Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Thursday, July 29, 2010

As for You Negroes....

And so I read that a judge decided to block portions of SB1040 in Arizona. Of interest was the reasoning for the blocking of a particular provision:

“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens,” she wrote. “By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose,” she said, citing a previous Supreme Court case, a “ ‘distinct, unusual and extraordinary’ burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose.”


NY Times

Now stop and think about this, "Negroes" in NYC are regularly stopped and frisked, risking arrest and death and the best we can get is an edict from the governor to purge the records of those stopped who were doing nothing to warrant being stopped in the first place. Let that sink in for a minute.

It is absolutely amazing that people are up in arms about the burden that may be placed on persons who are required by federal law to have their papers on them at all times yet born citizens can be stopped on the street for "furtive movements" and suspicious activity such as "other" and not a SINGLE black talking head on TV will bring up the clear contradiction.

And all this time I thought Dred Scott was overturned.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Police Brutality as an Organizational Problem

Yesterday Kriss from Insanity Report had a minor disagreement in regards to whether president Obama, or any other president for that matter, could have an effect on police brutality. I say that the president (on down) can have an effect on the number of incidences of police brutality because police departments are hierarchal organizations in which behavior is promoted or discouraged based on a rewards and punishment system.

Some of Kriss's points were as follows:

Police brutality is a problem that comes from people having power and abusing it. It's human nature. someone [sic] gets power, they abuse it. others [sic] around them support them cause they abuse it too


This point is true for all cases of police brutality and is not in contention. Kriss highlights a point I made that is relevant to the organization: others around the abusing officer(s) support them 'cause they abuse it too. That may or may not be the case. Certainly there is the institutional practice of the Blue Wall of Silence in which officers who are not even involved do not come forward to point out fellow officers who abuse civilians because those officers fear reprisal at the hands of the same officers.

One of the more recent examples of this with the NYPD was the officer who went on air to discuss the rampant harassment of black and/or Latino males in order to make certain quotas. He's under investigation and there are reported to be personnel actions being taken against him. This underscores my position that the problem is organizational rather than just the actions of a few individuals.


Police brutality did not start with police beating up black people. It's always been around. Just in different forms


In that discussion I didn't mention black people specifically since I know other people meet the "short end" of the baton.

to me, it's [police brutality] is a fact of life that won't change


I don't live in the fairy tale land that a lot of liberals live in. I don't believe that crime will be eliminated (particularly in large cities). I do not believe Obama can wave his hand and eliminate racism, police brutality, etc. I'm not under any of those illusions. However; I do not accept the status quo. I do not accept that when such officers commit those crimes and those officers that cover it up should be able to avoid prosecution the way that they have been able to. I believe that it is entirely possible to lower the rate of such incidences by making changes to the organizational culture of police departments. Kriss disagrees:

but the justice department and increasing convictions won't fix that. It'll only make those groups even more prominent. being an officer is a thankless shitty job. As long as it's a low paying, thankless shitty job, there will be abuse and coverup... We underestimate how treating cops like shit (citizens, with pay, benefits, etc.) leads to them not giving a fuck


I disagree with Kriss's position that increasing convictions won't put a serious dent in police brutality. Nobody wants to go to jail, well let me rephrase: most sane people do not want to go to jail. If it is made clear from the top down that shooting civilians in the back, etc. will simply not be tolerated (since it is 100% possible to do police work without shooting someone in the back) and that those who do so will be prosecuted, sent to jail, and sued bankrupt. If that announcement is followed up by the successful high profile prosecution of offenders I believe that there would be a decrease in incidences of police brutality. In fact I would say that changes would be seen in as little as a year. In addition providing incentives to police for breaking the Blue Wall in terms of pay, bonus, commendations, would provide a decent carrot to complement the enforcement stick.

In regards to policing being a shitty thankless job. The first thing I would say is that if one cannot deal with jobs with a high level of personal interaction, then one ought not take such a job. But lets be clear here, there are a lot of people who get into the profession simply because they like being able to exercise dominance over people. I will not forget the conversation I overheard in a gym locker earlier this year, where a student who intends to go into law enforcement waxed poetic about how he'll be toting a gun around.

In terms of low pay the base pay of NYPD fresh out the Academy is $44,744 (http://www.nypdrecruit.com/NYPD_BenefitsOverview.aspx). That's more than I made fresh out of college. According to the NYPD website, one can be pulling in $90k and the end of 5.5 years on the force. Also by year 5 they have 27 paid vacation days and unlimited sick leave, medical, 401K and I.R.A's among other things. That may not be BP CEO compensation but it's not poverty wages by any stretch of the imagination. So I think, at least in the case of the NYPD, claiming poor wages as a motivator for violating a persons rights is pretty specious.

Do citizens give police a hard time? OF course. Sometimes they have cause sometimes not. I took the side of the officer in Seattle who punched a female teenager in the mouth after she interfered with his duties because I don't agree that citizens ought to be laying hands on police who are doing their jobs. I have an entirely different opinion on what officers who break the law ought to be subject to. In fact, I am one who believes that Mumia shot the officer in question AND that the officer deserved to be shot for violating the rights of the man he was threatening.

One of the reasons that citizens give police grief is because the state has enacted laws that are clearly aimed at raising revenue and not about safety. Speeding tickets given to citizens on wide open, clear highways are an example. The stopping and frisking of people without cause is another. I can name others, but when the state increases the power of police at the expense of citizens then there is going to be attitude problems. This highlights why I say that these issues are organizational. Organizations usually take on the values of the leaders. If the leaders promote an hostile environment towards the civilian population, then those under him or her will feel free to act in kind. If the leadership promotes an environment where respect for civilian rights are paramount then those who don't act in that manner will make themselves known and can be dealt with. People will be more likely to report abuse because they will feel that the department will reward them for it. On the outside such behavior towards to public is rewarded by more cooperation by civilians.


There are a few things that the justice department under Obama can do immediately to address police brutality:

1) A public address on the subject. Make it clear to all police departments that police police brutality cases will be investigated with the full force of the federal government.

2) Private meetings with the mayors and chiefs of police of major metropolitan areas outlying the issue and pressing upon them the seriousness of this issue. This puts the local management on notice that the fed is serious.

3) High profile prosecutions of the most egregious cases of police misconduct.

4) Establishment of an anonymous tip line for officers to report on brutality cases in their department so as to get around fear of repercussions.

I'm sure there are others but the above would definitely go a long way to reducing the incidences, help the public understand that their concerns on this subject are taken seriously, and help police departments have better relations with the communities where these incidences happen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bill Quigley on The Just-Us System

The question is – are these facts the mistakes of an otherwise good system, or are they evidence that the racist criminal justice system is working exactly as intended? Is the US criminal justice system operated to marginalize and control millions of African Americans?


Counterpunch

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rwanda 70% Female?

Women like Ndizigiye are the economic backbone of today's Rwanda. The 1994 genocide left behind a population 70 percent female and when the bloodshed stopped it was women who picked up the pieces and started to rebuild.


If they are not practicing polygamy now, there is going to be a serious problem.

CNN

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rev Wright, Van Jones, Sherrod and Responsible Negroes

The knee jerk firing of a black USDA official over a misrepresented speech by her white boss is another example of presidential "Responsible Negro" moments.

Many dispute the link of Rev Wright to the Sherrod incident but they fail to see that the attack on Obama with Rev. Wright as a tool started in the same place as that on Van Jones and Sherrod. Right wing "racist" Faux news the self proclaimed defender of "real Americans". Sherrod is yet another example of the historic role of "responsible negroes" as the forerunner of the Klan/Cracker mentality that is endemic to white America.

The role of responsible Negro goes as far back, for our purposes, to the enslavement of Africans in Africa. Indeed it is known that the role of capturer and transporter of Africans from the interior to the coast was done by Responsible Negroes. Once in America, there were special places on plantations for Africans willing to be enforcers for the small minority on white people. Throughout our stay here religious persons have been used as go-betweens who would on one hand try to talk white folks out of lynching or otherwise harming a community member and on the other hand, making calls for the community to "chill out" lest the white community come down on them.

Indeed even the peaceable Dr. King Jr. had many "community leaders" complain that he was rocking the boat by being too confrontational, asking for too much and too soon. Dr. King was seen as someone who would get communities burned down and get people lynched if he kept "carrying on like that". Indeed Responsible Negroes have been part and parcel of the southern (and northern) strategy to keep blacks "in their place". As I have said many times the purpose of the Klan was not to terrorize black people or to kill them, but to keep blacks in their place. If that meant a lynching or two then so be it. Blacks got the message.

To this day in many corporate places and other somewhat public places, the vast majority of black people are scared witless to say anything negative about white people within earshot of other white people. Most times if the subject of white folks comes up they will either use code words or whisper. Sometimes they'll do both. There are possibly many reasons for this, but the overwhelming reason is that most black people have been taught to nearly an instinctual level that to upset white people can be an existential threat. It also known on an equally near instinctual level that to make white people comfortable is not only a means of corporate survival but of advancement (even outside of the job). Equally, just as the black preacher Responsible Negro could be the gatekeeper of access to white largess by vouching for the "responsibility" of the Negro seeking favour, today's political and corporate Negroes behave in the same manner.

These corporate and political responsible negroes regularly vet the bonafides of other negroes attempting to "get in on the action". They regularly sideline so called "radical negroes" because such negroes (provided they are sane) represent a threat to their power. One the one hand, if these gate keeper negroes are seen as being friendly with said radical negroes then the gatekeeper becomes suspect and loses prestige and perhaps access. Thus we come to Obama.

Obama is the ultimate 2010 Responsible Negro. If we go back to the Rev. Wright situation by all facts, Rev Wright did and said nothing wrong. The "Goddam America" quote was known to be a quote of a book by a white man discussing the fall of nations. It was religious discourse discussing the possible parallels between the US and other past kingdoms. You can debate the merits of it, but Wright had not "damned" America. The "antics" of the press club appearance is credited with the break. But lets be serious what exactly was said and done that warranted presidential candidate level condemnation? A "Q" sign? Snarky remarks to a questioner? Really? Again, how were those a reflection of or on Obama?

But of course the real issue with Rev. Wright was the usual attempt at keeping this black guy, Obama, in his place. How dare he listen to a black person for so long who speaks so "radically". "Who does he think he is?" They said to themselves. "We'll test this Negro." And of course that was what was done. Obama let white folk know he could be counted on to be a Responsible Negro when he gave his Philly speech. I went through that speech so I wont repeat it here, but when he made the claim that Wright represented a bitter/angry old man who's time is past. That was clear "Responsible Negro" talk. Just as of old when the old Reverend said: Don't mind the boy. He's crazy and doesn't know what he's doing. I will personally make sure he never does x,y or z, again. Please don't take it out on our home."


Similarly we had Van Jones who made some comments that upset some white folk. He's known as a leading proponent of green jobs that is good for every American. But it did not matter. Just as bus segregation was costly to the bus lines in Montgomery the idea of White Supremacy had to be defended regardless of any economic consequences. And so again the old Responsible Negro action kicked in. On the surface this was about saving the health reform bill. But in reality this was about appeasement of a segment of white people hell bent on keeping Obama (and Jones) in their place. Neither Van Jones or Rev Wright ever belonged to an organization that actually killed people due to their race. None of them actually belonged to a group that not only believed in the racial superiority of their group but actually went about disenfranchising people over their race like a certain former Senator from West Virginia. Yet here they were getting the Responsible Negro treatment.

The right wing came to understand that Obama was vulnerable to racial attacks. All they had to do is make a situation look racist, and Obama and his people would do whatever they needed to in order to not seem to be harboring racists AKA: be Responsible Negroes. And so we have Sherrod. If anything, this latest incident shows just how week the Obama camp is on race. Not only was Sherrod the victim of a smear campaign but the very persons and organizations that ought to have been at the forefront of helping her out were so worried about What White People Think (TM) they didn't even bother to fact check the claim that came from an organization KNOWN for attacking relatively outspoken black people.

I wont even get into the problem of Sherrod's white boss calling her up on the phone to demand her resignation. Why was he willing to believe a rumor about his employee rather than get the record straight? Why do we have a "black" president and this cracker still has a job? It is clear that the tone has been set by Obama that his 'Responsible Negro" image needs to be protected at all costs. I've made the comment before in regards to the Cirroc Vodka advertising flap that the head of the company sets the tone for what is acceptable. If the CEO of a company sets the tone that he prefers light skinned "exotic" women to represent his brand then an advertising agency hired by his representatives will make that known. If president Obama makes it clear that he will not go for the firing or harassment of his black staff by right wing commentators without cause, then his people will, for the sake of keeping their jobs, make sure that anyone fired is fired after a thorough investigation.

If Obama and other Negroes insist on playing the Responsible Negro role, then they should expect more of the same. The saddest thing about the Responsible Negro is that most times after he's left the company of the white folk he's doing his best to be on good terms with, they go back to calling him a nigger. He's just "fortunate" they don't say it to his face.

