Monday, July 31, 2017

In racist rant, Trump endorses Freddie Gray style police murders

White nationalism put Donald Trump in the White House. He is there because he could rally sufficient support from members of the US working class who think they are better than everyone else because their skin, while not white, is lighter everyone else's. Since US capitalism got to where it is today by exploiting that delusion, and Trump has learned that lesson well, it's not surprising that after what has been the worst week of his young presidency, he turns to promoting racism as his default fallback position.

Thus ended a week in which children heard profanity from his White House, his press secretary quit, his Chief of Staff was fired, the Boy Scouts apologized for him, his top generals dissed his anti-transgender tweets, and his key campaign goal of killing the Affordable Care Act, which he calls ObamaCare for racist reasons, took a major hit. After a week like that, Trump doesn't go to Disneyland; he goes to the Van Nostrand Theatre in Ronkonkoma, New York to give a "law and order" speech on the notorious Salvadoran MS-13 gang to a group of cops. In a often practised fascist technique, he used their ugly crimes to justify what was essentially a racist rant:
They kidnap. They extort. They rape and they rob, they stomp on their victims. They beat them with clubs, they slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives. They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields. They're animals
According to Homeland Security Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez, MS-13 was responsible for 11 murders, including two young girls in Brentwood, on Long Island in the past year. That is bad but it is far from "bloodstained killing fields." Long Island crime is at a 50 year low, but Trump needs this hyperbole because he doesn't want anyone to object when he calls them "animals." He does this repeatedly throughout this speech and it is central to the racist nature of the speech. Even the worst human that ever lived, say Adolph Hitler, is still a human being, but racism demands dehumanization. The hated people must be expelled from the human race. It's suppose to be okay because he is only talking about a despicable violent immigrant gang, but many of his supporters will apply it to all people of color. Many of his supporters want to rid the United States of any people they consider non-white, and this includes Jews, by any means necessary, and Trump knows that.

Since it is important that this end goal not be revealed too early, he has largely limited this hateful rhetoric to deporting Latinos [I know illegals from Britain and New Zealand. They are not too worried.] in the name of fighting "these MS-13 thugs" and banning Muslims, in the name of fighting "radical Islamic terrorism," another applause line from his speech.

Donald Trump may be mad but he's not stupid. He undoubtedly knows that by targeting all Muslims, he is actually strengthening the hand of the "radical Islamic terrorism" he is claiming to fight by alienating all Muslims, and he knows his attack on sanctuary cities and police policy that does not aim at deporting every undocumented Latino, gives cover and support for the growth of these gangs in the besieged communities. He's okay with that because his real target is not the gangs or the terrorists. As excuses for genocidal policy, their growth is welcomed because the real targets are those communities of color. They won't be needed in the age of uber automation. So while the fire in this speech was focused on the one gang, he clearly has a broader target in mind:
It is the policy of this administration to dismantle, decimate and eradicate MS-13 at every other — and I have to say, MS-13, that’s a name; rough groups — that’s fine. We got a lot of others.
Then he turns to the question of the method he plans to use to "dismantle, decimate and eradicate...rough groups," and after condemning these "rough guys" because:
They stomp on their victims. They beat them with clubs. They slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives. 
Trump made a point of bragging that his guys are tougher:
But I said, hey, [ICE Director] Tom [Homan], let me ask you a question — how tough are these guys, MS-13? He said, they’re nothing compared to my guys. Nothing. And that’s what you need. Sometimes that’s what you need, right?
Another applause line. Does he mean his guys are tougher because while they also stomp on their victims and beat them with clubs, they forego machetes and knives in favor of firearms?

Then this comment gives us a clue about his final destination:
Look at Los Angeles. Look at what’s going on in Los Angeles. Look at Chicago. What is going on? Is anybody here from Chicago? We have to send some of you to Chicago, I think.
This was after he talked about how happy he was to distribute "used military equipment" to the police while bragging that he was going to "support our police like our police have never been supported before." Apparently what he meant by that was unprecedented presidential support for illegal and unconstitutional police brutality, as we were shortly to discover. But first...

What is MS-13?

The way Trump talked about MS-13, you might think it is a criminal gang that has invaded the US from El Salvador, and this is a problem that he will solve by deporting the gang members and building a wall to keep them out. The reality is quite different. The fact is that MS-13 was created in the US and only later exported to El Salvador. Writing about MS-13 in The Atlantic, J Weston Phippen says:
MS-13 was founded in Los Angeles by young Salvadoran migrants, but in the 1990s the United States deported tens of thousands of undocumented gang members back to Central America. There are now believed to be more than 70,000 members in Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
In other words, this gang problem bears the label "Made in the USA," no doubt aided by the discriminatory conditions immigrants face in the US after they have been driven out of countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador by wars and economic conditions the US had a big role in fostering. It was also aided by an earlier, less enlightened, police policy that often led to the deportation of immigrants just for reporting gang activity. MS-13 became an international gang problem because the US attempted to solve what was fundamentally a domestic problem not by imprisoning and attempting to reform the criminals, but by expelling them but leaving them free to practise their criminal ways internationally.

