Do not stab the Nazis

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Ant-fascist counter-protest in Sacramento last week

When is it OK to attack a Nazi? This should be a dumb question, but the Trump campaign has awkwardly placed this moral conundrum at the center of our political system. After months spent encouraging his supporters (including many Neo-Nazis) to assault protesters at campaign events, the inevitable has happened. Opposition is becoming  organized and violent. People are showing up to stab the Nazis.

Rioting in Chicago in March was our first warning. At the end of April, Vox suspended its online editor, Emmett Rensin for encouraging protestors to riot at Trump rallies. Last week a group of Neo-Nazis in Sacramento staged a protest complaining of their treatment at Trump rallies. They were met by organized counter-protestors, resulting in a small riot and several stabbings. The genie is out of the bottle.

Until recently, the “is it okay to kill a Nazi” question would have been little more than an intellectual parlor game, a moral puzzle with only distant real world relevance. Ironically, the question “Would you kill baby Hitler” briefly became a campaign issue in our gonzo Republican primaries. It sounds dumb, but sitting beneath this goofy hypothetical is a revealing, and surprisingly complex ethical question. By what standard should we judge the morality of an act of violence?

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Former Vox editor Rensin was fired for advocating riots at Trump rallies.

In other words, should I stab a Nazi?

Donald Trump is challenging our simplistic public narrative on political violence, building an entire campaign inside its contradictions. Forces he has unleashed now require us to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the meaning and morality of political violence – quickly.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became an American civic saint for his categorical rejection of violence. Every year on his birthday we honor him by teaching schoolchildren that violence is morally wrong. He was, of course, murdered.

A few months later in June, we commemorate the D-Day landings. The carnage we unleashed in France was one of our finest moments as a civilization, an epic demonstration of courage, perseverance, and sacrifice for which we remain grateful and justifiably proud.

Violence is a moral outrage. Violence is the signal expression of our highest cultural values. Both statements are true, but neither is complete. They leave us with this conundrum: If it is OK for the US military to incinerate Hiroshima or Hamburg, then why isn’t it OK to stab a Nazi?

Civilization, one of our most vital evolutionary adaptations, is built on a logical fault line. At its simplest level, civilization is a social structure by which human beings harness formal, accountable, public violence toward the elimination of private violence. Civilization is designed to solve a human social problem – how do we live together in large groups without slaughtering each other? Adapting around that challenge in our social evolution creates an opportunity to more rapidly evolve technologically toward massive common benefit.

How do we leverage the enormous creative capabilities of a large community without allowing one or two people to simply steal it all or destroy our work? How do we capitalize on the power of a farm and an irrigation system without that work being ruined by marauders? How do we board a plane without yielding to our primal urge to club our way into first class?

The answer, paradoxically, is a combination of violence and non-violence. We use the powerful concept of legitimacy to create authority. We invest that authority with our collective powers of violence. Through those engines of legitimacy, whether based on heredity, ideology, religion, or a simple vote, we sacrifice a large portion of our agency.

In return for that theoretical transaction, we get to build a civilization. Instead of roaming the countryside eighteen hours a day searching for sustenance (and violently stealing it where we can), we get to live in permanent dwellings. We get to use technology to have better lives.

Boarding a plane looks like a triumph of non-violent human collaboration. It isn’t. Test the matter by violating one of the social norms governing that process. Take a place at the front of the 1st class line with your boarding pass marked “Boarding Group 4.” Set your watch. See how long it takes to experience legitimate violence meted out by the friendly security professionals who patrol the airport.

Everything we achieve through peaceful cooperation depends on our collective confidence that organized, legitimate violence will be available when we need it to enforce social and moral norms. Elevated by that understanding, we have developed cultural habits that make violence unnecessary in as many cases as possible. You can judge the sophistication and success of a civilization by how much public resource it takes to suppress private violence.

There was a genius to Dr. King’s campaign of non-violence which is seldom if ever noted. Without access to violence, King would have been killed far earlier, before his work had achieved any progress. By carefully restraining their resort to private violence, King’s movement created enormous pressure on our civilization to use public violence in defense of basic public norms and established laws. A disciplined restraint from unaccountable violence formed a successful moral appeal for intervention from disciplined, accountable forces.

King didn’t defeat segregation with non-violence. Jim Crow died at the sharp end of a bayonet. King’s genius was that he, and his followers, had the discipline, determination, and intelligence to refrain from wielding those bayonets themselves. That’s how he took his place as a latter-day Founding Father.

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A victory for non-violence in Mississippi

Non-violence did not place James Meredith in a classroom at Ole Miss. Truckloads of US soldiers did that, deploying in overwhelming force to defeat resistance. Losing track of the violence that propelled the Civil Rights Movement to victory obscures its lessons.

As in King’s time, there is an accountable political structure currently in place charged with protecting us all from violence by Trump supporters, Trump opponents, or anyone else. Like in King’s time, that structure is struggling to adapt to the challenge posed by Trump’s unprecedented appeal to private violence. Just like the scenario King faced, a resort to private counter-violence will degrade the capacity of that central authority to do its job. Restraint will make the lines of demarcation clearer, allowing that central authority over time, to leverage violence as needed, if needed, to bring a just outcome.

Above the fray, the political process is slowly working to strangle the Trump phenomenon, pressing it to the margins toward political defeat. In short, the system is working. So-called “protestors” stabbing Nazis at rallies are not doing us any favors. They are just one more problem to be ultimately solved by law enforcement. Private violence will eventually yield to public violence if necessary in defense of order.

We hanged John Brown. Jefferson Davis was allowed to live. The reason is simple. Brown was leveraging violence outside of any negotiable structure. Brown was the rough modern equivalent of a terrorist. Think what you will about his purported cause, Brown was first and foremost a killer convinced he was taking orders from God. Like modern terrorists, John Brown’s politics were incidental to his violence. He could not inhabit a civilization.

Like the rebels who founded our democracy, Davis was operating inside of a reasonably accountable authority structure. His cause was abhorrent, but he and his compatriots pursued that cause through a channel that civilization could ultimately cope with, defeat, and tolerate. That structure granted one critical benefit to his enemies that Brown did not offer – negotiability.

Davis could be (and was) persuaded to terminate his violence through a combination of counter-violence and politics. His cause notwithstanding, Davis’ resort to political violence was less of a fundamental threat to civilization than John Brown’s. That accountability to a defined political structure meant that Davis’ violence could be contained and ended without necessarily killing him.

Davis didn’t commit any acts of violence after the war. No one was ever going to stop John Brown from killing, no matter what happened in the political realm.

Violence unleashed by amateurs in the streets, accountable to no one, cannot be contained through politics. The kind of people who will be rioting at Trump rallies over the next few months are not working toward a political goal. They are doing what they like to do. People who leverage this kind of violence, like Trump or Rensin, are a cancer on civilization.

Someday, under some circumstances, perhaps it might be necessary to kill a Nazi. If it is ever again done legitimately, that violence will be constrained by defined goals and a negotiable authority structure.

What happened in Sacramento is not politics, it’s just violence. That kind of violence always looms at the margins of civilization. Releasing it into our political bloodstream takes us in unpredictable, unwelcome directions.

Please refrain from stabbing the Nazis. Other people will do it better and more thoroughly than you should the need arise.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016, Uncategorized
242 comments on “Do not stab the Nazis
  1. 1mime says:

    This is a poignant and important story about how a city and a police department can change. But as recent events reveal, change is not static. It requires maintenance, and discipline, and mutual respect.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2016/07/the_dallas_police_department_has_been_a_model_for_reducing_officer_involved.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Vox%20Sentences%207/8/16&utm_term=Vox%20Newsletter%20All

  2. Rob Ambrose says:

    Jesus, things are getting out of control. I don’t know how this gets fixed, but if there’s a transcendent, generational leader a la MLK waiting in the wings (from either side) that is able to bridge the gulf and heal the wounds on both sides, now would be a great time to emerge.

    • I have a feeling a lot of people are going to see that leader in Donald J. Trump! What people think they are accomplishing killing random police officers is beyond me. But obviously there is a ton of anger out there. It is pervasive! On both sides!

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “I have a feeling a lot of people are going to see that leader in Donald J. Trump! ”

        I don’t get that at all. If the polls after the Orlando and Istanbul shooting show (and thankfully so) the general electorate is presently NOT made up of fearful lemmings who flock to the nearest strongman. They are in fact turned off, as Trump got absolutely no bump in the polls (and was widely panned) for his response to both.

        Trump consistently polls as being far more divisive then HRC.

        Those two facts lead me to believe that people want a uniter in Chief and not a divider in Chief. Now, could that change? Sure. But so far, there is nothing to suggest that fearful ppl are flocking to Trump. If anything, it’s the opposite, that his strongman rhetoric is turning ppl off.

      • Rob,

        I hope you are right. But i live in a swing state where i still see the confederate flag flying and the ‘n” word is used quite a lot. Almost everyone i know watches Fox News and hates Obama. The lack of knowledge about current events is staggering. People blame Obama for the 2008 recession. Someone actually asked my why Obama started the Iraq war! And the type of talk you hear from Trump resonates with these people!

        And Hillary has been the subject of a 25 year campaign against her of both lies and truths.

        Add to that the fact Dems have a tendency not to vote, ie, 2010 and 2014! what the Dems think will happen by their not voting, i do not know!

        Even some Republicans know trump will be a disaster. But he will be their disaster!!

    • 1mime says:

      On all sides, Rob. From the white community, from our political leadership, from the black community, from law enforcement. As we have discussed before, inspirational leaders can make a profound difference, but there is a lot about this problem that involves societal/cultural change that is hard, and justice process changes that have been very slow to come.

      Trust. There is none.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        True Mime. I hope BLM Dallas (and everywhere) comes out forcefully and clearly against this attack.

        If the families are OK with it, I hope they attend the funerals or at least memorials, to pay their respects.

        That would be a powerful unifying message, showing that BLM is not anti cop, but is anti police brutality, which is not necessarily the same thing.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Much as a visionary like that would be welcome right now, unfortunately you’ve gotta plow ahead like you know they’re not coming. Even the greatest leader in the world can only help people to realize what they were already capable of all along, and the decision we all have to make ultimately comes from us as a society.

      Maybe this all could’ve been prevented with the right leadership, or maybe it was inevitable all along. Honestly, it’s pointless to contemplate such things. I just think it’s best to steel one’s self for the troubles ahead. No matter how bleak things might seem at times, the best thing anyone can do is to try and keep an honest grin on one’s face and keep moving ahead. There’s a lot of work to be done and not nearly enough time to do it.

      • 1mime says:

        Society is made up of individuals. As individuals we need to stand up and speak out, one at a time until our individual voices become a collective voice. It will be a somber process and it will be hard, but it is possible – if we genuinely want change to happen.

  3. rulezero says:

    Based upon what I’m seeing, this appears to be some type of orchestrated event. I don’t believe there is any plausible way that this is reactionary to the OIS over the last two days. The suspects are stating that there are multiple explosives hidden throughout the city. Not a chance that this could’ve been assembled without preplanning, unless the suspect conveying the information is bluffing.

    I could be wrong, but this may be terror related. Something similar to Orlando and using the gathering as a smokescreen.

  4. rulezero says:

    Any of you in Dallas might want to keep your heads down. There’s a large “call for justice” rally and an active shooter has shot two officers.

    http://www.fox4news.com/news/171359952-story

    • flypusher says:

      I am very sorry to see that.

    • 1mime says:

      I’m closer to Houston, but I am sorry to see this spiral out of control. I hope the policemen’s wounds are not serious.

      RZ, this was going to happen. There is a groundswell of frustration and anger in the Black community (and you will see it soon in Hispanic communities) from years of abuse and loss of life. I don’t know what to say other than it was bound to happen, and I am so very sorry our nation hasn’t been able to resolve our racial issues. Violence is not the solution on either side.

      Black people are hearing all the talk about white blue collar anger and still don’t see progress in the real problems they face in their communities. The lack of interest and desire on the part of leaders and regular citizens in combination with high unemployment in minority population is creating a hostile citizenry who are tired of being ignored and killed.

      Thanks for the heads up but I think you and yours need it more.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        This is truly disheartening.

        I often see politicians (or pseudo-politicians) like Trump bemoan the justifiably horrible exploits of groups like I.S.I.S. and have proceeded for calls for draconian measures to combat the “threat”. Those who hoot and holler for more waterboarding, religious bans and more bombings to deal it.

        But right now there are minority communities dealing with another type of dehumanizing and disturbing images. Videos of death and destruction that is causing tremendous sorrow and rage (and also hysteria).

        And it is not happening “over there”.

        It is happening outside their homes and these pictures are chronicling the deaths of their children.

        Sometimes I think some people are truly blind to this and way to dismissive. Why was there in some parts of American Society initial sympathy for the “plight” of someone like Cliven Bundy but contempt for the “thug” Travon Martin?

        Police are not terrorists obviously but there is one commonality… if police (specifically bad police) are not held accountable like some of the terrorists and criminals who have escape justice for their misdeeds, things will inevitably fall apart.

        Chris Ladd talked about how the “professionals” should be allowed to deal with the “Nazis”.
        What happens when rank and file people sees those “professionals” or “protectors” as bad as the “Nazis”?

        I think Ferguson proved comprehensively you can’t do good community based policing if you are not really part of the community.

        Not to go off on too much of a tangent:

        I can almost laugh at how some Republicans say if only Obama had kept troops in Iraq, we could have maintained the “peace” and nipped nascent terrorist organizations like ISIS in the bud. If only he bombed Assad’s regime (without our congressional support of course) things would be better.

        If only, if only, if only…!

        I say to that… bullsh*t.
        They don’t know what they don’t know.
        And they don’t care to learn about what they don’t know.

        Law and order types are as clueless at successfully pacifying the troubled areas of places like Baltimore, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, Ferguson or maybe Cleveland (home of the impending GOP convention) as their neoconservative counterparts are at pacifying the apocalyptic violence in the urban ruins of the Middle East.

        Does anyone now doubt the absurdity of that logic, esp. if this current discord between certain U.S. communities and the law enforcement spirals out of control?

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        I’m sorry to say this but this Dallas incident is shaping up to be the third most infamous/murderous sniper incident in Texas History… since 1963.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Getting back to one of the most recent police shootings of a black motorist… Been reading the details and it is beyond awful. It should give people of color who legally own weapons pause (and probably sleepless nights).

        The NRA will almost certainly not come to your rescue or be your (posthumous) advocate.

        “Philando Castile, 32, was shot to death in his car during a routine traffic stop for a broken taillight in Minnesota. Castile’s fiance Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year old daughter were in the car. Sterling had a gun in his pocket, but he never grabbed it when he was confronted by police officers. Castile told the officer who pulled him over that he was armed and had a concealed carry permit, and as he reached for his wallet to get his licence the officer shot him 4 times. Castile’s girlfriend then live streamed the aftermath on Facebook, with Castile bleeding to death on camera as the officer kept his gun pointed at him. Castile was a school nutrition services supervisor who was popular among his colleagues and students, according to his employer. He had no criminal record.”

      • 1mime says:

        This tragedy is one of the worst. A black man with no record, with a steady job, who clearly was complying with the officer’s order, and is shot anyway, in front of his girlfriend and a 4 year old child. One more in an a list of deadly police encounters that should have not ended in death.

        Yet, the Dallas reaction of more death and reprisal is the wrong response. All of the gains that could possibly have emerged from the tragic deaths in LA and MN have been lost. The people whose minds and hearts need to be changed are a tough crowd to convince change is needed. These police shootings were the wrong solution.

        It is sadly ironic that Lifer’s post presaged this series of events. The only surprise about the Dallas tragedy is that it has not happened already. Video recording is changing fear to anger and if leadership on both sides – Black communities and police – don’t come together to address the underlying real problems, more violence will occur. Simply said: Black people feel their chances of dying are so great that they might as well die for a cause they believe in. It’s not right but it’s a natural outcome to their treatment and the disregard of leadership to this serious issue.

