Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Fire, Fury, and Frustration Edition

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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47 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I suppose on a very foundational level one of the big problems is that there is no universal definition of what is and what is not freedom and liberty. One of my bugbears against right-wing organizations is that they constantly claim monopoly on the words freedom and liberty. You had the far right-wing House Freedom Caucus, there is also the homophobic and anti-LBGT “Alliance defending Freedom” group that is constantly trying to enforce homophobia via court order. To be fair, I also loathe that a lot of left-leaning groups let the right-wing get away with this for so long.

    I think for a lot of people, freedom and liberty is a lot more closely related to “law and order” than it probably should be. There are just huge parts of our culture that venerate the cops and law enforcement and for a lot of white people, cops are generally benign to helpful.

    The whole culture of policing seems hard to change even in very liberal areas. De Blasio was elected with huge amounts of support among the African-American community and ran on a police reform platform and he hit a huge wall. Part of this is his own dithering (though he has done a lot for the African-American community generally) but the police seem to form a force unto themselves. Mayors come and go in terms of 4-8 years as do city council members. The police are here to stay and seem to create a cult/barricaded mentality.

    This is true in police forces all across the land. The current chief of the Minneapolis police department is African-American but he sued his own police department for racial discrimination. The head of the Minneapolis police union is a white supremacist. A lot of police forces seem insulated and nepotistic. If you are a cop, chances are that you had a brother, uncle, dad who was a cop. A lot of people don’t seem to mind cops passing down the line even if they hate the kid of doctors who becomes a doctor too.

    Even those who don’t get it through nepotism seem to have authoritarian streaks which is what makes them become cops. One potential reform I have seen here is that some smaller communities make people rotate through being cops, firefighters, and paramedics. This requires more money and training but it seems to take out an aggression factor.

    But we still live in a culture that does not know how to do anything but idolize cops as heroes or helpers. A lot of white liberal parents are also a problem here because said parents do not want to do anything that destroys childhood innocence and lots of kid culture shows cops as helpers/good guys including the visits to elementary schools or Into the Spiderverse which gave Milo Morales a cop dad because it codes reliably as blue-collar but righteous blue-collar job in the United States.

    This needs to change.Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    A message from the legitimate leader of the free world:

    How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change
    Barack Obama

    https://medium.com/@BarackObama/how-to-make-this-moment-the-turning-point-for-real-change-9fa209806067

    Moreover, it’s important for us to understand which levels of government have the biggest impact on our criminal justice system and police practices. When we think about politics, a lot of us focus only on the presidency and the federal government. And yes, we should be fighting to make sure that we have a president, a Congress, a U.S. Justice Department, and a federal judiciary that actually recognize the ongoing, corrosive role that racism plays in our society and want to do something about it. But the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.

    So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.
    Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      I liked the essay and generally agree with the points but police culture seems highly insular and walled in. De Blasio was elected on a police reform platform and has done some great stuff but he also met stiff resistance from the NYPD that no amount of will or power can seemingly surmount. Reformist District Attorneys also seem actively underminded by the cops.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron david
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    says:

    Damn. I was right there with you… Until HM3. Why? I don’t care if you disagree with him, that’s healthy. But calling him a Grifter, or Jackass, or any other dip shittery like that will just reinforce his point of view on the right. And further alienates you from that perspective, unable to make any sort of change or have influence you might think is appropriate and needed.

    Fully half of the country is more conservative than the other half. And while that is a tautology, in this period of deep, deep animosity between the various factions in the country, taking away the idea that any opinion they might have is simply to steal money or con people, to delegitimize them and brand them as simple liars is not just uninformed, it hurts the very thing that you are trying to achieve, unless what you are trying to achieve is further destruction of the body politic. When conservatives call a black leader a “race hustler” they are delegitimizing them in exactly the same manner that you just did.

    If OT has one major fault over the years, it is this practice. To make this place worthy of thoughtful discussion and reasoned debate, effectively ejecting half of the possible viewpoints of the country does it no good service. Indeed, it makes us worse than a place like RedState or TPM, as we are lying to ourselves that we are better than that, when at least they admit to being tools of a viewpoint.

    Argue against ideas, not the man.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron david
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      says:

      Argue against ideas, not the man.

      Yet…here you are, saying that Kirk’s supporters will only cling to him tighter because the accusation is from the other tribe.

