Saturday, May 2, 2015

Yes, America, You Are Under Martial Law

I know I've been rough on CNN's coverage of the Baltimore protests, but even the corporate media may, at long last, be seeing the light.

One of its reporters finally spoke truth to power last night. When police physically prevented Miguel Marquez from interviewing a demonstrator and "kettled" him and other journalists behind barricades (presumably to prevent filming of police beatings and arrests), Marquez said, “It is shocking that in a city like this that it would come to this. I think that the First Amendment and the Constitution still applies in Baltimore.”

But then Don Lemon had to ruin the journalistic moment by admonishing Marquez that any Fourth Estate challenge of the police state is "not worth it." You can always count on Don Lemon to side with authority.

So, I guess it comes down to this: now that the official state apparatus has moved more swiftly than expected to charge six police officers with the death of Freddie Gray, everybody should just go home and calm down. Even a relatively joyous celebration of a paper indictment was apparently too much for officialdom.
It was supposed to be enough that State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby (instantly crowned by the media as a "badass" rock-star) appeared before the TV cameras to announce the surprise indictments as proof that the security state is on the people's side.

 “To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across the United States,” she said, “I heard your call for ‘No Justice, No Peace.’ Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.”

People didn't get her subliminal message to shut the hell up ("your peace is sincerely needed") and just let the expert grinders handle the wheels of justice. People still took to the streets. And the police proceeded to crack down with a viciousness and vigor not seen since the "unrest" began. The beatings and arrests will continue,  because other cities have caught the solidarity bug too. And on May Day no less. American officials are so terrified of May Day that a long time ago they changed it to a three-day September weekend to celebrate consumerism and picnics. We are instructed to celebrate the last unofficial day of summer listening to bloviating politicians instead of remembering and honoring labor activists and labor rights.

The beatings and arrests will continue as the six accused officers quickly made bail and remain free to plot their legal defense strategies.

It makes the post-indictment statements of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake all the more ironic:
There will be justice for Mr. Gray, there will be justice for his family and there will be justice for the people of Baltimore.No one is above the law in our city. Justice must apply to all of us equally. 
The family of Mr. Gray wants answers. I want answers. Our entire city deserves answers. We will remain vigilant on this path to justice.
But don't ask questions. Don't challenge authority. No one is above The Law, personified by cops in riot gear and National Guard troops in camouflage and military helicopters buzzing over your heads like predator drones in the Disposition Matrix. The state shall remain vigilant in its right to maintain total power over the citizenry as the long and winding road to legal delays, secret plea bargains and closed courtroom hearings for the symbols of state power proceed apace.

Meanwhile, President Obama himself still callously stands by his right-wing usage of the word "thugs" to describe people who have finally snapped after enduring years of Reaganomic austerity and right-wing policies.

As Stephen Graham writes in Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism, "We are now learning what countries across the developing world have experienced over three decades: unstable and inequitable neoliberal economics leads to unacceptable levels of social disruption and hardship that can only be contained by brutal repression."

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that city officials are "bracing" for more rowdy protesters. A black lawyer (an "outside agitator" from all of 40 miles away) is making them nervous.

Proclaims the Gray Lady without a hint of irony:"With the National Guard still patrolling the streets, and a 10 p.m. citywide curfew in place, officials expect that this Saturday will be more peaceful than last".

The National Guard: Like a good neighbor, always ready to inflict peace upon the Thug-folk.



voice-in-wilderness said...

As in Roman times, "They made a desert and called it peace," applies to both our foreign and domestic policies.

Practice your Newspeak. War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery.

Pearl said...

Off topic but timely. I am getting e-mails from Bernie Sanders asking for $5 to help him in his starting run for the presidency and then an e-mail from the Democratic party after praising his record asking for $10 for the democratic party. This becomes a conflict as to how he will be supported financially by the democratic party. By running as a democrat this makes it complicated as to how to support him separate from the party in case someone else is chosen and is money then sent in for him transferred elsewhere? And I wonder if it had not been better to run as an independent for a separate party but then he could never get his foot in the door and could be easily silenced.
If I knew where money went I would be willing to send small donations if it indeed would help his run for office. Thank you for your opinions.

Meredith NYC said...

Off topic, but can’t resist.
Obama is finally working hard against congressional opposition, but by the Dems. And for what? TPP!
I said, what does this headline mean?
NYT----Obama Pledges to Defend Democrats on Trade Deal, April 30.

In this very wordy article......Says Obama made a plea to democrats to support TPP even in the face of political peril, promising he would defend and campaign for lawmakers who risked their jobs to back him.

Peril and risk! But he’ll protect them?

Obama is rolling up his sleeves on this one:

“After a slow start, Mr. Obama, who is usually loath to get involved in the sometimes messy business of legislative haggling and horse-trading, has shown himself uncharacteristically willing to engage with Democrats on the agreement, sitting down with them at the White House and cajoling them on the phone.”
... “The president ... concluded ...he’s going to have to do what he’s often reluctant to do, that is, roll up his sleeves and deal with senators and representatives one-on-one and one-on-few.”

Obama I will never figure out. He’s going to ask Dems to risk their jobs to back TPP. Why???

Meredith NYC said...

Many aspects to Baltimore coverage. CNN said there were so many media people mixing with the crowds, that they were asked to go to their own spot temporarily, so the police could clear the area for the curfew. But seems the police were generally restrained.

Seems TV reporters generally had freedom to walk anywhere. They interviewed a wide range of city residents, getting across a lot of positive impressions, at least to me. There were many teens and adults who had cop complaints, and also condemned the burning of the CVS and residences etc. Also gang members who talked frankly to the cameras. Some eloquent community speakers re poverty, jobs, abandoned cities.

The clergy whose senior residence under construction was burned down vowed to rebuild it. Many people said they loved Baltimore, and suffered from budget cuts and police harassment. The community leaders who kept calm were constructive.---it was a wide range of people trying to cope. So, great white America out there, detached from all this, might have leaned something.

But the media often convey the main thing is for the residents to stay peaceful, not for the police to stop profiling and killing them.

What did you think of the mother on video, running after her masked 16 year old? She hit him too much, but I think she got a lot of approval for that. The son later said when mom found him it was like WW3— but "I understand how much my mother really cares about me,so I'm just going to try and do better." He had gone down there to join his friends and said he’d known people killed by police. He seems like a good, serious kid. Kids are impulsive and lack judgment.

But I can see the rw criticizing this mother now. Why? She said she is a single mom with 6 children. Just what they love!
Why does any woman today have 6 kids? Then on Charlie Rose she spoke of other mothers coming out to get their kids away from the crowds there---or sending their ‘boyfriends, uncles, cousins’. No one she knows has a husband? This is what fuels the right wing lectures of superiority, so nicely worded by people like David Brooks, etc. Brooks is on cspan hawking his book...yuck.

CNN says the crowds are positive---Take Back Baltimore---BUT they add....the sun is going down.....we don’t know what will take place, and the police are here to make sure order is kept.

So, CNN keep the public on edge---will the darkies rise up and wreak havoc again? I guess if CNN doesn’t say that they might be accused of being anti law and order or something.

Kat said...

Another Don lemon/CNN correspondent anecdote-- A CNN correspondent was interviewing a couple of protestors and opened by saying "riots are the language of the unheard"! Then he asked them about the curfew. They said they planned to go home soon. The correspondent returned to Don Lemon at his desk.
All Don had to say was "good. They're going home. As they should."
(Not his exact words, I'm remembering- but close enough. He did editorialize by using "should"). This guy never quits.

valerie said...

I don't know, Pearl, but I would like to know this as well. I, too, am happy to support Bernie but refuse to give money to the Democratic machine.

Ralph Nader has sent a letter to Obama asking him to debate Elizabeth Warren on the TPP. Obama, won't of course. It is safer and easier for him to throw lies and innuendos at Warren from the side lines. Brilliant and eloquent as always, Ralph brought up the point that Obama is calling this an agreement which only needs a 51% vote as opposed to a treaty which requires 2/3 vote in Congress. Surely this monstrosity is a treaty?

Love how Obama wants other Democrats to alienate their constituencies in order to back up HIS foul treaty with the plutocrats. Maybe all those e-mails telling our reps to vote no on Fast Track and the TPP are having some effect. This thing needs to see the light of day.

I don't know where I read this quote - might have been something Denis wrote a while back - but someone was interviewing a Russian journalist and he said something to the effect, at least in Russia, everyone knows that the newspapers print propaganda. Here in the U.S., we don't seem to get that so many of our "journalists" are either not too bright and buy into the current paradigm or they are actually out there promoting disinformation for some kind of gain.Either way, the news, especially television news is tainted.

By the way, the Australian media is selling Baltimore as a race riot. I am running around trying to explain the situation, but Australians have it so good, they can't imagine a working poor falling through the cracks in a country like America. One of my friends did point out the fact, that it didn't look like a First World Country - I responded, we have been looking this way since Katrina.

Valerie said...

Nice article in the New Yorker on Elizabeth Warren.

Denis Neville said...

“I have been to war, and this looks like a war.” — CNN reporter in Baltimore

“The live pictures from Baltimore are unsettling, & I'm not sure pictures help.” – ‏@nprscottsimon

NPR’s Gwen Ifill retweeted Scott Simon, “You are supposed to be unsettled.”

Picture showing 'heartwarming' Baltimore scene goes viral on Reddit:

What part of that was heartwarming?

Only in America!

Kat said...

OMG Denis! heartwarming????

Kat said...

I don't understand your point concerning the mothers that don't have husbands.