Silver Messenger Blog
December 15th, 2020
July 22nd, 2020
July 19th, 2020
July 12th, 2020
This is an incredible and facinating podcast debate with Richard D. Wolff and Gene Epstein on the topic "Is Socialism Preferable To Capitalism?"
July 11th, 2020
A facinating perspective from conservative artist An0maly
THE PANDEMIC SHOWS IT’S TIME FOR AN ALTERNATIVE TO AMERICAN CAPITALISM
by David A. Love
The nation has an opportunity to take advantage of this transformative event and pursue an alternative to the current system.
This piece is a commentary, part of The Appeal’s collection of opinion and analysis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the inherent flaws of American capitalism, a profit-driven system of winners and losers that is unprepared to respond to a national emergency and ill-equipped to address the basic needs of society. While the coronavirus has created an historic economic crisis, a dire emergency of economic inequality and injustice in this country long predated the outbreak. Capitalism must undergo structural change. The nation has an opportunity to take advantage of this transformative event and pursue an alternative to the current system.
The failures and shortcomings of American capitalism have made the country particularly vulnerable to a plague. Over 47 million people—more than 1 in 4 U.S. workers—have filed for unemployment since mid-March. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the pandemic is projected to cost the U.S. economy nearly $8 trillion in real GDP through 2030, prompting calls for more federal assistance to states and businesses to stave off permanent job loss. The coronavirus killed all jobs created since the Great Recession, and the economic environment rivals the Great Depression in severity of unemployment. Research suggests many of these jobs will never return. The newly unemployed now form mile-long bread lines as farmers destroy crops and euthanize herds.
The pandemic has exposed a U.S. economy lacking resilience, and a social welfare system which has been gutted and lacks robustness thanks to corporate lobbying and Reagan-era conditioning that government is part of the problem. Although other countries have suffered greatly, the U.S. was uniquely positioned for disaster as the only wealthy nation without universal healthcare, and because of the perilous decision by its political leadership to choose massive unemployment with little relief beyond a one-time stimulus payment, much less a plan for recovery. In contrast, European nations and Canada are offering monthly government payments, providing as much as 90 percent of workers’ salaries for the duration of the pandemic.
Under American capitalism, which operates on competition and individualism rather than collective action and social uplift, the U.S. is not protecting the health and economic security of its citizens. The wealthiest nation in the world has failed to provide adequate testing, contact tracing, ventilators, and masks during the pandemic—because this is not profitable. In a mad rush to reopen, state governments and big business are forcing workers to make a choice: Return to work and risk their lives, or stay home, lose their unemployment benefits, and go hungry. And while Wall Street enjoys bailouts and billionaires profiteer during the pandemic, poor and working people are suffering from years of widening inequality, with no relief in sight. The U.S. economic system was not designed for this moment.
These times demand a reinvention of the corporation. A concept that has gained ground of late is stakeholder capitalism or moral capitalism—the notion that business requires moral leadership and cannot solely concern itself with the corporate world, because all areas of society are interconnected. Whereas the business world is driven by the supremacy of company shareholders and increasing the return on their investment, stakeholder capitalism dictates that members of the greater community are just as important as those who own stock in the company.
Last year, the Business Roundtable issued a statement from 181 CEOs “who commit to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders,” and redefine the purpose of a corporation to promote “an economy that serves all Americans.” Arguing the “American dream is alive, but fraying” and advocating the free market as the best system for job creation, economic opportunity, innovation, and the environment, the group declares “Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity.”
But the free market has been anything but free, as the private sector has long depended on government intervention, and workers are left to fend for themselves. Corporations were rewarded with bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis and exorbitant tax cuts in 2017 that benefited the few, and were funneled into stock buybacks to give more money back to shareholders rather than workers, who still face more layoffs amid rising profits. Now the coronavirus has exposed the precariousness of workers, as worker bargaining power has declined over the past decades and given rise to the gig economy. According to a 2018 Federal Reserve survey, almost 40 percent of Americans were unprepared for a $400 emergency, and a quarter skipped necessary medical care because they couldn’t afford it. Amid wage stagnation, working people have depended on credit cards to survive.
