Five Things: June 8, 2020

Well. Quiet weekend, huh? 

Here’s today’s five:

Defunding the police: It’s a catchy phrase, all right, and one designed to provoke outsized responses on the right and the left, and at least mild consternation for the people who don’t think they’re either on the right or the left. It’s a lot catchier than “Don’t make cops the people who have to handle every damn thing because we’ve defunded social programs and the experts who would do a better job with those issues and also don’t have guns to shoot people, let’s fund those programs with some of the money that we’ve given to the cops because we made them do all that stuff,” which as I understand it is closer to the generally accepted understanding of what “Defund the Police” means. There are other parts to it as well, so before you come into the comments to let me know that, please be aware that I do, but I’m trying to keep things short, here.

Interestingly and anecdotally, the little rural village I live in, Bradford, defunded the police a long time ago — when I moved here, Bradford had its own police force, and then several years ago the village decided to cut the force and contract with the county sheriff’s department for law enforcement, presumably to save money and/or reapportion that money to other village services. And what happened? Not much of anything, really. Crime didn’t go up, or if it did, not enough that I noticed. Mind you, I don’t imagine anyone here would call that “defunding the police,” even if that’s literally what it was. Whatever you call it, we did it, and it was… fine. Possibly this solution from the heartland could apply elsewhere.

Trump poll numbers are down: Which made my brain offer two contradictory thoughts, the first being well yeah, after that last week of his where else could they go, and the second being, who was left to support him but his base? But apparently there were some people left? Bless their hearts. It’s June and not November, so Trump loathers (of which, you should know by now, I am one) should not get in the least bit cocky. But yes, it’s not looking good at the moment. There’s a rumor that Trump is planning to speak this week on race and national unity. Well, that will do something for his poll numbers, I expect.

Local protests: In case you were curious if my own rural county had any protests this weekend, why yes, it did: Roughly 150 people in Greenville, the county seat. It went… pretty peacefully, apparently. 150 people doesn’t seem like a lot, but per capita, it would be like 30,000 people protesting in Los Angeles county, so when you put it in those terms, it’s a decent enough showing. And honestly, for a rural county that’s 98% white and went 78% for Trump in 2016, 150 people showing up for a Black Lives Matter protest is not insignificant. Good for them. Hopefully it was done in a responsibly socially distant manner.

Yes, Scalzi, but what did you do? Well:

I put some money down, on top of some money I had previously put down for other charitable organizations related to the protests, and the money I put into the GoFundMes for Uncle Hugo’s and DreamHaven. I have the money to give, so out it goes. Someone on Twitter was talking about lanes and protesting, as in, some people are in the “show up at a protest” lane, some people are in the “be loud with your words” lane, some other people are in the “get out your checkbook” lane and so on. All lanes are valid and you don’t have to be in every lane. I like that sentiment, and I’m good with the lanes I’ve chosen to be in.

Stop “Help”ing: Apparently in the wake of the current protests, The Help has become one of the most watched films on Netflix, as (presumably) white folks try to walk a mile in their African-American betheren’s shoes by watching a film about a white person, made by mostly white people, mostly for white people. Fortunately, The Help star Bryce Dallas Howard is here to be of assistance, with some film/tv suggestions centering on and by black people, to watch instead of The Help, or, at least, after one is done watching The Help. See, that’s actually being helpful.

53 Comments on “Five Things: June 8, 2020”

  1. They don’t mean reform the police. If they did, they would say that.
    And I’m voting for Trump because the left has gone insane.
    You’re actually out here defending defunding the police by saying, “But that isn’t what they REALLY mean…” That’s ridiculous. Just say what the hell you mean.
    And what about all those viral clips of BLM protesters saying, “We don’t want any more cops!”
    I’m not about to support something because people go, “That’s what they SAY, but it isn’t what they mean.”
    Nope. Not playing those games. Say wtf you mean.
    And of course I’m voting for Trump.
    Liberals have lost their freaking minds. Defund the police? The riots aren’t that bad? You be as condescending and self-righteous as you want to be.
    Nobody with any common sense should support the left right now.
    I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life and I absolutely didn’t vote for him first time around. But the left has lost it’s freaking mind.
    When your best argument is “Don’t listen to what we say, just support it and trust we mean something else…”
    That’s some mind-games shit that I’m not on board with at all.

