Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eric Garner and Melvin Santiago - Two Horns of the Very Same Dilemma

Officer Melvin Santiago (L)....Eric Garner (R)     

One week ago today, 23 y/o Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago was murdered by a 27 y/o career violent thug named Lawrence Campbell.

Just four days later and about 10 miles away, on Thursday, July 17th, a Staten Island man named Eric Garner was killed by police officers in a scuffle (allegedly over his selling “illegal cigarettes”) in the Tompkinsville section of that borough.

The two cases clearly define the very rough edge between the two prominent urban cultures, the productive mainstream and the “thug-life” culture of the urban poor.

To be sure, BOTH Santiago and Garner were victims of that stark culture clash. Santiago was targeted by a violent career thug because he was a cop. The assailant was so insipidly convinced of the weakness of “polite society” that he told friends to “watch TV tonight, I’m gonna be famous.” He actually thought he’d live through that wanton act of war.

And why not? His family and friends quickly erected a street memorial in his honor (which the Mayor of Jersey City promptly had torn down). His widow ruefully added, “He should’ve killed more cops.”

On Staten Island, Eric Garner was no Lawrence Campbell. If anything he was an “anti-Campbell.” While Garner also had a “lengthy arrest record,” it was mostly for his “crime of choice” selling “loosies” (single cigarettes) to make a few extra bucks. From all accounts, he appeared to be a “gentle giant” (he stood over 6’4” and over 300 pounds).

In the exchange between Staten Island Police and Garner, he seemed polite, though uncooperative, “Every time you see me, you want to mess with me,” Garner can be heard saying on the cell phone video, “I'm tired of it. It stops today. I'm minding my business please just leave me alone."

The line, “It stops today,” is probably what angered Police, who probably took that as a challenge to their authority and decided, at that point that they wouldn’t talk to Garner any further and couldn’t walk away from even this low level, “crime.”

For the Police Officer’s part, they are far more used to dealing with the Lawrence Campbell’s of the world than the Eric Garner’s and ultimately they all wind up getting lumped into the same category; “low-life skell.”

Both Santiago’s and Garner’s deaths were equally shocking, equally outrageous, and should be equally disturbing, but the reaction to Garner’s death at the hands of a number of much smaller Police Officers has been of a much higher pitch and volume and that volume seems only to be growing as that over Officer Santiago’s assassination fades fainter with each passing day.

I refuse to accept the inane idea that this is somehow due to the productive mainstream being inherently “more self-reflective.”

Officer Santiago DID NOT die taking on “the inherent risks of that job.” He was targeted for assassination by an entire community...a community rooted in the culture that they are oppressed by the productive mainstream and have rightful grievances against that community, its established order and certainly against the representatives of that established order on the streets – the Police.

THAT is the crux of this dilemma.

And for the record, the “thuglife” culture does NOT “have a point,” they have NO actual grievances rooted in reality. That culture is a cancer and so is the socio-political movement that has sprung up around it, led by the likes of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other (political and legal) parasitic opportunists more than happy to make hay off the deaths of the urban poor for their own personal gain.

Today editorialists across the country, who as Denis Hamil acknowledges, have many times praised other, heroic cops and their selfless, ultimate sacrifices for our city,” are now deriding the cops who apparently and egregiously overreacted in subduing a man who was non-violently resisting arrest as “punks” and “cowards.”

Without any apparent irony, Denis Hamil recalls how, “I mourned with 8 million others when Officer Pete Figoski gave his life bravely to a punk’s bullet in the 75th Precinct two weeks before Christmas three years ago, leaving four shattered kids”...AND “...gazed into the hole in the city’s heart at Officer Dennis Guerra’s funeral as his widow and children watched his coffin carried from the requiem Mass in Rockaway after he perished trying to save lives in a Coney Island fire.”

Is that the standard Hamil wishes to employ; “dead cop = good/hero, while those who put their own safety first = bad/abusive”?

For THAT is very much the basic protocol of the NYPD and Police Departments everywhere – “Put the safety and the lives of our Officers FIRST...second and third.”

What happened to Eric Garner should never happen to anyone and it DOES bring into question many legitimate Civil Liberties issues.

WHY was Garner apparently continually targeted by Police over such a minor offense.