[Update: Cheryl Cook a Department of Agriculture undersecretary was the one who actually called Sherrod and demanded the resignation[/update]

Friday, July 16, 2010

Taser America: The Death Of Oscar Grant

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the officer that shot Oscar Grant in the back while laying on the ground was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. While a lot of people are rightfully not satisfied with that verdict, legally it was probably the only one that had any chance of sticking.

When I followed the Sean Bell trial I thought that the evidence against Oliver was so compelling given that he saw no weapon, Hadn't been fired upon, walked across the front of a vehicle he claimed shots were coming from (who does that?) and of course, famously reloaded more times than Neo in the Matrix. In the end though I came to understand why the Sean Bell case ended with acquittals of all involved:

If you read all the counts you'll note that there is NO second degree manslaughter charge against Isnora or Oliver for shooting at Guzman. This is significant because first degree manslaughter charges requires the proof of intent. I said back in march of 2007 that intent would not be provable. Second degree manslaughter requires no intent.


I also wrote:

So the question that needs to be asked is why was there no second degree manslaughter (or attempted manslaughter if such a charge exists) leveled at Isnora and Oliver?


Indeed this case answered that question. I will repeat the observation from that blog post: It is near impossible to prove intent when convicting a police officer. All police shootings are intentional and police are assumed by the general public to have no malice in that intent. Those who do not hold this view are vigorously opposed by the defense. It appears that the prosecutors of the Oscar Grant case either learned from the "mistake" of the NY prosecutors or they aren't as corrupt as NY prosecutors in throwing the case from the very beginning. So generally the successful prosecution of Mehserle is a step in the right direction. Yes, I too would have preferred a murder conviction, but this is a start. However, this is not what really bothers me.

The real problem I have is with the widespread misuse of tasers by police and other security personnel. The taser was invented as a non-lethal means of subduing a dangerous suspect. The point of the taser was that it be used in cases where a ballistic gun would be used. The understanding that such weapons would only be used if a police officer was in mortal danger or the suspect presented a clear danger to other people. unfortunately tasers are increasingly being used as punishment devices by police who in some cases feel that they can "get even" with a "difficult" suspect without leaving black and blue marks or other clear signs of police misconduct.

Recently tasers made a brief entry into the popular consciousness when a student protestor/questioner at a college event with John Kerry, was infamously tasered by security, while he repeatedly cried out "don't taze me bro!"
There was absolutely no justification to subject that student to a potentially lethal jolt of electricity. Yes I said "lethal". For those who have not been on the pain end of an electric shock, I will inform you that there are two potential death scenarios from a taser:

1) You already have a heart condition such as an arrhythmia. An electric shock could stop your heart causing death.
2) Since the taser causes the person to lose control of all muscle function they tend to fall. Such a fall could result in a blow to the head as it hits either an object or the ground. Such a blow could either be fatal or cause permanent brain damage.

Given these risks it is shocking....yes shocking, that police tase people multiple times.

So a student who was asking a question (and being quite long winded with it) earned that kind of treatment? He posed an immediate threat to the public and the officers? No. yet it took Senator Kerry a long time to even realize that something very wrong was going on. While the video got many hits on YouTube, there was no public outcry to regulate the use of taser, though you and I, as civilians are barred in many states from carrying such electrical self-defense devices.

The next publicly aware miss-use of a taser occurred in NY, where a man who was off his medication and butt naked had been chased by police onto a ledge. His deadly weapon? A florescent lamp. The police who clearly felt they had better things to do with their time than spend it talking this man down, shot him with the taser. And as expected, he lost control of his limbs, fell off the ledge and died of head injuries. Of course it is well known that the NYPD is not shy about using other "tools" to beat on and kill civilians whom are "annoying them" with their "furtive movements" and the like.

As problematic as that was, there was still one that showed that the public itself is really at fault for the misuse of tasers in America. Recently at a baseball game a kid decided he would draw attention to himself (and his favorite team I suppose) and jumped onto the outfield and ran around dodging an overweight security guard who, probably annoyed at the fact that he could not catch the fellow, got within taser range and shot him. When the news broke, a majority of people felt that the officer had done nothing wrong. The victim of this action deserved the tasering because he was being a dick.

But again, a taser is supposed to be an alternative to deadly force. How does running around a field making an ass of oneself rise to "deadly force"? The disincentive to go out on a baseball field is the arrest and conviction for trespassing, the fine, and possible banning from future games. Millions of people attend baseball games without such incidents. How do we justify the use of potential deadly force (no one knows if this kid had a heart condition) for "being a dick"?

