Hurricane Sandy and the Mayor’s “Disaster Capitalist” Priority: The New York Marathon

Friday, Nov 02 2012

‘The city is talking about getting ready for the marathon… we’re pulling bodies out of the water’: Congressman lashes out at New York officials for pushing ahead with event … New York residents are angry that emergency services are diverted towards Sunday’s marathon … Generators could be used to provide power for homes left without electricity for four days

By Eddie Wrenn and Beth Stebner, One News Page (UK)

2 November 2012

Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are still suffering black-outs, with wide swathes of the city still without electricity.  But the media centre for this Sunday’s New York Marathon – which is still going ahead despite the widespread devastation landed on the city – will no suffer such problems.  For organisers have installed two emergency generators, as well as a back-up, to keep news of the event flowing.

The three generators could provide power for 400 homes – and the revelation has prompted outrage in a city which, in parts, has suffered four nights without heat or electricity.

In Central Park today…

Ready for action: The New York Marathon will still go on despite the city's widespread devastationReady for action: The New York Marathon will still go on despite the city’s widespread devastation

In Staten Island today…

The other side: Dulce Espino (left) and Viridiana Cruz weep in their Staten Island neighborhood where many houses were completely destroyedThe other side: Dulce Espino (left) and Viridiana Cruz weep in their Staten Island neighborhood where many houses were completely destroyed

At a news conference Friday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his decision to go ahead with the marathon as a way to raise money for the city and boost morale less than a week after Sandy knocked out power and left a death toll of nearly 100 people.

He noted that his predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, went ahead with the New York Marathon two months after 9/11.

‘If you go back to 9/11, Rudy made the right decision in those days to run the marathon and pull people together,’ Bloomberg said.

The mayor added that the marathon’s organizers are ‘running this race to help New York City, and the donations from all the runners in the club will be a great help for our relief efforts.’

Earlier this week, the mayor said the race wouldn’t siphon off resources from the storm recovery, noting electricity is expected to be restored to all of Manhattan by race day, freeing up ‘an enormous number of police.’

The course runs from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on hard-hit Staten Island to Central Park, sending runners through all five boroughs. Continue reading

Bill Gates and Bloomberg Digitizing “Stop and Frisk”, Criminalizing Privacy

[As the economic crisis deepens, and discontent, rage, and resistance grows, the system trumpets new mechanisms of surveillance and control.  Such attempts do not, despite the hype, ensure that the capitalist system will last forever.  They only postpone the days when the system becomes ungovernable. — Frontlines ed.]

Big Brother Gets Established in NYC

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Wednesday revealed that for the last six months the city has been monitoring its residents via a network of roughly 3,000 closed circuit television cameras that feed into NYPD headquarters. The technology is termed the “Domain Awareness System.”

Developed in collaboration with Microsoft, the system cost $30 million to $40 million. The deal struck between the software company and the city will give New York 30 percent of the profits if other municipalities purchase the system.

Regarding the new opportunities to abuse residents’ privacy made available by the system, Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement: “We fully support the police using technology to combat crime and terrorism,but law-abiding New Yorkers should not end up in a police database every time they walk their dog, go to the doctor or drive around Manhattan.”

Bloomberg’s response to such worries was not assuring: “We are very concerned about staying within the law, within court decisions. We believe we do that, but I think it’s a fair thing to say today, if you walk around with a cellphone, the cell company does know where you are at all times,” he said at a news conference announcing Domain Awareness.

A similar system that has long been operating in London is estimated to have solved one crime per 1,000 cameras.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly. Follow him on Twitter: @areedkelly.

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New York Mayor Signs Up For Mass Surveillance

New York authorities unveil a mass surveillance plan in an attempt to revolutionise the way crime is tackled in the US city. Continue reading

Stop-and-Frisk Goes to Frisco

By Glen Ford, Tuesday, 07/03/2012

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The “progressive” Chinese-American mayor of “liberal” San Francisco is considering instituting stop-and-frisk – which no doubt is already informally practiced by his city’s police. Mayor Ed Lee’s intention to endorse legal apartheid puts him in the historical American mainstream, since “stop-and-frisk never stopped in the United States.” The practice stretches, unbroken, from slavery times. “If the laws are applied unequally, then there is no law, and the police are nothing but an occupying army enforcing martial law” – selectively, against Black and brown people.

Stop-and-Frisk Goes to Frisco

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If skin color is treated as reasonable suspicion, then that is an apartheid state.”

The Mayor of San Francisco, the first Chinese-American to hold that office, is considering instituting stop-and-frisk [6] – but mostly in minority neighborhoods, of course. Mayor Ed Lee is all excited about joining the Church of the New Jim Crow, whose leading deacons are New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter. Like them, Lee claims he just wants to get rid of guns, although after ten years and the humiliation of literally millions of Black and brown men on the streets of New York, Mayor Bloomberg can come up with no compelling statistics on stop-and-frisk and gun crimes. Neither can Mayor Nutter, a stop-and-frisk fiend, whose city is under a court consent decree [7] to curb the practice.

San Francisco’s mayor describes himself as a “progressive,” but we all know that word doesn’t mean much of anything anymore, certainly not in the Age Of Obama. The cops in his city are already practicing stop-and-frisk on the same people and neighborhoods the mayor wants to target, and have doubtless stepped up their racial profiling since hearing about the mayor’s remarks. The fact is,stop-and-frisk never stopped in the United States. Stop-and-frisk was invented in the slaveholding states as a matter of daily practice, when Black people carried around permission from their masters to move outside his property, and free Blacks had to show papers proving their status. Stop-and-frisk was part of the Black Codes following Emancipation. The Old Jim Crow was designed to control Black people’s physical and social movements, and African Americans who could not prove that they were employed, through documentation or some white person’s word, were sent to prison work camps – the genesis of the penal system in the South. There’s nothing new about stop-and-frisk, although it is central to the New Jim Crow, a racial caste system whose primary institution is mass Black incarceration. Stop-and-frisk was the hallmark of apartheid in racist South Africa. A variant is enforced in Israeli-occupied Palestine.

If there is equal protection under the law, then stop-and-frisk is illegal.”

Stop-and-frisk is necessary wherever racial supremacists want to separate those whose human rights are to be respected from those who are outside of legal protection.

If there is equal protection under the law, then stop-and-frisk is illegal. Period. The law applies in those sections of New York and Philadelphia and San Francisco that have high crime rates, just as it does in Bloomberg’s and Nutter’s and Lee’s neighborhoods. At least, that’s what the U.S. Constitution says. If the laws are applied unequally, then there is no law, and the police are nothing but an occupying army enforcing martial law. As one of the signs in New York’s recent “Silent March” against stop-and-frisk read: “Skin Color Is Not Reasonable Suspicion [8].” If skin color is treated as reasonable suspicion, then that is an apartheid state.

Mayor Lee will surely caution his police to be courteous as they enforce apartheid on Black and brown San Franciscans, just as Mayor Bloomberg is now urging his cops to do. But there is no fundamental distinction between polite applications of apartheid and the rougher kind. How do you politely tell someone that they are lesser human beings, existing outside of constitutional protections, exceptions to the rule of equal treatment under the law?

Either stop-and-frisk is a crime against humanity, or Black people have no rights that police are bound to respect. There is no gray area, just as there is no white law.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com [9].