Saturday, June 27, 2020

The thick blue line (of horses***)

by Emma Goldman
Community Affairs Corespondent

It was almost lost in the torrent of death, catastrophe, insanity, and treason that constitutes our daily news diet, but a recent two-minutes hate from the Oval Office was adorned, if that is the word, by a collection of brass that would have blinded the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

At first we thought we were watching an F Troop reunion (was that Jane at right?), but then we recognized one of the uniformed brass trying to stifle a yawn.  The bald guy is no soldier; he's Sheriff Tom Hodgson of Fall River.  And despite the fancy title he's barely a police officer; he's the keeper of the keys to the Bristol County lockup (In Massachusetts, the sheriffs run the jails.  They also will serve court papers for you.  And that's it).

And he's there not because he's good at his job – he's not.  He provoked a riot among the helpless immigration detainees he is paid $95 per diem to lock up in a bunkroom that these days constitutes a Super Spreader event.  Previously he was known as a camera-ready goon whose fealty to extremist white man politics was previously demonstrated by his offer to send chain gangs of his prisoners to the U.S. border to help with President U Bum's vanity wall.

So why was he flouncing around the White House in a uniform with four stars on each shoulder, like he's General f***in' Eisenhower?  Nor is he the only one.  In fact every chief screw in America believes himself entitled to wear a rank reserved for full Generals.   Here's another example of an unqualified lunatic with a big set of keys and more stars than you'll find on a Subaru:

This is the clown who resigned in disgrace because while he was running around from live shot to live shot spouting hate, the inmates in his care were dying of thirst or raped by guards back at this jail.  He was also known for wearing more flair than a TGIF Friday's server, but let's just focus on the four stars.

In fairness to these thirsty jailers, the four star insignia is also sported by every police chief in America as an earnest of his (usually) command authority.  But that got us to thinking: why do cops run around in uniforms and ranks as if they're soldiers?

They're not.  They both carry guns (again, why?), but the job of the military is to defend America with lethal force against armed foreign adversaries.  The idea of force is baked into the cake.  You want your troops armed because they need the boom-boom to do whatever it is they are sent to do, even if it is as stupid and pointless as invading countries to satisfy George W. Bush's thirst for cheap glory.

Is that true of the police?  Why do they need military ranks, military outfits, and a parody of military discipline (which breaks down the first time a 18-yeare-old girl or a 75-year-old man dares to challenge their authority armed with a cutting remark or an open cell phone)?  Do you need all that to do your job?  Does the head of Mass. General Hospital walk around with four stars on his white coat (he walks around with $4 million in his pocket, but that's a shondeh for another day)?

We can think of lots of people charged with running large organizations with a common missions, but outside of the 5-0 (and the fire department), our schools, nursing homes, civic institutions, and even great corporations manage to get along without the military cosplay.

Why should the cops be different?  Here's one answer: they shouldn't.

If you run your public safety agencies as parodies of armed forces, the grunts will undoubtedly get the message that they should act like an army of occupation surrounded by enemies, whose safety depends on immediate resort to deadly force.  And that's what we've got.

Every person of color murdered by the police in this country, with Floyd George and Breonna Taylor (shot by Louisville Police in the course of a wrong and unnecessary no-knock home invasion) being only the latest examples, not to mention every man shoved to the ground and bleeding out his ears, and every young protester pepper-sprayed, gassed, beaten, mowed down or pushed by panicked police who have been told to occupy the battle space is testimony to the clear and present danger to human life of treating police as a military force.

The training given to the police emphasizes this point.  Before being issued the military-style (from 1914, that is) Smokey the Bear hats and tall leather jackboots (perfect for no legitimate police function we can think of), the new members of the Mass. State Police, an agency known for its imperviousness to civilian oversight and its aversion to doing an honest day's work), are trained by group drill in the hot sun.  Most of the time, no one drops dead.

