours after the shooting, Butts said investigators from the IPCC made a key decision. “On Sunday there was evidence to indicate that a potential criminal offence may have been committed by the officer in his use of lethal force. We therefore made the decision to begin a criminal homicide investigation,” she said.
Chief superintendent Victor Olisa, borough commander for Haringey, confirmed Met databases hold no information Baker had gang affiliations, saying: “They don’t indicate Jermaine was a gang member.”
Baker’s family have been dismayed by claims in some media reports and the meeting was told Baker had been linked to gangs which do not exist.
Floral tributes remained at the scene of the shooting. One card contained a tribute and then a reference to “NPK boys”, a gang called Northumberland Park Killers, named after an area of Tottenham.
The public meeting was sometimes raucous and tense, with Met assistant commissioner Helen King shouted down.
Met assistant commissioner Helen King and chief superintendent Victor Olisa close their eyes during a prayer at the meeting regarding the shooting of Jermaine Baker by an armed police officer. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters
She was reprimanded by Pastor Nims Obunge from the Peace Alliance, co-chairing the meeting, after she suggested a friend of Baker’s come in and witness police firearms training.
The man, called Josh, told the meeting: “Jermaine was shot while sleeping in the car.” Butts said she did not know if this was the case.
The meeting showed a chasm between the police and sections of the community. But they, the armed officer and the police face months of waiting until answers emerge.
In a statement, Met police deputy assistant commissioner, Peter Terry, said: “In these difficult circumstances we continue to offer every possible support to the officer, and their family, and to the officer’s colleagues.
'All of the officers who took part in the operation on Friday 11 December were doing a job, one that we as senior officers in the MPS asked of them.'
Terry stressed that his officers had a difficult job to do. After last month’s Paris terror attacks police chiefs believe they need more firearms officers, which require officers to volunteer to carry a gun: 'Now, more than ever before, our armed officers provide an invaluable service in keeping Londoners and their own unarmed colleagues safe. We rely upon on them to provide this, quite frankly unique, policing role.'
Police chiefs will fear officers will refuse to volunteer to carry a gun to express their disagreement at the treatment of the armed officer."
Note that most police in London are not armed - again, a big contrast with the U.S.; individuals have to volunteer to go to armed.
Andy Reid offered some additional insights, including one about how eugenics/IQ testing is used against poor whites - eugenics is, it must be emphasized, an ideology of divide and rule - as well as a startling observation from criminal attorney Gary Spence: