Metropolis by Public domain
Too many people in this country live in denial, too many live in a smoky, smoldering sweat stained non-reality of television induced fantasy. The following is an excerpt of a letter to the Asian Human Rights Commissioner about an incident which took place in the Philippines.
"The Asian Hu man Rights Commission (AHRC) had been informed that a farmer, whom soldiers had arbitrarily arrested over allegations that he was a com man der of a rebel group, had been tortured and held incommunicado for six days ."
We read such stories and we pass them by with smug certainty that they cannot happen here or could never happen to me. How wise is the ostrich, who finds instant safety by closing its eyes and burying its head in the sand.
In March of 2005 Albert Florence was driving down the highway in his new BMW SUV with his wife and four year old daughter. They were on their way to a family gathering when Florence was pulled over by a New Jersey highway patrolman. According to the patrolman's computer Florence was wanted on an outstanding warrant for a traffic fine which had been paid years ago. The thirty four year old Florence had run into this problem before and carried a letter from the court absolving him.
The trooper handcuffed Florence and took him to jail where he was strip searched and humiliated. Imagine yourself surrounded as you stand naked in a room full of uniformed men. You are ordered to squat and cough and spread your cheeks. Florence was held for six days and subjected to repeated body cavity searches. Florence told the New York Times, " It was humiliating. It made me feel less than a man. It made me feel not better than an animal."
That was indeed the purpose of the searches; their intent is no different than those at Abu Ghraib or Bagram in Afghanistan. The purpose is to break the prisoners will to resist by stripping them of their dignity and sense of self. The Stanford experiment clearly proved that unchecked authority will become increasingly perverse. The lack of self control is a sad component of the human ape when given total authority over others.
The federal appeals court in Philadelphia reached a divided decision in the Florence case ruling, "that it is reasonable to search everyone being jailed, even without suspicion that a person may be concealing a weapon or drugs." The court evaded the true issue here, the question is not one of search but of what is reasonable. In an age of computers, why was Florence held for six days? When he was transferred to a different jail why was he strip searched again? Did his jailers feel unsafe? Did they fear a man charged with an overdue traffic citation would acquire drugs or weapons while in police custody?
This case is now being heard before the United States Extreme Court and their ruling is as certain as sunrise. The court will find that the police did no wrong. They will rule, yet again, that you are guilty until proven innocent and they will rule that, " It's not my fault that Buttle's heart condition didn't appear on Tuttle's file!" When these things happen in Asia they file a complaint with the human rights commission and when these things are done in US military compounds the world condemns this behavior as torture, but when it is done to an innocent ordinary citizen on the streets of the United States it is just another day in paradise.
While I was in Freedom Plaza I was surprised one morning to see a man wearing a tee shirt which read "Support the tar sands pipeline" my first thought was that this was an agent provocateur sent to cause trouble, but I later learned that he was a steel worker wanting work. You see, this is corporate Fascism at work, you strip the people of their prosperity and then you force them to support the corporation's policies or starve. Much like the banks charging customers for their debit cards in response to the Dodd-Frank legislation which limits fees the banks can charge merchants. It is corporate America punishing you for the actions of government in hopes that you will in turn punish government.
In Fascist Germany your employer held your employment work book. This book which each employee had, carried your educational information and your training certificates, prior to the Fascists coming to power the books were held by the employees or by their unions. The employer with your work book safely locked away held the ability to blackball you. The employer could put you in a situation where if you did not do as you were told or you might never work again. How could you get your work book back if the employer fired you and refused to release it? You could go to the police and the courts and guess which side they would take on these issues?
Today it is not your aptitude which lands you a job but your credit score. We would like to hire you but you owe too much in student loans. You defaulted on your credit card or you lost a job and lost your house and somewhere out in a mystical land that technically doesn't exist you have become unemployable. These are not laws set in place by your government these are rules set in place by the Fascist corporate American state. There is no intercessory here, the government will not help you, they turned over mortgage bailout to the banks themselves.
Barack Obama's answer for creating jobs is tax cuts for corporations and even offering free workers for corporations subsidized by the federal government.
"Hence I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight."
Do you feel the breeze yet? Congress has fast tracked and passed three free trade agreements. These free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea will hurt American workers. The Economic Policy Institute estimates the South Korean trade deal alone will cost 159,000 jobs over the first seven years. It is also forecast that the deal will add $16.7 billion to our trade gap. So why did they do it? Why did Congress and a President who said he stood with middle class families in 2008 push so hard to pass the Bush free trade agreements while millions of Americans suffer?