Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Mission Creep and Opposite the Editors Edition

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 Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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128 Responses

  1. Philip H says:

    I’ve been waiting for a properly used Bless Your Hearts.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Journalism is going to find itself similar to the police insofar as the most important weapon in its belt is the very credibility of the institution.

    Pointing out that the police have a long and storied tradition going back to Robert Peel means diddly squat when people are arguing against cops kneeling on the neck of a suspect. (“Lincoln was a Republican!”)

    A news media pointing out that it won a lot Pulitzers back in the 1970’s also means diddly squat. “What have you done for me *LATELY*?” is the question and resting on your laurels is to get on the fast track to irrelevance.

    And just like the cops will always be able to find a handful of private-citizens (not officially affiliated with the cops in any way) willing to put a Thin Blue Line sticker on their car, the journalists will always be able to find a handful of enthusiastic citizens willing to scream about the importance of recognizing the Moral Authority of the media in between apologies for last-weeks op-ed (that, seriously, should not have been printed and, anyway, the editor has been sacked).Report

  3. Kolohe says:

    Hm1 – as has been said by others, the most powerful ‘defunding’ force right now, and the one most likely to achieve results, is the implosion of state and esp local government budgets because of the (rightly, to be perfectly clear) suspended economic activity over the past two plus months. (And that will almost certainly be significantly depressed for the rest of the year, and perhaps even the next).

    Simple ‘cross the board’ cuts won’t make anyone happy, but it probably also won’t energize as significant oppostion as more targeted efforts wouldReport

    • Damon in reply to Kolohe says:

      But politicians aren’t going to be sensible about funding problems and cutting fat. They”ll threaten to cut stuff people like…..garbage pick up, cops, fireman. I believe The Governor of New York has already made such noises about how the state needs a “stimulus check” too.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Kolohe says:

      In most states and localities, “cross the board” cuts are impractical and quite possibly illegal. A couple of examples… California’s constitution imposes some spending priorities. First is the state’s obligation to the K-12 education system as spelled out in the constitution; second is the obligation to bond holders; if meeting those means cutting the rest of the state budget to zero, that’s what is legally required. Most federal funding to states comes with strings attached. One of the ugliest strings is tied to a couple of the welfare programs. The penalty for a state that fails to spend at the same level as the previous year is loss of one or more quarters of the federal money for the pre-ACA Medicaid program. Most states spend as little as possible on those programs because increases are locked in by the scale of the penalties. Quite literally, cutting spending there at all may result in the loss of billions of dollars of Medicaid money.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    Defunding/Dismantling the Police:

    On the other hand, the Minneapolis City Council has a veto proof majority to defund/dismantle its police department and LA’s government vowed to strip around 100-150 million from the LAPD. Now the practice of the MPD argument is yet to be seen. What I’ve read is that it is working on using a combo of mental health professionals, EMTs, traffic cameras, the Hennepin County sherrifs office. The bad result would just be that the cops end up rehired and dismantle is only a branding that leads to no substantive reform. But I am sympathetic to the defund/dismantle argument because nothing else seems to wok. The police unions have proven themselves very capable of working in lockstep to stymie other reforms. I’m honestly disappointed by a lot of Democratic mayors who seem now seem incapable of going against the police despite campaign promises. De Blasio has done a lot for the African-American community of New York but now seems helpless/spineless.

    On the Times:

    The Times fucked up. The thing about elite media, especially the op-ed kind, is that it seems rather high on its own supply. The “market place of ideas” has become academic and abstract to them where almost anything written is mere words and a lot of them seem incapable of seeing malice or illiberalism. This is not the first time it has happened. Hell, not so long ago, everyone was saying what the fuck to the Atlantic for publishing Adrian Vermule’s barely-hidden ode to Catholic Theocracy with the misleading title of “Common Good Constitutionalism.” We were discussing it here (checks notes) last week. The typical dance seems to be publish something to encourage “debate”, publish a counter, call it a day of clicks and get some cocktails and oysters. This only works for so long until people start pushing back. There should be no pat on the back for high-minded defenses of free speech for publishing Cotton’s essay on encouraging totalitarian state violence.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    Another problem with the defenders of publishing the Cotton piece is that they engaged in their own willful misinterpretation of the situation. Bari Weiss tweeted that this was a debate between the young guard of mostly “woke” younger reporters under 40 and the old guard. She was corrected by a lot of colleagues that was not true. The coalition against the op-ed consisted of people across age, race, religion, and other identification factors. Yet she is also of the firm belief that all the trouble in the world is because of woke young people even though she is only 36. Her politics might not be fully conservative but she has found away to early career success because of branding herself as a contrarian voice in her generationReport

    • greginak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Contrarian, rebel, free thinker are the best brands to have. All the big names go for that. It’s the place to be.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to greginak says:

        I don’t know whether to be surprised or not as how well it works as a brand. A lot of media types did not cover themselves in glory with the knee jerk defending of publishing the piece.

