The Joe Blow Report 2

Everything Is About Something Different

Posts Tagged ‘Equality

Put Those Police Cameras on Bankers

leave a comment »

This copy is mirrored from CounterPunch.

American Police are the Gatekeepers of the National Inequality Policy

Put Those Police Cameras on Bankers

by JESSE JACKSON
A week ago Sunday, five St. Louis Rams professional football players entered a game with their hands up, protesting the killing of Michael Brown. They stand in the lineage of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, of Muhammad Ali, identifying with the pain in their communities and turning protest into power.The gesture turned tochants — “Hands up; Don’t Shoot” in demonstrations across the country. Protesters shut down major thoroughfares from Manhattan to Chicago to Los Angeles to decry the Staten Island grand jury that refused to indict the policemen who killed Eric Garner, turning his plea — “I can’t breathe” — into a call for justice.In these cases, there was no cross examination and thus no indictments. “Justice” rings hollow across the nation. Injustice reins.

These demonstrations, largely by young and remarkably multi-racial crowds, are not the first. They were preceded by Occupy Wall Street, indicting the 1 percent and spreading to hundreds of cities. They were foreshadowed by the dreamers, children demanding the right to come out of the shadows of the undocumented.

They were accompanied by record numbers of workers in low wage jobs at fast food restaurants and the Dollar Stores walking off their jobs in some 190 cities.

They were complemented by women demanding gender equality, particularly at the workplace where discrimination and sexism are still rife.

The streams of alienation and disparities are converging into a river. Injustices in this new age are not only inflammable, they are increasingly inflamed.

The official reaction to police immunity for the killing of unarmed black boys and men Ferguson and Staten Island and Cleveland and Brooklyn has focused, not surprisingly, on the police. The president has created a Task Force on 21st Century Policy, with instructions to report in 90 days. He’s committed millions to put cameras on police.

But he might be better advised to put cameras on bankers. Reckless, unaccountable and murderous police behavior must end, but the police are simply the gatekeepers assigned to keep order.

Behind the gate is the American policy of isolating poor people of color in ghettos, ghettos deprived of jobs, of capital, of decent health care, of affordable housing, of good schools.

Police are assigned to patrol these zones of despair, part of the only thriving industry in these neighborhoods — the jail-industrial complex of more police, police stations, courthouses, bondsmen, jailors, judges, lawyers and prosecutors, court recorders and guards and much more. In this pressure cooker, all of us are vulnerable — none of us are safe until all of us are safe.

In the Civil Rights Movement, the Bull Connors were the violent enforcers. But they were not the issue: The issue was legal segregation that deprived African Americans of their rights and locked them into second-class citizenship.

Today, the police killing of unarmed Blacks is unacceptable and reaching crisis proportions. But the issue is a national policy that abandons poor people of color in their ghettos. If we put cameras on the police, we may get better policing and less injustice (although Eric Garner’s killing was on camera). But what we need is an urban development policy that attacks segregation by race, rebuilds poor neighborhoods, invests in the health and education of poor infants and children, erects affordable housing, offers training for and transport to jobs that exist.

The demonstrations are about justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner and others that can be and will be added to the list. But they aren’t just about those killings. They are about a national ghetto policy, a national worker impoverishment policy, a national inequality policy.

The slogan “No justice, no peace,” reverberates throughout the country. And the demonstrations are growing and spreading. Different streams of protest are coming together. Occupy Wall Street exposed the 1 percent. The strikes of low wage workers expose the global corporations. The “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” demonstrations expose the harsh injustices of the jail-industrial complex.

Dr. Martin Luther King taught us: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politics, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” Today, across America, more and more Americans are standing up for what is right.

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

The Substance of a Twittering Democrat

leave a comment »

The Joe Blow Report came to a towering decision this week, wrote a specific comment to see if the decision was justified – it was, so now we move on. From the beginning of this blog our interests were directed locally. Since our roots are in Southern Humboldt we concentrated on blogs originating there. For example three come to mind, (1)Ernie Branscomb (a punk I went to school with – [my school-time opinion of him] – it hasn’t changed in 50 years), (2) Kym Kemp and (3)Eric Kirk. Kym was conversational and seemed open-minded – turns out she’s not, and the Great Kirk, a Garberville celebrity. Go there, check them out. Each has an interesting and informative website. They also have a rather faithful and diversified list of followers. Each are an absolute authority on all matters relevant to themselves. Think not? Just question them or make a critical comment on something they assert, and they’ll straighten you out in a heartbeat. If they don’t, just be patient some of their adoring fans will. Of course, afterwards if you are lucky, you’ll believe that you just managed to escape a lynching.

Between the three blogs and the select people that regularly made comments on these blogs it was easy to get a pretty good cross-section on the thinking and status quo of the local SoHum community. Each of these three people are unique in their own way. Their writings vary with their ages and experience in life. What they believe and how they approach life is clearly evident. In time I was able to ascertain that all three possessed one equalizing quality: The all believe they are of the elite class of Americans. They’re really only wannabes, but that doesn’t slow them up when it comes to talking down to those that challenge their make-believe status.

Not only are they wannabes, they are not very decent to anyone that’s not a groupie. They all open their blogs to anyone wanting to join in on the conversations they post, but when they don’t want to acknowledge a specifically directed question or comment offered to them, they just look down their respective arrogant elitist noses and ignore you. Doing that in public is simply RUDE. It is also indecent, demeaning and derogatory. What bloggers that do this don’t realize is what they are saying about themselves. It is how they are defined, or define themselves, as wannabe little elite gods. It doesn’t take the other participants long to pickup on what’s going on and join in on the circle-jerk.

All they have to do if they don’t want to talk to someone is simply tell them, “you’re not welcome on this blog.” But then, that would require them to lower themselves to the “sub-human” level, and then they’d be admitting to everyone that, in their heart of hearts, they’re really not “wannabes.” When you accuse someone of being a second class citizen and then treat them like some pariah, you certainly can’t expect that bully to be decent, now can you? So, why would they listen to anything you have say? They won’t and they don’t. The fact is, they try to use what you say against you every time.

When I think of these people I am reminded of the first time I read the Charles Dickens’ novel, The Tale of Two Cities. I think this is what’s happening in America. These wannabe Aristocrats will be worse then the real Power Elites by the time this mess shakes itself all out. By then I don’t think it will matter. They’re already doing a pretty good job. They’ve got their “mock” guillotine working pretty darn good too – you either agree to their unsubstantiated, unproven and unsupported opinions telling you what to believe and think or – off with your head.   Read the rest of this entry »

Tell Me Words Don’t Matter!

leave a comment »

A longstanding argument of this Report is that “words are important,” that “words mean what they say.” That is how the intentions of the speaker or writer are communicated or expressed. Today we hear that it is unacceptable to use the word “negro” in normal day-to-day language. Use the evil “N” word and you commit suicide. Reason? It offends some “…” people. Well, the use of the term “African-American” offended me! That term means “African” first, “American” second. As an American “white,” with roots that go back to the beginning of this country, I find such usage and it’s overt acceptance is a direct implication of my second-class status.

Keeping and protecting their African heritage at the cost of their American reality has dominated their movement toward individuality and their maturity as a race within the American context is self-evident. Simple-minded, knee jerk reactions, however well intended, because someone’s sensitivities are tweaked, can lead to some rather undesirable and unintended consequences. But then, that’s usually the undisclosed plan, especially one with an ulterior motive, isn’t it?

Today we see an effort to actually recognize the value and meaning of words expressed in law. In the state of Washington –

Decades ago, poor children became known as “disadvantaged” to soften the stigma of poverty. Then they were “at-risk.” Now, a Washington lawmaker wants to replace those euphemisms with a new one, “at hope.”

Lovely word “euphemisms.” It means: “the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.”

Democratic State Sen. Rosa Franklin says negative labels are hurting kids’ chances for success and she’s not a bit concerned that people will be confused by her proposed rewrite of the 54 places in state law where words like “at risk” and “disadvantaged” are used.

You can read the rest of the story here:

Wash. lawmaker wants to banish negative language

Of course there’s the expected standard simple-minded Republican response:

“It’s not the label, it’s the people who show up to help (children) that make the difference,” he says. “What helps is a smart, well structured program, that has funding and credibility.”

You can read Robert Preidt report on HealthDay News published at MedicineNet.com, “Negative Words Register Faster” and see why I say “simple-minded.” Class stigmatisms are subliminally contained in the attitude expressed by the words used to tag, classify and identify people. It is a “truth” nearly impossible to overcome.

This is nowhere expressed more succinctly than in this statement by a Federal Judge at the Sentencing Hearing of Richard Reid: “And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

Yes, words matter. Words of truth do not make anyone a bigot, a racist, or a monster. But then, Jesus Christ spoke words of truth defending and empowering the “disadvantaged” and “at risk” and look what happened to him!

[Picture source]

–Joe

Police Safety and The Camera

leave a comment »

361px-PolicemanThe statement is made by Thadeus Greenson in his Sunday, May 31, 2009 Times-Standard newspaper article: “Photographer to stand trial in homeless case” that “When Officer Marsolan saw him cross the street and move closer to the officers, endangering them, Officer Dickson assisted in taking VonZabern into custody.” How is taking pictures of these police officers constitute the crime of “obstructing an officer”?  How does someone with a camera interfere with what the police are doing?

I did some research on photographing the police and found this telling bit of information on Flex Your Rights :: Protect Your Constitutional Rights During Police Encounters that explains our questions:

16. Can I be arrested for videotaping or photographing police?

Videotaping or photographing police in public places is usually legal, so long as you don’t interfere with their activities. Nonetheless, doing so will often get you arrested.

Police don’t like to be watched or documented in any way, so they’ll sometimes bend the rules to stop you. We’ve heard many stories about people who got arrested for taping police, and the charges are usually dropped. If you’re taping or photographing police, make sure you don’t interfere, because “obstruction” is the most likely charge, and you’ll want to be able to defend against it.

Despite the risk of arrest, we don’t discourage the taping and photographing of police. Video evidence is uniquely effective in exposing police misconduct. If you acquire video or photographic evidence that warrants an official investigation, create and secure copies of the evidence, then forward it to local police monitoring groups such as civilian review boards, ACLU, and NAACP chapters. You should also obtain legal representation for yourself in case the police department retaliates against you.

The complete Times-Standard article:

Read the rest of this entry »

The “Torture” Debate

leave a comment »

greenwald_art

UPDATED BELOW – UPDATE II

Glenn Greenwald says and we quote in part. You can read his blog here.

Three key rules of media behavior shape their discussions of “the ‘torture’ debate”

(3) The single most sacred Beltway belief is that elites are exempt from the rule of law.  Amidst all the talk about how prosecutions would destroy post-partisan harmony and whether torture “works,” it is virtually impossible to find any media star discussions about the fact that torture is illegal and that those who order, authorize or engage in torture are committing felonies.  That is because — other than for fun sex scandals and other Blagojevich-like sensationalistic acts — the overriding belief of the political class is that elites (such as themselves) have the right to break the law and not be held accountable.

Amazingly, when it comes to crimes by ordinary Americans, being “tough on crime” is a virtually nonnegotiable prerequisite to being Serious, but when it comes to political officials who commit crimes in the exercise of their power, absolute leniency is the mandated belief upon pain of being dismissed as “shrill” and extremist.  Can anyone find an establishment media pundit anywhere — just one — who is advocating that Bush officials who broke the law be held accountable under our laws?  That view seemsactively excluded from establishment media discussions.

The OLC memos that were released last week reflect a deeply corrupted, criminal and morally depraved political class (see this video clip for a strangely affecting demonstration of that fact –linked fixed), but our media stars are a vital reason why that has happened.  It cannot be overstated the extent to which they are nothing but appendages of, servants to, political power (as one Twitter commentator said today about this painfully vapid videofrom the painfully vapid David Gregory:  when media stars say “my reporting,” what they usually mean is: “this is what I was told to repeat”).  These three media rules repeatedly shape how they talk about government actions, and these rules are particularly pronounced as the establishment media now is finally forced to discuss what to do about the fact that our highest political leaders repeatedly broke our most serious laws.

Be sure and read the complete article – The Sacred Elite and SoHum, CA.

That elite-protecting consensus is the central affliction of America’s political culture.  It explains not only how we continuously shield our elites from the consequences of their crimes, but also explains the reason such crimes keep happening.  If you constantly announce to a small group of people that they will be able to break the law with impunity, you are rendering inevitable future rampant criminality. That’s just obvious.

