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AvatarComments by Swami in reply to Jaybird*

On “Always at the Abyss

Isn’t this exactly the problem? Once we made an exception for these protestors to violate the law — for a good reason? — we permitted the chaos to emerge.

Trespassing and curfews serve a purpose. We need to re-establish law and order and allow the cops to do their job as we delve into abuses of power.

On “The Crimson Letter

Excellent post, Kristen. Probably the best piece written in this forum since James somehow convinced the majority of progressives to consider supporting a constitutional amendment against Rent Seeking.

On “On Not Wanting to Rest Content

OK, but the way you address forgery isn’t the same way you would address armed robbery. Is it?


Wasn't the "crime" that they were "helping" people to get loans that the applicants didn’t technically qualify for in an era where everyone was being pushed to get more poorly-qualified people into homes?

The proper response imo would have been to either let those mismanaged firms go bankrupt, or, if they had to be saved, make those getting bailed out throw their executives under the bus to qualify for relief.

I also find it odd that Jaybird above argues we should minimize the reach of law and you seem to be arguing for stormtroopers to break in whenever some inane employment law is violated.

I am not sure if you are really arguing for strong arm tactics on white collar crime or using this as an argument against strong arm tactics for rape, murder and armed robbery. Either way, they are very different situations and they require very different responses. Violations, fines and bad publicity have negative effects on major corporations, not so much on serial murderers.

Context matters.


Actually, I agree somewhat. We need deep reform. Cops shouldn’t do that, and there should be severe consequences if they do. That doesn’t mean it was murder of course.


Yeah, I read somewhere that big ass trucks are selling well because the Perception that the mob can’t stop them as easily.


I think it is extremely likely that a jury will acquit him of most or all charges. Not sure I would if I was on the jury (there clearly appears to be at least wanton brutality, even if not manslaughter), but it is tough to say. No way thirteen Americans convict a police officer in this situation of murder.

I will further predict that Biden will be president, and that all the rioting and looting scum will take again to the streets (Along with millions of peaceful protestors). Once again, police brutality and lack of accountability (legitimate) will be "gaslighted" by the media as some kind of systemic racism (total BS).

Mayors in liberal cities will again let the looters "run riot", but this time Trump won’t be there with a need to maintain a semblance of order under his watch. Therefore armed conservative troublemakers will take to the streets "protect themselves and their property", possibly with a wink and A nod from the exPresident's tweets.

The rest will be total mayhem. Of course it will be spun as peaceful BLMers against evil white supremacists.

It is probably past time to buy a gun and a really big pickup (I own neither). Definitely time to get the hell out of Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago or Portland (I gladly left)

On “Seattle Police Department informs City Council that Police will have Adjusted Deployment Responses

In response to your 8:06 comment...

Oscar, you are really "monologuing" here.

I wrote out a response on incentives and instead of addressing what I actually said you create an imaginary discussion with someone ?? who is defending cops who "are not doing their damn jobs because their feelings are hurt". Please reread what I wrote and how incentives matter. Better yet read the original article and how they explained changes in procedures lead to increases in some kinds of crime.

You then go on to state you have "zero patience for men and women who want the power and authority of the badge, but don’t want the responsibility and accountability that goes with it." Any cursory review of my position is that I strongly endorse more accountability. So who are you replying to? Are you just ignoring what I wrote?

And then you really jump the shark, offering that "don’t give me any BS about cops being in a war zone,". Umm. OK. I didn’t and I wasn’t going to give you any such "BS." But thanks for sharing.


Banning chokeholds (Something we all agree on) and holding people accountable (another thing we agree on) is not synonymous with emasculation, SW. Cops have a tough job to do, working with the worst parts of humanity, and we do not want to make them ineffective. Our goal should be to make them more effective and more accountable, agreed?

The original article DM linked to presented various arguments of why certain violent and gun related crimes would go up. I would add that emphasis on not making waves, especially where black suspects are involved is going to lead to fewer stops, fewer confrontations, and more emphasis on other parts of their jobs. It would change how I policed, and not just in ways which society would deem as beneficial.

