Keep the Iowa Standard Going!
In the past twenty-four hours, my neighborhood was trending on Twitter and on both local and national news. They smashed up and looted the stores, including the the Rite Aid I visit daily and the Starbucks on the corner. We had several helicopters hovering overhead and dozens of masked individuals carrying signs streaming down the street on the sidewalk in front of, and past my building, saying Black Lives Matter.
In the previous 72 hours, enough buildings and cop cars were set ablaze that the air was thick with smoke at my home. The mall in Santa Monica, where I first worked upon arriving in Los Angeles, was looted. When the Grove was looted surprising and when it nearly happened in Beverly Hills it was shocking. And when low-income neighborhood Van Nuys was trashed it was heartbreaking.
What was most shocking however was not the mass protests, or gangs of looters, so much as the decision to focus on race rather than localized fascism as the current source of problems in American life.
Mayor of Los Angeles
Outsiders should know that what is driving these protests in Los Angeles is not just the death of George Floyd. Eric Garcetti sparked anger when he proposed giving 54% of the City of Los Angeles budget to the Los Angeles Police Department – $5.67 billion dollars tax dollars while slashing public services including Libraries and Social Services to pay for it.
For months Americans in Los Angeles have had to suffer from the narcissistic, smirking face of Eric Garcetti and put up with his maniacal rhetoric. In the past weekend, the world got to see exactly how unstable and delusional this man is as he auditions for a role in the national spotlight. Peaceful protestors have been shot with rubber bullets, flashbangs, and tear gas. Bystanders or people caught in the middle of chaos have been roughed up or arrested.
Two months ago, I warned specifically about Eric Garcetti’s Fascist tendencies in articles for The Iowa Standard. It was further inflamed by his own deranged comments about his mental health.
Excerpt from April 7, 2020 Article
“This year in a few short weeks, Garcetti’s response to COVID-19 has put his real character on public display as a ruthless, power-grabbing aspiring dictator. Americans that think this is hyperbole need should review his public comments so far;
March 30, 2020, KCRW:
“KCRW: Is there evidence that LA’s “Safer at Home” policy is working? We’re embarking on our second week.
Garcetti: “We have the data from people’s cell phone movements that show that people are staying in place. … We send folks to make sure that we can tighten the screws even a little bit more, close down the beaches and the trails this weekend.”
April 4, 2020, Associated Press:
“The mayor’s office said more than two dozen businesses have been referred to the city attorney for possible prosecution.
“We will find you, we will come after you,” Garcetti said.
March 24, 2020, KTLA:
“He said the Department of Water and Power will shut off services for the businesses that don’t comply with the “safer at home” ordinance.
Neighborhood prosecutors will implement safety measures and will contact the businesses before issuing further action, according to Garcetti.
“The easiest way to avoid a visit is to follow the rules,” he said.”
April 2, 2020, LAist.com:
“With Los Angeles and the nation in economic crisis and our streets eerily empty, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced new measures tonight:
- To slow drivers tempted to speed, traffic signals will be set to a “late-night schedule,” meaning red lights will cycle through more frequently.”
March 31, 2020, The Palisades News:
“Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is suspending farmers’ markets in Los Angeles due to overcrowding concerns as COVID-19 cases in the county continue to rise.
“We have seen images of dangerously crowded farmers markets –– so I’m announcing the temporary suspension of farmers markets pending City review of physical distancing plans needed to keep communities safe. We will review plans immediately so markets can stay open this week,” Garcetti wrote in a tweet Monday.”
April 4, 2020, Fox News:
“The mayor’s office said that city officials, with officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, had visited more than 500 businesses that had not complied with his order. His office said four businesses have already been referred for misdemeanor filings.
“You know the old expression about snitches,” Garcetti said this week. “Well, in this case, snitches get rewards.”
He added: “We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe,” he said.”
Garcetti’s clearly aware of his power over a population of four million. He also has demonstrated a willingness to use that power to try and bend them to his will in pursuit of his policy objectives. Even more troubling were comments Garcetti made indicating his policymaking matches his own mental health – Fatalistic and Egotistical.
April 3, 2020 CBS Local Reported:
“LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Friday said that handling the coronavirus pandemic has been the most intense experience of his career.
“I’m strong, I’m steeled and I’m scared,” he said. “When people ask me how I’m feeling it’s all three. I’m scared for all of us for what’s ahead, but I feel very strong.”
He said he was making sure that he was getting enough sleep and that spending time with his wife and daughter at the beginning and end of each day improved his mental health.”
In that time, Garcetti has gone from aspiring dictator to self-appointed military dictator, arbitrarily declaring curfews with no notice, declaring peaceful protests to be unlawful assemblies, rather than focusing on looter gangs. Police and National Guard have crushed demonstrations rather than protecting businesses, at least outside of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Worse Garcetti allowed the Chief of the LAPD to accuse the protestors of having George Floyd’s blood on his hands.
“We didn’t have protests last night, we had criminal acts. We didn’t have people mourning the death of this man, George Floyd. We had people capitalizing,” Chief Michel Moore said.
“His death is on their hands as much as it is those officers,” the chief added. “And that is a strong statement but I must say that this civil unrest that we are in the midst of, we must turn a corner from people who are involved in violence, people who are involved in preying on others.”
Completely ignored was the LAPD history of violence in general. Also ignored was a black store owner in Van Nuys who first tried to stop the looting of his store, then tried unsuccessfully to flag down the police. When LAPD did finally bother, they immediately assumed the black store owners were looters and handcuffed them. To make matters worse, the Fox11 LA News Reporter immediately tried to intervene and tell them they had the wrong people only to be repeatedly talked down too, interrupted, and ignored by three defensive and disrespectful white male officers.
During the middle of protests about this very issue, it was not a good look. To have the LAPD Chief of Police ignore it and also blame protestors for George Floyd’s death and then back-peddle claiming he misspoke was inexcusable. To be absolved by the Mayor of Los Angeles was even worse, but it did expose the delusional and narcissistic political culture that controls America’s second-largest city.
Anyone who saw Changeling (2008) with Angelina Jolie is familiar with how Los Angeles handles injustice – Attack and silence the victim to avoid their image being damaged as anything less than a perfect utopia.
LAPD Chief Michael Moore made headlines two years ago when The Los Angeles Times reported Aug 11, 2018 “Before becoming LAPD chief, Moore retired, collected a $1.27-million payout, then was rehired”
And this is what is at the heart of the issue – we are not dealing with the race issue, we are dealing with an infestation of Fascism that will not disappear or go away until it’s confronted head-on.
This was made its clearest when Eric Garcetti engaged in the most common forms of psychological abuse that narcissists always employ – gaslighting and accusation.
In his speech, tonight, June 2, 2020 Garcetti made the statement that he would provide,
“mental health care that we need to deal with what that feels like, day after day after day, to be a young black man who doesn’t know why people don’t trust him, look at him that way, feel that way every moment they inhabit a body.”
In the flash of minutes, Eric Garcetti attempted to blame young black men for having poor mental health and Americans for being racist causing them to have mental health problems (I know, I couldn’t believe it either). Garcetti and his government and the police forces are never to blame.
White Police Fatalities Tell Another Story
Given current media narratives it comes as a surprise to most that according to statista.com in real numbers, for the past several years, more white persons have been shot to death by police in the United States than black or Hispanics.
None of the mainstream media sources that Americans rely on for news did extensive coverage of the 457 white persons who were fatally shot by the police in 2017 or the 399 white persons who were fatally shot in 2018. There was some coverage of the 223 and 209 black persons killed both years, but that was largely due to organized Black American organizations and Civil Rights groups working to get those stories into the press.
An article on science website PsyPost.org threw another ringer into the racial narrative.
“If fatal shootings of minority civilians are due to bias by white officers, we would expect that when white officers are involved in a fatal shooting, the person fatally shot would be more likely to be black or Hispanic.
This is not what we found. In contrast, when all the officers that fired at a civilian were black, a person was 2.0 times more likely to be black than when all the officers who fired were white. When all the officers that fired at a civilian were Hispanic, a person was 9.0 times more likely to be Hispanic than when all the officers who fired were white.”
The reason that these numbers seem shocking is because they contradict the current narrative and seemingly fail to provide an explanation for what is going on in America. In reality, they provide a very clear narrative, American police are shooting American citizens fatally.
If these numbers are not persuasive, then the current arrest numbers from the Los Angeles Police Department should be. While the justification for arrests and curfews has been looting, 2,500 protestors have been arrested in violation of curfew, while only 200 looters have been apprehended.
-2,700 arrested since protests began
-2,500 of those were failure to disperse, breaking curfew
-200 were for looting and other acts of violence
-66 LAPD damaged, 7 of which were burned
American’s of all races and colors are being arrested not for crime, but for exercising First Amendment freedoms that the self-appointed Dictator of Los Angeles has decided he need not recognize or honor.
The militarization of the Police
The fact that there have been 3496 fatal police shootings of American citizens since 2017 should be a News Story, but it hasn’t been. Americans looking to make sense of what is happening should recognize this is a generational issue, not a racial one. During the 1990s, a rash of violent acts was taken and exploited by politicians to demand more militarization of the police and “tough on crime,” especially by the Clintons and California Governor Jerry Brown.
Hillary Clinton is now starting to get attention for her “super-predator” rhetoric but has not received nearly enough. In Joe Biden’s search for a running-mate and the Democrat Presidential Primaries, both Senators Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar were publicly called out for their miserable record as prosecutors, including Tulsi Gabbard’s now-infamous takedown of Harris for keeping an innocent man on death row to pad her career as a prosecutor.
So far neither Democrats or Republicans have issued calls to repeal the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. That act it should be noted didn’t just bulldoze due process with plea bargaining and create the Prison Industrial Complex, it also essentially criminalized an entire generation and subjected us to police brutality.
In schools, Paddling and Detention were quickly replaced with handcuffs, arrests, and criminal records. Zero Tolerance policies turned normal childhood issues such as schoolyard fights into a major crisis. A Troubled Teen Industry was developed during the 1990s to “treat” “Oppositional Defiant Disorder.” Not listening to parents or teachers went from making an unwise decision or being foolish, to criminalized. The National Youth Rights Association organized in response and has faced an uphill battle trying to combat it. If there was ever a time that middle-aged narcissism was institutionalized and childhood was criminalized, this was it.
When tasers were introduced to cops, the national dialogue was that they would only be used with armed suspects. In the fifteen years since, news outlets have reported again and again on Cops using them as a power trip on the elderly, children, pregnant women, and unarmed suspects in general. Things have continued to get worse, not better.
This point was driven home to me personally when I attended a public school for the first time in my life, at Santa Monica College, after moving to Los Angeles in 2011. During the Spring 2012 Semester, students demanded an opportunity to be heard on the community college illegally charging for-profit classes at market rates. The response by the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees was to lock students out of the meeting.
I had left campus earlier that day and had just got home that evening, turning on the tv to see to my surprise SMC was all over the news.
When the students attempted to force their way into the meeting to speak with the trustees, they were pepper-sprayed, three were hospitalized and at least one person had a broken arm. For weeks afterward armed cops were cruising around the campus and I distinctly remember not feeling safe with their presence.
America is NOT A RACIST COUNTRY
America is not a racist country.
To judge America by its practice of utopianism is both unfair and dishonest.
Claims that America has practiced racism and slavery for four hundred years speaks to the ignorance of the speaker, as this country was founded in 1776 and is only two-hundred and forty-four years old. Within the first ten years of Independence, the United States abolished slavery in the North, the Massachusetts Constitution specifically was applied to the case of Elizabeth Freeman establishing that slavery was illegal. In 1807 Federal Law prohibited importation and trans-Atlantic Slave trade and by the 1830s, America had a strong abolitionist movement working to abolish slavery both at home and worldwide.
We have three Amendments to the U.S. Constitution – Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth – against systematic racism (more than any other issue including Freedom of Speech and Religion). Since the abolishment of slavery, the Congress of the United States has passed the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1991.
For decades, American consumers have made Oprah Winfrey the most powerful woman on television and a billionaire. Since 2007, Whoopi Goldberg has been the Moderator of The View, the most influential political television show in America. Tyler Perry now owns and controls one of the largest film studios in the world. Before his fall from grace and public revelations about his crimes, Bill Cosby was America’s Dad – not just Black America’s Dad.
