Half of the Truth, Half of the Time. How the New York Times Discredited A Baltimore Demonstration.

The Page A1 story shows a burning building, attributes only violence and property destruction to “thugs” and “outsiders” and speaks only of rioters and of a police department ‘stretched thin’ by community violence. (The burning building is across town from the looting, and seems unrelated to the protests.) 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/us/baltimore-freddie-gray.html

The A15 page story is more realistic, speaking of peaceful demonstrators gathering in an organized way, a group of 300 gathering to peacefully demonstrate against the injustice of a group of police and their killing an unarmed black youth whose spine was severed. The only gangs in the page A 15 story are protecting the property of black store owners from looting. There is mention of a burned car and of many residents expressing regret over property damage, while expressing understanding that the protests are necessary to stop police brutality.  The A15 story link is here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/us/amid-violence-factions-and-messages-converge-in-a-weary-and-unsettled-baltimore.html

I deplore property destruction because it is a form of theft and violence and because someone innocent worked hard to create what is being destroyed. There is no acceptable excuse for looting. However, as Martin Luther King Jr. once suggested, the violence of the fed up, oppressed and victimized black poor, who are given no reasons to hope for jobs or help to survive and who are beaten down by police and imprisoned in great numbers, is understandable. It is the inversion of continual oppression to extract a ‘cost’ from the society which does not care about the oppressed. 

Nonviolent calls for change have always been seen as a threat to the establishment. ‘Threatened‘ by forces calling for change, the establishment, in this case represented by the New York Times chose to tell half-truths, otherwise known to you and I, as lies. On Page One, the protestors are portrayed as violent, thugs, arsonists, outsiders. The forces for peaceful nonviolent protest are faintly represented and the police are described as unable to contain looting. On Page Fifteen, where few people have time to read, a complete description of the peaceful and organized protests can be read. Finally, it is obvious that many more people support an end to police violence, and that they are willing to come out on the streets and demonstrate peacefully to achieve real change to how police interact with their communities. 

An Historical View of This Process Of Suppressing A Movement: The Hippies. 

For an example of how the press and media are misused to suppress any changes to our society, recall the tabloid headlines about hippies describing them as violent, drug-abusing lawless persons. During the “counterculture’s” response to the Vietnam War in protests which frightened the then Nixon administration, youth threatened to leave home, to go live in the woods, to share their possessions, foods, tools, arts,  and to love each other with respect and tolerance for their backgrounds’ differences. They believed in original goodness and sharing. They were peaceful and encouraged disillusioned and alienated youth to drop out of a culture which glorified wealth and material possessions. The hippies said, “Don’t Enlist” to a war which seemed to only benefit war industries and offered death to their peers who came home in body bags. The folks who ran these war corporations, and their peers in the auto industry and in the building trades, viewed the hippies, who wanted to recycle and to make their own clothes and fix up their own old cars, as an economic threat. The military was not going to be able to recruit soldiers if the truth about their murdering four million Vietnamese were known and if kids took the hippie route of running to Canada or declaring their opposition to any war and sitting this one out. The Republican-Democrat Noise Machine started calling these youth unpatriotic, traitors. As impoverished folks in the ghettoes were allowed to die in squalor and as millions of Vietnamese were slaughtered, the calls to American youth to “be responsible” and sign on to this madness, fell on deaf ears. In response, the Noise Machine escalated the attacks on the counter culture: called the hippies violent and drug addicts, sexually immoral, lawless, lawbreakers. Who could love them after an onslaught of media, Hollywood and tabloid attacks, suggesting that hippies would turn America into a chaotic mess? Even the spiritual leader of the antiwar movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated for his effective and persuasive speeches against materialism, the Vietnam war, and racism. Elimination of the hippies was a continuation of the suppression of any viable threat to the Establishment…e.g. the makers of Agent Orange and Napalm…General Motors and the auto industry….those home construction industries who wanted to build houses for cookie cutter Leave it To Beaver families. Using the paradigm of the most conservative Puritanism in our society, the media beat the drums of hate against hippies, calling them sexually promiscuous, lawless, violent, disobedient sons and daughters, and lazy (ouch). In a work oriented, Puritanical society, to call people lazy is the worst you can do to them!  