While the business sector can and should do better, labor advocates argue that employers cannot rely on CEO morality to save them, as employer benevolence comes only through labor unions and organizing, and even the most enlightened corporations are motivated foremost by profit and the market. Capitalism is failing workers, they argue, pointing to companies’ union-busting activities and the firing of labor organizers who seek protections for workers that threaten to eat into corporate profits. Democratic control of corporations through worker buyouts, employee ownership, and worker cooperatives would fuel a more equitable distribution of wealth through good wages and benefits and an equal share of company profits, center the needs of workers and the community, and address greed and corruption at a time when many companies are failing to provide a living wage.
COVID-19 has ushered in a new reality that makes going back to normal impossible and more state action in the economy inevitable. Under a system of “managed capitalism,” the government would regulate the business sector more robustly; tax corporations to pay for infrastructure, education, and other social goods; and implement industrial policy in the mold of many East Asian nations such as Japan, China, and South Korea. Industrial policy involves aggressive and heavy-handed government intervention in the economy that incentivizes private production of goods, subsidies to industries, protection of certain sectors from foreign competition, and other measures, with coordinated, long-term goals.
A sustainable and equitable capitalism would mean lower pay for CEOs, particularly of, but not limited to, companies receiving government bailouts; higher taxes for corporations; and, like Belgium, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland, a wealth tax that would raise trillions of dollars in revenue, tackle endemic inequality, and redistribute wealth downward. Former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren proposed taxing a family’s wealth over $50 million at 2 percent annually and at 3 percent on wealth over $1 billion, while Bernie Sanders proposed a tax on extreme wealth for people worth above $32 million. Such a tax could pay for universal childcare and healthcare, affordable housing, and other social programs.
Rethinking American capitalism means overcoming an addiction to infinite economic growth that is plundering the planet and imposing unbearable environmental and societal costs. The country requires a planned de-growth of the economy that, unlike austerity and disaster capitalism, favors human well-being, including a cut in unnecessary consumption, a shorter workweek, a low-carbon, less industrialized society to deal with climate change, and a universal basic income. Other countries with a more robust social safety net have not experienced the inequality, economic turmoil, and dislocation Americans have faced in the so-called “land of opportunity.”
Transforming the American economy requires a rethinking of the political system. According to a 2017 report from the Harvard Business School, the U.S. political system is the primary impediment to solving the country’s major challenges, a factor that has undermined U.S. competitiveness and public trust in the federal government. Further, the authors argue that the system is not broken, but rather is delivering based on how it was designed. “The real problem is that our political system is no longer designed to serve the public interest, and has been slowly reconfigured to benefit the private interests of gain-seeking organizations: our major political parties and their industry allies,” the authors wrote, recommending a restructuring of the election process and system of governing, and diminishing the influence of money in politics.
American capitalism cannot return to normal, because a system thriving on inequality, greed, and abject cruelty rather than the common good is inherently flawed and unsustainable. Throughout history, wars, pandemics, and other crises have acted as agents for social change. Rather than seek incremental reforms, the U.S. must shift course as it is compelled to do, and pursue nothing short of an overhaul to avert economic devastation and social unrest.
David A. Love is a Philadelphia-based writer, commentator, and journalism and media studies professor. He writes for CNN, Al Jazeera, Atlanta Black Star, theGrio, and other publications.
Update: This commentary originally included a quote with an apparent arithmetic error, which has since been removed.
Don't Be Fooled. The Corporate Elites Are Gaslighting You Once Again
We are trapped in an abusive relationship. When we finally have enough, our abuser comes after us with flowers and apologies, promising never to do it again.
by Chris Hedges
"The entrenched racism in America has always meant that poor people of color are the first cast aside in society and disproportionately suffer from the most brutal forms of social control meted out by the police and the prison system," writes Hedges. "But there will not be, as Martin Luther King pointed out, racial justice until there is economic justice. And there will not be economic justice until we wrest power back from the hands of our corporate masters." (Cartoon: 'Blind Rage'/Mr. Fish)
Police take the knee. NASCAR and the U.S. Marine Corps ban the display of the Confederate flag. Nancy Pelosi uses a kente scarf as a political prop. Joe Biden, one of the driving forces behind militarized police, the massive expansion of mass incarceration and the doubling and tripling of sentences, speaks at George Floyd’s funeral. The National Football League apologizes for its insensitivity to racism, although no teams appear to be negotiating with Colin Kaepernick.
The mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bower, had the words “Black Lives Matter” painted in 35-foot-tall letters on a street near the White House but has also proposed a $45 million increase in the police budget and the construction of a $500 million new jail. The press, which does not confront corporate power and rarely covers the poor, rendering them and their communities invisible, engages in circular firing squads, sacking or admonishing editors and journalists for racially insensitive thoughtcrimes, to advertise its commitment to people of color.
"The public displays of solidarity are, as in the past, smoke and mirrors, a pantomime of faux anguish and empathy by bankrupt ruling elites."
Once again, we see proposed legislation to mandate police reform—more body cameras, consent decrees, revised use-of-force policies, banning chokeholds, civilian review boards, requiring officers to intervene when they see misconduct, banning no-knock search warrants, more training in de-escalation tactics, a requirement by law enforcement agencies to report use-of-force data, nationally enforced standards for police training and greater diversity—proposals made, and in several cases adopted in the wake of numerous other police murders, including those of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Philando Castile. The Minneapolis Police Department, for example, established a duty to intervene requirement by police officers after the 2014 killing of Brown in Ferguson. This requirement did not save Floyd.
Police unions, often little more than white hate groups, continue to have the unassailable power to brush aside would-be reformers, including community review boards, mayors and police chiefs. These unions generously bankroll the campaigns of elected officials, including public prosecutors, who do their bidding. Police unions and associations have contributed $7 million to candidates running for office in New York state alone, including $600,000 to Andrew Cuomo during his gubernatorial campaigns.
It is, as Yogi Berra said, “déjà vu all over again.”
The public displays of solidarity are, as in the past, smoke and mirrors, a pantomime of faux anguish and empathy by bankrupt ruling elites, including most Black politicians groomed by the Democratic Party and out of touch with the daily humiliation, stress of economic misery and suffering that defines the lives of many of the protesters.
These elites have no intention of instituting anything more than cosmetic change. They refuse to ask the questions that matter because they do not want to hear the answers. They are systems managers. They use these symbolic gestures to gaslight the public and leave our failed democracy, from which they and their corporate benefactors benefit, untouched. What we are watching in this outpouring of televised solidarity with the victims of police violence is an example of what Bertram Gross calls “friendly fascism,” the “nice-guy mask” used to disguise the despotism of the ultra-rich and our corporate overseers. Whatever you think about Donald Trump, he is at least open about his racism, lust for state violence and commitment to white supremacy.
"The problem is an economic and political system that has by design created a nation of serfs and obscenely rich masters."
The crisis we face is not, as the ruling elites want us to believe, limited to police violence. It is a class and generational revolt. It will not be solved with new police reforms, which always result, as Princeton professor Naomi Murakawa points out in her book “The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America,” in less accountable, larger and more lethal police forces.
The problem is an economic and political system that has by design created a nation of serfs and obscenely rich masters. The problem is deindustrialization, offshoring of manufacturing, automation and austerity programs that allow families to be priced out of our for-profit healthcare system and see nearly one in five children 12 and younger without enough to eat.
The problem is an electoral system that is legalized bribery designed to serve a tiny, unaccountable cabal of oligarchs that engage in legalized tax boycotts, deregulation, theft and financial fraud. The problem is that at least half of the working class and working poor, a figure growing exponentially as the pandemic swells the ranks of the unemployed, have been cast aside as human refuse and are being sacrificed on the altar of profit as the country reopens for business and the pandemic crashes in wave after wave on front line workers.
The problem is the diversion of state resources, including over half all federal discretionary spending, to an unaccountable military machine that wages endless and futile wars overseas, the savage face of white supremacy beyond our border. This military machine perfects its brutal tactics and tools for control on people of color in the Middle East, as it did in other eras in Vietnam, Latin America and the Philippines. It passes on this knowledge, along with its surplus equipment, including sophisticated equipment for wholesale surveillance, drones, heavily armed SWAT teams, grenade launchers and armored vehicles, to police at home. Smashing down a door and terrorizing a family in a night police raid in Detroit looks no different from a night raid carried out against an Afghan family by Army Rangers in Kandahar.
Empires eventually consume themselves. Thucydides wrote of the Athenian empire that the tyranny it imposed on others it finally imposed on itself.
The entrenched racism in America has always meant that poor people of color are the first cast aside in society and disproportionately suffer from the most brutal forms of social control meted out by the police and the prison system. But there will not be, as Martin Luther King pointed out, racial justice until there is economic justice. And there will not be economic justice until we wrest power back from the hands of our corporate masters.
