Thursday, August 11, 2011

London Riots: What Nobody Dares to Say

On August 11, 1965, the Watts riot began. South Central Los Angeles went up in flames for five days -- preceded by a night of rock throwing.
Five days earlier, Lyndon Johnson had signed into law the Voting Rights Act, which set up Federal procedures to enable blacks to vote in the South, where state laws had made this difficult for all but the most dedicated and strong-willed blacks to do since 1877.
The South was changed politically forever by this law and its updates. White politicians who had said "never" counted noses -- black noses -- and said, "soon." Within five years, the political issue was settled.
The issues in Watts have not been settled.
I remember Watts. I lived in Southern California. In 1959, I sometimes drove to Watts to photograph a track meet or watch a high school sporting event. It seemed safe.
Today, I would not drive into Watts. Some resident would have to drive me. Watch Grand Canyon for a taste of what can go wrong. The ghetto today is far wider than Watts was in 1965. I went to kindergarten through the third grade in what is now referred to as "the hood."
It all blew up in August 1965. That was one year after the Civil Rights Act was passed. That was a landmark piece of Federal legislation, which only a President from the South (Texas) with enormous clout could have rammed through. Johnson said at the time that it would forever cost the Democrats the South's votes. So far, he was right.
The Civil Rights Act became law on July 2, 1964. New York City was hit by a race riot two weeks later. Here is an account posted on the site of the University Systems of Georgia, in a section devoted to the civil rights movement.
The New York Race Riots of 1964 were the first in a series of devastating race-related riots that ripped through American cities between 1964 and 1965. The riots began in Harlem, New York following the shooting of fifteen year-old James Powell by a white off-duty police officer on July 18, 1964. Charging that the incident was an act of police brutality, an estimated eight thousand Harlem residents took to streets and launched a large-scale riot, breaking widows, setting fires and looting local businesses. The eruption of violence soon spread to the nearby neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant and continued for six days, resulting in the death of one resident, over one hundred injuries, and more than 450 arrests. As the civil unrest in New York City began to cool, another riot broke out upstate, in Rochester, New York. Like the Harlem Riot, the Rochester Riot stemmed from an alleged act of police brutality. For three days, violent protestors overturned automobiles, burned buildings, and looted stores causing over one million dollars worth of damages. Following Governor Nelson Rockefeller's mobilization of the state's National Guard, public order was restored to Rochester on July 26. The New York Race Riots of 1964 highlighted the racial injustice and growing civil unrest existing in northern cities and served as a powerful indicator of the urgent need for social and economic reforms for African American communities outside of the South.
That final sentence is typical: "The New York Race Riots of 1964 highlighted the racial injustice and growing civil unrest existing in northern cities and served as a powerful indicator of the urgent need for social and economic reforms for African American communities outside of the South." The riots occurred only after the Voting Rights Act became law. There was a pattern here: liberal national racial rights legislation ====> local race riot.
There was a great need for reforms, but that did not justify a riot. The leaders of the civil rights movement deplored the violence. These rioters were not rioting to protest. They were rioting for the hell of it. That's what rioters do.
The Watts riot began the following August when a policeman arrested a drunk driver. The man's brother wanted to drive the car home. That was a reasonable request. The policeman had the car impounded -- a dumb move, but not life-threatening. A crowd formed around him and the arrested man. One thing led to another, which is to say, nobody really remembered the exact sequence of events after the riot ended. But this is clear: the riot began the next night, after a public hearing that afternoon. The arrested man's mother called for peace. This did no good. The rioting lasted for five days. Over 1,000 buildings were burned, some to the ground. This was inside the ghetto. The rioters looted and burned their own race's residents. The phrase "burn, baby, burn" came out of that event.
What made it unique in the history of riots was that a local TV station, KTLA, had a traffic helicopter. It was the only one in the city. The station broadcast the riot, 24x7. The whole region watched. People watched nothing else. It was spellbinding. We watched from on high as groups of people went into stores and then carried out TV sets and other goods. The telephoto lens showed it all.
[The station had been purchased a year earlier by cowboy B-movie actor Gene Autry. The riots made KTLA the dominant non-network TV station in the region. He became fabulously wealthy as a result. He was merely a multimillionaire before. On August 11, 2010, 45 years to the day after the first incident launching the riot began, on his 87th birthday, the principal narrator of the riot, KTLA's Stan Chambers, announced his retirement. He was at the time the longest-employed broadcaster in television anywhere on earth. He began in 1947. I wrote an article about him in 2005.]
This video is a newsreel. There was no videotape in 1965. They still ran newsreels in movie theaters. This is how most Americans were introduced to the visuals of the riot.
Note: $200 million then was about $1.5 billion today. Later estimates were much lower: closer to $40 million.
It stunned southern Californians. Why? Because L.A. was not Birmingham, Alabama. There were no attack dogs. There were no fire hoses turned on black teenagers in white dress shirts. For years, black-white race relations had been peaceful, as far as whites knew. Why did Watts blow?
There was anger, but the victims were not whites. Anger does not explain it.
Two words do: jealousy and envy.
Envy is not jealously. Jealousy is where a person says, "You've got something I want. I can't afford to buy it. I'll steal it from you. Or I'll force you to negotiate with me for some of it." Envy is different. "You've got something I want. I can never have it. I resent it. I'll destroy it, so that you cannot have it." Jealousy can be bought off. Envy cannot be.
Jealous people steal. Envious people burn -- in every sense.
Envy does not operate between people of widely different social statuses or incomes. The average Joe is not envious of the money earned by some local athlete, just so long as he stays local. (Think "LeBron James.") The same man may be intensely envious of his boss. He sees his boss daily. He knows his boss's weaknesses. He asks, "Who does he think he is? He's not so much."
The rioters targeted local businesses. They did not target whitey. (The term "whitey" appeared sometime in the next three years, as the black power movement began to take shape -- black social separatists who did not seek integration.)
That was 1965. This is 2011.
Here is a synopsis.
In some areas, rioters moving quickly and nimbly on foot and by bicycle seemed so emboldened that they began looting in broad daylight, while in others they raided small shops and large stores free of any restraint by the police. Newspapers on Tuesday showed images of hooded and masked looters swarming over shelves of cigarettes or making off with flat-screen televisions. On Tuesday, the violence seemed to be having a ripple effect beyond its immediate focal points: News reports spoke of a dramatic upsurge in household burglaries; sports authorities said two major soccer matches in London -- including an international match between England and Holland -- were likely to be postponed because the police could not spare officers to guarantee crowd safety.
Here is what is different from Harlem in 1964, Watts in 1965, and a hundred Northern American cities 1967-68. The violence has moved uptown. The violence has moved upscale. The violence is coordinated.
They are targeting businesses. There is continuity with the riots of the 1960s.
How did this happen? Simple. Blackberries. The left-wing Guardian reports.
This weekend's north London riots, the Daily Mail announced on Monday, were "fuelled by social media".But is this necessarily the case?
Certainly, the first online gathering of people mourning -- and soon vowing to avenge -- the death of Tottenham resident Mark Duggan took place on Facebook. Some of those behind the page, which now boasts more than 7,500 fans, launched into action shortly before 10.30pm on Saturday evening -- more than five hours after the first public show of protest, outside the police station on Tottenham High Road.
At 10.45pm, when rioters set a double decker bus alight, the page posted: "Please upload any pictures or video's you may have from tonight in Tottenham. Share it with people to send the message out as to why this has blown into a riot."
However, otherwise, if there was any sign that a peaceful protest would escalate, it wasn't to be found on Facebook. Twitter was slightly more indicative: tweets about an attempt to target Sunday's Hackney Carnival were spotted by police and the event was abruptly cancelled.
Scotland Yard warned on Monday afternoon that those "inciting violence" on the 140-character social network would not go unpunished. Deputy assistant commissioner Stephen Kavanagh confirmed that officers were looking at the website as part of investigations into widespread looting and rioting.
However, the most powerful and up-to-the-minute rallying appears to have taken place on a more covert social network: BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
Using BlackBerry handsets -- the smartphone of choice for the majority (37%) of British teens, according to last week's Ofcom study -- BBM allows users to send one-to-many messages to their network of contacts, who are connected by "BBM PINs". For many teens armed with a BlackBerry, BBM has replaced text messaging because it is free, instant and more part of a much larger community than regular SMS.
And unlike Twitter or Facebook, many BBM messages are untraceable by the authorities (which is why, in large part, BBM is so favoured by Emirati teens to spread illicit gossip about officialdom).
One BBM broadcast sent on Sunday, which has been shown to the Guardian by multiple sources, calls on "everyone from all sides of London" to vandalise shops on Oxford street.
It said: "Everyone from all sides of London meet up at the heart of London (central) OXFORD CIRCUS!!, Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!) fuck the feds we will send them back with OUR riot! >:O Dead the ends and colour war for now so if you see a brother... SALUT! if you see a fed... SHOOT!"
Another sent shortly before the outbreak of violence in Enfield on Sunday afternoon reads: "Everyone in edmonton enfield wood green everywhere in north link up at enfield town station at 4 o clock sharp!".
Over 16,000 police are trying to stop the rioting. So far, they have failed. London is calm today, but rioting is spreading into other cities.
This local community, obviously Indian, is trying to defend itself, but they have no guns. Gun control deliberately disarmed the law-abiding population. The police told them that they may not use any weapon outside their shops -- only inside.
I'll tell you how the authorities stopped the rioting in Watts in 1965. After police and firemen were shot at by rioters, they pulled out. They let the rioters burn the place down. The innocent residents inside the blocked-off area were at the mercy of hooligans and arsonists. Only after two days of rioting did Los Angeles call in the state-run National Guard military troops.
For several days, rioters overturned and burned automobiles and looted and damaged grocery stores, liquor stores, department stores, and pawnshops. Over the course of the six-day riot, over 14,000 California National Guard troops were mobilized in South Los Angeles and a curfew zone encompassing over forty-five miles was established in an attempt to restore public order. All told, the rioting claimed the lives of thirty-four people, resulted in more than one thousand reported injuries, and almost four thousand arrests before order was restored on August 17.
The riot was contained, but at the expense of law and order inside the cordoned-off area. "Burn, baby, burn." And burn it did.
Throughout the crisis, public officials advanced the argument that the riot was the work outside agitators; however, an official investigation, prompted by Governor Pat Brown, found that the riot was a result of the Watts community's longstanding grievances and growing discontentment with high unemployment rates, substandard housing, and inadequate schools. Despite the reported findings of the gubernatorial commission, following the riot, city leaders and state officials failed to implement measures to improve the social and economic conditions of African Americans living in the Watts neighborhood.
Remember, this was 13 months after the Civil Rights Act. This was less than a week after the Voting Rights Act.
Watts blew up again in 1992: the Rodney King riots. The police beat a speeding, drunk, and resisting Rodney King. It got captured on a video. The police were tried by whites across town, and were not convicted of the beating. (Two of the four were later convicted of Federal civil rights violations, and went to jail.)
The news of acquittal triggered the Los Angeles riots of 1992. By the time the police, the U.S. Army, the Marines and the National Guard restored order, the casualties included 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, damages to 3,100 businesses, and nearly $1 billion in financial losses. Smaller riots occurred in other cities such as Las Vegas in neighboring Nevada and as far east as Atlanta, Georgia. On May 1, 1992, the third day of the L.A. riots, King appeared in public before television news cameras to appeal for peace, asking:
"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?...It's just not right. It's not right. It's not, it's not going to change anything. We'll, we'll get our justice....They won the battle, but they haven't won the war....Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we're all stuck here for a while. Let's try to work it out. Let's try to beat it. Let's try to beat it. Let's try to work it out.
"Why can't we just get along?" It's the right question. So far, there is no agreed-upon answer.
Understand what has happened in 2011 in Great Britain. This is not social revolution. There is no list of grievances. There are no spokesmen. This is well-organized banditry. This is the most dangerous of all mobs: one without a leader to negotiate with or arrest.
Why the riots? The Left's party line never changes: not enough jobs, not enough state welfare. You can read it here. The article says the riots may be coming to the United States. I thoroughly agree.
I have a different analysis regarding the causes. First, there is state-funded education, k-12 (or dropping out). Second, there are minimum wage laws, which hit black teenage males most of all. Third, there is a complete breakdown of families, subsidized by state welfare. Fourth, there is envy. Fifth, there is jealousy. Sixth, the cost of organizing violence is falling steadily. The fun and excitement of violence are tempting to young men with no roots and no fathers at home. When you have a falling price for a forbidden fruit, you get riots. Combine it with racial hatred and a life of envy, and you get riots.
The jealous steal. The envious burn. They're already in a city near you.
There will be an incident. There always is.
There may be a riot. If there is, governments will react. Freedoms will be removed. Voters will cheer.
Violence feeds on itself.
The victims of banditry will take it for a while. They have been guilt-manipulated for 45 years. But the day will come when they will dig in, the way the Indian shop owners did in London. But, in this country, the victims will be armed.
Better to be tried by 12 than carried by six.

UK Prime Minister Endorses Racist’s Facebook Group On National TV Address

British Prime Minister David Cameron promotes a racist’s Facebook group on a national address aired on the BBC and on his own Facebook page.

There are widespread allegations of system racism throughout England.
The British media is full of racially charged articles about the protestors.
This article on the UK’s Mirror blames the riots on black rappers and their urban culture.
In this article on The Telegraph the author assert she “instinctively knew” the blacks were behind the riots.
Then you have the The Daily Mail article which goes on and on about the “black animals” as “poor, jobless, uneducated, welfare dependent,  and brutalised youngsters”.
Perhaps even worse than the blatantly open racism are the calls from the London media to beat brutality beat members of the public and use lethal riot deterrence techniques.
Perhaps the most shocking display of racism and discontent for the masses comes from the leader of England himself.
Earlier the British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to disregard calls to respect human rights violations in dealing with the London protests and authorized police to shoot so-called “rioters” on sight.
Then In another show of systematic racism that plagues England the Prime minister took things to another level in the address.
In a nationwide broadcast aired on the BBC today  Mr. Cameron endorsed the Facebook page of a racist pig and went on to “like” the group on his Facebook page.
David Cameron Endorses Racists Facebook Group
David Cameron Endorses Racists Facebook Group
While step’s have been undertaken, most likely by the government, to hide the groups ties to the racist founder Wings Over Sealand has done an excellent job of documenting the racists ties and the attempt to cover it up.

David Cameron’s new best friend

You may have seen David Cameron on the news today, anointing himself head of the “New Moral Army”, promising a “fightback” against rioters, and praising (at 0.53) “the million people on Facebook who’ve signed up to support the police”. The group in question was created, and is run, by this lovely chap:

Well, that doesn’t seem the sort of thing the Prime Minister should be getting behind, does it? But wait. There are more rib-ticklers where that came from.

The funniest one is probably this one:

…in which Boscott attempts to deny responsibility for the “Junglebook” post, claiming a hacked Twitter account. Fair enough, you might think. These things happen, but luckily his account appears to be under his control again, spewing out hundreds of anti-rioter tweets in recent days and gathering tens of thousands of followers.
Though oddly, rather than being about social justice or supporting the police, the profile claims to be mostly about “bad taste/offensive jokes” and “Adult Humour not 4 wimps”. You might think that some would consider that description to fit the “Junglebook” line quite well, and that Boscott’s denial of having posted it therefore smelt a bit fishy.

What you might think of doing then was going back through Boscott’s tweets of the last few days, which are still there on the feed for anyone to see and which he doesn’t appear to be denying responsibility for.




I see.

Short of material already?

Topical satire!

Well, at least it’s not just the blacks, I guess.

It’s nice to see that, a bit like Michael McIntyre, he’s keen to promote other young up-and-coming comics too.

And it gets more mysterious – this sidesplitter is from the same date as the “Junglebook” tweet. Boscott is presumably in sole control of his Twitter account now. So why is this sort of thing, which we’re told was someone else’s handiwork, still here? What possible explanation could there be? Perhaps he just doesn’t know how the “Delete this tweet” button works. Yes, that must be it.
Call me over-sensitive, but I’m not sure this guy leading a vast army of the Met’s cheerleaders is going to be all that constructive over the days ahead in healing the nation’s wounds. And I’m pretty certain it’s not someone the Prime Minister of the country really ought to be singling out for praise.

But hey, I’m just some pinko liberal, what do I know?

EDIT (8.15pm): Boscott’s Twitter profile has been hastily edited since this feature appeared, replacing his picture and the profile description. The before and after shots are below. Maybe he’s finally started to work out how to try to cover his tracks after all. Just slightly too late there, fella.
Read The Rest…

UK Disregards “Concerns About Human Rights” And Authorizes Shooting Of London Riots Protestors

England has authorized the police to shoot protestors participating in the London riots and will ignore “phone concerns about human rights” raised by the international community.

Earlier today Alex Jones ran an article with the headline in Knee Jerk Calls For Army On London Streets To “Shoot Looters On Sight”.
It turns out that the English government has succumbed to the calls to shoot the protestors on sight.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron is quoted outright as saying he will not allow “Phony concerns about human rights” prevent to police from doing their duty, according to a report on CNN. The disregard for human rights violations come despite a strong rebuke against the British government their response to the handling of the protests.
“It was ‘all too clear we have a big problem with gangs,’ he said, adding that authorities would not ‘let any phony concerns about human rights” prevent police’ from suppressing the insurrection.
In disregarding concerns over human rights violations, CNN reports that the Prime Minister has authorized the police to use whatever means necessary to stop the violence including giving authorization to shoot protestors on sight that are participating in the so-called “riots”.
Last night a video surface on YouTube, showing police beating teenagers they found riding bicycles on the street is an example of the brutality that has now been authorized.
Ironically, it was 15 police officers beating a 16 year-old girl at a peaceful protest that started the violence in the first place.
Unbridled is police police brutality with no due process and no trial will not be tolerated and will only add fuel to the anger that is fueling the insurgency.
As the Guardian has reported, the ignored context of 333 deaths in U.K. police police custody with zero prosecutions built contributed to the public’s anger leading up to the protests.
That was followed by a movement by the masses to remove the media barons and the feral elite from power.
Analysts point out that the cover up of a the brutal execution of a black man which was followed by the beating of a 16 year old girl by 15 police officers at a peaceful protest — a story that has been scrubbed by the corporate media — has lead to anarchy in the U.K. which has now spread across all of England.

London Riots – Media Calls Brutal Police Beating Of Teenagers On Bicycles “Rough Justice”

London media is now advocating the outright beating, tasering and use of tear gas on protestors while calling the brutal police beating of teenagers “rough justice”.

Last night a YouTube video that surfaced showing Manchester riot police beating teenagers they came across on the streets who were riding on bicycles.
Now the London media is reporting that the unprovoked and unnecessary beating of those teenagers as “rough justice” being served up by the police.
London Media Calls Police Beating Teenagers Riding Bicycles Rough Justice
London Media Calls Police Beating Teenagers Riding Bicycles Rough Justice
The Telegraph reports on the context shown in video while their headline for the story reads “Police Dispense rough justice for ‘rioters’.
In the video, police in riot gear are seen rounding a corner beneath a block of flats where they intercept several people on bikes being pursued by another group of officers.
As the riders realise they are cornered, one stops and dismounts. He is then struck to the ground by an officer using a baton. Another appears to beat him on the legs as he lies on the ground.
The man puts up no apparent resistance and after 10 seconds the officer desists. The rider gets up on his own, and is ushered to the side of the road by a policeman.

The labeling of  police beating alleged suspects without due process or charge has sparked concerns of human rights violation.
British Prime Minister Davide Cameron said in a national prime time address that he will disregard concerns about “human rights violations”  while giving  authorization  to the police to shoot of alleged rioters on sight.
The British media is also now advocating the use of tear gas and tasers on protestors, as the graphic above shows, claiming the public support for such measures as a justification for their use.
Humans rights activists are object using such measures pointing. In past cases of police brutality in which tasers  were shown to be fatal . Just recently,  the NYPD pepper sprayed a man to death  in an incident that was ruled a murder by the medical examiner.

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Rioters have 'lower levels' of brain chemical that keeps impulsive behaviour under control

Some men may be more likely to riot because of their 'impulsive' brains, according to a study.
Certain individuals have lower levels of a brain chemical that helps keep behaviour under control, scientists believe.
Researchers from the University of Cardiff uncovered a link between impulsiveness and levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in a key brain region.
Do rioters, pictured looting a shop in Hackney, have lower levels of a brain chemical that helps keep behaviour under control? Scientists think so
Do rioters, pictured looting a shop in Hackney, have lower levels of a brain chemical that helps keep behaviour under control? Scientists think so
Those with low levels tended to be more aggressive and to respond rashly to 'urges'.
GABA is one of a family of brain chemicals that allow signals to flow between neurons.
Around 30 male university students had their levels of GABA measured using a specialised type of brain scan.
They were also asked to complete questionnaires that assessed different aspects of impulsiveness, a trait known to influence self-control.
Participants with more GABA in the pre-frontal brain region had lower scores for 'urgency' - the tendency to behave rashly in response to distress or strong emotions and urges.
Men with lower GABA levels had higher urgency ratings, making them more likely to act aggressively, drink and take drugs.
The link with GABA was specific to the dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex, a region critical to higher thinking functions.
The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is published in the journal Biological Society.
Men with lower GABA - one of a family of brain chemicals that allow signals to flow between neurons - levels had higher urgency ratings, making them more likely to act aggressively, drink and take drugs
Men with lower GABA - one of a family of brain chemicals that allow signals to flow between neurons - levels had higher urgency ratings, making them more likely to act aggressively, drink and take drugs
Lead scientist Dr Frederic Boy said: 'What is clear is that the way people behave results from a complex interaction between a number of genetic, social and environmental factors.
'What we've found is that one of the reasons why some men act impulsively may be related to lower concentration of GABA in a specific part of men's brains.'
None of the undergraduates taking part in the study had any history of psychiatric disorders or substance dependence.
The research helps to illustrate the role of basic brain physiology in controlling behaviour, said the scientists.
'The ability to regulate our behaviour in response to a constantly changing physical and social world is key to adapted life,' said Dr Boy.
'Failure in this finely-tuned mechanism is particularly important in most psychiatric disorders, where impulsiveness is the second most common symptom.
'We hope this research will lead to further studies and help bridge the gap between recent genetic studies and imaging studies of psychiatric disorders.'

Read more:

Freeganism: Dumpster Diving to Buck the Spending Trend

Amid S&P downgrades and widespread panic about financial markets, an anti-consumerism movement quietly marches on: Freeganism.
Freeganism, which popped up in the early 90s, rejects the idea of overspending as a "national addiction," according to New York City freeganist, Madline Nelson. The movement goes beyond veganism's rejection of animal products and bucks consumerism for sustainability. It has spread worldwide, with Freeganist websites in French, Norwegian and Portuguese.
Freeganists practice dumpster diving for food, composting and recycling. They also walk or bike instead of driving, "squat" in abandoned buildings, eat local and "work less," according to the website.
"These options are available to most people on a mortgage treadmill," said Nelson. "They don't need to wait to go to a nursing home before they downsize."

In the U.S., trash tours are organized to introduce more people to the Freeganism concept of dumpster diving. There are 16 active Dumpster Diving groups in the U.S. on, including groups in Washington D.C., Boston and L.A. They operate differently based on the participants and geography of the city, Nelson said. In L.A., Freeganists pile up in carpools to pick through store trash.
According to Nelson, the NYC trash tours attract participants across age, class and professional divide and have grown noticeably since the recession in 2008. She said that the tours currently attract, on average 40 people, as opposed to the 10 or so who used to attend pre-2008.
"I think there are more people coming because this might be a way to make ends meet," said Nelson."We have shown literally thousands of discrete individuals how to go dumpster diving and trash picking in this city."
Dumpster Diving For Food
Shortly before she opted out of her job as director of Internet communications for Barnes and Noble in 2005, Nelson began dumpster diving for free food as part of her non-consumerist lifestyle.
"The bottom of the food pyramid for me is still dumpster diving, in terms of volume," Nelson said. "More food comes from that than other means."
According to Nelson, Freeganists typically find food in dumpsters outside of food stores such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Duane Reade an hour after these stores close. Pre-packed meals, yogurt and fruits -- bananas are thrown out in "shocking quantities" -- are all tested by the dumpster divers for their temperature. In the summer months, if these foods are not cold, they are left behind.

6 Reasons “Smart” Meters are a Class Issue

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As class riots engulf the UK and the global economy teeters on a precipice, it seems the right time to take a look at how the forced “smart” meter installations now affecting many parts of California and other states are at their root, a class issue.

“Social classes don’t exist in the United States” we hear ringing in our ears. Nearly everyone- from those living in trailer parks to those inhabiting sprawling hillside mansions- has been well trained to consider themselves “middle class.” However, the broad definition of “middle class” obscures important differences in who benefits and who suffers under the current system.

Decisions about whether, when, and how to undertake one of the largest technology rollouts in history-involving billions of our dollars- have been made by a small number of utility and industry executives, in collusion with government officials largely in backrooms, with virtually no consultation- or even notification of the public.

Let’s just come out and say it- “smart” meters benefit the ruling class at the expense of the working class. What do we mean by this?

1) The working class tend to be renters, and live in large apartment blocks with little choice about their proximity to large banks of meters, while the upper class tend to live in detached homes, with control over their meters. Wealthier people in larger homes also have the luxury of choosing to spend more time away from their meter, at the other end of their large homes. How many PG&E executives are living with “smart” meters on their bedroom walls?

2) Increases in utility costs- approved by the CA PUC and other state regulatory agencies to pay for the dumb meters that we never asked for, are essentially a regressive tax- consuming a much larger proportion of household income for poor households than rich. How much money (and pollution) would have been saved if the federal government had spent all these billions on efficiency improvements, insulation and local renewable energy projects instead of a technocratic boondoggle?

3) Time of use pricing- which “smart” meters enable- will allow utilities to charge more for electricity during hot days when industry needs it and when air conditioning demand is high. Many low income people are at home during the day and don’t have a choice when they use electricity. Many work from home, or care for elderly or sick relatives. Under a time of use system, while rich executives are at work using little electricity at their homes, many poor people will be at home needing to use appliances to keep their lives running- but under a time of use system they will be penalized for this. In practice, this means that working class people will end up doing their laundry in the middle of the night or on weekends, especially in large apartment buldings where everyone shares a small laundry room. The utilities apparently expect working people to give up their limited time to spend with their families and rest up for the coming work day, to accommodate industry and its insatiable appetite for power. This inequitable situation has been at the center of the AARP’s demand for more consumer protections as smart meters are installed.

4) If a low income household cannot pay their bill, PG&E has been ruthless in switching them off, leading to safety issues as extension cords are often strung together to provide the light and heat people need for their families. This leads to house fires, like the one last December in which an East Oakland family of three perished in what was essentially a preventable tragedy. With the “smart” meter, the utility can switch you off remotely, regardless of unique situations like medical equipment being operated in the home. With the analog meter, they had to send a human being out to disconnect your service (and make sure this doesn’t kill someone). There are already cases of people being incorrectly billed for their neighbors usage because of the unreliable nature of wireless technology- how long before a mistaken disconnection occurs and someone dies when the wireless signals get crossed?

5) Though the utilities and the government would never admit it, there is the very real possibility of widespread, intentional disconnections- along economic dividing lines- during peak demand as we enter an age of constrained energy supplies. Familiar with the concept of HOT lanes or “Lexus Lanes” common in California? These allow drivers who can afford to pay $10 or so to enter the carpool lane and fly by the hot and congested masses even if they are only a single driver. Imagine it’s the year 2016 and we are sweltering in a hot August afternoon. Several months back, you tore up the notice from your utility offering “energy stability” because you couldn’t afford the extra fee associated with the service. As 2pm rolls around, you get an automated phone call from the utility telling you that your electricity is about to be switched off. Your 80 year old mother in the other room swelters in the heat as you gaze up at the large home on the hill whose residents are enjoying cold margaritas and an air conditioned living space thanks to the extra fee they paid to the utility. (Perhaps they made this money from poor ratepayers, through PG&E’s guaranteed 11.5% return on investment.) Cool.

6) If you are poor, you are statistically more likely to suffer from health problems associated with stress, and exposure to polluted environments (from car exhaust, noise, industrial pollutants, as well as emf electrosmog from cell towers, and “smart” meters.) If the new meters make you sick- as they have done to thousands of innocent Californians- you are less likely to be able to afford quality health care to treat your illness or disease. If the Class 2B carcinogen pulsing out 24/7 from your smart meter gives you cancer, don’t expect the utility to take care of you.

The (predominantly) rich white men in suits who designed this program are well rewarded for their arrogance and recklessness with our money. That’s the way the system works.

Take for example the astronomical- even absurd salary packages of top utility company executives. When Peter Darbee, former CEO of PG&E Corp. announced his “retirement” in April partly in response to the growing revolt over dumb meters, he was to receive a $35 million retirement package, mostly out of ratepayer funds. After nervous twittering that this was going to look really bad, Gov. Jerry Brown sought to separate himself from the utility (even though his top advisor Nancy McFadden also works for PG&E) and demanded that shareholder funds – not ratepayer funds- pay for Darbee’s luxurious retirement. Darbee still walked away with $35 million of our money, just not quite as directly a cashflow from our wallet to his, as that would have been politically problematic.

Now to put this kind of money in perspective, if you decided to be generous and let Mr. Darbee keep $13 million for his retirement, you would still have enough money from this monstrous package ($22 million) to keep all 70 of CA’s state parks threatened with closure- open for the next two years.

So there you have it- ONE rich man getting a super duper cushy retirement instead of just a very cushy retirement, as critical natural and recreational resources for a state with a population of 40 million get flushed down the toilet. Boy, you are a real fighter for the people, Jerry Brown.

The point is that the people making these decisions don’t care about your family. They don’t care about your health, your financial stability, or preserving your privacy. They don’t care about the environment or the future. They do care about amassing ever larger piles of money, money that will end up being just about as useful as kindling when the environment is so destroyed and resources all consumed that we can’t even produce enough food to fill supermarket shelves.

It’s time that we stop giving these clowns our power and start realizing that we have the right to safe, reliable utility service at reasonable rates.” That we have a right to reject stupid meters from our homes, as well as our communities. That those who suffer from electro-sensitivity have a right to participate freely in society. And that those who are attempting to take away those rights from the majority are in fact- the minority. No amount of propaganda or buck-passing can obscure that basic fact. Class dismissed.

Day of Reckoning

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Lew Rockwell

The trigger that apparently caused the market meltdown was the ever-so-slight suggestion from Standard & Poor's that the US government’s fiscal health might not be all that it is cracked up to be.

This was not a case of the little boy noting the emperor has no clothes. It is more like the little boy suggested that the emperor's clothes, while beautiful, might have been more carefully tailored to suit the imperial dignity. Hysteria followed, and the entire Obama cult called for the kid to be stoned.

Finally the emperor himself spoke in defense of his rainment. That’s when the market crashed.