What does Page Fifteen look like for the hippies and counterculture of the 1960s-1970s? No one wrote the history of those who successfully hid away inside the American society. Many of the inventions of the movement have been co-opted by the neoliberal business establishment, like alternative energy. However, the greening of America still is restricted by corporations who have not been able to find a way to make it pay them a profit! The suppression of the counter-culture was a huge Establishment coup, and unless voices rise up to counter the most recent misinformation campaign against the black justice movement, it may well succeed in suppressing yet another movement for social justice.

Updated 4/30/2015: Eyewitnesses reported that police corralled high school students trying to ride buses home afterschool:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/how-baltimore-riots-began-mondawmin-purge

Correction: The print version of the Tuesday, April 28th, 2015, article  in the NYTs,… shows police standing in front of the  CVS store which had been burned.  Not the original photo in the online version.  (The Page One article remains a work of hysteria and fear mongering.)

 References:

On the dissolution of the counterculture:  From the Guns and Butter website:  Show #91, Mae Brussell, Charles Manson & the Crushing Of The Counter-Culture. http://www.soundcloud/guns-and-butter-1

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“I don’t see them pulling back.”

There has to be an END to police violence.

“I don’t see them pulling back,” he said of the state and its security forces. “They have no problem killing people. They have no problem shooting gas at babies, pregnant people, old people. They don’t have an issue with it. And our politicians are just standing around with their arms folded.”

“As long as the powers that be are in control, the oppression isn’t going to go anywhere,” he said. “It’s really going to take people to unite worldwide, not just in America, not just in St. Louis, not just in one particular city or state. It’s gonna have to be people identifying their struggles with each other worldwide, internationally, and say enough is enough. That’s the only way oppression will ever leave.”

From Chris Hedges, “Rise of the New Black Radicals”. unable to link it:       http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/rise_of_the_new_black_radicals_20150426

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It is like the cops are saying: “We can do this to you, any day, any time, in broad daylight and there is nothing you can do about it.”

 

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Earthship Employment: 1 million personnel needed to serve as Fair Witnesses in North America.

Job Title: Fair Witness. 

Description: Applicants will have the ability to report accurately what they see and hear without extrapolation or making interpretations based upon external or internal influences. Applicants will have received clearance for seeing and hearing accurately without bias based upon others’ ethnicity or planet of origin.  Collaboration with other team members will be sized carefully (not required) to protect the fair witness’s ability to render independent and accurate reports. Applicants’ will show a lack of attachment to material self in devotion to a total attachment to their truth bearing vocation. 

Required education: This position requires acquisition of training in passive attentiveness, suppression of spontaneous responses, compartmentalization of rapid empathy and heightened awareness and acceptance of the full range of human experience. Immersion and understanding of everything human will require extensive study and careful navigation of emotional realms such as bias, and the vengeance-justice error and the ” I feel this to be right.” error. In addition, fair witnesses will learn to practice “letting go” of fixed ideas such as interpreting subjects inabilities/unresponsiveness as resistance or ‘refusal to comply’ or as ‘threat’. Acquisition of Self-tolerance skills,– for being inaccurate and making errors in transmission– will be part of the practice study program.

Careful “negation” practice study will be made in the areas of : 1. Distrust.  2. Personalization. 3. Making meaning out of chance happenings. 4. Hurry. Haste. Fast Motions. Loudness.5. Unclearly specified ideologies. 6. Endless seesaw false dichotomizing.  7. Fear.

Perception of threat-reduction will be taught in special sessions which may require medication and desensitization to millions of hours of Earth screen viewing. Applicants should have a ‘stone in their shoe’ personal difficulty which can be a starting point for training. 

Job Location and Pay: North American Societal Hotspots. 

Following the edict of Post-WW3, InterGlobal Bolsa Familia  will cover all the travel and living expenses of Fair Witnesses. As agreed in the Post-WW3 Guaranteed Job and Social Contract, all Fair Witnesses will enjoy medical and social pension benefits based upon the total equality equation for national wealth adjustment.

Public Work and Private Experiences Clause: Equipment such as body cameras and technology for neurological self-imaging and for emotion self-scanning will be provided by, owned by,  and maintained by InterGlobalMutualSecurity.  All public reports will remain available to the public in the Library of Global Congress as they remain in the public interest.