I would expect mayors, police chiefs and such are changing what they emphasize right now. Less emphasis on arrests and convictions and more emphasis on being a good cop (a good thing) and more emphasis on not getting involved in a confrontation with anyone black (reverse racism on enforcing the law is not a good thing).

And finally, yes, I am sure the criminals and gangs are very well aware of how active and confrontational (vigorous?) the police are in their territories.

On the margin, even if there are no spiteful cops (and there are of course), I would anticipate a less effective police force based upon the current wave of media gotcha that is going on.

I hope that this is a temporary blip until we see real police reform. Reform which will hold cops more accountable and better trained and still hold them accountable for keeping crime to a minimum, especially in those neighborhoods where it is the biggest problem


I agree in general with your recommendations. Seems like the right course of action.

Again, what I disagree with is "emasculating" which means "eliminating their capacity for effective action". I assume when you use the term you are inserting a definition around the lines of "making them less brutal jerks" or something. If that is what the term meant I would even agree with you.


Well said. I agree completely DM.


We started talking about Unintended negative side effects of emasculating cops. My point is that this is a very, very bad thing. It is clearly leading to large spikes in crime, violence, and the additional deaths of black kids. Several orders of magnitude more deaths than ever caused at the hands of cops. After Ferguson, this surge was 100% predictable on the first day of the riots.

Tertiary effects will be further flight of businesses and middle class from said areas and economic ramifications. Again, predictable. Again, bad for these communities.

The trial by video concept wasn’t about riots per say, it was about cops, police chiefs, and mayors etc being tried in public opinion based upon snippets. This will lead to changes in the incentive structure along with the emphasis of not making waves, keeping heads down, and less emphasis on arrests and convictions of sociopathic thugs.

To understand a complex system, we need to follow the incentives. I certainly would offer that incentive structures have been messed up with police for a while, but this is making them worse but in a different way.

We want our cops to be effective at keeping down crime, especially in those areas most prone to out of control crime and violence (many of which are In black neighborhoods). The current emasculation process is the last thing these neighborhoods need.

Sometimes we want to strike out against something which is wrong. That is human nature. But doing so, even when the wallop would have been well deserved, isn’t always best.


And what happens if Chauvin is acquitted or just gets convicted of involuntary manslaughter?

And isn’t this quite likely? Better than 50%?

Rioting needs to be stopped by all responsible institutions ASAP


Emasculation is defined as "to deprive of strength or vigor and the capacity for effective action."

When someone’s job involves dealing with drunken, drug crazed, violent criminals, anarchists, looters and sociopaths, I would suggest that emasculation — taking away their capacity for effective action — is going way too far.

Somewhere between emasculation and business as usual (Coddling?)is a place of effective action. It will require the intellectual honesty to recognize that a huge proportion of the violent encounters will statistically be with that subcategory of Americans who are committing an order of magnitude higher rates of violent crime. It will hold cops accountable for acting professional with repercussions against abuse, dishonesty and covering up malfeasance. No coddling is necessary, nor was it implied in my comments.

Perhaps it involves many of the great ideas you suggested last month. What it doesn’t involve is trial by video news snippet biased by the color or political leanings of the victim/assailant. This way leads to a total mess. And we are currently moving head first into said mess.


This means it is OK to destroy cities and civic health and black lives to teach cops a lesson or something. Can we add a "nana nana poo poo"?

It is easy to do something. It is even easy to do things with good intentions. The art is doing something which leads to good results. Seems like you gave up on this weeks ago.

We need accountability and improved policing, not childish spite.


I don’t care how this works out for Trump. My concern if I lived or worked or employed people in these circus cities, is in law and order. I would demand that my local government assume control of the situation. Absent this I would demand that higher orders step in and fill the vacuum. Calling them stormtroopers is just rhetoric in search of an argument.

Yes, the man is the most incompetent human cancer of modern times. But I demand my property and person be protected by our government institutions. If it was my neighborhood, I would demand he step in. If he fails to do so, I will step in, and that way leads to anarchy, which is probably what the rioters have wanted all along.