  2. Maybe “redefine” or “redesign” the police would avoid much of the consternation?

  3. Personally, I think we need to rethink how we do law enforcement altogether. People in Minneapolis have begun forming neighborhood militias. I think that might be the kernel of an idea.

  4. jyvurentropy:

    “And I’m voting for Trump because the left has gone insane.”

    You know, I’m pretty sure in the entire history of the world, no one has voted for Trump for that reason. They vote for Trump because they want to vote for Trump. But they don’t want to come straight out and admit they’re going to vote for an ignorant cowardly bigot because he’s their kind of fellow, so they blame the left for their vote instead.

    Just own up to liking Trump and what he stands for, jyvurentropy. It’s easier for everyone that way. Otherwise, vote for the Libertarian candidate or whomever. You’ll still not be voting for “the left,” but at least you won’t be supporting an ignorant cowardly bigot.

  5. Your description of defunding is actually the most coherent I’ve come across yet.

    A thought: When I was living in Ventura, CA, the local police departments were rolled into the county sheriff’s department. I have been through consolidations within my industry. We were all given notice and told to reapply for our job or any other that we felt we were qualified for.

    Is it within the realm of reasonableness to overlay that template in Minneapolis? This may allow for the best to transition and allow for the police union to be dissolved and rebuilt.

  6. “You’ll still not be voting for “the left,” but at least you won’t be supporting an ignorant cowardly bigot.”

    That post is pure marketing. It links to a website for self-published erotica starring short men (who, incidentally, skew Conservative), plus a bunch of recycled racist content to, I don’t know, amplify visibility.

    Lots of short men who skew Conservative and hate John Scalzi read this blog. Some of them may buy self-published erotica in which they “stick it to the Chads”. IMO, this is a great way to drum up publicity with little to no effort.

    Is it possible to leave the comment, but remove or block the website link? That way the person’s trash opinion gets recorded for posterity, but they’re not getting any traffic through your blog.

  7. During the time of anti Vietnam protests (which I remember and participated in, alright I was a teenager) there was some talk and regular chants about getting rid of the military completely. Even as a teenager, I realized that not only was that demand unrealistic, it was not really, all things considered, a good idea. Defund the police is something along those lines. We need something, but as you commented, we need something else as well.

  8. Re: replacing the Minneapolis police force with (Hennepin) county sheriffs, I’m passing this along from people who actually live in Minneapolis.

    I don’t know how things are organized in the places where you say this has been done. But here in Hennepin County, the sheriffs are elected officials. Their staff, the deputies, of course are not. But it has been stated that putting elected officials in place of hired personnel (i.e. the police), would be a tricky and possible infeasible idea. I heard the idea floated last week, but this issue was mentioned and I don’t hear about it now.

  9. I was going to respond to jyvurentropy, but you don’t need me to white-knight for you and you did just fine. Have a good evening, sir.

  10. Going to protests is fine, if that’s what makes one feel involved. Writing checks is too.

    But if you do those things without voting, it will likely amount to wasted effort. I’ve been telling Joe Biden jokes for longer than most people have even known who he is, I’m a conservative and hate my choices. But the Democratic candidate gets my vote this year.

    Because someone who orders the gassing of peaceful protesters so he can stage a PHOTO-OP, well, if that’s not insane, then nothing is!

  11. Camden NJ actually defunded the police. What happened?

    a) more police are actually in the community
    b) crime is down
    c) FAR fewer fatalities
    d) NO rioting

    I don’t like the term “defund”, but “reform” has been rendered toothless by stymied efforts in the past.

    The best I can think of “Reboot. Reallocate. Right Now.” And I KNOW that’s lame.

  12. Some of the people saying “defund the police” just want to take some responsibilities away from them and increase funding for social programs. Others believe that police departments as they exist here and now are too fundamentally flawed to fix, so the only solution is to dissolve the current police and start something new.

    Fixing law enforcement requires a fundamental change of its culture. First and foremost, one of the core values of it needs to become that it is there to protect the rights of ALL people, not just straight white cisgender able people. Everybody needs to be able to feel that the people entrusted to protect them are a part of the solution rather than a big part of the problem.

    The legal system also needs to change. It is very difficult to get a murder conviction (or a conviction for any abuse of power) against an officer; the entire process is biased against that result. That’s exactly backwards because “With great power comes great responsibility.” Police are entrusted with protecting the pubic, and are allowed to carry weapons that most of us (at least in sensible places) are not. Because of that trust, they need to be held to a higher standard. If there is any real possibility that an officer has abused that trust they should be out of the profession.

  13. John —

    You are mostly right, but also: Defund The Police also literally means to defund the police.

    Which is to say: Take away the APCs, tanks, armor, assault rifles. Stop paying them to be in schools, to show up on 911 calls, and cap their paychecks to that of teachers. Get rid of qualified immunity, cop fraternities subsidized by the government, and generally make the profession less desirable — especially for murderers.

    Wouldn’t it be fantastic if teachers got used milspec computers, pens, etc, and cops had to hold bake sales for body armor?

    Defund The Police:both literally and metaphorically.

  14. Did we get rid of those services to save money? Transferring police social responsibilities to others might be better, but if we’re not willing to pay qualified people to do them, then it won’t really help. If (please, please, please) Trump gets to be dragged into political retirement, there’s going to be lots of money needed to pay off his debts (which might make the Dems vulnerable, since someone’s going to have to either raise taxes or cut services to pay them off). The extra money needed to appropriately fund the services we gave to the police will have to come from somewhere, too, and people may be cranky about spending more money to do so.

    It may also require coordination – there are some jobs that are sort of intermediate (if you manage them right, they can remain social service issues and not become police issues; community management, etc.) between social services and police.

    And I was going to comment on police unions before until the NYT concurred with Pedro and I decided that I could be wrong another day.

  15. The thing is, “defunding the police” isn’t a new idea–it’s been done, most notably recently in Camden, NJ, in 2013. In case I can’t get the article link to work, here’s the money quote: “The following year [2013], the city’s police department was disbanded and replaced with a new one covering Camden County that had more officers, but on lower pay, according to a City Lab report . . . The remaking of Camden’s police department appears to have led to crime rates falling in the city. Camden recorded 67 homicides in 2012, while last year, there were 25, according to Bloomberg.” Here’s the first article I found, from Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/minneapolis-not-first-disband-police-department-1509327

    The thing is–and one reason why I think national politicians (including Biden; including our current democratically-controlled House, which is emphatically NOT advocating defunding police departments, whatever you may have heard from the various segments of the Right) are wise to not proclaim that they intend to defund the police–this has to be done on a local level if it is going to work at all. Each community needs to figure out what it needs, and how to build or rebuild trust in law enforcement; trying to create this sort of sweeping change by national fiat seems to be a recipe for disaster. Encouraging communities to take action? Sounds like a good idea to me.

  16. Looks like I missed this part:
    > There are other parts to it as well, so before you come into the comments to let me know that, please be aware that I do, but I’m trying to keep things short, here.

    So, ok. Nevermind.

  17. Trump could drive a motorized shopping cart with a toy steering wheel into a family of black citizens minding their own business in a supermarket while wearing shit-filled diaper, killing the entire family, then get out the cart and smear himself with his own shit, and declare “I am Poo-Poo Man!” and not lose a single vote from his base, and FOX News would declare him a bold and decisive leader.

    Yes, they are really that morally and intellectually bankrupt.

  18. Minneapolis is a weak-mayor system. Weak-mayor cities do not give the mayor the power to fire cops. Much of the political power in the city is given to the city board. I believe weak-mayor systems were invented to prevent abusive mayors from firing cops that were investigating him or his friends, becoming a political crime boss. By moving that power to the board, it takes more people working together to abuse the system.

    But. It means there is no single person to fire a bad cop. It has to go to the board, where a diffusion of responsibility means no one is specifically responsible if a bad is not fired.

    Not sure if there is a way to tweak the weak-mayor system so that one politician is responsible for firing bad cops, while keeping the mayor from becoming a crime boss. But it could help the situation.

    The fact that minneapolis is a weak mayor system, and a veto-proof number of city board members voted to defund the police means a sufficient number of board members could vote to reform the police, and could have voted to do things like fire bad cops. But it seems like they may be hiding behind a generic, easy to redefine term that is “defund” to vote on something without doing anything. At least not doing anything yet.

    It would be interesting if there were statistics that showed, say police violence complaints per capita, and then binned those complaints into weak versus strong mayor cities. Wonder if strong mayors can deal with bad cops or not.

    The other thing i have been hearing lately is that cops want you to think firing them immediately is skipping “due process”. This is about as wrong as when someone complains their first ammendment rights are being violated because they were fired for being a nazi. First ammendment refers to government control, not private. “Due process” refers to the procedures in a court of law. Your boss does not have to go through a court of law to fire your ass for beating the shit out of a customer. Anyone who invokes “due process” when talking about firing a bad cop needs to be put in check. There is no “right” to have a job nor a “right” to be a cop, in the constitution. This needs to be called out and corrected now. I must have heard “due proccess” a dozen times in the last week or so when reading various articles about potentially firing bad cops.

    Oh, and another simple reform: stop giving cops the right to avoid answering any investigation questions until after they get to see all the evidence against them. It lets them work out a story that fits the evidence. No one else gets this treatment. Not even a senator. The fbi can lie to people during interrogation and if the person lies to the fbi, they get a perjury charge or an obstruction of justice charge. Only cops get to see all the evidence against them before they say anything. This is.commonly a part of police contracts. And it needs to end.

    Best case scenario: minneapolis will “defund the police” as in use it to get rid of every single cop that works for them, and start over. It might be the only way they can break police contracts. Declare bankruptcy. Layoff everyone. Reorganize. Come up with new and more reformed contracts. And start hiring cops again. Perhaps on a smaller scale.

    The point here being that one of the biggest hurdle to reforming a single police force in a single city is a massive number of existing police contracts that keep special privileges in place protecting bad cops. And it might be the only way to break those chains would be to “defund”, lay everyone off, and start over with better contracts that hold cops accountable and dont make them a privileged class of citizens like they are now.

    Hell, with a really good team of lawyers, the contracts might be able to get around “qualified immuntiy”. Start suing bad cops and see how quickly reform happens. For comparison, southern poverty law center made huge progress going after the KKK by suing them over and over again.

    And make body cams mandatory. Shutting them off requires a call into dispatch. Otherwise tampering with them is an immediately firable offense. Put it right there in the contract. Come up with a system of special prosecuters for going after bad cops. Maybe they work for the state, not the city. Make them separate from the cops they are investigating. Make it part of the contract.

    Defund and start over with new contracts could fix a system with centuries of racist history built into it. It could be similar to how the national popular vote movement bypasses the ingerent bias of the federal system by correcting it at the state level. Cities defunding their police and starting over with massively improved contracts could get around a lot of historical issues with tons of otherwise immovable weight behind them.

    Defund. Lay off. Create a far more progressive police contract. Start hiring again. Sign everyone to a new contract.

    Since reform isnt coming from the federal level, cities will have to find ways to reform themselves. And defunding could be one path to that.

  19. I can’t claim this thought is original to me, but: it is rather ironic how so many on the right will cheer when the suggestion is made to defund healthcare, education, social security, welfare, public transit, etc., etc., but the moment someone suggests defunding the police, they all start clutching their pearls and fainting!

  20. When thinking about remaking police, I try to bear in mind that environment shapes your worldview and eventually shapes you. Anyone whose job is to deal with the worst of humanity, in situations fraught with danger, has to have a strong will and sense of self to avoid thinking of everyone they meet through work as a dangerous criminal. Couple that with the fear of being blamed for making the wrong choice in a complex situation (particularly when there may not be a good choice, much less a right one), mix in the history of racism and prejudice in America, bake for decades, and it’s not that surprising that police unions and systemic disfunction rule the day.

    Finding a way out of that box would go a long way.

  21. Conservatives have ALREADY defunded much of the social safety net. And it all got dumped on the police, who are NOT trained to handle that load. That exacerbates problems already there. (And we’re not even talking about the probability that police units have been successfully be infiltrated by white supremacists, which was a stated goal back in the 2000s).

    Oh, have we talked about training? There’s at least one major police trainer out there who claims a PhD he doesn’t have, and bases his training on research that was made up.

    SOOOOOO much wrong with police departments these days. It’s no wonder that rebooting them and starting over is considered seriously.

  22. “Reform” or “defund” – one version of the question is whether you’re going to redo the kitchen, or tear down and rebuild. At some point you may decide to stop throwing good money after bad.

    A different version of the question is whether you’re going to call the fire department or the insurance company, in which case you may start with the idea that you’ll do both, but first one and then the other.

    In all interpretations of “defund,” the police force currently under contract has its budget substantially reduced or eliminated, and responsibilities are aligned with training, or training is aligned with responsibilities.

    As said, this was startlingly effective in Camden. Things have to get pretty awful, and resist all attempts at amelioration, to take a leap in the dark like that. But they did. And now Minneapolis has, finally, reached that point. Let’s hope they can make it work.

  23. To address a different part of this post, one of the suggested movies on Bryce Dallas Howard’s list,

  24. Oops – accidentally posted too quickly. Should read:
    To address a different part of this post, one of the suggested movies on Bryce Dallas Howard’s list, “Just Mercy”, is available for free in June through a variety of digital movie services in the US, including Apple TV, FandangoNow, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, Redbox, the PlayStation Store, Vudu, Microsoft, and YouTube.

  25. Whatever “defunding the police” is or is not, it is an incredibly bad sounding idea from a political marketing perspective because it is far too easy for people to equate defunding the police with abolishing the police.

    Bradford, Ohio, and Camden, New Jersey, didn’t defund their respective police departments so much as they disbanded them in favor of policing provided by a larger neighboring police force (Bradford) or by a larger county police force (Camden).

    My guess is that the taxpayers of Bradford and Camden are funding those larger police forces to some extent and are enjoying comparable police protection (Bradford) or improved police protection (Camden), if the testimonies on this blog provide any indication.

    And Bradford and Camden are probably doing so at the same or lesser cost than before. Yay for them.

    Are the arrangements described above being demanded by aggrieved urban black communities in Minneapolis and other major cities?

    Doesn’t look like it to me.

  26. Pedro, I just listened to the president of the Minneapolis City Council, and it sounded to me that what Camden did is pretty much exactly what she’s proposing; she certainly says that they plan to look at Camden et al. in order to learn from previous communities’ experiences.

  27. Mary Frances: This is what the lady on the stage told Mayor Frey after she asked him whether he would defund the police: “We don’t want no more police. Is that clear? We don’t want people with guns, rolling around in our communities, shooting us down.”

    “No more police” is what defunding the police means to BLM, which is upstream from the Minneapolis City Council. Downstream from BLM, let a hundred interpretations bloom. . .

  28. On “Police have to deal with the worst of humanity”, there’s a combination of things going on
    – Actual horrible people, and sadly there’s a lot of that.
    – The drug war, which puts the police at war with many people, and then everybody’s surprised that many of those people fight back, which makes the police feel more embattled and want bigger weapons
    – Poor people, Black people, Latin Americans, whatever other people your local cops are prejudiced against, who automatically get treated worse than us gringos, and for some reason don’t like that, and therefore distrust the police, leading the police to assume they all are enemies, leading to the police treating them even worse, circling viciously. And of course a lot of the laws originally discriminated against them on purpose, so they’re Criminals, so ….

  29. I dunno, Pedro. Here’s a a reference to a comment from the co-founder of BLM, on Sunday: “Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday that growing calls to ‘defund the police’ are not about eliminating police departments, but about reinvesting funds toward ‘the resources that our communities need.'” That seems pretty up-stream to me, and doesn’t seem to call for anything beyond what Camden did to accomplish its goals . . . which was/is pretty extreme anyway, in my opinion. But we’ll see what happens in Minneapolis in time, I suppose.

  30. As a Brit who has lived in the US, what quite frankly bewildered me was the plethora of different law enforcement agencies in the US. Local police, state police, federal police (FBI) and then the specialities of ATF, DEA (are ICE able to arrest people?), Secret Service and I’ve probably missed a few that haven’t had movies made about them. Each of those has their own hierarchy and burearacracy (i.e. overhead that spends more time administering budgets and Politiking rather than usefully enforcing law).
    The UK has got a system where we have one local (in some places just county) police force, and an overarching agency. Our problem is that SOCA don’t have the teeth or proportionate resources that the FBI does, and that the counties are too small to have the mass needed.

    However the US could manage to have just a State level police and FBI. Saving money on hierarchy and on support costs for ex military armoured equipment (the Army got rid of them to save maintenance costs for goodness sake), and you would have more funding for actual people to do policing and probably a few controversial IT/mass surveillance projects.

    Having locally elelcted law enforcement officials is a lovely democratic idea, but it means that the winner is vulnerable to big money to help win the next election, or chasing temporary policies to grab votes. Better to have it that there is a career professional in the role, although one that can be fired/hired by elected officials.

    Still, the mess that you’re in will be made into a movie in a few years time.

  31. @xtifr:
    The reason for that is that police, to their minds, function to “dominate” or even eliminate people from communities they don’t like while healthcare and other social services function to preserve such people.

    Their ideal nation is comprised of a ruling class of white (as is the case now, those biracial people who can pass for white will enjoy all of the privileges) , Christian, middle class heteropatriarchal households tended by “feminine,” selfless, submissive, economically dependent women who bare and raise strong sons and dutiful daughters.

    The poor, elderly, disabled, and chronically ill are “released,” Giver style; no need for social services.
    Also, people of color are deferential, American born (no filthy immigrants here) and mostly silent worker bees who “know their place” and are grateful for what little they earn.

    Social Darwinism is the name of the game, and those who can’t make it, don’t make it; only the strong and worthy survive.

    That, for the most part, is a reflection of their precepts and policies.
    On another note, I don’t know how, but I can still be disheartened by peoples’ dispassionate remarks on “aggrieved urban black communities.”
    You’d think I’d be numb to the apathy and implicit racism but…

  32. My daughter was in “the protest lane” last weekend as my town had a local protest. More power to her. I won’t say that I’m proud or disappointed as my daughter is as very independent young lady and that she’s always had my unequivocal support in all of her endeavors. I always give advice when asked and support when it’s not.

    Re: defunding the police. From what I understand, small villages/town will often defund/disband their police departments because it becomes prohibitively expensive. If a town/village has a very small budget to work with, sometimes certain things have to go, like the police department. Police departments aren’t cheap and the associative costs attached to them can really kill a small town/village budget.

  33. I live in a 45,000 person strong suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Our police (and fire & EMS) services is via specific tax initiatives for these services. We have no income taxes in this city. If they attempt to de-fund all or even parts of the police, etc. services and redirect the funds, I would expect law suits challenging this action. I suspect most cities fund all of their services via income taxes such that redirection of funding is more likely to succeed.

    I grew up on a farm near Bradford. 60 some years ago. The Bradford chief of police was also our elementary school’s custodian. No problem with that and he was a nice enough fellow .. but think Barney Fife.

  34. Pedro: “Whatever “defunding the police” is or is not, it is an incredibly bad sounding idea from a political marketing perspective”

    Makes me smile when some far right winger starts panicking at the popularity of some progressive idea to the point that the extreme right winger starts giving very bad suggestions dressed up as “helpful advice”.

    There have been protests against systemic police racism, around the globe, for two whole weeks. Dont think the progressives have any need of you political “marketing”.

  35. “If Democrats persist with this rhetoric about disbanding law enforcement in the midst of the pandemic and the protests, which have at times been violent or involved looting, then they will be playing right into the hands of President Trump and will increase his chances to win the election this year. Ultimately, calling to reduce the police will simply make people feel unsafe, insecure, and in my view less likely to vote for Democrats.”

    –Douglas Schoen, Panicked Far Right Winger and Former Adviser to President Bill Clinton

    https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/501511-defund-the-police-and-republicans-will-win

  36. Much as I find it annoying to agree with Pedro, and whatever the complexities of the actual proposal, the slogan “Defund the Police” is not going to sell well politically, so much so that that noted right-winger Bernie Sanders just came out in opposition to it.

  37. A comment about something other than “defunding the police” (@gwangung above basically says what I think):

    the first being well yeah, after that last week of his where else could they go, and the second being, who was left to support him but his base? But apparently there were some people left?

    Trump got an unearned approval bump starting around mid-March, having to do with finally recognizing (rhetorically) COVID as a threat. At the beginning of April his disapproval rating briefly dropped below 50%! But because the recognition was only rhetorical and because his actual response was to exploit the new kleptocratic opportunities offered by the emergency, his approval rating is now on a downward trajectory. But it’s been downward for like 6 weeks now.

  38. “(are ICE able to arrest people?)”

    ICE can do something far worse than a normal arrest. They can detain people without formally charging them and without notifying people outside ICE. The detainees don’t get any of the rights that are guaranteed to people who are arrested: remaining silent, legal representation, making a phone call, not receiving cruel or unusual punishment.

  39. Pedro, you stand in direct opposition to progressive ideas. No progressive gives a fuck what you think they should be doing. As for Schoen:

    “No one drives President Obama’s supporters and progressives more nuts than Doug Schoen, the one-time Bill Clinton adviser, Obama hater and FOX News’ resident “Democratic pollster” — a title which confers an inside-the-tent cred critics says is phony.”

    https://www.politico.com/blogs/politico44/2011/12/doug-schoen-democrat-108176

    The man is a hack who makes his living bullshitting on right wing media nowadays. No thanks.

    When the fox starts giving advice on how to best guard the henhouse, the farmer gets a good laugh out of it.

    Thanks for the entertainment.

  40. The fox quotes an article criticizing robust chicken coop construction. When the farmer points out the article was written by a coyote, the fox is offended and calls the farmer closed minded. The farmer points and laughs at the fox for being so transparent. The fox whines at the unfairness of the farmer. The farmer is unable to catch his breath from laughing so hard at the fox. The coyote continues to insiste he is only trying to help the farmer. The farmer guffaws so hard he splits his pants. The fox says the farmer is committing a no true scotsman fallacy. The farmer begs the fox to stop because the laughter is making it impossible for him to breathe.

  41. “This slogan is political suicide!”

  42. Defunding the police: Talk of abolishing the police entirely is obviously a rhetorical ploy. Whether it is an effective one or not is a separate question. But reducing the police? Here’s my story. This was about fifteen or so years ago, when I had occasion through my job to review an investigation file by an joint drug task force in my community. This was a combination of state, county, and municipal police, with officers assigned to the task force full time. The file was impressive: like something out of The Wire, with clandestine meetings with Confidential Informants and the like. It also was a complete screw-up, since no one thought to confirm the name the Confidential Informant gave, apparently thinking him completely trustworthy, culminating in a bunch of cops busting down the wrong door. But the botched police work is not what struck me. It was that all this effort, with countless police man hours, was devoted to running down a kid who was dealing a little weed to his friends. There wasn’t even any effort to identify his supplier and work up the chain. The best case scenario was that this was a lot of effort with very little payoff. What I took away from this that the various agencies could reduce headcount by about a dozen officers with no harm to public safety. I strongly suspect that this is typical.

  43. Fox says chickens just want to be free. Farmer guffaws. Fox says he is half minorty fox and his opinion overrides anything privileged white farmer says. Farmer spews coffee out his nose.

  44. I recall from my misspent youth that successful change in society stemmed from a movement that had a variety of approaches, that ranged from the mundane to the more extensive to the radical. You HAD to have the full range, with support for all of them, to get any substantive change done.

    “Defund the police” seems to me to be a necessary part of the discussion, to provide an array of options to consider. It moves the Overton Window. Dismissing it from the outset reduces your options, disenfranchises part of the people who are pushing for change, and reduces your chances at any change at all.

  45. For the drug war farce noted by rrhersh a few posts above, it reminds of the combined efforts in the Vietnam war. If we refuse to learn about mistakes of the one war, we are guaranteed to repeat the mistakes in the next war. Maybe the lesson is to lessen our hubris, admitting that our DNA means that some wars we just cannot wage, let alone win.

    If a police area anywhere in the US is doing well regarding brutality or race, would anyone know? Would the local police union want you to know? I do know from several sources that the US Marines did better than the US Army in winning “hearts and minds” of South Vietnamese to not do drugs—er, I mean, to not go communist, but I what I have never read is how or why they did better.