Trump likes to surround himself with generals because they are killers

Rodrigo Duterte, who is now the president of the Philippines, has organized civilian death squads and bragged about murdering criminals personally. Between the beginning of Duterte's "War on Drugs" on 1 July 2016 and 23 April 2017 a total of 7,080 people [some would say "animals"] have been killed by police and vigilante-style or unexplained killings. He also called Obama a "son of a whore." This is Trump's kind of guy, which is why he has overruled any human rights objections to invite him to the White House. Trump may not yet be advocating extrajudicial killings and death squads, like his new best buddy Duterte, but Friday night he took a big step down that road when endorsed the kind of illegal police abuse that can and has caused the death of those in police custody even before they are found guilty of any crime, as was the case with Freddie Gray, and many thought of Freddie Gray when they heard the president tell the police officers of the United States:
when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don’t be too nice. (Laughter.) Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay? (Laughter and applause.)

I have included the video so that you can hear for yourself the laughter and applause the president's suggestion of illegal police abuse provoked. Oh, how it cuts through all the BS about our honorable "law enforcement officers."

The phrase "paddy wagon" is itself a racist term that harkens back to the days before the Irish were considered "white." Paddy was a derogatory term for Irish, and the horse drawn wagons used to transport what was claimed to be a largely Irish criminal class became known as paddy wagons in the mid-1800s. After such wagons were used much in the arrest of Irish anti-draft rioters in New York City during the Civil War, the term became popularized.  Many of these laughing cops are from Irish backgrounds. Did they catch the irony of what they were laughing about? Or were they too busy thinking about Freddie Gray when they were laughing?

To recap - In case you don't know who Freddie Gray was:

Doug Donovan and Mark Puente wrote in The Baltimore Sun 23 April 2015:
When a handcuffed Freddie Gray was placed in a Baltimore police van on April 12, he was talking and breathing. When the 25-year-old emerged, "he could not talk and he could not breathe," according to one police official, and he died a week later of a spinal injury.

But Gray is not the first person to come out of a Baltimore police wagon with serious injuries.

Relatives of Dondi Johnson Sr., who was left a paraplegic after a 2005 police van ride, won a $7.4 million verdict against police officers. A year earlier, Jeffrey Alston was awarded $39 million by a jury after he became paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a van ride. Others have also received payouts after filing lawsuits.

For some, such injuries have been inflicted by what is known as a "rough ride" — an "unsanctioned technique" in which police vans are driven to cause "injury or pain" to unbuckled, handcuffed detainees, former city police officer Charles J. Key testified as an expert five years ago in a lawsuit over Johnson's subsequent death.
This is where the latest White House excuse for Trump's statement originated.

A Philadelphia Inquirer investigation into the practise in that city published in 2001 reported:
Top commanders acknowledge that rough rides are an enduring tradition in the department. The practice even has a name - "nickel ride," a term that harks back to the days when amusement-park rides cost 5 cents. An Inquirer investigation documented injuries to 20 people tossed around in wagons in recent years. Thompson was one of three who suffered spinal injuries, and one of two permanently paralyzed.
The New York Times wrote about the phrase 'rough ride':
The slang terms mask a dark tradition of police misconduct in which suspects, seated or lying face down and in handcuffs in the back of a police wagon, are jolted and battered by an intentionally rough and bumpy ride that can do as much damage as a police baton without an officer having to administer a blow.
This is the deadly illegal police "technique" that US President Trump just sanctioned!

What Trump's policy looks like on the ground

1 of 4 bars raided Saturday night
Over the weekend Suffolk County police targeted four bars they said were frequented by MS-13 gang members at about 1:15am Saturday. They have not reported the arrest of any MS-13 members as a result of these raids. In fact, only one of the five men arrested was even in the country illegally. This reveals who the real targets are, but judging by their laughter at the president's "joke," they probably enjoyed giving Long Island Latino bar patrons a rough time on a Saturday night.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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1 comment:

  1. Funny thing is, Trump's endorsement of police brutality pissed off most police. Even funnier (really sadder) is that the current republican hero cop is a Capitol Hill officer named Crystal Griner who got wounded while killing a guy attacking Republican baseball players. She's quiet, she's a good b-ball player, she's black, and she's a (married) Lesbian. She's also my wife's half - sister, which makes her my sister in law. Does she want to brutalize her neighbors? Not a chance!