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May 31, 2020

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Often, when bad cops get fired, their departments are forced to take them back. Or they move on to other jurisdictions.

Superb article by Anne Applebaum

History Will Judge the Complicit
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/07/trumps-collaborators/612250/

A long read, but worth the effort.

Sunday's local account:

https://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-news/two-atlanta-officers-fired-for-excessive-force-mayor-says/WTuAE3kQDCrdBfjtiz9NMP/

The IBPO spokesman calls the firings "premature".

Within a day more information came out that the most violent of the officers had a track record that, as Marty observes, makes the incident predictable. And makes his firing "belated" rather than "premature."

Nigel,

Yes, very good read, and a great ending.

Nigel, really terrific piece. All of it, but the following really killed, partly because of the telling revelations about Pence, Pompeo and particularly Barr, but partly because of the rationale which we have even heard right here:

"My side might be flawed, but the political opposition is much worse." When Marshal Philippe Pétain, the leader of collaborationist France, took over the Vichy government, he did so in the name of the restoration of a France that he believed had been lost.

***

By Pétain’s reckoning, collaboration with the Germans was not merely an embarrassing necessity. It was crucial, because it gave patriots the ability to fight the real enemy: the French parliamentarians, socialists, anarchists, Jews, and other assorted leftists and democrats who, he believed, were undermining the nation, robbing it of its vitality, destroying its essence. “Rather Hitler than Blum,” the saying went—Blum having been France’s socialist (and Jewish) prime minister in the late 1930s. One Vichy minister, Pierre Laval, famously declared that he hoped Germany would conquer all of Europe. Otherwise, he asserted, “Bolshevism would tomorrow establish itself everywhere.”

***

The three most important members of Trump’s Cabinet—Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Attorney General William Barr—are all profoundly shaped by Vichyite apocalyptic thinking. All three are clever enough to understand what Trumpism really means, that it has nothing to do with God or faith, that it is self-serving, greedy, and unpatriotic. Nevertheless, a former member of the administration (one of the few who did decide to resign) told me that both Pence and Pompeo “have convinced themselves that they are in a biblical moment.” All of the things they care about—outlawing abortion and same-sex marriage, and (though this is never said out loud) maintaining a white majority in America—are under threat. Time is growing short. They believe that “we are approaching the Rapture, and this is a moment of deep religious significance.” Barr, in a speech at Notre Dame, has also described his belief that “militant secularists” are destroying America, that “irreligion and secular values are being forced on people of faith.” Whatever evil Trump does, whatever he damages or destroys, at least he enables Barr, Pence, and Pompeo to save America from a far worse fate. If you are convinced we are living in the End Times, then anything the president does can be forgiven.

If you are convinced we are living in the End Times, then anything the president does can be forgiven.

At a certain point in my progress from fundamentalist to whatever the hell it is I am now, I wondered if the whole Book of Revelation apocalyptic thing was a kind of circular, self-referential, self-fulfilling thing.

The book was about hell visited on earth, by people who were drawn to the account of hell visited on earth, by themselves, foretold 20 centuries in advance. A weird fatal attraction kind of thing, where people are drawn to burning down the world, by the foretold account of them burning down the world.

I don't really think that anymore, but now and then I wonder.

In any case, the fascination with apocalyptic mayhem is kind of a tell. It seems to me.

They always see themselves as the faithful remnant, and could never see themselves as the believers who were deceived into following the Antichrist.

Same way that they always argue that God is powerful enough to bend the heart of Trump, but do not for a second consider that the same must be true of Hillary Clinton as well.

Operation Themis: Divine Law And Order

At least one less turkey in Congress...

"It is fitting that King's political career will effectively come to an end in a week marked by nationwide protests against racial discrimination by law enforcement. King has a long history of making what Vanity Fair once called "barely veiled" statements in support of white nationalism. He has suggested that black Americans would be more easily able to afford abortions if they stopped buying iPhones, and for years he displayed a Confederate flag in his congressional office—which doesn't even make historical sense, since Iowa did not join the confederacy."
Nativist Congressman Steve King Loses Republican Primary: Good riddance to the racist, anti-immigrant congressman from Iowa.

