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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Insanity and reality

Insanity. People are slamming the Mayor of Baltimore over an erroneous report which appeared on teevee. According to this newsflash (which I saw on CNN), there would be no curfew in Baltimore until tonight -- the night of the 28th.

Well, I can assure you that there was indeed a curfew in place last night, starting at 10 pm on the 27th. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either hallucinating or misinformed.

There's no shortage of bizarre, overheated rhetoric today. Check out the comments at the other end of that link...
It has already been reported that George Soros funded groups have been involved in stirring up Ferguson riots. I hope someone is investigating where the outsiders are coming from and who is funding them. This isn’t all grassroots; this is being orchestrated by outsiders who are using the usual local suspects. When are the $$ people going to be held responsible for inciting riots? I’d love to see old George in cuffs. And check SEIU for involvement; they are usually in charge of providing buses to transport the rent-a-mob.
Funny thing: The transcendentally paranoid fruitcakes who reflexively blame "outside agitators" never feel any need to provide evidence.

I still recall the immediate aftermath of the Dark Knight massacre in Colorado: The right-wingers went into high dudgeon because Brian Ross of ABC temporarily confused the shooter, James Holmes, with a gun nut bearing the same name. Yet the same rightists endlessly repeated the ludicrous claim that Holmes belonged to Occupy Wall Street. Conservatives still make that assertion with total jackass self-confidence.

It's happening again. Radiating their usual aura of fact-free certitude, bombastic rightwingers have fixated on the myth of the "outside agitator" as their go-to explanation for the Baltimore insurrection. The meme is not relegated to online commentary:
Christie Lleto, a reporter with CBS Baltimore, reported breathlessly, “This seems to be the work of a few outside agitators.” Another anchor on Baltimore’s Fox affiliate actually remarked, “The police have said that outside agitators are responsible for this, so it must be true.”
This nonsense has a long history. The myth of the Illuminati originated with displaced aristocrats seeking to explain the French revolution as the work of scheming foreigners.

Allow me to repeat a prediction which I made in a previous post: A month from now, nobody will be able to name a single one of these ghostly manipulators. (No, Malik Shabazz doesn't count: He never advocated violence.) Those "SEIU buses" will remain as spectral as ever.

We literally have better evidence for the existence of Black-Eyed Kids than for these mythical puppeteers. There are a handful of named witnesses who claim to have seen BEKs. The number of witnesses who can testify to the existence of outside agitators stands at zero.

Connoisseurs of silliness will appreciate this offering from a savant calling herself LoveOurSoldiers:
I know the CO’s plan is to take our country down from within. I do believe they are grooming violent protestors to be recruited by ISIS... and by taking power away from local police to respond.... they will get away with their evil deeds.
Oh. My. GOD. ISIS recruiters are roaming the streets of Baltimore! They're as common as orange and purple lawn flamingos. Why, you can't go out for a bag of Utz without running into a few jihadis...

I could cite many more examples, but the point is made. Conservatives are psycho.

Totally freakin' psycho.

They inhabit a reality of their own construction -- an alternate dimension filled with phantom birth certificates, phantom "crisis actors," phantom ISIS recruiters, phantom buses and phantom outside agitators. In their world, the Ferguson reaction had nothing to do with a gross miscarriage of justice and everything to do with Evil Soros, whom they envision as a kind of James Bond supervillain.

How difficult would it be to convince right-wingers that the Hulk is real? Roger Ailes should conduct the experiment, as a test of his powers.

Reality. If you are interested in the truth, here it is, courtesy of a writer who grew up in the area at the epicenter of yesterday's troubles:
Everyone I knew who lived in that world regarded the police not with admiration and respect but with fear and caution. People write these feelings off as wholly irrational at their own peril, or their own leisure. The case against the Baltimore police, and the society that superintends them, is easily made:
Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations. Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson ....

And in almost every case, prosecutors or judges dismissed the charges against the victims—if charges were filed at all. In an incident that drew headlines recently, charges against a South Baltimore man were dropped after a video showed an officer repeatedly punching him—a beating that led the police commissioner to say he was “shocked.”
The money paid out by the city to cover for the brutal acts of its police department would be enough to build "a state-of-the-art rec center or renovations at more than 30 playgrounds." Instead, the money was used to cover for the brutal acts of the city's police department and ensure they remained well beyond any semblance of justice.
The right-wingers who insist on framing everything in simplistic racial terms don't live in this city. I'll say it again: Yesterday, I spent hours in a fast-food restaurant, watching events unfold on teevee. The audience was a 50-50 mixture of black and white, and there was not the slightest hint of racial tension in that atmosphere. In fact, everyone in that building seemed united in their mistrust of the "POH-leez." (That's how everyone pronounced the word.)

Wake up and smell the reality, folks. This isn't about white-vs-black. It's centurion-vs-civilian.

As then, so today. I may have told this story before, but it bears repeating. Circa 1969, while watching television news footage of the Vietnam war protestors, my highly conservative grandmother became convinced that she could see Nikita Khruschev himself in the crowd, egging on the students: "There? Did you see him? That bald guy? He was holding a shoe!"

Nowadays, she would be spotting George Soros.
From David Simon, creator of The Wire:
By pointing to outside agitators--Commies, Soros, ISIS--then one is not required to ask the hard questions or even look at the overwhelming evidence of police abuse, particularly in and on impoverished communities.

The report from Ferguson was withering, a power structure involved in a shake-down system of its citizens. But before I read the report from Ferguson, I'd been reading similar reports from poor communities all over the country--the shake-down, the abuse meted out by a militarized, occupying force that is better equipped than a lot of our soldiers were in the Middle East. For instance, a reinstitution of the Poor House has been put in place in numerous regions, people imprisoned for unpaid bills, sanctioned by municipal courts though the practice is clearly illegal.

You beat the hope out of people, they will eventually strike back. With a vengeance. When you beat the hope of out people then there's nothing left to lose and anything, even the burning of neighborhoods, is possible, inevitable.

I caught a few minutes of the FOX coverage while waiting for my tuna sandwich. Apparently there are data mining experts who recorded spikes in data streams evidencing the coordination of violence between Ferguson and Baltimore. Dissent equals terrorism.
Btw, the link that Howard A. posted above by David Simon [creator of The Wire] is spot on. Highly recommended. The sort of thing we never hear from our 'pundit' class, who by and large are part of the problem, who are willing to flirt with the libertarian mindset without courting/entertaining or critically thinking about its bankrupt and destructive underpinnings.

Anon..."data streams"? What nonsense. If there were proof, then we would have the exact words cited everywhere. We would all know about it by this point.

Still, the only likely data mining experts Fox could have talked to are the folks in Fort Meade...

I heard a lot of the trope that "this is not excuse for looting", or that it is "foolish to destroy businesses", yadda, yadda.

Of course there is and excuse, and of course it is not foolish, except in some sort of immediately expedient terms.

Do you really think we would have civil rights legislation if it wasn't for the urban riots of the 1960s?

The current riots are simply a reminder that things have not changed nearly as much as the "but please be civil and patient" NPR propagandist crowd believes.

Businesses are absolutely a fair target - the primary purpose of police is to protect property and the propertied, and it is property owners who fund the goddamned machine of violence.

Yes, this is extremely bad PR, and will cause negative reaction. It is just not foolish or uncalled for.
Rebels always have to play it smart. I don't think that it is ever wise for rebels to attack businesses in one's own community, especially small businesses. That said, it is utterly galling to hear the virtues of non-violence extolled by representatives of our INSANELY violent, drone-happy government.
"George Soros funded groups have been involved in stirring up Ferguson riots" -- Obviously this person was confusing Ferguson with Kiev.
I remember in December and January when the cops had their rulebook slowdown here in NYC and stopped writing summonses, and the Times editorial board thundered in indignation that the cops were depriving the city of much needed revenue.

