Three Things: A for “Antifa”, B for Brutality, C for Commit (Murder)

Messy title, sorry — couldn’t think of something snappy and I’m even struggling with a lead in. Let’s just get to it.

~ 3 ~

A/B switch: “Antifa”

A little article about a tiny town caught my eye this weekend. Some racist gits in a rural area of Washington state played cat-and-mouse with a multi-racial family trying to camp in the area while driving a bus-turned-camper.

Local racists harassed them, accusing them of being members of “Antifa” — the made-up bugbear conjured from anti-fascist philosophy by Trump’s brain trust, hereinafter referred to with appropriate scare quotes. Even the local paper reports “Antifa” exists as an organization when there isn’t one.

What struck me as odd is how intensely a local gun shop owner and at least a dozen local residents believe there is an effort by “Antifa” to bus in their anarchist members to make trouble.

Right…busloads into a town with an estimated population of 6,600.

How did this notion about bogeyman “Antifa” become so quickly and deeply embedded in a remote area of the U.S.? Especially where the possibility of any anarchists making a big splash let alone filling a bus is utterly ridiculous.

It’s not just this one small town, either. It’s much of the Pacific Northwest and beyond — so many people looking like doofuses, claiming victory over non-existent anarchist hordes.

This mythology has even eaten the already-compromised brains of candidates like this one:

She’s threatening people with an automatic weapon in a campaign ad and then complains because Facebook took down her advertisement. Greene is simply unfit to hold office if she can’t understand threats of violence are simple violations of Terms of Service.

Now it’s true that figureheads in the GOP have been willing to push the vaporous entity “Antifa” using their bully pulpit — like Sen. Ted Cruz droning on last summer about a non-binding Senate resolution, S.Res. 279, submitted by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) declaring “Antifa” a terrorist organization while pointing to a Pacific Northwest group which may or may not have truly existed and whose domain address has been defunct for three years.

But most right-wing voters don’t run around saying, “But Ted Cruz said…” about any topic. If they did he might have had a chance at winning the primary in 2016, but he’s just a placeholder.

Same for Bill Cassidy — he’s just another empty suit in a GOP seat.

Some organized effort has been put into building and consolidating pro-fascist sentiment among people willing to arm themselves, take to the streets, and cut down trees in the woods, and openly harass persons of color.

Here’s my theory: “Antifa” isn’t just a bogeyman. It’s a test, like an A/B switch. The folks who adopt this concept so deeply they are willing to take action outside the norm can also be persuaded to take other action.

QAnon likely serves a similar purpose, providing a centralized mythology for persons identified as too weak to reason out of a wet paper bag but willing to invest some degree of effort for their new “faith” system.

What can’t be seen apart from idiots like this gun shop owner and his compadres is how this uptake is being tested online. This small town gun shop owner didn’t pull the idea of bus-packing “Antifa” terrorists out of thin air; he must have gotten through broadcast media and social media, of which only social media would allow a two-way push-pull of content.

Who or what is at the other end of whatever pushed this “Antifa”-on-buses meme to this tiny town in northwestern Washington? Is it just Facebook content and Fox, or is something more in play?

Is it like the Russian influence operations which were able to convince people to organize Trump rallies via Facebook in 2016?

Or is it something more simple — a convenient distraction from the continuing mass death event we know as COVID-19?

~ 2 ~

B for Brutality

Greg Doucette has been collecting and curating cases of police brutality and abuse from across the country since protests began after George Floyd’s murder-by-racist-cop.

As of this afternoon Doucette has collected at least 384 independent cases, nearly all captured on camera.

This many cases over the last week’s time suggests there are not merely a few bad apples, but that the entire barrel has now gone rotten.

Brutality is normalized from top to bottom of law enforcement, deeply embedded into policing.

These persons employed by our tax dollars are not protecting anyone. It’s not clear who they are serving apart from property owners; they are not serving the greater public interest.

Most telling: in cities where curfews were not enforced or were lifted, there was no violence.

The police have been the source of violence — many of nearly 400 cases itemized so far provide ample evidence of this fact.

It’s time to look for better models to serve the public’s needs. We are paying too much for services which do not work. We need to do more than reform policing. It should be torn down, plowed into the ground, and something better built from scratch.

Look at the City of Los Angeles’ projected budget allocation:

New York City’s budget is similarly distributed with a massive skew toward policing.

What this currently pays for is abusive police who assault the public, escalate tensions, after failing to make a good faith effort to de-escalate and mediate community conflict.

The money is there; priorities need to change. Tax dollars need to be spent more effectively on the root causes which have driven the need for policing — more money for mental health resources, community housing for the homeless, therapy for drug addiction, child care, after-school programs, and crisis intervention instead of militarized policing which moves to violence far too eagerly, too often.

It’s time to abolish police as we’ve known them and build something better, healthier for our society.

If you’re balking at this idea, ask yourself why.

~ 1 ~

C for Committing Murder — mass murder by COVID-19

Given the large number of rallies across all 50 states protesting police brutality and racism, it’s reasonable to expect an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The police bear a substantive portion of responsibility for anticipated cases arising from the protests due to poor policing practices including imposition and enforcement of curfews. Like the nearly 400 documented cases of brutality and abuse, police kettling of protesters into tight clusters breaking social distancing appeared organized and systematic.

Like repeated use of bridge closures to limit protesters’ movement even when being herded away from protest sites toward home at the end of the day.

New York City was particularly bad; it not only shut down bridges, forcing protesters into narrow streams, but it shut down subway stations for several days, sometimes at NYPD’s orders. Protesters bunched up at the subway finding themselves without transportation, hemmed in by police. Lack of alternate public transportation did not help matters.

The situation was further aggravated by police seizure of bikes for stupid (read: no) reasons.

Kettling wasn’t confined to New York City. There are many tweets documenting cases in larger cities like Seattle and Chicago.

An additional risk factor for protesters is their exposure to chemical irritants like pepper spray and tear gas. This Twitter thread explains the risks irritants pose.

Stress caused by police abuses may make protesters more vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure.

Which may have been the point: abusive police encouraged to use bad police practices may have been engaged in passive-aggressive large scale murder by exposure to biological agents.

We can only hope that the increased use of masks by protesters discouraged coronavirus transmission and reduced injuries caused by chemical irritants.

Yes, chemical irritants, Bill Barr, you lying sluggard with zero background in science. Let an expert in chemistry tell you.

Barr poses a threat to the health and welfare of the American public and needs to be impeached. Even if the GOP Senate will slack off and fail to remove him, the Dem-led House should impeach Barr for his abuse of office and his lying to the public so that Congressional records tell the future Barr’s bullshit was and is unacceptable from an attorney general.

~ 0 ~

And then the white nationalists embedded throughout police forces across the country, for which I haven’t enough energy remaining though it’s urgently in need of attention.

Like Salem, Oregon:

And Las Vegas:

There’s more of them. Trump’s Department of Justice under Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr have failed to do anything effective to root them out, though a GOP-led Congress throughout Obama’s administration and beyond has also played a role in suppressing oversight of white nationalist threats infiltrating law enforcement.

It looks less like neglect and more like deliberate abuse.


This is an open thread.

163 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I’m fried. Mentally and emotionally chewed up and spat out after looking through too many of Doucette’s compiled tweets of police brutality and abuse. This just plain sucks and it sucks even harder if you’re black in America.

    ADDER: ~sigh~

    • Rayne says:

      “Oh, sentencing a random number of Americans who were exercising their First Amendment right to protest to illness, possible disability or death is ample punishment. No need to prosecute them on top of it and risk exposing law enforcement and the judicial system.”

      • Doug Fir says:

        It crossed my mind earlier today that there might be an intentional effort to incite protests and spread corona virus to kill off or disable some of the left-leaning electorate. For a moment I hopefully dismissed the thought as Trump-induced paranoia, but then I remembered all the other tactics the Republicans are employing to win this year, and bio-warfare didn’t see that much of a reach. That it’s even plausible shows how far our neighbourhood has slipped down a big, shit-covered slope.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          That is my only regret about the protest marches these weeks. Up to that point, we had the advantage over all of the Cobvid 19 deniers who refuse to wear masks or believe in science. I was counting on that to thin Trump’s voting pool.