      • flypusher says:

        This tweet sums it up:
        “I don’t want black men shot at traffic stops. I don’t want cops shot by snipers. I don’t want kids shot at school.”

    • rulezero says:

      Three shot. Gravely injured.

  5. Griffin says:

    Interesting Chait article. Did dramatic events in the 90’s contribute to many Americans dismissing racism as still being a problem?

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/06/clinton-and-the-politics-of-90s-racial-backlash.html

  6. tuttabellamia says:

    I recommend this article in the NEW YORKER magazine describing Trump supporters up close, analysis that comes from first-hand experience, from actually chatting with these people:

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/11/george-saunders-goes-to-trump-rallies

  7. Griffin says:

    Radical right-wingers (including Sarah Palin) are having yet another freakout about the inevitable UN takeover because of… UN vehicles in Virginia and Kentucky (Why would the UN start their takeover in freaking Kentucky?).

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/06/conservatives-freak-out-over-un-takeover-after-spotting-trucks-made-in-virginia-and-sold-overseas/

    So many wrong predictions but they’re so confident in them everytime. It’s like Marxist determinists insisting that every economic hiccup is the beginning of capitalisms “internal contradictions” collapsing the status quo and bringing about a socialist revolution. It’s difficult not to compare political radicals political “predictions” to predictions of the Second Coming of Christ.

  8. antimule says:

    Chris, do you have a reason to believe that Trump won’t be a nominee? Is there a coup brewing?

    • flypusher says:

      Stay tuned!

    • goplifer says:

      There is. No way to know at this point whether it will work. First test is the rules committee next week. If they vote to turn the delegates loose then Trump is finished.

      If they don’t (and they probably won’t), then it comes down to the level of organization among the dissident delegates on the floor. Nobody has a read on that.

      Here’s one interesting factor to watch – no one has heard a word from Ted Cruz for about two months. What’s been doing all this time? There hasn’t been another government shutdown, so you know he hasn’t been in Washington.

      • MassDem says:

        Well I don’t know what Ted Cruz has been doing the last few months, but Politico reported today that he accepted Trump’s invitation to speak at the convention after the two met privately. No endorsement yet.

        http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/donald-trump-ted-cruz-closed-door-meeting-225230

      • 1mime says:

        It’s just been announced that Trump invited Cruz to speak at the convention…and he accepted.

      • flypusher says:

        Your thoughts on who his running mate will be? I believe Newt and Christie want the job, but I wonder if Trump trusts them, and everyone else seems to want to rearrange their sock drawers. I also wouldn’t put it past him to choose his daughter, but I don’t see it as that likely.

      • 1mime says:

        Ted Cruz slipping in through the back door is repulsive to me. Or the front door. Or through the chimney. I guess you’re trying to prepare us, Lifer, but that is a nightmare alternative.

      • flypusher says:

        Cruz is a nightmare, but the upside is Trump’s base isn’t going to vote for him. The better behaved ones would likely not vote. That’s bad down ticket, but there’s no way to avoid that political damage. Take your lumps this cycle and regroup for the next. The dregs of the Trumpkins, OTOH, I would expect to riot. I wish the Cleveland law enforcement good luck!

      • texan5142 says:

        Trump/Cruz ticket, OMFG! What kind of fresh Hell did I just hear!

      • texan5142 says:

        I smell a rat, Trump/Cruz …Trump wins and says fuck it, quits and Cruz is now Lord Master of the universe.

      • 1mime says:

        Not Lord Master, “GOD”.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Even if the delegates are loosed, are they really prepared to spit in their voters’ faces and blow the whole damned convention up? Just thinking of how all the skinheads and racists would react should send a shiver down the spine of everyone at that convention. Not only that, but Republicans would essentially be forfeiting the presidency, control of the Senate and probably even the House too in such a scenario.

        Speaking of the House, this gem of a poll just came out showing generic Democrats up over Republicans by a stark eleven points: http://ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=7307

        Democrats need around a seven point advantage over Republicans to retake the lower chamber. In other words, that’s enough for a majority and then some.

        That aside, I’m not saying the idea of a coup couldn’t happen, but that would require some serious cajones from Republicans that I just don’t see.

      • flypusher says:

        ” Not only that, but Republicans would essentially be forfeiting the presidency, control of the Senate and probably even the House too in such a scenario.”

        If they don’t dump Trump the White House and Senate are also lost. Classic rock-hard place situation.

        I’m still not inclined to think the House is in play, but this cycle is weird. I’ve learned not to rule anything out.

  9. flypusher says:

    Trump’s visit to Congress:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/07/07/trump-meets-with-hill-republicans-as-controversy-over-star-of-david-tweet-continues/

    I’ll give Sen Flake credit for standing up to that bully, but the behavior of most of them is craven and disgusting.

    • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

      “He may be loose on some facts, reckless on some, but there’s not malicious intent there,” said Sanford.

      Wow, what a high bar they set. He doesn’t mean to be an idiot so he’s fit for office!

      • flypusher says:

        The excuses these people make! Party before country, although “falling for a con job that falsely promises to benefit the party” before country is more accurate. And more damning.

      • 1mime says:

        “He doesn’t mean to be an idiot, so he’s fit for office.”

        What it really is, is this: Trump is “their” idiot………..Or, so they hope.

  10. Interestingly, the violence is erupting at Trump gatherings, instigated primarily by members of the fringe left. (There are some instances of Trump supporters initiating a fracas.) Surprisingly (at least in my view), we have not yet seen any members of the fringe right engage in an attack at a Clinton event. Trump represents an unknown, but potentially very dangerous risk to Constitutional governance. Clinton, on the hand, represents a *known* and dangerous risk to Constitutional governance.

    I leave it to the gentle reader to decide which of the two is a worse threat, but for the sake of argument, let’s tag them as equally odious. Why, then, actual violence from the left? After all, there’s plenty of “moral outrage” to go around. I submit that it has to do with respect for the Rule of Law. Say what you will about those radical right wing Tea Party types, but respect for Rule of Law (particularly the Constitutional flavor) is pretty high on their hit list. In contrast, we have on the left a party and president desiring rule by “pen and phone,” i.e., the end justify the means, with Rule of Law nothing more than a quaint anachronism. And, inevitably, we end up with adherents of such notions stabbing Nazis.

    Although Chris doesn’t even bother to mention it (unsurprisingly, given his political leanings), it’s precisely respect for the Rule of Law that *enables* civilization. That, and nothing else. If we don’t as a society respect the primacy of Rule of Law, if we don’t *believe* that we are all equal before the law, and that the law will be applied evenly and consistently to all, then we end up… where we are now.

    The left undermines the Rule of Law in pursuit of its political ends, e.g. “social justice,” which *requires* unequal application of the law (to redress past social wrongs, uneven outcomes, income disparity, racial injustice, whatever, it doesn’t really matter). In pursuit of the “greater good,” the left undoes the very foundation of civilization, with grimly and banally predictable results. And that result is Trump, or Trump version next, who is most definitely not the person you want at the helm of the Republic. The thing is, before a despot can cross the Rubicon, the people have to cross it first. We’ve been doing that in spades for the past seven years.

    Turns out Mencken was right. Democracy really is the theory that the people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Thor, how do you explain the Rule of Law being violated in the days of Jim Crow, when violence against Blacks went unpunished? Those people certainly did not believe that we were all equal before the law, and the law was not applied evenly and consistently to all.

      Can that be explained away because that was “a long time ago?”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Ignoring the Rule of Law is not exclusive to “the Left.”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        And that violation of the Rule of Law was done in spades for much longer than 7 years. I don’t think the Trump phenomenon can be blamed on 7 short years of forced equality.

      • Tutta, it is perhaps unpleasant to bring up the topic, but the folks who instituted Jim Crow did *not* believe that blacks were equal. Rather, they believed that blacks were inferior, and hence not subject to the same set of rules as whitey. As despicable as such thinking is, it did not violate their concept of Rule of Law – they had, in effect, two separate sets of rules which were applied on the basis of skin color. The fact that one set of rules resulted in better outcomes than the other was immaterial to them, based on their ingrained prejudice.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thor, that behavior is still no better than what you are saying about forced equality. If you are going to be fair, you should consider both to be violations of the Rule of Law, whether or not the perpetrators recognize the violation.

        You seem to imply that a Communist regime is worse than a regime in which violence against Blacks was readily accepted. The latter is far, far worse.

      • Tutta, I’m not defending Jim Crow, just merely observing that Jim Crow was an internally consistent construct of Law, albeit an utterly heinous construct.

        Rule of Law is a necessary, but insufficient, requirement of a just society. Rule of Law may be rigorously adhered to, but if the law itself is unjust, the resulting society is unjust. See: Jim Crow.

        Note that a society without Rule of Law is *inherently* unjust. When you just make it up as you go along (i.e., the current administration), feathering the beds of your friends, and “punishing” your “enemies,” justice is unobtanium.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        So, Thor, you’re saying that bad law is better than no law at all. In other words, a law that is cruel and oppressive to some is preferable to anarchy.

        You also seem to imply that the current administration, making it up as it goes along, has no Rule of Law and is therefore anarchy, which I disagree with.

      • “So, Thor, you’re saying that bad law is better than no law at all.”

        No, Tuttabella, that’s not what I said. My goodness. We need not settle for bad law, nor lawlessness. Let’s not reduce our plight to false choices.

        Anyway, I don’t know if you’re a fan of Gene Wolfe, but his masterwork is titled, “The Book of the New Sun.” It’s a play on words, as the book (set in the dim, distant future) is actually a story of the Second Coming. At the end of chapter 33 in “The Shadow of the Torturer,” the protagonist, Severian, experiences a dream in which his long dead master quizzes him on the forms of governance:

        “Severian, name the seven principles of governance.” …

        I began weakly “Anarchy…”

        “That is not governance but the lack of it. I taught you it precedes all governance. Now list the seven sorts.”

        “Attachment to the person of the monarch. Attachment to the bloodline or other sequence of succession. Attachment to the royal state. Attachment to a code legitimizing the governing state. Attachment to the law only. Attachment to a greater or lessor board of electors, as framers of the law. Attachment to an abstraction conceived as including the body of electors, other bodies giving rise to them, and numerous other elements, largely ideal.”

        “Tolerable. Of these, which is the earliest form, and which is the highest?”

        “The development is in the order given, Master.”…

        Master Malrubius leaned forward, his eyes burning brighter than coals of the fire. “Which is highest, Severian?”

        “The last, Master?”…

        “Of what kind, Severian, is your own attachment to the Divine Entity?”

        “The first, if I have any.”

        To paraphrase Madison, Tuttabella, if humans were angels, we would have no need of governance, for our days would be ordered by our living God. Sadly, humans (most of us, anyway) are not angels. The forms listed by Severian developed directly in reaction to the fallibility of human monarchs, oligarchs, and rule by decree, in general. Let’s not backslide, shall we?

      • 1mime says:

        You’ve been quiet on the shootings (all 3 events).

    • goplifer says:

      I didn’t read past this sentence because I’ve been watching Trump’s speeches for a year:

      ***Interestingly, the violence is erupting at Trump gatherings, instigated primarily by members of the fringe left.***

      That is fucking bullshit. The orange wonder himself stood on stage, spoke clearly into the microphone, on camera, in plain English, and told his supporters to use violence to remove people who were *considered to be* protesting.

      Isn’t it odd that these members of the “fringe left” somehow left Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and John Kasich alone? Isn’t it odd that even those actual, honest to God left wing nutjobs were actively disrupting Sanders and Clinton rallies, not one person got hurt?

      It’s almost as if something different, something entirely unique was happening at Trump’s events. I’m sorry, but you have to be -not dumb- but deliberately deluded to somehow imagine that Trump is not personally responsible for unleashing this disease. The Rule of Law was broken from the stage, by the speaker. We are living in the consequences of what that guy unleashed.

      • Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about censoring the language of your own comments. How cool is that?

        As for Cruz and Rubio, nobody gets much exercised about also rans.

        I’m not cutting Trump any slack, Chris; just making an observation about how all this craziness comes about. The third reich would not have risen were its predecessor, the vast administrative apparatus of the Weimar Republic, not already in place. The latter was a necessary precursor to the former.

        We’ve been building our own vast, unelected, unaccountable, administrative state Leviathan for decades. When the Rule of Law, economic and individual freedom are all eroded to the point they are now, it should be surprising to exactly *no one* that somebody like Trump should arrive on the scene. Nor should it surprise anyone when somebody like Trump, or somebody with even worse authoritarian tendencies, is actually voted into office under such conditions. And after such an individual ascends to power, nobody should be surprised when this individual gets really busy instituting massive unpleasantness. After all, we will have already provided despot with *all* the tools they need to ply their trade.

      • 1mime says:

        “When the Rule of Law, economic and individual freedom are all eroded to the point they are now…”

        If only we agreed on what those economic and individual freedoms are. Just because I do not believe in a strict construction interpretation of the Constitution, but, rather, implied law relative to changing times and certainly changing circumstances, doesn’t mean that the rule of law is eroding when SCOTUS renders an opinion I don’t like or you don’t approve of. The rule of law is supposed to offer structure to society, not strangle it.

      • antimule says:

        > The Rule of Law was broken from the stage, by the speaker. We are living in the consequences of what that guy unleashed.

        Agreed. But the left was dumb enough to take the bait. So that is part of the problem, too.

      • 1mime says:

        There are stupid people on both sides of the aisle. That doesn’t ignore that people in leadership, especially those seeking the highest office in the land, shouldn’t stand for civility and respect. This is where it all breaks down with Trump. His ego is such that in order for him to be gratified, he has to feel he is inciting others to follow his will. Sick.

      • 1mime says:

        We tend to believe that which supports our own preferences and positions. When I read Tracy’s piece, the thought that came to my mind (other than the sentence you extracted), is that the difference (justification???!!!) of the right is that they believe in the law.

        Excuse me? Whose laws would that be? Only those laws that they like? Do you for one minute believe that had FBI Director Comey returned a charge of criminality against Clinton that the Right wouldn’t have been doing handsprings? What makes them correct in one instance and wrong in another?

        Come on Tracy. Violence is never justified unless there is no other option. That includes war. NO ONE has a pre-determined “right” to decide which laws are correct and which are not unless they sit on SCOTUS – and, I would submit, even that esteemed body has had its problems. Democracy is HARD. Let’s not play games here.

      • Good Lord, 1mime, how many times do I have to say I’m *not* defending Trump, *nor* the shenanigans at his events??? Give it a rest.

        As for Comey, I’m not all that surprised. (And from a legal, not a political, point of view).

        Mens rea is a very important component of our system of justice, and “gross negligence” as a legal term of art sets a very high bar. In layman’s terms, “gross negligence” is really, really ridiculous negligence. Did Hillary *intend* to avoid FOIA requirements? Hell, yes. But that’s not what the statutes under consideration address. Did she *intend* to pass state secrets to our enemies? I don’t think even the most cynical among us would argue that. Did she even *intend* that secret information be stored insecurely? Hmm. Tough one. Was she *grossly* negligent? Show us the injury or damage, because that’s what’s required under gross negligence, and that can’t be readily demonstrated.

        The above not withstanding, were my brother, an O-6 in our Navy’s special warfare command, who has served our nation faithfully for 30+ years, found guilty of even *one* minor overstep of the statutes under consideration, he would be *FINISHED*. He’s livid about this, and he is far from alone on that in his community. And if that doesn’t give you pause, you need to think long and hard on it. It’s bad enough that the law is applied unequally, but when the political class is not subject to the same rules that end careers in the military, that’s another problem altogether. If the military’s respect for civilian authority becomes compromised, we are *hosed*.

      • 1mime says:

        OK, you want equal application of the laws in government as in the military? Let us begin with Gen. David Petraeus. Is there any doubt in your mind that what he did should have sent him to jail? He lied to the FBI – Clinton did not (per Comey); he hid material in the insulation of his attic that the FBI was seeking; and he voluntarily ‘gave’ highly classified, top secret journals (note the plural form) to his lover. The man should have been sentenced to jail and stripped of his rank and retirement.

