Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black shopkeepers whose stores were trashed are, like Obama, part of the problem, not the solution

The narrative is being pushed that the anger in Ferguson and elsewhere is the doing of "looters" who are destroying the tiny shops of upstanding black shopkeepers. This perpetuates the lie that there is good, capitalist black behavior that is rewarded in this society: in fact, there isn't.

The truth is that people with dark skin get to the Oval Office only by first submitting to a thorough intellectual and moral rape akin to the kind of forced sodomy for which our prison system is infamous. That is what happened to poor Barry Obama, who at one time could have passed for Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., but now does not even know what a "half smoke" is. (Truth in blogging: I hate half smokes.)

Indeed, the truth is that Barack Obama is not the first African-American president. He is the first mulatto president. He is as much white as he is African. Moreover, his African-ness did not undergo the unspeakably cruel passage into 300 years slavery and 150 years of segregation and ethnic hatred.

It is the white Obama who in his first term came within inches of deporting more immigrants than Bush in his two terms. It is the white Obama who allowed the people who cause the worldwide Great Recession to go not merely scot free, but to get huge government-subsidized bonuses.

"Well done, boys, you ripped off the Negroes and white trash you sold subprime loans to, but good," that white Obama effectively said to the guys at AIG and to the many Goldman-Sachsers he hired to run government on behalf of Wall Street.

As for the Ferguson shopkeepers, they are either as unprincipled as Obama, posing as the poster children of capitalism in exchange for their pound of soul. The fact of the matter is that to be a capitalist you have to become "white" in all its gory, rapacious, imperialist, war-mongering glory. Just as Barry Obama dutifully did.

People come before property, not property before (mostly non-white) people.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's time for a real American revolution

As people lament the damage of rioting in Ferguson, I am still struck dumb at the systematic, persistent and escalating legally authorized violence against African-Americans. Along with the planned pauperization of huge swaths of what was once the middle class, this is the perfect storm of "revolutionary conditions" that Lenin hoped for a century ago. 

Personally, I find it lamentable that this is happening just when I am getting to the nadir of my life and will find myself enfeebled and helpless in the turmoil of a revolt. Having witnessed "bloodless" military coups, retaining perfect awareness of who gets bloodied in such events, I must say I look at all this with some ill foreboding.

So does Barack Obama. A few weeks ago, Paul Krugman called Obama "what we used to call a liberal Republican," and it felt right. Now at least one publication on the real Left (not merely liberal Democrats, who are capitalist to the core) is calling Obama "our conservative black president." 

That label feels right after the equivocal display Obama put on television. It seemed as if an emasculated Negro president was channeling the fears of the Wall Street financiers who bankrolled his 2008 campaign.

Those in power are afraid. For good reason. We are headed for very rough times.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It must have been a Missouri turkey sandwich

"You can indict a ham sandwich," every lawyer I know, including one prosecutor, has told me. Indeed, when I served on a grand jury from December through March this year, albeit not in Missouri, I was surprised just how easy it was to indict, even on the basis of what, to me, was clearly a casual remark of a hothead to a police officer.

This is why the Ferguson shooting grand jury baffles me. Someone shoots someone else dead and it's not even involuntary manslaughter? What exculpating evidence did the grand jury have that we don't have?

Of course, there is the matter of skin color and ethnicity.

When I was a grand juror in a city that is about half African-American, I saw that only 1 percent of the cases involved a white defendant. The overwhelming preponderance of people accused of crimes that I saw were black; disproportionately so.

For this reason, among others, I intend to refuse to serve in a grand jury at any time in the future as a matter of conscience and fairness. I cannot be complicit with a system designed in such a way that what passes for "justice" is meted out only to African-Americans.

I suspect, but I do not know for a fact, that this influenced Officer Wilson to shoot Michael Brown. In his experience, most people he was trained to be on the lookout for and to regard as part of a dangerous criminal class would be African-American.

Why the grand jury accepted that a police officer can shoot a defenseless teenager with impunity is part mystery, part stupidity.

The mystery today, and when I served, is why the average Joe on these panels accepts the word of prosecutors and police at face value. I suspect this is part of the get-out-of-jail free card handed out to Wilson, again, my surmise only.

The stupidity part is something one encounters with depressing regularity in a grand jury, to the point that I coined what I thought should be a criminal charge: "felony stupidity." Yes, the overwhelming majority of crimes are not resolved by the intelligence of the police, which is something of an oxymoron in many cases, but by the sheer stupidity of people whose behavior comes astoundingly close to begging to be arrested.

Wilson and others in law enforcement, no doubt, encounter it frequently enough that they probably assume things of certain types of people in certain circumstances. He may have thought Michael Brown fit the bill, but why did the grand jury buy that erroneous assumption? Why, to the point of excusing causing the death of another person?

In this picture in which hues seem to play a role, color me baffled.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Maybe it's time for Republican Socialism

I know, it sounds crazy, but listen to my logic before you completely reject the idea. The indisputable fact of the matter is that there is a fairly miniscule ideological difference between the two pro-capitalist parties. Even Paul Krugman is now calling Barack Obama "what we used to call a liberal Republican."

I didn't vote in 2008 for Jacob Javits, the old Senate liberal Republican warhorse of the 60s and 70s. I voted for a man who claimed to embrace change and hope, but who has essentially embraced a very watered-down version of everything.

Obama promised to reform the health care system, but only gave us "reformed" but more expensive health care insurance. He didn't even dare to put a single-payer plan, similar to the national health care systems of those oh-so-soviet Canada and Britain, to a vote!

For years I have thought that democratic socialism, a la Michael Harrington, was the only viable, reformist route to bring about real change in the United States. But let's face it, in the last 40 years or so, we have witnessed things get worse and worse and worse.

Reagan began the work of destroying what is now recognizably the aberrant era of New Deal to Great Society reformism, with some unionism, some economic security (for whites), a cosmetic opening to women and people whose ancestors did not hail from northwestern Europe.

But Clinton was the real errand boy of capitalism, shipping jobs overseas by the bushel with NAFTA and what later became the WTC, while signing the end of the 1930s Glass-Steagall finance-banking-stockgambling firewall behind the smokescreen of Monica Lewinsky.

Then Dubya doubled down on Reagan, managing to double the debt Reagan had accumulated (which was already more than all the debt racked up by all previous presidents). Why increase the debt? Just look who holds the bonds.

Obama, we in the Left should now realize, was just a clever sop the people who really run things threw at a public irate by the Reagan-Squared misrule.

Obama was never intended to do anything real. The house is on fire? Hand the keys to the black man and let him clean up. His people have always been good janitors. I'm certain that was the thinking on Wall Street. Why else did they support him?

So, folks, what are we to do now? The answer seems clear.

The Republican Party is becoming increasingly rigid and ideological. It is buying into everything that, as anyone who ever read Marx knows, accentuates the self-destructive internal contradictions of capitalism. Look at Kansas. The policies don't work. Kansas' schools are being cut because no one pays enough taxes.

Let's cut all taxes. Let's lower everyone's salaries. Let's egg them on to slash and burn.

Let's send the consumer-spending-dependent system into the suicide it attempted in 2008 ... only this time, let's not save Wall Street and the big corporations. Let's instead follow strict Republican austerity until it cripples the United States economy as we know it beyond repair.

Then we'll have real change -- it's called revolution, and it needn't be physically violent -- starting from scratch.