        • American Abroad says:

          @Doug Fir I have had the same thought; with the info in one of the previous posts about the purchase of police riot gear/protective gear; the steady chant of voter fraud in regards to mail in ballots, and the original wish of “letting it just wash over” (Covid-19) – it doesn’t sound so far fetched. I think this time of protest, this call for justice, presented those at the top with opportunity.

          I don’t want to be thought of as sitting around hatching unfounded theories, but it did fit together in a tight package.

          • Mitch Neher says:

            American Abroad said, “I don’t want to be thought of as sitting around hatching unfounded theories . . .”

            Me neither, but . . . There are lots of unanswered questions, like:

            What was Officer Chauvin doing with his hands in his pants pockets while kneeling on George Floyd’s neck?

            • Rayne says:

              I am still interested in Chauvin’s overlap with Floyd at a second workplace, and the $20 counterfeit bill which allegedly launched the call resulting in Floyd’s death.

              What are the chances those two issues intersect beyond that fatal call to report the $20 bill?

                  • Mitch Neher says:

                    Lieutenant Kroll is a shady character who withholds police protection from neighborhoods that have Alderman who complain about police brutality.

                    Kind of like Trump’s Ukrainian shakedown.

                  • Mitch Neher says:

                    I was thinking the one that’s an anagram for “Z28”. But it was a thought crime, only.

              • bmaz says:

                And I’d like to add that probably everybody here has passed a bad $20 bill in the last year. It is the most commonly counterfeited note. Big enough, but not so big as to be immediately scrutinized. They are everywhere; some high quality, some not.

                But they get out and about in commerce, and then anybody might have one. Any of us. Seriously, who looks at Twenties to see if you think they are real? Nobody. And the actual crime of counterfeiting and/or passing fake currency requires intent. The term of art is “knowingly”. Some dude in a bodega does not exude “knowingly”.

                The requirement is literally “intent to defraud”. There is not a chance in hell Chauvin and Minneapolis PD had probable cause for arrest, much less execution, of Floyd.

                • Rugger9 says:

                  What did you make of the shop owner saying a couple days later that the clerk wasn’t supposed to call the cops for this? CYA to prevent lawsuits?

                  After all, he did hire the clerk, should have trained the clerk, should have left standing policies for the clerk and it’s still his business for all other liabilities.

                  • bmaz says:

                    Honestly, no clue. Out of all the coverage, this is still kind of murky. There are a LOT of questions there.

                  • P J Evans says:

                    I wonder how much actual training the clerk got – sometimes it’s pretty much “here’s how to work the register” and not a lot more.

                • J R in WV says:

                  Actually, has anyone seen a phony counterfeit $20 bill with George Floyd’s fingerprints on it? Anyone?!?

                  I didn’t think so. Dude had to kill George Floyd right there or Mr Floyd was gonna walk — there was no phony $20 bill at all.

                  Gotta show the evidence if your gonna arrest someone!!! Murderer cop didn’t have any real evidence, if it existed we would have seen it a thousand times on TV news.

                  • bmaz says:

                    That is a great question. I will be dubious until there is some official DR evidencing that.

              • Rugger9 says:

                The Chauvin-Floyd intersection is interesting to me as well, and it seems quite doubtful that the two never traded scuttlebutt at work. I would expect that since AG Ellison is honchoing the investigation and trial, we will find out about that, which was doubtful while the Hennepin DA still ran the show.

                Chauvin has other troubles too, but so far it seems to me that he’s one of those “I’ve got a badge so what are you going to do about it?” types.

                • Rayne says:

                  Yeah, it looks like there was more to the Chauvin-Floyd intersection. I want to know if Floyd had any reason to accept cash from Chauvin or from someone else at Chauvin’s request, or if Chauvin knew about currency Floyd accepted before May 25. It was enough, though, that they knew each other and Chauvin had pre-existing personal friction with Floyd.

            • ducktree says:

              Maybe it was the martini talking, but yesterday I had an epiphany about the symbolism of his hand casually in his pocket for the duration of the lynching: a dig at Kaepernick and kneeling for justice.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Also too the striking coincidence between the end of Trump’s “taking the virus seriously” mode and the emerging data showing disproportionate effects in minority communities. Looked to me like him, Kushner, et. al. heaving a sigh of relief and saying “It’s not our people!”

      • Nehoa says:

        Wow. That girl is great. I don’t have many regrets in my life, but the one that always comes to mind is a day was when I was a grad student at an Ivy League school and had to eat at an undergraduate cafeteria (think about that one lol). A young white kid insulted a middle-aged black lady who was serving lunch. I wanted to slap his head and make him apologize, but I didn’t, “because it wasn’t proper”. My grandmother was a lunch lady. I have worked on the lunch lines. I regret that I didn’t slap him and make him apologize. I think about this often 30 years later.

    • harpie says:

      The rest of that thread:

      […] Just FYI, as several commenters have noted, the guy’s name is Jay Snowden, 51 years old. He was arrested & charged with one count of disorderly conduct. There’s video here, if you can stomach it.

      Couple things to add to this. First, here’s a CNN interview [link below] with the extraordinary Samantha Francine. Her father (dead 16 years) told her, “No matter the threat, always look them in the eye so they have to acknowledge you’re human.”

      Second, the photographer who captured this once-in-a-lifetime shot can be found at @graciejensn. Congrats to her on her sharp eye & presence of mind.

      Samantha Francine interviewed on CNN:
      Portrait of courage: Samantha Francine protests peacefully while standing up to an angry Montana man
      [] /watch?v=kWNfvYSkf2c&
      Jun 7, 2020

    • timbo says:

      It is hard to get a grip on the full scope of the systemic problems without utter exhaustion! Thanks for collating what you can. But get some rest too when/if you can.

      Coke was the real thing, wasn’t it? Ah, my generation had such high ideals once upon a time… but then the Establishment got organized…

  2. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    Thanks for linking the police tactics of kettling and other inhumane methods of close confinement to the, you know, pandemic raging around the world.

    That Whitefish nazi bastard looks a half second away from violence. Kudos to the protestor standing her ground. His close proximity during this pandemic is another internecine tactic that seems to go hand in hand with right wing rage.

    Something disturbing happened locally: some Somali neighbors had their BLM signs stolen & recycling dumped over their lawn. When more signs went up people started getting threatening notes saying stuff like, “Take that sign down or your house might be the next to burn.”

    We have literal goddamn nazis using threats of violence to terrify families and try to chill speech in 2020 in a blue state in an urban center. We are organizing a watch because they don’t feel safe to report it to the police.

    • Sonso says:

      Out here, everyone but the ranchers hate BLM…but that’s the Bureau of Land Management. No friend to the average Joe.

  3. MB says:

    Just to illustrate a small slice of some of what you’re talking about, I went for a bike ride yesterday with a friend. I’m in the L.A. area, and although some businesses are opening up, visiting friends inside their houses is still a no-go, so I met him on his driveway and we took off from there, each of us with a mask in reserve when encountering crowds. For those that know So. Calif., we were going from Manhattan Beach to Palos Verdes, which is a coastal route. One big hunk of real estate in PV is the Trump National golf course. Within 1/4 mile of the golf course, we were surprised (and gratified actually) to find a protest going on there, a crowd of 300-400 protesters, I would estimate.

    I would say 95% of the protesters were under 30 and 95% of them were wearing masks. Guess who wasn’t? Yep, the cops. Here’s a link to a couple of photos illustrating the peaceful crowd, mostly masked and 6 L.A. County sheriffs, guarding Trump’s property, who obviously could have cared less about public health implications.

    • timbo says:

      Astute observation. What is the requirement in the jurisdiction that this took place? Are face masks optional or required? Seems like the cops are violating the health orders if it’s not allowed…

  4. Raven Eye says:

    I took a look at that NBC News story about Klamath Falls, OR. That’s just over the “hill” from here, and I guess I’m not really surprised about the reaction by those so-called patriots. But the depth and breadth of the misinformation about Antifa, some of it coming from official sources that should have known better, was a surprise.