        What Clinton did was sloppy but it hardly meets the military litmus test that the Republican Party has been TOTALLY silent, read that “ok” with for Patraeus. Then there was the Iran/Contra Affair and all who were caught up in this….OIlie North “just following orders”, Pres. Reagan…doing his part to authorize; then there is our most recent GW Bush, Dick Cheney and their military minions.

        YOu want to talk about double standards. Go for it.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Tracey

        The key words in your sentence are “overstep of the statutes under consideration”
        Despite enormous efforts the FBI (and others) have NOT been able to find a single example of Hillary “overstepping the statutes”

        They found occasions where in benefit of hindsight they would not have done it that way – but NOTHING that “overstepped”

        “when the political class is not subject to the same rules that end careers in the military”
        The Military operate to DIFFERENT rules – they always have
        And that is right and proper – they are doing different jobs!
        Doctors have to obey different rules than engineers

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thor, you may not be defending Trump, but you are blaming his ascent on “the Left’s violation of the Rule of Law,” so in a way you’re making excuses for his followers, and saying that the Left deserves Trump.

        As you posted at the very end of your original comment:

        “Turns out Mencken was right. Democracy really is the theory that the people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

      • Actually, 1mime, my brother was pretty upset about “Betrayus,” too. He thought the former General got off way too lightly. Interestingly, military promotions are entirely internal to the service branch through the first star for a general or admiral. The 2nd star, and each successive star, requires Senate confirmation. In other words, 2-star and higher generals and admirals have graduated to the “political class.” Petraeus retired from the service as a 4-star; his scandal erupted while he was CIA Director, a political appointee. You do the math.

      • 1mime says:

        Where were the Congressional investigations? Recriminations? Denouncements? There weren’t any because the GOP takes care of their own. The double standard here in terms of reaction is awful.

        Now we have Speaker Ryan who has drafted a letter to DNI James Clapper asserting that HRC should not receive security briefings as a candidate for the Presidency? When she has been exonerated by the FBI in an exhaustive investigation affirmed by DOJ? Is this more of your “the right follow the law”? May I submit, only when they “like” the outcome.

        Then there is today’s charade chaired once again by Chaffetz (of PP fame) who indicated he will pursue a perjury charge of Clinton for testimony she gave to Congress.

        You can keep your law abiding righties. I’ll stick with the ones on the left that you think are worse.

      • And Tutta, I am in no way, shape or form “making excuses for [Trump’s] followers.” Please do not put words into my mouth that I did not utter.

      • goplifer says:

        I apologize for my language. It is nice though not having to worry about getting deleted. Anyway, there’s no excuse for that. I regret it.

      • flypusher says:

        There’s no doubt that the political caste gets cut slack the rest of us don’t. But you throw so much sauce on the goose that you have none for the gander. If Colin Powell were running this year, would you be just as hard on him for his e-mail practices while Secretary if State?? He used his own accounts too, with all the same potential security issues. Nobody held endless Congressional hearings on him.

      • “… I do not believe in a strict construction interpretation of the Constitution, but, rather, implied law relative to changing times and certainly changing circumstances…”

        Sorry, 1mime, I blipped over your comment earlier, but this statement deserves comment. To paraphrase the late (and utterly unlamented by the left) Justice Scalia, words either mean something, or they do not. The Constitution either means what is says, or it does not. If the Constitution does *not* mean what is says, then what need for a Constitution in the first place? Why even a Constitutional, representative Republic?

        If we are not going to honor the Constitution, and the primacy of the Rule of Law that it embodies, then there is no need for a Supreme Court, or Congress, or separation of powers, or Article 5., or any of the framework of governance and individual rights laid out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We need nothing more than a strongman (or strongwoman) who makes it up as they go along. You know, someone who just gets stuff done! That’s how it works in most of the rest of the world, and that’s how it’s worked for pretty much the entire history of humankind. Why should we want anything different?

        Oh. Right. Never mind.

      • 1mime says:

        I do not believe in strict interpretation of the Constitution. The words mean what they meant at the time they were drafted. They provide a “guide” to future generations. Where we part ways is that I continue to believe that the Constitution offers a valuable framework for our Democracy, whose laws and interpretations necessarily change in response to societal and generational shifts.

        We will never agree on this point so I am not going to continue along this path. It’s tiresome and unproductive and futile.

      • MassDem says:

        Originalism is but one way to interpret the Constitution. Some (many) would say it is not in keeping with the original intent of the Founders. Thurgood Marshall spoke about the Constitution as a “living document” in a 1987 speech:

        “…I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever “fixed” at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite “The Constitution,” they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.”

        Much more inspiring to these liberal ears than anything Scalia ever said.

    • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

      I went a sentence or two further before stopping. Sorry I did…

      **Clinton, on the hand, represents a *known* and dangerous risk to Constitutional governance.**

      Whoa cowboy. WTF are you talking about? It’s pretty well accepted that a vote for Clinton is a vote for what we have now, which, honestly, needs improvement but dangerous threat?? Please.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      The Trump phenomenon is complicated and can’t be attributed to any one thing.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        It can be attributed to 25 years of the right feeding the pigs raw meat.

    • flypusher says:

      “Although Chris doesn’t even bother to mention it (unsurprisingly, given his political leanings), it’s precisely respect for the Rule of Law that *enables* civilization.”

      Not in this post, but Chris has most certainly expressed that sentiment before, and IIRC, it was it rebuttal to your assertion that it was people with guns who doing the enabling.

      You don’t like Clinton and her politics, fine. But to suggest that she would be in any way as much of a disaster as Trump, who is just so shockingly unfit and unqualified for the Office as anyone could be, is weapons grade bullshit.

    • MassDem says:

      Tracy, you seem to be under the impression that expansion of executive power via executive orders and the like is the sole provenance of Democratic presidents. Nothing could be farther from the truth- George W Bush used them extensively, and even the sainted Ronald Reagan signed his share. There is always a struggle for the balance of power between legislative & executive branches, so just stop it with the “Rule of Law” bs.

      If anything, I think that Barack Obama has been restrained considering the outright refusal of Congress to function at even a minimal level, even when it concerns truly pressing problems facing our country. Enough already.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/07/10/how-obama-has-used-executive-powers-compared-to-his-predecessors/

      I agree with you that any violence from Trump supporters or far left elements is egregious and should be punished, but this, as you said, is due to fringe elements. I could argue that your fringe right elements are just as violent, but they focus on different venues such as Planned Parenthood clinics rather than political rallies.

      • flypusher says:

        I would also add that there is nothing stopping the GOP members of Congress from actually drafting bills the deal with reforming immigration, or improving healthcare, or any other issue they claim executive overreach on. But writing and debating and tweaking and reconciling and passing bills is work, while bitching and moaning is easy.

        If you don’t want the executive branch to encroach on your legislative prerogatives, do your jobs!

      • Make no mistake, MassDem, I don’t give the GOP a pass, either. It’s a matter of degree, and the Dems are generally the guiltier of the two (in my view), but the GOP is far, far from pure as the driven snow.

      • 1mime says:

        ” the Dems are generally the guiltier of the two (in my view), but the GOP is far, far from pure as the driven snow.”

        You can honestly look back over the past 7+ years and make that judgement? Or the last 16+ years? Wow, Tracy. Just, wow.

      • vikinghou says:

        The realpolitik of the whole affair is that voters who are incensed about the e-mail issue (as well as the Bengazi issue) were never going to vote for Clinton anyway. I’ll be surprised if this changes the course of the election in a significant way.

      • 1mime says:

        First of all, the “hoorah” is happening because that’s what the Republican Party has become so comfortable doing. The target audience consists of: their base…gotta keep ’em fired up and ready to go, and, the undecideds….either win ’em over through righteous indignation or turn them off so badly that they don’t vote.

        Strategy 106….how to survive when your party sucks.

      • vikinghou says:

        Again, this explains why I’m so fixated on the Supreme Court. Both candidates are seriously flawed, but ask yourself whether you would like another Scalia or another Ginsberg.

      • flypusher says:

        I’m partial to Garland.

  11. 1mime says:

    OT, but very cool, especially for we gals and those who are into research.

    Happy Birthday Nettie Stevens! Celebrate what’s good in life.

    http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/7/12107300/google-doodle-nettie-stevens-sex-chromosomes-scientist-birthday

    • MassDem says:

      Ashamed to say I did not know of Nettie Stevens before this day, but am always glad to learn a new thing.

      She also probably introduced Drosophila melanogaster as a research organism to TH Morgan’s lab in the course of confirming her observations on meal worm chromosomes in other insect species. Also a big (serendipitous) deal!

      • 1mime says:

        I didn’t know Nettie either, Mass Dem – just think her contribution(s) are awesome and wanted to inject a positive thought in the blog chain.

  12. flypusher says:

    “Until recently, the “is it okay to kill a Nazi” question would have been little more than an intellectual parlor game, a moral puzzle with only distant real world relevance. Ironically, the question “Would you kill baby Hitler” briefly became a campaign issue in our gonzo Republican primaries. It sounds dumb, but sitting beneath this goofy hypothetical is a revealing, and surprisingly complex ethical question. By what standard should we judge the morality of an act of violence?”

    An interesting answer to that question is “I wouldn’t kill him as a baby, I’d make sure he got into art school as a young man instead.”

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      That’s a meaningful approach for those who are concerned about Muslim immigrants, too: volunteer at settlement organizations; give tours of your community; teach ESL classes; invite them over for a meal.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        You mean, “kill them with kindness?” 🙂

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        …or integration. 🙂

        I heard a radio report that indicated most of the home-grown terrorists in Paris and Belgium were already outside social norms when they were recruited. They were described as petty criminals; some were drug users and dealers.

        It seems to me that people who feel a part of their community would be more difficult to recruit than someone without ties to the community.

      • 1mime says:

        The same applies to children….who are bullied, who are bullies, who are products of broken, abusive homes or no homes, who feel they “don’t belong anywhere”. Dylan Roof comes to mind, but there have been so many others. Violence seems to ultimately be a way for them to “get even”. In this, I agree with Tracy. We do have a “people” problem. Sadly, those who have the problems find it too easy to act on their anger and hurt.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Bobo: Integration, while showing respect for their culture.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Tutt,

        Of course, respect their culture. But not all aspects of all cultures are equally valuable to my mind.

        Take burquas, for instance. Really, take them to any toxic waste dump that will accept them.

        People wearing masks of any type in public gives no clues as to their intent. (I heard that Bin Laden once wore a burqua to escape capture; I don’t know if that’s a true story.)

        This country continues to try to achieve justice for all. Cultures that don’t eventually come into agreement with that goal are not respectful.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      So… you’re saying that you’d let him grow up a bit and THEN kill him? Bit of a problem with that…

      Killing someone isn’t a moral act, only a justifiable one. It’s not that we want to kill Nazis so much as we don’t want them around. If we could change them, fine. If not, and if by some happenstance they happen to die, well… no one’s going to be shedding any tears.

      So the question to your answer is whether you’re letting Hitler live as a young man for his satisfaction or for yours. At first, it sounds very good that you’re letting someone at least have a taste of life first, but inversely one could see that as the highest form of cruelty in that as you see fit to snuff that life out before anything (dreams, wishes, ambitions, etc) could come of it. That it’s Hitler does not mitigate the broader question at hand either.

      • MassDem says:

        ???
        I think Fly was saying that the course of Hitler’s life might have been changed had circumstances been different, and evil might have been averted. No need for killing then.

        Or maybe I misunderstand your reply.

      • 1mime says:

        That was my understanding of Fly’s observation as well. Different environment might have taken a man of great intelligence and channeled that force into a positive outcome.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @MassDem: If that’s the case, and maybe it was, then that makes little to no sense since fly was just talking about the morality of violence just before he went into his tangent about Hitler. Then he said he wouldn’t kill him… as a baby, implying, at least to me, that he would kill him sometime down the line. That’s how I got it, anyways.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Ryan, I think Fly only said she wouldn’t kill Hitler as a baby in direct response to the question that was posed “Would you kill Baby Hitler?” – not that she favors killing him later rather than sooner, only that she favors changing his outlook on life, the sooner the better.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I think Fly is saying she favors changing Hitler rather than killing him, and the sooner he can be changed the better. As the saying goes: Get ’em while they’re young.

      • flypusher says:

        What Tutta said. If you had this ability to travel back in time and alter history, killing is far from the only tool for affecting change at your disposal. It’s a bit of ethical and creative outside the box thinking to the question of would you kill baby Hitler.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Still, Fly, the question is “would we kill him?” – – which is why it’s such a moral dilemma, whether killing to prevent killing is justified.

        Trying to change him is an excellent idea but doesn’t present the same moral dilemma. Changing is more moral than killing, but if we can’t know for sure that changing him would have made a difference, we are back to killing, which is a sure-fire way of preventing the eventual carnage.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        In this case, the effective solution may be more important than the moral one.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Fly, do you think art school would have made a difference? As OV says, nurture versus nature? Or was Hitler already hard-wired to be evil?

      Is there something about the study of art that imparts humanity?

      • MassDem says:

        I think a less punishing treatment of Germany at the end of WWI that did not set up the serious economic conditions and political instability that allowed extremism to flourish would have been the best bet to avert the evil.

        Hitler did not start the Nazi party, he joined it early on as did many others who were unhappy with the situation in Germany post-WWI.

        There seems to be a lesson here for what happens when public discontent because of poor economic and political conditions leads to a rise in sympathy for anti-democratic and authoritarian views, doesn’t there?

        As far as art school making a difference, who knows?

      • flypusher says:

        It may be that preventing Wilson’s stroke might be the best nexus point for your history-changing time traveler, as he had the right idea for the post war treatment of Germany, and had he been able to forcefully advocate for it he may have prevented at least some of the German misery.

        The Hitler going to art school alternative could matter, in that Hilter’s combination of political genius and discontent had a big effect on how the Nazi party grew and the direction it went. You certainly have unrest and political demagogues trying to take advantage, but do you need a very rare combination if talent/ grievance to go as far as Hitler did? Basically how hard would it be to get a replacement who would be just as effective if Hitler isn’t so discontent?

        Also, while Trump’s similarities to fascism are scary, it is comforting that he is so politically inept. Imagine someone with Hilter’s political talent in Trump’s place- that’s the stuff of nightmares.

  13. Rob Ambrose says:

    Ok, so if this really happens, that HAS to confirm its all been a gag right? Either it started that way, or Trumps become aware thatbhebcannot possibly win. Either way, if he picks Ivanka, there’s no way he’s taking this seriously at this point.

    http://gawker.com/trump-campaign-floats-ivanka-as-vice-president-1783265446

  14. WX Wall says:

    This is an awesome post! Especially your note that MLK’s nonviolence was successful because it induced the larger society to activate the much more powerful organized violence of the state.

    I think you’re fundamentally right that private violence is less effective, and usually counterproductive, compared to getting the state to use its monopoly right to violence in the service of your cause.

    However, there’s a caveat: the protestors must *believe* that the state will eventually come around to their view and bring forth the violence of the state if necessary. Even in the civil rights movement, this wasn’t universal. Witness Malcom X.

    These days, there are seeds of the same doubt. The incredible rash of police shootings of innocent citizens over the past few years has dramatically lowered the public’s trust in law enforcement. And the fact that a major party is so far gone as to allow a guy like Trump to become their standard bearer erodes any trust in the Republican half of the government. As a Democrat, as much as I would stare aghast at the crazies in your party over the years, I could at least trust that the Republican leadership could keep them on a leash. But now, that’s gone.

    Now I’m not comparing the current govt to the govts of the civil rights era. We’re not that far gone yet. But there’s been an enormous decline in the public’s trust of the government to “do the right thing” and this is leading people to take matters into their own hands, for better or for worse.

