Tag Archives: classism

Scenes from America

20 Aug

In Ferguson, Missouri, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed Black teenager. The shots were not at close range, indicating no immediate struggle, and there were at least six shots fired. Setting aside the subsequent character assassination of the victim, the police response to popular outrage and demonstrations has been militaristic in nature, and overflowing with issues of race and class in contemporary America. 

No one condones looting or violence, but the ridiculously overwrought police response has quashed the people’s right to demonstrate. 

Hysterical right wing commentators have overwhelmingly sided with the police officer who shot Michael Brown, labeling the dead kid a “thug” who clearly deserved to die. Of course, we still don’t have a copy of the police report surrounding the shooting incident. The people in Ferguson are outraged by the latest homicide of an unarmed Black teenager under questionable circumstances, and their demonstrations have been met with this: 

Some months back, there was a standoff in Nevada over Cliven Bundy and his cows. Back in 1993, Bundy didn’t like a change in policy at the Bureau of Land Management, so he refused to renew his license to permit his cattle to graze on public land. In 1998, a federal court barred Bundy from letting his cattle graze on the “Bunkerville Allotment”. In July 2013, a federal judge further ordered Bundy off of additional lands

It should be noted that, in both court cases, Bundy had an opportunity to be heard, and exercised it.

In 2014, the Bureau of Land Management undertook action to forcibly remove Bundy’s cattle from federal lands pursuant to the court orders. Hundreds of armed, right-wing, so-called “militia” came to Bundy’s aid in the Nevada brush, and the rancher became a right-wing, anti-Obama cause celebre. 

American fascists justify the homicide of Michael Brown, whom they dismiss as nothing more than a thug who got what was coming to him. They deride the outpouring of grief and anger in Ferguson as being nothing more than a subhuman gallery of violent looters. They have nothing whatsoever to say about a military show of force against lawful protests in Ferguson, and ignore the obvious provocation of police snipers and tanks aiming at civilians in middle America. 

But when Cliven Bundy disregarded a lawful order of the court, and declared some sort of idiotic war against a federal government he claims has no legitimacy, hundreds of American fascists came to his aid. The bloodlust against federal agents was shocking, and we had images that contrast with those out of Ferguson in one very salient way: 

In Ferguson, protesters are mostly African-American, and the government’s guns are pointed at them. 

In Nevada, protesters were mostly white, and they pointed their guns at government agents. 

It’s like the anti-Burning Man


Cliven Bundy had people aiming guns at federal agents, but we’re supposed to get all upset because some angry demonstrators in Ferguson broke a McDonald’s store windows or stole some TVs? 

The people who support Cliven Bundy’s defiance of legitimate government authority think that the demonstrators in Ferguson have no business protesting questionable government actions. 

Go home, America. You’re drunk. 

A Horrible, Petty Place

12 Dec

Animated Gifs

A few quick notes for Sunday:

1. Some local glibertarian shat this opening sentence in a recent blog post:

I have read with amazement local leftists argue that the hordes of productive middle-class Americans who flee Buffalo each year can be easily replaced by refugees from the Third World (who will heavily rely on welfare).

That sentence has everything:  (a) convenient strawman erected  to establish something that is “argued”, yet unsupported by any reference or link; (b) latent racist, blatant classist, patently xenophobic comparison of “productive” middle class people who flee Buffalo to immigrants from the Sudan or Burma; and (c) further denigration of the immigrants as uniformly and “heavily” reliant on welfare.  It’s far more likely that those supposedly lazy, dependent immigrants could show you, me, and the glibtards a thing or two about hard work, productivity, courage, and smarts. The post then links to a tragic story in the Buffalo News about what amounts to culture shock among local third world refugees who come to find out that what they find normal is considered a crime here.  The answer is to educate and inform them – not to insult them as savages.

The problem is serious enough that a special community and courts collaborative was formed 10 months ago to improve services to this newer population. The group recently hosted a daylong workshop in Buffalo for Family Court judges, lawyers and social service workers.

“In America, we emphasize independence and individual freedoms,” said Family Court Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin in her opening remarks. “This is in direct conflict with certain cultures that emphasize obedience to parents and authority. How do we bridge the gap between behaviors which are accepted between spouses in other cultures, but which are not acceptable or legal here?”

In the 2 1/2 years she’s been judge, Rodwin said, she’s seen at least a doubling of cases involving newcomers to the country and culturally isolated Muslims, noting that child neglect, abuse, family violence and juvenile delinquency are rampant.

I’m appalled that someone who is unfortunately and astonishingly taken seriously in this town could get away with writing something so fundamentally wrong and bigoted.

2. Donn Esmonde wants a museum at Canal Side.  That’s a great idea, seeing as museums and nostalgia are the only growth industry we seem to have in this region.

3. Howard Milstein’s Niagara Falls Redevelopment hasn’t developed (or redeveloped) a single item in Niagara Falls.  This company, which apparently excels only at boarding up buildings and mowing grass, is busily speculating that this land may someday have value, whilst claiming to the press that it isn’t a land speculating company.

4. The Republican minority in the county legislature has enough votes to block any attempted veto override by the legislature’s Democratic minority.  According to the News, the Republican lawmakers have reached a deal with Chris Collins to reduce the previously voted-for library funding, and to completely eliminate funding of all culturals except for the Collins list of ten.  At this point, the Democratic majority should vote to eliminate funding to all culturals, including the Albright Knox and everything else the county executive wants.  If Collins wants out of the county-taxes-go-to-help-fund-cultural-activities business, then darn it he should be an absolutist about it.  If Shakespeare gets nothing, then neither does that pencil drawing in the museum.  That is the first step to abolishing the despicable political morass that is county government.  Perhaps a professional county manager might see the value in maintaining theater and arts programs in this region.  Chris Collins has not, incidentally, shown any proof that taxes would go up a single penny were the culturals to be funded as set forth last week.  I guess “quality of life” is not something worth paying like $5 per year for.

5. December rain events suck.

Have a great Sunday!