    Oregon is an open carry state, and it takes a lot for a city or county to restrict that activity — which means that you’d need a concealed carry permit to be armed, and getting one is not that difficult. The more rural areas of the state have a lot of white guys who are really into this stuff — sort of a male performance enhancement thing. Some of them are loosely organized (ProFa?) as “Oath Keepers” (perhaps the local version of The Simpsons’ Promise Keepers?) but are still more organized than I’d imagine any Antifa are. Some of them were in downtown Medford last week “protecting businesses” during the night. After the 2015 recruiting station attacks, several of them “stood guard” in front of at least one recruiting station — until they got bored.

    As much as I hate to heap blame on the states, the Governors should be having A-to-B discussions (“A — I talk. B — you listen”) with their Joint Operations Centers. That’s the best way to catch the rumors and fake news, process the information, and get the right stuff out to the county sheriffs and city police chiefs. Some of those were explicit spreaders of misinformation.

    And underlying this all is the strong anti-constitutional and racist agenda. Trump and Barr have activated these “people”.

    Sorry to rant, but this situation really pisses me off, and I’m tired of puffy white guys, who have the disposable income to purchase “black guns” (which aren’t cheap) and then whine and complain about how down-trodden they are.

    Sayeth the Raven “[deep, gutteral croaking] “wonk-wonk”. [I got that from iBird.]

  5. Nehoa says:

    I grew up in a small community where the police were actually a positive force. I had relatives on the police force, my mother was the crime reporter for the local newspaper. Then I moved to the big city for college. Police there were scarier, but reasonable. In my 20s I became extremely powerful, the local underworld feared me, and yet I ran into cops lying to judges, lying in legislative hearings, running theft rings, ect. If I had to deal with that, what did the average person have to deal with? And the police in my city were angels in comparison to other cities. I think the problem is with the whole concept of a career as a police officer.
    A year or two ago I read an essay by a veteran police officer about what their life was like. It boiled down to this…everyone lies to them. Day in and day out. How does that warp your view of humanity? We need to re-think how we do policing. Probably should not be a career, but more like a limited public service.

    • Rayne says:

      I wish I’d thought to keep a tweet I’d read in which educational requirements for state-licensed cosmetologists were compared to the amount of education required for a police officer. The difference was startling, like 30-50% more mandatory training to pass an exam and then obtain a cosmetology license compared to education required for police officers in the same state. I think law enforcement as a profession is viable, but we don’t take seriously enough what their education and training should look like. It shouldn’t look like a domestic military force.

      We also need to have a far more public, society-wide discussion about corruption and transparency. We’re inclining toward a kleptocratic oligarchy like Russia, in which everyone is compromised by systemic corruption and everything is transactional. Unless our expectations about a democratic civil society expressly include ethical behavior and transparency in government, we’re asking a lot of civil servants to mediate conflicting standards.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        My son and I were talking about this over dinner. It takes 1500 hours of study to take the Barber license exam and 960 hours of the police academy.


        • Rayne says:

          That, right there, those are the numbers. Now I’m sure there are police who take criminal justice coursework before going to the academy, but they’re not the norm for local or state police. What we need is a smaller number of police who are more rigorously educated for a wider range of situations, with an emphasis on peaceful resolution. Many of the challenges they are confronted with should be addressed proactively by better funded public services.

          I can’t help think of the example in my state a few years ago of a mentally ill man who had a psychotic episode, brandished a knife, and ended up shot by police 47 times in a shopping plaza parking lot. So many other people were put at risk at the same time. Would better mental health and other public health services have substantially reduced the odds of this event ever happening, let alone more and better training for police to handle such an event?

          • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

            Maybe a 3 month break like teachers get could help reduce burnout/desensitization too. Some of that time could be committed to continuing education or a community project.

            • Rayne says:

              Yeah, that could be helpful. Even a regular rotation to a different kind of public work function — not fire fighting — could be stress reducing.

              • posaune says:

                I think that the police force needs resident social workers and teachers — on the force. They especially need special ed teachers to explain learning difficulties, disabilities (cognitive, emotional and physical); they need social workers and psychologists to explain brain maturation and the skills and age it takes to achieve executive function, impulse control, etc. ALL of this knowledge should be part of policing, INCLUDING racial differences, respect, and humility. Every person employed by a PD should be required for 1 day/ month of training. And they should have a comprehensive psych eval once per year.

                  • Raven Eye says:

                    This is a classic example of an area clearly in the NIJ’s workspace. And the chances of anything getting started under Barr’s reign…

                    Another reason for sweeping change in November.

                • Sonso says:

                  Take away live ammunition and steroidal ‘teams’ and you’ve already de-escalated a huge number of situations. Make them WALK (yes) the beat, instead of hiding in cars. Integrate the ‘force’ on a gender basis, too. Many simple steps on a way to a broad-based solution.

                  • P J Evans says:

                    Some cities are too large for walking beats – L.A. has 9000 officers to cover 500 square miles, from Sylmar to San Pedro. It sounds like a lot – but it really isn’t.

          • Lex says:

            At my local uni, the only program that doesn’t require any English courses is CJ. At most unis it’s a cushy job for ex-cops to teach wanna be cops and nothing more.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        This was an interesting take from the Sheriff of Philadelphia. She brings up the issue of the police fearing losing their jobs. As has been discussed here and everywhere since George Floyd’s killing, the Police Unions have contributed to the problem. Dear friends of mine who live in Minneapolis have been actively calling for the firing of union head Bob Kroll and a full house cleaning, demanding reforms to prevent the hiring of sociopaths like Kroll and Chauvin going forward.

        • Rayne says:

          Another tweet I regret not capturing wherever I read it — might have been Randy Painter who’s a Minnesotan — said that Minneapolis police live outside the city to the north. This should be a requirement, work where you live unless there’s a cooperative agreement for policing across municipalities. Somebody like Kroll could live in an all-white enclave, come to work where he doesn’t live and act like he doesn’t have a vested interest.

          And yes, police unions are problematic. I need to think more about them as a monopsony.

          • Vicks says:

            I’m not sure if that would be a reasonable ask in some areas.
            My area was one of the first to bounce back from the financial crises so I’m not sure if it’s a fair comparison (there have been more jobs than people to fill them long before Trump started taking credit) but there does not seem many people interested in joining law enforcement here.
            Becoming an officer was a long time goal of a friend of mine’s sister and in the round of hiring she was recently part of, they were only able to fill 4 of 12 open positions. I’m not sure where that number would be if there was a residency requirement

            She added a disturbing description of a female superior treating a special needs adult, not with violence with a complete lack of skill or empathy.

            IMHO just like pedophiles are drawn to the priesthood, those with an unhealthy relationship with power are drawn positions where they get a gun and a badge.

            • Rayne says:

              Every time we run into a possible barrier we need to use the Five Whys to tease apart the root cause obstructing change.

              Why can’t police live within the community they police? The next why depends on that answer.

              • Raven Eye says:

                In some cases, it is because police and firefighters can’t afford to live in that community. In one DC-area jurisdiction we looked at following the Pentagon 9/11 attack only two firefighters lived within that jurisdiction: The fire chief (because he was required to) , and one of the firefighters (whose wife had inherited the house they lived in).

                A residency requirement is often put forward, and on the surface seems like a good, simple solution. But for every complex problem, there is a simple solution — that is wrong.

                However, I certainly could be convinced. In fact, I yearn to be convinced. So if someone can show us (1) any peer reviewed studies that pretty much nail residency requirements as a solution, (2) can demonstrate how residency can be integrated as one element of a comprehensive systematic program to improve the quality of policing in communities, and (3) can at least give us an outline sketch of how this could be operationalized over a period of 5, 10, or 15 years…Yeah; let’s do it.

                • Rayne says:

                  So a second Why:

                  Why are property values and rents so high inside jurisdictions in which police work, making their residency unaffordable?

                  It’s probably not the only second Why, but chase that one out to the third Why.

                  I’m going to point out that means police are merely guarding capital and not protecting and serving people if they police a district they can’t afford.

