Monday, December 08, 2014

Beyond Garner and Brown: the siege mentality in America today is about the economy … by gimleteye

The deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown have triggered an upheaval against the appearance of placid calm in American cities. Racism is the visible target, but anger about police conduct points in another direction.

In some respects, African American culture has never been so well represented or so valued or visible in mainstream, public spheres. "I can't breathe" is on signs held aloft in American cities, but the siege mentality is about economic inequality.

The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner are tragic events, but they have also opened the raw wounds of the US economy.

This was the question I asked the other day, on the blog, of Art Basel Miami and of the Miami Herald's lead article on the weekend of the grand art fair ("Happy people, happy art"): why did so much of the contemporary art feel so insulated, self-referential and even placid?

Buyers who can afford astronomical prices for contemporary art at the main fair won't invest in reflections of an economy that is suffocating everyone else. Be happy or something like that.

Unhappiness has many fathers and mothers. The fact is that economic inequality in the United States has been brewing its toxics for decades and enmeshing both Democrat and Republican leaders.

Those leaders, including President Obama, would do well to frame the public discussion less about racism than the way the national security state has been deployed to reinforce a democracy that mostly protects corporate behavior. People, not so much.

Yes, police bear responsibility as depicted in viral videos on the web, but protesters must look beyond Michael Brown and Eric Garner for context.

America has been engaged in protracted wars for nearly two decades. Trillions of taxpayer money defines the United States as defenders of Western economic order, against disruption by Muslim extremists. What was the chance that the technologies and mindsets of the national security state would not filter into the policing of American cities and streets? Zero.

It has always been about the economy. Always.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have a large population of young people who are unemployed and have nothing to do all day and all night. They need jobs and training. Independent from that, no one should just be systematically gunned down in the street by policemen. Both problems need to be worked on. But one thing for sure if you are busy with your life, you are not available to be shot by police.

Anonymous said...

At least now FDLE is handling all of the police related shootings at Miami Dade Police. For the last several years the Miami Dade Police has allowed units like RID and STOP to run around shooting citizens at will under the lack of leadership of Deputy Director Juan Perez. The incident referred to as the Mango shoot occurred in the Redlands and caused the death of four individuals who never even pointed a gun at police. That case should be reviewed and indictments brought about the trigger happy cops.

Anonymous said...

Even the State Attorney was concerned about this incident. Four shot and killed. No arrests.

http://youtu.be/5zGz9cfv7c0

Anonymous said...

Glad you bring up the economic perspective aside from overly aggressive police officers Mr. Garner was also a victim of Nanny State politics. The reason "loosies" have a market in NYC is due to onerous taxes that drive up prices of a pack of cigarettes, yes smoking is bad for you (I don't smoke) but putting onerous taxes on cigarettes only creates black markets and then need for police to go after "violators of the law."
I think government should not only stay out of our bedrooms but out of our bodies too. Funny how the same Lilly liver'd Liberals that support a woman's right to choose back these onerous taxes that curtail choice for so many.

Anonymous said...

"What the fuck are you talking about?" Stewart asked, in response to Paul's bizarre, Butterfly-Effect-style assertion that Garner was killed because of New York City's cigarette tax: high taxes created a market for untaxed cigarettes, which led to Garner selling loosies on the street, which led to his death by choking, or something.

"The cigarette tax is truly the least salient aspect of this case. It's like saying, 'You know the problem with the Hindenberg? Government parking regulations,'" Stewart said.

http://gawker.com/jon-stewart-wants-to-know-what-the-fuck-rand-paul-is-ta-1667200457

Anonymous said...

You mean to tell me this man was killed by the police over a cigarette?

Anonymous said...

One of the things we have to look at is who are we hiring as police officers. They at least need two years of college, and mental and psychological evaluations. Judgement by officers is critical. You have to do cost benefit. Is one cigarette worth a life? Demonstrations and disruptions all over the country? A whole lot of people being thrown out of office? Many other people losing their jobs? Thousands of people being arrested and now having criminal records? People injured and sent to the hospital? Confusion in the streets? The whole police force put on trial in the court of public opinion? A spotlight on how the criminal justice system works? Exactly, what is a cigarette worth?

Anonymous said...

BOYCOTT CIGARETTES!

Anonymous said...

Jon Stewart is a clown strictly for entertainment purposes, its like turning on Bozo The Clown show when I was a kid (I never expected to get my news or any facts from it).

Fact remains that the situation of Garners death was caused IN PART by exorbitant taxes on cigarettes, just like deaths from back alley abortions where caused by anti abortion laws pre Roe V Wade.

Partisan blindness is killing the US, it shouldn't be about "I can't breathe" it should be about "What you mean I can't buy a F&*&^king loose cigarette?"

Anonymous said...