    Also… your example of John Brown and Jefferson Davis might be problematic. In hindsight, John Brown should have been revered, and Jefferson Davis should have been hanged as a traitor. Forget about slavery. All of Brown’s terrorist acts didn’t kill as many Americans as Davis’s decision to wage the Civil War. To a protestor, it shows that government frequently comes down on the wrong side of justice and if you truly believe in your cause, you can’t wait for the cavalry to ride to your rescue. And if you do, they’re just as likely to kill you as they are to support your cause.

    • 1mime says:

      As Congressman John Lewis said: “Sometimes you just have to get in the way.”

    • goplifer says:

      The key here is the difference between organized and disorganized violence. John Brown should have organized a revolt. You know why he didn’t? Because he was batshit crazy. He tried to. He spent years combing the Northeast for support. They rejected him, because he was scary crazy.

      Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton and those folks? They organized a revolt. Now their faces are on money. And Jeff Davis? He didn’t just ride through the night burning sh&t. He organized a rebellion, with leadership, accountability, and stated (horrible) goals. When he lost, they let him live, because the whole thing wasn’t about him.

      In fairness to ‘Brother Malcolm,’ if he hadn’t been murdered by the Nation of Islam in 65, he might have accomplished something similar. He was no John Brown. It isn’t hard to imagine him creating an organized movement along the lines of the IRA/Sein Fein that could have been a serious force.

      The key is organization and accountability.

      • WX Wall says:

        Okay, I accept your point that your success will be based on organization and accountability, not necessarily on the whether your views are judged “right” or “wrong” in the future (or even the present; no Northerner thought Jefferson Davis was in the “right” even before the Civil War ended).

        Let me turn your question around then. Rather than evaluate in hindisight, what advice would you give to a protestor in the present who believes in his cause and hasn’t yet corralled the state to his side? If you want to do *something* and have no faith that the state will ultimately step in with their bigger cannons, what do you do?

        A Gandhian nonviolent movement needs at least 2 conditions to succeed: 1) the protestors should be a large enough portion of the population that their passive resistance to the state creates real discomfort to the state. 2) The unjust state should nevertheless be moral / self-aware enough that they can be won over by rational arguments. For example, Gandhi, probably due to his education in England, had faith that the British people would ultimately see the injustice of their Indian occupation. He was proven right. But his tactics probably wouldn’t have worked against Germany; the Nazis had no problem exterminating entire races, even to the detriment of their own society (plenty of Jews of that time were fully assimilated and integral to Germany’s economy, and probably would have supported the Axis if the Nazis weren’t so hellbent on killing them off).

        So if you’re a protestor and you don’t believe those conditions are true, what are your options? MLK believed the rest of America would ultimately come around to his views. In hindsight he was right (although we still have a ways to go…) But it wasn’t as clear at that time, hence the popularity of Malcom X. If you were a black person in the 60s, how do you choose which leader to follow?

        Today, should Black Lives Matter follow MLK or the Black Panthers? They were an organized form of private violence, created to monitor police brutality in Oakland. For that matter, the KKK was quite successful using organized terror to achieve their aims for decades, even after overt support from the state waned.

        I guess what I’m saying is that there’s a spectrum: purely nonviolent movements don’t always succeed (how many bankers went to jail after Occupy Wall St?), and extremely violent movements usually turn off so many potential supporters that they become counter-productive. But as bad as it sounds, there is probably some optimal balance of violence and non-violence that makes a movement successful. Heck, even in MLK’s case: part of the reason the state supported him so much was because of the underlying threat that if they didn’t, they’d have to deal with a more powerful Malcom X instead. Perhaps every movement needs a Good Cop *and* a Bad Cop to succeed.

      • WX Wall says:

        Sorry, one more point 🙂

        I think your argument is that it isn’t the level of violence per se, but the level of organization / accountability / etc. that determines how successful you’ll be (that’s why Brown was executed while Davis was let go, regardless of how much violence each was responsible for).

        But I think you discount how much the violence can effect change, organized or not. The 1968 riots during the Dem convention were no more organized than current riots during Trump rallies (given modern internet technology, current riots are probably more organized 🙂 And yet they changed the Presidential race (ironically, probably against their favored candidate).

        Heck, one could argue that a single lone gunman, the epitome of disorganized violence, can change history: John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln without any organization behind him. That allowed the southern sympathizer Johnson to assume the Presidency, obstruct Congressional Republicans, and change the course of Reconstruction in the South, the effects of which reverberate to this day. Yes, Booth died for his cause, just like John Brown did, but one could argue he was actually far more effective in “negotiating” a good deal for the South than the men of organized violence like Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee.

      • 1mime says:

        Those are excellent points, WX Wall!

        I’m having more difficulty following this post than I normally do. I ran smack dab up against the choice between unacceptable and acceptable violence predicated upon organization – principally. The most important element to me is moral justification, whether it is one person or a well organized group. In its most elemental form, violence seems a very poor way to resolve differences, yet our country and our world metes it out with more and more frequency and in ever greater horror. Call me naive but we as a human race have lost our ability to reason.

      • MassDem says:

        WXWall, speaking of your conditions for success for Ghandian nonviolent revolution, I think that for #1, it isn’t just the number of protestors that make a difference, it is whether they can sway a large portion of the uncommitted population to the rightness of their cause. Hence the difference in how the Civil Rights movement proceeded in the South versus the North–the nonviolent campaign led by MLK greatly swayed public opinion outside of the South, and led to significant government actions to address wrongs. In the North, the violent riots in the inner cities, and the rise of militant black leaders mostly led to a backlash among whites, and prevented legitimate issues of inequality and discrimination from being addressed.

        My opinion is that any organization wishing to affect change needs to follow the path of nonviolent protest, or risk not just turning off potential supporters, but delegitimizing their cause, even if they are in the right.

        As far as Occupy, I think the reason that protest didn’t have much effect at the time was more due to a lack of message clarity and discipline. Going violent would not have made their movement any more successful. One could argue that the Occupy movement is still in progress, as seen by the unexpected success of Bernie Sanders.

      • WX Wall says:

        1mime-

        I agree with the moral conundrum that violence presents, but even as a card-carrying bleeding heart liberal, I’m not a pacifist. In some cases, in some situations, violence is required to bring about a good outcome. Keeping with the Nazi topic, I know everyone vilifies Neville Chamberlain as the ultimate appeaser, but that’s only with hindsight, once we realized how maniacal Hitler truly was. At the time, choosing appeasement over violence was considered a noble, rational, moral choice to avoid engulfing Europe in another devastating war. But when it became clear appeasement wasn’t working, violence was called for. Similarly, Lincoln bent over backwards to keep the South from seceding. But once they did, violence was probably the only way to preserve the Union.

        I guess the question here is, once you’ve reached a position where violence is the only answer (and you’ve genuinely tried every other alternative), which is more effective: organized, state-sanctioned violence, or unorganized, private violence? It’s a distasteful question but sometimes, it’s a question we must confront.

        To be sure, we’re nowhere near that point with Trump. But this has been the season of unimaginable questions becoming serious issues!

        MassDem-
        True. That’s sort of what my 2nd condition was getting at 🙂 You need a society open to being persuaded by your argument.

        While I admire Gandhi tremendously, again, I’m not sure that his tactics would be successful in every situation. For example, in the days when the KKK ran strong in the South, there were numerous times when a lynching was abandoned because their target answered the doorbell brandishing a rifle. Passive resistance would say to accept the lynching, and hope the horror of that action eventually convinces people to get their police force to finally arrest Klan members and protect their citizens. In the 50s/60s, America was ready to do that. Were they ready in the 30s/40s? Would Bull Connor unleashing the hounds and the fire hoses against nonviolent civil rights protesters have evoked the same public outrage and federal response a few decades earlier? I hate to say it, but I don’t think so. Which means my advice to a black person protesting his treatment in the 30s/40s would be different than to someone in the 50s/60s (and to someone now like the BLM movement).

      • 1mime says:

        If you’ve read all of my posts here on violence, I accept that violence is sometimes necessary, in fact, required to maintain order or avert harm. We don’t disagree on that point at all WX Wall. But, violence without any attempt at applying “reasonable doubt” is what is killing people. I feel for police who are confronting armed people all over the place. (Thank you NRA.) But, they must be trained to communicate properly so that situations like the one in MN never happen, and the one in Baton Rouge are rare. These situations present challenges but death shouldn’t be the de facto outcome in the numbers we are seeing. Numbers, by the way, that are increasing.

        http://link.washingtonpost.com/view/5535104da6cba84a6f8b4584489ns.0/56e3c60b

  15. rulezero says:

    I typically don’t get in the muck when you guys start in on the state of police affairs. I’m going to have to respond now, however. I’m putting this at the top of the page so that it’s easier to find.

    Rulezero, the video speaks for itself.

    No, it doesn’t. In both videos that I’ve seen, the point of view of the suspect’s right hand is not in plain view. One of the officers clearly calls out, “He’s got a gun,” implying that their level of fear has been heightened.

    He was not really resisting, just not cooperating (although legally, they may be the same thing, in the real world they are not). Whether he had a gun or not is irrelevant in and of itself as LA allows concealed carry. The mere presence of a gun is of course no reason to shoot him.

    There is no such thing as “not really resisting, just not cooperating.” If you aren’t cooperating, you’re resisting. Once you’re under arrest, you have been seized and a search incident to arrest should be conducted. A suspect with a firearm, whether he uses it or not, when under arrest should be secured immediately.

    This video shows that, unlike reports that I’ve already seen elsewhere on Facebook, CNN, etc, the suspect was lying on his back, non-compliant. This means that officers have either A) unsuccessfully maneuvered the suspect onto his back due to resistance, or B) have maneuvered him onto his stomach but were unsuccessful in securing him due to him rolling back over onto his back.

    You have no right to reach for a weapon when you are seized for a lawful arrest, period.

    We never see him go for a gun,

    That’s because there isn’t full view of the entire scene. Again, the suspect’s arms are partially obscured in both videos.

    and while he could have, it stretches the bounds of credulity that black guy after black guy always “goes for the gun” in encounters with cops (even in situations where they don’t have guns to go to). It is not believable to me that scores and scores and scores of black men are all willing and able to go on cop killing rampages in order to avoid arrest for jaywalking, or failing to signal a turn, or selling loosey cigarettes. Could it happen once or twice? Sure. But the fact that it happens again, and again, and again (almost entirely involving black suspects and white cops) clearly suggests that something else is going on.

    So you believe that I, a police officer, am willing to just kill a black male willy-nilly because he’s inconveniencing me at the present time? Are you serious? You think that I wake up every morning hoping to kill a black male? You think that these two white cops, who work in a heavily black area, just pumped rounds into this dude because they were just tired of fiddling with him?

    Almost entirely involving black suspects and white cops? Do you have a source for this assertion? Or are you going on what you’ve seen on television?

    Anyways, the fact remains: what happened before this is irrelevant, because the video speaks for itself.

    No, it isn’t “irrelevant.” It’s entirely relevant. Police officers go on what they’re advised by the public. If you call and say that there’s someone in a bank with a gun, I’m not going to walk in, give the guy a pat on the back and say, “Hey there, fella. You don’t have a gun on you, do you?” I’m going in guns blazing because that’s what’s been conveyed.

    The reason the cops made contact with this individual was that the 911 caller stated that he was outside selling CDs and that he was not only armed, but had brandished the weapon towards the caller.

    If cops are frustrated because the public no longer believes them, they have no one to blame but themselves.

    Well, if that’s the case, then you’ll love the street-by-street surveillance that you’ll have to install to keep an eye on us uniformed ne’er-do-wells. Either that, or you can disband all local jurisdictions and have a nationalized police force. That’ll go over well with all of the sheriffs of the nation.

    Even if in this particular case, the suspect WAS going for a gun, cops have lost any sort of benefit of the doubt by their behavior. Behavior that has likely been going on forever, it is only now coming to light due the ubiquitous nature of camera phones.

    Ah, and now we come to it. Even if he was going for a gun, I’m supposed to just stand there and be shot because it’s in fashion to despise the police for doing their jobs and I should take responsibility for police actions from 30-50 years ago.

    So, even when I’m justified, I’m not justified. Gotcha.

    Cops have so clearly abused the “he’s going for his gun” meme much (as I said before, many times there wasn’t even a gun in the first place) that they need only look in the mirror if they wonder why no one believes them at all anymore.

    And as I’ve said before, even use of force situation is its own little universe. You have to look at the facts of that particular case and that case alone, apart from what the courts have decided should be use of force standards.

    I look in the mirror and I see someone who works 12 hour shifts, holidays, nights, weekends, special events, traffic details, and parades. I worked 12 days in a row over the last week and a half. I’m working 7 days in a row this week. I see someone who attempts to slow people down because I’ve had high school buddies wrap themselves around trees. I see someone who’s had to tell people that their loved ones are dead. I see someone who has to listen to the wailing of a little elderly woman who has woken up and found her husband of decades lying cold in the bed next to her.

    Don’t worry, though. I have my own bed to sleep in. I won’t hiding under yours like the boogeyman.

    • rulezero says:

      New video out from the BR shooting. Again, it strongly supports the growing evidence that this was just a murder. Two shitty, poorly trained cops who had no clue how to handle the situation they found themselves in, and at the absolute SLIGHTEST risk of physically danger they found themselves in, they decided murdering someone was better then taking the chance that he MIGHT be reaching for a weapon that may or may not exist.

      I’m sorry, but policing is a shared risk. You can’t put 100% of the risk onto the public and shoot to kill at the slightest threat, just like you couldnt put 100% of the risk on the police and forbid cops to cary any weaponry whatsoever. A balance must be struck, and wherever that “perfect middle” is, it’s nowhere near where it should be. If cops cannot deal with risky situations at all without resorting immediately to lethal violence, then they have no business being cops.

      Your argument has already been defeated. May or may not exist is irrelevant in this instance. The weapon DID exist. It was pulled from his pocket. It had already been reported that he had brandished the weapon at the 911 caller.

      IF what has been reported is the truth, then this isn’t “shitty” and “poor” training. This is textbook use of lethal force. Of course, I notice that everyone has neglected to mention that the officers had deployed less-than-lethal force against the suspect prior to the shooting. I also notice that everyone has neglected to mention that the suspect is a convicted felon, so he has zero rights to carry a firearm.

      We don’t shoot to kill. We shoot to stop the threat. Sometimes stopping the threats kills the offender. Sometimes it doesn’t. We’re taught to aim at three locations: center mass, cranial vault, and pelvic girdle. We don’t shoot to wound. We don’t shoot legs or hands or arms. We don’t fire warning shots.

      Again, objective reasonableness, from the perspective of a reasonable officer at the scene, is the standard to hold all uses of force to.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Sorry, you’re wrong.

        Understandably wrong, since you’re a cop, but wrong nonetheless.

        When I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007, we would often go on presence patrols on foot in villages throughout Kandahar that were either known hostile or unknown affiliation.

        Sure, if we wanted to unload ALL risk onto the locals and take none for ourselves, we could have stayed in our armored vehicles and shot at the slightest risk of danger. But that would make our mission of winning “hearts and minds” impossible. If we had any hope whatsoever of getting to people on our side, and away from the Taliban, we had to be among them. We had to share the risk with the people. Because of this, several guys in my platoon didn’t come home. (this particular incident from April 2007 happened about 200 metres from me http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/world/6-canadian-soldiers-killed-in-roadside-bombing-in-afghanistan-1.641512). That was unfortunate, but we understood. We didn’t whine about how we needed to have the right to go around murdering people at the slightest assessment of risk. That’s cowardice.

        The reason I tell that story is because your comment seems to suggest that us “civilians” couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to make split second , life or death decisions, and that if we did, we would understand that cops are justified in murdering people. In my case, ive been there. And i know that that balance can be struck. Then again, maybe we were just trained far better then the average cop.

        Again, if we as a society think cops should take no risks, and should download all risk onto the public, we would have given you all armored vehicles and very loose RoE’s, allowing you to shoot at the slightest provocation. We could probably reduce cop killings to zero. But that’s not policing. That’s military occupation.