                  • AndTheSlithyToves says:

                    Bless you for the “Five Whys,” Rayne! I had not seen that approach to problem-solving.
                    My thought for some time now is that we are in the “Age of Semantics” where this tsunami of information/disinformation that has been unleashed through the internet can mean whatever the best propagandists say it means (alternative facts). In DC, it’s not just the police, the majority of public employees (both DC: police, fire & EMS, teachers, librarians, government & Federal: All Fed. Govt Agencies, World Bank, IMF, NGOs) are non-DC residents and pay no income taxes to DC, and really are not community members. And like many cities across the country, DC has a huge homeless population and has had for decades. IMHO, these situations are the symptoms of society running up against the larger structural limits of one planet, and the underlying struggle is the one-percenters vs. the 99-percenters, whatever complexion they may be.

              • Vicks says:

                Part of the problem is that cops should be entitled to make the same type of choices as anyone else who wants to start or further their career.
                If the opportunity for advancement opens up in a nearby community none of us would be expected to uproot our lives and family for a job 10 miles away.
                It would limit each municipalities ability to recruit the “best” and assuming relocation costs would be the burden of each department so that isn’t helpful either.
                Perhaps a bonus or perk for those who choose to live in the community?
                I grew up in Chicago, at the time, officers were required to be residents, I’m not exactly sure how it worked but I know that cops in the city and some suburbs got to take their cars home at night.
                I know my neighborhood felt safer on the days/nights a police car was parked in the driveway across the street.

                • Rayne says:

                  I’m going to ask you to examine your perceptions deeply. You just led to a second Why?

                  Why can’t the public expect police along with other public employees to live in the jurisdiction if they are paid by the public?

                  Cops are public citizens paid by the public. They have zero vested interest in that public if they don’t live with them. That goes for all other municipal public employees, too. Where I live you can’t be on the city council or mayor if you don’t live here. Why should police, sanitation, transportation, any other public employee be different?

                  That’s how exclusionary bias continues — no emotional, physical, financial investment in the community means the employee can treat as “other” the community which employs them.

                  What’s the next Why?

                  • vicks says:

                    I’m not sure if your comparisons are reasonable?
                    There is only one mayor of a city, and maybe a 1/2 dozen to a dozen or so city council members, these are also (elected) positions of power and who’s jobs pretty much consist of processing information and making policy decisions on behalf of the people that elected them.
                    On the other hand, even in medium sized communities there can be thousands of municipal employees.
                    Keeping in mind most of these jobs aren’t all that great to begin with, when there are more job openings than people to fill them in the good times, and cuts and layoffs during the bad, a residency requirement seems like an unreasonable burden to hiring in the first case, and an unfair burden for an employee in the second.
                    Police officers don’t make a ton of money and I would assume two incomes are required to live in most cities and metro areas, I would think that residency being mandatory could create undue burdens in households because it doesn’t fairly consider the needs of the other working spouse or partner.
                    I think I may have jumped the game with this response, we should have gone to the fixable things first, departments that are such shit shows no one wants to work there, crappy leadership, rich communities that pay officers a whole lot more money and offer “perks” like having a partner, that drain the talent from areas that really need good cops.
                    That the real job description isn’t “public service” it’s LAW ENFORCEMENT!”
                    That today’s unions would never ever (ever) allow it.
                    These things are all fixable.

                    • Rayne says:

                      No, we can’t back off when things get messy. Why aren’t we expecting all employees to live where they work? And why can’t they?

                      I’m going to keep pointing to that nasty wretch Bob Kroll. And I’m going to point to other places where white flight has done incredible damage for multiple generations — like Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, and Flint to the north.

                      Imagine how easy it is to poison a city in which you work but don’t live.

                • vvv says:

                  I posted about this recently. In Chicago, police (like most or even all city employees) are supposed to live in the city. There are essentially two police neighborhoods, Edison Park on the north side, and Mount Greenwood on the south side. The fire dept. likes those ‘hoods , also. I also mentioned that the latter location has a certain notoriety for racist issues and occurrences.
                  It doesn’t make much difference, then, if you live in Uptown or Bronzeville, Pilsen, Back of the Yards, K-Town, Wicker Park, etc.

                  • Vicks says:

                    I went to school (Catholic of course) from 1st grade until the beginning of 8th grade with those cop’s kids in Edison Park.
                    I never thought about it at the time but looking back it probably wasn’t a coincidence that EP shares a border with an extra white suburb.

            • Rayne says:

              At the same time it’s important to look at rents and property values of basic housing. Housing costs in LA are nothing like my neck of the woods; I can buy a 3-bedroom home in the neighboring city for less than $100K. Wages are much lower here.

            • vvv says:

              SRV, also.

              And didja notice how they are social distancing, like? ;-D
              (To allow for better monitoring is my guess; works better than gobos for TV.)

  6. Nehoa says:

    On another topic…when did being anti-fascist become a bad thing? We spent an awful lot lives to defeat fascists between 1941 and 1945 to kill them and the endure the stain of killing another. I was not there, but know many who were there. Barr desacrates the memory of the Greatest Generation.

      • John Lehman says:

        Funny, thank you but that reminded me of a more serious story that happened on D-Day;

        A friend of mine, Bob Monroe, a Baha’i from Lima Ohio and a WW2 veteran shared with me his experience being in the first allied wave to land at Normandy Beach on D-Day June 6 1944. As they were being transported across the English Channel, Bob and two of his fellow soldiers decided to divine, with the help of a Bible what might be their fate when they hit the beach. First they drew straws to see which one would open the Bible, which would close his eyes and randomly pick a verse and which would read the verse. Bob was chosen to read the verse and this was the verse:

        Psalms 91:7
        A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

  7. Molly Pitcher says:

    I have felt for a long time that the worst thing that happened to this country was the end of the Soviet Union and the new ‘detente’ ‘ with Russia. While we had the USSR, the knee jerk/wingnut branch of the GOP had an easily defined enemy, who was safely off shore, to focus their anxieties on.

    Since the end of the USSR, they have turned their lonely eyes back home and been hunting scary boogeymen around every corner.

    Al Qaeda was ok as a substitute for a while, but the waters got muddied when they realized there were Muslims living among us. They didn’t have to target their rage at a shadowy figure ‘over there’, they could take it all out on the furrners in our midst. And oh yeah, look at all them Mexicans, an Chinese tak’n our jobs.

    I think they liked Trump because he spoke in simple semi-sentences and highlighted their enemies in crayon.

    It was much better for the country as a whole when the enemy was over seas, and stayed there.

    • Rayne says:

      We need to build an army of AI-driven autonomous robots who will become The Other the right-wing so desperately needs in this country. Properly programmed they could keep them busy long enough to fix Trump’s damage.

      “Senator Cruz, what are you going to do about those Antifabots which are taking all our remaining jobs? They don’t wear masks, can work cheaply in tight spaces, they’re a threat to our American way of life, and they might try to commit voter fraud to elect Democrats!”

      LOL waiting for the senate resolution to hit the floor…

      • Raven Eye says:

        If the Democrats prevail in November, the administration could leverage the Economy act to access the Defense Production Act to procure AI-Antifabots with significant economies of scale. Commandeered Amazon Prime trucks could slip into gullible communities (already identified by scraping data from social media sites), deposit the ‘bots on the streets, and let the Frothy (puffy) Right (dressed up in their pseudo-military regalia and carrying their black-guns) bash away and achieve that level of “release” they so long for.

      • Sonso says:

        Demonizing is what they do (to paraphrase Geico: when you’re a demon, it’s what you do). Think about the progression of Reds, Blacks, Yellows, Browns..eventually you run out of rainbow colors, and start with the hatred of women, gay people, etc. The right wing is so uncomfortable with the/their human condition that they’ve turned their inward revulsion into outward hatred of anything with two legs. If those bots were made for walking …then they’ll do (sorry Nancy!).

    • timbo says:

      The Soviet Union as a counter-balance power to the US forced US politics to seem to be nicer than it would have been otherwise. And now we live in the otherwise.

  8. arbusto says:

    Read the Minneapolis City Council wants to scrap the police dept and start over. Problem is what model exists that can effect a systemic change to policing when policing attracts, I think, a specific personality that would eventually warp any change. As an example, some years ago, I believe Sunnyvale, CA instituted an idea of public safety officer. The officers would serve half time as a cop half as fireman. Don’t think it worked. Cops types gravitated to police, fireman types to fire dept.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I don’t have any data to back this but I think whatever the system ends up being, it will be really important to hire people who live in the region being policed. “You don’t shit where you eat”, as the saying goes.

