Foto by tgw, New York City, November 2010
A The Daily Growler Bulletin: From the Late Chalmers Johnson's new book:
"However ambitious President Barack Obama's domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union." [from: www.alternet.org/story/147964/]
The Gnashing of Teeth in the Controlling of Nerves
Noise surely bothers most people same as it does me. Yet, when I complain about noise around burbers or hinterlanders, I get this, "Hey, you live in New York City, silly; noise goes with the territory." "But, but, but...," I stutter back. And this is true; I should expect constant noise living in New York City...and get used to it. New York City--and another bad habit we New Yorkers have--those of us who live on Manhattan Island--we refer to Manhattan as New York City. There are parts of the whole New York City that aren't noisy, though not many. Like noisy neighbors. There's some noise you can't escape no matter where you live in this city's five boroughs.
Today the noise I'm combating with my will power is a horridly noisy tool of some kind being used over at what seems to me like the perpetual building site right abruptly next door flat against my building, just a few small feet outside one of my windows--the 18-story hotel/whorehouse/bedbug-breeding-ground/rat-and-mice-breeding-ground that has been disrupting the peace of my Midtown Manhattan neighborhood for over two years now--and I say "perpetual site" because in terms of completion, there is no end in sight.
I recognize today's noise-making tool as an old faithful one. Yet, it's one I have an identity problem with. It's a tool that produces a noise similar to that made by a compressed-air jackhammer tearing into concrete--the concrete tool cutting into the abstract concrete. Whatever the tool is, its noise is one of those that is so invasive/disruptive/insanity-inducing you can hear it for blocks both sideways and vertically outwardly and inwardly it bores into your brain's echo chamber where it echoes throughout your head thunderous like the roar of the Minotaur. Then add to this unidentifiable jackhammer-like tool a coeval in disruption, a very soprano and therefore nerve-jangling electric saw that irritates the adult brain same as a shrieking child or a sassy yap-barking Yorkie does. And this is not just short bursts of sawing, it's long what-seem-like more-than-minutes-long marathons of sawing. They are sawing wood and soon after they've sawed this wood for what seems like 5 minutes you begin to first smell the resulting sawdust loosed into the air then second to taste it. Then the thought hits you suddenly that if you can smell and taste this sawdust, it must be being inhaled into your lungs where it's plastering the walls of your lungs with a coating of wood guck.
Poor old New York City lungs anyway. The air of New York City. Think about it. Think about there being literally millions of automobiles and trucks and buses cruising and rocking up and down the length and across and back the width of Manhattan 24/7. Vehicles with all kinds of emission problems, some belching black smoke, other's being choked into combustible submission on cheap watered-down gasoline and diesel. And buses no matter their age blow and fart out mixtures of oil and diesel fuel into the air as they trip up and down and across and back across the Island. And among the millions of automobiles are what seems like millions of taxis, limos, delivery cars. And forget about the trucks of all sizes, from the giant refrigerator trucks that deliver those "fresh" frozen supplies to all the fast food joints, like the Subway/Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin & Robbins store up on the corner of Fifth Avenue and my street. And then there are the hundreds and hundreds of delivery trucks and the thousands of delivery vans of all shapes and conditions that are active all day and night throughout Manhattan. Then there are the garbage trucks kept busy 24/7 hauling out the tons and tons of garbage created on a second-to-second basis in this city. Even writing about all this makes me start sneezing--now I have chest pains--congestion--sinusitis.
Add to this dirty air the dirty air surrounding all these hi-rise construction sites going up on a capital-venture mad pace throughout Manhattan Island. The buildings when finished become air polluters themselves, plus the taller and broader they build these monstrosities open air space is being closed in. Like, this fifty-two story-block-wide boutique hotel that suddenly popped up in my once wind-swept neighborhood, yes, to ruin a once great view southwest across the Hudson River I had, but also to change the direction of the winds and breezes that used to blow steadily into my windows from the west...to change the air currents...to change and reroute the electro-magnetic fields. Plus once finished, these behemoth buildings's roof-top exhaust units are spraying out all kinds of toxins down on us poor low-level-livers far down below. Now consider the thousands of skyscrapers on Manhattan Island, each belching out its toxic fumes and gases and oil smoke and incinerator fumes and smoke and its sewer vents letting the flatulent gases of the building escape so it doesn't explode.
Of course this is why our NYC Power Elite lives in the upper floors--the highest floors of the many hi-rise luxury buildings. Yes, they are closer to the gods and protected from the riff-raff (the common man) up there on their sacred heights. They faithfully believe up in the clouds they are living in the purer airs of our contaminated atmosphere.
And I haven't mentioned the many Con-Ed (New York City's electric utility company) power substations all over this city (there's one two buildings away from my apartment) each spewing out tons of dioxides, carbons, and mercury toxins on a 24/7 basis. Also there are several huge new garbage incineration plants around the city. Plus, Manhattan Island is in the direct path of the gaseous toxic killer airs being blown our way from the Cancer Alleys of South Jersey--the air daily polluted by all the chemical plants and refineries from Carteret over to Bayonne--especially along the Arthur Kill.
I bitch about it; yet I can't leave New York City no matter the scary polluted air I'm subjecting my body to. No matter the multiple toxins I'm ingesting and trying to digest at full capacity day-in day-out. No matter how openly subject to terrorist attacks I am--or attacks from our own security forces and police forces and FBIs and CIAs and National Guards--I am, like, embedded in this city--the truest of American cities--the one city that is based solely on individual efforts--as undemocratic a city as you'll find.