      Can you make a case that, objectively speaking, Kirk is not a grifter and jackass?Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Aaron david
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      says:

      Let me answer that:

      I was speaking directly, by name, of one person in that harshness. I didn’t say conservatives, I didn’t say republicans, I didn’t say Trump supporters, or anyone else. I said Charlie Kirk. Note I made no mention of his politics at all.

      You’ve got three years and nearly 500 articles of mine just here on OT as a reference point. I rarely go to name calling. With Charlie Kirk it is fully, justifiably earned, and the fact I reserve it for him and people like him should tell you something.

      I spent an inordinate amount of my time daily helping all sorts of folks, many I disagree with if not most, get their voices heard and platformed here and elsewhere. If you want to post something I’ll not only help you do so, I’ll promote it on my own social media to get more folks to see it.

      The Kirks of the world are not about convincing anyone. The great lie of Kirk, TPUSA, and that you just repeated here, is that they are trying to change minds, or do anything at all productive. They are not. They are laundering money from donors into their own bank accounts while they live off billable expenses to the organization. They tell their gullible donors that is what they are doing to keep the cash flowing. All they have to do is spout off enough of the proper buzzwords to keep the money train going. It has nothing to do with conservatism, the right, America, or anything else.

      You can’t delegitimize a con man. They’ve already done that to themselves. So let me reiterate: Charlie Kirk, for a list of reasons you can easily find if you so desire, is a grifter and a jackass. Not because I seek to delegitimize him, because he is, in fact, a grifter and a jackass.

      If someone is incapable of looking at a grifter and a jackass and go “Hark, there goes a grifter and a jackass” because they like the flowery buzzwords the grifting jackass speaks, or they lack the integrity to attack the grifting jackass just because the jackass has co-opted the ideological team of said observer, that is their problem.

      The man and the ideas are already separate. I attacked, justifiably, only the man here.

      I didn’t lump anyone else into Charlie Kirk. Don’t defend him by lumping him in with people I wasn’t referring to.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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        says:

        Thank you for answering me Andrew, in my eyes that is important.

        But, after all is said and done, I agree with that piece quoted above. Not necessarily anything else by him, but that part about privledge. I feel the concept is as BS as any collective guilt, which that is what it essentially boils down to. I don’t ascribe black folk as being uniformly bad, not do I ascribe white people as always being handed a break.

        Was James Boyd, a homeless man shot three times by police, possesing white privledge? What about Kelly Thomas? Beaten to death by six policemen. Zachery Hammond, shot in his car during a sting gone bad? Daniel Shaver? Shot by a policeman in a no-knock raid. If they didn’t have “white privledge” no one has white privlegde.

        Or we could talk about Bou Bou Phonesavanh, a half-white half-thai baby who had the missfortune of a a flash-bang granade landing in his crib one morning. That present must have been from the white privledge fairy.

        No, fully two third of people killed by police are white. But, saying things like Privledge, or micro agression, or any other halfbaked racial theory, makes people feel superior. And that, at the end of the day, is what is stopping the us from making actual progres in the area of police reform.

        All that is a roundabout way of saying that if he is right about this thing, than maybe he is right about other things. Maybe TPUSA isn’t fleecing people money, but is in fact providing something other than a monorail or 1000 trombones. Or my great grandfathers “gold mines.”

        And at the very least, if they are indeed con-men, so is every. single. other. person. pushing a political set of ideas. From Josh Marshal to Eric Erikson, Rush Limbaugh to Barak Obama. Every single one of them has a opinion they can hang thier hat on and make a few buck with. And if people subsribe to those thoughts, think they are worth something, then by definition they are not conmen, or grifters or flimflam artists.Report

        • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Aaron David
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          says:

          And if people subsribe to those thoughts, think they are worth something, then by definition they are not conmen, or grifters or flimflam artists.

          “Those taken in on the con confirm that it was not a con” is not much of defense.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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            says:

            So, then Obama was a con man. Regan was a con man. Jerry Brown was a con man. Kamala Harris was a con man. I mean, people like what they had to offer, right?

            See, it really comes down to what we believe in, what we think is foolish. Nothing else. If my guy, or your guy, or any other guy, is a con man simply because we think they are wrong, then we truly get nowhere in this world.

            You aren’t putting up anything to show that what they are selling is known to them to be bunkum, just showing that what is outside your circle of beliefs must be a con, because you don’t believe in it.