      And walking cops! Walking removes them from the bubble of the police car and hopefully reduces the mindset of, “I am an outsider, these people are not like me.”

      From people who wrote about police, or used to be/are police, these are small simple changes that can help.

      Getting rid of the “compliance” mindset and training, after the fact independent reviews randomly sampled from encounters in which any force was used to weed out racists and sadists, and not letting cops hide reports of misconduct/get shuffled around.

      I think these could help a bit – along with other training/education requirements discussed earlier in comments.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Sunnyvale dropped the idea about ten or so years ago. I’m not sure why (it wasn’t broadcast widely) but perhaps there is a paper on it. I do know that blurring that line between firefighters and police can confuse people needing help whether they are going to get help or be arrested.

      • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

        For sure, there have been reports of people OD’ing who could have been saved by naloxone but they or the people with them were too scared of being arrested to call for EMTs.

        Firefighters are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and mixing cops in would probably lead to more harm.

    • Budd says:

      Where I live, we could really use mental health first responders; our PD is not well-trained to handle (or even friendly towards) people who are very afraid but not dangerous.

      We also need negative-first responders, who can address minor domestic and neighborhood problems before they become crises. Ideally someone with no gun and no enforcement authority, just some empathy and perspective and a knowledge of who else to call for specific services. That could be a full-time job, and a worthwhile one.

    • P J Evans says:

      Plainview, TX, had a city manager in the 80s and 90s who wanted to combine the police and fire departments to “save money” (among other services he wanted to cut in one or another way). The fire department refused – they have a different schedule from the police, and it would have been very hard to combine them. (The skills required are very different.)

    • timbo says:

      They could just contract police services from, say, St. Paul? That would work in the interim until they get something else setup.

  9. Molly Pitcher says:

    This speaks to the problem in the military as well as in the police ranks.

    An active duty Air Force Sargent from Travis Air Force Base in Northern California, set an ambush for a sheriff in the Santa Cruz mountains. The FBI is investigating because it is possible that he also killed the Security officer at the Federal Building in Oakland during the demonstrations last week.

    He is also being investigated for possible connections to other crimes in the Bay Area. There are potentially others who were assisting him.

    There are certainly bad cops and bad police policies, but not all of them. This sheriff has one child and his wife is due to deliver their second next week.

    It will be interesting to see if the Air Force Sargent has any associations with any organized groups like the Bugaloo Boys that were recently arrested for plotting explosions in Las Vegas.
    They were active duty also.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Remember that during the Bush II years that the all-volunteer military had trouble meeting its numbers to cover their new operational level. So, they relaxed the requirements with respect to criminal behavior, mental condition, etc., to the point where the DOD was sending amputees back into the line if they could. Add to that the repeated and long tours in country and it’s a recipe for all sorts of PTSD.

  10. heddalee says:

    It’s a romantic idea that antifa is only ideology, and not organization. Antifa volunteers engage in on-going, organized action – some of which is visible to everyone. On the ground, the only way that antifa volunteers can achieve their goals is to work in coördination with one another.

    • bmaz says:

      What a complete joke. “Antifa” is a Republican fever dream and is a joke. It is vapor. “Volunteers working in coordination with each other”….I am rolling on the floor laughing.

    • vvv says:



      “For fun, I searched Google …
      “coordinate” — spelled C-O-O-R-D-I-N-A-T-E — 52,800,000 matches
      “co-ordinate” — spelled C-O-HYPHEN-O-R-D-I-N-A-T-E — 5,050,000 matches
      “coördinate” — spelled C-O-DIAERESIS-O-R-D-I-N-A-T-E — 10,100 matches”
      ht tps://

          • vvv says:

            “comfortable with the umlaut” – lol

            The link was an amusing, disturbing surprise.

            I mean, they only way I know how to type an umlaut is to search it on on the ‘net, cut and paste.
            What keyboard defaults to that? Or even makes it easy?
            Google says, “German or Hungarian”.

            • P J Evans says:

              I have the Windows character map pinned to the start menu. That’s how I deal with it. (But I know the German workaround: put an “e” after the vowel.)

              • vvv says:

                Very cool! But I do believe mebbe the only time I ever typed an umlaut was just here – that’s on me.

  11. joejim says:

    With reform and building from the bottom up, I hope it extends across the criminal justice system to include corrections. When we talk about horribly broken authoritarian police systems that perpetuate racism this seems inseparable from prosecutions, and certainly the prisons, with their poisonous policies and practices, malignant staff. How many years has there been talk of closing RIkers Island, a place where there are virtually no white inmates? I’d love to see all of this become plastic, and urgently.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m afraid the Pacific Northwest has a history of racism, despite Seattle and Portland being known as progressive bastions. The aftermath of the 1919 Seattle steel strike was brutal, the Wobblies were basically murdered in places like Centralia, halfway between Seattle and Portland, as were unionisers of any kind. And that’s a long way from the eastern plains area more known to be ultra-conservative – and racist, there is a large Native American population there. Oregon, of course, had adopted a whites only model similar to Los Angeles until about WWII.

  13. dude says:

    This weekend, Mr. Barr used his lawyerly skills to say no tear gas was used in the making of his productions and then said what was used (pepper balls, not pepper spray) was not chemical.

    Here is some product literature from the manufacturer you may find interesting.

    For training only

    For use in confined space

    Manufacturer’s Product Data Safety Sheet for a typical enforcement product

    General Spec & Tech (they make the guns too)

    • Pajaro says:

      Interesting to see the marketing spin in these “non-lethal” products at your linked site and others I looked at yesterday re: rubber bullets. The misleading term “non-lethal” is everywhere. Perhaps not immediately lethal, but most can cause serious injury, some labeled not for use on humans or animals…. Pepperball even uses names such as Live, VXR-Live-X, etc. for its products, once again marketing. Their marketing people probably told the execs that names like eyeball-exploder, bone-crusher, Das Welt-X, while appealing to the target audience may not be a good marketing strategy.

      • TimH says:

        If you look at the data for bullet resisting vests, the kevlar handgun bullet stopping ones (type II?) can cause massive trauma underneath, because the ½mv² of the bullet is still impacting a small area. The rifle bullet stopping ones with ceramic plates are much heavier so not popular.

        So being hit on somewhere reasonably bony like the ribcage with a rubber bullet must be considered punishment/compliance, just like more Taser incidents.

      • dude says:

        It appears the SDS-pdf link gives me a 404 error. Sorry. My point in introducing it was to address the contention pepper balls do rely, in fact, chemicals according to the Manufacturer (Capsaicin). Yes, can be derived from pepper, but no it’s not like you go to the grocery store and buy red pepper and pack it into a ping-pong ball.

        I recall when early pepper spray aerosols were marketed popular magazines featuring purse-size containers and the same idea (“Hey, it’s only red pepper”) was part of the pitch. “Non-lethal” (as you say) is an interesting term of the marketing arts. It’s like the expression “Safe when used only as directed”. Barr is dancing on the head of a pin.

        In my world, safety data sheets are mainly to inform firefighters about the dangers of materials stored in an area on fire. You can still find interesting information about the composition of products although a lot of them will show “untested” or “unreported” characteristics and components of the product.

        • vvv says:

          I worked in an office about 10 years ago when a secretary accidentally broke and set off the whole of one of those purse-sized pepper sprays.

          ‘Twas distinctly unpleasant.

        • P J Evans says:

          It’s interesting seeing the product data sheets for things like paper. (Yes, there is one.)

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I think you’re correct about the A/B switch model. The purported anti-Antifa program seems to be a set-up for later organized violence and rejection of Trump’s loss at the polls. That violence might happen sooner, to intimidate Biden voters or to delay the election itself. What happens if even a single swing state fails to hold or complete its election?

    Nor do I think this is just about Trump. While the organized party is his plaything, the right’s entire movement is traveling in tandem with him. The neoliberal project it has been devoted to since Nixon could be lost when Trump leaves office. The odds of that are even better, given Trump’s expanding criminal excesses and the growing rejection of him and them.

    A minority white’s only party, whose own followers are directly harmed by its policies, has no future and little likelihood of fairly regaining a majority in a representative democracy. That would be one reason it systemically cheats and rejects democracy in favor of authoritarian rule. There are billionaires who would agree that that’s the natural order of things.