Until that happens, we will go through cycle after cycle of brutal police murders and cycle after cycle of the profuse apologies and promises of reform. We are trapped in an abusive relationship. When we finally have enough, when we cry out in pain and walk out, our abuser comes after us with flowers and apologies and promises to change. Back we go for more.
My hope is that this time around the gaslighting will not work. The protestors that have taken to the streets in some 750 cities are young, diverse, angry and savvy. Many were betrayed by the Democratic Party hierarchy who once again ganged up on Bernie Sanders to shove a corporate stooge down our throats, the calculation by the ruling elites being that as awful as Biden is, we will vote for him because he is not Trump. That this tactic failed in 2016 doesn’t seem to faze the oligarchs.
"By defunding or abolishing the police, or by paying prison workers fair wages, the primary bulwark used to keep a subjugated population in check will be removed, or in the case of prisons make the system of neo-slavery financially unsustainable."
Many of those in the streets can’t find meaningful work, are often burdened by large sums of student debt and have realized that in this world of serfs and masters they don’t have much of a future. They understand that if these protests are to succeed, they must be led by people of color, those who suffer disproportionally from the inequities and violence meted out by the occupying forces of the corporate state. And they also know that social inequality is at the root of the evil we must vanquish.
The ruling elites will never willingly defund or abolish the police, which cost taxpayers $100 billion annually and often eat up half of city budgets, for the same reason they will never pay a minimum wage to the 2.3 million prisoners who work in our ever-expanding gulag. By defunding or abolishing the police, or by paying prison workers fair wages, the primary bulwark used to keep a subjugated population in check will be removed, or in the case of prisons make the system of neo-slavery financially unsustainable.
Rather, the elites, while assuring us that they feel our pain, will insist, as Biden is doing, that by throwing even more money at the police, and increasing police numbers on the streets of our cities, police will be accountable. This is true. But the police will be accountable not to us but the ruling class.
In 1994, then Senator Biden pushed through the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act. It was supported by the Congressional Black Caucus, evidence of the growing disconnect between black political elites and those they should protect. The caucus has, in the face of the current crisis, once again called for the tired and toothless reforms that got us into this mess. “Black elected officials have become adept at mobilizing the tropes of Black identity without any of its political content,” notes Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor in the New York Times.
The bill authorized $30.2 billion over six years for police and prisons. Biden boasted that he “added back into the Federal statutes over 50 death penalties—50 circumstances in which, if a person is convicted of a crime at a Federal level, they are eligible for the death penalty.” The bill, he bragged, authorized “over 70 increased—70, seven zero—70 increased penalties in new offenses covering violent crimes, drug trafficking, and gun crimes.” It also established the Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS Program that has handed more than $14 billion to state and local governments, most of the money used to hire more police. COPS also provided $1 billion to place police in schools, accelerating the criminalization of children.
The 1994 bill more than doubled the prison population. The United States now has 25 percent of the world’s prison population, although we are 4 percent of the world’s population. Half of the 2.3 million people in our prisons have never been charged with physically harming another person and 94 percent never had a jury trial, coerced to plea out in our dysfunctional judicial system.
Biden proudly said in 1994 he represented a new Democratic Party that was tough on law and order. “Let me define the liberal wing of the Democratic Party,” he said at the time. “The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is now for 60 new death penalties. That is what is in this bill. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party has 70 enhanced penalties, and my friend from California, Senator Diane Feinstein, outlined every one of them. I gave her a list today. She asked what is in there to every one of them. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is for 100,000 cops. The liberal wing of the democratic Party is for 125,000 new State prison cells.”
There is only one way to defeat these forces of occupation and the ruling elites they protect. It is not through voting. It will come from the streets, where tens of thousands of courageous men and women, facing arrest, indiscriminate police violence, economic despair and the threat of Covid-19, are fighting for not only an end to racism, but for freedom.
© 2020 Scheerpost
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He wrote a weekly column for the progressive website Truthdig for 14 years until he was fired along with all of the editorial staff in March 2020. [Hedges and the staff had gone on strike earlier in the month to protest the publisher’s attempt to fire the Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer, demand an end to a series of unfair labor practices and the right to form a union.] He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. He is the author of twelve books, including War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Death of the Liberal Class, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which he co-wrote with Joe Sacco, and his latest America The Farewell Tour. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and The University of Toronto. He currently teaches in the B.A. program run by Rutgers University in the New Jersey prison system
June 27th, 2020
June 27th, 2020
I don't really know of a better way to say this other than people don't know what autism looks like, and they especially don't in young black men. Elijah Mcclain died because of it.
He played violin for the kittens in the animal shelter.
“I can’t breathe.
I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah McClain.
That’s my house. I was just going home.
I’m an introvert. I’m just different. That’s all.
I’m so sorry.
I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies! I don’t eat meat! But I don’t judge people, I don’t judge people who do eat meat.
All I was trying to do was become better. I will do it. I will do anything. Sacrifice my identity, I’ll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you.
Try to forgive me.
I’m a mood Gemini. I’m sorry.
I’m so sorry. Ow, that really hurt. You are all very strong. Teamwork makes the dream work.
(*crying*) Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t trying to do that.
I just can’t breathe correctly.”
- Elijah McClain’s last words, as he was being pinned down by Aurora PD officers before he was injected with Ketamine.
This is the same police department that arrested the Aurora movie theater shooter peacefully while he was armed, wearing body armor, and had moments before killed 12 people.
A favorite astrologer of mine, do you know The Peace Dealer yet? He does daily helpful and super insightful horoscopes, and so much much more.
June 22nd, 2020
Wiyaala is an incredible artist from Ghana, please follow her work! I've been totally in love with her music and huge heart since I discovered her music about a year and a half ago
Bree is a spirited and standout font that takes its inspiration from handwriting. It's sure to grab your reader's attention, especially in short paragraphs.💖Hi! I talk about natural remedies and supplements on the daily with friends so i want to share these pics of what i take everyday for optimum immune system and brain health because maybe it could be useful to someone. Daily Nutra is a company i recommend, they are really nice people to talk with too and will send free supplements to loyal customers, ive been using their medicines for 3 years now and have transformed my immune system in doing so. Its all about medicinal mushrooms, their mushroom defense formula contains reishi, chaga, turkey tail, maitake. I take a high dose of that daily and havnt been sick beyond symptoms of exhaustion since i started taking them. How could I not annoy my friends by talking it up so much?? Especially now as we want to really strengthen our immune systems. The Chinese herbs xiao yao wan in the picture are helpful for balancing the menstruation process and the b vitamin niacin boosts brain and artery function. Supplements are sexy. The lions mane, which stimulates growth of new brain cells with a microdose of psilocybin is top shelf natural remedy for depression and anxiety which I sense much of in the world today. And physical exercise is vital to this remedy too. I don't have severe depression anymore. Super 8 are the best probiotics I've found, we all know its about the gut health. Anyways, good medicines for immune system and brain health to potentially research further for yourself! Love💖💜💖
June 21st, 2020
June 18th, 2020
June 17th, 2020
To follow up on my previous post a week ago I had a zoom chat with the Chief of Police in Santa Cruz Andy Mills and what I took overall from the short discussion was his perspective that the police have way too many social problems left in their domain to address. I was told that Santa Cruz police have been focusing more on de-escalation the last 2.5 years per a new training program. Not a direct quote, the Chief told me that something like a PHD in psychology is really required to be at a capable level in handling highly sensitive and potentially volatile situations that police handle every day. He did not think that de-funding the police would be a great idea at all but suggested that instead more county funds be allotted into education and social programs that can help heal people from within, not just address the eruptive symptoms of the open wound. There are professionals that work in police departments that have backgrounds in mental health, there are currently two on the Santa Cruz force. There is currently no civilian run review board for police in Santa Cruz. At least this new signed bill would create teams of social workers that can respond to low risk for violence situations but this qualified immunity law should be revoked immediately and consequences for misconduct enacted the very first offense! Perhaps pay/pensions/employment security could depend on it? The president has said he will not support any changed made to the law of qualified immunity. I think the police should be de-funded to the point that they respond only to situations requiring use of force and be restricted to that and that money allotted to building up community programs and more de-escalation training for cops. Or abolished entirely and replaced with community run militia.
A quote from Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, from this article -https://www.axios.com/defund-police-black-lives-matter-7007efac-0b24-44e2-a45c-c7f180c17b2e.html
"So much of policing right now is generated and directed towards quality-of-life issues, homelessness, drug addiction, domestic violence," Garza said. "What we do need is increased funding for housing, we need increased funding for education, we need increased funding for quality of life of communities who are over-policed and over-surveilled."