Now let's hope that he does not get the message but tries either a write-in or third party campaign. ;-)

Resignation letter of Under Sec of Defense for Policy James N. Miller to Sec Mark Esper June 2, 2020. "You may not have been able to stop President Trump from directing this appalling use of force, but you could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, you visibly supported it."

https://twitter.com/BBopTop/status/1268006831248547847

Wonderful letter. Let's hope it makes others think, and act.

Pretty sure that Revelations was just from some dudes scribbling down their musings during a long weekend of weed, wine, and magic mushrooms.

Early edition Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, also, too.

A weird fatal attraction kind of thing, where people are drawn to burning down the world, by the foretold account of them burning down the world.

Trump's apocalyptic vision of American carnage, as he expressed it at the RNC convention and during his inauguration speech, seems to be fulfilling itself, so ... yeah.


Robert Hendrickson
Rector at St Philip's Episcopal Church in Tucson, Ariz:

This is an awful man, waving a book he hasn't read, in front of a church he doesn't attend, invoking laws he doesn't understand, against fellow Americans he sees as enemies, wielding a military he dodged serving, to protect power he gained via accepting foreign interference, exploiting fear and anger he loves to stoke, after failing to address a pandemic he was warned about, and building it all on a bed of constant lies and childish inanity.

I think that's pretty clear and complete.

By the way, I'd hate the extracts I posted from Nigel's Atlantic Anne Applebaum piece to stop anybody reading the whole thing. I only extracted one tiny aspect; the whole article examines a much broader question of collaboration, and historical examples of who collaborates and who does not, with fascinating and informative illustration of the workings of the slippery slope. It's really worth reading in its entirety.

Vichyites and also Quislings. From Winston Churchill in 1941, "A vile race of Quislings—to use a new word which will carry the scorn of mankind down the centuries—is hired to fawn upon the conqueror, to collaborate in his designs and to enforce his rule upon their fellow countrymen while grovelling low themselves."

Pretty sure that Revelations was just from some dudes scribbling down their musings during a long weekend of weed, wine, and magic mushrooms.

Heavy on the 'shrooms.

There was an experiment done, some years ago. They took written sufff (journal articles, as I recall) and had them translated. And then translated again. And eventually translated back to the original language. They found that, after multiple translations, the articles were substantially better and more clearly written. No change to the substance; just easier to understand.

It seems each translator tried to make his work as clear as possible. And the sum of those efforts was impressive. It says something about Revelations that even after multiple translations it is still basically incoherent.

On which (almost totally unrelated) note, I mention with joy that during a Burns Night celebration in Germany, when the haggis was brought in and normally they would recite Burns's poem including the line "great chieftain o' the puddin race", apparently this was translated for the Germans present, and then translated back for the English attendees: "mighty Fuhrer of the sausage people"

Regarding Nigel's post at 5:40, it appears that resignation letter may have had some effect:

does not support the use of active-duty military forces in quelling countrywide unrest — a statement that puts him at odds with President Trump, who has threatened to send troops into U.S. cities.

. . . Esper said the measure should be used only as a “last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.”

“We are not in one of those situations now,” he said. “I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

Prosecutors: 3 men plotted to terrorize Vegas protests

https://apnews.com/6223153093f08fa910c4ab445771b773

This thread seems old enough... Why is it that in military coups it always seems to be the colonels that are the ringleaders, not the generals?

1) Generals already have power. Colonels don't have nearly as much, but think they should.

2) A lot of colonels are guys who are never going to be generals. They just don't have what it takes to do the job. But while they realize they aren't going to make it to the top, they can't accept that there are good reasons why not. So they start a coup to get what they think, usually incorrectly, they deserve.

You need to watch out for those corporals too...

Moment approx #731 when the 25th Amendment could very legitimately be invoked.

POTUS speaking today about the better than expected job figures, (having just been discussing the need to dominate the streets), and talking of George Floyd:

"Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country, it's a great day for him, it's a great day for...everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day, in terms of ... equality..."