WHAT justified the initial NYPD stop over “selling unlicensed cigarettes,” given that he had just broken up a fight and seemingly was NOT engaged in selling contraband at the time? Granted that once he began resisting arrest (yes, even non-violently) Police procedures didn’t allow them to “back off,” but WHY the initial confrontation?

Virtually every witness attests that Eric Garner had just broken up a fight before being confronted by Police. So WHY such a large police response to such a non-violent crime and a suspect who, according to the available videos, was not acting aggressively with Police in any perceptible way?

These are issues that the objections to the broad “discretion” given to Officers under the recently eliminated “Stop & Frisk” policy were based upon.

However, it also goes to the heart of the basic theory that Bill Bratton (Mayor DeBlasio’s hand-picked Police Commissioner) has staked his entire police career and reputation on – that by vigorously prosecuting low-level offenders, many high-level offenders with outstanding warrants will be swept up and off the streets.

Without question, crime is the key distinction AND the primary trigger in the war between the productive mainstream and the “thuglife” cultures. To the former crime is not only chaotic and dysgenic (high-value people are most often victimized by very low-value individuals), but it’s also...and more importantly, “very bad for business”...however, to the latter, crime is both a protest against the seemingly often arbitrary rules of the established order, but their most effective, if not only way to “fight back.”

Street cops know this. They know they are in a very real war being waged by a small, but sizable culture within a culture, fed and encouraged by dozens of community activists and lawyers looking to profit off the mayhem.

Horrifically enough, it’s this warlike clash of cultures, along with the protocols of our Police Departments (NEVER back down from a criminal suspect) that triggers tragedies like what happened to Eric Garner.

It comes down, in part, to how vigorously the productive mainstream wants its streets policed?

To completely “lock crime down,” offers the ugly specter of more Eric Garners, while a less vigorous approach serves entirely the interests of the Lawrence Campbell’s of this world.

There’s really no good outcome UNTIL the entire “thuglife” culture is eradicated either through education or incarceration.

Nic Pizzolatto’s “True” Attack on America’s Rural Poor

Nic Pizzolatto

Let me start out by stating clearly that I am a firm advocate of birth control and abortion...yes, even (perhaps especially) mandated birth control for the dependent poor. I’ve held to that view for almost all of my adult life.

Because of that, I often find myself at odds with religious people of all persuasions, most of whom subscribe to the quaint notion of “the sanctity of all life.”

Interestingly enough, today, America’s pseudo-elites* (*America’s Wundt-based education system has long rewarded conformity of thought over free thinking and original ideas, which is probably why it’s freest thinkers flee that environ as soon as possible – Gates, Cuban, etc.) see no greater enemy than the “faith-based, simple religious folk” among us. I find extreme ironic comedy in that, especially considering how much faith exists in virtually ALL the beliefs of these pseudo-elites.

I’ve been around and coming from New York, I’ve met a LOT of pseudo-elites and having spent time in a number of other locales, I’ve also met quite a number of America’s rural, mostly religious poor, across the country and I’ve found that despite our many and very fundamental disagreements, the rural, mostly very religious poor to be MORE decent, MORE humane, MORE caring of others and LESS innately bigoted than their mis-educated “betters.”

In my own experience, I’ve found that no matter how deeply we disagree, the religious poor tend to listen, rebut and ultimately agree to disagree and I am left to fully understand that there is no real common ground between us because we’re both grounded in very different moral codes. That however has NOT been my experience with the pseudo-elites, who are so convinced of the absolute “rightness” of their ideas, no matter how baseless and faith-based they are, that they rarely listen, almost never rebut and move straight to insult, condemning all the “heretics” who’d dare to disagree with them by assigning their views to either bigotry or ignorance, if not both. The irony of that stance being solely rooted in the rankest ideological bigotry seems truly lost on them.

That’s led me to believe that while there’s hope for the latter (many religious zealots DO soften their views), there’s little hope at all for those so convinced that they are right...that some god, as it where, was firmly on their side.

I’ve also found that regardless of how poorly educated, even uneducated many of these religious, rural poor are, they DO seem to sense a palpable unease, or disease among pseudo-elitist thought...AND, for the most part, they are absolutely right about that. As an example, today’s anthropomorphic global warming agenda is NOT rooted in compassion – trying to defend civilization from the inevitable by raising sea walls and erecting other defenses, but instead in limiting energy use, restricting economic growth and eliminating jobs - the energy sector has long been the world’s biggest job creator. These “rubes” also see the inherent hypocrisy in the anti-bigotry crusade of the pseudo-elites, rooted in the view that “SOME (approved) bigotries are fine, while others (unapproved ones) are not.” While they may not understand that this is hypocrisy is rooted in the inanity that “Bigotry against those WE (the pseudo-elites) define as “bigots” is approved and OK.”