"Are we willing to live in fear that our lives will be taken by police officers who are literally using their power in the wrong way, or are we willing to adopt and absorb the fear of what it might mean to change our practices, which will ultimately lead to a better quality of life for everyone."
Our police chief in Santa Cruz is meeting weekly in person with 30 or so citizens of the black community in Santa Cruz to discuss developing reforms. What a positive development. I am going to continue to research and learn and above all *listen* and practice deeper empathy with my fellow human beings, my brothers and sisters on planet earth.
"History of neo nazi activity, hate groups in the area.......initially ruled as suicide.....county failed to do autopsy for 12 days....."
If these men were white, or rich, this story would be developing differently
From an article by Li Cohen
"At around 3:40 a.m. on June 10, a passerby found Fuller hanging from the tree across the street from City Hall, CBS Los Angeles reports. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department initially said Fuller died by suicide, but his family believes he was lynched, and has demanded a full investigation into what happened. On Saturday, the City of Palmdale joined in on the family's call, saying, "We will settle for nothing less than a thorough accounting of this matter."
"The City has already reached out to Mr. Fuller's family, offering help and support, and will do everything possible to assist Mr. Fuller's family during this difficult time as a complete vetting of his death is investigated," the statement said.
June 6th, 2020
My friend Leonard and I found out this morning that Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills is not available for in-person discussion with concerned citizens Mondays at 930am like I had heard and reported from the community video "Changing The Culture Of Policing In Our Community and Beyond" recently but Chief Mills is available for zoom appointments and these appointments can be made through his secretary Jodi. Here are questions I had drawn up for this morning but the appointment is now next Monday so I want to ask, does anyone have anything to add to this list? Please message me with questions anytime or if you think I should word a question differently here or something like that, its for a weekly dialogue with the local police chief with the intention of consistent citizen pressure through interviewing to check up on them as they make progress in necessary reforms.
Questions and points of discussion with Chief Mills:
-The use of tear gas, rubber bullets, tasers, pepper balls, pepper spray; do you feel these methods of controlling individuals and the public at large are absolutes in necessity and if so, why?
-Why do you think that officers across the country have been using rubber bullets and bean bags in a highly abusive and deadly way so frequently during these protests?
-Police violence against people of color. Can you answer personally and if the Santa Cruz Police Department as a whole acknowledges or denies that people of color are disproportionately effected by police brutality and violence?
-Can you answer personally and if the Santa Cruz Police Department as a whole acknowledges or denies that unnecessary and unconstitutional violence has been frequently used recently by officers across the country against peaceful protesters and press?
-In countries like Iceland, Norway and Ireland the police usually do not carry firearms. How do you feel about this and do you think it would be conducive to a more civil and peaceful society here in the states? Do you think it would forge more trust between officers and citizens if the police did not carry weapons?
-In my research I am finding that on average US police academy training is 19 weeks. Do you feel this is an adequate amount of time for an officer to have thorough training in all aspects of what they may be faced with? In Germany for instance, the training can go as long as three years. Would you as a police chief support or not support a longer duration in training in the police academies?
-During traditional police academy is there training or emphasis in conflict de-escalation techniques? Will you and the people working under you be committing to more training on dialogue, communication, and de-escalation techniques to reduce and eliminate police brutality in the event of an officer and citizen interaction?
-Disbanding and defunding of the police. What are your thoughts on this? Do you foresee a reduction of funds for the SCPD and if this occurred what do you think the results would be when it comes to everyday duties and situations faced for SCPD officers?
-What is SCPD's official policy on the use of a firearm by an officer towards a citizen? And the official policy on using a taser to disarm a person?
-What are your thoughts on the effectiveness of psychological screening and testing that police recruits undergo before being allowed to work with the public? Is it enough? Should there be more screening?
-What acknowledgements and attitude shifts if any are taking place within the SCPD when it comes to the blue code of silence?
-Your thoughts please on the kettling tactic used frequently to control and arrest crowds of protesters.
-Growing up with a family member who was an officer that worked very long shifts for days on end it always seemed to me that the shifts were too long, with not enough time to rest and live in between. This schedule seemed to cause a lot of stress and tiredness. Do you think that more thoughtful scheduling for police officers, considering the high stress nature of the work, would reduce their stress levels thus effecting positively their reactions to confrontational situations? Would officers then have more internal reserves to work with and would this help in reducing implicit knee jerk biases, especially racial biases?
