Skip to main content

There is more to the Baltimore Bruhaha than just a recapitulation of the Donald's racism,

baltimore tenement 720

Sure, Donald was on this rag back when Obama was President. Back then, Donald was saying that Obama's failure to clean up Baltimore was a failure of Presidential leadership. It was a simple racist attack, trying to blame one black man for the plight of many others. Now that he's at the big, profitable Oval Office desk, it's another racist attack, welcomed by his base, to deny any presidential responsibility, and blame Baltimore's plight on other black politicians.

All of that is apparent, so clearly undeniable that even corporate "liberal" media mainstays have to acknowledge it and shake their heads in faux disgust. But that faux disgust also provides a cover to the corporate "liberal" media for not looking at any greater depth into the reality of the Baltimore situation, and of Democratic Party, and liberal-activist complicity in it.

The business of stripping money from the pockets of the working poor by providing dangerous, overpriced slum housing goes back to Donald's father and before. 

The business of stripping money from the pockets of the working poor by providing dangerous, overpriced slum housing goes back to Donald's father and before. Back when Donald was berating President Obama, Kushnervilles were doing what the Trump family had already been doing for decades.

What is it that makes Kushnervilles so profitable? Hundreds of housing code violations racked up EVERY YEAR. Refusals to do code compliance or even basic maintenance. Each year, hundreds of NON-prosecutions for such violations. Each year, thousands of months in substandard housing with tenants getting no rent adjustments, no public health enforcement, no relief from rapacious slumlords.

We hear the news stories about a younger Donald being charged with intentional racial discrimination in his residential properties. And we hear that he was able to settle for no fine, no jail time, and only a promise to "behave in the future." And we are told that such settlements are good for business, good for society, and OK because, after all, the people discriminated against weren't white, and were poor.

And we hear about these stories around the nation. Not just in Donald's New York, or Kushnerville Baltimore. We read, even in the ultra-corporate, developer friendly L.A. Times. We are horrified and titillated when gangsters and gang bangers shoot each other in the streets, occasionally killing a bystanding or cradle-lying child. And we wonder, Why can't those criminals grow up and just kill children by giving them slum housing with lead paint, infectious mold and rabid rats?

During the coming political campaigns, we will go to fun fundraising events for sensitive candidates who will tell us about their social concerns and their plans to make our cities and farms better than they have ever been. They will tell us that their plans for renewable energy and an electric car in every driveway will eliminate the need for oil drilling in all our National Parks, and off every once-beautiful beach.

And we will dream about one day being able to join the candidate and her big donors in the closed and closely guarded room where she's meeting with special donors. Those special donors are the ones who write checks that none of us can afford to write. They can afford to write those big checks because they don't have to write checks for maintenance or health code compliance on the slum buildings they own. And don't have to obey other laws.

It doesn't matter whether the check is to "democrat" Jackie Lacey in Los Angeles, or to Marylin Mosby in Baltimore. What matters is that Cyrus Vance, the famously "liberal" D.A. in New York City for years, let Jeffrey Epstein ignore his court-ordered duty to register and check in regularly with a parole officer. And Jeffrey Epstein kept his big checks flowing, just as Jared Kushner and his father-in-law, escape any prosecution for their slums by writing the right checks.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

What matters as well is that the Democratic Party keeps pushing people to agree with Donald that this should be a Presidential, or at least a Federal, national matter, rather than a local or state matter. We the voters are told, "Don't blame Jackie Lacey for the lack of housing violation enforcement, we need to pass Federal legislation" (which even "moderate" Democrats acknowledge that Moscow Mitch McConnell with never let happen).

We are told over and over, this is a national issue, a national disgrace, that we must address at a national level. And so the local politicians are given a pass to accept the big checks from developers and slumlords, while not enforcing their own local health and safety statutes, ordinances and regulations.

It is important to look at how this plays out historically. We were told that big national corporations would keep their factories and the public environment clean, because "it just makes sense to keep from offending customers." We were told that Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway should be buying up homes during the Cheney/bush depression, because they would be kept up and only rented to quality tenant, within the bounds of federal health and safety regulations. We were told that if we left the big national car companies alone, they would make safer, cleaner cars.

Now, California, long a leader in clean air requirements for cars, is being ordered by Donald's administration to weaken our smog laws and let more pollution fill our skies. We are told that factories need to be allowed to pollute more, to push up their profits (even though corporate profits are at all-time highs). And we are being told that it would be "unfair" to slumlords who bought up thousands of homes during the Cheney/Bush depression to require them to follow local and state housing regulations, since they are massive (and massively profitable) national corporations.

What is missing from this picture? Local Democratic leadership, in struggles to help local people.

The Baltimore Bruhaha is just one example of a national trend, encouraged by both the Democratic and Republican Parties. Make control and legislation more centralized, more national, more easy to control. What the slum dwellers, and every other resident, of Baltimore actually needs is local leadership to press for criminal prosecutions of businessmen who plan on breaking laws as a way of increasing profits at the expense of tenants. What is needed is civil actions for damages against slumlords.

But, for the most part, "local" activists want to be part of the "sexy" stories, the stories with police raids/shootings and children in cages. The daily lives and problems of the poor, of any color, are boring.

And local activists want to ask local landlords to contribute to campaigns. A landlord who has spent a single night in jail isn't going to be excited about contributing to anyone associated with whomever put him in jail. Local activists, doing good things, doing important things, can't afford to offend their sources of even small contributions.

We need to change this way of seeing and doing things. We need to wrest control of local prosecutors from control by those who don't want to be prosecuted. We need to see the victimization of slum dwellers, individually, as being as important as grand schemes for global change.

Part of the campaign messages from both Sanders and Warren is that we need to improve the lives of people who have been ignored, too long, by the system. They are correct. While they are talking about improvements on the national level, local activism must focus on local candidates who are talking about local solutions to local problems. Baltimorians should look to throw out whatever prosecutors refuse to go after the Kushnervilles.

And Los Angeles voters should be educated about which candidates want to rein in developers and slumlords, and which prefer to continue with the current system of turning a blind eye to the crimes of big contributors.

Tom Hall

Tom Hall

Tags
terms: