by Don Washington on 2012/01/05
When Mayor Rahm Emanuel says: "I misspoke, and I take responsibility for the confusion,” that tighter protest rules and higher fines for thwarting police would be temporary measures designed just for a pair of spring meetings of international leaders in Chicago he’s lying. Hal Dardick knows this but this isn’t about Hal’s inability to find his way out of a damn closet. This is about the collective failure of the entire press corps to start reporting on the systematic stripping of the public’s right to assemble and dissent with some damn context. Mayor Emanuel’s ordinance is designed to crackdown on, limit and place controls on the NATO/G-8 protests and what the means is taking a fish-billie to the knees and face of the 1st and 4th Amendments. Maybe I’m too stupid to breathe without directions but I thought it was the media’s job to embody the 1st Amendment and to defend the 4th Amendment?
I’ve been reading a lot of media about the Mayor, which swings between his ties to money, political war chest, and economic savvy, superhuman athletic prowess, love of his family, braggadocio, confidence, combativeness and keen intellect. Half the time I can’t discern if they are talking about him or the hero in the novel they’ve been writing on the side. The one thing they never say is that he’s dumb and there is evidence that this is a correct assessment of the man. Mayor Emanuel is so smart that many people who helped get him “elected” to Congress Al Sanchez and Donald Tomczak, for example are in jail and people are STILL going to jail for it and not a drop of that corruption got on him. In fact he’s Mayor while they are making license plates or whatever it is that they are doing downstate. You can say a lot of things about Mayor Emanuel but stupid is NOT one of them.
So if one were to give some context to the Mayor’s recent remarks one might start with a simple question like, who wrote this ordinance? According to one of the only actual reporters in Chicago, Kristen Mack, this ordinance was drafted by the Mayor. So that would lead to next easy question for someone with thumbs to ask, Mr. Mayor are you telling us that you do not know what’s in this ordinance? Which might lead to this question; Mr. Mayor if you don’t know about this substantial part of the ordinance you had drafted how can we be certain that you know anything about the ordinance? One could imagine that a journalist might be compelled to ask an “advanced placement accountability” question like; Mr. Mayor given how little you know about this ordinance shouldn’t you rewrite it and resubmit it to the City Council so that you and they know what they are voting on?
Man that would be one hell of a press conference and why stop with the Mayor? Why didn’t the aldermen know what they were voting on/for? Did they know or did they just trust a guy, the Mayor, who lied to them about the power he was granting to the police and the rights he was stripping from the citizens? Look, a whole new round of sharp, pointy and useful questions that the press could ask and should be asking Aldermen. What is lost in all of this is what does it mean that the G8/NATO are here at all? The framing of these visits vacillates between making sure that riots don’t break out and how they might be a showcase for Chicago as an international city. I’m just going to be blunt here; this is framing for idiots, written by idiots and in service to the powerful. There, blunt enough? This is a situation that screams for context.
Did you know that the G8 decided that austerity, the force that is creating riots in Europe, is a good economic idea? Do you even have an idea of what austerity is? Are you informed on what the G8 actually does? Well it works for things like NAFTA, WTO, GATT and the like and if that’s all just a bunch of letters to you think globalization and free trade. You can also think the banking crisis and corporate rights over say environmental justice or human rights. Do realize that many G8 Summits since the 1990’s have had some level of preventive arrest? For example, in Canada and Italy preventive arrest were hallmarks of G8 security. If you don’t think it can happen here it already did in New York City and Minneapolis. So here’s a question for the Mayor our media could ask; will there be preventative arrests and if so how is that list being compiled? In reference to the NDAA this seems like an incredibly good question to ask.
I can tell by how hard your head is spinning that you’ve not thought about this issue this way. Here are some questions that I strongly suggest you start asking the media people to start asking somewhere in public. Since the G8/NATO is going to be here what is the city doing to protect the rights of protestors and inform the general public about the decisions being made? How about this question, who decided to bring the G8/NATO summits here? It certainly wasn’t the City Council… was it? Given the policies of the G8 what does it say about politicians that want them here? Is the Mayor in favor of the spread of child labor, the lowering environmental laws, global living standards and wages, workers’ rights, human rights and public pensions? What does it mean that a person who supports those kinds of policies is setting public policy here in Chicago? Now that’s a frame that comes from some context and I know I’m asking a lot but I’m not a journalist and these questions occur to me… what the hell is wrong with Fran, Hal and the rest of the gang in this city?