The "Clown" did this to your political hacks.
Ten years ago — on this very day — October 15th, 2014-
a somewhat-known comedian named Jon Stewart went on Crossfire, and gave an interview so blistering and critical of the show and its hosts that it got the show cancelled. Literally. CNN’s then-president Jonathan Klein even cited Stewart’s criticism as a reason for its cancellation.
http://www.mediaite.com/tv/crossfire-canceled-on-10-year-anniversary-of-jon-stewart-appearance-is-cursed-obviously/

Anonymous said...

To address the employment problem of young people I propose a two-year conscription of all 18-21 yr olds into existing programs at the local, state, and national levels, as well as in programs around the world and some new programs created for them. Kids going to college would serve their mandatory two years to the country after they graduate college. Military service would count. This cleans everyone out of their mothers and dads homes for at least 2 years, gets them started on a career, they get familiar with working everyday, and learning about life. When they graduate from high school, everyone knows exactly where they are going. It will be somewhere else, but it won't be sitting around doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

Two year universal conscription? Are you serious? If you are I heard Putin is looking for a minister of interior you sound liked you would fit right in.

John Stewart is entertaining but not always on target.

Anonymous said...

They would have plenty of options. They could work in whatever field of endeavor they desired. But they would have to get up every morning somewhere in the world and go to work doing it. Many of them need to travel to different places in the world anyway while they are young so they can see what the world is all about and how thankful they should be to be Americans. For many of them just going to different parts of the US would be enlightening. Or just living and working in a different sector of the community they live in, would be eye-opening.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of racists. You should thank God you are white because you wouldn't last a second as a black.

Anonymous said...

What choice do we have? Sooner or later, we won't be able to work and fuel this economy. These are the people who are going to have to keep the country going. But if they don't get started in their careers, when the time comes for them to take over, they won't be able to. It is an urgent national imperative. They are our future. If they don't get moving, we have no future.

Anonymous said...

We are mostly Anons. We could be mostly Black.

Anonymous said...

And while this conversation is going on another two were shot and killed in front of 163 St. Mall yesterday by members of their own community. Where is Jesse Jackson? Where is the outrage?

Anonymous said...

thankful they should be to be Americans

Spot the Africa

"Between rampant racial inequality and Ebola outbreaks, South African comedian Trevor Noah admits he hesitated to visit a country as underdeveloped as America."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHO1a1kvZGo

Anonymous said...

He probably have never traveled anywhere in the world. That is what I am talking about.. There is a reason why everyone in the world wants to come here.

Anonymous said...

New York City, New York – According to former NYPD officer Harold Thomas, he is no longer with the police force after an incident involving a fight with 3 other officers outside of a nightclub that Thomas was leaving.

Thomas believes that he was racially profiled and that the situation escalated because he was black and he was not in uniform.

According to Thomas, he was approached by three white officers who stopped him because he allegedly fit the description of a “shots fired” call. He said that next he politely answered the officers questions, showed them his ID and let them know that he was also a cop.

“I showed them both my ID and said I am Detective Harold Thomas,” he told reporters.

“[The third cop] spins me around, slams my head on the roof of my car, made a dent in the car, grabbed me by the seat of my pants, throws me head first,” Thomas said.

Thomas told reporters that more officers showed up at that point, including a lieutenant, who allegedly participated in the assault.

Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/nypd-cop-racially-profiled-arrested-wrongfully-arrested-cops/#lXCmD3MDkBscP7yl.99

Anonymous said...

Estimates are that underground activity last year totaled as much as $2 trillion, according to a study by Edgar Feige, an economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

That's double the amount in 2009, according to a study by Friedrich Schneider, a professor at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. The study said the shadow economy amounts to nearly 8 percent of U.S. gross domestic product....

Shadow economies are usually associated with illegal activity, such as drug dealing. But anecdotal evidence indicates that off-the-books work in today's job market includes personal and domestic workers, such as housekeepers and nannies.

"The jobs are in service industries from small food establishments to landscaping." said David Fiorenza, an economy professor at Villanova University. "Even the arts and culture industry is not immune to working off the books in areas of music and entertainment."

It also includes firms that hire hourly or day construction labor, information technology specialists and Web designers. Many who have a job that doesn't pay enough take another one that pays under the table.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100668336#.

Anonymous said...

At the time of Governor Perry's pardons, the 38 Tulia defendants had cumulatively spent over 70 years wrongly imprisoned in Texas jails and prisons. The injustice of what was done to those innocent men and women is compounded by the fact that other than Tom Coleman, no one else involved in the their wrongful convictions is likely to ever see the inside of a jail cell. Swisher County Prosecutor Terry McEachern, Judge Edward Self and Sheriff Larry Stewart seem to be home free, in spite of deserving to be investigated and possibly stand trial related to using their positions of trust and power to prey on nearly four dozen innocent men and women, and causing untold anguish to those people’s many hundreds of family members and friends. It is a telling commentary on deep rooted defects in this country’s judicial process that the legal lynching of the pardoned Tulia defendants will never be officially condemned by a court in this country. Yet the three ringleaders that orchestrated their wrongful convictions walk the streets as if they were respectable folks.
http://justicedenied.org/issue/issue_23/tulia_travesty.html