Again, even the pseudo-elite stance on bigotry flies in the face of consistent logic and warmly embraces a blind faith. You see, IF bigotry is wrong, then it can ONLY be wrong if ALL bigotry is deemed wrong, just as speech is ONLY free when ALL (even the most offensive, original, revolting, iconoclastic and incendiary) speech is free and protected. The “rubes” intuitively KNOW that some bigotries, specifically bigotry against themselves...the rural, overwhelmingly white and deeply Christian perfectly alright.

While some enterprising “Reverends” and a host of liberal newsers have inanely explained this as “anti-Christian” bigotry, the preachers to make hay (and profit) and the newsers to deride this very real classist, racist and ideological bigotry as something else, something so peripheral to the actual bigotry that it is truly unrelated.

Which brings me to Nic Pizzolatto, author of the hit TV show True Detective, which IS a very well-written show, despite the fact that it also evinces and tacitly encourages this very jkind of pseudo-elite bigotry. In that show, set in rural Louisiana, the villains are all rural poor and white...and mostly religious. Those that aren’t deeply and fundamentally Christian are Satanic devil worshipers...SAME thing in the eyes of this meme.

Matthew McConaughey’s character, a cop who talks like a serial killer, constantly derides the Revival “rubes,” while observing the irony of such “good Christian people” awash in meth, prostitution and poverty, oddly the SAME circumstances that such folks are trained to sympathize, even empathize with when afflicting the urban (LESS white, but similarly religious) poor. Hmmmm, at least the “rubes” seem to see the innate and very hideous irony in that baseless and malevolent double standard. So who’s possessed of the real insights here?

At any rate, I’ve seen all 8 episodes of the 1st season of that show and, while there were many shots taken at the rural poor (Mr. Pizzolatto hails from southern Louisiana himself), one surely stands out. In that scene, McConaughey’s character, detective Rustin "Rust" Cohle (an excellent interrogator) is questioning a woman suspected of killing her child. It turns out that she’d lost two other children before this one, heightening the suspicion. Cohle starts of by talking about SIDS, but moves on quickly to declare the woman suffering from Munchausen’s syndrome (“a psychiatric factitious disorder wherein those affected feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma to draw attention, sympathy, or reassurance to themselves. It is also sometimes known as hospital addiction syndrome, thick chart syndrome, or hospital hopper syndrome”), when the most likely diagnosis would’ve been “postpartum depression”, as Andrea Yates was after she murdered her own five children. At any rate, one thing leads to another, in the course of which the woman shouts, “Abortion is a sin,” and Cohle eventually breaks the woman down and slides a murder confession across the table to her with the advice, “Prison is hard and it’s especially brutal on a woman who kills her own children, if I were you, I’d take the first opportunity to kill myself.”

Good dialogue?

Just making a universal point...that those who kill the innocent should just “do the right thing” and dispose of themselves?

Think again. IF that woman had been urban poor and black instead of rural poor and white, it would’ve been met with a more universal outrage. Hell, if the woman’s character had been an attractive, well-educated, liberal woman from the Upper West Side of Manhattan she too would’ve demanded a more sympathetic treatment, but of course such a woman would never be used to make such a point...which actually IS the point...the point that proves the “rubes” are right – at least about the selective bigotry of the pseudo-elites.

I found interesting at least one statement that Douthat made in his piece; "...about half the country opposes affirmative action...". Perhaps he's downplayed the stats in being overly cautious, or perhaps he just doesn't know them, but a very large majority of Americans oppose race-based preferences, which is what "Affirmative Action" has become a euphemism for.

"As to public opinion, consider the responses to a question on the Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University racial attitudes survey in spring 2001: "In order to give minorities more opportunity, do you believe race or ethnicity should be a factor when deciding who is hired, promoted, or admitted to college, or that hiring, promotions, and college admissions should be based strictly on merit and qualifications other than race or ethnicity?"

"Of the 1,709 adults surveyed, 5 percent said "race or ethnicity should be a factor," 3 percent said "don't know," and 92 percent said "should be based strictly on merit and qualifications other than race/ethnicity."