        I doubt that Bari Weiss will learn from her pushback though. She never does. These people are always quite convinced they are right because of their positions.Report

  6. LeeEsq says:

    HM1- People who saw things like Abolish the Police or Abolish ICE tend to mean one of two things. One is that mean abolish the organizations as they currently stand and reform them on more humanitarian/less cruel lines like Peelian principles or have them be unarmed, etc. That’s the most common. Others really believe in abolishing and not replacing because they are anarchists. They see policing and immigration enforcement as per se bad.

    My main problem with the abolish police rhetoric is that its’ the type of rhetoric that plays well with one audience but not necessarily with slightly to very skeptical people whose votes you need. On Left Twitter everybody might hate the police or ICE but in the real world attitudes are a lot more complex. Even most peoples shows that around sixty percent of African-Americans like their police departments. The abolish the police rhetoric is both alienating and gives the enemies of reform a very big cudgel to use against reform.Report

    • greginak in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The enemies of reform will highlight the farthest out “no police” at all types to turn the argument into one of two extremes (now vs no cops at all). It squeezes out any thought or middle ground. Even where middle ground is deep and systematic reform.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        If you were wondering whether Biden supported defunding the police, he’s released a statement. (tl;dr, he doesn’t.)


        • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          I wasn’t wondering if he supported a hashtag. He has eschewed the super online focus so far which is a good idea. My guess is whoever his Veep is will be given the charge to lead fed level CJ reform especially if it’s Harris or Demming.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

            I suspect that Harris would not be the best play. How confident are you that there isn’t a great example of an abusive cop not being prosecuted in her closet?

            I’m not. Not at all.Report

            • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

              She may not be but there all sorts of reasons for a person to get the veep nod. If she gets it, then she will lead the push for reform. She has already gotten heat for “being a cop”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                She has already gotten heat for “being a cop”.

                You seem to be implying that the worst is behind her on this.

                I would like to imply that it is not.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                I have no idea. If she is the veep pick there will be a lot of support coalescing around her that wasn’t present in the primary. .Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Well, let me know what happens when you game it out in your head.

                While it’s true that she’ll get support that she didn’t have in the primary, the primary happened prior to a lot of really interesting things happening in the news and she will not only have support that wasn’t present in the primary but opposition that wasn’t present in the primary.

                And not all of that opposition will be from racists, sexists, concern trolls, and so on.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

          I’ve seen it argued that this is an opportunity for Biden to argue that it’s time for the Grown-Ups to be put back in charge after the chaotic tantrum that was Trump was thrown.

          Which, I admit, sounds pleasant! But when you read into Biden’s statement he’s talking about increasing funding. Funding for this, funding for that.

          Which is fine, I guess. I understand why that would be appealing to the folks in the suburbs (who will choose the next president).

          But that means that we’re having a Morality vs. Pragmatics argument and the Morality argument seems to be playing out on the street in a direction that strikes me as different than what Biden would be a good spokesman for.

          (You know who I think would be better in this moment? Castro. No longer in the depths of Corona, I think that we don’t necessarily need a female VP. We could get away with a male POC willing to take on Policing As We Know It and Castro wasn’t that shabby on the topic.)Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Please understand, when I was saying that we needed to #BTFSTTG, I was suggesting an 8% reduction in budget growth projections.

      Quite honestly, I think it’s pretty disingenuous for people to assume that I was calling for the system to be burned down to the ground.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Based on Biden’s surge in polling and other articles I have read, this time might really be different. Generally I would agree with the analysis of your second paragraph but not as much this time.Report

  7. PD Shaw says:

    HM2: “The Times ran an op-ed from Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, who said the military should be deployed to deal with protests across the country.”

    Except he did not. This is why the media sucks; it lacks self-awareness of the factual claims it makes, just the emotional truths it seeks to impress in the twitter-sphere.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to PD Shaw says:

      There is a difference in what people say and their actual meaning. I see no reason to give good faith to Tom Cotton or any Trump supporters anymore. There is also a lot of evidence that the police care more about inflicting pain and punishment against lawful protestors than it does at preventing the looters.

      Plus there is a lot of evidence that shows the current “command and control” version of policing protests tends to escalate the situation. The police have not covered themselves in glory over the past few weeks. They have attacked journalists and protestors with glee. They have thrown temper tantrums at any form of discipline (like when 57 cops resigned from the Buffalo Emergency Response team because two of their rank were arrested on assault charges for pushing a 75 year old man). Cop culture has become one that sees itself as above the law and in need of showing constant dominance.Report

    • Tom Cotton, Harvard educated Army officer, knew exactly what he was writing, and exactly how it would be taken, and exactly the phrasing to use so that very defense would be trotted out to cover him for it while still getting the meaning to the audience for whom it was intended. That’s the truth, emotional and otherwise.Report

    • Philip H in reply to PD Shaw says:

      One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers. But local law enforcement in some cities desperately needs backup, while delusional politicians in other cities refuse to do what’s necessary to uphold the rule of law.

      The pace of looting and disorder may fluctuate from night to night, but it’s past time to support local law enforcement with federal authority. Some governors have mobilized the National Guard, yet others refuse, and in some cases the rioters still outnumber the police and Guard combined. In these circumstances, the Insurrection Act authorizes the president to employ the military “or any other means” in “cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws.”

      The American people aren’t blind to injustices in our society, but they know that the most basic responsibility of government is to maintain public order and safety. In normal times, local law enforcement can uphold public order. But in rare moments, like ours today, more is needed, even if many politicians prefer to wring their hands while the country burns.

      You are correct – nowhere does he say directly or explictly that the military needs to be called in.

      But to read it otherwise is to either live in a world of cognitive dissonance or suffer a partial temporal mental delusion. Senator Cotton most certainly thinks the uniformed military should be brought in as all of his historical examples reference just that.Report

  8. Aaron David says:

    Yeah, when you lost frekin’ John and Yoko’s kid, you done screwed the pouch


  9. Saul Degraw says:

    The thing about the WELL ACTUALLY crowd is that they can’t help themselves.Report

  10. Chip Daniels says:

    I’m remembering the movie All The Way, about President Johnson as he negotiated between the various factions over the Civil Rights Amendment, trying to placate everyone from he radical black factions, the incrementalists, the reactionary white Democrats and ambivalent white Democrats, liberal Republicans, and finally cobbled together a shaky coalition that passed the bill.

    While it seems maddening that the more radical BLM activists are snarling at Mayor Bowser’s flank, its useful to recall that without that radical flank she couldn’t position herself as a reasonable moderate. Elected officials can’t be seen to be on the extreme edge of anything.
    Or as Obama told a group of bankers in 2009, “I’m the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks.”Report

  11. Oscar Gordon says:

    The “well, actually” is why I didn’t bother pulling in the race angle as much. And one thing that social media has been mildly useful for in all this is to highlight how many white people the police are being violent with.

    As much as I support the idea of BLM, things won’t really move until the white fence sitters start feeling threatened, and images and video of low income black people getting stomped won’t really do it. But images of an elderly white man getting bashed to the ground and then casually ignored as he bleeds, or a young white girl who sure looks middle class catching a rubber bullet to the face just for walking home.

    That shit hits home. That is the stuff that needs to make it to everyones feeds, because that will get the white folks scared enough to support reform.Report

    • Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Seems to me that whenever there is a chance to make actual progress on things such as police violence, someone has to immeadatly insist on purity of racial politics. So, instead, we get nothing. At a certain point, some battles are not worth winning at that moment, and should be saved for a later date.

      I fear we may already be at that point.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Aaron David says:

        There is a sort of person who will continuously present bad faith versions of the most extreme versions of a cause, while pretending that they really support the more moderate version of the cause, but over time their bad faith becomes evident.

        Over time, their preoccupations reveal their true beliefs.

        Anyway, one might seek out examples on this forum. I think you can find them.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:

          “I did not leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me!!!!!” seems to be a common sentiment among a certain kind of middle-aged dude. Said with all the heart ache and scorn usually reserved for former lovers after a bitter break upReport

          • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            You guys are way too easy on yourselves. There’s plenty of people out there willing to endorse big chunks of the BLM platform based on regular old liberal values of fairness and equality.

            But performative struggle sessions about the plague of whiteness are never going to seem anything other than weird and creepy to most people, probably because they are. Nothing is more likely to waste this moment than insisting the only way people are allowed to help is by accepting that whole risible package.Report

            • veronica d in reply to InMD says:

              You guys are way too easy on yourselves. There’s plenty of people out there willing to endorse big chunks of the BLM platform based on regular old liberal values of fairness and equality.

              Yep. You should do that.

              “But a bunch of angry young people with no institutional power said that’s not enough and that I have privilege!”


              “Well, that’s going to drive me away!”

              Sure, you won’t be invited to live in their queer co-op, but so what? You should support BLM because it is the right thing to do, not to get kudos from a bunch of young anarchists.

              Look, the “Quillette crowd” wants you laser focused on extreme leftists, but wants you to ignore the extreme right: like {that one asshole} who used to work for Quillette, who embedded in white power groups, hung out with them, rode along with them when they went out to do violence, but only reported on antifa. The agenda is obvious.

              The general protest movement is a broad spectrum of people. We’ve seen in the past week that police are a violent, out-of-control gang of socially maladjusted goons. It is also pretty clear that the rot runs deep. I would suggest it stems from our entire theory of “policing” and how that interacts with our general disfunction in terms of social policy. Principled liberatrians, such as Oscar, see this clearly, even if just as clearly they aren’t about to join the black block. You can do the same. You should do the same.

              End the war on drugs. Reform the police entirely. Demilitarize them. Change what they are so they stop attracting violent authoritarian nitwits. You should support these things regardless of what antifa says.