But the downgrading of a government’s debt from AAA to AA+ can only have triggered a market avalanche if the truth is in fact much worse, and most everyone knows it.

S&P doesn’t have clean hands, of course. It holds a government monopoly, wants higher taxes, and rated crazed housing bonds AAA. But imagine, for just a moment, that US government debt were rated in the same way that municipal bonds or regular corporate debt are. Imagine that government bonds, like normal bonds, carried a default premium. Imagine, in other words, that the Federal Reserve were not in a position to pay everyone from welfare recipients to banksters with newly created money.

Under such actual market conditions, federal debt would not be rated as AA+. It would be worth even less than junk bonds. In fact, it wouldn’t even qualify for a market rating at all, because it would be utterly worthless and the institution that issued it would be in default and the whole rotten apparatus of the state would be seen to be bankrupt at its very core, in every sense.

We know this for one simple reason: There is no way that the government can fund its debt on taxes alone. There would be a revolution in this country in a heartbeat, and, probably, the entire American empire, domestic and foreign, would come crashing down, along with its banking and monetary systems.

If this actually happened, there would be no more "ongoing negotiations" about the budget and the debt. The cuts would be swift, extreme, gigantic. The federal government would have to behave like state governments, balancing the budget year to year. There would be no more plans for fake cuts in the planned increases, gradually phased in over ten years. The federal government would face actual market discipline. The S&P downgrade is only a slight taste of what would follow.

And let’s not just look at the downside. Hundreds of billions in resources would be freed from government control. The private sector would experience a huge infusion of energy. Interest rates would probably go through the roof, which means that people would actually be rewarded for saving, and saving is exactly what people would do as hundreds of banks went belly-up, large portions of the business sector had their credit lines cut, and merchants of death had to close their bloody doors.

There would be wailing and gnashing of teeth, but there would be no turning back. Within a few months, we would start seeing massive resource shifts and pockets of growth would return. New jobs would be available. New businesses would spring up. New financial firms would displace the old ones. Within a year or 18 months, we would be on a growth path, and this time it would be real and sustainable.

Of course this is not going to happen. Instead, the powers-that-be will continue their long game of "let’s pretend" as the economy sinks deeper and deeper, incomes fall, and the US gradually heads toward 3rd-world basket case status.

It’s not only the government that is bankrupt, of course. It’s the entire ideological apparatus that backs the state and its eternal expansion. The New York Times struggled for something to say about the obvious failure of the second stimulus. All they could come up with was: "shift every available resource toward jobs," "increased investment in infrastructure," more relief for homeowners, and another extension of unemployment benefits.

The only thing that this asinine editorial left out was the need to lower interest rates. And that’s because interest rates are already 0%, which has killed saving, terminated growth, and denied the public the fundamental freedom to sock away money in time deposits and let it earn something in exchange. The Federal Reserve is completely out of policy options, unless it is ready to embrace the Zimbabwe-Weimar solution.

Of course, the whole theory that the government can stimulate through control and robbery is wrong and counterproductive. It only ends up rewarding government and its friends while the rest of us suffer. If we ever get out of this depression, it will be because government is forced to stop this nonsense, and the economy really stimulated by taking a meat axe to the planning-spending-inflating apparatus.

This is the underlying reality that informed traders understand. The whole system is being propped up by the power to print, and that power alone. No matter how many miracles some people think that paper money can accomplish, there is an underlying realization that the whole system is a hoax.

But don’t take my word for it. Let S&P and many more competitive rating agencies go to town on US bonds and rate them as they would any bond in the private sector or even the public sector not backed by a printing press. Let reality speak, and let us listen.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and chairman of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of See his books.

Credibility, Chutzpah and Debt

To understand the furor over the decision by Standard & Poor's, the rating agency, to downgrade US government debt, you have to hold in your mind two seemingly (but not actually) contradictory ideas. The first is that America is indeed no longer the stable, reliable country it once was. The second is that S&P itself has even lower credibility; it's the last place anyone should turn for judgments about our nation's prospects.
Let's start with S&P's lack of credibility. If there's a single word that best describes the rating agency's decision to downgrade America, it's chutzpah - traditionally defined by the example of the young man who kills his parents, then pleads for mercy because he's an orphan.
America's large budget deficit is, after all, primarily the result of the economic slump that followed the 2008 financial crisis. And S&P, along with its sister rating agencies, played a major role in causing that crisis, by giving AAA ratings to mortgage-backed assets that have since turned into toxic waste.

Super Congress A Gift to K Street

Ron Paul

The Super Congress created by the recent debt ceiling increase deal is a typical example of something nefarious attached to a bigger bill that is rushed through Congress without giving Members ample opportunity to consider the full ramifications. This commission may turn into an early Christmas present for the well-heeled lobbyists of K Street. This is because the commission presents a huge opportunity for lobbying firms to sneak their client's pet projects and issues into whatever legislation is created by the commission. The fact that automatic cuts to defense are named if the committee deadlocks simply signals to the military industrial complex to bring their A game to the lobbying effort.

One red flag I am constantly aware of in my position as a Congressman is that highly complex and convoluted legislation frequently has dangerous provisions hidden in the fine print. Elaborate legislative packages force lawmakers to take the bad with the good, and often if they refuse, they are accused of voting against the positive provision - never mind the blatant Constitutional violations in the bill, the spending, the waste, and the unchecked expansion of government. I don't usually have to read too much of a bill like that before encountering something unconstitutional, or simply unwise. Then I have to vote no.

That doesn't seem to be the case with a majority of legislators, unfortunately. In order to ram through one special interest's favorable treatment or giveaway, a certain amount of horse-trading is done. The end result is mammoth bills with myriads of unrelated provisions that favor those with the best lobbyists at the expense of everyone else.

The creation of a 12 member committee to preside over $1.5 trillion in spending decisions, and the exclusion of the rest of Congress also means lobbying firms can focus their efforts on an anointed few, which is certainly more manageable for them than having to deal with the entire Congress. Every cut considered will, of course, have a recipient on the other end whose livelihood is being threatened. The probable outcome is that any cuts realized will be more a function of lobbying prowess than the merits or demerits of the actual programs on the chopping block.

Make no mistake - I am enthusiastically for cutting government spending. The goal should be to eventually reduce government down to the size and scope of its constitutional limitations. However, the process of getting there must also be constitutional. Concentrating such special authority to fast track legislation affecting so many special interests to a small, select committee is nothing more than an unprecedented power grab. Only fears of an impending catastrophe could have motivated Members to allow this legislation to be rushed through Congress. The founding fathers had strong feelings about taxation without representation and under no circumstances would they have felt excluding 98% of Congress from fiscal decisions was appropriate.

I see nothing good coming out of this Super Congress. I suspect it will be highly vulnerable to corruption and special interests. No benefit can come from such careless disregard of the Founders' design.

Walk away from what you know

You have the power to cripple national consumerism. 

Yes, You.

Walk away. 

Walk away from mortgages, interest, fees, taxes and materialism.

First you must begin to look at your relationship with the paper in your wallet.  You have to let it go.  Money is fake and they give it in small amounts, then take it back in bigger amounts.  Always leaving you working your ass off for a few material goods.  Is it worth it?  Do you feel better or bigger or happier in your lexus?  Does it change your family dynamics or the relationship with your wife?  You have to let it go.  Stop playing in the playground, it's designed to never let you win.  Why keep playing?  

Look at your life without relying on money.  Working just enough to live modestly.  It leaves you with time for your wife, for your children and for yourself.  You are no longer a rat in a race, you are a father or a husband or a friend.  You have time for it now and the energy to see it through now.

Do you really need 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms?  Do you need the new car, the gucci suit or the disneyland vacations?  Do you really need manicured nails, dyed hair and teeth whitening?  Does it make you a better person or have you been fooled?  Do you feel like a great person or do you feel like you may be slaving scum?

Whether you jump in with both feet or just take small steps, EVERY step matters.  You can do it!

Here are some major life changes that can cripple our materialistic nature of this nation:

Sell your home for what it is worth or if you are really brave, let it foreclose.  What does a credit rating mean when no one lends any money?

Walk away from a corporate job.  Find a job with a small business OR start your own small business.

Think about the fake money we use to buy fake plastic goods....  use as little of it as possible.  Work only enough to live modestly, spend the free time you have now by loving those closest to you.

Organize a community board in your neighborhood.  Offer a "wanted" section and a "free" section.  Leave fresh flowers, organic produce from your garden or even just a nice children's toy.  Have an honor jar for the community to use.  Stress the importance of each member of the neighborhood, using another member of the community for goods/services they may need.  Stress the importance to neighbors that asking for help will be answered.  Leave $10 bills in the honor jar for anyone to take that needs it.  Yes, if someone "steals" it - that means they needed it more than you.  Let it go, it's just money. 

Close your bank accounts or bank with a small credit union.  If you feel brave, tell the bank that you are closing your accounts because you don't agree with their overloaded pockets of money and will no longer support it.

Shop at an organic (non-montesano) farm.  Some of these farms will even deliver organic produce to your front door for a very affordable amount of money.   We pay $42 every 2 weeks and we get much more than we could ever use or need.  We give much of it away to neighbors, family and friends.

Shop at a butcher who sells grass fed beef and/or organic slabs.   Better yet, get a hunting tag. 
Shoot and Kill your own organic meat.  Use the butcher to package it up for you correctly.

Start a chicken coop or move to an area that will allow you this basic necessity.

You can do it.  I know you can.

Shop 2nd hand.  None of your hard-earned money goes to the fascist money junkies except through the sales tax that you must pay and even that is 'supposed' to go the state you buy in.  (who really knows anymore)

Turn your leased car in!  Take a loss on the fake money you've already invested in it. 

Buy a car outright, it's yours and you owe NO ONE for it.   Buy an older car so that you don't support the raping through licensing fees, emission testing and repair of newer vehicles.

Proudly tell others of the changes you've made and why.  Encourage them and support them in changes they may  want to make, help them out as you have extra time now that you are a newly freed slave.

When you discover a windfall of currency - donate it to people directly or use it to start more neighborhood communication boards or feed the homeless.  Donate it to organizations that you know are safe from the evils of materialism.  Do not donate to any major organizations - they don't manage their money and about .10 from every dollar actually is used to help out anyone.

Just walk away.  You can do it.  Live your life free and without fear of not being rich enough.  You will never be rich enough, never.  Why keep striving for something that is impossible?  Is it even important or were we brainwashed to believe it is? 

I'm sure I've missed many many ideas to walk away from this fake materialistic slavery... if you have one - add it below!