It’s not just “the central affliction of America’s political culture.” It’s the central affliction of America”!

UPDATE :: Friday, April 24, 2009

Here’s a link to  local blog SoHum Parlance II that has a thoughtful and meaningful comment that’s worth reading. Now lets see if these worthless Democrats have the guts to prosecute these high-ranking criminals. Of course Obama put the screws to that when he became complicit with his first foray into Pakistan.

UPDATE II

Democratic complicity and what “politicizing justice” really means

UPDATE:  Just to underscore how continuously Democrats are complicit in thwarting the rule of law in the United States:   one of Obama’s most impressive and rule-of-law-defending appointees, Dawn Johnsen, has had her nomination as OLC Chief blocked for months by the Right, and the office of a key Democratic Senator — Ben Nelson — just told Greg Sargent that Nelson “is all but certain to vote against Johnsen,” substantially increasingly the GOP’s chances of preventing her from becoming head of the OLC.  That’s our bipartisan Washington establishment in a nutshell:  key Bush torture architects such as John Rizzo and Bush intelligence policy defenders such as John Brennan are able to remain in positions of high power in the Obama administration, while those, like Johnsen, who want accountability for government crimes are considered fringe, extremist and unfit for office.

Read the complete commentary.

–Joe

Is This THE Obama You Voted For?

leave a comment »

barackobama_changeIf so, then you’ll want to read Glenn Greenwald’s article on Salon for SATURDAY APRIL 11, 2009 08:41 EDT:

Obama and habeas corpus — then and now

Greenwald’s concluding comments: “So that Barack Obama — the one trying to convince Democrats to make him their nominee and then their President — said that abducting people and imprisoning them without charges was (a) un-American; (b) tyrannical; (c) unnecessary to fight Terrorism; (d) a potent means for stoking anti-Americanism and fueling Terrorism; (e) a means of endangering captured American troops, Americans traveling abroad and Americans generally; and (f) a violent betrayal of core, centuries-old Western principles of justice. But today’s Barack Obama, safely ensconced in the White House, fights tooth and nail to preserve his power to do exactly that.”

real_obama

Who Is the Real Barack Obama?

“I’m not searching for ways to criticize Obama. I wish I could be writing paeans celebrating the restoration of the Constitution and the rule of law. But these actions — these contradictions between what he said and what he is doing, the embrace of the very powers that caused so much anger towards Bush/Cheney — are so blatant, so transparent, so extreme, that the only way to avoid noticing them is to purposely shut your eyes as tightly as possible and resolve that you don’t want to see it, or that you’re so convinced of his intrinsic Goodness that you’ll just believe that even when it seems like he’s doing bad things, he must really be doing them for the Good. If there was any unanimous progressive consensus over the last eight years, it was that the President does not have the power to kidnap people, ship them far away, and then imprison them indefinitely in a cage without due process. Has that progressive consensus changed as of January 20, 2009? I think we’re going to find out.”

Read the complete article on Salon. Or continue,

It was once the case under the Bush administration that the U.S. would abduct people from around the world, accuse them of being Terrorists, ship them to Guantanamo, and then keep them there for as long as we wanted without offering them any real due process to contest the accusations against them.  That due-process-denying framework was legalized by the Military Commissions Act of 2006.  Many Democrats — including Barack Obama — claimed they were vehemently opposed to this denial of due process for detainees, and on June 12, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, ruled that the denial of habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees was unconstitutional and that all Guantanamo detainees have the right to a full hearing in which they can contest the accusations against them. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama, “Join The World”

leave a comment »

chomsky

Noam Chomsky - photo by John Soares

Noam Chomsky on US Expansion of Afghan Occupation, the Uses of NATO, and What Obama Should Do in Israel-Palestine

If you’re interested in an objective observation on Israel and the United States’ true objectives for the Middle East, read NOAM CHOMSKY’s latest on Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and what he sees coming up.

Well, Benjamin Netanyahu is on the—you can’t say on the far right anymore, because the country has moved so far to the right that he’s almost centrist. To the far right is his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who has made his first pronouncement yesterday. He said that Israel has no responsibilities for any previous commitments, not the Annapolis commitment to eventually form some sort of Palestinian state, unclear what, only to the road map. Now, that’s what was reported yesterday in the press.