And so we get to Oscar Grant. Mehserle claimed that he thought he had grabbed his taser. Lets ignore that a taser and ballistic gun are shaped differently, weight differently and are on different sides of an officer; why was Mehserle trying to tase a person who was on his stomach and handcuffed? The answer lies in the Taser culture that has taken over America. It is only because it is acceptable to tase a suspect that Oscar Grant is dead. Had the officer not had the option to "apply punishment" to Oscar Grant and his only course of action was to shoot Grant in the back, which would have been provable murder (I know I'm being optimistic here). So assuming that Mehserle did not intend to shoot Grant, but rather "punish" him we see that the taser is THE game changer here.

This is why I think that taser use needs to be regulated and misuse of tasers to "punish" suspects ought to be grounds for disciplinary action including prosecution. Given that the taser is supposed to be a substitute for a ballistic weapon, then it's use should be taken as seriously as any shooting. The officer should have to show that the suspect was an immediate danger to the public or the officer involved. In the Grant case, the officer should have been charged with a felony assault and murder. It is my position that the use of the taser against Oscar grant was intentional. The officer intended to do physical harm to Grant and therefore should have been tried for felony assault. And since anything else that happens in the commission of a felony is also on the hook, then the charge for murder would have more weight, since the assault portion should have been provable without doubt. Personally I don't like the felony murder rule, but while it's being used, why not put it to good use for officers who kill civilians while assaulting them?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Africa Solar Power

From AfricaNews:
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has said that African industries are at risk of vanishing if Europe harnesses the potential of the sun as they will have the added advantage of producing at cheaper cost, making any competition from the continent less likely...

“Solar energy is unique in that the investment is expensive initially, but after three years it decreases … So I can say I'm going to offer free energy to the continent,” Wade told Les Afriques in an exclusive interview.

The Senegalese leader said the energy consumption of Africa is 70,000 megawatts, and he added that with a 100,000-megawatt plant, “we could have energy self-sufficiency for fifteen more years.”


Diop long said that Africa could be solar powered.

A lot of Gall

So one of the officers involved in the shooting death of Sean Bell is suing the Bell estate over the injuries he sustained when Bell ran into him with his vehicle:
Police Officer Michael Carey's lawsuit says Bell was boozed-up when he got behind the wheel of the car after his bachelor party on Nov. 25, 2006, and also claims the doomed groom failed to wear glasses or contact lenses despite having poor eyesight.

"[Officer Carey] suffered serious leg injury when [Bell] crashed into the vehicle he was riding in before Officer Carey ever drew his gun and fired a shot," said Carey's lawyer, Richard Signorelli.


It was Officer Isnora that stood in front of Bell's vehicle pointing while pointing a gun. It was Isnora who fired the first shots that caused Bell to drive off. It was the negligence of Isnora that started the entire situation. Officer Carey is injured because those officers threatened the life of a citizen who thought he was being held up and defended himself.

The GALL of this "officer of the law" to suggest that the situation was other than what it was.

Beauty Standards in African Communities


I've mentioned before my disdain at seeing skin-lightening creams in the predominantly black supermarket I go to. Recently I was in the UK and in the location I was staying were a number of "beauty" shops that had a majority African customer base (a few white women were observed in the shops). The attached photo is typical of the kinds of images that were the norm in those shops (I was with my aunt so...). Of particular interest to me was the number of African women with "perms" who didn't do anything else with their "newly" straight hair. By that I mean, here in the stats I'm used to seeing straightened hair styled. Many of the women I saw simply were "happy" to have the hair straight (and weaved) down their backs even though most times it looked ridiculous.

Colonialism has always had the cooperation of the locals

The NY Times has a piece on Angola's booming economy and the "return" of the Portuguese to that country. The article has this quote:

“Clearly, we share the same language and have much more in common with Angolans than the Chinese and others, but Portuguese investors also need to make huge efforts not to be seen as pushing for a return to colonial times,” he said. “Little can be achieved in Angola without full help and cooperation from local partners.”


As I discussed in an episode of Garvey's Ghost TV on the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, the colonization and enslavement of Africans in what is today Angola happened with the cooperation of the locals. The only way this would be any different is if the leadership of Angola takes the "investment" from the Portuguese and used it to develop non-urban areas and improve the education and quality of life for it's residents. One sign that this may not happen is the apparent high amount of imports that Angola is dealing with. No doubt these imports will have an adverse impact on local producers.