              Of course, you should also pay attention to what leftists say. Society doesn’t have to be this way. It was built this way. Nor is this merely an accidental failure. It was built this way by people who wanted it this way — they just didn’t want it to spill over into their lives.Report

              • InMD in reply to veronica d says:

                Like Oscar, my personal opinions aren’t going to be changed by that kind of thing. I was worried about police militarization before it was cool and probably still will be long after, regardless of how all this plays out.

                Who I worry about is the progressive enough college friend asking for literature suggestions on Facebook only to be piled on by a bunch of fools with self-righteous diatribes about how it’s no ones job to educate her but herself. Shes a popular gal and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who noticed what happened or that it’s kind of a constant on social media and getting more normal in left of center spaces generally.

                I am not a radical as I’m sure you’ve noticed but I’m actually pretty tolerant of radical ideas and even kind of enjoy radical people. But I am an eclectic person. Back before I became a dull corporate family man I spent time with out there artsy types and in underground music scenes. Suffice to say I’ve heard some weird shit before and can handle it without totally disregarding the person who said it.

                But everyone is not me and while I can roll my eyes about some things and still stand next to a hardcore leftist not everyone can when faced with aggressive purity tests they didn’t even know about. Like, I am not a libertarian but it’s hard for me not to notice that they aren’t the ones scaring the squares. That is my issue.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

              A lot of performative wokeness induces eye rolls in me to. I realize I’m not going to be able to do anything about it though. So I just support what I agree with and dis-regard what I disagree with.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

                You aren’t the person that needs convincing.

                Performative wokeness forgets who their audience needs to be, or perhaps they simply are clueless about who their audience needs to be.

                This is the danger of the echo chamber.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                We had a debate about this on the other blog. For the most part I agree with you but a lot of people seem to hate the fact that they need to convince somewhat to very skeptical people about the justice of their cause. For the Right this isn’t so much of a problem because they have no problem using non-democratic methods to get what they want. For the Left, it is a big problem.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to LeeEsq says:

                “For the Right this isn’t so much of a problem because they have no problem using non-democratic methods to get what they want.”

                This is the first I have heard of this, What “non-democratic” methods would that be?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Aaron David says:

                We deplorable males on the right dictate to our wives and girlfriends how they must vote. Hillary discussed this problem in 2017 and explained that it cost her the 2016 election. But it gets better, because the 2020 vote-by-mail schemes will let us fill out the ballots for our whole family, relieving our loved ones of such an onerous burden. 🙂Report

              • George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Why would John and Jane Normal get a creepy feeling watching a video of an ecstatic horde bathing themselves in sacrificial blood from a pentagram shaped chalice as they chant about their collective sins, while their leader Malachi demands a human sacrifice?

                Why would anyone feel their skin crawl when they see thousands and thousands of white protesters laying prostate and moaning like mindless cult members in a Conan the Barbarian movie?

                Why would anyone object to becoming one of the pod people?

                From a script writing perspective, a few scenes like that define the horror story’s premise in the audience’s mind.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

          Look for the phrase “nobody is arguing X!”Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      In previous discussions I referenced the data of millions of stories from black people about police brutality.

      But we don’t need that anymore.
      Now we have millions of stories from white people, and hundreds of videos showing the cops performing exactly the way black people always claimed.

      Any claim that “Actually the data shows police use force responsibly and proportionate to the threat” is destroyed by this new evidence showing them using force irresponsibly and wildly out of proportion to the threat. The discrepancy between the written record and video record is explained by the videos showing how the cops routinely lie and falsify the written record.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        And that is a good thing*. I recall that I, and others, have long predicted that at some point, the police were going to start scaring the people who nominally support them, and who have political power, and that would start the slide.

        *Well, not for the folks getting beat upon, but for the movement to roll-back police power.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Interestingly, the elderly white man who got shoved to the ground was a noted Antifa member who was trying to hack the police communication systems with a close-proximity device, which was in his hand as he tried to get it next to one of the officer’s radios. The man posts about the clever techniques he uses to crack into the police com systems so Antifa can monitor or jam them, or even broadcast false information to befuddle them. He also posts about how to draw an attack and get it on video, etc.

      Both the police, and now their mayor, were aware of who he is and what he was trying to do. That’s why the officers shoved him with their batons (keeping their radios out of his reach), and why the other members of the police unit resigned in protest over the two officers getting suspended. But the activist’s RF and hacking techniques are quite interesting.Report

    • Damon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      If you’re a white person who’s anything below really rich, and if you pay attention, you’d be a fool to think even you weren’t vulnerable to cop violence. There’s plenty of YouTube videos of cops yelling, harassing, threatening, and retaliating for “alleged incidents and disrespect”. It’s been going on for quite some time and the trend line suggests it’ll get worse. I’m an old white guy but when I get pulled over, I see the cop sliding up my side of the car with his hand on his pistol and leaning to the side to peer into my car……Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

        Lots of folks see those kinds of videos and rationalize away the police behavior. They tell themselves, that guy did something wrong to set the police off. They tell themselves, I won’t make that mistake, and I’ll be fine.