Black Panther became a blockbuster worldwide in 2018.
In 2004, American’s re-elected George W. Bush as President after he made Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice his Secretary of State and National Security Advisor during the War on Terror. George W. Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush had previously made Condi Rice his advisor on Soviet Affairs and appointed Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2008, America elected Barack Obama as President both in the Electoral college and the popular vote, with Obama receiving nearly ten million more votes nationwide. In 2012, Americans re-elected Barack Obama both in the Electoral College and the popular vote. For several months last year, before a series of public relations disasters, Kamala Harris was considered the front-runner for the Democrat Nomination and along with Stacey Adams, Val Demings, etc . . . is being considered for the Democrat Vice-President nomination.
In the Republic Party, during Obama’s first term Michael Steele served as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Candace Owens has skyrocketed practically overnight to become a sensation in conservative circles.
The poll results are in and in terms of our laws, consumer patterns, and political voting patterns, while racial problems may exist, we are not a systematically racist country.
Jeane Kirkpatrick said it best in her 1979 critique of the Carter Administrations human rights policy and its failure to accomplish its objectives:
“The President’s mistakes and distortions are all fashionable ones. His assumptions are those of people who want badly to be on the progressive side in conflicts between “rightist” autocracy and “leftist” challenges, and to prefer the latter, almost regardless of the probable consequences. . .
If, moreover, revolutionary leaders describe the United States as the scourge of the 20th century, the enemy of freedom-loving people, the perpetrator of imperialism, racism, colonialism, genocide, war, then they are not authentic democrats or, to put it mildly, friends. Groups which define themselves as enemies should be treated as enemies. The United States is not in fact a racist, colonial power, it does not practice genocide, it does not threaten world peace with expansionist activities. In the last decade especially we have practiced remarkable forbearance everywhere and undertaken the “unilateral restraints on defense spending” recommended by Brzezinski as appropriate for the technetronic era. We have also moved further, faster, in eliminating domestic racism than any multiracial society in the world or in history.”
All Lives Matter should be the new slogan and it should be embraced – AND Black Lives Matter is part of that. Embracing All Lives Matter as a flag need not be threatened by the current protests, because black lives are a part of it. The Black Lives Matter movement need not be threatened by All Lives Matter, because Black Lives are American Lives! The basic premise of American Democracy is that an attack on the lives and rights of one is an attack on all.
But we are not in the grips of a racial crisis in America.
Reducing the number of police shootings and killing of young black men alone will not solve the issue as long as Militarized Police fatalities continue in general. White Americans are already being fatally shot more than Black Americans and changing the racial numbers will not fix the problem, it will simply make it somebody else problem. The goal should not be to make the number of killings equal, it should be to reduce the numbers altogether.
The problem is and remains an issue with how our police and our justice system operates and the level of Government over-reach.
Present-day Hollywood, so quick to smear America as a perpetual Jim Crow state, has more than a little blood on its hands. The same Hollywood eager to embrace Black Lives Matter, conveniently ignores its tendency to churn out police drama after police drama, treating due process, warrants, legal counsel at interrogations, the 5th Amendment right not to incriminate yourself etc . . . as roadblocks to the good guys doing their jobs. In a pop culture where we are bombarded with images of Law Enforcement as hero’s who are hampered by Constitutional Freedoms, rather than them serving to keep those freedoms in place, is it really a surprise when Police killings happen?
The focus can and must shift to curbing police power and crushing fascist political leaders. Men like Eric Garcetti and his LAPD Police Chief Moore can and should be removed from office. Police departments must be reformed and American lives and freedoms must be protected.
The real tragedy of the Black Lives Matters movement is that it is marginalizing itself. Sad as it is about human nature, it’s a lot easier to get people on board fixing an issue when it’s their problem. Americans should look beyond race and recognize that any time a fellow American is killed by the police it is our problem, but as long as we focus on the race of the victims, it will continue to be somebody else’s problem. Black deaths will be a “black problem” and white fatalities will be viewed as a rough form of “justice” (or more accurately vengeance).
And like the case in Van Nuys, the victims (American lives and freedoms) will continue being handcuffed while the real criminals (fascist local government and para-militaries masquerading as police) will continue to getaway.