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May 24, 2020

Comments

Since we're changing threads...

Public-sector unions have a conflict of interest that private-sector unions don't. They and their members contribute to, campaign, and vote for their bosses. Or the people who pick their bosses.

Another reason for the decline of private-sector unions is that a lot of people don't want to be in unions. Especially if they're paying dues and don't seem to be getting anything for them.

And it is hard to justify concealing their performance records from their employers, i.e. all of us. Nobody who works in the private sector gets that kind of shield from their employer. And if you don't want to have your performance and disciplinary records made public, well there's always the private sector.

Public employees are not employed by everyone simply because their salaries ultimately come from tax revenue. They're employer is whatever entity they work for, the name of which can likely be found on their paychecks. That's a very loose way to use the word "employer" to get to a desired result.

The idea that all public employees should be subject to unrestricted public scrutiny of their work performance would only serve to - as you, yourself, argue, wj - send them to the private sector, where they would only be scrutinized by the people who actually employed them. That would leave the public sector at a severe disadvantage in attracting and retaining qualified and effective workers. Wouldn't that be great?

Why shouldn't private-sector workers be subject to the scrutiny of anyone who purchases the goods and services their employers provide? Who ultimately pays their salaries?

they're their there - all the same.

It's cute y'all think that I work for you, or that politicians are my bosses.

And congratulations, wj, on personally paying ≈0.00000002% of my wages and benefits (which is, incidentally about the same amount of my wages and benefits that I pay to myself through taxes - your contributions are noted and appreciated).

Gentlemen, good day.

So, I get to see all employee personnel reports for Boeing workers, supervisors, and upper management? After all, they are in receipt of a ton of public money (defense spending, subsidies, tax breaks, etc., etc.)....I hear tell it is "my" money, therefore "I" am "paying their salary". Right?

What HSH said more better.

Whst hsh said, kind of. Employment records for government employees are not generally available, while entities do provide varying access and privacy protections.

I suspect that disclosing this cops employment history was technically illegal. But these days we are all in on leaked information so no big deal.

Gentlemen, I take your point.

But allow me to suggest that your challenge isn't to convince me. It is to convince the general public. Which sees (whether accurately or not) a bunch of folks with serious civil service protections against being fired without cause, which they do not have. And which sees (again, accurately or not) folks who have unions which routinely get them raises, while wages in general have been stagnant for decades. And which sees (quite accurately) those folks being protected from firing, or any real sanctions at all, even when there is amply cause.

You may well find that an enormously inaccurate picture. Or you may just think that the problem is the lack of equally powerful private sector unions. But the reality is, you are losing the argument. And unless you all come up with some serious, and highly visible, changes, you're going to lose it all.

We will, God willing, get rid of Trump this year. But either the way public sector unions operates will change, or we will see some other demagogue come along and get elected on making them change.

The general public is stupid in at least one sense: it "sees (whether accurately or not)" what wj describes and does NOT demand the same deal from ITS bosses.

Reminds me of the joke about the Soviet commissar offering to reward a mother of several Red Army heroes with a favor of her choosing.

"Comrade," the old woman says, "my neighbor has a goat. I don't have a goat. Please, kill my neighbor's goat."

--TP

Shifting topics, this pretty much summarizes the past 4 years:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/02/trump-wants-you-look-him/

wj,
The idea that unions declined because "they encouraged some of their members to get away with stuff" is remarkably incorrect....so wrong in its premises that I don't even know where to start.

But let's start small. The idea that police brutality is the outcome of their protected union status and contract bargaining and not actual public policy is also not well founded. Overfunding an overly militarized police has widespread bipartisan support. This results in public policies that give space to police unions to push their bargaining power....not, as you seem to believe, the other way around.

You want more? How about this? Qualified immunity did not arise out of the back rooms of labor management bargaining. It was a policy adopted by the Supreme Court, folks who, to the best of my knowledge, are not members of a union.

we should probably just assume that Trump's "Cops need to be tougher!" is a thought and attitude that came to Trump, and Trump only, and isn't shared by actual cops anywhere in the US. and when actual cops hear his say stuff like this, they aren't inspired to get "tougher".

oh look, voter fraud.

President Trump originally tried to register to vote in Florida while claiming his “legal residence” was in another part of the country — Washington, D.C. — according to Florida elections records.

The September 2019 registration application listed Trump’s legal residence as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the location of the White House. That created a potential problem for Trump: Florida law requires voters to be legal residents of the state. A month later, Trump resubmitted his application to use a Florida address and in March he voted by mail in Florida’s Republican primary.

"big deal", you say. "small potatoes!" "once a Democrat did ... !"

well...

In Palm Beach, where Trump has registered to vote, there was a high-profile arrest in 1993 of a popular restaurateur who was charged with voter fraud and briefly jailed because he registered to vote in Palm Beach but lived in the neighboring city of West Palm Beach. A felony charge in the case was eventually dropped.

LOCK HIM UP! THROW HIM IN THE RIVER!

The idea that police brutality is the outcome of their protected union status and contract bargaining and not actual public policy is also not well founded.

bobbyp, police brutality is the outcome of the personality (if that's the right word) of the individual policemen involved. But the fact that those who engage in it remain policemen? Yeah, that derives, in significant part, from their union and its priorities. Reinforced, it is true, by the policies of those who, like Trump, want police to be brutal . . . at least as long as they and theirs are not the target.

Are police unions solely and completely responsible? Obviously not. (And if I gave the impression that I thought so, I apologize.) But do they contribute significantly to the problem? I think so.