        It’s amazing how much they sound like an abused partner in an intimate relationship.Report

  12. Saul Degraw says:

    “To act with good faith in this model is to accept those shared values, rules, and norms and agree to compete within the boundaries of the playing field — to play by the rules. The marketplace of ideas only works if it is open to any idea that conforms to those rules and closed to ideas that reject them.

    Here’s the thing, though. While Cotton very deftly exploited the liberal tolerance that Sulzberger and Bennet are so proud of to get his piece published, he does not share that tolerance. The movement he represents — he is often identified as the “future of Trumpism” — is ethnocentric and authoritarian. It is about maintaining the power and status of rural and suburban white people, even as they dwindle demographically, by allying with large corporate interests and using the levers of government to entrench minority rule.

    Such a movement is incommensurate with the shared premises that small-l liberals take for granted. Minority rule is incompatible with full democratic participation. A revanchist movement meant to restore power to a privileged herrenvolk cannot abide shared standards of accuracy or conduct. Will to power takes precedent over any principle.”


    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Such a movement is incommensurate with the shared premises that small-l liberals take for granted.

      Abandoning our own meta-ethics to adopt his meta-ethics (even though our object-level ethics differ from his significantly) strikes me as losing the game.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

        Without limits placed on meta-ethics, you run into the Weimar problem of radical extremists being able to take over a small-l liberal system because they are always able to out flank, run around, take advantage of, and eventually just bash and smash small l-liberals. Authoritarians and ethno-nationalists of a meta-ethics end goal and need to be stopped before they implement it. The market place of ideas doesn’t seem to do that great a job. Some ideas really do need to be not allowed in the body politic no matter what or at least kept on the fringes.Report

        • InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I used to scoff at this line of reasoning but now that we’ve had actual threats of using the US military against the civilian population I’m wondering if I haven’t been naive.

          Of course what deep down I really want is a stronger small-l liberalism. Maybe the authoritarians will always try to outflank but it seems like entities like NYT have been intent on selling out its credibility for some time. So are they winning with bad faith or are we losing because we gave up the game long ago and everyone knows it?

          Maybe both.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

            One of the hard things about liberal democracies is that their are extremist anti-liberal democracy political opinions across the spectrum that need to be policed against. Determining what these opinions are is not easy. Nor is policing. Some people have a lot more romantic reverence from extreme left positions than I do while I might be willing to tolerate libertarianism and free market advocacy but other people see these as very anti-democratic.Report

          • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

            Looking at this tracking poll, fully 58% (33% strongly, 25% somewhat) support the military coming in and supporting police. Now, it is from a week ago, but if true it is a pretty major development (pg. 195)

            People want to be safe, and having rioters and looters doesn’t help that. One of the things about everyone having a cell phone is that anyone can film. And that means the narrative is no longer controled. By either side.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Aaron David says:

              Yeah. One point that I was trying to figure out how to word (and gave up) was something to the effect of:

              It’s only fringe if it’s fringe.

              The more weeks that these protests take place
              The more nights in those weeks that include property damage/looting

              The less fringe that “something ought to be done!” becomes.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

                Indeed. And it begs the question; Days of Rage II?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

                Going back to the Weimar situation, there were all kinds of radicals and gangs causing chaos from 1918 on, along with all sorts of local paramilitaries. Everybody got fed up with it.

                One group that later became famous started out as a bunch of drunken thugs who were willing to beat up Bolshevik street fighter, often battling to recruit the same members, much like street gangs today. Since the German police were being perceived as weak and ineffectual in controlling the chaos, protests, and violence, the now famous gang changed their marketing strategy and positioned themselves as the defender of order and goodness. Instead of running from the cops, they started claiming they were friends of the police, champions of the German people, and the clear answer to radicalism. In a parliamentary government that kind of branding can wins some seats.

                One of the basic functions of government is protecting people property and security, and if the existing government proves it’s not up to the task, the people will find new guards for their future security, just as they will when a government proves itself abusive to liberty.

                In a parliamentary system, if our police started standing down under political pressure, someone like Proud Boys, the Guardian Angels, or a coalition of community leaders and motorcycle gang members would step into the void and parlay their very visible position into political power, as if Gotham found out Batman’s identity and elected Bruce Wayne as mayor.

                The same thing could happen on the local level where enough members of the black community band together to defend their own stores, homes, and churches against street gangs, rioters, and Antifa agitators. Those will become the new community leaders if the old community leaders are perceived as enabling continued violence.

                One thing to be aware of is that if there’s X members of society shutting down the city, (a headcount at a major protest should suffice), there’s POPULATION – X members who aren’t shutting down the city, and they might get irate about the city being shut down. If X is much less than half of the population, the next election might not go the way X is expecting.

