Arizona State Government Starts Terror Campaign Against Non-Whites

Cancel your trip to the Grand Canyon.  In fact, if you’re in Arizona right now, get the hell out as quickly as you can.  The state of Arizona has passed a measure, signed into law by its governor, Jan Brewer, that requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally.  All immigrants will be required to carry their proof of legal immigration on their person at all times.  This means that a police officer standing on a street corner drinking a cup of coffee can spot a person across the street and decide, based on anything the officer chooses (skin tone, for example) that the person might be an illegal immigrant.  The officer can then walk across the street, say he suspects the person of ‘loitering,’ and demand proof of their legal status in the United States.  If that person cannot produce the paperwork, the officer can arrest them.  The loitering thing is key because the Arizona law supposedly requires that the police be investigating some possible infraction before they can ask for proof of legal immigration.  But a cop can find almost any reason to suspect almost anyone of some minor infraction like ‘loitering.’  I loiter all the time.

Arizona, by enacting such a law, has aligned itself with similar laws in Nazi Germany, the former Soviet Union, apartheid South Africa, and the post-slavery American South which used ‘vagrancy’ laws to arrest black people who could not prove that they were employed.  Apparently, the majority of residents in Arizona approve of the new law.  By definition, Arizona becomes Bigot Land.  One of the most important protections offered by a free democracy is the protection against unreasonable search and seizure.  No police officer anywhere in the United States can simply demand that a person produce papers proving their legal status.  But they can in Arizona as soon as this law goes into effect sometime in the next few months.

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu says:

I am saddened today at the prospect of a young Hispanic immigrant in Arizona going to the grocery store and forgetting to bring her passport and immigration documents with her. I cannot be dispassionate about the fact that the very act of her being in the grocery store will soon be a crime in the state she lives in. Or that, should a policeman hear her accent and form a “reasonable suspicion” that she is an illegal immigrant, she can — and will — be taken into custody until someone sorts it out, while her children are at home waiting for their dinner.

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Lest We Forget is a Short Film with a Long Memory

Lest We Forget is a short civil war film directed by Brandon McCormick and produced by Whitestone Motion Pictures.  It’s the kind of short film I don’t see much of anymore.  Very simple and well-produced.  I really like its fearless punch and its call to the audience to not forget.  Because we do forget.  We forget everything.  We want to forget.  In fact, we’ve been seeing a lot of wonderful old-fashioned folk come out of the woodwork around this country to put on a country fair display of their rancid all-American racism.  This film is for that guy at the town hall meeting on health care reform who decided to tear up the poster of Rosa Parks.  Boy did he forget!  That guy should watch this film and think about it a lot.  Then put himself out with the garbage.  Because I really don’t care whether a guy like that remembers or not.  He’s really just a hole in the road that needs to be paved over.

But the one great thing about all this raging racism coming out, much of which is directed at President Obama, is that it does in fact come out.  We see the bigots.  Yes, indeed… we know who you are.

Opinion Piece: Obama’s Own Images Influence Healthcare Protest Images

The controversy over President Obama’s health care reform effort is becoming dangerously angry. Groups consisting almost entirely of white conservatives are agitated about the possibility of legislation that creates new rules for health insurers and establishes some sort of public government-run coverage for those who want or need it. I’ve seen the footage of screaming and shoving at the town hall debates. I’ve seen the footage of the raging white guy snatching the poster of Rosa Parks from the black woman and tearing it to shreds while the white audience applauds his shocking act. I’ve seen the protest signs showing Obama transformed into Hitler. I’ve seen the people holding up swastikas. There’s a lot of rage and alarming racism on display by these people. Furthermore, I don’t see many poor, unemployed or uninsured people screaming and calling the president ‘Hitler.’ One must also stop to consider that many of these angry health care protesters are conservative ‘Christians’ who talk a good game in church about helping the poor and about mercy and all that kind of thing. But when the president actually sits down to try to offer money and government support for health care for people who may desperately need it, these conservative ‘Christians’ go into a frothing rage and call the president ‘Hitler.’

Very strange. Or is it?