Now, what’s Israel’s commitment to the road map? He knows very well. The road map is the famous decision of the Quartet—US, Europe, Russia and the United Nations. A couple years ago, it sort of laid out vague plans for what ought to be done. It’s worth looking at them. But put that aside, because really it doesn’t matter, because as soon as the road map came out, Israel formally accepted it and instantly added fourteen reservations, which completely eviscerated it. One of the contributions of Jimmy Carter’s book on Israel-Palestine was that he was the first, I think, to give public attention to the Israeli reservations. They’re in an appendix to his book, bitterly condemned book, but nobody ever mentioned the one major contribution.

In effect, Israel said, “We’ll sign the road map, but we’re not going to observe it, because here’s the conditions.” So, for example, the condition—one condition is that nothing can happen until the Palestinians end, of course, all violence, but also all incitement, so anything critical of Israel. On the other hand, it added, nothing can stop Israel from carrying out violence and incitement. It was explicit, approximately those words. And so it continues. There can be no discussion of the existence of settlements, in fact, no discussion of anything that matters. That’s the road map. Now, the US supported that. That means both the US and Israel reject the road map. And Lieberman’s statement yesterday is, well, that’s our only commitment. You know, if we had a functioning media, those would be the headlines.

And there’s much more to this. You know, President Obama appointed a Middle East emissary, George Mitchell, who’s a reasonable choice if he’s allowed to do anything. So far, he’s only allowed to listen to almost everyone, not everyone. For example, he’s not allowed to listen to the elected government in Palestine, the Hamas-led government. Well, it would be hard to listen to them, because half of them are in Israeli prisons, but nevertheless, you know, they have voices. For example, they’ve supported the call for a two-state settlement that the United States and Israel have rejected. So they’ve joined the world on that.

But why are we not allowed to listen to Hamas? Well, because they don’t meet three conditions that were established. One is, they have to accept the road map, which we and Israel reject, but they have to accept it, otherwise we can’t allow them into the civilized world. The other is, they have to renounce violence. Well, we don’t have to discuss the question whether the United States and Israel renounce violence, so we can put that aside. Third, they have to recognize Israel, but, of course, we don’t have to recognize Palestine, nor does Israel. So they have to meet three conditions that we don’t meet and that Israel doesn’t meet. But again, that passes without comment.

Regarding President Obama role right now:

He should join the world. There has been an overwhelming international consensus for over thirty years. It was made explicit in January 1976, when the Arab states brought a resolution to the Security Council calling for the establishment of two states on the international border, which indeed the international border, up until then, was recognized by the United States. It means the pre-June ’67 border. And official US terminology, when it was still part of the world in the late ’60s, was “with minor and mutual modifications,” so maybe straighten out some curves. Almost the entire world agrees with this. It has been blocked by the United States. The United States vetoed that resolution. It vetoed a similar one in 1980. I won’t run through the record, but it’s essentially the same up ’til now.

So what President Obama should do is, in fact, what President Clinton did in the last few weeks of his administration. It’s important to recognize what happened then. There were negotiations in Camp David in the summer of 2000, which collapsed. Clinton blamed Arafat, the head of the Palestinian delegation, for the breakdown, but he backed off of that pretty quickly. By December, he formerly recognized that the US-Israeli proposals at Camp David could not be accepted by any Palestinian, and he presented what he called his parameters, somewhat vague but more forthcoming. He then made a speech, an important speech, in which he said both sides have accepted the parameters, both sides have expressed reservations. Well, they met in Taba, Egypt, in January 2001, both sides, to iron out the reservations, and they came very close to an agreement, which was very close to the international consensus.

What he thinks about the “two-state” solution:

Nobody supports—I mean, you can talk about a one-state solution, if you want. I think a better solution is a no-state solution. But this is pie in the sky. If you’re really in favor of a one-state solution, which in fact I’ve been all my life—accept a bi-national state, not one state—you have to give a path to get from here to there. Otherwise, it’s just talk. Now, the only path anyone has ever proposed —— is through two states as the first stage.

So, there you have it. There’s no peace in the Middle East because Israel and the United States refuse to recognize the Palestinian people’s legitimate right to exist.

Compliments of Democracy Now

Link to Noam Chomsky’s website. [photo by John Soares]

–Joe

%d bloggers like this: