Saturday, December 6, 2014

Loose Cigarettes!


The recent furor over the failure of two grand juries in two different states to indict policemen in the deaths of unarmed black men is fully ablaze and I can only hope it will continue to be stoked until real actual change is made to the justice systems across the country which have in many instances failed a significant portion of the population.

But the most recent events in New York have really created some of the most crass evasions I've come across in the media in many moons. Sean Hannity (neither a subtle nor necessarily nimble-headed bloke) in minutes of the announcement that no indictment was forthcoming in the death of Eric Garner suggested  (seriously I actually heard this with my own two ears) that the real culprit was the government of New York State for its avaricious tax policy which created a black market for the sale of "loose cigarettes". That the death could have been avoided if only such egregious taxes didn't exist.

I have since heard a few mopes on Fox echo this truly craven and moronic meme in a truly desperate attempt to shift the conversation away from police brutality and racial profiling and onto ground the speaker feels more comfortable beating his chest. My own Senator, the sometimes surprising but often disappointing Rand Paul also jumped up with this truly dopey talking point.

I have noticed that after the first few days this terrible talking point has been mostly abandoned and replaced with the novel idea that there is actually no real evidence that any of the individual killings by cops across the United States are racially motivated, conveniently ignoring the totality of the trend and carefully seeking to isolate each event. It's still a craven move, but at least it's on point.

To be fair (and balanced) I will say that I've been refreshingly surprised that most of Fox's gallery of chatterers have been properly outraged (for once) about the obvious injustice in the Garner case.

Loose Cigarettes! Really! Idiots!

Rip Off


10 comments:

  1. Every Saturday there's a programme on BBC Radio 4 called "Profile" about somebody in the public eye and a few weeks ago the subject was Rand Paul - up until then I'd barely heard of him. You couldn't have Fox News on British TV because broadcasting has to be unbiased but this rule doesn't apply to newspapers and Rupert Murdoch's papers are extremely biased but thankfully they are increasingly irrelevant these days with plummeting sales and the whole of the UK's notorious tabloid newspapers are under investigation for their behaviour. Rupert Murdoch is very right-wing these days but amazingly he started off as a firebrand socialist.

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    1. Rand Paul is a more interesting figure than I first estimated when he emerged a few years ago. He's an isolationist though he cannot actually say that. I generally agree with that attitude, which cause for the U.S. to be less involved in conflicts around the globe. But Paul also has little or no regard to the social contract of society which gives value to all of its citizens. He's part of that pack of politicians in my country who express an "I've-got-mine-fuck-you" attitude to the poor. Poverty is cast more and more in moral terms these days, not unlike the antique notions which dominated Victorian society over a hundred years ago. Paul seems to be of that mindset.

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  2. Yes, according to that BBC programme Rand Paul thinks private business shouldn't have to comply with the Civil Rights Act so a shop could legally refuse to serve a black person. Poverty is being cast in more and more moral terms here too but what's really shocking is that here it was the Left who started it - the Labour government of 1997 to 2010 although it's highly debatable as to whether they were the Left at all in my opinion.

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    1. The modern notion put forth by many conservatives in my country these days is that racism has dwindled to almost no effect and so such protections are needless. Suffice it to say that within literally hours of repeal of certain provisions of the Civil Rights protections states moved to begin limiting access to the polls, and were unapologetic about it.

      With the passage of health care reforms, I get the feeling the Democractic party in my country is a bit played out, lacking an organizing principle. They need a new goal since health care reform was the mantra for so many decades. The lack of a focused need makes them fall into their respective selfish camps.

      I don't know about your country, but here our politics have been captured by the corporations by and large, with large swaths of the population convinced daily to vote against their own best interests in the quest for some mythical pure notion of "freedom", a phrase that without economic and social opportunity is a clever speech line only.

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  3. The "I've got mine" attitude comes right out of Ayn Rand, who Paul was named for, and who inspires the Objectivist/Libertarian strain that lives in Paul Ryan and other younger Republicans. I tend to disagree with it as applied to economic policy (though I'm still a fan of comics about Mr. A and Killjoy) because it flies in the face of proven history. True, there is a humanitarian reason for seeing, for instance, that the minimum wage is a living wage..but just as significantly, when the lower and middle classes have some discretionary income they tend to spend it, which fuels the economy. When the uber-rich make more, as they have been for years, they hang onto it and only become "job creators" when they've exhausted the alternatives.

    I don't get why politicians and talking heads aren't hearing what the protests are about; it's almost as if they're afraid of the truth. One side is saying there is a pattern of behavior and belief that is crushing an entire class of people and the other side is saying there is no way to settle a disagreement between conflicting witnesses to a crime. Beyond a certain point, the technicalities are a diversion. When someone in your family is having a problem, you don't care about blame. You help because you love them. This is our family we,re talking about here.

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    1. Love Ditko's aethestic; loathe his politics. Randian philosophy is pure which makes it attractive, but as one critic suggested it is geared for the sophistication of a fourteen year old. The world is more complicated than Randites would like, not conforming to their pre-set conditions. I'm sure they'd argue that attitude is part of the problem, but I'd argue they are hardly the solution.

      A rising tide lifts all boats was once upon a time a guiding principle for the economy and a sound one for seventy-five years, but with a few having accumulated what they want, they now want to reorganize society so they can keep it in perpetuity. The idea of "Makers" and "Takers" has done more to harm the social fabric of our culture than many realize, it pits the weak against the strong.

      The specter of broad social unrest is beginning to rumble across the globe and without some better politics we are headed for some long-term trouble. You idea that we as a society are a "family" is helpful, but not to the dog-eat-dog attitudes of those who rule too many of our airwaves.

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  4. As an old(ish) white guy, let me say something that is hopeful. I don't think the big deal about President Obama is that he's black; I think it's that he looks like the future, because he's both black and white. It looks to me like there are more mixed couples every day, and that eventually we'll be aging out of this tribal idiocy. Many younger kids don't get the hysteria, because they're past it culturally. Remember, Missouri may have given us Ferguson,but it also gave us Chuck Berry.

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    1. That's a great point. The policies put forth by Obama have been those of what once passed for a moderate Republican in this country. One writer (a Republican economist who worked for the most recent President Bush) has said he's very much like Nixon in terms of his agenda for the country and that's largely true. What's "radical" about Obama may well be just what you say.

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  5. "...the Objectivist/Libertarian strain that lives in Paul Ryan and other younger Republicans."

    It doesn't really, since Objectivism requires total honesty by all parties to work, which is why it works as a concept but fails in practice.

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    1. The one thing about Ditko is that as far as I can tell he has tried to live what he believes. That's admirable as far as it goes,but it's still a lame way to run a country full of complicated people.

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