  15. Rapier says:

    Stop using the term antifa. Say anti fascist. Stop with this antifa nonsense. Stop it.

    It boggles my mind that right here in front of us is a gigantic rhetorical weapon and nobody has deployed it. Simply ask every politician or commentator if they are anti fascist.

    Figure it out. It isn’t difficult to see what a problem it will be for anyone to claim they are not anti fascist. One is either anti fascist or they are pro fascist. Well there is the neutral on fascism option. That has been the position of the NY Times for 90 years or so. With the excuse, so ably put forward by David Brooks, that Liberalism demands all sides must have a seat at the table. Even though fascists renounce the very idea of democracy.

    Here is fascism’s case for entering electoral politics. (Yes Goebbels’ was a Nazi but Nazis were fascists. The difference from other fascists was that it was anti religion, including Christianity. Fascism is otherwise a phenomena of Christian nations.)

    And memorize Eco’s list of fascist beliefs,

    • Mitch Neher says:

      IIRC, during the McCarthy Era, the members of The Abraham Lincoln Brigade were listed in government documents as “Premature Anti-Fascists.”

      They say, “Timing is everything.”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That was in the Fifties. They had been discriminated against since the Thirties, when they joined up.

        They really bugged Hoover. He thought they were an advance guard coming home to wreak commie change on America. If you had Abraham Lincoln Brigade in your file, it was hard even to enlist after Pearl Harbor. NYU has a great archive about them.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Curiously, the original America First Party came to an end after the 1952 election because they couldn’t square isolationism with anti-communism and there was no way that they were NOT going to be anti-communist.

    • Rayne says:

      Your policing of language here is unwanted. Part of the point to Item 1 in my post was to note the fucking BUGBEAR or BOGEYMAN which has been constructed from the word “Antifa” — note again the fucking scare quotes as well as my all-caps emphasis.

      Most of the community here know goddamn well what fascism is. There are 41 posts at this site which pointedly mention or discuss it, though one could argue the entirety of this site is in some way focused on batting back fascism.

      The second part of Item 1 was a query. Did you grasp that? Or are you likewise derailed and sorted by the A/B switch “Antifa” has become?

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        I agree with you that the community here can get from “Antifa” to “Antifascist” in one short step, but for those of us who share excellent Emptywheel posts more broadly (as I have done within the past week), “Antifa” is not nearly so clearly understood.

        It even sounds foreign (because it is – it’s the abbreviation for the German “Antifascist” is a perfectly fine term that is at least more familiar to American readers (IMO), especially when people are posting the Normandy landing pictures on June 6.

        I’m not suggesting policing the use of “Antifa”, but I would ask that you consider whether to use it as a term of art with little or no explanation. If you’re quoting Billy Barr or the rest of Trump’s fascists, you have little choice, so please continue, of course!

        Best …

        • Rayne says:

          No, it’s not short for German. Fascist is Italian, arising from the Latin, fasci.

          And I gave the definition of “Antifa” — note again the scare quotes — which is not anti-fascist but a bugbear, bogeyman. The meaning the right-wing in this country is conveying is NOT the meaning you are so invested in.

          I refuse to accept definitions offered by pro-fascists or fascists.

          I’m going to have to say it again, I can feel it: “Antifa” is vaporware. There is no “Antifa” but a construct used to frighten weak-minded right-wing citizens for the purposes of corralling them into behavior desired by actual fascists.

          Anti-fascism as a philosophy and ideology should NOT be conflated with “Antifa” the bugbear.

          • Spencer Dawkins says:

            Rayne, my apologies if I wasn’t clear. I was responding to Rapier, and thought I was agreeing with you in your reply to Rapier.

            My point was that no one needed to abbreviate “antifascist” in English, but the Germans abbreviated “Antifaschistische Aktion” as “Antifa”, and that unfamiliar and foreign-sounding word was perfect as the name of “a scary unseen monster under your bed”. I agree with you that “Antifa”, as bounced around in the United States political discussion, IS vaporware, just to be clear about that.

            If the German abbreviation had even been “Antifasc”, that would have been an improvement. But our confusion is no one’s fault, except for the fascists who expropriated the term.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think you’ve described the German origins of the longer term correctly – as Rayne notes, incorporating the original Italian – but it’s obvious English translation happens to be correct. Which means Rayne had it right the first time.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          There’s a well-known English translation of the Italian word for a bundle of sticks tied together.

          But it has a double meaning that would falsely imply that the anti-fascists were the homophobes instead of the fascists.

          Were the ancient Romans homophobes?? Beats me.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It would be better to cite Eco’s original work in the NYRB instead of an advert-ridden essay that summarizes it.

      Fascism has become an abused term, but it’s handier than the Germanic Nazism. National Socialism was distinct from Italian Fascism. But as Eco points out, they had in common the authoritarian abuse of power to promote the ends of an elite, which was distinct from the needs and aims of their followers.

      They shared certain tools: cult-like behavior that emphasized emotion and derided critical thinking; the adoration of a singular leader, who was willing to crush norms (and people); victimhood and the focus of the victims’ resentment on an enemy “other;” a rejection of modernity – both as a cultural idea and as the thing that oppresses today’s victims; and an aching for a mythical past, when today’s oppressed were honored and cared for, which the leader promises to bring back – by crushing and removing the other.

      Like the flashbacks in Atonement and The Usual Suspects, that memory is false, a myth used to manipulate a population into following without thinking.

    • timbo says:

      Do any anti-fascists identify as “antifa”? If so then that’s the issue… of self-identification and volition.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It would seem to be no accident that state and local police budgets are as skewed toward “policing” as the national one is skewed toward the Pentagon’s war budget. (I’m trying to avoid the euphemism, Dept. of Defense.)

    The dollars directed toward the Pentagon are so out of whack with our needs that its budget is parceled out to multiple departments in order to hide it. A few examples: the VA pays for sick veterans; the Treasury pays their retirements and benefts; the Energy Dept. pays for nukes and other weaponry; the Education Dept. picks up GI Bill costs. There are many others.

    Like local policing, those are considered “non-discretionary” and untouchable. Social welfare costs, on the other hand, are deemed “discretionary,” nice to have, but not essential. That also highlights the political impact of nominally neutral terms, and the excision of others from the culture, like “unearned income.”

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Your point about teargas highlights the intentional harm this administration is causing toward those who oppose it. As I understand it, there are several forms of such gas. The one used in Lafayette Square was OS, which does more than severely irritate mucous tissue. It causes debilitating inflammation in the same tissues attacked by Covid-19. That’s throwing gasoline on a pandemic fire.

    The use of OS, instead of another gas, cannot be accidental. Trump and advisers like Bill Barr are causing intentional harm. To ward off defeat – or having to recognize it – that’s a slope that a personality like Donald Trump’s would happily slide down, like some demented giant melting snowman.

    • Rayne says:

      Which is EXACTLY why Barr made such a point of lying about the use of tear gas.

      The use of tear gas was not accidental. It was deliberate as fuck, intended to commit slow, long-term damage to citizens the White House did not want to hear or acknowledge.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Since this is an open thread. Medical staffs are still working ungodly hours in often unsafe conditions to provide Americans the health care that is their human right – and will be for months. But HCA happily provides this counterpoint, which perfectly illustrates why we so badly need fundamental change in this country.

    The CEO of mega-hospital chain HCA was paid $26 million last year. The business he runs declared profits of $7 billion over the past two years. Yet, it received $1 billion in emergency funds from the USG, it still hasn’t provided its staff adequate PPE, and threatens them with unspecified consequences if they fail to “agree” on a pay freeze (aka, extortion).

    The Minneapolis police department is not the only institution that needs to be disbanded, reimagined, and reformed.

  19. viget says:

    Just wanted to chime in here to also mention that the myth that “antifa is bussing in horrible people to pillage our white neighborhoods” is definitely a psyop being spread on Facebook. I have seen multiple coworkers show this to me, and this was days before it was confirmed that it was from spoof accounts. I immediately recognized it as such from discussions on here and other twitter feeds.

    The folks who did the 2016 election already have our data. They know who to target. As you mentioned Rayne, this was a test. And unfortunately, it’s working. We need to expose the administration for who they are before the election so there can be no doubt that Biden should be president.

  20. Pajaro says:

    In my state its obligatory for Republican candidates for state and national office to pose with a gun, usually a black rifle, in campaign photos. Sometimes a cowboy hat and horse, too. Happily, this must be working on the electorate, as we have many women and Native Americans winning office.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr, quoting CNN’s Rana Foroohar, describing Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as an oligarch, using Vladimir Putin’s own definition:

    An oligarch is an “immoral business leader” who uses “proximity to the authorities to receive super profits.” The profits and the immoral bit he has down pat. As he might say of his current customers, and did say about his first ones, his classmates at Harvard, “Fuck them.” Discuss.

  22. Eureka says:

    Earlier today, ABC news featured a story on SARS2 spreading in China in the late summer (sic)/early fall, based on satellite imagery showing a marked increase in cars in the parking garages of Wuhan’s hospitals in October, 2019, versus same time prior year, and internet searches for words like “cough” and “diarrhea” — the latter of which we now know to be a significant COVID symptom.

    Right-wing twitter is pushing this story hard — well, really their “take-home point” that China is at fault for something — which is sad only because it’s a subject of global human interest, yet has to become ‘politicized’ because of our POTUS’ reactions.

    The preprint has since become available, though I’ve not had time to pick it apart for merits:

    Analysis of hospital traffic and search engine data in Wuhan China indicates early disease activity in the Fall of 2019

    ABC News — (write up slightly different from on-air presentation):

    Satellite data suggests coronavirus may have hit China earlier: Researchers – ABC News

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      If true doesn’t this just push back the date Trump was ignoring warnings/not reading intelligence briefings? Sure sounds like a topic a pandemic task force could provide useful input on.

      • Eureka says:

        * 1:33 pm: lots, not garages

        Our daily reminder that logic is not among his boosters’ strong suits. And what could have been picked up from this in realtime — by locals on the ground (from Chinese medics to our former CDC person) or otherwise (such as intelligence services) — is open to question, hindsight and all.

        It would be too ironic if Wuhan locals sought Chinese med diarrheal (or other) cures sourced from the wet market. Lots of new questions to ask.

        I am of the belief of an earlier start to this whole thing anyway, independent of (tho concordant with) this paper (and with limited travel-based transmission to US & elsewhere). The thing is, though, it’s all an information war see-saw of late (China earlier; no, look, Europe earlier, and _that_ seeded the US; no, China earlier…).

        Notes from a quick scan of that paper: they are noting a slight uptick in Baidu searches for “cough” and “diarrhea” again in Wuhan in May, 2020. They say the 2019 “diarrhea” uptick started in August, preceding the October/November increase in cars at hospitals.

        (Also, beware early on– their paper is full of typos subbing “2019” for “2020”)

        It seems like they are cherry-presenting: no data given for searches on, e.g., loss of sense of smell or taste (which they do recognize elsewhere as important symptoms– I have no doubt they would have investigated searches for same).

        I’d like to know more about the company/arrangement that provided them with satellite data.

        • Rayne says:

          I’m going to be really pissed off if people are making ridiculous assumptions about an uptick of searches related to “diarrhea” in August anywhere north of the equator.

          Chances are very good the searches were related to seasonal outbreaks of norovirus. Not like the Chinese haven’t already studied seasonality in GI tract infections…

          Gong, Xiao-Huan et al. “Epidemiology, aetiology and seasonality of infectious diarrhoea in adult outpatients through active surveillance in Shanghai, China, 2012-2016: a cross-sectional study.” BMJ open vol. 8,9 e019699. 4 Sep. 2018, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019699

          • Eureka says:

            Me, hoping I didn’t aspirate the coffee I just choked on: well, then you’re gonna be pissed, LOL.

            • Rayne says:

              I should just resign myself to a constant state of low-level rage after +3 years of Trump’s bullshit and the right-wing’s escalating idiocy.

              • Eureka says:

                Cortisol is the new black! Wear mine all the time, so edgy.

                Adding: but a haircut to go with it would be so divine. Oh if that day ever comes… (That’s literally the only thing I want; we just moved to yellow which basically means dining al fresco or shopping. I want to see the salon doors someday…)

                • Eureka says:

                  The CPSC needs to label this site a CHOKING HAZARD: NOT SUITABLE FOR READERS OVER THREE.

                  My gad I never learn, PUT DOWN THE BEVERAGE. The Last Laugh Hurrah, indeed, could be.

                    • Eureka says:

                      The way the ‘zona’s rockin’ the rona, I hope you are boarded up in a safe space (with the calf, obviously) (Always best to mix humor with genuine concern).

    • Budd says:

      I saw this reported on ABC news, and noted that the two dates compared were not exactly a year apart, and not the same day of the week (Wed/Thurs), leading me to suspect cherry-picking. I think that was probably ABC picking photo pairs that supported the story (boo!), since the paper itself doesn’t highlight specific pairs.

      The only very clear change is an increase in searches for ‘diarrhea’; the traffic increase is about one standard deviation, and searches for ‘cough’ aren’t different in the marked period (as the authors themselves note).

      I like the approach, but I don’t think there’s enough data to make a compelling case regarding COVID-19. If the same analysis could be done for non-Wuhan hospitals in China, that would be a useful comparison.

    • Cothrom says:

      There are a number of factors to consider, primarily that this is a “novel” coronavirus. Chinese medical personnel would naturally first respond to it in terms of diseases and viruses they already know about, such as seasonal norovirus in China, “respiratory” infections, pneumonia, flu, and common colds. Of course it would take a while to realize that this virus was a novelty, and even then, medical personnel everywhere responded as if it were a typical respiratory infection.

      Normally, research takes a long time. We are trying to cram what can take years into weeks and now months. Nevertheless, a number of research leads are emerging. I wouldn’t draw any strong conclusions yet. It may very well be that the virus was making people sick earlier than supposed while it was all jumbled up with all the other illness with similar symptoms. By the time, the Chinese had an inkling that this was like nothing they had ever seen before, the Lunar New Year travel season was upon them. The Washington hot spot may have been due to China travel (whether Chinese people or non-Chinese people), and the New York hot spot due to Europe travel (whether Europeans or non-Europeans).

      The disease itself may not be a respiratory disease,but a vascular disease that often has respiratory symptoms. WHO must know about this new hypothesis, so I was disappointed that their spokesperson called it a respiratory illness yesterday.

  23. harpie says:

    This morning, bmaz retweeted Clarissa Byrne Hessick, “Criminal law professor at the University of North Carolina. Director of the Prosecutors and Politics Project”:
    8:41 PM · Jun 7, 2020

    The news that Minneapolis has disbanded its police department will strike many people as incredibly radical. But Camden, NJ did the same several years ago. And with the help of @policingproject Camden has remade itself as a safer and more just community. [LINK]

    And I really hope that members of the media who are reporting on this development in Minneapolis reach out to @barryfriedman1 and the rest of the folks @policingproject to get some appropriate context about this news.

    For those who are looking for more recent information about Camden:
    Crime rates have gone down. [1/7/20 link]
    So have complaints against officers [link]

    Here’s the latest tweet from Barry Friedman, Professor @nyulaw. Director @policingproject; Litigator, author (and dad). Author – Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission; The Will of the People; Open Book:
    1:46 PM · Jun 8, 2020

    Really great talking with @paulwaldman1 about what is needed to make real progress on policing – including a whole new way to think about first response. [LINK]

    Links to: Waldman tweet:
    [twitter dot com] paulwaldman1/status/1270045859946864641
    1:31 PM · Jun 8, 2020

    The Democrats proposed a police reform bill. Is it going to solve the problem? No. But it’s a start. I explain, with help from @barryfriedman1: [WaPo link]

    Links to:
    Can the federal government fix our policing problem?
    WaPo Opinion The Plum Line
    June 8, 2020 at 1:25 p.m.