Personal writings of Fair Witnesses will remain in their copyright in addition to any patented inventions and artwork.

This entire piece is a riff off of the idea of a Fair Witness as written by Robert A. Heinlein is his bestseller, A Stranger In A Strange Land. There are two Fair Witnesses in the book. One is used to identify if a person is pretending to be someone he is not, and another is used to take a deposition. I focused a lot on the time being after WW3, because you would think that we would have moved beyond war by then. We could move beyond war right now: We could share our economic wealth equally and reduce group conflicts and wars. 

But really the connection to Fair Witnesses comes from listening to and reading about one tragic killing after another of unarmed black men by white policemen. The body cameras which police will now be required to wear (since their reports of the killings differed from the videos made of the killings by bystanders), will have to be recording to catch these events and the public will have to have access to the recordings in order for the process not to be edited by the police or by prosecutors.  We really do have to create Fair Witnesses to accompany law enforcement in their work. It really would make a difference if justice could be served. No one would have to use memory which is full of errors. Instead there would be a record of every event. 

When Occupy Wall Street had demonstrations, the Lawyers Guild wore Green florescent colored hats and worked as observers. Some  arrests were recorded with video. It really did eliminate a great deal of the false talk, the criminalizing misrepresentations and is the major public arena in which total video recording seems necessary. As a privacy advocate, this is the one area in which I think technology could actually serve justice. 

 

 

 

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Moral Injury.

DSCF0016The massacre at Nissour Square (Sept. 2007) was done by Blackwater mercenaries who thought that they heard gunshot and said that they were returning fire. When I was approached by one of their employees and told that my painting about private contractor’s shootings was not accurate, I said, “Look. I read about this in the New York Times.” He relented and admitted that he had told his men to throw cinderblocks in front of cars which ‘came too close’ to their vehicles, but that his staff/troops would not listen to him. The process of fearing the Iraqis and then shooting at them led to the massacre.

I am concerned that we are sending the world young men who think that they are on a noble mission, who are patriotic and want to serve and sacrifice to show their loyalty, who then commit atrocities and become murderers. If they admit their fear, their overreaction and rage, their murderous shootings, they are broken by guilt and self-loathing and anger at those who sent them into these wars. If they deny their involvement and their guilt and any accountability, they are disfigured into sociopaths and defiant murderers. Thus the “moral injury”: To be forced into killing, then to be unable to set that right with a youth full of good deeds and life saving ethos. What is wrong with us, the parents, who allow them to be sent into this crushing maelstrom from which they will never escape and which will haunt them forever?

Are we going to live the life of the Cross as depicted by the one hanging from the mirror in the car, or are we going to live lives which harm others? How can we ask generation after generation of naive and inexperienced, idealistic and noble and courageous youth to make that choice? It is cruel. They have no prior knowledge to draw upon when they are asked to choose whether or not to invest their souls and future souls’ well being.

Disclaimer: the painting is from another private contractors’ shooting of civilians a little later in 2007. It was the only photo I could paint which was in a newspaper.)

If you are in the Service and you wish to talk to someone about ‘moral injury’ of wars or about becoming a conscientious objector, please call The Center On Conscience and War at 1-800-379-2679 and speak to a counselor. CCW’s TED talk about conscientious objection to war is Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7GSzqjUq50

 

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While No One Was Looking, Lawmakers Changed Medicare Into Managed Care.

According to the New York Times, Medicare payment has been shifted to paying doctors for the overall quality of their care, and away from reimbursement for specific services and in proportion to numbers of services provided. This is a counter-revolution in Medicare away from providing the best care for the individual patient based upon the patient’s choices as informed by the doctor’s recommendations. Now we are in rationed care territory. Doctors will get an implicit raise every time a Medicare patient is shunted away from receiving a test or procedure paid for by Medicare. That’s how managed care works, by increasing profits by denying care.  Unable to link so I am providing a copy of the article link below.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/15/us/politics/senate-approves-a-bill-on-changes-to-medicare.html

A more accurate version of the savagery of this shift is available in the following link.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/16/medi-m16.html

In the above linked article, the authors explain how means-testing, and rationing will reduce the quality of medical services for Medicare recipients and make it more of a ‘poverty’ program. Throwing people into managed care is rationing:  It is very much a neoliberal ‘We are going to break your neck’ to old people from lawmakers and from this Hooverite President. 