But do they contribute significantly to the problem? I think so.

So do a lot of other people.

In 2012, Camden, NJ fired their whole police force and replaced them with a county-level non-union force.

"Police are public servants granted enormous power over the citizenry. They are tasked with protecting the public and serving their interests. Police unions, in contrast, are tasked with protecting police and serving their interests—even in direct contravention of serving the public. That distinction makes them a barrier to reforms aimed at improving public safety and increasing oversight of how law enforcement behaves. If union-busting is what it takes to reduce the pernicious influence of today's police unions on policing, then it's time to bust some police unions."
It's Time To Bust Police Unions: Over and over again, unions have defended bad policing and bad police. It’s time for them to go.

This is where the US centric-ness of the list really hurts. When I first came to Japan, it was with a program that brought people from the UK, NZ and Australia. One of the vexing problems was how were the people who had come over to be represented. The group was largely white, largely male middle/upper class. Discussions about finding ways to represent us roughly like this

American: Dude, that really sounds like a union, that's not a good thing
Australian: Look ya rat bag, we got to have a way to represent ourselves
Japanese ........

Rinse and repeat. Unions arise in a context and making broad claims about what unions do or don't make unions out to be something that operates in a vacuum. Of course, this makes it convenient, because you can blamt specific problems with police unions and avoid looking at systemic problems. Funny that....

It should be noted that "unions" and "systemic problems" are not conflicting explanations. There are definitely some synergies there.

"Public-sector unions have a conflict of interest that private-sector unions don't. They and their members contribute to, campaign, and vote for their bosses."

Well, good to hear that private-sector union members don't have retirement plans that own part of their employer (stock), and vote in elections for their boards.

Are firefighters' unions a problem? Should firefighters have no recourse to collective bargaining? Are there racial disparities in how firefighters try to rescue people from fires?

Do we have black people fearful of calling the fire department?

It's not unions, it's the specific protections that police officers demand in their contracts that are then agreed to by the negotiators. And it's the public's willingness to take the police unions side in any public dispute as soon as they wave another officer's funeral in peoples faces. And then propaganda pieces like Blue Bloods blow them all a big, wet, sloppy, mustachioed kiss once a week.

Teacher's funerals don't mean jack to people. And teachers don't get Blue Bloods, they get Waiting for Superman. And lo and behold, they don't get nearly the protections written into their contracts that the police do.

Who'da thunk it?

But do they contribute significantly to the problem? I think so.

This emphasis is remarkably off base. I do not believe that you opine that, "Well, sure, get rid of police unions, problem solved!" If you do, our differences are profound.

Rampaging police operate in a public mileu that de jure and de facto allows and condones it. This behavior does NOT arise from the mere existence of a public sector bargaining relationship. You have cause and effect all backwards.

Thanks.

We hippies have been making this point since, like forever, but you know.....hippies.

And then propaganda pieces like Blue Bloods blow them all a big, wet, sloppy, mustachioed kiss once a week.

I was thinking yesterday that we could use a TV series where Internal Affairs are the heroes. There may be a real opportunity here for an Executive Producer with vision and courage. And an ability to spot a niche just waiting to be filled.

We hippies have been making this point since, like forever, but you know.....hippies.

Why do I suspect that we're all showing our age by even using the term? 😉

It’s time for them to go.

As usual, charles drops by to leave us some glibertarian fact free excrement. It's all about the glibertarian war on unions.

A more nuanced take on what went down in Camden can be found here. Please note, the Camden police department is once again unionized.

Why do I suspect that we're all showing our age by even using the term? 😉

True 'dat, wj. I remember the good old days and our war against J. Edgar Hoover, a tyrant who makes the contrempts of the current manifestation of that institution pale by comparison (still bad, though).

Keep on truckin'

Name that artist & song:

"I patrol the highways from the air
I keep the country safe from long hair
I am the masculine American Man
[song title is line]

I don't like the Black Man
For he does not know his place
Take the back of my hand
Or I'll spray you with my Mace"

It becomes less subtle from there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQBLBvi67fw

Unions arise in a context and making broad claims about what unions do or don't make unions out to be something that operates in a vacuum.

There you have it.

Priest: excellent. I'd never heard it before, only knew Pleasures of the Harbour, and that developed a skip in the vinyl so long ago as to be unplayable. Haven't thought of it in years, and now there's YouTube - great!

I didn't know where to put this. Perhaps the thread explicitly about racism and the Floyd protests would have been better, but I think this could make a bigger point, and this is an open thread. We have discussed privilege in the past, and particularly white male privilege as I recall. When I saw the following tweet, by someone called Ahmed Ali, I thought of our discussion, and with the substitution of "racism and sexism" to this sentence, I really cannot think of a better encapsulation of the whole issue.

It's a privilege to learn about
racism instead of experiencing
it your whole life.

I was thinking yesterday that we could use a TV series where Internal Affairs are the heroes. There may be a real opportunity here for an Executive Producer with vision and courage. And an ability to spot a niche just waiting to be filled.

Try the British show 'Line of Duty'. It is one of my favorites. I think available on Netflix - definitely Acorn if you stream. Right now it is on FX channel. Back to my usual lurking...

I thought I did the whole italics thing correctly but obviously not. Can someone fix for me please?

Fixed! - wj
Those slashes seem to be one of the key strokes the keyboards have the most trouble picking up. At least mind does.

italiexo!