(I took this down verbatim from seeing him speaking on TV)

NY judge suspends habeas corpus for arrests in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.

https://lawandcrime.com/george-floyd-death/aoc-slams-nyc-judge-for-suspension-of-habeas-corpus-in-response-to-george-floyd-protests/

This is exactly the sort of use of the State of Exception that I started warning about a century ago (in Covid-19-years) when I started posting the quotes from Carl Schmitt. Barr, Esper, and Pompeo all seem like they would be big fans of Schmitt if they have ever read him.

Public discourse has been stripped down entirely to the friend/enemy distinction.

I generally don't have a great deal of use for AOC. But on this one she's spot on. Suspending habeas corpus is directly contrary to what all those protesters are (correctly) calling for: equal justice and reformed police behavior.

Suffocation by cop and Covid-19. A good day for George:

Kudlow will tell you these two events constitute animal spirited buy signals in the stock market.

George, as he has now become known among stock market prognosticators, was asking the cop to let up with the knee on his windpipe so he could offer some profitable stock tips.

If he could breathe, Joe Kernan would have George on CNBC to further juke stock prices.

Cramer is constructing a new contrarion stock market indicator: the lower the oxygen levels in black lives bloodstreams, the higher the DOW can soar.

Now, if the nearest asteroid can hit us smack dab in the kisser, we'll could have an eternal bull market on our hands.

As Carl Schmitt remarked: Let the trend be your friend, and don't fight the FED, because the FED has a government paramilitary terrorist strike force at the ready to smother the short sellers.

The Treasury Department is directly purchasing the means of production in the stock market with taxpayer dollars and newly printed currency.

I'm fully invested in the market at the moment, but also ready to bail at the first sign of any improvement in equality and justice for all.

Trickle down oxygen is what we need in this country.

Back to oblivion for me.

How many Antifa idiots are undercover FBI?

An article without the AOC frame:

https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2020/06/04/a-crisis-within-a-crisis-manhattan-judge-rules-some-delay-from-arrest-to-arraignment-is-reasonable/

I considered posting this one in place of the last for precisely the reason that you mention, wj, but I thought that this article is too conciliatory in headline and in presentation, given the context.

But in this case, nous, there was no reason to avoid her. And your first posting doesn't require subscribing in order to read -- always a plus for me.

The ACLU, bless their hearts (but not surprisingly), is stepping up over the events in Lafayette Square.
https://www.acludc.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/blmdc_v._trump_complaint.pdf

Now we'll get to see how much damage has been done to the Federal court system. Since it is, after all, a pretty open and shut case.

and when two members of a riot squad were disciplined for pushing a peaceful septuagenarian to the ground, giving him a serious head injury, the other 57 snowflakes in the riot squad resigned from the team.

All 57 of the members of the Buffalo Police Department's Emergency Response Team resigned Friday from the unit which responds to riots and other crowd control situations, the president of the union that represents Buffalo police officers told The Buffalo News.

Two law enforcement sources confirmed the resignations.

Two members of the Emergency Response Team were suspended without pay late Thursday after they involved in pushing a 75-year-old protester to the ground as they were clearing the area in front of Buffalo City Hall at the emergency curfew. The Erie County District Attorney's Office is investigating the incident. No charges have been filed.

The Emergency Response Team members have not quit the police department, but have stepped down from the tactical unit, according to the sources.

and to stay on topic:

The union representing Buffalo police officers told its rank and file members Friday that the union would no longer pay for legal fees to defend police officers related to the protests which began Saturday in downtown Buffalo and have continued on and off, according to one source. The union is upset with the treatment of the two officers who were suspended Thursday.

bust that union.

"Now we'll get to see how much damage has been done to the Federal court system. Since it is, after all, a pretty open and shut case."

Trump just has to push the case up to the Supremely Deplorable Five (Lawless John, Stripsearch, Token, Kav, and Squi) where they'll shrug and toss it in the trash.

The Ultra-Partisan Four, sure. But Roberts has been showing these little independent streaks from time to time.

Just to return to the original post for a second, folks might want to read through the rest of the Twitter feed there.

Messiah Boss' comments seem right on to me. The video clip of the young black woman having the shit beat out of her, by a cop with a baton, after she resisted another cop grabbing her breasts, also seems on point.

I don't really know WTF people expect black people to do anymore. Protest peacefully, and have the shit kicked out of you. Protest violently, and have the shit kicked out of you.

