Posts Tagged ‘Polplawski’

Struggling local musicians join current and aspiring politicians are the latest individuals to attempt to exploit the Stanton Heights shooting for personal gain. Rusted Root, an awful hippie world beat/jam band who enjoyed some local popularity in the 90s and Joe Grushecky, blue collar rocker famous for knowing Bruce Springsteen, join awful. canned country from former Povertyneck Hillbillies, young  rapper Whiz Khalifa, and assorted has-beens, never-weres, and cover bands for a May 25 concert billed as: Fallen Not Forgotten: Memorial Benefit Concert for the Fallen Police Officers. One need not possess a finely honed sense of irony to notice that the relationships between police, and hippies, rappers, and the working class have historically been strained, to say the least. This contradiction is irrelevant for publicity seeking musicians, their managers, and promoters.

Members of local vigilante group, Lawrenceville United were the first to use this incident for publicity for Tony Ceoffe’s bid for magistrate. Mr. Ceoffe wasted no time in cranking out a letter to the editor of the local paper to make sure he could get a little publicity for his campaign. This would seem innocent enough or part of the regrettable human tendency to kiss up to power, but not where this publicity/power hungry vigilante is involved.

A more repulsive publicity stunt was pulled off by this non-profit lynch mob when the right-wing gunman’s grandmother, who was already a victim of her family associations with this nazi kook, who couldn’t have been fun to live with, chained herself to the railing of the now boarded-up house where the shootings took place and began chain smoking and praying with her cat, wrapped in a Steelers blanket. A pathetic scene to say the least.

Publicity Stunt by Local Vigilante Group

Publicity Stunt by Local Vigilante Group

The scene became even more pathetic with the arrival of Jenny Skrinjar, sister-in-law of deceased former Mayor O’Connor’s, hype man, Dick Skrinjar. Bulldog impersonator, Miss Skrinjar (I can’t call an old lady “Jenny”)  the president of the Lawrenceville United vigilante group, whose relationship with Ceoffe is uncharacterized, but they seem pretty close, is not one to waste a chance to be on TV. She showed up with another scary looking woman an crude scary. memorial wreaths, who told the media:

“The focus needs to be on these police officers. She just wants attention, and she’s trying to direct attention away from them.”

Miss Skrinjar’s companion could be referring to herself and the former hairdresser. The local media coverage was non-stop. It was never about anything but the cops. These sad women needed attention and to make it about them.

We are second-class citizens when police are involved and the court proceedings have been no exception. DA Zapalla has made a career of reminding citizens their lives matter less than those of police officers, for whatever higher political aspirations he may have, and gag orders were denied so that the police and politicians could make their case to the public, in the name of memorial services. Governor Rendell, of course, wants this to pretext to make the shooter’s paranoid gun-grab fantasies come true.

Last and certainly least, local rich boy neo-nazi, who “only” killed a civilian and whose wealthy family could pay for legal representation and get him off, also found his way back into the spotlight, with features in the local media. Hopefully, in the future, the police will think twice about the protection and bus rides they give to neo-nazi demonstrators, as their relationship has seemed convivial in the past.  For once I was pleased to see them beat someone until their head looked like a beach ball.

Although they had been trying to keep their distance in the wake of the police shootings in Pittsburgh, right-wing pundits rallied their misguided, working-class fans with racial and religious fascists in Pittsburgh’s Market Square, as well as the rest of the US, for what was billed by some of its sponsors as a “Tax Day Tea Party”. These events were sponsored by a handful of lobbying and public relations firms and promoted by a very effective right-wing noise machine, with help from the mainstream media, and other private-plane populists, but the liberal bloggers have that covered. Even though the event was held on a work day, attendance could not have been much of problem, since the attendees were largely rallying on behalf of their bosses.

The conservative elites have done an impressive job of speaking to the needs of working people and convincing them to abandon their own interests in favor of Wall Street’s needs. The contradictions are almost too overwhelming to notice. Like Samuel Wurzelbacher’s “Joe the Plumber” character, speaking at anti-union rallies, when the best economic times for the working -class were the days when they were heavily unionized. The business unions and liberal elites have no one to blame but themselves, having long abandoned working people in favor of middle-class academicians and bohemians. The Republicans, especially since the days of their persistently-vegetative icon from Hollywood,  have managed to deliver, at least in small ways, to their base, something the Democrats have refused to do for years.

Anarchists and their rivals in the authoritarian Leftist alphabet soup, especially those concerned with building mass movements, have an even poorer recent track record of relevance to ordinary people. Part of the blame lies with the success of consumer capitalism in recuperating social movements and writing dissent off as nothing more than youthful rebellion. A refusal to acknowledge that global consumer capitalism is not the same as it was in the 19th century or even the 1960s continues to marginalize revolutionary ideology and theory. The centralized, industrial economies that continue to inhabit most of the rhetoric have not existed for quite some time, and critical thinking on this matter is often met with resistance from backwards thinking radicals.

I’ve learned to never put any faith in demonstration head counts, but some of these events appear to be pretty sizable, although my brave anti-fascist source on the ground reported only about 200-300 people in Pittsburgh (local right-wing paper says 1000, the other paper says “several hundred” , local pundits who spoke said thousands on morning show).  Present in this crowd were any number of neo-fascist boneheads. It is difficult to tell for sure, given the popularity of close-cropped hairstyles for men (and big hair for women) during Republican administrations and among those who wish to live vicariously through US military personnel (and their domestic equivalent, the police). Some of them made it easy by wearing  clothing clearly marked with symbols and slogans sold by neo-nazi record labels and clothing companies. Internet chatter and other intelligence suggested that Keystone United, (formerly known as Keystone State Skinheads) would be recruiting at these events. These morons have changed their name (perhaps inspired by the success of local racist vigilante group, Lawrenceville United) and their logo to capitalize on the resurgence of violent nationalist rhetoric in the US that occurs during Democratic administrations. Many leftists and anarchists incorrectly believed that an Obama presidency would be good for progressive movements and working people, but myself and others pointed out the kinds of violent, flagsucking rhetoric that the right-wing engages in when they don’t control the US government.

That’s not to say the Tea Parties were solely the work of white supremacists, (it was lobbyists) but it’s a very short walk from nationalism to fascism. Mainstream pundits on the right  push a diluted, more accessible version of the same message that the Hollywood, dress-up nazis do, the obvious difference being divergent views on the state of Israel.

Here are some pictures of a few of the nazis at the Pittsburgh tea party:

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The "master race" eats its enemies

The "master race" eats its enemies

The eugenic "ideal" sloping forehead, thick brow, underbite, and bifocals

The eugenic "ideal" sloping forehead, thick brow, underbite, and bifocals

The shirt reads "Good Night, Red Side" it's some neo-nazi slogan, but like the others, it makes no sense.

The shirt reads "Good Night, Red Side" it's some neo-nazi slogan, but like the others, it makes no sense.

Full view of shirt

Full view of shirt