Disclaimer: My experience with managed care is that old people will be given aspirin and a sonogram when their growing tumors start to bleed and ache. Reports will be sent to the wrong places, and patients who are very ill will be sent home with words of false reassurance. Friends will drive the nearly dying to ‘out of network’ hospitals where their real diagnosis will be discovered and then they will die.  

After reflecting on how quickly this bill passed and how little information was made available prior to its passage, this appears to be another fast-tracked, somewhat secretive  process. The American media totally failed to warn citizens before hand that this was being sped through and what its implications were for older patients. When I reviewed Robert Pear’s article in the New York Times, the shift to managed care was not revealed, even though cost shifting was described in some detail: http://wp.me/p1hj2G-eZ

Robert Pear’s description of the changes here: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/us/politics/under-obama-budget-many-medicare-recipients-would-pay-more.html

The Center for Medicare Advocacy looks at the straight up rip offs in the bill for Medicare recipients in terms of additional costs and reduced care.

http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/doc-fix-package-passed-by-house-takes-too-much-from-beneficiaries-with-too-little-in-return/

If Kaiser Foundation objected to this bill, I could not locate their description of their response to the bill at their site.

Finally, the experimental program which is supposed to prove that this new form of managed care will save Medicare, and the taxpayers, and the patients, money, has proved to save only 1%. And why is that true? Because the money saved is given back to hospitals and doctors as bonuses, and that is why they like it and have no complaints about it, even though they are stealing from patients by rationing care.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-15/obamacare-s-savings-experiment-yields-modest-results-in-study

 

 

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I Really Think That What You Cats Need Is More Stuff./S

DSCF0003You might like to read this: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-burden-of-denial.html

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This one of my favorites:

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 Yanomami, a representative of an indigenous tribe in the Amazon in Brazil, wrote an autobiography. His perspective on western society questions many of our taken for granted habits and taken for granted behaviors. He is in a unique position to show us how we look in the mirror of a slower, more natural way of life. He sees us as busy wasp-like creatures, always busy, and dazed inside noisy spaces. We look like ‘ghosts’ to him, sickly from inhaling the smoke of our machines and autos, and from constantly working. Yanomami said that we were too attached to our material things, dreaming of them as we fell asleep instead of dreaming of beautiful women! As if our stuff is our ‘lover’. He deplored our lack of space, our overcrowded cities and having to pay for water and to pee.  He saw how we mistreat the poor, taking them out of their crumbling homes and forcing them to be homeless and not sharing our wealth with those in need. He saw how we work  people until they are old and grey and then disappear them from society. He deplored our system of mass warfare and mass killing, claiming that in his world only the killer is punished by being killed, not women and children and not masses of people.  He saw how we kill because of jealousy for land or gold and how we fight like chickens or dogs. He deplored how we treat the environment as something to be consumed and as a ‘leftover’ of parts of it which we have not yet destroyed. He predicts that we will destroy the world if we make it sick with pollution. “We have only one sky,” he said, ” if it becomes sick, everything will end.”

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/dec/30/western-living-yanomami-shaman-brazil

 

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The Good Samaritan. Chelsea Manning.

The Good Samaritan. Who was the good Samaritan? Chelsea Manning was and is the Good Samaritan.

She saw her brothers being slaughtered in war crimes and she risked her life to report these to the world. One of the most infamous war crimes she leaked was the massacre of 12 people as recorded in The Collateral Murder Video and released by the web journalism site, Wikileaks. For her brave witness against war crimes she was punished by being sent to prison. 

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The war crimes of this massacre included 1) shooting down innocent civilians and press, 2) killing the driver of a van and wounding his two children when he stopped to help a survivor, 3) desecrating bodies by running over them with a tank, 4) refusing medical care to two children. Additionally, the U.S. violated international law by not identifying the wounded and killed and by denying information to Reuters that the killing of their two journalists had even occurred. 

Chelsea Manning has used her time in prison to formulate a bill to protect journalists and bloggers when they report on news regarding national security issues and war issues. Currently, it is not certain that news reporters of any ilk and stripe are protected by any kind of press shield law when reporting on these issues.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/07/chelsea-manning-bill-journalism-espionage-act

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