by Don Washington on 2012/05/18
This is a long post. If you have a lot to do because NATO is here all you have to read are the next paragraph. The City of Chicago has no idea how much this whole thing is going to cost. When they say they do they are lying to you. The City of Chicago is going to lose money on this event no matter what happens. This means that you and I are going to pay for the little fellah’s 1% leadership sleep over party. We might get a police riot we can’t pay for because we don’t have enough insurance to pay for it because no one would insure our police plus policemen from around the country. So if we do have a police riot then it’s going to cost us a lot more money than we thought.
The only thing being showcased is Mayor Emanuel’s willingness to use force and his clever capacity to control people. You can’t show case a city by closing its museums, sealing off its public transit and arresting dissidents/citizens but it is a hell of an audition tape for larger office and speaking fees on HOW to shut down democracy. Got all that? Good, now you don’t have to read the rest but you should. It took me close an hour to pull this damn thing together.
Reason One: Welcome to the World Class City You Will Not Be Seeing
Mayor Emanuel keeps saying that he’s bringing NATO here to “showcase” Chicago as a “world class city” whatever the hell that means. But if you have the good sense God gave a housecat you know this is a lie. If lie seems like a harsh word how can you showcase a city by closing its cultural heart down, the Museum Campus, and then sealing off over twenty blocks of it to the public? Nothing says welcome like the complete closure to the public of every easily accessible cultural landmark and resource in the city.
Nothing says this a city to bring your business or convention to like the absolutely certainty that a militarized police force is prepared to deprive you of your civil rights make it impossible to travel damn near twenty blocks of the most scenic real estate in the city. Maybe what truly warmed the Mayor's heart was all those Museum employees who will not be getting paid for those forced days off or place of business who will lose patrons cheered him up. Yep, this is an advertising/public relations plan worthy of a Mayor whose love for the city is measured in milliliters.
So if the Mayor’s coming out party is not about our vibrant neighborhoods and culture what is it about? I mean who is this whole party for? Though we cannot know what lurks inside that tiny thing Rahm calls a heart we do know that Rahm is always looking to bigger and better things. What he is demonstrating is that he can and will wield dictatorial power and is trying to draw up a playbook for how everyone can do the same. This may sound over the top, I can understand that but let’s start with the criminal arrests that have already happened.
Our media friends are calling these improper arrests. Improper is a weasel word, like it’s impolite… the officer is simply imposing on you with the handcuffs and tiny cells. Preventive arrest is what the feds and Mayor Emanuel are calling them but that sounds like a nice thing to do to protect the public from whatever these evil doers had in mind. I prefer to call a spade a spade. These are criminal arrests that violate the Constitution and will cost the city real money when the law suits start flying around like winged monkeys.
So the only thing that we know for sure about NATO is that not one dignitary is going to see any of the city outside of the bubble. Anyone watching the city will see that the Mayor is willing to use a lot of controlled, we hope, force on the population to protect the 1% and that ordinary people’s civil rights aren’t worth a thin damn dime.
The NATO Summit is a stage all right just not for the city… it’s all for our Mayor and he is excited to be on it. I wonder how much all of this is gonna cost because things like this… they cost a lot.
Reason Two: We Can’t Afford This Can We?
Since the city is facing a budget deficit, whose exact number the Mayor and his crack staff can never accurately identify, (It is between $637 million and $654 million they think.) one can only wonder where the bare minimum of number of $56 million dollars, if NOTHING goes wrong, comes from. Perhaps it is because $56 million is what the Mayor and his corporate campaign investors and the federal government were able to raise for this little party. So it cost $56 million and they raised exactly that much. If you believe that lie I’ve a bridge and some land to sell you.
When our little marmoset of a Mayor tells you how he and his crack staff came up with that number I’ll believe it. But since they won’t all we can go on is how well they’ve done on other projected numbers. Here’s one, the city stands to make $128 million and change from this event. REALLY, how dumb are we supposed to be? The idiots who came up with that number; and I use that word without reservation, are from World Business Chicago.
If you know anything about American business you know that they don’t know a damn thing about numbers, budgets or risk. Didn't they destroy the economy is 2008? Didn't CME lose close to a billion dollars recently? Didn't Jamie Diamond and JP Morgan Chase of the Infrastructure Bank just lose $2 billion... no $3 billion... no we have no idea how many billions actually last week?
I could go into exhaustive detail about gross projections of hotel revenue and missed opportunity costs that the World Business idiots missed and all that but I won’t. You don’t need any of that to understand this. We all know that closing access to an area and creating an atmosphere of concern that there may be a riot happening nearby always draws patrons to it like a magnet. Perhaps they can arrange for some gang shootings inside some restaurants to really drive up the customer count?
