Five Things: June 5, 2020

Here’s today’s five for you:

It’s a police riot: Or so Jamelle Bouie says in the New York Times, and there’s certainly been enough evidence in the last week to show that the police working the protests aren’t exactly treating the folks protesting the death of George Floyd with the same tender care and respect as they treat, say, a bunch of white dudes with semi-automatics screaming about their desire for a haircut. Greg Doucette has been collecting up video of the police in various places not exactly keeping order; currently he’s above 300, which makes it difficult for even the most persistent “#NotAllPolice” to keep finding excuses for them all. Or as Kumail Nanjiani notes:

I’ve written before about how and why it is I don’t fear the police, and indeed usually feel they are serving me well. But I also know that lack of fear, and positive experience with them, is strongly rooted in my whiteness, and that my lived experience isn’t the lived experience of so many of the people I know and care about. As Kumail notes, what’s happening now is lot of other people who like me have gotten the benefit of being on the white side of policing, are getting their faces rubbed into fact that policing is systematically racist and also concerned with its own perpetuation. All these videos, at least, make it much harder for police to argue against the first of those.

(Plus now the police have pissed off journalists by going after them, too. Yeah, that’s going to be remembered by the press for a long time, folks.)

Is Trump losing the evangelicals? Lol, I’ll tell you what, I’ll believe that when we get the exit polling in November and it shows either some significantly larger percentage of evangelicals voting Democratic (which I find deeply unlikely), or just staying home because they can’t bear to vote for Trump a second time (somewhat more likely, but still deeply unlikely). I suspect evangelical disapproval of Trump is like Susan Collins’ disapproval, i.e., a scrunching of the face to express concern, and then voting exactly the way Trump wants her to. Evangelicals have hitched their wagon to Trump; I suspect he’s going to run them right off a cliff. They will deserve it if he does.

Cate Blanchett vs. a Chainsaw: The result may surprise you! (Spoiler: It won’t. She’s fine. If she had done herself a serious harm, you wouldn’t be hearing it from me first, now, would you.) Personally Ms. Blanchett’s misadventure just reconfirms my general choice to avoid all serious machinery. I know my dexterity stats, and I want to keep all my limbs if at all possible (and also my head).

Space Force and trademarks: Okay, this is interesting to me — Netflix has beaten the United States government to trademarking the term “space force” around the world and the ramifications of that are discussed in the linked article. Like the writer of the article, I don’t suspect people are going to confuse the show with the military branch, but if I walk around with a Space Force t-shirt, someone might reasonably wonder if I’m promoting the show or showing enthusiasm for the military. I personally would have thought the government would have dealt with that, but then again, I was also surprised that Paramount hadn’t trademarked the term “Redshirt,” thus giving me free rein to use it for my book. So, I don’t know. Maybe I expect too much out of large organizations as regards their potential intellectual property.

The UK version of The Last Emperox has arrived at The Scalzi Compound. Here it is with its US sibling:

My UK edition is a trade paperback, because apparently that’s how I sell over there, which is, you know, fine. Whatever works, is my motto. Soon I’ll start getting copies of the various foreign language editions (well, soonish — it takes a while for translations and scheduling and so on). In case you’re wondering, no, it never gets old, seeing books with your name on them. Because you’re the author, I mean. Anyone can scribble their name on a book, you just need a Sharpie for that. But being there because you’re the author — hits a little different, as the kids say.

63 Comments on “Five Things: June 5, 2020”

  1. It’s always good policy to be skeptical of the New York Times, especially when it covers center-right folk.

    And that UK cover is smashing.

  2. I’m really enjoying the Five Things. It’ll be a long weekend without them . . .

  3. I don’t think you have it exactly right about police racism. For sure there are many racist cops. But, the main thing is that they see everyone who’s not a cop as a target. As a white person, you may get more slack than a person of color but make no mistake, in the wrong circumstance they’d kick the crap out of you too.
    Reforming police unions, curbing qualified immunity, voting out enabling politicians, etc is not entirely racial. It’s something that affects all of us. I’m not downplaying the fact that it’s much much worse for pretty much everyone else other than us straight white middle aged dudes.

    It’s easy to blame racism. It’s a problem, but it’s not the only problem.

  4. Miles Archer:

    I mean, there are black people who are dead for doing exactly what I’ve done when I’ve been pulled over by the police (ie., being totally cooperative and doing what they’re told to do), soooooo, yeah….

  5. Thanks for the bit about the police videos. I had to stop scrolling through @greg_doucette’s thread because I needed a break; it is far worse than I had known, which is also true of how bad POC have had it for far too long.

    And I can sympathize with Cate Blanchett and understand your reluctance about chainsaws. I still have the scars from when I was 16 and got 175 stitches from a Homelite XL12. Who would have thought a rapidly spinning set of teeth that can go through a tree like a knife through cold butter could be dangerous?

  6. Me three on the UK book cover. Really nice.

    My idiot (former) brother in law almost cut his arm off with a chainsaw years ago, so yeah, be careful out there.

  7. @milesarcher sez

    >As a white person, you may get more slack than a person of color but make no mistake, in the wrong circumstance they’d kick the crap out of you too.

    Serial killer in a church Dylann Roof was treated with kid gloves and fed a cheeseburger. George Floyd was choked to death for an alleged counterfeit $20.

    And Breonna Taylor was killed in her bed for the crime of ……………..? Nothing.

    That’s a HELL of a lot of slack. In fact, it’s so much slack it isn’t slack any more…it’s murderous racism.

    On another note, if they started paying the police misconduct settlements and penalties out of the police pension funds, instead of taxpayer dollars, 90% of the brutality would vanish overnight. I’m not saying the racism would disappear, just that they’d somehow figure out how to regulate themselves if it really cost them.

  8. Apropos Miles Archer’s Point: Cops murder white people too. Google Daniel Shaver or Justine Diamond. And yes, more than a few center-right types have complained for years about militarized police culture and excessive use of deadly force.

  9. Just want to point out that not ALL evangelicals are pro-Trump. Admittedly, most of them are, although I have some personal evidence (tenuous at best) that the pool is shrinking.

    I am an “evangelical” Christian in the sense that I believe in and try to follow Christ, and I believe that believers like me are obligated to share the Good News of Christ’s redemption of the world with others (that’s the evangelical part).

    I have never supported Trump, and almost became physically ill when I realized he had won in 2016. I know of other “evangelicals” in the sense above who do not support Trump. Some of them are somewhat prominent. I can cite, for example: Peter Wehner, Ben Howe and Beth Moore. The first two of these have written books trying to explain the devil’s bargain of evangelicals with Trump (and more generally, with the Republican Party, which I personally broke with myself several years ago). There are others as well with columns and by lines in various periodicals.

    I really hope that there are more, that there are “7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (1 Kings 19:18).

    I really do expect many of my fellow churchgoers to sit this election out, but I think a case might be made that Biden can persuade some of them to give him their vote. He has mine at the very least, but I also voted for Hillary, so what do I know?

    I really wish that a different term for Christians like me could gain currency, because “evangelical” is now so politically loaded in the U.S. that I almost want to disavow the label. “Believer” or “Christian Believer” might work, but there is still a political tinge there as well. “Christ Follower” has been suggested, but there always seems to me to be an element of pride in claiming that label for myself. It smacks of claiming perfection, which I of course fall far short of all too often. So I am at a loss what to call myself; there is no one word equivalent of “evangelical” that I know of, and I’m forced to write a paragraph like the second one above to describe my views. Too long for an elevator speech!

    I do sense that Trump is losing support generally, however. Reading today that even Susan Collins (!) does not intend to meet Trump when he goes to Maine in the coming days. So perhaps there is hope even for evangelicals!

  10. “if they started paying the police misconduct settlements and penalties out of the police pension funds . . .”

    One of the reasons why the problem of police brutality is so bad is that Big City pols have looked the other way in return for police unions delivering votes and political contributions.

    End qualified police immunity.

    Curtail the power of police unions.

    And stop the use of police as municipal tax collectors.

  11. I don’t know, but I think when you are dead, you don’t get to have a good day.
    In fact, I’m pretty certain about it, despite what Trump says.

    I’m in the pool of people who think qualified immunity is a major cause of our police issues.
    When they ie about what they’ve done, and then video surfaces, I have no problems with ANY action against them.

    I was once on a capital murder jury, and I well remember the judge’s instruction that the testimony of a policeman carries no more weight than that of any other citizen.

    Now, I think it probably carries less.

  12. So what do we do now that the police have effectively declared war on people exercising their constitutional right of peaceful assembly? I don’t see any light at the end of this tunnel.

  13. Miles: “For sure there are many racist cops. But, the main thing”


  14. Regarding the SPACE FORCE trademark issue, it appears that the US Netflix applications, at least, have all received final refusals from the PTO. Here’s the relevant refusal from the only SPACE FORCE application for a tv series I could find: “Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or includes matter that may falsely suggest a connection with the United States Space Force.”

  15. The only way someone gets a “nick” from a chainsaw accident is if its not running and they drop it on themselves.

    Chainsaws are pretty much the closest thing we have to light sabers. Real world use indicates amputation is a very real possibility.

  16. If Cate can’t safely sling a little chainsaw at home, she may want to re-think starring in that Borderlands movie…

  17. Let me turn my comment on it’s head.

    I don’t see us solving racism. I do see us solving police brutality that looks a lot like racism. With things like Pedro suggests.

  18. Pedro: “Big City pols have looked the other way”

    Cause racism doesnt exist in rural areas at all.
    Also, my pooch just perked up at your urban dogwhistle.

    Do you get all your comments at

  19. Miles: “I don’t see us solving racism. I do see us solving police brutality that looks a lot like racism. With things like Pedro suggests.”

    Pedro? His first and only actionable suggestion was: “Curtail the power of police unions.” You know. UNION BUSTING. Its like Trump sitting on his ass about cv19 until his first move turns out to be “CLOSING THE BORDERS” which he did only because it ties in with his inherent racist worldview. And then nothing for months. No ppe. No lockdowns. No working with governors to help. Nothing. The only thing that got Trumps interest in doing something about cv19was when he saw a nail for his “close the border” racist hammer.

    If the only thing you see as a solution for racist cops is “UNION BUSTING” then you are little more than a talking point looking for a place to land.

    Racist cops arent racist because of unions. Theyre racist because a good cop blowing the whistle on a racist cop knows the odds are (1) nothing will happen to the racist cop and (2) the whistleblower might lose their job. Like decades of women assaulted by harvey weinstein who remained silent because (1) nothing would happen to Harvey and (2) they could be blackballed for saying anything.

    And why does nothing happen? Because judges ask rape victims “if they closed their legs” rather than asking the accused “did you rape this woman”. Judges give cops a wide berth. Prosecuters dont go after cops because the cops will turn on any prosecuter that does.

    All.of this happens without a union. Harvey weinstein didnt have a union. Cops dont need a union to keep racism in place.

    What stopped Weinstein was a prosecuter, judge, and jury willing to say “enough of this bullshit” and convict him. What will stop racist cops is their convictions. And to do that, all police shootings should be assigned to special prosecuters who dont work with the cops every day for all their other cases.

    No grand juries. 90% of grand juries indict the accused, except for cops which almost never indict. Because grand juries only have the prosecuter presenting evidence. No one presenting any opposing view. So if the prosecuter wants to soft pitch the case, he sends it to grand jury, he cherry picks evidence, maybe he even lets the cops testify in his defense, and the jury never hears from the family of the dead black mans family, never hears that the prosecuter is full of shit. So the grand jury declines to indict and the cop goes free. Simple rule: no grand juries for police misconduct trials. Eliminates one of the biggest abuses of the system that prosecuters use to keep bad cops out of jail.

    And there needs to be a national database for tracking cops. Cops who avoid trouble by quitting before an inquiry can fire them bounce from one department to another. Mostly because there is no unified system for keeping track of them in one location.

    And there should be civilian and government officials on oversight groups in every major department. To keep bad cops and bad behavior from getting swept under the rug.

    There are a LOT of ways that racist cops can be drummed out of the system. And none of them have anything to do with some idiotic right wing talking point like UNION BUSTING.

    So, again, NOPE!

  20. There are too many cases where an armed white man who has killed multiple people, even shot at cops, has been taken into custody without incident, and too many incidents where black people minding their own business, doing nothing at all disruptive, often on their own property, have been shot dead by a cop who “felt threatened,” for anyone to be taken seriously when they say it’s not racism, or that racism is the smaller part of the problem.

    Making the police unions or fraternal orders pay the judgments would be a start. Also killing all contracts that include wiping disciplinary complaints. Banning the rehiring of cops who commit serious disciplinary violations.

    Oh, and prevent those fired for cause from being hired by any other police department.

    We give them great power to use force, including deadly force. That means they need to be held to a higher standard, not a lower standard.

  21. Sadly, the evangelicals keep doubling down. Just this past week, my mother sent me a link to a video of a black man explaining that he still supports Trump because Trump is the only one fighting the “globalists.” Next day, my dad reshared a FB post from one of the big names in the prophetic business who just happened to have a dream explaining that the demonic forces they are fighting are using (I ki you not) Bill Gates, George Soros, and the ranks of globalism to spread COVID-19 in order to spread fear and make good people susceptible to demonic oppression.

    I thought my parents knew better, knew that the “globalist” crap has always been closely linked with white supremacy (despite the perverse Evangelical love of the notion of the state of Israel, they sure as heck hate almost everything about actual Judaism). They’re both educated people. Neither of them used to be this way. The decades of steeping in evangelical brainwashing has done its job.

    To another point, going after the pension funding will only give the “good cops” even more of a reason to look away from/cover for the “bad cops.”

  22. One of these days I’m just going to have to give up and accept that “free rein” is dead and “free reign” has won. (I know how trivial that is compared to everything else, but I really don’t have a fresh insight into issues like police brutality, being just another guy who sometimes forgets about his white privilege. I’ve almost never had any dealings with the police, which is probably a sign of white privilege in itself.)

  23. Dear Pedro,

    Being able to smell bullshit does not make one a bull.

    You’re promoting bullshit.

    Cut it out.

    pax / Ctein

  24. Devin, I guess they didn’t hear the rest – that Bill Gates is behind the vaccine so he can install a microchip in you and …I’m not sure what he’s going to do with it then, but something bad.

    I only wish I was making this sh!t up.

  25. Do you get any say at all in any of the foreign covers or is it just up to the individual publishers over there and if it is up to them, do they discuss with your primary publisher here?

    Btw: while I love our cover here, that UK one kicks some butt.

    (Congrats, again, John)

  26. Pedro: “Police unions are racist if they protect racist cops. Simple.”

    Everyone else: Special prosecuters, no grand juries, civialian oversight board, a central database to track cops fired for bad behavior.

    Pedro: I have a union-busting hammer and Im not afraid to use it!

    Everyone else: but that does nothing to stop bad cops changing jobs, bad prosecutors, bad judges, a flawed legal system that can be gamed, and lack of civial oversight.

    Pedro: I love lamp.

  27. Kim Helliwell-very similar here. I would fall into what would generally be called the evangelical category based on my religious beliefs, but pretty sure my political interpretations of those beliefs is different from most. There is absolutely no way I am voting for Trump in this election. But I didn’t vote for him let time either-I did vote 3rd party but this time around Biden has my vote. Literally an old sock would get my vote at this point. All that to say I know many Christians who will not be voting for him who previously have voted straight republican.

  28. The problems with law enforcement aren’t an either or thing. They are racist and too violent. At the same time it is not a job I would want. They deal with literally the worst of society on a daily basis. But that doesn’t excuse the way they operate. They are supposed to be the good guys and they have lost the right to that title. I don’t have a comprehensive solution but I think a good place to start would be body cams that can not be turned off. But they have to go to the bathroom. So what, it’s not like a forward facing camera is going to pickup anything scandalous.
    Also, vote and serve jury duty.

  29. So what do we do now that the police have effectively declared war on people exercising their constitutional right of peaceful assembly? I don’t see any light at the end of this tunnel.

    Which can be a good think – if there is already a light at the end of the tunnel then the issue is simply yet again being punted into the future.

    The only way things get changed now is for the peaceful protesters to keep this up for a long while yet, to force the necessary changes and to force the house cleaning in the upcoming elections.

    If everybody simply goes home next week, then the police and other racists have won this round.

  30. Dear Ssteve,

    Here’s the good news… and the bad news… for you. The infamous police collective assaults of the 60s were worse (I was there, but I’m betting you weren’t). The ones of the 30s were worse than the ones of the 60s. Ditto, the turn of the last century.

    The good news is that we do get reforms out of it and things get better, even if they don’t get good. We don’t have police firing en-masse into unarmed crowds, like we did the first two times. We don’t get them, as a routine tactic, wading into crowds cracking heads with their billy clubs en masse, like we did in the 60s. The bad news is that the reforms are insufficient to fix the problem and — as the history shows — it’s a problem we’ve had as long as we’ve had police forces.

    Which puts the lie to Pedro’ and Miles’ idea that generalized police brutality is the problem to fix because, whine, whine, fixing racism is so HARD, but of course, we can go fix the single-point failure of police brutality. It’s no more a single-point failure than racism is. It’s a systemic and institutional problem.


    Dear Pedro and Miles,

    Since you insist on acting like naïve children, when you effin’ well know better, I’m going to ‘splain the basics to you like you were children.