        And so we come back to this concept that the risk must be shared equally between police and public. We rightfully allow cops to carry guns. We also must start ensuring that cops use those weapons responsibly and accept the reasonable risk associated with policing. If you cannot accept reasonable risk without murdering people, then you have no business being a cop. Period.

        This was not a reasonable risk of threat assessment, nor a justified killing, in my opinion.

        As for worying about “bogeymen” under my bed, I personally have no worries. As I said, I’m a white 30 y/o with no.criminal record and an overall pleasant experience with cops. It would be exceedingly easy for me to ignore this, and go on my way, as I’m not the one who needs to fear state power. But I also have a sense of justice, and watching citizens get murdered by state sponsored thugs again and again and again under the flimsiest of pretexts, and often with a completely false police reports filed afterwards, makes me angry. If there’s anybody that needs to stop being cowards it’s the cops who cannot accept even the slightest bit of risk.

        I also have a problem with cops who put themselves unnecessaririly into situations theybcan handle, and then murder people as “their only way out”. Even if we accept that Tamir Rice WAS ” reaching for his fake gun” (a little unusual since he obviously knew it was fake. Whynwoukdnhe reach for a fake gun against real cops?) the fact was, the cops shouldbhave never been in that situation in the first place storming up on Rice’s position like a tank storming onto a hardened battle position. They put themselves in a situation where they HAD to make a split second decision, and they didn’t have to do that. In this case, if they assessed they couldn’t handle this guy physically (which they obviously couldn’t) then they probably shouldn’t have tackled him in the first place, but rather called for backup. He was not being belligerent or fighting back. By playing Super Cop with the I’ll advised take down theyve now put themselves in a position where they’re going to order someone if they can’t overpower him in 2 seconds. That’s not policing. That’s thuggery. And if you don’t see it, you’re part of the problem.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      I’m not going to bother responding to the “woe is me” cop whining above spinning strawperson arguments like he owns a hay barn, but these officers in BR are not going to get charged with murder.

      I’m far from a cop apologist, but they probably shouldn’t be charged with murder.

      They were called to the scene with a report of someone brandishing a gun (and he had a gun).
      There was an altercation, and they tazed the guy (non-lethal force like we want them to use).
      There was a tussle, they did not have him in control, and the officers believed he was reaching for a gun (not a wildly unreasonable belief given that they had a report of him brandishing a gun and the fact that he ultimately did have a gun).
      If you are in close-contact tussling with a suspect and he is reaching for a weapon, you get to shoot him.

      These officers may get charged, and the public outcry may influence whether they get charged, but for everyone who says this is “clear cut” murder or whatever, I’m just not seeing the same videos you are seeing.

      With that said, we need to seriously re-evaluate and re-do how we are training police officers to handle these situations. Police forces all over the world manage to de-escalate situations better than we seem to be able to do in the US.

      Rolling up within 10 feet of Tamir Rice was fabulously stupid, and in that close a situation, the officer reacts horribly to the slightest movement by Rice. There probably were 15 alternative ways to dealing with the guy in BR rather than rolling around on the ground with him in a tussle.

      I fear we are getting really close to some even uglier anti-police vs police situations, and at this point, you can’t really fault Black folks for being kind of prickly on this issue. At some point it gets hard to turn the other cheek when that cheek keeps getting shot.

      • rulezero says:

        LOL, Please, Homer. Show me where I’m making strawman arguments. All of my points are completely valid in the face of civilian ignorance and typical knee-jerk reactions.

        When you strap on a badge and put up with every single demographic hating and stereotyping you for doing your job, you can have a bro-to-bro with me about “whining,” bud.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Cool, I’m both a “bro” and a “bud”…not to be indelicate here, but does it tingle a little when you are talking tough online?

        I think we could unpack at least half a basketball team of strawpeople in this little section alone.

        “So you believe that I, a police officer, am willing to just kill a black male willy-nilly because he’s inconveniencing me at the present time? Are you serious? You think that I wake up every morning hoping to kill a black male? You think that these two white cops, who work in a heavily black area, just pumped rounds into this dude because they were just tired of fiddling with him?”

      • rulezero says:

        Cool, I’m both a “bro” and a “bud”…not to be indelicate here, but does it tingle a little when you are talking tough online?

        Easy does it there, Homer. If me calling you that makes you think that I’m trying to be a tough guy, then I dunno what to tell you. It’s a sign of frustration. It’s also a reaction to being told that I’m whining when I’m clearly defending my profession and myself with as many facts and life experiences as I can muster.

        As far as my alleged strawmen, I would suggest that you go back to the statements that I responded to:

        But the fact that it happens again, and again, and again (almost entirely involving black suspects and white cops) clearly suggests that something else is going on.

        This isn’t me setting up a strawman to be knocked down. This is literally what I’ve read on countless news sites from civilian commenters. That’s where #blacklivesmatter stems from: the belief that police believe that black folks have no inherent value and we police seem to have some underlying desire to kill black males willy-nilly as some sort of rite of passage.

        But, maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m overreacting.

        Very well. Rob, would you kindly come to this discussion and explain what “clearly suggests something else is going on” means? Because I interpret it as something orchestrated and sinister.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        RZ…let’s go at it this way.

        Straw man: a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent.

        Rob says, “But the fact that it happens again, and again, and again (almost entirely involving black suspects and white cops) clearly suggests that something else is going on.”

        To which, you responded, “So you believe that I, a police officer, am willing to just kill a black male willy-nilly because he’s inconveniencing me at the present time? Are you serious? You think that I wake up every morning hoping to kill a black male? You think that these two white cops, who work in a heavily black area, just pumped rounds into this dude because they were just tired of fiddling with him?”

        I would suggest that is a text book example of straw, man. Rob didn’t say or imply that you woke up in the morning itching to kill a Black dude or that these two cops were just tired to hassling with this man.

        I would also suggest that even you believe, “something else is going on” because I don’t think even you believe these seem like randomly occurring events.

        To some people, that “something” could be racist cops, to others it could be poor training or bad rules for engagement, and to others it could be that these Black folks don’t behave right when encountering police, but clearly, “something else is going on” because it doesn’t seem to be all that random.

        Straw, man.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        RZ – not to pile on, but let’s do another one.

        You write, “That’s where #blacklivesmatter stems from: the belief that police believe that black folks have no inherent value and we police seem to have some underlying desire to kill black males willy-nilly as some sort of rite of passage.”

        The first part of that statement is not exactly correct, but it is close. It is the second part that is your strawperson.

        It is a brilliant way of talking about something unpleasant because the absurdity of the second part overshadows the relevance of your first part, and since you string it together, trying to argue about it seems like the person is arguing for the second part. It is a wonderfully effective rhetorical tactic that blissfully stops all fruitful discussion.

        I certainly won’t try to speak for BLM folks. I think part of it is the general indifference (real and perceived) that the public at large as well as the police and government shows when Black folks die.

        I believe there are a fair number of data points that suggest there are more grand jury indictments when a White dude is killed than when a Black dude is killed.

        The Martin-Zimmerman issue blew up not because Zimmerman wasn’t convicted of anything. It blew up because he wasn’t even going to be charged or investigated.

        Little blonde girl goes missing, and Nancy Grace does sixteen shows on it. Nine Black kids in Newark go missing over the course of a month or two and maybe a local station picks it up.

        Sadly, there is another video released tonight of an officer killing a Black passenger as he reached for his ID. Obviously, not all the facts are in, but I wonder, do you think the likelihood of getting killed by the office was the same for this guy as it would be for lily White me?

        I certainly doubt it.

        Does that mean that the office woke up this morning hoping to kill a Black dude? No.
        Does it mean that the office had no inherent value to the lives of Black people? No.
        Does it mean that the office would have responded differently to me than to the Black dude? Well, maybe so.

      • rulezero says:

        I would suggest that is a text book example of straw, man. Rob didn’t say or imply that you woke up in the morning itching to kill a Black dude or that these two cops were just tired to hassling with this man.

        “Cops itching to kill worthless black folks” is the zeitgeist at this present time. I’ve seen it, again and again, on countless sites and I’ve had it said to my face several times over the past year. Maybe I’m preempting Rob’s meaning, but that’s the overall spirit that I teased out of his statements. Again, I’ll let him come in here and explain himself.

        I would also suggest that even you believe, “something else is going on” because I don’t think even you believe these seem like randomly occurring events.

        No, I really don’t. There are a great number of individual situations going on that get media attention. I don’t believe that there’s any one mysterious “thing-something” out there that’s changed the dynamic, unless you count the media’s sudden fascination with grieving families after use of force incidents.

        It is a brilliant way of talking about something unpleasant because the absurdity of the second part overshadows the relevance of your first part, and since you string it together, trying to argue about it seems like the person is arguing for the second part. It is a wonderfully effective rhetorical tactic that blissfully stops all fruitful discussion.

        It isn’t absurd when I’ve literally had people on traffic stops throw their arms and say things like, “You guys are just looking for a reason, aren’t you? So you can finally make the list, right?” That’s the attitude that a lot of us are getting now.

        I believe there are a fair number of data points that suggest there are more grand jury indictments when a White dude is killed than when a Black dude is killed.

        Little blonde girl goes missing, and Nancy Grace does sixteen shows on it. Nine Black kids in Newark go missing over the course of a month or two and maybe a local station picks it up.

        I’ll agree with you here. I noticed that long before I became an officer. Here’s the issue though: if the media and justice system are just as indifferent to the plight of black folks, then why aren’t there protests outside of courthouses and media buildings? Why are there no calls for justice when a black dude gets 20 years for a pound of weed? Where are the people demanding media coverage for little black girls who get abducted?

        Both of those are things that I have literally no control over.

        Sadly, there is another video released tonight of an officer killing a Black passenger as he reached for his ID. Obviously, not all the facts are in, but I wonder, do you think the likelihood of getting killed by the office was the same for this guy as it would be for lily White me?

        If all of the facts were exactly the same apart from skin tone? Yes. Yes I do. I’m not familiar with this case, so I won’t comment on it.

        Does that mean that the office woke up this morning hoping to kill a Black dude? No.
        Does it mean that the office had no inherent value to the lives of Black people? No.
        Does it mean that the office would have responded differently to me than to the Black dude? Well, maybe so.

        Or, maybe not. I can sit here and guess with the best of them. /shrug

      • 1mime says:

        “if the media and justice system are just as indifferent to the plight of black folks, then why aren’t there protests outside of courthouses and media buildings? Why are there no calls for justice when a black dude gets 20 years for a pound of weed? Where are the people demanding media coverage for little black girls who get abducted?”

        If you have been following this blog, RZ, you would have noted this very concern expressed by many here over and over again. There isn’t the same attention paid to the plight of black folks. That is why there is a nationwide cry to reform our justice process/system – from training to the arrest court, legal representation, prison, life after incarceration. It’s terribly, horribly unfair as it presently exists. We agree to disagree that black people/especially males, don’t have justification for their fear and anger about how they are treated by some police.

        Your writing skills are excellentl, BTW. I hope you are able to use them within your profession to bring about changes that will help policing improve. I imagine it is very hard for good policemen/women to read about incidents like this and not cringe. There are “bad” police out there (there are also some very bad people out there), and there are good police who are either trained poorly, sent into situations which are beyond their ability to manage, and those who get caught in tough situations with no good outcome. Then there are good and outstanding policemen/women who can work within their departments and address these problems. Be an agent for positive change.

        Justice should be color blind but unfortunately, today, it is not. Even though I am sure your frustration was speaking, it doesn’t help you when you disparage those commenting by starting with demeaning terms “the civilian peanut gallery”. There are a lot of very good and smart people who comment on this blog that you can learn from just as we can learn from you. We are frustrated as you are about the violence happening in our country. No, we don’t deal with it daily as you do, and that is a big difference, but we need to work together to keep our country safe.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        As mentioned above, I’ve done it. And I’ve faced off against people much scarier then dudes selling loosey cigarettes or CD’s down at the local quick-e-mart, so don’t tell me it can’t be done. If a cop thinks simply being in a risky job entitles them to protect themselves at all costs over the citizens theyre supposed to serve, then theyre either poorly trained, or not fit to be a cop. Or both.

        I’ve been in situations where your heart is racing because that vehicle coming towards your checkpoint isn’t slowing down, why isn’t it slowing down, holy shit it’s getting closer, closer, closer……oh, thank goodness i didnt open fire, there’s a family of 6 in that car (that story actually happened.)

        So please, spare me. If the balance can be struck in a war zone against an enemy that ACTUALLY wants to kill you but that enemy doesn’t wear a uniform and looks exactly like the other 90% of the population that doesn’t, then it can be struck on the streets of the United States of America. The balance can be struck if you want it to be struck. Cops are not living up to their end of the bargain, “Protect and serve” doesn’t just mean to protect yourselves at all costs. Sometimes, it means to protect society AGAINST yourselves.

    • 1mime says:

      That was constructive rulezero. I’ve looked at these videos several times. It seems to me that things went wrong in the officers initial approach. From the testimony of the eye witness, who seemed clear and balanced in his assessment, the black man was not even the person the call had reported. That was problem #1. Was any effort made to confirm this? They tasered the victim right away, tackled him very aggressively, which would provoke a response of fight and flight if it didn’t knock you out. You are correct that we cannot see what was happening in that tight little grouping, but we do see that the victim’s gun never left his pocket until the policeman extracted it after shooting the man, again, per the eye witness.

      More experienced police officers probably would have handled this situation differently. It seemed rushed, much like the tragic Tamir Rice shooting in the park. A “shoot now; talk later.” Unless the store video reveals something completely new, this looks really bad for the two policemen who clearly lost control of the situation and ended with a death.

      How often is this the case? What percentage of police shootings are a result of inexperienced officers? I have no doubt that you would have handled this situation far more expertly, but is a lot of what we are seeing in these deaths by police a product of lack of training?

      Another question for you. The store owner stated his video had been seized (without a warrant as he requested) and he was not given an opportunity to view it before it was taken. Obviously, the store owner knew and liked the victim, but how does the law work in a situation like this? Can a police officer just “take” private business’ property without a warrant?

      One thing I am in complete agreement with Rob on, there have been too many police shootings of unarmed victims and too little legal consequence. The statistics that the WSJ and the WaPo cited were staggering. Zero charges of murder or manslaughter of police who killed over 1200 people in 2015. Not one. I find that perfect record absolutely unbelievable. The loss of video from the body cameras is tragic for all involved. If the officers had them on, the video could have verified the chain of events. Are they so easily knocked off the uniform?

      As much as you get frustrated with civilian second guessing, gun violence is becoming more and more a concern in America. There have seen far too many deaths of innocent people. As a white female, I feel safer when a police officer is near me, but how do you think Black people feel?

      Thank you for your service and for taking time to educate us. Hopefully the investigation will clarify what happened, but one thing’s certain, the victim won’t hear it.

      • rulezero says:

        That was constructive rulezero. I’ve looked at these videos several times. It seems to me that things went wrong in the officers initial approach. From the testimony of the eye witness, who seemed clear and balanced in his assessment, the black man was not even the person the call had reported. That was problem #1. Was any effort made to confirm this? They tasered the victim right away, tackled him very aggressively, which would provoke a response of fight and flight if it didn’t knock you out. You are correct that we cannot see what was happening in that tight little grouping, but we do see that the victim’s gun never left his pocket until the policeman extracted it after shooting the man, again, per the eye witness.

        Doesn’t matter if the weapon never left his pocket. You don’t have to wait for me to pick up a weapon and point at you before you fire at me. You need only articulate that the threat was imminent enough to justify force used.

        As I said, IF everything that I’ve understood to be the case is correct, I don’t see any convictions for this. A grand jury MAY indict the officers. We still have an investigation to complete and the Department of Justice has been called in to assess.

        I’m going on what’s been passed to me through the cop grapevine. We’re usually a step ahead of the media but even we get bits and pieces.

        More experienced police officers probably would have handled this situation differently. It seemed rushed, much like the tragic Tamir Rice shooting in the park. A “shoot now; talk later.” Unless the store video reveals something completely new, this looks really bad for the two policemen who clearly lost control of the situation and ended with a death.

