by Alex Symington….
After attending the annual ACLU meeting, Policing In Paradise, last week at the Harvey Government Center, Key West, I came away with a realization that today’s police misdeeds and brutality are part and parcel to and a direct bi-product of a much greater challenge that America faces; the intentional destruction of civil liberties and social contracts, the corporate co-option of our government and the privatization of nearly everything formerly in the public domain.
This phenomenon has not been an organic or random development, but a concerted effort, the result of long range goals by the power elite. These are the people that control the banks and centers of finance and commerce. They are so powerful that they can buy influence at the highest levels of government. They have no interest in any social contract, feel no responsibility for the workers that are providing them with ungodly sums of money and do not care that they are killing the planet in the process. Google the Trans-Pacific Partnership. These are the hyper-capitalist sociopaths that have forsaken all things moral in the endless pursuit of more.
This never-ending insatiable lust for more is at the root of their insanity and essentially the cause of all the planet’s woes. Like the nymphomaniac that can engage in sex hundreds of times and never be sated or the drug addict desperately trying to recreate that first perfect high, but never can, the hyper-capitalist is equally obsessed with the prospect of more, however more is never enough.
Up until the great depression of 1929 these same dangerous sociopaths operated freely with no restrictions or regulations for their risky financial behavior and the resultant suffering of the general population. Just like today they were the ruling class and felt no obligations or responsibility for the social and natural environment they operated within and profited from. With the crash of ’29 came the realization that precaution and prudent judgement were needed to prevent this calamity from being repeated. Enter the “New Deal” introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt; a set of reasonable laws restricting dangerous casino banking practices along with modest social contracts to prevent starvation of the American citizenry and assistance for the out-of-work.
Just as before 1929, this purist capitalist lunacy has come back from the dead like a bad horror movie in the guise of libertarian, free market and the-gospel-according-to Ayn Rand destruction of those New Deal safety measures. The Glass/Steagall Act implemented in 1933 in response to those casino banking practices of financial speculators that got us into the jackpot to begin with has been dismantled in a rare show of bi-partisan cooperation. Said dismantling started in the 1960s, coincidentally the same time the John Birch Society came into being with Fred Koch, father of Koch Industries as one of the founding members and culminating with the 1999 Gramm-Leech-Bliley Act (GLBA) which repealed the two provisions in Glass/Steagall restricting affiliations between banks (your money) and securities firms (Las Vegas).
Where else can high stakes gamblers play with someone else’s money, your money and profit wildly at no risk to themselves and if their wagers are unsuccessful, we the people, pay for their losses. The definition of investment is: “the act of investing; laying out money or capital in an enterprise with the expectation of profit.” “The expectation of profit”, not the guarantee of profit. These criminals have finally figured out how to eat that proverbial cake and have it too! John and Jane Doe are covering these criminal’s losses and thereby eliminating any risk the criminal might encounter. Voila, crime becomes legal! Thanks, Congress!
You might be wondering what this has to do with the pronounced uptick in police brutality. Quite a lot, actually. As more and more public money is syphoned off to the billionaire class in the form of tax breaks which often amount to no tax at all, money for social programs that might have gone to help with housing or mental hospitals or drug treatment facilities are no longer available. Those people that might otherwise have been helped and their lives improved are now “on the street” and frequently a police matter by default.
This situation is exacerbated by the same dead-beat billionaire’s desire to privatize the prison system. This country has five percent of the world’s population, but twenty-five percent of the world’s incarcerated are in US prisons! More than Russia and Red China combined! As municipalities are squeezed for dollars they are enticed by Corporate with the siren song of private prison for profit as the solution. Genius, really.
Then there is the fact that lobbyists that work for the prison/industrial complex write draconian laws that allow easier arrests and longer mandatory sentences to maximize income from prisoners, aka commoditized human beings, who are forced to pay for their own incarceration. Prisoners must purchase food, clothes, bedding, toiletries and phone calls while earning a whopping twenty five cents an hour, while Corporate rakes in huge profits from contracting out their prison labor. The ultimate insult is when the prisoners are finally released they are in debt to the corporate prison system and set up for failure to, once again, become a police problem and/or a commodity in the prison-for-profit racket.
It’s a win-win for Corporate as they contribute little to nothing to public coffers then “come to the aid” of strapped public entities with tall tales of cost effectiveness and “rescue” that ailing public institution. This cancer of privatization is being used in an attempt to co-opt the US postal service and has been successful with public schools, public water utilities and many other municipal public entities that Corporate has its reptilian eye on.
Add to this perfect storm the fact that the police are also on the public payroll and are feeling the economic pinch so an old source of income has been pursued with a new vigor, the seizure of money and property of the arrested. The booty is often kept regardless of guilt or innocence of the arrestee because the Police need the money! Police departments all over the country are ill equipped and lack the special training to handle the burgeoning numbers of homeless, drug/alcohol addicted and mentally ill that have been foisted on them directly and indirectly by the new paradigm of socially irresponsible neoliberal hyper-capitalism in all its shameless horror. As if all that that isn’t enough to pervert the traditional role of the police, the icing on the cake is the relentless militarization of civilian police forces and their Amero-centric congenital racism. Now we can see how we got where we are. Here.
“Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all.”- John Maynard Keynes –