Hate and Paranoia

2012-03-31

As mentioned on prior shows, I believe it is imperative for the attacked mass of humans worldwide, even in our own backyard, to band together against the powerful, predatory, psychotic forces who have wormed their tendrils into every crack of public and (soon) private life. This is made more difficult, of course, when we have been split into ideological camps for so long that many people cannot overcome ethical disputes or biases, vote against their own self-interests, act against their better judgement, or, in some cases, are too far radically gone to partner with an otherwise inclusive movement.

The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up from the previous year and continuing a decade-long trend. Though the conspiracy-minded antigovernment “Patriot” groups first started frothing at the mouths during the Clinton years in response to the events of Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992 and Waco, Texas in 1993, there was a small dip in enrollment during the early Bush and 9/11 years. But a significant growth in numbers has been seen with the rise of the surveillance state, an over-powerful federal intelligentsia, income inequality, and the obvious nature of the financial sector’s hold on our once-democracy. Unfortunately, these groups are also a reactionary, sometimes violent, opposition to the progress of civil rights and race relations, steeped in conspiracy-mongering and the demonization of Islam, immigration and dehomogenization, homosexuality, and Barack Obama himself. With politicians, pundits, public figures and an entire corrupt media empire built to propagate such divisive falsehoods, it can’t come as any surprise that we’re seeing a rise in anti-gay groups, anti-muslim groups, nativist extremists, sovereign citizens, kkk, birthers, white nationalists, neo-confederates, neo-nazi racist skinheads and even Christian Identity, a radical theology that describes Jews and people of color as biologically descended from “Satan.”

Some of these groups are seditious, others aspire to extreme violence. But all of them exist somewhere on the radical end of a wide spectrum of the hate mindset that America allows for, and that some organizations help engender. In internal memorandum from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) one of the country’s leading organizations against same-sex marriage, a plan was outlined to help its cause by exploiting unease among blacks over the issue.

The undated memo was one of several documents unsealed by a federal judge on Monday in a case in Maine, where the group, , helped finance a successful ballot initiative in 2009 overturning the state’s legalization of same-sex marriage. The organization is partially responsible for Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban) with shady donations from powerful elites such as a staggering $10,000 donation from Governor Mitt Romney’s PAC prior the November election in 2008.

The project’s goal, according to the memo, was to recruit blacks who opposed same-sex marriage to represent the group, and then “provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.” The memo describes an initiative called the Not a Civil Right Project, “The strategic goal of the project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies.”

It is truly a sick and twisted reality we inhabit, that gays and blacks and other minorities cannot feel safe walking the streets of America. Trayvon Martin is yet another in a long history of racial profiling and state-sanctioned (or ignored) murder of minorities, from Emmett Till to today, with decades and centuries of abuse and vigilante racism which white supremacists call a ‘civic duty’.

It’s worth noting that despite nearly 200 attempts, a federal anti-lynching law was never passed in the United States. And even during the catastrophic events of Hurrican Katrina in New Orleans, the unwarranted shooting of blacks was not investigated. Black men, women, and children are beaten, attacked, brutalized, shot and killed by members of the police force, sometimes in their own homes.

The narrative of our nation allows for this. The conflict, the debate rages on because the national conversation delights in it. Only an article in Salon, for example, mentions that under  Florida’s “stand your ground” law, Trayvon was allowed to stand his ground and use force to defend himself. With a strange man following a 17-year-old boy in the dark, in a country where 60,000 children are abducted by strangers a year, he was right to be wary. And if the gun was visible as George Zimmerman approached him, Trayvon would have been allowed to use deadly force against Zimmerman. A Republican sponsor of the “stand your ground” law has indicated in media accounts that, based on the information currently available about the incident, he does not believe that the “stand your ground” law applies to Zimmerman.  It seems that no one has yet asked whether the law would have applied for the protection of Trayvon Martin.

Under the law, as the aggressor in this situation, Zimmerman had no right of self-defense.