            That doesn’t show anything, except how small your circle is.Report

  4. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    HM1 – yes, to all

    HM3 -Who the hell is Charlie Kirk?Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      I’m not sure either. He gets a lot of negative attention on Twitter, but should we be paying attention to this guy at all?

      I assume he’s the same breed of nitwit as Milo or Loomer, and I assume he’ll tread the same path to irrelevance as they did. In the meanwhile, he makes a lot of noise, none of it worth hearing.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to veronica d
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        says:

        I made the decision long ago to pay as little attention as I possibly can to the Twitterati, and I have since acquired a sense of good cheer that I would hate to lose. “Who the hell is X, and why should I care?” is my default response.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to CJColucci
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          says:

          I do think it’s worth being passably aware of these people, along with other various nitwits, such as the -chan trolls. Individually they aren’t important, but collectively they can cause harm. In other words, we should be aware of the narrative they’re selling, who is buying it, and why it sells.

          As an analogy, I think that str8 women are wise to be passingly aware of “PUA” tactics, and other bullshit that (some) men use to manipulate women into sex. The reason is obvious: they will encounter guys who try that shit. Recognizing it early can help avoid an unpleasant situation. Likewise, as an LGBT person, I feel I kinda of need to be aware of what the right wing is up to. For example, in the west they’ve switched from an anti-gay stance to an anti-trans stance. This isn’t really a shift in their attitudes. They remain anti-gay. However, they know that doesn’t sell the way it used to, but they hope an anti-trans message will. It remains the same bigotry with the same motives, just a different package.

          It’s important for me to be aware of this, because it helps me to make others aware of it. Anti-LGBT groups are very motivated to change public perception. The more the general public is aware of how these narratives spread, and why, the better for LGBT people.

          For example, a while back there was an organized effort to flood Reddit’s r/amitheasshole subreddit with fake anti-trans stories. The writer would pose as an average person telling a story about how the responded to a totally unreasonable trans person. These stories were bogus, but they were made to seem real.

          I think it is important that people know about this, so that when they hear some friend-of-a-friend story about a terrible trans person, they can ask themselves, “Wait, why do I believe this?”

          Another example: have you read an incel forum? On the one hand, don’t. It gets really depressing really fast. On the other hand, there seems to be an active effort to spread antisemitism on those forums. There is an entire complex narrative about Jews and porn and estrogen and all kinds of nonsense.

          Who is selling this narrative? Who is buying it? Why?

          Why is there a semi-organized effort to convince a group of lonely and mentally unstable men that Jews are at fault for their problems? Why would anyone do that?

          Well, what results might it have?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      Charlie K? Conjure in your imagination an over the top stereotype of a smug, shit talking, dumb but sure he is brilliant, hyper partisan young trumpy republican and you got him.Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay
    Ignored
    says:

    [HM2] I really like Killer Mike’s speech. I can’t say anything that’s better. Just listen to it.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    There have been police officers who have defended or even participated in the protests along with fighting against them. The entire situation is weird. At the very least, nearly all police forces have been intelligent enough to realize that defending the murder that started this in anyway would be really brain dead. I’m not sure what I exactly think about the cops joining the protest. Part of me thinks that they are just defending their asses but that might be enough. They could even be sincere.Report

  7. Avatar Stillwater
    Ignored
    says:

    Two hits:

    1. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer just announced every single officers’ body camera was NOT ACTIVATED during the shooting last night that resulted in DavidMcAtee’s death. Not one.

    2. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad has been relieved of duty after it was revealed that the officers involved in a shooting that killed a local business owner early Monday did not activate their body cameras.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      My assumption at this point is that if there is a camera, then not having it turned on is an admission of guilt.

      They can not be selective about this shit.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      If you prefer your police to not turn on cameras but to have an explanation:

      Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I hate the idea of a survailance state also, but the police are employees of me in that capacity. They should be free from survailance when on their own time, but not on the job.

        By the way, I was part of a team working on installing cameras in a major metro police forces cars. They uploaded to a server, I beleive and were always on. It was great for when someone was pulled over and later said something that didn’t match the police report. Mostly, it was favorable to the officers.

        Mostly.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Likewise, Trump couldn’t name a single Bible verse because he didn’t want to get into specifics.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
      Ignored
      says:

      Another hit:

      Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard on Tuesday announced criminal charges against six officers after the arrest of two Atlanta college students during the city’s curfew crackdown Saturday.

