Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates and Mayor Bill De Blasio

I just finished Ta-Nehisi Coates’ short but powerful volume Between the World and Me. It’s a deeply provocative meditation on the phenomenology of being black in the US, with all the threats and fears that go along with it, that most white people (or in his words, “people who believe themselves white”—which dislodges the category) are unaware of. I’ve been involved in the Black Lives matter movement for almost 3 years, but this gave me a much deeper perspective.

So put this together with the article in today’s Times that notes that Mayor De Blasio’s popularity is sinking among whites. The majority feel less safe in the city, though crime statistics are down.

What this says to me is that there is a deep residual racism abroad in "those who believe themselves to be white.” Worse, the injustice and illegality of it notwithstanding, they felt safer in a city that countenanced the stop-and-frisk policies that Bloomberg permitted (and the Times railed against, and the outright murderous repression of a Giuliani. One could deplore that stuff, but deep down one felt more “safe.”

Disgusting. But a fact of life in these corporate-controlled United States, and one that makes Coates’ message all the more urgent.

Here are some images from the Rise Up October march, October 24, 2015:

 Cornell West, who had spoken earlier at the rally in Washington Square Park, was in the march.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Why 9/11 "Truth" Matters

    A good friend of mine recently asked me why 9/11 “truth” matters now that the US empire is in obvious decline. To her it’s now a dead issue, not worth arguing about.
    My short answer is that I don’t accept that level of resignation. I’m afraid for my grandson growing up in a very different world than the one I grew up in, much less secure, and where institutions I had assumed were benevolent, like the US government, designed to protect its citizens and deal honestly with the rest of the world. The real truth about 9/11 reveals another, much more frightening reality, namely that powerful forces within the government would readily sacrifice thousands of citizens in pursuit of political and financial ends for its true constituents, the super-rich—corporations, war contractors, weapons manufacturers and security operatives. This is part of the growing dominance of these forces over our lives, leading to a decline in the quality of life for the majority of Americans, as well as the worsening of conditions for the most vulnerable among us.
    But I also have other reasons:
•My broad curiosity about history: Who’s really in charge? Who secretly pulls the strings? who are their identities protected by the organs of communication that supposedly tell us the whole story (the Main Stream Media [MSM] and much of  the left-wing media)? The NY Times is so good on so many issues, which bolsters their credibility, but they betray their readers on particular historical-political ones. How can I understand this? What is the mentality behind it, the mindset of its editors and publishers. Do they know the truth (as they did about general surveillance) but fear exposing it? Do they convince themselves that it is not true? Do they willfully ignore the mountain of evidence and the nagging questions that remain?
        I see how thee attitudes work in progressive news consumers like certain friends of mine, or even like pompous left-wing editors like Chris Hayes of The Nation.
        But how do they work with people who actually know the truth?
        We know that the perpetrators are immoral criminals, so they keep mum.
        But who are their deliberate enablers among the gatekeepers of information?
        We know that certain NY Times editors and publishers have deliberately withheld explosive information, like the mass surveillance the government was conducting, withheld for a year until after the 2004 election, or, on a smaller scale, that it portrayed progressive Mexican presidential candidate Obrador as a demagogue for his refusal to accept the highly questionable election election results that put Calderon in power (despite Calderon’s use of Karl Rove as a consultant and his victory by a margin that was less than the number of disqualified votes). I’ve read James Risen’s Pay Any Price and am now reading Andrew Krieg’s Presidential Puppetry about the hidden forces determining and controlling the candidates of the 2012 election.

•We were all taught how power is supposed to work in this supposedly democratic country. I want to know how it actually works. For one reason this is to compare it to other systems in the past, including more overtly autocratic ones, which were eventually replaced by and in some cases overthrown by forces that  established more democratic systems. Then I want to know how long these democratic systems worked until they were undermined or corrupted by powerful anti-democratic forces, such as we’re seeing in this country Were there specific nodal points like our two coups d’état, the JFK assassination and the 9/11 attacks? Has our system of inverted totalitarianism—that determines what ideas are acceptable for exposure in the MSM and which are not, irrespective of their validity—been strengthened over time by the decline or atomization of our journalism?

    The obvious answer is that his been both strengthened for the general public and weakened for those with the desire to find out more. But we are now much more on our own to decide on the reliability of Internet sources.