                That is perhaps how we got more Nixon in ’72, where during the most unpopular war in US history, one run by a Republican, during the heyday of the hippies, the Democrats only managed to get 17 electoral votes. It’s as if even a Baptist will hold their nose and vote for Satan if he’s the only one on the ballot who will keep their house and business from getting burned down.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I haven’t seen any looting since last Tuesday.
                Since then, all the protests I’ve seen have been peaceful.

                I may have mentioned here about the civil disobedience arrests I witnessed outside my building last week, where about 50 protesters knelt and allowed themselves to be arrested.

                What I found interesting is that a lot of the residents of the surrounding building- all young-ish, white middle class professionals and parents were leaning out the windows screaming angrily at the cops and National Guard.

                These are the people living in the very buildings whose shop windows were smashed and stores looted only a few days before. And they were supporting the protesters, not the police.

                Its true that people want to be safe from threat.

                But its also true that the perception of who is creating the threat isn’t necessarily the ones being arrested.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                No looting == Good.

                The looting always undercut the arguments being given. Destruction of property *MAY* have some theoretical justification somewhere… but it needs to avoid being wanton. (“Define ‘wanton’!”, I hear you ask. “Are you tempted to blame it on agents provocateur? If so, then that’s what I mean.”)

                A peaceful protest that the police break up with tear gas, violence, etc? It’s like they have no theory of mind whatsoever.

                One policy that I think the demonstrators have demonstrated is good, unequivocally good, is bodycams. The more bodycams the better. You want your behavior to be such that you actively *WANT* 3 angles from 3 different cameras.

                And I don’t think that it’s too much to ask that any testimony that comes from an officer whose body cam got turned off be considered inadmissible.Report

              • JS in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                FWIW, it seems it was widely noticed that the cops were pre-occupied tear gassing peaceful protesters and beating up old men, and let looters run wild.

                Especially once enough videos surfaced showing the looting and arson didn’t seem to be coming from quite the same people as those protesting.

                It really does make people ask the question “Why were you beating the hell out of peaceful protesters and ignoring looters?” and none of the possible answers for that make the cops look good.Report

            • InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

              Rioters and looters don’t help but I’d be very curious to see what the numbers were before Trump made noise about it. I may not like it but he has a constituency and he took an oath of office just like those before him. Its beyond irresponsible (and IMO downright evil) to whip up support for something like that and I don’t have a problem saying so no matter who does it.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

                The problem with that line of thought is that it can be applied to several state governors equally. When you see a gov. siding or excussing riotes and looters, and basically abdicating their oaths of office (as many people feel they have) you get a reaction. And if Trump uses the Insurection Act(1807) to go through with this, he isn’t being constitutionally irresponsible.

                We didn’t get things like stop-and-frisk and manditory minimums and a militarised police for no reason, but due to a very real crime wave. And you can see it in the histories of cities such as NY and SF. There was a very real and visceral reason that movies such as Dirty Harry and Death Wish were so popular. And a huge chunk of it was some very misguided social issues coming down the pipe, law wise.

                What I am trying to point out is that too many politicians are starting to LARP their hate, and leaving logic at the door. Trump was selected for a very real reason (anti-PCism) which was a huge part of the wall that the left had built around itself. A wall that didn’t let outside voices in. And to break that wall, something really big and nasty to those thoughts and opinions was going to be the wrecking ball.Report

              • InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

                I think you’re applying a double standard. I know the history of how law enforcement got this way, and it isn’t the simplistic narrative the progressive Twitterati or critical studies professors would have us believe. Lots of people own that and I’m not suggesting otherwise. But Donald Trump and his supporters have agency too. The fact that all of this didn’t start in 2016 does not excuse him from doubling down on the nihilism. To say otherwise is to play the exact same meta game you’re criticizing about PCism. It isn’t going to matter who defected first if we concede across the board that all that matters is power.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

                I am not applying a double standard, as I am not applying a standard. I am simply noting what I see.

                Everyone; govs, riotors, Trump, peaceful protesters, uninvolved and so on, has agency. And how they enact that going forward remains to be seen. Wanting Trump to stand down, while it is a possition, is equal to wanting BLM to stand down acording to the other side. And yes, to a certain point it is about power. And that power manifests at its max come November 3.

                The real issue is that where you see nihilism, others see hope. Personally, I want everyone to back down, call out bad behavior and let the chips fall where they might. Mostly because that power is too real. But people seem to think libertarians aren’t serious.Report

              • InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

                I don’t see how pushing back on calls to use the military against citizens is asking anyone to back down. We’re talking about the most powerful man on the planet here. A little judgment is not a lot to ask.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

                I must not have been clear. I (aaron) want everyone stepping towards violence to back down. No military, no rioting. Peacefull protesting is super cool and I support that as it is free speach. You (a doctor in Indiana) are also using free speach and are not who I was talking about backing down.Report

              • InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

                Fair enough.Report

            • It would be useful to know what people are thinking when they hear/read “the military.” The National Guard, which people are used to having called out to support local authorities is one thing; a half-million active-duty Army personnel might be another thing entirely.Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Aaron David says:

              Unsurprisingly, there is more updated info…from the same polling agency.

              39% of Americans now support President Trump invoking the Insurrection Act, while 52% oppose.


              • Aaron David in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                As I said, the data I had was from a week ago. If there hasn’t been any looting since Tuesday, as Chip pointed out, then it stands to reason that support would drop.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to InMD says:

            I would like this too but you need to deal with reality. There are lots of people right now who seem willing to chuck democracy in the name of minority rule and because they fear being outnumbered. These people often have a concept of the United States as a right-wing Herrenvolk type of place. Then you have the theocrats who think liberalism is the problem and want to destroy it to get their thocratic state. Maybe some of these theocrats have issues with free market economics and some economically left positions but they still want Gilead.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Well, I hope that the small ‘l’ liberals maintain the upper hand this time.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

            I said ages ago (I think it was, like, January) that when the authoritarian fixer comes we’ll like it and defend it and welcome it.

            I’ve always understood that the fixer probably won’t be Trump or his heirs.

            You’ll have to understand the necessity of it all.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

              The point is stability and getting back to being able to engage in commerce and consumption.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Man, I hope that’s not the only point; but I hope its still at least enough of a point. Is it?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                We’ve recently had a bit of a mix-up with Maslow, haven’t we?

                The economy was humming right along, people were discussing how low the unemployment rate was and whether that would result in upward pressure on wages and WHAMMO.

                Not only was there a huge amount of unemployment all at once but also a disease. And it was a disease that made it hard to breathe.

                From fooling around with the top levels to immediately having to batten all of the hatches to worry about the bottom one? The very bottom one?

                Then there were riots? Over someone who was choked to death by the police? Man, echoes within echoes.

                This seems like a perfect opportunity to argue that we need to go back to exactly how it was moments before the COVID only with different police policies.

                Which was commerce and consumption, if I recall correctly.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think the riots indicate that there were plenty of people who were nowhere near the upper levels and were always, always, working from the bottom one.Report

  13. LeeEsq says:

    HM3- I think that a certain sort of intellectuals generally believes that one of our big problems in coming up with correct policy is that people aren’t formulating their opinions with proper data and statistics. Personally, I don’t really see this as problem and think that the perception that police are much more brutal against African-Americans than anybody else is doing more to push people towards police reform than anything else. The reality might be more complicated but people generally need compelling stories to act. Persecution based on race is a lot more passion inducing than statistics show that police are brutal with everybody, etc.

    For the data and statistics crowd, who tend to be very libertarian in their politics, believe that if people just had the proper information, data, and statistics than they would naturally be more rational in their political decision making and we can reach libertopia.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I know that my liberal brethren tend to be the biggest advocates of the “data” crowd, but the problem is that the data only measures what is easiest to measure. Which in turn only reflects what we engage in measuring.

      For example: Why are poor people so vastly over represented in the criminal justice system?

      Mostly because the criminal justice system was created to respond to the sort of harms that poor people do.
      If lets say, I am at an ATM withdrawing $20 and a homeless man runs by and snatches it out of my hand, the criminal justice system has a massive well oiled machine to respond to that harm.
      I can call a 3 digit special number that instantly alerts the police, who have teams who investigate, arrest, then turn the suspect over to another massive team of prosecutors, judges, jailers, parole officers.
      A street criminal is processed in this machine like clockwork, where the machine exists precisely with his crime in mind.
      And this in turn becomes a measurable statistic.

      By contrast: Suppose the bank itself charges me $20 fraudulently, and charges a million other people also?

      There is no 3 digit number to call. There are no teams of police to rapidly investigate, prosecute, and jail.
      Most cases like this have to be brought by class action lawsuits, and take years to litigate and often end in failure.

      It isn’t that the criminal justice system fails; It is that it isn’t even designed with that sort of harm in mind.

      We have countless examples- HSBC bank laundering terrorist funds or Wells Fargo forging documents, or restaurants forcing employees to work off the clock, or even the MeToo harms of Weinstein Epstein and Cosby, where the system is utterly incapable of addressing the very sort of harms which, when committed by poor people, are called “crimes”.

      The criminal justice statistics won’t include accurate numbers for “Bankers defrauding customers” or “Restaurants stealing pay from employees” because it isn’t designed with them in mind, and can’t even measure their prevalence.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Here is a fun and interesting historical fact, the crime of embezzlement had to be invented by the British parliament in the 18th century because the traditional common law crime of larceny did not apply to the employees of the new companies that were taking a little or a lot of money. This was because traditionally larceny was based on the idea that the thief was never in lawful possession of the things stolen but with employees, they were in lawful possession at the time of the theft by virtue of their employment.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

          My point being is that a lot of the justice system was built for a different world and many rich people crimes couldn’t exist without modern technology.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Basically, if the only way to get the wheels of justice turning against the crime you witness is to contact a state or federal LEA or regulatory body directly, rather than calling 911, you are dealing with a crime that impacts the UMC and above.Report

  14. DensityDuck says:

    These are the people who think we should abolish the police:

    • Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Gordon said the patrol also targeted vehicles “that contained items used to cause harm during violent protests” such as rocks, concrete and sticks.

