Tag Archives | Baltimore

Brutality is Our Society’s Trademark—From the Justice System to Healthcare

Protesters hold a banner that reads, "Health Care is a Human Right." (Photo: Jobs With Justice/cc/flickr)

Protesters hold a banner that reads, “Health Care is a Human Right.” (Photo: Jobs With Justice/cc/flickr)

Donna Smith writes at Common Dreams:

Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen so many examples of brutality played out in our cities — and mostly our most impoverished areas — that it isn’t difficult to see why so many people are in the streets.  Many say white people cannot truly understand the deep racial issues that target African American people and their communities, and that is no doubt true.  But that sort of thinking also keeps groups of people apart who might otherwise band together to exert powerful forces on the corruption that manifests itself in so many places in our society.

Since I advocate for transformation of our health care system, I see brutality — economic and physical — exerted on patients all the time.  Yet patients often do not speak up or gather enough support to wage even a small protest. 

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Freddie Gray Had Pre-Existing Conditions, Just Not Ones You’ve Heard

freddie-gray

Via People’s Pundit Daily:

Reports have been circulating on the Internet suggesting Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died last week from a spinal cord injury suffered either before or while in police custody, had a pre-existing injury. The initial report from the New Republic — which PPD found serious discrepancies with — cites Howard County court records as proof that a pre-existing injury “may have possibly” led to his death in April 19.

The Baltimore Sun first pushed back on the report citing court records examined Wednesday, showing the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury.

“Instead, they are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure lead paint,” The BS report said (yes, pun intended).

However, according to a PPD investigation into the claims made in both reports, there are a number of relevant questions still unanswered.

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Mother Publicly Beats Her Son, Mainstream Media Calls Her a “Hero”

Stacey Patton, writing at the Washington Post:

It’s not surprising that a black mother in Baltimore who chased down, cursed and beat her 16-year-old son in the middle of a riot has been called a hero. In this country, when black mothers fulfill stereotypes of mammies, angry and thwarting resistance to a system designed to kill their children, they get praised.

“He gave me eye contact,” Toya Graham told CBS News. “And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that — that’s my only son and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray. Is he the perfect boy? No he’s not, but he’s mine.”

In other words, Graham’s message to America is: I will teach my black son not to resist white supremacy so he can live.

The kind of violent discipline Graham unleashed on her son did not originate with her, or with my adoptive mother who publicly beat me when I was a child, or with the legions of black parents who equate pain with protection and love.

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The rebellion in Baltimore is an uprising against austerity, claims top US academic

Screen shot 2015-05-06 at 11.31.48 AM

Ed Vulliamy writes at The Guardian:

For Baltimore to be the setting for the latest in a recent spate of high-profile police murders and riots in America – after Ferguson, New York and North Charleston – is especially compelling in the public imagination because the city was also the location for David Simon’s brilliant TV series The Wire.

Baltimore is the city from which Simon wrote for this newspaper in 2013 about “two Americas” in the “horror show” his country has become, one crucial element of which is that the US is “the most incarcerative state in the history of mankind, in terms of the sheer numbers of people we’ve put in American prisons”.

The Wire, he said, “was about people who were worthless and who were no longer necessary”, most of them black, and who become the assembly-line raw material for “the prison-industrial complex”. At an event hosted by the Observer that year, Simon said: “Once America marginalised the black 10% of the population it no longer needed, it set out to make money out of them by putting them in jail.”

The Baltimore Sun last year documented a litany of police abuse of black people – mostly but not entirely men (one was a grandmother in her 80s) – as routine as it was savage, and compensation payouts of $5.7m since 2011 for the few cases pursued and vindicated.

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#BaltimoreUprising isn’t just about Baltimore

As unrest continues in this broken and beaten down city, if we simply look at the events leading up to the Freddie Gray incident, we see a pattern – a pattern that is noticeable nationwide. A pattern of robbery, racism, injustice and inequality. Freddie Gray is the tip of the iceberg but this corruption runs deep – from TPP to FTP. #RiseUp

Watch the full episode: http://youtu.be/asonJ3tEJFw
@ActOutOnOccupy
facebook.com/ActOutOnOccupy
occupy.com/actout

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Ten Shocking Facts About Baltimore

English: Riot police form a line to push back protesters and media, Baltimore, April 28, 2015. via VOA

English: Riot police form a line to push back protesters and media, Baltimore, April 28, 2015. via VOA

Bill Quigley writes at CounterPunch:

Were you shocked at the disruption in Baltimore?  What is more shocking is daily life in Baltimore, a city of 622,000 which is 63 percent African American.  Here are ten numbers that tell some of the story.

1:  Blacks in Baltimore are more than 5.6 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites even though marijuana use among the races is similar.   In fact, Baltimore county has the fifth highest arrest rate for marijuana possessions in the USA.

2: Over $5.7 million has been paid out by Baltimore since 2011 in over 100 police brutality lawsuits.   Victims of severe police brutality were mostly people of color and included a pregnant woman, a 65 year old church deacon, children, and an 87 year old grandmother.

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David Simon Speech: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’

David Simon at Rising Tide 2011Best known as the creator of seminal TV series The Wire, David Simon gave an impromptu speech about the divide between rich and poor in America at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, and how capitalism has lost sight of its social compact. This is an edited extract via The Guardian:

America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It’s astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.

There’s no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know.

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Frank Zappa Day

Zappa Photo: Jean-Luc (CC)

Zappa Photo: Jean-Luc (CC)

Richard Simon reports from Baltimore, for the LA Times:

You’re, like, totally not going to believe this but Baltimore declared Sunday ” Frank Zappa Day,” dedicating a bust in his honor.

Grody to the max.

Seventeen years after the rocker’s death in Los Angeles, Zappa drew a large, fittingly eclectic crowd to a ceremony in the city where he was born.

“It’s about time he got the recognition he deserves,” said Greg Stinson, 50, accompanied by his 16-year-old son Matthew, also a Zappa fan.

The festivities included a concert by Zappa’s son Dweezil and his band, Zappa Plays Zappa; a library exhibit, “Zappa’s Baltimore: Rebels and Iconoclasts in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”; and a temporary name for the street in front of the library, “Frank Zappa Way.”

“The spirit of Frank Zappa is alive and well in Baltimore,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

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