George Carlin has got me thinking. In the below clip on Bill Maher the topic is Katrina and they discuss (among other things) black men taking TV's from Best Buy. Maher points out that Bush's rhetoric in response was some encouragement to shoot such people on sight, which of course is ridiculous. The right winger replies "Well at least we can agree the looting is terrible." Carlin basically says "To tell you the truth I'm not too worried about it."
This got me thinking about our two tiered justice system. I'm reading a book right now called "The New Jim Crowe." Our justice system is simply skewed against blacks and other minorities. Blacks use illicit drugs at the same rate as whites, blacks are 13% of the population, and yet blacks are over 50% of the people in prison for non violent possession only type drug crimes. This YouTube video which purports to be a documentary of the book I'm reading, is kind of just a mash up of interviews and news pieces that show that this is not an accident. The Reagan administration realized that fear of the black man was a winning political issue. Divisive. Funnels dollars from the private prison industry into the coffers. And drug money can be used to fund terrorist operations in Latin America. So the CIA piped in the drugs and Reagan/Bush coordinated with the media a big "crack cocaine" scare campaign. They filled the prisons with black men, generating enormous profits.
It sounds too crazy to be true. The idea that the CIA was the source of crack. But even the CIA admits this now. Now, we know many black men have been incarcerated for use and distribution of crack. Who from the CIA is incarcerated? What about the very top people, like Bush Sr or the at the time CIA director? The very source of the problem? Well of course they are not only free but living in luxury. Ollie North is celebrated. He had his own show on Fox News.
Something like 50% of black males of this generation have either been in prison, jail, or probation. It becomes difficult to enter mainstream society with a record like that. What happens when men of this age are locked up or develop this history to where making a living is difficult? If they have children those children suffer. The father, struggling to make a living even for himself, may be tempted to leave and deprive these children of a good role model. These children might grow up and do stupid things, like steal a TV from Best Buy. People on the right are ready to shoot them on sight. The root cause of the problem they ignore. Those people get away.
One more economic thought on this situation. Who is harmed when a TV is stolen from Best Buy? Not the person that made the TV. He's in Mexico making $1 an hour or so and he has already been paid. Not the workers at Best Buy. Their salary doesn't change. In an economy where corporations have record cash and only hire to meet the demand the people harmed are the investors. The poorest half of people in this country don't own any stock, so they obviously are not harmed. By and large it's the richest people in the world that are harmed when a poor person steals a TV from Best Buy.
Mitt Romney made $20 million in 2010 and he didn't work. He's the kind of guy that gets the largest share of the money due to the profits generated by workers. So you can kind of see why the right wing would want to shoot a black man for stealing a TV. He's stealing from Mitt Romney, a super rich guy that won't actually notice because he already has money coming out of his ears. But so what? Serving the needs of the rich is of prime importance.
Romney doesn't actually "steal" because "stealing" means illegally taking something. He takes the value created by the Mexican factory worker, but it's not stealing because it's legal. Let's say the Mexican worker is paid $5 to make a TV. Other costs related to delivering that TV to a buyer amount to maybe $300. The TV is actually sold for $1000. So Romney gets $695, even though he may have been asleep through the whole process.
It's kind of like how nobody is concerned about higher level CIA personnel that created the crack epidemic. They go free and the black man that smoked some goes to prison. In the same way nobody is concerned when Romney takes all the value created by others (we can't call it stealing because it is legal). We're not worried about that. Only when the black man does the same. When he takes a TV he didn't create then he's to be shot for it.
I think Carlin is saying that we should concern ourselves first with the much larger "thefts" and the people at the very top of the drug trade. People like Mitt Romney and Bush Sr. I think that's right.