        How often is this the case? What percentage of police shootings are a result of inexperienced officers? I have no doubt that you would have handled this situation far more expertly, but is a lot of what we are seeing in these deaths by police a product of lack of training?

        I am NOT an expert in policing. When I have 20 years under my belt, maybe I’ll be an expert in some aspect of policing. All of the stuff that I mention is bare-bones, newbie stuff. Stuff that every new guy learns in the academy. A search and seizure class post-academy alone is a 40 hour course. That’s nothing but 4th Amendment stuff.

        It’s actually better for an inexperienced officer to have an OIS. There is some leverage, legally, that inexperience can be a contributing factor in a hasty use of force decision. Simplified, I will be much more heavily scrutinized for a use of force incident than someone who’s only been out of the academy for 3 days. I’ve had more classes, more range time, and more on the road experience so the courts would expect me to be a little more savvy than someone brand new.

        I can tell you that in the state of Georgia, officers are required to complete at least 20 hours of POST credit, plus Use of Force by itself, plus firearms requalification. If you don’t meet all of those, your POST status is suspended and you no longer have powers of arrest until you get it fixed. I don’t know what Louisiana’s standards are.

        Another question for you. The store owner stated his video had been seized (without a warrant as he requested) and he was not given an opportunity to view it before it was taken. Obviously, the store owner knew and liked the victim, but how does the law work in a situation like this? Can a police officer just “take” private business’ property without a warrant?

        From the cuff, citizens have a 1st Amendment right to film. Normally, police cannot just snatch up anyone’s cell phone and keep it. However, there ARE exceptions where civilian recordings can be seized but they are very, very strict.

        In this situation, if the property was seized without consent, that’s probably going to be a 1st and 4th Amendment violation, even if BRPD has some outdated policy that says officers can seize video willy-nilly. See here:

        https://www.policeone.com/investigations/articles/173817006-Filming-cops-Know-when-you-can-seize-a-recording-device/

        One thing I am in complete agreement with Rob on, there have been too many police shootings of unarmed victims and too little legal consequence. The statistics that the WSJ and the WaPo cited were staggering. Zero charges of murder or manslaughter of police who killed over 1200 people in 2015. Not one. I find that perfect record absolutely unbelievable. The loss of video from the body cameras is tragic for all involved. If the officers had them on, the video could have verified the chain of events. Are they so easily knocked off the uniform?

        I have no idea how easily they’re knocked off because my department doesn’t have them. Also, there are multiple types that clip or attach to different parts of the uniform. Some come attached to a glasses frame, some are square-shaped and attach to the front of the shirt, some are attached to the epaulet on the shoulder. I’ve heard stories of officers shoulder charging a door open and having their recording device fly across the room unintentionally. I would imagine that it would be very plausible for these officers’ cameras to detach in the middle of a struggle.

        Again, remember, every single use of force incident must be held as its own little universe. A slight change of fact or point of view can completely change the dynamic of a situation.

        You begin with a blanket statement: “too many police shootings of unarmed victims.” No one is unarmed. There is always a weapon at every single scene – mine. If you’re unarmed and reach for my weapon, I don’t have to wait for you to successfully grab hold of it and point it at me to use deadly force. If you put me in a rear-naked choke, that’s deadly force. I don’t have to wait until I’m about to pass out. If I’m fist-fighting someone, and I begin to catch the bad of it and I’m running out of breath, I can use deadly force.

        As much as you get frustrated with civilian second guessing, gun violence is becoming more and more a concern in America. There have seen far too many deaths of innocent people. As a white female, I feel safer when a police officer is near me, but how do you think Black people feel?

        Thank you for your service and for taking time to educate us. Hopefully the investigation will clarify what happened, but one thing’s certain, the victim won’t hear it.

        I have no idea how black people feel and wouldn’t presume to speak for them. There is, from my limited understanding, a culture of fear and animosity of the police that is typically taught at an early age in American black culture. There is also a culture of calling any black person who wants to be a police officer a “sell out,” “Uncle Tom,” or “coon.” Black police officers get it from both ends.

        I have no silver bullet or magic wand to fix everything. All I can do is take each single encounter as it is and try and have it come out fairly decently. Last night, we received a call for a group of teenagers, two black males, 1 white male, and 2 white females, smoking marijuana in one of our local parks. They started to flee at first but then obeyed commands to stop. They got a good lecture. I took their weed, stomped it and sent them on their way. Tens of thousands of contacts like this occur every single day. You don’t hear about them because they’re boring and newspapers don’t make money with them.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        >] “Doesn’t matter if the weapon never left his pocket. You don’t have to wait for me to pick up a weapon and point at you before you fire at me. You need only articulate that the threat was imminent enough to justify force used.”

        That kind of broad interpretation is tantamount to saying that a police officer could kill just about anyone if the perceived threat was “imminent”. It doesn’t require that there was ACTUALLY an imminent threat, only that it was perceived as such, and perception does not equate to reality. It’s a roundabout way of abdicating responsibility from those who make mistakes and use words like “perceived threat” as an excuse for their actions.

        For example, in this latest shooting, the officers had the man on his back and were screaming expletives at him before shooting him several times in the back. The videos very clearly show this. He was at no real risk for reaching for the gun in his pocket.

      • 1mime says:

        This raises the very real concern with the concealed carry laws. At the time of the altercation, the police had no way of knowing “who” this man was but in states that permit concealed carry, this poses a greater burden on police to exercise greater caution about guns on people’s persons. The presumption, I imagine, is to assume that all people may be carrying a concealed weapon, therefore, wouldn’t this dictate a much different approach than the officers utilized? I maintain that this is yet another death that could have and should have been avoided. Nothing I have read yet or seen in the videos have changed my mind about that.

    • duncancairncross says:

      Rulezero
      I refute your argument very simply
      Your cops kill over 100 times! as many people (allowing for population) as other western countries

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      What about this one?

      http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/minn-woman-posts-video-of-boyfriend-bleeding-after-cop-shoots-him-at-traffic-stop/

      The man was pulled over for a broken tail light, he informed the cop he was licensed and carrying (which is his constitutional right) and the cop asked to see his license and registration. When he went to get it, he was shot. “Reaching for his gun” of course.

      Surely, you must recognize that there’s a problem. Either far too many cops are poorly trained, or far too many are cowards. Either way, this is not how you police, and people like you (although I’m sure you’re a good cop) institutionalize the problem by sticking to your thin blue line.

      Until cops admit that there IS a problem with excessive force against black people, and work to remedy that, this is going to keep happening again and again. And you can continue to circle the wagons and whine about how us civilians “just don’t understand” or blame BLM (a group made necessary by generations of police brutality, btw) or whatever. The fact remains, the problem is cops, and the solution relies on cops.

  16. Rob Ambrose says:

    New video out from the BR shooting. Again, it strongly supports the growing evidence that this was just a murder. Two shitty, poorly trained cops who had no clue how to handle the situation they found themselves in, and at the absolute SLIGHTEST risk of physically danger they found themselves in, they decided murdering someone was better then taking the chance that he MIGHT be reaching for a weapon that may or may not exist. I’m sorry, but policing is a shared risk. You can’t put 100% of the risk onto the public and shoot to kill at the slightest threat, just like you couldnt put 100% of the risk on the police and forbid cops to cary any weaponry whatsoever. A balance must be struck, and wherever that “perfect middle” is, it’s nowhere near where it should be. If cops cannot deal with risky situations at all without resorting immediately to lethal violence, then they have no business being cops.

  17. 1mime says:

    We have seen Trump’s “world view” and it is severely lacking. In fact, many, many generals and high ranking cabinet officials who worked under Republican presidents, are voting for HRC. Why? Precisely because they know she understands the geopolitical sphere and will be a measured, wise commander in chief.

    To the point of your book, undoubtedly, there are many innocent people who worked under Hitler and his regime. They didn’t have much choice. There were far, far more who bought into his genetic engineering ideas with every fiber of their being…. It’s difficult for me to find anything positive about Hitler. I have no doubt that if the young secretary or the dog crossed Hitler in the slightest, they’d have been shipped off to the ovens.

  18. goplifer says:

    Objv – did I remove the right one?

  19. objv says:

    Lifer, Could you remove this comment? I’ll repost and explain later. 🙂

  20. Griffin says:

    “Remarkably, Traudl never faced any kind of consequences after the war even though she usually spent hours every day with Hitler, working, having meals with him and socializing with his inner circle.”

    I’m all for punishing war criminals, especially Nazi war criminals, but you can’t really punish everybody who had contact with him. Even if she’s downplaying her involvement she was a personal secretary not an SS member or advisor. To play into Lifer’s theme here that kind of indiscriminate violence against civilians is largely the result of civilian mobs taking matters into their own hands (think French women being attacked and having their heads shaved for often just trying to survive or protect their families in Vichy France by sleeping with Germans soldiers, regardless of whether or not they even aided them) while organized violence has a much higher chance of getting the “right” people. Of course who constitutes the “right” people depends on the organized group’s ideology.

  21. Nick Danger says:

    Lifer, this is another really good blog post. It’s a whole set of ideas explained that I hadn’t thought about. This is what my 10th grade World History teacher meant when he said that one of the necessary elements of civilization is a police force. He didn’t explain it as well as you did.

  22. tmerritt15 says:

    I have some comments regarding the Clinton email investigation and the FBI statement on Tuesday. First, many high level government officials tend to get a little casual regarding the handling of classified material, since they handle it daily. For example, remember how Cheney and Scooter Libby casually outed the CIA agent, and how Petraeus lent the notebooks to his lover Second, there is a strong tendency for the national security agencies to over classify material. Those agencies include the CIA, the NSA, the DOD, the FBI and others. An example is that the CIA to this day essentially classifies the Drone Program as being top secret. They basically do not even acknowledge that they operate a Drone Program and fire on high value terrorists, despite the fact that knowledge is widespread. Thirdly, the State Department has historically not been as rigorous in classification as some of the other agencies and appears to not have been as rigorous in requiring their people to use Government email services. Both the two Secretaries of State prior to Clinton used private email accounts for official business and that practice has also been fairly common throughout the National Security Establishment. Also there is a dispute between State and the CIA and DOD regarding the level of classification for the Drone Program. This is likely because the State Department works in the real world with other world leaders and not in the closeted world of intelligence.

    I believe that the relatively common practice of using private email combined with Clinton’s well founded desire to keep her personal life private, led her to use the private email server. With the Republican practice of investigating everything, all-the-time, she knew that her private emails would be made private. Then with the casualness that came from daily handling of classified material and the tendency of over classification, the stage was set for violations. Though the FBI did not go into details, much of the email that was classified might well have been related to the CIA Drone program or other matters, that are essentially already in the public domain, but nevertheless remain classified Top Secret. The article in Wednesday’s NY Times, strongly leads one to suspect that could have been the case or that the other cases that were mentioned were minor issues and were very likely over classified. Information that was truly of high secrecy does not appear to have been transmitted over the non-secure system. The FBI statement was crafted with politics in mind, in that it did not mention the long standing nature of some of the problems and that they existed under the previous administration as well as the Obama administration. Comey has shown a very professional ethic, but he does show his political inclinations.

    I do however believe that the use of a private email server showed very poor judgement. I am now semi-retired, but when I was still actively working I kept my private email separate from business email. Today, I use my private email to communicate to my supervisor regarding occasional work assignments, but when I do have outside business email, I use my company email account. That was common sense, since many engineering projects eventually result in litigation. Clinton should just have bitten the bullet and carried a separate device for her personal communication.

    • tmerritt15 says:

      In the second paragraph above I stated “her private email would have been made private.” I should have stated “public.”

    • flypusher says:

      Lots of politicians are way, way behind on all things computer. With Hillary it’s hard to tell how much you can attribute to not being up to date, and how much is her control freak nature. Were the GOPers also outraged over Powell and Petraeus I could take their outrage over Hillary seriously. But we do have an actual law about not using private servers now, right?

      • tmerritt15 says:

        I doubt that there is an actual law. After all getting anything as substantive as that through this Congress is virtually impossible. Nevertheless, you can be sure that none of the agencies or or senior officials would permit use of a private email server or extensively use private email accounts now. I am sure however that private email accounts are still sometimes used for casual, non-personal communication.

  23. 1mime says:

    Who are Trump supporters? You may be surprised. They may not aways be your white, working class out of work, down on luck males. As has been noted here, the number of people who are looking forward to giving government the finger by supporting Trump are a fairly broad cross section of society. Perform a little test. As you move around your world – food, work, neighborhood, play – every now and then when you feel you can, ask some of the people with whom you interact what they think of Trump and his chances to win the election…..

    This reporter immersed himself in the Trump rallies where he was up close and personal with Trump supporters…Here is his story.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/11/george-saunders-goes-to-trump-rallies?mbid=nl_TNY%20Template%20-%20With%20Photo%20(62)&CNDID=24419463&spMailingID=9161554&spUserID=MTE3NDg4MjU3NDg2S0&spJobID=960437792&spReportId=OTYwNDM3NzkyS0

    • 1mime says:

      Fundraising reports from Hillary Clinton shows that Donald Trump just released his fundraising numbers — with the help of the RNC, he raised $51 million in June.

      Two key things to note here:
      That’s not chump change, mary. That’s real money — and it’s exactly what Trump needs to keep growing his campaign or to start running attack ads against Hillary.
      That number also shows the breadth of his support. He had more than 400,000 people give — and 94 percent of his donors gave $200 or less.”

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        To put things in perspective though, that’s less than half of the 100+ million that Mitt “The Political Chameleon” Romney pulled in in June 2012. So while that’s a marked improvement for Trump, no doubt, it’s not good enough.

      • goplifer says:

        A couple of numbers to watch over the next few weeks if Trump remains the nominee (don’t assume). First, when does he decide to repay the loan he made to the campaign? Something tells me he’ll start cashing out soon.

        Also, I’d expect that this fundraising pace won’t last. Mostly just a pop from failing to tap that pool previously. That number of small donors is not a happy figure at all. Obama had more than 3million donors in each election cycle. Clinton already had a million donors by March.

        Small dollars times small numbers equals small money.

      • 1mime says:

        “If Trump is the nominee?”

        Lifer, don’t be coy…..give it up…..

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s another little fundraising report tidbit:

        “While raking in big cash, the Clinton campaign has emphasized its efforts to appeal to the kinds of small donors that fueled Sanders’ candidacy. It also has tried to give some small donors big-donor-level access by holding raffles for private dinners with her.

        The AP was able to conduct its review of Clinton’s fundraisers because her campaign shares background information about its finance events. Trump’s campaign does not. Trump associates say he has held several small gatherings with bigger donors, including during a May swing through California.”

        BTW, Clinton raised $68 millon in June. I’ll bet you $51m and raise you $17m (-;

      • Griffin says:

        Is money THAT important though? I’m being serious. I mean yes the first few tens of millions is very important for basic organization but thanks to the law of diminishing returns it’s possible that the difference between 500 million and a billion dollars is actually very little. There’s probably a “money threshold” you pass in terms of campaign money when more cash means very little (or even nothing) and from there other factors are far more important, if that makes any sense.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        >] “A couple of numbers to watch over the next few weeks if Trump remains the nominee (don’t assume).”

        Not assuming anything, but you tell me how he’s stopped first.

        Trump is in effective control of the convention and the party. His people will stack the rules committee, and even granting that they could “free the delegates”, just how many of them are willing to fall on their own swords to stop him? They’d be spitting in the faces of their own voters, to put it mildly, and you and I and everyone else here knows that that’s like throwing a lighted match into a barrel of kerosene. Best of luck to all the good people in Cleveland if that happens.

        Not saying it couldn’t happen, but I’m not holding my breath either.

      • 1mime says:

        Aren’t you just a teensie weenzie curious about “who” this mystery candidate might be? Lifer doesn’t float things out like that unless there’s a pretty good reason….It seems Lifer thinks Trump might sense things are going poorly, start cashing out his chips/loans, and make it just pull out.