    Lesson 1: Racism (and this is generalizable to any kind of bigotry and prejudice, and you should recognize that) does not mean that what happens to Blacks never happens to Whites. It means it happens far more to Blacks. Institutional and systemic racism mean that it happens far more for no discernible reason… except the apparent one.

    Blacks are 2-1/2 times more likely to be killed by police than whites. Unarmed Blacks are 1-1/2 times more likely to be killed by police than unarmed whites. Yes, whites are unjustly killed and brutalized by cops. But Blacks are far more likely to experience that treatment, far more likely to suffer at the hands of police for the same behaviors (yes, that has been investigated and repeatedly —no hidden variables there.)

    That is racism. Do you get it now?

    If not, pray do tell and I’ll see if I can dumb it down even further for you.

    And while we’re on the subject, here’s the other big lie (yeah, I’m calling this out as lies — deal with it) you’re both insinuating — that police brutality is the Real Problem. No, it’s the public face of the Real Problem, which is systemic and institutional racism. You would not get the level of protesting, of rioting, and of mayhem, if this was a Solitary Thing. it is the small tip of the very large iceberg.

    Wave your magic wand and make police brutality disappear. Go ahead. A couple of hundred Black citizens don’t die every year. That’s good. Except thousands die every year, because they receive inferior and unequal health care (again analyzed by direct case-by-case comparisons, — no hidden variables). They are twice as likely to die from covid-19 as whites, which means thousands have died already this year, because of systemic and institutional racism in medical treatment.

    How about housing? Banks still discriminate against Blacks when it comes to getting home mortgages. That’s been proven repeatedly. Why does it persist? Because, decades ago, the Supreme Court ruled that — as the laws were written — institutional racism doesn’t count! If you can’t prove that the bank consciously discriminated against you because of your race, you have no case.

    Poverty, opportunity, schooling. Schooling, for God sakes, 70 years after civil rights Brown vs. the Board of Education. In Marin County (every neocon’s favorite liberal whipping boy) last summer, a school district got hit with a desegregation order because they had intentionally created a dumping-ground school that they underfunded so that they could feed more money into the White school. Intentionally! This wasn’t even de facto, systemic racism. It was right in-your-face racism.

    And how about… on and on.

    In every respect, the dice are loaded, but you guys want to focus on one narrow problem, one small highly visible part of the big problem, and you don’t even want to admit that it’s a racist one.

    This is not your finest hour.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. 
    — Digital Restorations. 

  31. Just be aware that there is no magic wand. We need to take ALL of these solutions and implement them…and we MIGHT get some progress, Maybe.

    Long haul. Slow.progress. And constant pressure.

  32. Ctein,

    I am half-white and center-right. And I lived through the 1960s too.

    I know exactly what it’s like growing up dark-complected in a lily white world. I know what it feels like to get blamed for shit I didn’t do. And I know what it’s like to get blamed for shit I did do. By neighbors. By teachers and principals. And by the police.

    Being a mongrel gives me two privileges: My white privilege is not having others to blame when things don’t work out for whatever reason. My intersectional privilege is unearned, but if white liberals want to spot me social bonus points for having a dark, exotic look, then so be it.

    The problem of police brutality affects many jurisdictions and touches people of all walks of life. There is no reason to frame the debate as an either-or-proposition between counter-racism and targeted police reforms, unless the objective is to privilege familiar views over alien ones.

    Ctein, Don’t ever deign to lecture me about racism again, especially from a position of unearned moral superiority. My interest in what you have to say is now hanging by a thread.

    Good night.


  33. Dear Pedro,

    My sincere apologies. My intent was not to be THAT personally offensive. You’re right to be pissed with me.

    I’d agree with your center-right self-identification, which is mostly negotiable and discussable, even to a hard-far-letfie like moi. It’s when you go off on right-wing stalking points, no matter your ethnicity, I couldn’t give it a pass. Downplaying systemic racism is spouting bullshit.

    No, I don’t claim moral superiority, I don’t have truck with people who do (in either direction). In my experience, it’s how people score points without having to do anything.

    And, again, I am sorry for goring too close to the heart. I meant to wound, I admit, but only a flesh wound.