Where do these people get all this Hitler fascist stuff? You can easily ascertain that they are not intelligent people simply by watching and listening to them.  Most of them could not tell you where Hitler was born but they seem to throw his name around a lot. They certainly weren’t out there calling George W. Bush ‘Hitler.’ They didn’t hold up swastikas for him. If any U.S. president has even come close to behaving like Hitler, it must be George W. Bush. He actually invaded a country on a false pretext. He imprisoned people without any charges and ordered them to be tortured without mercy for indefinite periods. Hitler did those things and plenty more. Of all U.S. presidents in the history of this nation, George W. Bush most closely matches Hitler in his actions and his assaults upon free speech and the rule of law. So why is Obama being called ‘Hitler’ for initiating some health insurance legislation in Congress?

FaireyObamaPosterPart of the answer is right here in this poster by artist Shepard Fairey. This poster of the candidate Obama became a national icon and is one of the most recognizable political images in our history. It also has a problem.  A big problem.

It’s fascist.

Obama is not fascist.  His images are.  Obama chose this image to represent him in his campaign for the presidency.  Strange choice considering that we are a democracy and naturally recoil at images of giant heroic politicians gazing off into the sky.

The Fairey poster smacks of simplified, hard-edged, focused, efficient, mindless hero-worship.  When images promote hero-worship of political leaders they immediately become oppressive and fascist. NorthKoreaPoster1Look at the North Korean poster with its simple shapes and heroic figures lifting their gazes off and up over the observer’s level as if they are looking into some magnificent future of possibilities and… hope.  The poster from North Korea is doing the same thing the Obama poster is doing.  I’m not going to engage in an argument about the exact definition of fascism versus communism or totalitarianism.  The fact is that all political imagery from repressive governments and totalitarian regimes concerns itself with presenting a leader as a wonderful hero who should be loved for his heroism and his magnificent personality.  The imagery also simplifies itself so that it can be seen from a great distance and be easily understood by unintelligent people.

One may argue that the artist, Shepard Fairey, is infatuated with the techniques of fascist posters from around the world and adopts their forms for his own uses.  Sure.  Artists do that every day.  But as soon as you place those techniques into a political image and promote a particular figure or personality, you are engaging in fascism whether you want to or not.  Perhaps, Fairey never intended the image to become an actual campaign poster.  But Obama easily turned it into one.

Ask yourself this question: what might George Orwell have thought of the Obama poster?

These angry health care reform protesters may not be aware of this direct link between Obama’s imagery and fascism, but they are definitely influenced by it.  They are swimming in fascist Obama imagery everywhere they turn and so they are simply using it for their own purposes.

I’m not letting myself off the foolish hero-worship hook here either.  I was somewhat taken with the Obama poster during the presidential campaign.  I made the following video as my own little effort to help the campaign.  The video focuses entirely on my discovery of one of the posters on the wall of an abandoned building in Baltimore.

My video is part of the problem. It revels in the fascist image of the candidate. I think my little film is actually pretty good, but I am not proud of being bamboozled by that suspect poster.

The Obama cult of personality imagery continues unabated.

obamacoversHe’s popular, certainly.  He’s the nation’s first black president which is fantastic and overdue and accounts for a great deal of the hero-worship.  He is a hero in many respects.  But the images are focused on his face, figure, and personality.  Not his politics.  That puts the images directly into the camp of fascism or near-fascism.  We in the United States typically maintain a somewhat suspicious attitude toward politicians.  That’s a good thing because it keeps them nervous and, with the help of the free press, it keeps them somewhat in line.

But right now president Obama is dealing with people who are expressing enormous hatred which is partly class-based and partly racist.  And, unfortunately, Obama’s own use of images containing fascist elements has unwittingly given these people a weapon with which to attack the foundations of his presidency.  It has also given them the courage to use it.

If you put your face on a poster, someone’s going to throw an egg.

Cambridge Police Arrest Famous Black Professor for Breaking No Law

APTOPIX Harvard Scholar DisorderlyWell-known black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was returning home from a trip when he and his driver found that the front door to Gate’s home was jammed. The professor went into his home through the back door and and helped the driver push the front door open. Meanwhile, a neighbor, suspecting a burglary, called the police. Of course, you might wonder why the neighbor didn’t spend a bit more time figuring out that the homeowner was simply opening his own door. But that’s not the real story.