All I’m saying is any projection they’ve come up with almost can’t be right and that given the deficits and debt we already face anyone who can read a budget would NEVER bring this thing to this city for financial reasons. It’s fiscal insanity with a capital “f” but here we are watching a supposedly “finance guy” make an epic financial mistake. It’s almost like he doesn’t care about the damage he may be doing to the city… like he doesn’t plan to be around when all this comes back to eat us alive.
Okay, shake that off and focus on this. We also know that $56 million is the number they project if nothing goes wrong but what if something does go wrong? For example, Chicago has bought a lot weapons; even the horses have received crowd control training and gear. If something does go wrong… say the police illegally arrest someone, use excessive force, deprive someone of their civil rights, torture someone on accident or God forbid someone dies from pepper spray or something it could cost a lot more than $56 million. Thank God we got extra insurance for that… but wait… did we get that extra insurance….
Reason Three: We’re Not Even Insured for Our Possible Police Riot?
Every city has insurance to pay for catastrophic things like the Chicago Fire or 9/11 or I expect alien invasion. When cities need extra insurance against everything from earthquakes to Godzilla rising out of Lake Michigan, they often go to brokers because apparently they lack to capacity to find their own insurance. The fact that cities are incapable of finding insurance without brokers like Aon and USI speaks to a different problem that is unique to financial products and makes all of it is seem incredibly dodgy. But let’s focus on one mind-numbingly stupid problem at a time.
Infamous political black hat and cutting edge privateer, Lori Healy, (I say this with as much love as I can muster for a woman who was Daley’s Chief of Staff when he was giving away the public streets and worse.) was trying to get Aon to find Chicago additional insurance; because when you are planning a police riot you know you need to be prepared to pay for it. Aon could only find one entity of EARTH that would provide police professional liability insurance for the Chicago Police Department.
This insurance covers legal settlements for excessive force, false arrest, civil rights violations, improper search and seizure and worse. The insurance companies claim that Cook County judges are too inclined to reward protesters who bring claims against the police. Having helped write a UN report on the behavior and culture of our police force what they meant to say is that giving the CPD riot suits, pepper spray and mercenary crowd control training is a like dropping anti-matter bomb into the heart of the sun and hoping for the best.
No matter how you slice it two things are true. One, no one wanted any part of whatever mayhem Mayor Emanuel and his corporate campaign investors were cooking up so we’re back to whatever our standard protection against Armageddon insurance. Coverage, by the way, that we already know is inadequate to the task. We know this because Lori Healy tried to find some sucker to get us the insurance we needed and we couldn’t find one. It’s like even an idiot like Jamie Diamond couldn’t be found. Two, if we have a police riot it’s gonna cost you, me and everyone not incorporated in the Cayman Islands more money than Rahm can spend.
But given how rational and well trained our police officers are what could possibly make someone think that things might go wrong? It might be what the nice officers are saying to each other on their own police blogs about the possible protesters. I found it… eye opening. And since our officers seem so open to the training they’ve received maybe it would be good to get a sense of what we can expect… if things go well.
Reason Four: What Exactly Are Our Police Training for Again?
Last week the failed Newark Police Director and present Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy went on every television program in the city and said that the CPD’s training to deal with protesters exceeds the national norm. That seems to have reassured the media but when someone says they’ve been well-trained you know what the next questions should be? Well trained in what? Well trained by whom? Why aren’t you already trained to protect protesters and the public? Where I come from we call that context and since this training may end up costing the city millions of dollars in everything from unlawful arrests to wrongful death suits we ought to know whom to hold accountable later if there’s a need for all that.
Getting ahold of that sort of information is not exactly easy. The police aren’t saying who trained over 8,000 of its people. It could be the Department of Homeland Security’s mixed bag of trainers who include such luminaries as Blackwater under one of its many aliases. That sounds comforting. It could also be newer companies like Controlled Force. Who left us this fine video to peruse but no matter how you look at this our police are being “trained” to deploy force in ways that are aimed to quell dissent not protect the public. This is probably going to mean that when force gets used things are going to get extremely ugly.
Let’s make the completely insane assumption that our policemen are really well trained for this event. I say this because history instructs us and their own words tell us that a number of them will not have been interested in being well trained and might not be well-behaved. But what the hell let’s be hopeful and look on the bright side just this once. Unfortunately, they will not be the only policemen helping out. There will be police from all over the state and country coming to visit with us. Uhh… who the hell trained them?
This is probably why we, Chicago, couldn’t get enough of the required insurance for this little party. That’s right, if things go south we’re about as covered as AIG and if you can’t remember who they are try and imagine that how many mental health clinics Rahm will have to close to cover the cost of an inadequately insured police riot. So here we are a whole day into NATO and I think we can safely say that we’ve already racked up a brace of criminal arrests and likely some excessive force charges. I wonder how many schools Rahm will have to privatize to pay for all that… shared sacrifice being what it is and all.