"More surprising, of the 323 African-American respondents, 12 percent said "race or ethnicity should be a factor," 2 percent said "don't know," and 86 percent said "should be based strictly on merit and qualifications other than race/ethnicity."

"That's right: By a ratio of 7-to-1, black respondents in this poll rejected racial preferences. (The ratio was 12-to-1 among both Hispanic and Asian respondents.) To be sure, other poll results have been less dramatic; and the phrase "affirmative action" usually elicits a very positive response from black poll respondents and a mixed response from whites."

Again, I don’t understand the reticence of stating clearly what such polls show, but there it is.

Beyond that, there’s just so much proof today that the real “rubes” are the folks lined up in the “Progressive Revival tents,” folks like E J Dionne and others.

As an example, take Tom Steyer, a Hedge Fund manager turned big time Democratic donor with heavy duty personal political aspirations, he earned a lot of his money furthering "the plundering of the planet." Now, if you'd take him at his word, he wants to slow down global economic growth "for the planet's sake.” (

Sadly for him, Brazil China, India, Russia and other developing nations DO NOT agree...they intend and insist on developing. I'm with the BRIC's full bore on that. Steyer’s a wrong-headed hypocrite on this issue and the BRIC’s know what’s best for themselves and the planet.

Those who believe in the likes of Tom Steyer are every bit as much "rubes" as any zealot at a revival tent. As that McConaughey character Rust Cohle said, "You hardly expect any of them to be splitting the atom."

Seriously, the Left-leaning folks at the "Progressive Revival tent" are even BIGGER suckers than those religious zealots out in the hoot.

I follow oil and natural gas prices. I have for my entire adult life. I have a Series 3. I've traded commodities. I haven't touched oil and gas since 2009 because I haven’t been able to get a read on it.

I wish I had, BUT I initially feared that this guy (Barack Obama) and his handlers Axelrod & Plouffe really were "the real deal" - high-minded idealists who'd eschew the Corporatist agenda. Apparently, either the Corporatists have got a killer closing, or something heavier, because America has stepped up oil and gas production incredibly under this administration!

That's been GREAT for places like deeply Red North & South Dakota, as well as Montana and Wyoming, producing tens of thousands of high paying energy jobs in states that vote overwhelmingly RED (GOP) team. However, it's been hell on a LOT of commodities traders (ironically enough, most of THEM from the northeast), especially the ones who thought that this administration would rein in oil & gas production. (

It's an interesting bit of Kabuki Theater that’s been going on today. When G W Bush was in office, the environmental lobby loudly demanded and often GOT restrictions on carbon-based energy production, while the media continually told the public how bad that administration was on that issue and how much "in bed" with the energy conglomerates they were. Ironically enough, those wound up being some very HIGH profit days for the big energy conglomerates - high demand along with restricted supply = HUGE profits for BIG Energy! The environmentalist lobby succeeded in raising the price of energy and the profits for their own corporate masters.

BUT when the current Democratic administration got into office, "the lid came off" and oil and gas supplies shot prices have dropped, while energy sector jobs increased! You'd think that'd piss off the environmental lobby, along with the NY Times, etc., but nope....barely a peep from any of them.

How come? Did they suddenly lose their voice, or have they been paid lobbyists for Big Energy all along? Yes, most likely the latter.

One of the reasons I was fooled was that I initially and very wrongly saw Barack Obama as the “2nd coming of Jimmy Carter.” Of course, he’s turned out to be the “2nd coming of G W Bush.” Jimmy Carter signed on to a “Windfall Profits Tax” that wound up reducing domestic energy production by a HUGE margin and bringing about the 2nd gasoline shortage of the 1970s.

How could any speculator (absent some inside information) expect the Obama administration to push policies that drastically increased oil and natural gas production in the U.S., given that history?

BUT that’s exactly what’s happened.

Now I support all that, which is one of the many reasons I don’t revile the Obama administration, nor count him “the worst post-WW II President,” as many seem to...hell, I’d even support a basic liberal/“Progressive” policy that would greatly benefit most American workers – mandating a return to the traditional defined benefits pensions for workers, instead of today’s defined contributions plans, if the current administration would propose it.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen anything at all like that. STILL, the “Progressive Revival rubes” refuse to question any of this.

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