Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Newtown massacre: crocodile tears, a culture of violence, the hierarchy of human life and -- possible politricks

"People who treat other people as less than human, must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned."
James Baldwin

It's amazing how Mr. Baldwin's words, always succinctly capture what I'm thinking.  No matter which meme blanketing the internet into which you buy, the real reasons for the undoubtedly disturbing shootings in Connecticut will, most definitely relate to Baldwin's words.  More disturbing though, were the Changeling's words on Friday (delivered while wiping away tears that I, at least, could not see), along with his follow-up, hypocritical "performance,"  in Newton on Sunday.  And what stellar performances they both were (I won't bother posting the videos.  I'm sure the whole world's seen them both)!

I've been trying to write this post on the shootings since Saturday, but for some reason, I just couldn't get through it (too many glaringly, contrasting thoughts running through my head).  But I was reading about it all, voraciously -- so much so that, rather than y'all listening to my droning, I've been able to knit together an expression of exactly how I feel, through what I've read.  Here's what I came up with:

Lucinda Marshall's,  "A Culture That Condones The Killing Of Children And Teaches Children To Kill:

"The Sandy Hook massacre isn’t just about the need for gun control laws, it is about a culture that condones the killing of children and teaches children that killing is okay."
Ye-e-e-p, she's right on the money there.  I stumbled upon a six-part series on You Tube awhile ago entitled, "Violence:  An American Tradition."  It shows, quite uncompromisingly, how this country's culture of violence -- since its founding -- absolutely confirms Ms. Marshall's statement.  I'm only posting Part 1 - but as the disclaimer says on each part, "Caution:  Contains scenes that may be disturbing to young or sensitive viewers" -- because it, and the other four parts linked here -- are not for the faint of heart!:

Arthur Silber's, God Damn You, America, and Your White, Privileged Grief is one of the closest renditions of my thought, ever.  While there's one section of his post, with which I totally disagree, I can't, not post this:
We've had Cool Obama, and No Drama Obama. Now we have Weeping Obama. Does Weeping Obama "meet privately" with the families of those he has ordered murdered in Pakistan, or Somalia, or Yemen? Does he even acknowledge those murders -- murders that he himself ordered? Does the "nation reel" in response to these regular, systematic murders of innocent human beings -- many of them children? Does the "nation reel" in response to the Obama administration's repeated public announcements of its Kill List and its Murder Program, a program which intentionally, repeatedly murders innocent people? Does America react with horror to the fact that Obama and his administration claim the "right" to murder anyone they want, anywhere in the world, for any reason they choose or invent out of nothing? (emphasis mine)
I'll save my one point of disagreement with Arthur for a later post, because for me -- it requires a "writing about," all its own (and I won't even tell you what part it is right now).  That said, he knocks it out of the damned park on everything else IMO.

This, "Child Casualties as a Result of U.S. Drone Attacks" video, embedded in Glenn Greenwald's, Newtown kids v Yemenis and Pakistanis: what explains the disparate reactions? -- is a stark reminder of the "hierachy of human life" being practiced by many, if not most, of my countrymen:

There's just no denying that many of the same people understandably expressing such grief and horror over the children who were killed in Newtown steadfastly overlook, if not outright support, the equally violent killing of Yemeni and Pakistani children. Consider this irony: Monday was the three-year anniversary of President Obama's cruise missile and cluster-bomb attack on al-Majala in Southern Yemen that ended the lives of 14 women and 21 children: one more child than was killed by the Newtown gunman. In the US, that mass slaughter received not even a small fraction of the attention commanded by Newtown, and prompted almost no objections (in predominantly Muslim nations, by contrast, it received ample attention and anger).

It is well worth asking what accounts for this radically different reaction to the killing of children and other innocents. Relatedly, why is the US media so devoted to covering in depth every last detail of the children killed in the Newtown attack, but so indifferent to the children killed by its own government? (emphasis mine)

If these strikes are as precise, as surgical, as targeted, as the voices of both Panetta and the Changeling adamantly proclaim in the background, what does that say about them, seeing there's more than ample evidence to the contrary?  I don't know about you, but I say they're both -- bald-faced liars.

Next, Khadija Patel of South Africa's, Daily Maverick gave me one helluva V-8 moment about "hierarchy of human life" here, in her, From Gaza to the Congo: Whose blood is more worthy of attention? (do click on her name and read her mini-bio -- gotta love it!):
Three years on, I no longer lay claim to sanity – I sleep too little to qualify – but these same niggling questions about a jaundiced media focus are spilling out in heated verbiage across the world. And it says something about our collective failure as a world that three years on we’re once more talking about Gaza and Goma. These things really do go on and on and on.

On Sunday, British columnist Ian Birrell noted that coverage of the recent conflict in Gaza had eclipsed another deadly conflict happening simultaneously in the eastern Congo.

Birrell described the Democratic Republic of Congo as a “scene of massacres, of mass rape, of children forced to fight, of families fleeing in fear again and again, so many sordid events that rarely make the headlines.”

“It can seem a conflict of crushing complexity rooted in thorny issues of identity and race, involving murderous militias with an alphabet of acronyms and savagely exploited by grasping outsiders. But consider one simple fact: right now, there is the risk of another round breaking out in the deadliest conflict since the Second World War,” he wrote.

Birrell is not alone in his sombre assessment. Others describe the situation in eastern Congo as “the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today.” The charge of a lack of media attention is also not unfounded. Since 1999, when Doctors without Borders first began issuing its top 10 underreported humanitarian crises in the world, the DRC has featured nearly every year.

Just over one week of bombing in Gaza and everybody was up in arms. There were rallies and protests right across the world. In the media, pages and pages of reportage, analyses and testimony. Hundreds of journalists made the trip into Gaza to record first-hand the death and destruction. Together with them, the reports of ordinary Palestinians on social media lent us some clues of the scale of human tragedy unfolding in the homes, the media offices and the refugee camps in Gaza.

And then there’s the Congo...

Two of my friends are currently tramping around Goma wielding recorders and cameras, doing their bit to bring the crisis there to the attention of the world. It’s not that what’s happening there is going altogether unreported.
All the major wires carry updates on the situation several times a day. The crisis is certainly not being ignored. It just is not exciting the same kind of fevered attention that Gaza did.

When superstorm Sandy ripped through the Caribbean and then the east coast of the US last month, many media analysts complained that coverage of the hurricane was overwhelmingly skewed in favour of how it affected Americans. No matter that people in Cuba and Haiti as equal citizens of the world also braced the hurricane and also suffered loss and a disruption to their lives, it was the effect of the storm on the US that filled the world’s media. Some analysts and observers of American dominance on the rest of us meek creatures used the asymmetry in media coverage of the storm in the US and outside as the US as proof of the warped focus of global media. (emphasis mine)

It is important that I own my own complicity in not talking about what's happening to people who look like me in the DRC.  All of my writing, with the exception of my limited coverage of Cote d'Ivoire, and the Marikana massacres, have had nothing to do with Congo.  But I have written about pseudo-sister, Susan Rice, so I don't feel too bad. The one statement Rice made, as Slick Willy's Under Secretary of State for African Affairs which forever rests in the nether reaches of my consciousness, is one Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report nails right here:
“We say hands off Ambassador Susan Rice!” Dr. Ron Daniels’ Institute of the Black World, a proudly Afro-centric organization, would do better to demand that Rice and the rest of the Obama administration keep their bloody hands off Africa. Republicans are “hypocrites “ who “have no moral or political authority to stand in judgment of Ambassador Susan Rice!” One can make that argument, but the Institute of the Black World and the rest of us certainly have the right and obligation to stand in judgment of a political operative and ideologue who, according to an article by Michael Hirsch in the Ethiopian Review, cavalierly dismissed the Rwanda/Uganda-sponsored M23 rebel group’s murderous rampages in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “It’s the eastern DRC. If it’s not M23, it’s going to be some other group.”  Rice delayed for months publication of a United Nations panel of experts report documenting M23 as a front group for Congo’s neighbors, who have all but annexed the mineral-rich eastern part of the country since invading in 1996, leaving 6 million dead in their wake, half of them below the age of five. Rice and her then boss, Bill Clinton, supplied the money, arms and political cover. As Under Secretary of State for African Affairs, Rice left it up to Washington’s Rwandan and Ugandan puppets to safeguard against genocide. “They know how to deal with that,” Rice is quoted as saying. “The only thing we have to do is look the other way.”

Rice’s African American boosters also choose to look the other way. They shame us all." (emphasis mine)
'Nuf said.

H/T to Sis Carolyn over at Perspectives -- Another Way to View for this great piece by Sikhvu Hutchinson -- Nice White Boys Next Door and Mass Murder:
“Standing in line at the California Science Center the day of the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary school, my students wondered aloud about the race of the shooter. More than likely he was white,” they agreed. As the only people of color waiting to be admitted to the exhibit, their open question about race elicited visible unease from a group of elderly white women across the line from us.

In high school when my friends and I found ourselves at the business end of Inglewood PD officers’ rifles because someone in our car “looked” like a burglary suspect, it was a rite of passage initiation...

But contrary to the rap stereotype of Glock-toting men of color, an overwhelming majority of people of color are pro-gun control, while the majority of the white electorate is not. The high school assailants in the Littleton, Colorado, the Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Santee, California shootings were steeped in a NRA besotted gun culture that fetishizes readily available firearms as the ultimate medium for violent white masculinity.

However, these youth were instantly transformed into symbols of troubled, tragically “misunderstood” teens. National conversations about the perils of bullying dominated the airwaves. It was accepted that these tragic figures were “our boys,” our recklessly wasted youth. It was conventional wisdom that preventive mental health resources could have minimized their inner turmoil. As the bloggers Three Sonorans note in their piece, “White Privilege and Mass Murder in America,” “whenever white men commit mass murders it is just a freak isolated incident, but when we look at other crime statistics for minorities the reason given is that it is something innate to their culture, to their family. It is those people.”

With Columbine there was tacit understanding that these boys’ acts were symptomatic of a potentially imperiled national heritage. Conversely, any time violence erupts in a black or Latino context it’s a racial indictment, an indictment of a community, not a reflection on the rogue acts of lost boys from salt of the earth homes.

As my students and I left the Science center, bracing for more news about the scope of the attack, it was clear that the tragedy would dominate the news for weeks to come. The senseless slaughter of children from the “perfect” town may finally prompt serious bipartisan legislation to curb the barbaric gun lobby. But it will not prompt analysis of the violent masculinity at the heart of whiteness. And if any of these nice white boy shooters had been black the national sentiment would have echoed the biting comment made by my student Jamion: “Send those niggers back to Africa.” (emphasis mine)
Biting is right, and totally on-point IMHO.

On a final note, as I talked to my youngest about the shootings during "family dinner time" last Sunday,  he told me about this -- Libor scandal grows as the fathers of two mass murderers were to testify:
One interesting connection to the tragedy that took place at the Sandy Hook school is that the father of Adam Lanza has a connection to the theater shootings that took place in Aurora earlier this year by James Holmes.

Both fathers of the shooters were allegedly expected to testify in the Libor scandal that rocked the banking world in June.

The father of Newtown Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza is Peter Lanza who is a VP and Tax Director at GE Financial. The father of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes is Robert Holmes, the lead scientist for the credit score company FICO. Both men were to testify before the US Sentate in the ongoing LIBOR scandal. The London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, is the average interest rate at which banks can borrow from each other. 16 international banks have been implicated in this ongoing scandal, accused of rigging contracts worth trillions of dollars. HSBC has already been fined $1.9 billion and three of their low level traders arrested. (emphasis and interior link on HSBC mine)
While I knew about the Libor scandal, I wasn't aware of any connection whatsoever to either the Aurora or Newton massacres (funny how you think your kids aren't really paying attention to what's going on in the world in which they live -- but they are).  I told him I knew there was a reason I couldn't get this post finished, and this unknown information was probably why!

This story hasn't been officially investigated -- and why would it, if it is, in fact true? After all, the Changeling's appointment of GE's CEO, Jeffrey Immelt to lead his new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness would certainly nip any meaningful digging by the MSM in the bud, no?

I just have to say that I don't believe in coincidences.  And while I still haven't found any smoking guns, the fact that Nancy Lanza had also been previously employed -- on Wall Street, coupled with this, most interesting fact pointed out by commenter, Peter Hyoguchi in the afore-linked piece that:
"Three of Peter Lanza's financial associates from GE Capitol headed to prison because of this fraud. Why would Peter Lanza not be called to testify? James Holmes' father designed the software that assesses national credit scores which is the focus of this Federal trial so why would he not be called to testify? It's unlikely just a coincidence."
Adding to that -- there were, in fact, hearings scheduled (and had) in Congress regarding America's involvement in the Libor scandal (neither Holmes, nor Lanza mentioned, far as I can see)!  Hell, despite the fact that it all may sound circumstantial,  it's certainly enough to have me scratching my head about the murders in both, Aurora and Newton.

Yes, the Changeling has quite a few things regarding human life about which he needs to sincerely squeeze out a tear or two, but I won't hold my breath that he will.  Why?  Because he's a perfectly cast, risk-averse, deus ex machina who always sticks to the dog-whistling, photo-op script he's been given.

- UBS Libor-rigging settlement exposes pervasive bank fraud
- In the US, mass child killings are tragedies. In Pakistan, mere bug splats
- Sen. Boxer Proposes Putting National Guard Troops in Schools
- Mayor wants cops in North Charleston elementary schools
- Gun rights advocates: Arm our teachers to help stop school shootings
Gun sales surge after Connecticut massacre

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