        Ted Cruz has been mighty quiet lately.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: Not out of the realm of possibility, but Cruz isn’t stupid enough to not realize that his coming from behind to effectively snatch the nomination away from Trump would blow up the party and he would get absolutely slaughtered in November. Why Cruz really go through all that just for his brand and to promote himself? You tell me.

      • 1mime says:

        Don’t know and don’t really care as long as Ted Cruz is never POTUS.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      Mime, mix that in with the 538 posting today that shows for the first time in 60 years, the GOP presidential candidate may lose the “Whites with college degree” demographic.

      The GOP has been losing folks with advanced degrees, but if they lose Whites with college degrees, there is almost no mechanism for them to win nationally (unless they change their stripes and become minority-friendly).

      The hypothesis from 538 is that college educated folks are less likely to be drawn to jingoism, xenophobia, and dislike for all things foreign.

      • 1mime says:

        Imagine…..college-educated people don’t like jingoism, xenophobia, and all things foreign…..Maybe Republicans really are in trouble….

      • 1mime says:

        Homer, do you think that this group of college educated white people are the focus of the GOP’s dogmatic efforts to pillory all parties who had anything to do with Hillary’s email report?
        I mean, what else, how else can they attempt to bring them back to the fold? Create more red herrings? Castigate those who investigated Clinton and had the gaul to not charge her? Feed the anger and the “government fix is in for the Clintons” group?

        I am hoping that college educated people have had enough. They see through these blatant witch hunts and they are ready to vote for the better of the two candidates, who clearly is HRC. They may not “like” her (whatever that means) but they at least know she knows what she’s doing….sort of like the brilliant surgeon with a shitty bedside manner. Cut away and then go away and let the nurses finish things up.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Speaking of 538, their data on Trump’s underperforming in the red states was fascinating. If you believe the numbers, Clinton has an honest chance at taking ruby-red Kansas (something no Democrat has done since LBJ’s 1964 blowout, iirc) and she’s not that far behind in, of all places, freakin’ Mississippi.

        If that trend keeps going until Labor Day, who knows what the map could look like?

      • antimule says:

        > The hypothesis from 538 is that college educated folks are less likely to be drawn to jingoism, xenophobia, and dislike for all things foreign.

        My hypothesis is that the left got really lucky that their opponent is idiot like Trump. A more skilled nativist (like in Europe) would probably have a chance. Since I hate nativists, this is good thing, but I would prefer the left that is less prone to shooting itself in the foot. Because another recession, plus more skilled demagogue might easily wipe you guys out if you go on alienating the uneducated as you enjoy doing.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Antimule
        When the “right” owns the mass media it is really difficult for the “left” to do well

        When anything anybody says from the “left” is drowned out by the hysterical
        “money megaphone” and anybody who says anything remotely sensible is immediately denounced by the same megaphone it is very difficult for the “left” to avoid alienating people

  24. flypusher says:

    On the subject of authorized/professional use of force, we had another fatal shooting of a Black citizen by police in Baton Rouge. There is incomplete cell phone video, but the convenience store cams likely captured it all. And the cops just seized it, without a warrant from what I’ve heard. The police had better be very, very careful here. If all or parts of it get the same treatment that those Laquan McDonald shooting videos did, they are going to reap the flaming whirlwind. This is why we need a free press doing its job- we require full sunlight on this one.

    My judgment is withheld on this one until some key evidence comes out.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      There’s no string of adjectives one can piece together to accurately describe just how disgusting this is. They had him on the ground when he couldn’t fight back and they felt justified to shoot him because, for whatever reason, he seemed to piss them off. You can even hear one of the officers in question spouting something the lines of: “You think you ca f*** with me!?” and then you hear the shots.

      The BR policy department had better get on this damn fast or they’re in for a world of hurt.

      • 1mime says:

        My brother lives in Baton Rouge and he said there is a lot of racial tension there between the Black community and the police. Maybe now we know why. Turns out that Gretna, LA is not the only hot spot in the state.

      • texan5142 says:

        I was last in Baton Rouge about three years ago. The racial divide is pretty obvious soon as you cross from one street to the other, like the train tracks of the past

      • texan5142 says:

        Agreed, but if you will notice, I did not place blame, I saw divide when I was there. One could argue about that the semantics of it. Now let me go wash out my eyes with bleach because apparently rampant killing is now accepted. We kill each other, America is in a constant state of war…with ourselves.

      • 1mime says:

        Violence? What violence?

      • rulezero says:

        As usual, the civilian peanut gallery has weighed in an OIS without waiting for all of the evidence and statements to be presented.

        From my understanding, officers responded to an armed person selling CDs in front of a business that had brandished a weapon to the 911 caller. The suspect resisted while attempting to be arrested. The suspect also either had a firearm in his pocket or it was believed that the suspect had a firearm in his pocket. The audio clearly shows that at least one of the officers either saw a gun or believed he saw a gun.

        For those of you asking how someone in cuffs could reach for a gun, that’s easy. I’ve arrested several people that have maneuvered their hands around to their front pockets to accessed their phones or cigarettes.

        Again, I’m going to paste the nationwide use of force standard from Graham v Connor:

        The Fourth Amendment “reasonableness” inquiry is whether the officers’ actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation.

        ………

        The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.

        http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/490/386.html

        I would recommend that everyone withhold judgment until ALL evidence is presented.

      • 1mime says:

        Right on rule zero. It is always best to “get the facts” before passing judgement. The civilian peanut gallery is appropriately chastised. How unfortunate that both officers’ body cameras were “knocked off during the scuffle”. In the meantime, all we have are witness accounts, camera videos, store video (in police protection)and officer testimony. I’ll stay tuned.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Rulezero, the video speaks for itself.

        He was not really resisting, just not cooperating (although legally, they may be the same thing, in the real world they are not). Whether he had a gun or not is irrelevant in and of itself as LA allows concealed carry. The mere presence of a gun is of course no reason to shoot him.

        We never see him go for a gun, and while he could have, it stretches the bounds of credulity that black guy after black guy always “goes for the gun” in encounters with cops (even in situations where they don’t have guns to go to). It is not believable to me that scores and scores and scores of black men are all willing and able to go on cop killing rampages in order to avoid arrest for jaywalking, or failing to signal a turn, or selling loosey cigarettes. Could it happen once or twice? Sure. But the fact that it happens again, and again, and again (almost entirely involving black suspects and white cops) clearly suggests that something else is going on.

        Anyways, the fact remains: what happened before this is irrelevant, because the video speaks for itself. If cops are frustrated because the public no longer believes them, they have no one to blame but themselves.

        Even if in this particular case, the suspect WAS going for a gun, cops have lost any sort of benefit of the doubt by their behavior. Behavior that has likely been going on forever, it is only now coming to light due the ubiquitous nature of camera phones.

        Cops have so clearly abused the “he’s going for his gun” memeo much (as I said before, many times there wasn’t even a gun in the first place) that they need only loook in the mirror if they wonder why no one believes them at all anymore.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        And, looks like cops went to the convenience store and “stole” (the store owners words, not mine) footage.

        http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/cops-stole-surveillance-footage-of-alton-sterling-shooting-report/

        But please, tell me again about how “it’s just a few bad apples”.

        This shit happens again, and again, and again, and again.

        Cops as a group are starting to look like a bunch of state sponsored thugs. And that’s coming from a white guy whose only interactions with cops has been both pleasant, and minor (pulled over for speeding, had a brief convo about military service, got let off with a warning). I can’t imagine how they’re viewed by the black community. Probably a mix of contempt and fear. And frankly, that’s not good for anybody.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      Second video is out. Video shows gun fully in the persons pocket after the police officers shot him. You can see them pull the gun out of his pocket as blood is oozing out of his chest/shirt.

      Beyond horrible. Reportedly the officers had body cameras, but they “fell” off during the struggle and don’t record the shooting.

      I am somewhat reluctant to give them the benefit of the doubt…

  25. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    In the scandalous-but-not-surprising-and-more-than-a-bit-depressing news of the day, former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson has filed a lawsuit against her former boss, the resident undercooked potato of the network, Roger Ailes, for unwanted sexual advances.

    Allegedly, Ailes told Carlson, quote: “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/06/fox-news-host-carlson-sues-roger-ailes-for-sexual-harassment.html

  26. Stephen says:

    Trump’s rhetoric about politically correct is being showed the B.S. it is. Social norms backed up by law and government enforcement allow us to co-exist and achieve far more than we could as an individual. Government must have the ability and the will to enforce society’s laws for civilization to exist. Tolerance for others might be called politically correct but is necessary for a diverse society as ours to function. And when you are on the other side of the fist you tend to have an epiphany about politically correct.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Talking about being politically correct is just a tactic that a bully uses to avoid responsibility or to demean others. In other words, it fits Donald Trump perfectly.

  27. Rob Ambrose says:

    Looks like it’s clear the GOP strategy to win in 2016 was: wait for FBI indictment. Pick up the pieces.

    Now that that’s not happening, they are freaking out. Dragging Comey in front of Congress tomorrow (frankly, I think this is a huge mistake. Attacking Comey is only going to make him be specific in his defense of not charging HRC, which is probably only going to help her. It’s clear from Comeys press conference that he WANTED to charge her. He certainly wasn’t going to get into specifics about why she isn’t criminally liable, but he will if Congress is questioning his impartiality.

    Now we hear that the GOP is looking at legislative action, specifically passing legislation preventing her from getting security briefings (which would naturally make it very difficult for her to run for president).

    All in all, I think the GOP is really overplaying their hand. It will make them look pretty bad pulling out legislative moves to prevent someone they don’t like from running for president, mea while they’re all endorsing a racist xenophobe who has nothing but praise for dictators like Putin, Kim Jong Il and now Saddam Hussein.

    Charges were never happening. They should have been happy with the inappropriate press conference Comey called to ensure maximum damage to Clinton barring any criminal charges.

    • The GOP doesn’t have to make much of a case when all they have to do is suppress the vote, which they have done quite well:

      http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/could-voting-restrictions-be-trump-s-ace-hole-n604006

      Clinton has to depend on people being so angry they are willing to, in some cases, jump through hoops to vote.

      This is just another reason Clinton has to win, to change the Supreme Court!

      • 1mime says:

        Wow, what a compendium of political deceit. Yet another nail in the Republican coffin. Certainly one of the first acts if Dems take the Senate majority and the presidency is to reverse the changes to the Voting Rights Act described in your link. Whether it is using the SC to do their nefarious deeds, or holding Congressional investigations (aka “hearings”), and so much more, this Republican Party has a great deal for which it should be held accountable.

        For all the problems the Democratic Party has, it doesn’t even come close to what we are witnessing in this shakedown of democracy from the right. I am beyond patience.

      • Mime,

        Those changes will never pass the House. Maybe the Supremes can reverse some of the changes. Who knows! But the House will be Republican for a very long time. It would take a tidal change in thinking to get past all that gerrymandering!

        There is a book out about what happened in 2010 and after, how the Republicans won the 2010 state elections and then went about changing the districts. All the while, the democrats sat around and napped! Can not remember the name of the book but i heard the author on NPR. It would make you sick to listen to the interview and hear how the Republicans pulled this off! It’s an incredible story of how the republicans pushed this voter fraud issue to get support for their voter suppression laws. And people bought into it! The GOP then used very sophisticated software to change the districts so the Republicans almost could not loose. So the GOP has a lock not only on the House, but also on the state districts. So the state legislatures will be very hard to change.

        We could be looking at decades of this mess! Probably are! North Carolina is a prime example of a state that is not all that right wing but is controlled by what happened in 2010! there might be a switch in the governor but that is because of all that bathroom crap!

        We have really lucked out with trump! The only Republican Hillary can beat!!

      • 1mime says:

        I am fully aware of the gerrymandering that has been orchestrated by the GOP. Shame on Democrats for not creating an uproar about it, although given their numbers, I’m not sure they could have done anything to avert it from happening. And, yes, it will take time to change, but change it must. And, yes, that requires that people vote and that people understand what they are voting for. Finally, even if Dems sweep the Senate and presidency, I do not want the SC to become a tool of the left anymore than it was for the right. What I do want and expect, is that outright wrongs be addressed in the light of day, by a balanced court. I have no doubt that a balanced court will render fair decisions. I expect the same from a Democratic Senate majority. At some point, politics must remember its responsibility to uphold Democracy.

        Each of us has the power to help in this critical election. We can make sure people with whom we interact are registered to vote. Get people to the polls if they need encouragement or assistance. Answer questions if they have them. Support candidates we believe in whatever way we are comfortable with, and maybe a few new efforts that are not so comfortable. Knocked on any doors recently in behalf of a candidate? Held any coffees in your neighborhood to meet a candidate you are supporting? Get busy, get out there, and do something to make a difference.

    • 1mime says:

      The tail is still wagging the dog in the House. Paul Ryan will hold a House investigation on the FBI investigation of Clinton’s email investigation. Pitiful. Let us hope that people who are straddling the fence on this election will look deeply at how the Republican Party has handled this entire process. As awful as it was when GW Bush was “given” the election in 2000, the left didn’t erupt in violence. Shock, disbelief, horror at our political process? Yes, but those of us on the left moved on. What is it about hard-core Republicans that make them feel they are so privileged? That the only time justice works correctly is when rulings and events hew to their beliefs? I respect and admire principled difference, but I abhor pandering and pettiness, and the current Republican Party leadership has it in spades.

      http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/286608-ryan-gop-will-hold-hearings-on-clinton-probe

    • 1mime says:

      The House has also scheduled a hearing of AG Loretta Lynch on Thursday. I am sure glad they find themselves with so much time on their hands.

      Lifer – when does this stop?

      http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/house-oversight-chairman-comey-to-testify-thursday-225156

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Attempting to keep the heat on Clinton before the convention, eh? I can’t quite put my finger on why, but something tells me that the Republicans should be more concerned about their own convention…

    • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

      The Brits finally published their inquiry into the Iraq war. Spoiler alert: no WMDs. Comment section was interesting. Here’s a sample.

      No. There were no WMD in Iraq. We knew it at the time. I was one of the inspectors in country. We were told that the military build up was necessary in order to give Saddam the excuse he needed in order to allow our inspectors into the mosques and palaces. But we were lied to by the Bush administration and we went to war anyway. The real question should be, why did Bush/Cheney want to go to war with Iraq so badly?

      If only the US could give an illegal war as much attention as a poorly configured email server.

      • flypusher says:

        Plenty of us who said that this was a bad idea back in late 2002/early 2003 are still waiting for apologies from the people who called us terrorist-sympathizers, traitors, and worse. But we all know not to hold our breath.

      • 1mime says:

        Do you really believe that anyone on the hard right will believe the Brits’ version?

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Republicans overplaying their hand comes as easily to them as breathing air.
      Really, for so-called “conservatives”, you’d think that they’d use this as an opportunity to advance a conservative cause. Speaking of which: http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-07-05/the-conservative-case-for-letting-clinton-skate

      Then again, this is the same party that spit in President Obama’s face when he offered to deal with them early on on tort reform and the like early in his presidency and that advanced gerrymandering and voter ID as a short-term political shot in the arm that will, as things stand, cripple them nationally as the demographics of the country change. Oh well, what’s cutting yourself off at the knees as long as you can appease your increasingly shrinking base?

    • flypusher says:

      “Looks like it’s clear the GOP strategy to win in 2016 was: wait for FBI indictment. Pick up the pieces.”

      That strategy might have worked, even with a failure to get the indictment, had the GOP selected a candidate who was actually qualified for the job.

    • formdib says:

      “frankly, I think this is a huge mistake. Attacking Comey is only going to make him be specific in his defense of not charging HRC, which is probably only going to help her. It’s clear from Comeys press conference that he WANTED to charge her.”

      I actually don’t think this is a huge mistake. I’m feeling pessimistic right now and I think the Republicans doubling down on Clinton is actually the smartest thing they can do right now.

      Here’s my thought process why:

      1) Trump has chosen the conspiracy theory ‘rigged election’ route. This means the best way for the Republicans to sound cohesive is to stay on that message, which is admittedly a message that Trump stays on for all his prevaricating.