-The practice of racial profiling. Does racial profiling exist inherently in the field of law enforcement? Is racial profiling a secret or non secret part of police training? How does this come to be so obviously widely used?
-If you have issues and complaints on a certain officer what do you do to remedy that? Is there a policy on how many complaints an officer can have before he is fired or
is that determined subjectively by a higher up on the team?
June 2nd, 2020
Dear Cosmic Community💜 This heart has been breaking so intensely this past week today I feel finally able to articulate and all I can do is listen to all of the innumerable voices and perspectives in my human family and see the actualizations around the country of such valid pain and valid pent up hot burning rage volcanic eruptions of what has been building for so long, and incomparable sadness, and generational anguish, I am hearing and feeling all around me from brothers and sisters, and inside. The lives of my sisters and brothers of color MATTER. Absolutely. Tremendously. You are beautiful, you are exquisite, you matter. You do not deserve or should experience any disrespect and discrimination, ever!!! These things have to fucking change, they really have too immediately. Black Lives Matter. This stops now, it is our responsibility. Here we are together facing this destruction and creation. I feel clarity today instead of intense anxiety and meltdown despair for days. Head still in my hands and I'm reaching out for you. Going for a jog today I tried to imagine again how it would feel to be hunted and shot, or surrounded and murdered over a $20 bill, just because of the shade of my skin, such an impermanent body suit. To even walk around with that kind of fear. I'm skittish being a lady on my own sometimes yet I feel safe walking and jogging through my fucking neighborhood during the DAY. Many don't. With intense sadness I know that it is true, it is reality for so many, for friends and neighbors, it is not right. Why the fuck is it that governing principals have become so corrupted that functioning life itself revolves around capital and the pursuit of it is silently agreed upon to be more of value than all life??!!! Mr. Floyd was a black father murdered by a white man in a position of supposed service, who could have made a different choice without that awful look on his face but he didn't and it was over a 20 dollar bill, this particular murder. How tragically symbolic. A match that lit a bubbling fuse that's been in the fabric of our societies for so long. Economic and environmental racism and layers of social racism and soul crushing wealth disparity and the events all of it creates subtly and not so subtly daily need to be worked consciously into total elimination. Justice system needs total reform. Its good to fucking scream and feel it and give a voice to the rage in us all. I feel heart ripped up by these experiences of others. Feels of the death happening of an old world paradigm. It is a dark realization to have over and over that the tactics of survival my black friends and neighbors have to use daily, it's on a whole other level than my own, and it needs to stop being this way. I understand that I will never understand. Every black person deserves respect and their dignity to be honoured. Its a humbling realization over and over how much damage fear can cause. It is our responsibility to change this. These killings must stop. This wealth polarization that greedy capitalists have created and this for profit healthcare system is not functioning for the people and needs to be replaced. It is killing our souls and the planet and has so much responsibility in our country's foundation in racism, and I truly hope it can be done peacefully, oh by the Great Goddess. It is destroying people and life on this planet with its insatiable greed and need to exploit for material gain. People battling for money and resources for a fucking false fake ass sense of security, to keep the wheels greased on a system that's breaking people to the point where violent revolution is the last resort. I see that work and trade and the spirit of commerce are a part of society and perhaps are natural human expressions but its too much pressure now on the planet and the people that do the most work like grow the food are supported the least and people that throw oblong pieces of blown up pigskin around in tight uniforms or are in the cult of celebrity are supported like absolute kings, and not even teachers are paid well. We are obviously not all the same individually in personality and culturally (fortunately, that'd be so boring) but we are one human community and are connected on these soul levels and in my opinion I think that the terrible uneasiness writhing like a dying snake throughout the planet we have been feeling for so long is due to the fact that so many people are suffering silently on the planet to varying degrees in a grinding machine of modern serfdom and systemic racism and never ending colonialism and destruction of sacred lands. But now 2020 events have the dynamic changing suddenly more acutely and abruptly and the anger which indicates our boundaries is erupting after this period of quarantine. Inevitable eruptions for change but what tragic circumstances as a precursor. Do we have it in us to reconstruct things so that people of color don't have to live in fear in these horrible ways and the nervous systems of people are under less stress? Be it so, in willingness to work with you. Not corrupted is the soulful poetic beauty and strength and natural optimism and community in people, even in the face of soul destruction genocide or constant war that colonialism and out of control capitalism have created. In full fucking support of traumatized people that have been blatantly abused and killed and more insidiously subtly fucked with for so long getting this message of change or else across EXACTLY the way it seeds to be sent for action to be taken. I feel like there is so much loneliness around the world.