Meanwhile, we have this little problem: The next big problem for the economy: Businesses can’t pay their rent

Many shops and restaurants say they'll go out of business if they are forced to pay rent right now. But landlords face bankruptcy, and cities need the commercial property tax payments this summer and fall.
Let us all celebrate McConnell's decision to not even have the Senate consider the House-passed bill to provide support for city and state budgets.

/sarcasm

And then propaganda pieces like Blue Bloods blow them all a big, wet, sloppy, mustachioed kiss once a week.

I was thinking yesterday that we could use a TV series where Internal Affairs are the heroes.

Korean TV is pretty good in this respect.
The police are almost invariably portrayed as largely incompetent, rather than corrupt - something which is generally the province of the prosecutors/politicians.

I heartily recommend Punch, which is slightly bonkers (corrupt prosecutor discovers he has an incurable brain tumour and decides to clean shop before he dies), but brilliant.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-06-04/james-mattis-s-rebuke-of-donald-trump-is-a-big-deal

Meanwhile, the list of Donald Trump’s terrible personnel choices according to Donald Trump gets one name longer, as the president reacted predictably by bashing Mattis. That list now includes a defense secretary, a secretary of state, an attorney general, at least one national security adviser and at least two White House chiefs of staff. Again, there are very few people who are otherwise undecided about Trump who would be swayed by what an awful job — according to Trump himself — he has done appointing people for the most important positions in government. But it’s a remarkable record nonetheless.

don't forget his long-time personal lawyer!

Unions arise in a context and making broad claims about what unions do or don't make unions out to be something that operates in a vacuum.

Here's some context for you.

This came up in my podcast queue and seemed apropos:

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/03/869176943/police-unions-and-civilian-deaths

There may be some particular issues related to police unions that merit a serious look.

I'll go back to my corner now.

Yes. Pollo de muerte, I've read the lit on this and listened to the discussions. I don't doubt that police unions have been using their power to protect bad cops from the consequences of their actions.

But that is not a consequence of unionization. That is a consequence of politics and policy. The union aspect of it is just an insistence that due process is followed. What that process is depends entirely on bargaining and policy.

Anyone else here actually taken part in bargaining sessions? Anyone else here been a part of a disciplinary hearing?

Cops can be reformed without going after public employee unions as a whole, but that would spoil the plans of the anti-unionists who are trying to fork the problem.

More context for you. Those who keep returning to the "particular issues of police unions" continue to miss the forest for the trees.

Why not try this: "Particular issues of law enforcement"?

But you don't. It's always about unions.

What nous said.

Thank you.

nous, I may have missed it, but I don't think anyone here (OK, maybe Charles) has argued for going after public sector unions generally. I admit I'm not a fan, but that's not quite the same thing.

You can say that the problem is politics and policy. But the policies you say the unions are just insisting on following are not just handed down from on high externally. They were negotiated for by those same unions.

And as for the politics, the problem thete is that public sector unions are allowed to engage in politics in the first place. Certainly the members have every right to do so. Both individually or via individual contributions to a PAC of their choice. But the union as an entity? No. Neither monetary contributions nor endorsements.

bobbyp, no question the militarization of police forces is a problem. A serious one. But that doesn't mean it's the only one. I'd say it's one of several, several of which are mutually reinforcing. Including, for example, military gear making knowledge/experience with said equipment a plus for applicants, which results in skewing the demographics of the police personnel, which influences the psychological profiles of the median policeman, etc.

So public sector unions should not be allowed to engage in politics because they are not individuals, but corporate contributions are just protected free speech...

But the right is not going after unions. Oh no. Don't say that.

And yes, police forces are one of the few places that welcome someone with a military background and a combat infantry MOS. And there is something to be said for a candidate who has experience with operating under the effects of an adrenaline dump and experience with having been under fire. But there's a lot of other training that runs at cross purposes, and there's prior histories of PTSD to consider as well. Not that PTSD is a given for combat infantry, but if it is present, it can be a problem. And a lot of dubious training seminars about PTSD and combat stress got sold to US police forces during the cash cow days of the War on Terror. Suddenly every police force had money and wanted the same set of seminar clowns that had been entertaining the Operative community for all those years. Train with the guys who train the Elite!

Incidentally, a bunch of those guys that became instant consultants and SMEs in the aftermath of 9/11 slid into anti-muslim circles and NRA stuff right away. Suddenly I was seeing a bunch of guys whose names I knew as friends of my martial arts training circle showing up in the alt-right fringe and pushing Jade Helm conspiracy crap.

Know when police unions first became legal and started to gain power? 1964. Think that the problems with police violence might be a legacy of the Vietnam War that became the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror?

Nah. Gotta be unions.

So public sector unions should not be allowed to engage in politics because they are not individuals, but corporate contributions are just protected free speech...

Please believe that I consider the Citizens United decision one of the biggest pieces of bullsh*t to come out of the Supreme Court in the last 20 years. (Admittedly there's some stiff competition.)

I would hope so.

Never stops the astroturf oligarchs, though.

If the Citizens United decision had gone the other way, it would also limit labor unions and other organizations along with corporations. But that may have been a trade-off you would prefer.

The problem with Citizens United was not the decision in the narrow case at hand (in essence: despicable in content but legal due to 1st amendment) but the uncalled-for pulled-out-of-digestive-rear-exit expansion. I assume they considered to go all the way and make a distinction between unions (how dare they abuse their members' money?) and corporations (who are people, my friends) but decided that that was a bridge to far (for the moment).
It was "the state had no right to confiscate your hunting rifle just because you are a nazi and a holocaust apologist and btw, the 2nd amendment covers nuclear artillery shells"

FWIW, I hate Citizens United and I'm not attacking public unions generally (although being called an "astroturf oligarch" does lend an air of menacing gravitas that I don't usually enjoy ... note to self: grow a mustache so I have something to twirl and purchase a monocle).

nouse said: But that is not a consequence of unionization. That is a consequence of politics and policy. The union aspect of it is just an insistence that due process is followed. What that process is depends entirely on bargaining and policy.