Defend yourself when you're accosted by random white assholes, and get shot. Explain to a police officer that you have a gun in the car - a legal gun, for which you have a license - and get shot. Pick up an air rifle in a sporting goods store and get shot.

Black people in this country have *always* lived under the threat of violence from the rest of us. Violence, harassment, exclusion. Because they are black.

The 45 year old and the 31 year old in the original video have basically given up on seeing any of that change in their lifetime. They want the 16 year to find a better way.

What way have black people not already tried?

It's unfortunate that the protests about George Floyd's murder have been accompanied by looting and destruction of property. But football teams losing championships are accompanied by looting and destruction of property. When I lived in Philly back in the day, New Year's Day - every single New Year's Day - was accompanied by looting and destruction of property by the Mummers who go on parade there every year.

What is it going to take for Americans to stop treating black people like crap? How long are they supposed to wait? They've been here longer than most of the rest of us, and have been working their asses off for generations, and waiting for generations, for the rest of us to recognize them as human beings deserving of the most rudimentary consideration as such.

Every damned city in this country could burn down to the ground, and it would not be fair judgement for what they have received from the rest of us.

The debt we owe is immeasurable.

I have no answer to any of this. Even getting people to recognize and acknowledge that there is a problem, and that they are complicit in it whether wittingly or not, is a bridge too far for most folks.

400 years, and black people are still waiting for the rest of us to figure out that they're just people, like the rest of us. That is a long fucking time.

A Twitter thread on reducing police violence - with cited evidence, and a series of solutions:
https://twitter.com/samswey/status/1180655701271732224

James Baldwin - 1962

"Long before the Negro child perceives this difference, and even longer before he understands it, he has begun to react to it, he has begun to be controlled by it. Every effort made by the child’s elders to prepare him for a fate from which they cannot protect him causes him secretly, in terror, to begin to await, without knowing that he is doing so, his mysterious and inexorable punishment. He must be “good” not only in order to please his parents and not only to avoid being punished by them; behind their authority stands another, nameless and impersonal, infinitely harder to please, and bottomlessly cruel. And this filters into the child’s consciousness through his parents’ tone of voice as he is being exhorted, punished, or loved; in the sudden, uncontrollable note of fear heard in his mother’s or his father’s voice when he has strayed beyond some particular boundary. He does not know what the boundary is, and he can get no explanation of it, which is frightening enough, but the fear he hears in the voices of his elders is more frightening still."

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1962/11/17/letter-from-a-region-in-my-mind

And I thought this was eloquent, with more reference to James Baldwin, and further to our discussion of the unhelpfulness of the looting and the rioting, as opposed to the peaceful protesting. An extract:

Like countless others this week, I find myself thinking of James Baldwin, and an old song that he quoted in a famous collection of his essays. That song, referring to the time in the Old Testament when the Earth was flooded as divine punishment, bore the following warning:

God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time.

As we look at the United States, at a map where all 50 states are united in protest against the murder of yet another black person by a police officer, we see that this time we have the fire: that the tears of grief have been replaced by the flames of rage.

Some will argue that, in order to achieve a broader political goal, all this burning is unproductive, but in one sense they will be missing the point. For a long time, black people were only tolerated in the United States for so long as they were quite literally productive: for as long as they filled a basket with cotton, or chopped a pile of wood, or laid yet another section of track. In a country where black people were bought and sold for their ability to turn their efforts into end results, it might be said that there is something poetic and even political about rage for its own sake. If someone has a nail driven through their foot, it seems perverse to tell them that their scream was inappropriately loud.

Also, further to our past discussions about racism, BLM and the experience of African Americans in today's America, I've also just seen this address by General C Q Brown Jnr, the Commander of Pacific Air Forces, which I think is worth four minutes 47 seconds of anybody's time:

https://twitter.com/PACAF/status/1268794618461618177

Not just ("just"?!?) Commander of the Pacific Air Forces. He's also been nominated to be Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Watching him speak, one can see why.

Maybe, just maybe, some of his less aware troops will hear his words about his experiences and have their eyes opened. At least, it may keep some Air Force police from joining those trying to suppress the demonstrations.

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