  1. The police dispatcher had advised him not to follow or approach Trayvon Martin.
  2. On the 911 call, Zimmerman initially said that he was concerned about break-ins in the area.  Deadly force is not legally authorized to protect property.
  3. Zimmerman said that he thought the “suspect” might be high or using drugs. Both are offenses that do not warrant the use of deadly force in apprehension efforts.
  4. Zimmerman also said, “Those assholes always get away …,”  which clearly indicates that he had decided that Trayvon was guilty of something — he was no longer merely a “suspect.”  So his approach, whether with his gun in hand or concealed, was with the intent to confront a “criminal.” Such an approach would be aggressive rather than passive.

Regardless of if Zimmerman did, in fact, utter a racial slur on the 9-1-1 tape (the case becomes a hate crime investigation if he did), he does not need to be a racist in the extremist sense that some people assert, or his own father disputes. He lives in a society where laws like ‘Stand Your Ground’ offer an assurance to powerless-feeling people by allowing them to wield the basest power there is–violence–with near impunity. It encourages people to be intimidators for fear of intimidation. It is not surprising then that since the law went into effect in 2005 killings in Florida justified by ‘self-defense’ have risen by 283%. We know that the mind can be affected by perceptional changes, even weilding a gun makes a person more biased to seeing others hold guns, research suggests. Add to that the ever-lying-in-wait racist mindset of Americans (or humans), the threat of race violence will always haunt many people of color. There will be more Trayvon Martins in the future if we don’t take every opportunity to publicly and openly discuss how race factors consciously and subconsciously into policy-making.

This is in addition to the paranoia and fear being fed to all of us in America on a daily basis (and for the last decade or so), both real and imagined. The police state is flourishing despite such facts as, as writer Bruce Schneier for the Economist points out, in the entire decade or so of airport security since the attacks on September 11th 2001, the TSA has not foiled a single terrorist plot or caught a single terrorist. The TSA regularly misses guns and bombs in tests and real life. Even its top “good catch”—a passenger with C4 explosives—was caught on his return flight; TSA agents missed it the first time through. Meanwhile the Department of Defense and the White House want control of the internet back (or the cat back in the bag). The FBI is teaching its agents that they could sometimes “bend or suspend the law” in their hunt for terrorists and criminals, along with some pretty racially-charged rhetoric. Photographers across the country, regardless of politics, are being arrested for taking pictures of police (though the forces risk losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil suits for stamping on civil liberties). Some modern science is being corrupted and is dysfunctionalDoctors in Pennsylvania are not allowed to tell their patients of the dangers of fracking they’ve discovered in their communities. And even the NYC Dept of Education wants to ban the word “dinosaur” from standardized tests!

All in their war against all things Awesome. Those of you who are truly Awesome (and you know who you are) will heed the call.

PLAYLIST
Aunt Mary – in the hall of the mountain king
Ska Boss – The Aquabats
Piano Black (Ian O’Brien Remix) – Seatbelts
Four Sticks – Led Zeppelin
Doctor Doctor – UFO
Fireball – Deep Purple
Miles Runs the Voodoo Down – Miles Davis (Tribute)
Mother’s Little Helper – The Rolling Stones
Dream Weaver – Gary Wright
Heffalumps And Woozles – Disney
Lalo Schifrin – Bullitt
Black, Brown And White – Big Bill Broonzy
Season Of The Witch – Donovan
Carsual Swing – Fauna Flash
Escape – Amon Tobin
Rocket Ship – Stark Reality
Stoned Guitar – Human Instinct
Moisture – The Residents
The Sound Waves Reversing – Man Or Astroman
Transcendence – Nujabes + Fat Jon
Sarah Vaughan – Whatever Lola Wants – Buddha-Bar (CD Series)
Dirty Harry – Gorillaz
Redworm – DJ QBert
Spooky – The Puppini Sisters
Alain Goraguer- La Vieille Meurt
Albuquerque – Weird Al Yankovic

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-03-31: Hate & Paranoia by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

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