      It’s also a message that plays not just to Republicans but moderates, Bernie bros, and other disenfranchised voters. It sends the message that everyone takes this ‘corruption’ seriously.

      2) It allows the Republicans to basically focus their attention on attacking Hillary so that they can ignore Trump.

      If they listen to Trump, they’ll hear things they don’t like. Focusing their attention on attacking Hillary allows them to basically let Trump loose and not worry about staying ‘on message’ in any other sense. They can let Trump do Trump and still be themselves.

      3) Trump’s Brexit comments did nothing to his polls. In fact he’s gained in polls since Brexit.

      What this means is that the issues that have affected Trump’s polls the most have been the ones that Republicans have criticized. If the criticism comes from anyone else, it falls on deaf ears — or perhaps even helps Trump’s martyr complex.

      Basically anything to keep the Republicans as a whole focused on something other than things they dislike about Trump will leave all the attacking and game theory to the Democrats — making the moderates no longer see a disrupted Republican party.

      4) Trump has nowhere to go but up. The people who like him aren’t going to change their mind and he’s basically rock bottom already.

      Hillary has nowhere to go but down. She not only has to argue against voting for Trump, but for voting for her. In this I disagree completely to Nate Silver’s analysis: even moderates genuinely ask “Well but what are the benefits FOR voting for Hillary?” and if they don’t hear them, they’ll check out and either vote third party or not at all.

      Trump on the other hand doesn’t have to make the case for voting for him. He’s already branded himself as a force of nature and that’s that.

      It’s Hillary’s race to lose.

      5) All of this to say, it depends on how bad voters’ memories are of the specifics after several months. This could easily be forgotten in a week considering the upcoming conventions and vice presidential picks.

      And that’s where Republicans, frankly, excel: making people NEVER forget. If they choose some beast of burden to dig their spurs into, they’ll ride that thing to its death. They managed to sustain Benghazi for four fucking years. Sustaining e-mailgate off of the popular anger of ‘above the law’ imaging successfully pulled off by GOP, Comey, and the media for 130 days is nothing.

      Mere procedural bureaucracy of ‘investigating’ can keep the ‘scandal’ recycling through much of Clinton’s actual administration, if she manages to get it.

      And that’s my pessimistic view of the e-mail situation. I am not attached to this reading and would rather be wrong, but it is how I see it.

      • 1mime says:

        Good analysis again, Formdib. One of the wild cards are the presidential debates. Trump succeeded in the nomination debates mainly because his opponents were in shock. HRC won’t be. She will be forceful and substantive and she will expect the worst from Trump from the get go. Undoubtedly, his new manager will insist that he be better prepared as he knows that she is skilled in this arena. I don’t know how many people are motivated by debate performance, (Well before the debates roll around, my decision is rock solid.) but there is about one third of the electorate who may still be undecided. She has to appeal to this group and get their votes and the debates offer her that chance. Another point is I do sense a weariness in the citizenry to the constant attacks and investigations by Republicans. I don’t deny that the GOPe are masters of odious repetitive attacks, but I am hopeful that serious uncommitted voters (who I think will be making their minds up closer to the election) will be less impressed with Trump’s style and more with Clinton’s substance……like her or not. They will vote “country” vs party. Most Americans understand how important this election is and I expect voting records will be broken. GOTV will be huge for both parties.

        Wouldn’t you love to see just some of the money being spent on this campaign used for more constructive purposes? Sigh…..

  28. flypusher says:

    Nazis or Ba’atheists?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-saddam-hussein_us_577c626ae4b09b4c43c18be2

    I can understand why Trump makes so many people flaming mad. But there’s no need to get into fights with his supporters when he is working so hard to lose this election. Protest if you absolutely must (although it’s really not necessary), but do not get in his way when he’s destroying himself. The GOPers who endorsed him need to keep squirming. They need to be pressured to turn on him. Do not do anything that can distract from that. Be like the Scots- make up some epic Twitter taunts instead.

    • flypusher says:

      I really do have to wonder if the cheeto–faced one is trying to throw this election. While there was no indictment for HRC over the e-mails, the reprimand was not a good thing, politically speaking. A savvy opponent would not get in the way of that being the major political story in the news.

      Or it’s the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. No matter how you slice, this guy is not up for this job.

  29. irapmup says:

    The acceptance of violence is clearly a male characteristic. No one who understands social progress condones violence under any circumstance. It is the acceptance of belief rather than that of reality, which even prompts this question

    • 1mime says:

      The choice of the word “acceptance” is different than how I see it. Rather, it is the “use” of violence that is male-dominated. When a people “accept” violence (Hitler, slavery for two examples), that implies a passivity. Violence is an active choice. It is not always the wrong choice, as in war or in situations where one has to defend oneself or others from harm, but when its purpose is to inflict harm on others for no purpose other than to instill fear and control, that is wrong.

  30. Chris:
    I think this is an excellent piece of advice for the special case in which the Nazis will eventually be stabbed by professional stabbers. However, I don’t think it generalises well to the (more common) cases in which the Nazis are the ones being protected by those professionals, rather than being opposed by them.

    How would you generalise this to the case of a rural Ukrainian in 1934? Or a Cherokee in 1930? Or a Kikuyu highlander in 1952? Or, for that matter, a German Jew in 1933? The people with the bayonets weren’t directly the ones oppressing them, but those bayonets are nearby to protect those oppressors should any resistance occur.

    It’s easy to say “wait until the heroes ride in on a white horse to save you”, but remember that in three out of those four cases the heroes never rode in at all; the bad guys just won. Being peaceful and hoping for rescue didn’t work out in those cases.

    If Trump wins then we may face a similar situation, one in which the police and Army exist to protect the Nazis from the resistance of their victims rather than vice versa. In that case, who would you say should be doing the stabbing and whom should they stab?

    • Fair Economist says:

      Lifer responds to that in his last sentence “Other people will do it better and more thoroughly than you should the need arise.” Yes, there’s a time and place for violent resistance to Nazis, but a political protest in current America is definitely not it.

      Incidentally, the violence in Sacramento was blamed on the Black Bloc (Black as in anarchist, not as in African-American), a rather nasty pro-violence kinda-left-wing-although-its-hard-to-tell-so-far-out group in California. Sadly, they probably don’t read Lifer’s blog.

    • goplifer says:

      ***How would you generalise this to the case of a rural Ukrainian in 1934? Or a Cherokee in 1930? Or a Kikuyu highlander in 1952? Or, for that matter, a German Jew in 1933? ***

      Or, American colonists in 1774, or Texian settlers in 1836?

      The theme of this post is not “wait for the heroes.” The theme is organized or “public” violence versus private violence. What if a resort to violence is unavoidable? You organize it. Private, disorganized, unaccountable violence always sucks.

      The Declaration of Independence is our classic example, followed by the assembly of a congress. While Travis’ troops were under siege at the Alamo, a convention was building a government for the rebellion. If those movements had consisted of the private violence, writ large, they would have ended just like the Boston Massacre. The American Revolution would never have been more than a colonial riot. Organization and accountability are key.

      And what about MLK’s situation? There were alternative viewpoints. Malcolm X made a very persuasive and morally sound appeal to violence as a response to Jim Crow. If his approach had been adopted I’m fairly confident that the outcome would have been catastrophic for African-Americans. That’s not because violence wasn’t morally justified. It was. But it would have failed to achieve any goal beyond venting.

      “Wars begin when you will, but they do not end when you please.” The resort to violence is always dangerous and unpredictable. Violence launched from passion rather than calculation always ends in misery. Hell, it usually ends in misery when launched under the most sage counsel, with the best resources and odds.

      Whatever we may think about Donald Trump and his minions, our well-established institutions of public violence are fully capable of coping with whatever private violence he might unleash. We need to have the patience to let this play out.

      • 1mime says:

        Tell that to the Black and Hispanic people who have been “protected” by local police. And members of the American Muslim community who have been vilified and attacked. And victims of domestic abuse. And women who have been raped. And employees of abortion clinics who have been threatened and killed.

        We will never be able to protect everyone but the American system of justice has become highly selective about “who” is deserving of protection. Cynical? You betcha.

      • goplifer says:

        I will tell that to them, just like MLK did. Show me the pathway to justice via burning neighborhoods and killing political opponents and I’ll change my mind. In other words, describe the methods by which these outbursts of rage can be converted to organized, purposeful, accountable, terminable, strategic violence. They can’t. As a consequence, they will never be anything more than political static.

      • 1mime says:

        We can start by making sure that those who are charged with protecting against violence don’t perpetrate it themselves, look the other way or subvert the process.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        “Do Not Stab the Nazis” the Movie.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Don’t mean to go off on a tangent, but this is a good song.

  31. Griffin says:

    If and probably when Donald Trump loses the election by a large-to-massive margin and it becomes abundantly clear white nationalists and nativists no longer have a shot at the White House, and then they lose the Supreme Court on top of that, will there be more far-right violence/terrorism at the hands of white supremacists, Neo-Confederate, and Neo-Nazi types? That’s a concern I’ve been mulling over lately when considering the all the possible outcomes of a Trump loss. That’s not to say we should support Trump just so his most hardline supporters don’t snap but it’s still something I think we should be wary of, or am I just being paranoid?

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Hardly paranoid. Trump and Sanders are both alike in how they’ve managed to embolden their respective bases, ones that they quickly discovered were beyond their respective controls. That’s especially true in The Orange Wonder’s case, and it’s disturbing thinking of how the most radical of them will take it when Trump’s crushed on Election Night and their world view, one that they’ve been feeling increasingly emboldened about, is smacked down with a thunderous clap.

      Few things are as dangerous as a radical who feels that they don’t have anything to lose, and while I don’t mean to over exaggerate what might happen, I don’t wish to underestimate it either.

      • I think the radical right (and left) are used to losing and will grumble and fade if Trump loses. I think the lesson from Brexit is that if the radicals think the general population agrees with them (even if they don’t) they are emboldened, as we are seeing with an uptick in hate crimes in the U.K. at the moment.

  32. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    To sum it up, if you want to kill a Nazi within the confines of civilization, the answer’s quite simple. One simply has to encourage and/or promote the conditions by which a Nazi openly espouses their hateful rhetoric and tendencies such that we can call in our armed men and women and let things progress naturally from there. Of course it’s best to have aforementioned hatemongers in as collectively large a grouping as possible so their respective self-control is as diminished as possible.

    In other words, stay as far away from Cleveland as humanly possible. Just listening to all the skinheads and racists being as eager as they are to get there is enough to make one’s skin crawl.

    • Sara Robinson says:

      Of course, all the chatter about violence is also winding up the police into a very high-tension condition as well. So it’s going to be a tinderbox, one way or the other (and quite likely both). I’ve recently been talking to some Cleveland-bound journalists who were seriously debating whether they should take gas masks, and maybe even vests. (If I were going, I would, but I’m cautious that way.)

      As for violence in the aftermath of a Trump loss: predicting terrorist violence is actually a topic I’ve got some formal background in, and yes, there’s definitely a pattern in which political losses create big acting-out on the far right. We saw it big time starting the week after Obama’s first inaugural; in the four months that followed, there were (IIRC) 19 murders attributable to right-wing terrorism. The last two of these were the Holocaust Museum shooting, and the murder of George Tiller.

      OTOH, the pattern is not sure-fire. I was expecting trouble that never came after SCOTUS ruled on gay marriage. It’s still well within the window where we might expect some violent reaction to the Hellerstedt ruling, too.

      Given this, getting the white power folks all ginned up with hope and power — and then cutting the promise out from under them — could leave them spoiling for a fight. You are not wrong to worry.

      • formdib says:

        “predicting terrorist violence is actually a topic I’ve got some formal background in, and yes, there’s definitely a pattern in which political losses create big acting-out on the far right.”

        Do you have resources / primers to read more about this?

        Also what about the far left?

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        I am not an advocate for mob violence… but I can remember an incident some years ago in Toledo, Ohio (Ohio is a state where I have many family roots) had a little demonstration parade of Neo-Nazi parade through predominately black neighborhoods in the urban sectors of the city.

        It didn’t go well.

        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/3/8/1369357/-Nazis-to-Return-to-Toledo-10-Years-After-They-Incited-Civil-Unrest-Don-t-Let-Them-Succeed-Again

        My issue is in that incident the police protected the white supremacists from a community already marginalized and intimidated (sometimes unjustly) by the police. So I think the result was inevitable when those same police protect those who don’t just advocate violence against a person’s community… but genocide.

        So I have to ask Chris Ladd, if a contingent of Black Lives Matters activists or say one of the more absurd/self-styled Black Panthers groups were to “peaceably” march on the sidewalks of a lily white middle to upper class community in Orange County, California… would police protect the protesters from angered residents or arrest them?

        I would love for the local professionals deal with the Nazi/white supremacists, but I can’t endorse passivity or the right of counter protesters from verbally confronting them in the streets. Fears of making them look good shouldn’t be an excuse to let them occupy the public space without opposition. That can also give them legitimacy.

        Because sometimes those chicken hawk Nazi dregs of society turn out to be a rail thin kid armed with delusions of grandeur (and a pistol carrying over ten rounds of ammunition) named Dylann Roof.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        There’s no one book on this; it’s mostly in small monographs published by various governments and agencies. In my case, it was one application for the futures tools I gained while getting my MS in Futures Studies, during which I also did an internship with a counterterrorism expert from one of the three-letter agencies who was hoping to hire me when I graduated. Predicting patterns of stochastic violence was a central issue in this.

        The far left is a minority player on this front — and that’s true worldwide, though much more true in the US. Apart from a few small groups in the late 60s and some eco-terrorists in the 70s, they’ve posed nowhere near the problem the right has over the past 150 years. I go back that far because the roots of US domestic terrorism go back to the Native American genocide (which was not all measles and smallpox — it also involved frequent large and casual massacres) and the early KKK (which fascism scholar Robert O. Paxton calls out as the first proto-fascist organization in history, after which all others were modeled). There’s just not a lot of comparison between the two ends of the spectrum.

        A big piece of this is the aesthetic of violence, which the right buys into in a big way. The left doesn’t have an authentic gun culture of its own, while the right treats guns as a major tribal identity fetish. The contrast between the two cultures speaks volumes about their basic theories of change.

      • 1mime says:

        Yet, if law abiding folks yield to fear of “violence that might happen”, these outlyers will have won. It is one thing to be realistic and prepare if you are going to be in the area of people who have violent tendencies, it’s another to live life in fear of them. The first thing that came to my mind when I read Griffin’s post was how sad that in a civilized society that we still have people who use hate and violence for their “free” speech. I am also reminded of the courage of the Black leaders who knew full well when they planned their sit ins at the dimestore counter and their peaceful march to Selma, that they would be met with violence – and it was a terrible price to pay but they marched forward and shamed a nation that allowed such cowardice and brutality.

        It should come as a surprise to no one here that this pot of hate that has been simmering for years is about to boil over. FOX News, Rush Limbaugh and many others in organizations and churches have been complicit in fomenting this discontent and ignorance. Is it no wonder, then, that they have spawned a Donald Trump, and an atmosphere that is poisoned with vitriol and faux patriotism? I think not.

        It is time for reasonable people to stand up and speak out. We cannot become a nation that watches bullies beat up innocent people and do nothing. America has an opportunity to take a stand. It’s called voting. It will have consequences. The real question is not who wins but what we learn from the results.

      • formdib says:

        @Sara:

        Cool, thanks for that information anyway.

        Have you looked into this:

        http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-cody-wilson-ghost-gunner-ar-15/

        Cody Wilson is the man behind the 3D printable gun, who has started selling AR-15 milling machines to fund his suit against the federal government.

        He’s one among many anarcho-wordassemblage-ists whose deep reading and active mindset gives him the drive to be a burr in the side of the government rather than use his talents and intelligence usefully — but he is doing us one favor, in that he’s forcing the practicum of futurism on the government NOW, as they’ll essentially have to deal with this at some point anyway.

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