I guess the White House and Peter Baker don't realize that "The Hidden Hand" is also a theory beloved by Illuminati conspiracists, as well as a schlocky movie about aliens taking over the government. Given the recent NSA revelations, you'd think they could have come up with a better metaphor.
Of course, it's also just a coincidence that the White House fed Baker the Hidden Hand malarkey only a day after the George Zimmerman verdict had evoked only a tepid response from the president. It was translatable as "The jury has spoken. Everybody needs to get along."
Even though it would be unseemly for a sitting president to weigh in strongly on a case under investigation by the DOJ, the Obama administration still felt the need to proffer a self-serving excuse to stifle criticism his chronic radio silence on race. It is a fraught issue, one that the president was letting his AG, Eric Holder, address instead.
Until yesterday, that is. In a nationally televised interview with Univision, Obama actually did dog-whistle on the subject of race by effusively praising that uncrowned king of racial profiling, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The president all but nominated the architect of the city's onerous Stop and Frisk campaign against minorities to head up Homeland Security. Via Emptywheel:
Univision: Mr. President, New York Commissioner Ray Kelly has been floated for the next DHS Secretary. What is your take on it?
Obama: Well, Ray Kelly has obviously done an extraordinary job in New York and the federal government partners a lot with New York. Because obviously our concerns about terrorism oftentimes are focused on big city targets. And I think Ray Kelly is one of the best there is. So he’s been an outstanding leader in New York. We’ve had an outstanding leader in Janet Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security. It’s a tough job. It’s one of the toughest jobs in Washington. She’s done an extraordinary job. We’re sorry to see her go. But you know, we’re going to have a bunch of strong candidates. Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is. But if he’s not I’d want to know about it. ‘Cause you know, obviously he’d be very well qualified for the job.Coming as it did mere weeks after Kelly reportedly expressed outrage at AG Holder for filing a brief in the civil rights lawsuit against him, and only days after the George Zimmerman verdict has brought the scourge of racism to the forefront of the national conscience, Obama's "hidden hand" turned into a gigantic hunk of ham in a New York minute. For a guy whose handlers are paranoid about him raising the hackles of critics if he dares speak out on sensitive issues, Obama not only spoke out, he stuck his big foot in his big mouth. In effusively praising Kelly, he broadcast the awful truth that he tacitly supports the institutional abuse of black and brown people. There is simply no other explanation for his homage to the odious Ray Kelly. None.
Come to think of it, the schlocky Hidden Hand movie does mesh perfectly with the sci-fi specter of Ray Kelly leading Homeland Security. The man is a walking paranoid cartoon, as David Sirota cogently lays out in a piece for Salon.
Making the first black president's admiration of Kelly all the more stunning was the testimony of New York State Senator Eric Adams at the recently concluded civil trial:
“He (Kelly) stated that he targeted and focused on that group because he wanted to instill fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police,” Adams said under questioning by attorney Jonathan Moore, representing the plaintiffs in a class-action suit on the controversial practice.
“I told him that I believe it was illegal and that that was not what stop-and-frisk was supposed to be used for,” Adams said.
He said Kelly’s response was, “How else are we going to get rid of guns?”How else is George Zimmerman going to get rid of Skittles?
So if Ray Kelly gets the Homeland Security job, will Stop and Frisk become the law of the land, debuting near the new militarized Southwestern border should immigration "reform" pass? Even if Shira Scheindlin, the presiding judge in the civil case, puts an end to the practice in the Big Apple, Obama and the Kelly Gang could always appeal to the FISA court to get one of those "special needs" secret rulings to keep on "Essing and Effing".
Stop and Frisk has everything to do with intimidation and very little to do with stopping crime (except that it makes it easier to jail minority youths for pot possession.) According to the American Civil Liberties Union, stops under the Michael Bloomberg/Ray Kelly regime have been rising sharply -- from 160,851 in 2003 to 685,724 in 2011. About half of the 2011 stops resulted in physical searches.
NYPD records show that police conducted more stops of black males between the ages of 14 and 24 than the total number of young black males living in New York City. Less than two percent of the street arrests turned up concealed weapons.
If you want to know how severely and permanently Ray Kelly's abusive practices damage his targets, be sure to read an op-ed titled "Why Is the NYPD After Me?" by Nicholas Peart, one of the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit. You can also watch Chris Hayes interviewing Peart here.
It's all about Security State control, keeping the downtrodden down, and the powerful protected. That's the real Hidden Hand. Reach, meet Grasp. Nothing exceeds like excess.
Yesterday, Eric Holder recounted a conversation he once had with his father about the safe and proper way for black men to interact with cops, and how he was forced to have the same conversation with his own son. I think maybe he should be having a conversation with his boss.