      “While not a typical tactic, vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to clear areas and keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring,” he said. As in all operations of this size, there will be a review about how these decisions were made.”

      Yeah, thats gonna fly…Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Aaron David says:

        Do we know whether it’s ever been demonstrated in a court of law that cutting a tire constitutes an unlawful taking when done to protect police against cars being used as dangerous weapons?Report

        • veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:


        • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

          There’s bound to be precedents. Back in my day we always sent a deputy around the back side of the gulch to lame the desperadoes’ horses before we raided the campsite. The impound lot was a lot prettier back then, too, a nice rolling field instead of a junkyard with guard towers.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

          “While not a typical tactic, house-to-house confiscation of firearms was necessary to avoid the possibility of them being used against officers and keep the area safe.”Report

  15. Jaybird says:

    Cards Against Humanity is undergoing cancellation.


    If I never play that game again, it’ll be too soon.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

      I remember when they got in trouble for selling the special “Holocaust Jokes Pack” at Target and the general consensus was that the normie snowflakes should just shut the fuck up because the whole point of the goddamn game was to be incredibly offensive and if you didn’t like that you just shouldn’t have bought in the first place, KAREN.

      I guess blacks are more important than Jews. But then, we already knew that, didn’t we?Report

  16. Saul Degraw says:

    Trump has decided to tweet that the 75 year old shoved by the Buffalo PD was an agent provocateur. I don’t know who taught him how to spell provocateur correctly. This is a conspiracy from OANN which is apparently a network that makes Fox News look like the Nation:


    • veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The funny thing is, that’s not even what provocateur means.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The grifters that have long surrounded Trump are feasting on his delusions and paranoia now.

      Like that phoney polling group that is raking in money by feeding him fairytales about his popularity, OANN is trying to play the Wormtognue to the addled king.

      I mentioned elsewhere that what isn’t commonly acknowledged is that Trump isn’t “leading” anything. He is just surfing the wave of white male grievance and benefiting from it.
      But he can’t steer it, and can’t get off it or escape its trajectory.

      Others, like Romney and the Never Trumpers were smart enough to bail out while there was still time and create some sort of plausible deniability.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        I don’t know if I like the grifter narrative that much because it seems to let them off too easily. What is interesting about the right-wing is which true belivers also learned to be salesmen and earn profit via the Long Con.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      OANN is something that would be banned under hate speech laws. Since we don’t have that in the United States, we get a Neo-Nazi American version news network. Pure undiluted John.Bircher stuff broadcast over the air, corrupting and polluting everything.Report

      • George Turner in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Gee. Until Trump Tweeted the media was running stories about the elderly man’s Antifa activities. After the Tweet they ran with “Trump spreads conspiracy theories and elderly victim of police violence.” That didn’t go over well in some of their comment sections, where folks pointed out that he probably got his info on the elderly man from the paper’s own news reporting.Report

        • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

          Until Trump Tweeted the media was running stories about the elderly man’s Antifa activities.

          Well if you consider his long history of peace activism and feeding the homeless as Antifa activities I guess you are right.

          No one is buying what you are selling you know.Report

  17. Chip Daniels says:

    I guess QI does have a limit. Or the protests are working:

    “This Has To Stop”: A Court Invoked George Floyd’s Death In Denying Qualified Immunity To Cops Who Shot A Man 22 Times

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      My understanding is that judges have always had the power to stop QI (or redefine it’s limits), they’ve simply chosen not to.Report

      • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        It’s a little more complicated than that. The lower courts applying
        it are following SCOTUS precedent as well as precedents from other appellate courts following those precedents. They can start holding differently (and IMO should) but until SCOTUS revises the doctrine they could be reversed.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD says:

          You know, I can understand a bit that elected judges might get a bit spineless over being over-ruled on appeal, but appointed ones?

          Either way, I don’t get the fear judges have over having decisions reversed. Seems cowardly, especially given the judges position.Report

          • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            As judges they are generally bound to follow precedent. There’s even precedent for when to overturn precedent. Which isn’t to say elections never factor into what judges do (even though they technically shouldn’t), only that it’s more complicated than that.

            It’s very rare to see lower courts intentionally hold against any precedent, not just QI and I think many of them do look up the appellate ladder for guidance. Keep in mind too that the judicial branch has only one tool and that’s its credibility. Radical departures from established interpretation of the law aren’t the norm, and probably shouldn’t be.Report

  1. October 16, 2020

    […] status quo. The very street that had been full of protesters, police, and tear gas on Monday became a much more absurd battleground of egos. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser renamed the street “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and, not content […]Report