I disagree where collective bargaining in the police union context warps due process (e.g., restricting the release of information regarding the cop but not the victim after a police shooting; getting the benefit of a cool-down period where the officers can coordinate their story before being interviewed/interrogated). IMO, this contributes to the real difficulty in prosecuting police for civilian deaths.

On the one hand, police unions are just negotiating to get the best deal for their client members and that's a cornerstone of our adversarial legal system. The problem is that interests of civilians (especially at-risk civilians who are POC) are not being adequately represented. The podcast suggests that elected officials are generally more concerned with keeping taxes low and as a result, give in on these non-monetary demands as part of the horse trading to keep wages or benefits lower. That rings true to me based on my experience in similar negotiations.

In an economic sense, there are always externalities associated with collective bargaining (e.g., consumers pay higher prices for goods produced by unionized labor). But in the typical collective bargaining context, the market will correct for this and we can say that many of us gladly pay more for goods and services that are provided by fairly paid labor. Even in many public sector contexts, the impact on the public is acceptable (e.g., waiting longer at the DMV because the union negotiated longer/more frequent breaks).

My point is: Where we are dealing with the essential rights of victims of police violence, I don't think we can hand wave the externalities away with "it's just bargaining and policy". The collective bargaining process appears to consistently warp due process in nontrivial and bad ways. Will the current outrage adequately impact our current collective bargaining paradigm or do we need to consider having a civilian representative at the table (I'm thinking of utility rate hearings where the public is represented by the state's AG office).

TLDR: Essential rights of civilians who are victims of police violence are compromised by police union collective bargaining to an unacceptable degree.

I don't think that collective bargaining per se is the problem, though I can quite understand why anyone might believe that to be the case...
http://policeauthority.org/metropolitan/publications/briefings/2006/0611/index.html

What is lacking is the political will to put constraints on what is and what isn't negotiable.

What is lacking is the political will to put constraints on what is and what isn't negotiable.

Yes. It takes two to bargain, my friend.

FWIW, I hate Citizens United and I'm not attacking public unions generally (although being called an "astroturf oligarch" does lend an air of menacing gravitas that I don't usually enjoy ... note to self: grow a mustache so I have something to twirl and purchase a monocle).

Confirmed: Pollo de muerte is a sock puppet of Charles Koch. You heard it here first. We got The Family on the run now, kids.

Union bargained privacy in disciplinary matters doesn't come into play until after a long chain of bad policy and bad precedent.

https://www.policeone.com/use-of-force/articles/15-use-of-force-cases-every-cop-needs-to-know-NLoZ7wBxeBxkIHly/

Add to that Hudson v. Michigan, which was mentioned in the Radley Balko article mentione in the Lawyers Guns, and Money post that bobbyp linked to above.

That's 16 cases that help indemnify cops that have been militarized and incentivized by the War on Terror and the War on Drugs.

But it's the union coming in at the tail end of all of this and insisting that management not fire someone who has been exonerated by this bad system that is the problem.

don't forget his long-time personal lawyer!

Rudy.

From "America's mayor" to spittle-flecked [email protected] nutjob. Mad as a damned hatter. If he was a dog, you'd take him out back and shoot him.

Hope he got a good payday out of it.

I keep trying to think of constructive things to say. And I keep on coming up empty.

Shit's fucked up and bullshit, and it is not going to stop until all of the folks who think people like Trump and Rudy are the good guys wise the hell up.

These people are dangerous maniacs. All of them. The ones that aren't get moved out, or leave on their own. The ones that stick around are the worst, just horrible human beings. Vicious, corrupt, dangerous maniacs.

I don't know what to say about the people who support them. The thought process there is beyond my ken.

If cops were not allowed to unionize, would they be less racist? less power-drunk? less idolized by authoritarian power-drunk racists?

If police chiefs, from Jerkwater AL to Chicago IL, had no unions to contend with, would they start replacing the racist and the power-drunk in their forces with Sheriff Andy Taylor types? Would they fire over-aggressive cops, or hire more of them, in the name of "law and order"?

Unionization is a red herring. Bad policing in America is a cultural problem, not a labor relations problem.

--TP

and oh yeah, unions.

Professional police forces start showing up in US cities in the mid 19th C. There may have been one or two earlier than that.

The first union-ish police thing was probably the Police Benevolent Association, which began in the early 20th C. Police unions, per se, probably begin around the mid 20th C.

Is anyone under the impression that police behavior was transparent and accountable before the emergence of police unions? Like, for 100 years, there were no patterns of cops being more or less above the law?

Maybe there's a chicken-and-egg thing here.

Unions exist because, absent unions, working people have little to no voice in the conditions they work under, and / or in the governance of the organizations they work for.

If you don't like unions, fix that, and the motivation for specifically labor-focused organizations will go away.

nous said: But it's the union coming in at the tail end of all of this and insisting that management not fire someone who has been exonerated by this bad system that is the problem.