  24. DAT says:

    ‘Wheelers, Several loosely related observations, and assertions. One is that among the first duties of the proto-police departments of our 13 colonies was searching for stolen property, especially the property that stole itself, that is, runaway slaves. Second is that the second amendment, some maintain, was specifically inserted at the insistence of slaveholders, who were certain that federal troops would not be near enough to hand to put down slave rebellions. Third is regarding our current fellow citizens who must have military grade weapons and munitions to “protect the family.” Clearly these fetish objects do not protect the family against Covid infection. I suspect, but cannot prove, that the imagined threat only requires armaments when it is constituted of POC. This last may underestimate the depth of the nihilism of some of our feliow citizens, most recently demonstrated by active duty sergeant Carrillo.

  25. Lex says:

    Doesn’t matter what Barr calls it, all varieties of “tear gas” are severe irritants which have established exposure limits related to long term health effects.

    After we take away all their stupid warrior toys, the next step with reigning in the cops is to confine them to their stations until they’re called. Most of the time they abuse or kill people they were out looking for trouble, not responding to a call.

  26. Tracy Lynn says:

    I’ve been thinking about the concept of defunding the police department since I went to a protest at our city hall last week and I saw two young women carrying signs that said “Defund the SJPD.” I’m not against the idea — but I’ve been contemplating what defunding the cop shop would mean for the city and its residents and how it could be constructively done. I’m starting a little project — trying to educate myself about how defunding police departments could work, because certainly, the police in my town are vile to almost everyone, but specifically to people they perceive as of color or immigrants.

    • timbo says:

      Hopefully you come up with something good and hopefully it spreads to Vallejo quick… although, sadly, Vallejo’s city government is probably even less inclined to consider it than SJ given poor Vallejo’s crap mayor and city manager, ex- and pro-cop basically.

      • vvv says:

        Now seems a good time to mention that the mayor of Joliet, IL (think, Blues Bros.), a former police officer, is under investigation re his interactions with protesters after he grabbed one.
        About grabbing the guy by the collar, the mayor said,

        “I only acted to defend myself because I felt my personhood was threatened,” O’Dekirk, a former Joliet police officer, read from a statement.

        ht tps://

    • harpie says:
      2:09 PM · Jun 9, 2020

      Took @MsLaToshaBrown 3hrs to vote today in GA. Then Brown drove over to predominantly white polling site in Atl suburbs

      “I come over to this side of town, and white folks are strolling in. On my side of town, we brought stadium chairs.” [Politico]

      Lebron James responds:
      3:08 PM · Jun 9, 2020

      Everyone talking about “how do we fix this?” They say “go out and vote?” What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist?

      • harpie says:

        Here are photos of two contrasting voting places:
        11:36 AM · Jun 9, 2020

        On the left is Piedmont Park, a Democratic stronghold with a 4-hour line to vote.

        On the right is Chastain Park, located in Atlanta’s whitest and most conservative precinct. There is literally no line. Georgia’s top election official is a Republican. [..]

        NYCsouthpaw tweets:
        4:02 PM · Jun 9, 2020

        I hope people read this AJC investigation into Brian Kemp. [link]

        Links to:
        In a dead heat with Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp created a diversion from computer security
        [link] Dec 14, 2018

      • harpie says:

        Jimmy Carter [President, D-GA] wrote to Kemp in 2018:
        5:00 AM – 29 Oct 2018

        Jimmy Carter writes to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp: “I urge you to step aside and hand over to a neutral authority the responsibility of overseeing the governor’s election.”

        Full text of Carter’s letter to Georgia secretary of state

        I have officially observed scores of doubtful elections in many countries, and one of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be nonbiased supervision of the electoral process.

        In Georgia’s upcoming gubernatorial election, popular confidence is threatened not only by the undeniable racial discrimination of the past and the serious questions that the federal courts have raised about the security of Georgia’s voting machines, but also because you are now overseeing the election in which you are a candidate. This runs counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections — that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority. […]

    • harpie says:

      Here’s a photo of Rep. John Lewis, D-GA:
      5:38 PM · Jun 7, 2020

      Son of Selma, John Lewis, on #BlackLivesMattter Plaza.

      —battling cancer in a pandemic
      —STILL fighting.

      A real one. RESPECT [amazing photo]

      Rep. John Lewis, JUNE 2018:
      4:09 PM · Jun 25, 2018

      I was beaten, left bloody & unconscious while friends of mine gave their lives to ensure that every person has the right to register & vote. But five years ago the SCOTUS Shelby County v Holder decision stuck a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act. We must #RestoreTheVRA

      • harpie says:

        Also Rep. John Lewis, JUNE 2018:
        11:15 AM · Jun 27, 2018

        Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. #goodtrouble

  27. Cothrom says:

    My problem with the Abolish slogan is that supporters are then obligated to explain that they don’t really mean abolish. If you have to do that much explaining, you have already lost the average listener. Pointing to the suburbs is unhelpful because the reason the police presence in the suburbs is near zero is because residents are not calling the police. I agree with the concept of removing responsibilities for social services that have been foisted upon the police and putting them back where they belong. This needs to happen in the schools as well which out of necessity has become the delivery mechanism for a number of social services, and that is before bringing up the topic of the ever-increasing police presence in our schools.

    • bmaz says:

      Hi Cothrom, welcome to Emptywheel, and please do join in the discussion often.

      I think you are right on all of those points.

  28. Zinsky says:

    Antifa isn’t a group and has no organizational structure. It is a mindset or organizing ideology. If Reichsfuhrer Barr thinks he is going to find a cache of weapons labeled “Antifa” or more than two people who claim to be members, he is smoking some wacky tobaccy!

  29. harpie says:

    Marcy retweeted:
    10:58 PM · Jun 10, 2020

    Dallas police “were cheering and laughing” with “America, fuck yeah” after shooting Brandon Saenz, a black man, with a less-than-lethal round. It resulted in “the loss of his left eye, seven teeth and a fractured left side of his face.” [LINK]

    That alone would be enough for @ChiefHallDPD to resign. But then she fails further by saying “she was unaware of what types of projectiles have been used on Dallas protesters.”

    Really? If your cops are pretending to be Army men, lead like an Army officer and take responsibility.
    Every Army officer is instilled with knowledge that “I am responsible for everything my unit does or fails to do.”
    Police chiefs like @ChiefHallDPD don’t seem to understand this and it’s another reason why cops aren’t truly “militarized.” They just have access to military toys.

  30. harpie says:

    Aggressive Tactics by National Guard, Ordered to Appease Trump, Wounded the Military, Too
    Some members of the D.C. Guard — comprising more than 60 percent people of color — have not told family they were part of the crackdown. Guard leadership, concerned about public opposition, even warned against buying food from vendors.
    June 10, 2020

    WASHINGTON — A white National Guard commander [Brig. Gen. Robert K. Ryan] called the standoff in Lafayette Square “the Alamo,” implying that the White House was under siege. Black members of the D.C. Guard objected to turning on their neighbors. Army leaders told pilots to “flood the box with everything we have” as two helicopters buzzed protesters in the streets. […]

    On Tuesday, during a conference call with commanders on the situation in Washington, General Ryan, the task force commander, likened the defense of Lafayette Square to the “Alamo” and his troops’ response to the huge protests on Saturday to the “Super Bowl.” […]

    • harpie says:

      About the helicopters:
      [I’m connecting this with a conversation here: ]

      […] In the next days, the Army is expected to release the results of a preliminary investigation into why the helicopters — a Black Hawk and, in particular, a Lakota with the Red Cross emblem designating it a medical helicopter — came to be used to terrorize protesters in Washington.

      Ryan McCarthy, the Army secretary, acknowledged that he gave the order for the helicopters to respond, but by the time that order reached the pilots, officials said, it was interpreted as high profile and urgent to disrupt the protests. Officials expect the pilots who flew the helicopters will receive some type of punishment. […]

      So, it was a verbal order, that seemed to escalate in the telling.
      Reminds me of that game called Telephone…
      Who was between McCarthy and those pilots?

      Continuing directly, about another verbal order:

      And when National Guard officials requested written guidance allowing troops without military licenses to drive armored vehicles around Washington, the officer in charge of the task force, Brig. Gen. Robert K. Ryan [he of the ALAMO and SUPERBOWL comments], said it was a verbal order from the Army’s chief of staff, Gen. James C. McConville.

      Written confirmation never came, and a Defense Department official with direct knowledge of the situation said General McConville never gave such an order.

      The D.C. National Guard did not respond to a request for comment. […]

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