And I'm not a native New Yorker. However, when I return to those places that are native to me, I can't wait to get back to NYC. The last time I was in Dallas--a city now of several million--it seemed like the sticks to me--like a mock effort to be as metropolitan as New York City. I mean downtown Dallas comparatively comes out like a pimple on the ass of downtown Manhattan.
And I've been to Chicago, though I've not stayed there for any very long period of time, but I've been there and I've been on the Loop, on Michigan Avenue, on State, on Rush, and it felt good there I must admit--and the lakefront is impressive to me being right there like it is on the Midway--but I'm sure if I were there long enough it would soon seem outlandish to me. A friend of mine who left New York City to live and work in Chicago said the first week he was there he knew he wasn't going to last there--he lasted 5 years--New York City was already calling him back the minute he tried to settle there and become a Chicagoan.
Yes, I see several handwritings on the walls of Manhattan. It is changing. It will change evolutionarily and there's nothing I or anybody else can do about that. And now, yes, it is changing before my very eyes and ears--these noises that are testing my will power for instance are the noises of change--of development, as the Power Elite justifies it. It's like a supernatural wizard is pointing his or her magic forefinger at old New York stable neighborhoods and is zapping them into a gentrified state over night.
Like Harlem. Harlem is turning White--"White Overnight," as the old-time Harlemites are joking about it, though in their hearts they are seriously sad and concerned as they see these wide-eyed, perky, devil-may-care, high-salaried or family-endowed White Baby Boomers and their spoiled-brat children invading their established neighborhood first as developers and then as property owners and real estate investors. I've seen a couple of hi-rise luxury buildings going up in the West 120s and 130s up in Harlem that there's no way in Plantation Hell any average Black person could afford the rents or cost of a condo in those buildings once they are finished. The plain old ordinary Manhattan condo sells for 1.6 million bucks--and that's for a very small apartment--larger apartments can run way on up into the double-figure millions given a high floor with views and a gentrified location--gentrified meaning it's a safe neighborhood for Whites to move into and takeover.
Yes, Whites do own most of and certainly rule all of New York City. And through White privilege, yes, Whites can come to NYC and succeed majestically if they are individually determined enough. For instance, our billionaire mayor came to New York City from Boston via Johns-Hopkins U in Baltimore. He came here a bright little boy but an ordinary little bright boy among millions of little bright boys with a good reputation but not much money. But it was in New York City that this pompous little creep of a man--a whining boy--got rich--lucked into his billions and his Bloomberg LP. Our billionaire mayor entered into his mayoral job worth 5 billion. Success! Now after settling into his 3rd and illegal term as mayor, a term he paid 200 million bucks out of his own pocket to get himself elected to, our little serious billionaire mayor is worth 13 billion bucks. And we New Yorkers during our last mayoral election were asking ourselves, "Why would a man spend 200 million bucks of his own fortune to run for a job that pays a couple'a hundred thousand a year?" A job whose salary this little prick snubs--he takes a buck a year or some such condescending asshole sum like that.
So here's a dude who spends 200 million bucks to get himself elected to a job that pays him $1 a year. Does it make sense to you? It does when you consider, as I said above, that while mayor of New York City, this little Boston boy's worth has risen from 5 billion to 13 billion--that's an advance of 8 billion dollars SINCE HE's BEEN MAYOR!
Think of you being worth 13 billion dollars. Would you have a worry in the world? Wouldn't you feel sort of invincible? Would you be ruthless with your power?
New York City's mayor considers himself one of the ultimate businessmen of the world. He sees the government of New York City as a business. For instance, our mayor, by political hook and crook got the State to make him baron of the New York City Public School System. As NYC School System baron, Little Mike the Billionaire Mayor just appointed in secret (all businessmen work in secret) a woman head of the New York City school system who has no teaching experience; she's never had a teaching certificate; she doesn't have a graduate degree in anything; yet, this businessman mayor appointed her, a businesswoman, to head this huge school system, of which 80% of its students are not White--they are Black and Latino.
You see, folks, White people consider Asians, Jews, Middle-East Indians, and American Arabs and Persians as White people--that way Whites claim New York City is a White majority city. It is quite natural for White people to ignore the needs of nonWhites, especially when it comes to education. The secret to why the mayor put a businesswoman as head of the NYC school system? Money. The budget for the NYC school system is around 20 billion dollars. That to a businessman or businesswoman makes school children commodities. Little products off whom these business-oriented billionaires and their asskissing lackeys can make tons of good ole Capitalist profits. Rich people truly feel like they are superior to the average man, woman, or child in every way--but especially in knowledge and morals, etc. By a businesswoman heading the NYC Public School System, she'll manage the money end of the game, fuck the god-damn peasant (pissant) kids--mostly Black and Latino kids whose situations must be kept oppressed--I mean where are we gonna get the prisoners needed to make the prison industry profitable? where are we going to get workers who'll work for chicken feed? where are the wealthy going to obtain their nannies and cooks and butlers and maids and servants? where are the Power Elite going to get off-the-books folks to clean out their shit cans?
Noise in New York City. The louder it is the easier it is to ignore the screams for help getting competitively louder and louder as they are soaked by the White Power Elite that definitely owns New York City--and who, I think, now owns the United States of America and the Republic for which it stands--one nation under God.... God-damn this fucking change. Or I should say, God-damn this fucking wrong (directionally speaking) change.
for The Daily Growler