The real story is that when the Cambridge, Massachusetts police showed up, professor Gates didn’t like the way the officer treated him and he did not cooperate fully with the officer.  Remember that in United States we are under no legal obligation whatsoever to cooperate with a police officer who is asking questions.  We don’t have to say anything.  Professor Gates decided that since he was inside his own home the cop had no business asking him to prove that he was in fact in his own home.  This is a perfectly justifiable attitude to have inside one’s own home.  A police officer must be extremely cautious in dealing with a situation like this, especially when it becomes quite clear to anyone of average intelligence that it really is the homeowner the officer is dealing with.  So professor Gates decided to give the officer a good piece of his mind.  He apparently refused to show ID then changed his mind and did.  He apparently told the officer that he was being racially profiled and that he was suffering under the treatment given to blacks by law enforcement.  He may have insulted the officer and yelled at him.  He may have insulted the officer’s mother.

The officer says that there are radio call recordings that will prove professor Gates was yelling in the background.  So, this Cambridge police officer arrested professor Gates for ‘disorderly conduct’ – in his own home.  Disorderly conduct for being angry at a police officer in his own home.  Disorderly conduct is a very vague statute in most states, used primarily to give officers the ability to round people up for simply being uncooperative.  Basically, if a cop doesn’t like you, he or she can arrest you for ‘disorderly conduct.’

I post about this episode at length because it goes straight to the heart of free speech in this country.  Law enforcement versus free speech is the subject.  We are living during a time when law enforcement seems to think it can record the phone calls of American citizens without a search warrant, physically assault journalists during the Democratic and Republican conventions, and harass photographers in public places while attempting to confiscate their equipment.  Police in Minneapolis, Minnesota staged an armed assault on a young peaceful protest group just prior to the Republican Presidential Convention in 2008.  They burst into their house with weapons drawn and made these young people lie on the floor while illegally searching the house because they wanted to prevent the group from protesting near the convention.  Much of this was caught on video and witnessed by onlookers.   Many police officers around the nation seem to have very little understanding of what constitutes protected free speech and what constitutes a real threat.  Some officers actually do understand the difference but choose to ignore the law.

If professor Gates insulted the officer in his home, it’s protected free speech.  If he insulted the officer’s mother, it’s protected free speech.  I he called the officer a racist, it’s protected free speech.  None of it matters in the slightest.  The correct response from a police officer in such a situation is to shrug it off and say, ‘Have a nice day.’  To arrest someone for behaving the way professor Gates did is outrageous and stupid.  Just like president Obama says: the Cambridge police acted stupidly.

Now the Cambridge police department is furious that Obama has insulted them and they demand an apology.  Obama owes them no such apology.  He called them stupid and they most certainly are.  All you need to know about this arrest is that prosecutors refused to press charges and all charges were dropped.  That means it was a bad arrest.  That means the police behaved stupidly and made an arrest that was not supported by law.  They arrested someone for breaking no law.  I cannot think of a better word for it than ‘stupid.’

To arrest a prominent black scholar for expressing his outrage inside his own home to police officers is stupid and might possibly be an act of racism.  The police are now parading a black officer around who was at the scene of the stupidity and says he supports the arrest because ‘Mr. Gates was acting strange.’ Acting strange.  Obviously, being a black Cambridge cop has not prevented this guy from being stupid.  We are not supposed to be arresting people in the United States for ‘acting strange.’ If there’s a cop on a force who thinks that acting strange qualifies for an arrest, he or she should be let go pronto.

So we join president Obama in calling the Cambridge police who arrested professor Gates stupid. They also seem to be poorly trained, insensitive, unaware of legal protections for free speech, and perhaps somewhat racially biased.  The race part really isn’t the important part because we don’t know if anyone on the scene really is racist.  But we do know beyond any doubt whatsoever that the police on the scene arrested someone for exercising his right to free speech.

Officer Friendly sure isn’t working up in Cambridge, Massachusetts.