Oscar, I think you are grossly oversimplifying how human nature works and ignoring the effects of incentives on behavior.

Even if the police were angels, the incentives have radically changed. They almost certainly feel that nobody has their back. Thus they are exposed, risking criminal prosecution based upon video snippets in the hands of a biased media and political actors who can benefit by sacrificing cops for personal gain. I am amazed that any cop anywhere would feel comfortable even interacting On a confrontational way with a minority. News at 5!

As a manager of very large groups of people, I have found it is essential to understand how incentives work. In the case of cops in these media circus cities, the incentives are to avoid confrontation, and this is going to greatly emasculate their effectiveness (not just limit their abuse).

I (along with many others) predicted an unprecedented crime spike and Increase in black male death rates from the first riot. That is why I oppose this path. It is cancerous to everyone, and most of all to black lives.

And the root cause isn’t cop spite, it is police emasculation (a bad thing) being clothed as police reform (a necessary thing).

On ““Hamilton” and the False Choice

But Hamilton's legacy was not primarily his personal story, but the Federalist Papers, which is widely recognized as one of the most important works of political theory ever, and probably the most important one written in the Americas. The intellectual framework established in the Federalist Papers profoundly influenced the establishment of the US Constitution, which is the longest lasting constitution on the globe, and arguably a model for the hundreds of others written afterward.

And this gets me to the issue Gabriel brings up of who is the hero vs the villain. I agree here with you that Elizabeth gets to tell this tale, but really Hamilton's fame and importance to the world is not determined by any degree of self sacrifice, but based upon his contributions to the whole.

Implicit in Gabriel's critique seems to be some assumption that great benefit to the collective needs to come about via self sacrifice. The moral philosopher Adam Smith dispelled that myth even before the constitution was written, and decades of game theorists have since validated Adam's theories. In modern terms, large stable cooperative entities tend to thrive on mutual benefit, not self sacrifice or altruism. Win/win, not lose/win,

In other words, Hamilton's fame is based upon convictions and beliefs which, though a product of his time, were by no means the only or dominant beliefs of his time, and which in hindsight proved to be extremely beneficial to billions of people for two plus centuries.

Note, it has been over ten years since I read the Federalist Papers, though I am pulling it out again, so I don’t remember which parts were written by which author. I do seem to recall my favorite sections were Madison.

On “Bad Strategery In Stumptown Threatens Portland, the President, and Us

Yeah, I pretty much agree with this, George. I think you left out the media spiral of getting more viewers to watch as our nation is torn apart on the nightly news cycle.

I am not sure Trump will benefit, but it is certainly a possibility.

I am not and never will be a Republican, but I am so totally grateful that I live in the only large American city with a Republican mayor (San Diego) who is above at least some of this virtue signaling to the noxious woke mob.


Thus my point. The institution responsible for law and order lost credibility, and society has a gaping vacuum which is risk of being filled with something worse. Much, much worse.

The media narrative took on an admittedly screwed up policing institution and emasculated it.

This can end so very badly.


Agreed. But the left extreme has no clue either.

Some people are still deluded that this has something to do with whatever it is that is supposed to Matter this week. The extreme left is playing a different game, and the extreme right is quite possibly going to respond.

The proper response was to demand and enforce peaceful demonstrations from the get go.


It’s boners all around.


Yes, so far. But if the institutions empowered to do so no longer perform their duties, then is it not possible the right wingers will attempt to fill the vacuum?

I will go even further... is it the hope of the extreme left that the extreme right does respond in kind? Does that not play into their hand? Imagine the nightly news cycle.

I wish a pox on both their houses. Oh yeah, we already got that.


Agreed completely. And there are other ways it could get worse. What if the extreme right responds not via institutional channels, but by their own mobs? Right now we have a so-called "good" mob, supported by the media and unofficially by local government. In the vacuum, it is possible those on the right could seek to reclaim the streets. The "good" mob, vandalizing property, would then face off against the evil mob attempting re-establish law and order on their own.

Perhaps this is too far-fetched.

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