😢 I don't wish for violence or violent revolution anywhere. I've been violent in the past to myself and others and have had violence done to me repeatedly and its not the way of responsible responsiveness, it's simply reactivity, it's so destructive and I don't think it's a truly effective way to create real change if it's a consistent vibration present but what options really are left here in this particular situational tipping point? I was born into a military service and police affiliated family. I see the humankind in family members wanting to serve and make a living and I respect that. I also see the police state of control and brutality and a corrupt justice system that has got to be eliminated. Because there is such obvious murderous racism infused disrespect by the police. The military and police seem quite well equipped to react violently with protesters yet there were not enough masks or ventilators or supplies circulating through hospitals? Doesn't make sense. Fucked. It is about power and control when it comes to the mindset of enforcers of the law.💜Santa Cruz has been peaceful💜The mindset of power and control over people is just not a functioning perspective. The brutal bloodstained colonialist past of this country needs to be written about and spoken of truthfully. But that means we need to behave better and more consciously with each other so that we won't need police and military!!! I KNOW we are all learning to get along better everyday in a world where beauty and love and potential and community lie in the melting of cultures. I'm working on this too. Mutual respect💜 As a mom finding the words to explain racism to my children has felt like searching for words to describe complete madness but these tough conversations need to be had in all circles and consistently often. Every human being I have ever been in contact with is a teacher. Thank you for teaching me about what I can do to further develop socially to be of better service in a world in need of so much change. What are my own personal fear laced mindset patterns stemmed from trauma around forging deeper working alliances with other humans to more effectively create necessary changes? This is Saturn in Aquarius time and the last time Saturn was in Aquarius it was a social climate that exposed a victim of extreme police brutality, Rodney King, and the subsequent rioting, and the last time Pluto was in Capricorn was the American Revolution. What is outdated WILL fall and die out. That is how the symbolism of this transit actualizes in an evolutionary sense within the world, and inside our own souls. Messy and heartbreaking empowering necessary work. We destroy what isn't working and we build together. I want to hear all my friends and family speak their valid and needed opinions. I want to listen and hear what you are saying. I deeply want this. I want to share all the music with you. Feels like the human world has never been under more stress and unsustainabilty in all its daily practices than right now. I feel the uprisings are going to create a platform for significant change and though the looting and destruction of small businesses is obviously not helpful and marks a stain on the peaceful protests especially so for the people affected by the looting that are just trying to survive like you and I, the fact that all these corporations were given massive financial relief during the covid quarantine and American businesses were fucking forced to close and people losing their jobs including myself and so many I hear and see are now in financial crisis and have not been adequately assisted and money is obviously the God Of Worship in all this, WELL a lot of people are going to react to that in anger and why wouldn't they. I want to listen more fully to what you have to say and I'm totally here if you need someone. Last year I was hoping one night that the rare astrological transits and alignments of 2020 would just really not manifest so explicitly, like economic depression and plague, but yet it has and it must be so that we can build new structures together. I pray for our world in optimism, it will be a highly pressurized few years, we can get it together💜 Three volatile eclipses coming up fast, all stirring up anger and suppressed emotion and creating chaos and eruptions in our hearts and discord in public discourse and the deep valid need to express subjective truths. There is a needlepoint focus on deeper moral principals in the subconscious unearthing. Life philosophies and social higher philosophies vs. daily happenings, daily coping mechanisms, the blending of the two, exploring the reality of that polarity and bridging the gaps. The south node of the moon moving into Sagittarius was going to stir it up for sure, roots needing to be exposed and pulled out, which is social revolution. I am totally on your side, fuck anyone that tries to hurt you. With love and support and cries from my empathic connection to you, if you suffer, I do too, we all do. This ends here. I understand that I will never understand.This is my perspective, I had to write it out, if you don't like it, please at least respect it, I respect yours and I love you 💜 Sending you all so many hugs💜🙏💜