In January, de Blasio announced that the city would no longer be automaically settling nuisance suits against cops based on the bean counters' cost-benefit analysis. I'm curious to see what's going to happen.
I am not sure what I am missing here, but I watched the Mayor on a live feed from local Baltimore TV last night (the 27th) where she said, in her own words, that a curfew would be "...instituted tomorrow..."

Here, at 1:45:

Although it is quite possible she misspoke, and meant to say 'tonight', to anyone that watched that press conference and heard her say 'instituted tomorrow' - it is quite understandable why they would be confused and question the timing. I know I certainly did.

Thus, it is probably not accurate to say that 'Anyone who tells you otherwise is either hallucinating or misinformed', because thats precisely what the lady said. :)
OK, Anon, maybe there was a small mistake. But everyone understood, and the whole city DID shut down. Businesses shut down early to let people get home before curfew.

If there was any problem in communication, we should blame George Soros.
George Soros IS an agitator attempting to ovethrow the Russian government.
"I don't think that it is ever wise for rebels to attack businesses in one's own community, especially small businesses"

That depends on the meaning of "in" and "own community". In some places, many or most small shopkeepers are notoriously racist and trigger-happy, get along fine with cops who share exactly those two characteristics, and have got it coming to them. Some small business premises also function as important centres for the exertion of power over local populations by hated criminal gangs. Aren't local loansharks engaged in 'small' business?

I don't mean to generalise. It can certainly be stupid to attack some small businesses during riots, and in many areas many small shopkeepers are very critical of the police for the right reasons (even if they are unlikely to welcome or take part in riots), in which case attacking them would at best be a distraction - and at worst, anti-social or just thuggish. But it's often wise to attack other small businesses that may have been asking for it for years. Most rebels attacking what attacks them in the areas they live in are capable of making the distinction. The same goes, most of the time, when cars get burnt. As for larger businesses, which often employ people on shit wages and in dreadful conditions, what urban riot is worth anything when rebels don't try to settle scores?


(who during the 1992 LA riots is said to have spraypainted on walls in a certain Scottish city slogans which included "LA Poor Show the Way Forward")
Even if I were a young man of fighting age (which I am not; I turn 52 next month), why should I risk my relative freedom, my health, even my earthly life for any revolution?

Even if the revolutionaries win and I survive, the revolution will merely replace the existing gang of criminals with a different gang of criminals.

When has any "successful" revolution not merely exchanged one gang of bandits for another?

Make no mistake, as long as we are ruled by other members of the species Homo sapiens, we will be ruled by bandits.

"Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss"
@Ivory Bill - Is someone telling you what you should do? :-) Revolutions by the lower orders, as opposed to coups d'etat, only happen when people have no other choice. Practically all of them start over issues of bread or bodies in the street. And all such revolutions all been defeated. But when you got no other choice, you got not other choice.

And, taking a bird's eye view now, we haven't got any other choice. A huge population cull, a massive deterioration in living conditions - these are what are on the cards if capitalism isn't overthrown.

But there's no point in me or anyone saying that "revolution" is needed regardless of what's actually meant by that word. To avoid replacing the old boss with a new boss who's just the same, more is required than large numbers of people in the lower orders of society saying they've had enough of the shit and rising up in the street. I think that's part of what you're saying - and you are quite right about that, even if you think the "more" can't happen. Gullibility is a very very big issue. Or, to use a clearer word - clearer because it says who does what to whom - mind control. Psychological warfare against the population. If there's not a growing understanding of that, then we are absolutely fucked.
I overlooked the Soros reference.

In my slight dipping into the right-wing pool of insanity, I have noticed it is an article of faith on the US political Right that certain rich people--Soros being, to the nuts, one of the current examples--want socialism.

The absurdity of that idea never percolates into their skulls.
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