      Video of Atlanta police officers pulling the students from a car and shocking them with Tasers has sparked national outrage and resulted in the termination of two of the cops. The others have been placed on desk duty.

      Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      Of note from friends in Louisville, the Chief was already planning to retire next month over the Breanna Taylor shooting. So his control of the force was probably not what it would ave otherwise have been.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      The hits keep coming

      Minnesota AFL-CIO Calls for Minneapolis Police Union President Bob Kroll’s Immediate ResignationReport

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Zing. Good. Kroll seems like an exceptionally toxic dude. He spoke at a trump rally about how great it was trump was not handcuffing the cops like obama was.

        I think there is something of a sea change going on about cops and i don’t think most cops are psychologically capable of grasping it. It’s still uncertain how many of the deep systematic changes we need that we are going to get, but something is changing.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Thread from Minnesota state rep on the state of play re: Kroll and the union:

        I want to be clear: I am about as pro-union as a person can be. The Police Federation should not be thought of as a union. They do not affiliate with the AFL-CIO. They don’t walk picket lines in solidarity. How do I know? Because I do and I’ve never seen them on a line. Not once.

        Politicians who cross the MPD find slowdowns in their wards. After the first time I cut money from the proposed police budget, I had an uptick in calls taking forever to get a response, and MPD officers telling business owners to call their councilman about why it took so long.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        The AFL-CIO headquarters in DC was burned. A lot of the violence obviously comes from scabs instead of unionized protesters.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
      Ignored
      says:

      Another hit:

      A Denver police officer has been fired for writing “Let’s start a riot” as a caption to a photo he posted on social media showing himself and two other officers in riot gear.Report

  8. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    A couple of days ago I posted a comment quoting a writer’s thoughts about how police unions might serve a useful function, helping individual officers to maintain their authority in the face of a hierarchy that would sell them out for not toeing the line or kissing ass.

    The flip side of that, which has long been forgotten, is responsibility. The idea was that if a cop screwed up, made a bad call and hurt someone, then their first impulse would not be “how can I make this not be my fault”, “how can I keep my job”. The union would help them not go to jail, would help the department not be ruined, but that person wouldn’t keep on being a cop afterwards, they wouldn’t fight to get back on the street and back in the same position they screwed up before. The union protects you, but the union also strongly suggests you leave the police-officer career to seek opportunities elsewhere.

    But now that’s not what happens. The motte is “anyone who’s a cop should be a cop for as long as they care to be no matter what and the union should make sure that happens”, and when people ask “is that good” the cops run back to the bailey of “well UNIONS HAVE DONE SO MUCH FOR THIS COUNTRY, WHY DO YOU HATE UNIONS”.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    I remembered reading something, somewhere, about a police union chief expressing frustration that the local teacher’s union wasn’t showing solidarity after a particularly egregious incident. The police chief said something to the effect of “we supported them when such-and-such happened! They can’t support us? We won’t support them next time!”

    When I was looking for that particular story, I found This link to Lawyers, Guns, and Money (it’s from 2014):

    While I have linked many times to incidents of police violence, I have very little to say about the actions of police unions, largely because I don’t care about them since they do not show solidarity with other workers, or any other cause I believe in. I will say this–the leaders of police unions may be horrible human beings. But a) they should have the right to collectively bargain and I categorically reject the idea that the police should not be unionized, b) getting rid of police unions will do nothing to reduce police violence nor will it preclude other police officers’ organizations from presenting the same positions, and c) there is no evidence I have seen suggesting that non-unionized police are less effective in promoting these positions than unionized police forces. So criticize the actions of police unions all you want to–I certainly won’t say anything against that. But I don’t think articulating the position of anti-unionists will help.

    Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      In that vein…

      The cops have been screwing up for a long time. The cop cops have been screwing up for a long time. And the cop cop cops have been covering for them.Report

  10. Avatar Dark Matter
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    says:

    RE: [HM2] Eight Great Minutes in American Rhetoric
    Wow! Really worth listening to.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    I enjoy a good psyop as much as anyone.

    This one took my breath away:

    Report

  1. June 15, 2020

    […] Police Chief Erika Shields, rappers Killer Mike and TI, and other city and community notables. Killer Mike’s speech was the one that garnered most of the attention, but the mayor’s strong words also got […]Report

  2. July 1, 2020

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    […] Informations on that Topic: ordinary-times.com/2020/06/01/harsh-your-mellow-monday-fire-fury-and-frustration-edition/ […]Report

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