The data show that unionization of police started in the late 50s and early 60s and an uptick in civilian killing started as the same time. The war on drugs and militarization of the the police was much later and is neither the chicken or the egg. I'll quote the npr podcast:

This is where we found a really remarkable and really horrible result. We found that after officers gained access to collective bargaining rights that there was a substantial increase in killings of civilians - 0.026 to 0.029 additional civilians are killed in each county each year of whom the overwhelming majority are non-white. That's about 60 to 70 per year civilians killed by the police in an era historically where there are a lot fewer police shootings. So that's a humongous increase.

I'm probably less pro-union and more union-sympathetic. I understand that if you are pro-union and have been dealing with the erosion of collective bargaining rights and a constant onslaught from the right that it's natural to assume a defensive crouch whenever any union activity is criticized, but I think this knee jerk reaction is not serving labor well here.

You don't have to be a nutball right winger to see that police unions present a special case where the essential rights (and lives) of third parties have not been accounted for in the collective bargaining process.

russell: I don't know what to say about the people who support them.

I do.

What befuddles me is how to persuade their neighbors, friends, and relatives to treat them as moral lepers.

--TP

Taking off in a different direction.

I had somehow missed the detail that Trump has felt it necessary to erect a 10 foot high reinforced metal fence around the White House. In effect, making the building into one large bunker to cower in.

I see a real campaign opportunity here. Picture Joe Biden, standing next to it, saying: "Mr Trump, tear down this wall!"

Or a parody of this classic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z39mHqn487w

I totally agree that police unions present a special case. 100% on board. My union has come out against the MPU and there are people in the AFL-CIO discussing whether it's appropriate to allow police unions to be part of the federation. And if police unions were to strike over this stuff, I would not give them a moment of solidarity, any more than they used their power to protect teachers in Wisconsin when the GOP came after the schools.

But the conversation about what to do keeps coming back to attacks on collective bargaining for public employee unions, and I see the same crap trotted out against police unions that was trotted out in Waiting for Superman about the horrible, no good, very bad teachers that the unions have protected.

Fix the disciplinary process. Fix the laws that give too much power and protection to cops. And quit recycling the same arguments that were used to go after teachers and air traffic controllers as a run up to going after the *special case* that is the cops.

It's always a *special case* but the answer somehow always stays the same, and always lumps the other unions into the argument.

So identify the specific policies and practices and procedures that make the police distinct and go after those things specifically in a way that does not put every union on the hook and we can talk.

"Mr Trump, tear down this wall!"

and in retaliation, the city of DC is painting BLACK LIVES MATTER down the middle of the 16th street behind the White House.

well fuuuuuuudge.

Narrator: except he didn't say "fudge"

wj: fixed it (I think). But it took me two tries.

That's one impressive painting.

even better:

WaPo:

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) renamed the street in front of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” on Friday and emblazoned the slogan in massive yellow letters on the road, a pointed salvo in her escalating dispute with President Trump over control of D.C. streets.

I pretty much agree with nous on this, so this isn't meant to be a diversion, but a problem with police (that is felt even more acutely with firefighters) is that they have a relatively limited career on the front line, so a system of work has to be created that they can move to. This makes their union a lot more intrasigent because the demographic profile of the work (younger basically doing all the hard work and older moving to a desk) has them demand their rights as retirement. In other jobs, a person growing older can more easily move, they are not locked into that particular job. But for police and firefighters, there isn't really a lot of movement. Police can move to a suburb as sort of a horizontal transfer. FIrefighters can't find a job in small town because those places tend to have volunteer firefighters.

The data show that unionization of police started in the late 50s and early 60s and an uptick in civilian killing started as the same time.

pollo, thanks for bringing this into the discussion. can you point us to the source for this? This is not a "where's your link?!?" challenge, I'm just interested in getting more information. I want to understand what's going on.

Thank you!

A brief laundry list of policies to reform police conduct are found here.

You will notice that "reforming" the collective bargaining process for police is just one small part.

As it should be.

here ya' go, russell:

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/03/869176943/police-unions-and-civilian-deaths

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/6/6/1950841/-They-wanted-her-to-flinch-beg-to-break-as-they-used-police-batons-on-her-She-would-not

Any police union reform initiated by the fascist American conservative right, otherwise known as the Republican Party under Trump's heel, is NOT predicated on reducing violence against the citizenry, but rather to strip public sector employees of all healthcare, retirement, and workplace safety benefits and to convert police forces into low-paid, low-benefit armed militias to serve as paramilitary enforcers and protectors of trump conservative movement goals, and includes all elected republicans officials across the nation.

That so many of the constabulary will acquiesce to the crypto-Christian fascist cult on those terms is now beyond cautionary, it is a Bolsonarian, Stalinist, Orbanian.

Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, United States of America: "I didn't know where I was going."

Nuremberg-worthy pleading.

He could have served just as well in Gary "What's Aleppo?" Johnson's hapless, dumbass administration.

Which way to the Front?

Is Esper fit to know where Trump's "big" nuclear button is at any moment.

We are in grave danger.

Some of those anonymous armed militias blocking the Lincoln Monument spoke Russian to demonstrators, according to witnesses, who have since disappeared.

Trust no conservatives. We don't know who they are.

I now push my own personal mute button to silence once again.

Another rant on this topic, and a good one at that, is found here.

Carry on.

oh good. we've entered the "both parties are equally terrible" phase of the election.

One can understand the attraction of "both parties are equally terrible." It allows the speaker to evade any responsibility for failing to oppose the unarguably worse candidate when they are in office and creating one disaster after another.

The defining characteristic of an adult is responsibility. The "both parties are equally terrible" folks demonstrably are not.

“Both parties are equally terrible”

Since that wasn’t said in the link, what we have actually entered is the phase where any criticism of Democrats is seen as saying that “ both parties are equally terrible”. We have been there for 20 years. We also have the people who say both parties are equally terrible and people in- between.

When I am Larping as a responsible adult, I criticize bad policies and the politicians which support them , which often includes Democrats, while also acknowledging that Republicans are worse than Democrats and so, in discussions of who to vote for, one votes lesser evil. When angry, I just cuss at everyone.

One can understand the appeal of talking constantly in terms of which party is worse as it allows the speaker to evade any responsibility for the mistakes and crimes committed by the lesser evil, so that one never has to confront issues where American society as a whole, or at least both political parties, might be at fault.

The defining characteristic of an adult is responsibility. The people who respond in kneejerk fashion to criticism of both parties demonstrably are not.

Oh, hell, make it easier. Agree with me on everything I think is important, or you are just a toddler. I will be generous and allow some minor disagreements here and there, but don’t make me have to pull this blog over.

Btw, recently some people here liked the Applebaum article below.

I didn’t. It mixed legitimate criticism of Trump with her own notions of what US foreign policy should be like. She praised people like Romney, who was pro- waterboarding.

https://www.anneapplebaum.com/2020/06/01/history-will-judge-the-complicit/


I liked this one better. He criticizes a Trump and explains where Trump is a step backwards, but he doesn’t sugarcoat what came before Trump.


https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/06/01/moving-backward-hypocrisy-and-human-rights/

I will be generous and allow some minor disagreements here and there, but don’t make me have to pull this blog over.

LOL

Donald, I liked the Applebaum piece. I find the question of who collaborates, and who doesn't when the chips are down, extremely interesting, and I always have. And what the last straw is that breaks the camel's back for those who don't - in fact the whole mechanism of collaboration is fascinating.

And Romney, despite his many worrying (or downright reprehensible) attitudes, was right and brave to vote for impeachment, just as McCain (who I am certain you disapproved of despite his opposition to torture) was right to put his thumb down on the ACA vote.

FWIW, and in case I haven't made it clear in the past, I do not think that criticising the Dems means one thinks both parties are equally terrible. And I completely respect and agree with your point of view when you say:

I criticize bad policies and the politicians which support them , which often includes Democrats, while also acknowledging that Republicans are worse than Democrats and so, in discussions of who to vote for, one votes lesser evil.

I forget where I saw this (with all the news/commentary about police issues, it's hard to keep track), but there was something mentioned that police had to have some sort of 'certification' to be employed.

Something like 'graduated police academy', or the like.

And the idea that bad cops should have their certification pulled, so that they couldn't just relocate to a new area.

It also seems (to me) that whatever organization issues certifications isn't part of the typical "local government/police union" bargaining, and so has the power to tell the back cops to just fuck right off.

(Like Bar Associations or Medical licensing boards, perhaps? Far from perfect, I know, but we are so far from perfect that you can't really see it from here.)

s/back cops/bad cops/

On the other hand a 'not qualified' from the American Bar Association is currently a prerequisite for getting a judicial nomination from this administration.

Since that wasn’t said in the link...

maybe it wasn't explicit enough for you. i got the message loud and clear.

i got the message loud and clear.

Apparently, Bill de Blasio hasn't.

i suspect few will disagree when i say that BdBis kind of a doofus.

“ maybe it wasn't explicit enough for you. i got the message loud and clear.”

Because you filter for that message. I am trying to think of an appropriate electronics analogy, but am failing.

Lots of people do this on both sides, but there really is a way of saying “ I hate what many Democrats are doing on issues X and Y, but Republicans are worse.” Many of us say it and mean it. Now often people who say it are very angry about the issue— in this case, police thuggishness—and when angry it can be difficult to say “Nonetheless, the Republicans are worse”. Some people can’t do it. Then they vote third party or not at all.

Wj thinks that is childish. I think it depends. I am a comfortable middle class person ( for now— a deprsssion could eventually change that)— and so when people say I take no risk in voting third party it hits home and I vote lesser evil. But I can well imagine that someone who was suffering no matter which party was in power might not find that argument quite so compelling. It might still be morally right, the responsible thing to do. But it might be a good idea t actually listen to people when they are outraged and not simply rely on the old standby of vote shaming.

And anyway, as I was saying by stealing wj’s words, the responsible adult argument cuts both ways and so does the moral argument. If people aren’t willing to listen to angry criticisms of Democrats when they are in the wrong, as they sometimes are, then they aren’t the right people to be talking about lesser evil voting because they have no credibility.

Gftnc—. The Applebaum article was correct in pointing out that Trump supporters are selling their souls, But she was also making a case for what she considers to be a virtuous foreign policy. I don’t want to go back through the article, but it was self congratulatory Beltway stuff. I was not moved by McCain’s funeral and who showed up. I want Trump out, but a lot of those people are horrible. So I supplied the Danner link. I even think that was a little too kind to US foreign policy pre-Trump, but he knows where some of the literal bodies are buried and as he mentions, his first book was about where 900 of them were put in the ground.

If people aren’t willing to listen to angry criticisms of Democrats when they are in the wrong, as they sometimes are, then they aren’t the right people to be talking about lesser evil voting because they have no credibility.

the Republicans are running things right now.

criticizing the Dems for what's happening now would be merely silly if it didn't run the risk of turning even more people into "they all sucks" drones.

but, you've heard all this before, i'm sure.

And anyway, as I was saying by stealing wj’s words, the responsible adult argument cuts both ways and so does the moral argument. If people aren’t willing to listen to angry criticisms of Democrats when they are in the wrong, as they sometimes are, then they aren’t the right people to be talking about lesser evil voting because they have no credibility.