    I hope we can get past this. If you feel there is more to process out, you can email me.

    pax / Ctein

    (Not that it’s germane, but about 15% of the US doesn’t consider me white.** But I get the privs of whiteness almost all the time, and I know it and so never bring this up. And some from laws. If it weren’t for the Fair Housing Act, I still wouldn’t have been allowed to rent or buy in the neighborhood I’ve live in four four decades. Ironic in a city that is 1/5th white. There is some progress. But I never bring it up — because I *DO* get the privs. I think this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned it in public — it’ll be the last.)

    (** used to be more, but — vitiligo. Boy, do I hate having to remember to use sunscreen, and is that ever a zeroth-world complaint!)

  34. Dear Pedro,

    Thank you very much for your kindness and generosity.

    OK, that is cool. I won’t get my hopes up but I will keep my fingers crossed.

    pax / Ctein

  35. Trump was shown on Australian TV averring that no force was used to clear Lafayette Park for his Bible-juggling exercise. Australians beg to differ. Seven Network’s Sunrise program was crossing live to a crew covering the bloody thing when, half an hour BEFORE curfew, Park Police suddenly charged. The journos took shelter and shouted “Media, media,” to no avail. Cameraman Tim Myers was bashed in the guts with a riot shield and his video camera was shoved into his face. Reporter Amelia Brace was hit with a truncheon to the back of her neck as she ran away. They and others were tear-gassed and struck with rubber bullets. All this was caught on camera by an ABC news crew.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an investigation, as one does. The American ambassador said, “We take mistreatment of journalists seriously,” and “We remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting journalists and guaranteeing equal justice under law for all.” All that and five bucks might get a reporter a cuppa tea.

    Attempts to justify the whole sorry mess: “It wasn’t tear gas, it was pepper balls and flashbangs!” As if that matters when Amelia’s eyes are streaming and she can barely speak. “But she was wearing black clothing, just like the protesters!” Wait! There are dress codes now? Tim’s shirt looked khaki to me, not that it made a skerrick of difference.

    Meanwhile, the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. This is a non-response, for mine. “Get ’em out of sight till the fuss dies down, then put ’em back on active duty.”

    More broadly speaking, there is surely enough available video of the events – much of it helpfully uploaded to social media by the protesters themselves! – that relevant agencies can reconstruct the behavior, good or bad, of every single person involved, down to the last pet poodle. Never think that it can’t, or won’t, be done.

  36. Exit polling is a farce. Remember, people used exit poling in 2016 to predict that Trump was going to lose, when in fact, people who were already worried about blowback for supporting Trump weren’t going to trumpet the fact that they voted for Trump.

  37. There are some differences between racism and police brutality.
    Racism depends upon determining how people think. Something that is impossible to do. We can measure what people do.. Their actions…..
    Brutality on the other hand IS an action. It can be objectively measured, observed, and proven.

    That’s a much easier thing to deal with, and has the side benefit of dealing with some of the actions of racism.

  38. I’ve always been reasonably pro-police. And I’ve always thought the police where I live were okay and it was just OTHER place’s police that were trouble. But how the hell would I know; I have white privilege.

    Also, in the past it was so easy to read the police version of events and nod and say, sorry, but they had to do that thing. Nowadays you can almost always read the police version and then hop over to YouTube and discover that, NO, in fact they DIDN’T have to do that thing.
    In this day of ubiquitous personal video, if you’re too racist to fire your racist cops for racism, then fire them for being too stupid to be police.

  39. Regarding the matter of police unions …

    Normally with unions, they provide vital support for their members, and protect the members from the more powerful employers.

    But if the union is corrupt in the same way as the employer, and the two are colluding to amplify and extend the bad behavior, then doesn’t the union *also* need to be dealt with? Supporting the membership against unfair practice and abuse by the employer is the important point of a union. Protecting the membership from repercussions of the membership abusing the clientele (for police unions read: the civilian public) is wrong and must be stopped.

    That’s the situation we’re seeing in Minneapolis. Reports I’ve read indicate this is not unique, even if we were the flash point this time.

  40. michael:”Racism depends upon determining how people think. Something that is impossible to do. ”

    First degree murder requires determining intent. And courts have been convicting people of murder 1 just fine.

    Look. Can we just stop this. People who are so uncomfortable with the idea that we have a problem with racism and that we have to do something about it, are throwing up absurd arguments to try and slow it down. No. Proving intent is not impossible. Its what courts do all the time. The problem with proving racist intent is that judges, juries, prosecutors, and every other stage of the system charged with proving racist intent, they are all racist themselves. So they dont see it as racism. They see it as “doing what needs to be done” or whatever. Enough already.

    White people who feel more guilt about their privilege than they feel rage at the the public lynching of George Floyd are helping the racists. Enough. White people who are more concerned about feeling guilty than about stopping the relentless murder of black people are helping the racists. Enough.

    America has had decades of doing what is easy, of avoiding the hard truths, of wrapping its fragile ego in white downy pillows. And George Floyd is exactly the outcome of that laziness. Enough.

    The only way we fix this is if we do the hard work of facing whats wrong with the system and what is wrong with us. Every attempt to change the focus from “racism” to more generic “abuse” is an attempt to take the easy way out, to push the problem further down the road so we dont have to look at ourselves and out culpability. Enough.

    RACISM IS THE PROBLEM. And if we dont face it head on, we help it continue. Its time to make the hard decision.

  41. I’m not worried about Bill Gates’s mind control tracker chips. If they’re like anything else he’s made, they’ll bluescreen inside of a week.

    On the subject of Evangelicals and their throwing out everything they ever pretended to believe about ‘morals’ and ‘character’ to support a thrice-married lying hatemongering adulterous scam-artist who’s spent his life treating the Seven Deadly Sins as a to-do list, this guy’s got a good ha ha only serious article on why they might want to re-evaluate:

  42. Very well said.

    The sad reality is that, as usual, certain folks are retreating behind whataboutism, victim blaming and defensiveness.

    And, as usual, we have to jump over the hurtle that is “but, but, but what about black on black crime?” before we can have an honest conversation about lynching.

    Also, the same folks are taking to social media and comments sections to cough up sentiments such as “Not all whites,” “all lives matter,” “pull your pants and hands up,” “law and order,” and, my personal favorite, white lives matter more”.
    I wish people would quit advocating for their admission to the “marketplace of ideas.”

    There is also that dusty ole assumption that all marginalized folks experience racism in the same way.

    Conflating “exotic” features with blackness is one of those racist equivalencies that have the potential to undermine coalitions if not stomped out.

    We’ve also got the assumption that the relationship between racism and failure is a myth and that the ability to point to real instances of that relationship is a privilege.

    So naïve is this idea that we live in a post-racist land of opportunity and that racist people and practices are outliers that I’m surprised that the people who hold it are allowed to cross the street by themselves.

    Please, pretty please quit citing black celebrities, athletes and politicians as examples of how bootstrapping is a go-to, fool proof strategy for realizing the American dream that whites live.

    President Obama, Magic Johnson, Tyler Perry and Oprah are outliers who would scoff at the notion that their successes had nothing to do with luck.

    They all worked very hard but, they ultimately made it because they went into “acceptable” fields for blacks or were fortunate enough to get past white gatekeepers.

    The prevailing opinion about our inhumanity has and continues to make bootstrapping 100 times more difficult for us than it is for whites, hence our frequent complaints about things “that don’t work out.”

    TL; DR: Enjoyers of white privilege need to grab a cup of that “personal responsibility” they like to prescribe for African Americans. You want us to own our failures. You first.

  43. Dear michael,

    What Urkillingmesmalls said! A whole lot of existing law (including but not limited to all classes of homicide) relies on determining intent.

    Going further — “Racism depends upon determining how people think.” Ummm, no. Systemic and institutional racism are about what people do. We don’t need to know what each of them think. We look at the collective result and see whether they are biased.

    That’s how efforts and requirements for police reform (not just the most egregious brutality) work. You do the stats — how many stops, detentions, arrests, and charges (all different things) are levied per capita against disadvantaged groups. If the numbers are out of balance, you look at comparable cases: e.g., what percentage of white drivers with broken taillights actually get stopped vs. what percentage of white drivers. When you see a pattern of discrimination, and you have a political body with the will to do so, you force conditions on the police that will (hopefully) get them to clean up their act. You never know what individual cop thinks, you just find an unequivocal pattern.

    This is also the basis of many employment/promotion discrimination suits, where the statistics are large enough that the conclusion is overwhelming.

    But it is usually hard to get those kind of large-scale statistics. That is where we are hamstrung by the law, as currently written. For the most part it disallows charges of discrimination unless you can show conscious intent.

    For example, banks cannot engage in redlining, but it is been shown repeatedly by controlled experiment that equally qualified applicants from disadvantaged groups get their mortgage applications rejected far more often than from advantaged groups. These are actions that are measurable. And obviously show discrimination.

    This is fixable… but the law, as it’s currently written, doesn’t let you bring charges that would force the fixes.

    That is a legal artifact, not a definition of racism. The law can and should be changed.

    We can attack systematic/institutional racism and implicit bias by looking at what people do. Institutionally, what we lack is sufficient will to do so and to change the laws to recognize that these should be attacked.

    That’s entirely apart from the effort each and every one of us has to do to attack prejudice and bigotry, because institutions are the river we swim in. Individually we need to change the directions we swim in; collectively, we need to change the flow of the river.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. 
    — Digital Restorations. 

  44. I didn’t say intent…. I said thought.

    The two are different. Intent wraps itself around an action.
    Thought, on the other hand doesn’t necessarily result in action.

    That’s why the law prosecutes actions and intents and not thoughts.

  45. Dear Michael,

    Makes no difference in this case. Your fundamental premise is wrong. Racism is not merely about thought. Nor does the law (for the most part) concern itself with that.

    I’m not even sure what your distinction between thought and intent means, as both go to the internal state of mind that is not directly observable by an outside entity. But please, don’t bother explaining, because it doesn’t matter, really it doesn’t.

    You are creating a strawman that has no connection to legal and social reality.

    pax / Ctein


    “Free Speech under fire”. A clueless white dude going on about how one is no longer allowed to spew racist nonsense with zero repurcussions.

    Noticably missing from his exampled of free speech violations?
    Not a single clip of a cop beating up a nonviolent protester.
    Not a single clip of cops beating up and arresting journalists.
    He is only concerned about people not being able to defend racism.

  47. Michael: “I didn’t say intent…. I said thought”

    You said this:

    “There are some differences between racism and police brutality. Racism depends upon determining how people think.”

    If you were discussing the topic at hand (racist cops), then your statement landed as continuing Miles Archer’s comment saying “there are many racist cops. But, the main thing is that they see everyone who’s not a cop as a target. ”

    I.e. racism is a problem, but generic police brutality is a bigger problem. I took your comment to mean “racism is a problem, but its hard going after racist cops because we have to know their thoughts. So instead of going after police racism, we should go after police brutality. ”

    Which is flat wrong. Going after racist cops only requires determining intent, which is something prosecuters do all the time. Prove intent.

    The only problem now is the system protects racist cops. Special prosecutors would convict racist copsof racism. Remove qualified inmunity would let victims sue racidt cops and win. Its not that proving racist intent is hard or impossible in a court of law. Its that cops currently are treated as a special class treated with kids gloves by the courts and the system.

    So, your comment came across as yet another “dont look at racism! Look at this other thing over there! Not racist cops! Non racist police brutality!”

    And we dont need any more of that. We’ve had far too many years of changing the subject from racism in america to some other topic white people feel comfortable discussing.

    And if you were NOT discussing the topic at hand (racist cops) on a thread about racist cops, then you are going to have to forgive people for assuming your comment was about racist cops.

  48. John, did Paramount ever even use the term “redshirt”? I don’t think you can trademark a term that you don’t use.

  49. @G.B. Miller

    Saying exit polls (in the U.S.) are “a farce” because they don’t accurately predict outcomes is like saying lawn mowers are a farce because they aren’t useful for trimming hedges.

    Exit polls in the U.S. are not designed to predict outcomes (although they can be used as additional data alongside other information). Exit polls in the U.S. are designed for post-election analysis. To answer questions such as “Which demographic (etc.) groups backed each candidate and how strongly?” and “How do these patterns compare to previous elections or vary across geography?”.

  50. @Me

    The qualifier “can be used as additional data alongside other information” in my message above is VERY important. Exit poll results can reasonably be used, for example, to confirm earlier information suggesting a lopsided race. Trying to use them to predict a close race, or worse to override actual election results, is an entirely different matter. At least according to (as far a I can tell) the people who are actually experts in what U.S. exit polls do and do not tell us.

  51. Meanwhile, Candace Owens steps out of Trump’s clown car to champion racism via deflection and victim blaming.

    Apparently, rather than insisting on justice and demanding serious changes in American policing, we should devote ourselves to repairing our “broken culture” which, according to Owens, means talking about black criminality and saving our outrage and horror for a more *perfect* lynching victim.

    You see, Derek Chauvin is the real “martyr” here; what he did wasn’t lynching but crime-stopping, as there was no indication that George Floyd had or ever intended to “turn his life around”

    Throws up in mouth and loses still more faith in humanity.

  52. When you do a British version, do they translate it into THEIR English? “Colour” and such?

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