Precisely Dr. Ed's point, I believe. And your words above seem reasonable enough, and so does the first para of Donald's (god bless him) reply. Burmila's squib was certainly not an example of the "both parties are equally terrible" point of view, and anybody with a passing familiarity with his output would know this. He does not, from what I gather, take kindly to 3rd party vanity voting.

As to what constitutes "adult responsibility", well, opinions vary (I've heard). wj, for example, has no problem voting for down ballot "good" Republicans, a position I find to be politically naive as it lends support to a political institution that has no redeeming virtue.

I also agree with your take on the Applebaum piece, good as it was....so I will have to go back and read your Danner link. Thanks.

But it might be a good idea t actually listen to people when they are outraged and not simply rely on the old standby of vote shaming.

The thing is, as a fairly comfortable middle class straight white male, I am myself fairly outraged. Does that count? Or does the fact that I am, relatively speaking, financially and socially secure make my voice less relevant?

The dilemma I see is that the people who are "suffering no matter which party is in power" are not interested in the kinds of changes that would alleviate their suffering. Apparently, that all looks like socialism to them. Whatever that word means, in their minds.

So they make choices that appear, to me, to be more than foolish.

Is that "vote shaming"? Or is that just a reasonable analysis of the facts?

I do listen to the things that people who suffer no matter which party is on top have to say. I understand that they are outraged. I am more than interested in making changes that will make their lives better, and I don't really care if all of those changes are things that I personally think are the best idea.

I listen, but what I hear doesn't make sense. Am I being some kind of smarmy elitist if I say that the things that people think, believe, and say are not sensible? They aren't rooted in an accurate understanding of history, or of our institutions as a nation, or even simply of fact?

Isn't it freaking patronizing if I *do not* call out the ways in which that stuff doesn't make sense? Isn't it condescending to say, yes, you're making bad choices, but I see that you are angry and outraged, so I won't challenge you on any of that?

If I look at the history of this country for the 63 years I've been here, I see that American politics is pretty screwed up, American foreign policy is pretty screwed up, the American economy is robust as hell but is pretty screwed up. I see all of that.

But I also see that, in fact, the (R)'s are worse. Not just a matter of degree, but in their fundamental understanding of the world and in their basic orientation toward public life. They're worse. The (D)'s are weak beer, are often kind of patronizing, and as an institution are often self-serving. But the (R)'s, certainly from Nixon on, are actually bad. Bad policies, frequently bad people. Harmful, destructive of public life and institutions, motivated by anti-social and toxic ideologies.

Bad.

The both-sides thing is harmful, because it tries to draw comparisons between things that are not alike.

Burmila's squib was certainly not an example of the "both parties are equally terrible" point of view,

he wrote this:

Democrats have exhausted the number of times they can tell people, vote for us now and we will deliver for you later.

so.. um..


the choice, everywhere in the US is going to be Dem vs GOP. GOP gets you people like Trump celebrating police brutality and aggression.

Dem gets you people like Hank Johnson, who, in February, sponsored a bill to prohibit the transfer of military weapons and equipment that are unnecessary and inappropriate for local police needs.

seems simple to me.

I am trying to think of an appropriate electronics analogy, but am failing.

A band-pass filter?

I am trying to think of an appropriate electronics analogy, but am failing.

A band-pass filter?

I'm going to have to un-social-distancing myself to an electronics store and get a new mouse...

so.. um..

Really? So, basically any criticism of Dems is, by definition, illegitimate....especially from somebody like myself who has voted straight Dem ticket (yes, even the bad ones in the general) for 40+ years, and is active in the party? (LOL...bit of reverse shaming on my part...apologies).

A center Dem LOST in 2016. Black turnout went DOWN. Does this not tell you something?

Rep. Hank's bill is fine. I'm all for it. How about bills for reparations? Good schools? Jobs? Safe communities? Real police reform. How about pouring substantial funds and efforts into the inner cities and the black rural south?

We seem to have a substantial disagreement on what constitutes "deliver", and Burmila's point was spot on. At some point, your audience is going to stop paying attention.

We can do this. We can have good things. We can do better. Seems simple to me, too.

Thanks.

well done, Mitt Romney.


How about bills for reparations? Good schools? Jobs? Safe communities? Real police reform. How about pouring substantial funds and efforts into the inner cities and the black rural south?

do you want me to look up bills?

Bad.

Yup.

“ The dilemma I see is that the people who are "suffering no matter which party is in power" are not interested in the kinds of changes that would alleviate their suffering. Apparently, that all looks like socialism to them. ”

I actually wasn’t thinking of poor whites who sometimes vote Republican, but people of all colors who don’t bother to vote because they don’t think it matters. Given the low number of people who vote, this probably describes a fair number of people, some of whom might have reasons to be bitter.
There was a NYT piece on black nonvoters immediately after Trump’s victory where they expressed that view, but my impression is that this attitude has been around forever.

The endless battles that go on between lefties who vote third party and those who don’t probably aren’t very relevant offline. It’s probably just a small percentage of people who could recite them by heart.

CharlesWT— I thought of bandpass filter. It might work, you filter out the frequencies/ arguments to your left and right. Far left and right would be low pass and high pass, though people woukd have to agree on which side gets the low or high frequency assigned to it.

Too much explaining to make the analogy funny. Needs work.

“ The endless battles that go on between lefties who ...”

I take that back. A fair number of lefties despise Biden. But the online shouting probably isn’t relevant.

do you want me to look up bills?

No need. But if you are satisfied with where we are, we are not seeing the same picture.

The black community suffers from a dearth of good paying jobs. CREATE THEM.

The black community suffers from housing discrimination and crappy dilapidated schools. BUILD IT.

The black community has repeatedly been robbed of what little wealth they have been able to eke out. CORRECT THIS WRONG. WE CAN AFFORD IT.

I could go on. Hopefully you get the point.

Thanks.

I actually wasn’t thinking of poor whites who sometimes vote Republican, but people of all colors who don’t bother to vote because they don’t think it matters.

A very good point.

I'd be hard pressed to persuade them otherwise, not because I don't think it actually matters, but because I am not them.

I personally live in a very fortunate bubble. How to engage in ways that are actually constructive takes up a lot of my mental space lately.

Still trying to figure it out.

Meanwhile, this seems large.

Isn't it freaking patronizing if I *do not* call out the ways in which that stuff doesn't make sense? Isn't it condescending to say, yes, you're making bad choices, but I see that you are angry and outraged, so I won't challenge you on any of that?

I've been thinking of this in a separate context and it is a dilemma. Let's take a problem, like a meeting where men talk too much and women don't get a word in. Then who brings the complaint? Does a man, which then has other men argue against him? Or does a woman and she gets told that see, you can speak up so you just hae to be stronger. It may even be that the women get mad at the man for suggesting that they aren't strong enough to speak up on their own.

Donald could (very accurately) say well people getting blown up by drones don't even have a place at the table, so the analogy is not at all apt. But the question I'm thinking is how do people _at_ the table (or at least at this table) who feel like Donald make the point without falling into this fork.

What prompts this is Drew Bree's (NO Saints Quarterback) wife's Brittany Brees (horrifically sexist description, but I think some people here wouldn't recognize the name so that's the description that gives information in a way to easily understand it) post on Instagram.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2895100-drew-brees-wife-brittany-says-we-are-the-problem-on-ig-post-about-protests

WE ARE THE PROBLEM . I write this with tears in my eyes and I hope you all hear our hearts. I have read these quotes and scripture 1000 times and every time I read it and the words sink into my heart. I think yes this is what it’s all about...Only until the last few days, until we experienced the death threats we experienced the hate… Did I realize that these words were speaking directly to us.. how could anyone who knows us or has had interactions with us think that Drew or I have a racist bone in our body? But that’s the whole point . Somehow we as white America, we can feel good about not being racist, feel good about loving one an another as God loves us. We can feel good about educating our children about the horrors of slavery and history. We can read books to our children about Martin Luther King, Malcolm X., Hank Aaron, Barack Obama, Rosa parks, Harriet Tubman.. and feel like we are doing our part to raise our children to love , be unbiased and with no prejudice. To teach them about all of the African Americans that have fought for and risked their lives against racial injustice. Somehow as white Americans we feel like that checks the box of doing the right thing. Not until this week did Drew and I realize THAT THIS IS THE PROBLEM."

Now, the instagram post has these quotes
2 by MLK
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
and
Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we will have to repent for the appalling silence of the good people.
and this bible verse
the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you

I put that up for completeness, not because I want to figure out exactly what Britanny Brees is thinking. This is more about trying to figure out what I (and not any of you) are thinking.

So yes, it is 'condescending' and 'patronizing' if you don't call out and don't raise your voice. But it ends up being that way if you do. I'm sure some could argue that raising your voice against a wrong is correct because the statement itself has some truth value and it doesn't matter who says it. But on the other hand, if the raising of your voice ingrains the very thing you are trying to eliminate what does that mean?

Just to restate, I'm not calling anyone out with this, just trying to figure this out.

well done, Mitt Romney.

Yup. Newsflash: very few people are all good, or all bad. And plenty of valuable journalism, ditto. I'm thinking of the Applebaum piece again, of course. There is an important place for nuance, and granular analysis of policies and prior attitudes, but when push comes to shove the current GOP is in the hands of people who have embraced open villainy, and they must be ousted. As for "the silence of our friends", FWIW I too am currently grappling with how not to be among that silent number.

I meant to say earlier— this bid to completely eliminate police blindsided me. I read a lot of far left stuff, but had totally missed this idea. Defunding them, meaning cutting funding— I get that. Put the money into other things. But you are still going to have violent people ( wjho aren’t cops) and what do you do about them? More social workers and programs and fewer cops is good, but no cops at all has me puzzled. Gotta read about this somewhere.

And a tangential point but since LJ brought up drones— sapient has occasionally said people stopped talking about drones once Obama left. I think I stopped before, because Yemen was a bigger bloodier issue. Eventually, post Khashoggi, virtually all Democrats and some Republicans turned against the Yemen War, though not Trump. It is now his war.

But also, there is the Airwars site which I might link in a minute and a NYT expose which showed that US air strikes in general were killing far more civilians than our government admitted. This was true under Obama but became much worse under Trump because he removed some of the already loose restrictions.

But I rarely saw that listed as one of Trump’s big crimes and my theory about that is this— you can’t criticize an American President for air strikes that kill civilians without implicitly or explicitly criticizing the military which carried them out and which claimed the civilian death toll was much lower than independent reporters found. Trump can’t do everything himself. It implies that it something deeper is wrong than just Trump. Plus the military is ( like cops are for some) a sacred cow.

https://airwars.org/conflict/coalition-in-iraq-and-syria/

Scroll down a bit. You will see a graph showing a large increase in deaths in Trump’ first year.

I will look for the NYT piece in a minute.

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