Why?  Military drill is part of boot camp at least allegedly to build esprit de corps, break down individuality, and accustom the grunts to working as part of a team.  But the 5-0 don't work as part of large teams.  They work individually, or in pairs.  Like social workers, which is what they are or should be.  There is zero value in drilling them until the drop, except again to instill the myth that they are a military force.

And what of the warrior training that taxpayers around the country have been shelling out for?  The link between it and the deaths of innocents like George Floyd couldn't be clearer, at least to the Mayor of Minneapolis:

Floyd’s death has refocused attention on “warrior-style” police training, which Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey banned last year, and which may help explain how yet another unarmed African-American suspect was killed after being detained.

Citing the 2016 death of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old African-American man who was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop with his girlfriend and her daughter in the car with him, Frey banned police from using “fear-based training” in April 2019.

“Fear-based trainings violate the values at the very heart of community policing,” Frey said. “When you’re conditioned to believe that every person encountered poses a threat to your existence, you simply cannot be expected to build out meaningful relationships with those same people.”

If only the police were as well trained as F Troop
Frey specifically mentioned the classes taught to police in Minnesota and the rest of the country by Dave Grossman, a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne. Grossman is the author of “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” a book that promotes the training of a theory he calls “killology” that promotes the mindset needed to take human life. 


What the f**k is that?  And why do police need taxpayer-paid immersion in it, whatever it is?

Who thinks that the problem with the police in this country is that they are too reluctant to kill people?  And what does parachuting into Normandy with John Wayne and holding St. Mere Eglise against German counterattacks (a bright moment in the past of the 82nd Airborne) have to do with solving the myriad problems plaguing Americans (in addition to, of course, the plague)?

We think that if the police want to flounce around as pretend soldiers, they shouldn't be taking their cues from ex-paratroopers and their lust for killing.  We think they should model themselves on the fine troops of U.S. Army F Troop, who kept the peace out west without firing a shot in anger.  Maybe the police in America, as part of their reconstruction, need to understand what Captain Parmenter knew: their fellow citizens whom they vow to protect and serve, aren't fighters.  Like the Hakawi, they're lovers.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

From the Archives, 2008: The Republican Purge of U.S. Attorneys

Editors' Note:  The latest blatantly unlawful and politically-inspired attempted firing of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York by Torquemada Barr has, to put it mildly, not been playing well.  Here's what one far-left antifa sympathizer said:

(Bhahara's Twitter profile to be fair claims that he was formerly the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.)

Another Soros-paid hard-left agitator said 

She too attempts to cover her Commie past by noting that she was formerly the U.S  Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Not only that, but the stalwart and true Republicans at The Lincoln Project, almost of all of which were former Bush apologists, coatholders, and associated mouthpieces, have now proclaimed themselves absolutely shocked by the latest blatant abuse of power by President Super Spreader and his gang of cutthroats:

It made us wonder whether there was ever any similarly dastardly effort to unseat competent, honest U.S. Attorneys for blatantly political and inappropriate reasons.  

Guess what?

There was, as this thumbsucker from the June 28, 2008 Spy will confirm:

Spy Sunday Review:

Analysis: What Have We Learned From the U.S. Attorney 'Scandal'?

Analysis By Scott V. Sandford
Justice Editor

Now that the controversy over the firings of seven U.S. Attorneys for reasons that remain murky is quieting down, we can look back at the matter and see what lessons we can learn from it.

The firings were greeted by a great deal of negative comment on the part of constant critics of the Bush Administration, like The New York Times:

Ms. Lam is one of at least seven United States attorneys fired recently under questionable circumstances. The Justice Department is claiming that Ms. Lam and other well-regarded prosecutors like John McKay of Seattle, David Iglesias of New Mexico, Daniel Bogden of Nevada and Paul Charlton of Arizona — who all received strong job evaluations — performed inadequately.

It is hard to call what’s happening anything other than a political purge. And it’s another shameful example of how in the Bush administration, everything — from rebuilding a hurricane-ravaged city to allocating homeland security dollars to invading Iraq — is sacrificed to partisan politics and winning elections. 

But was this a partisan purge, as leftist critics like to contend, or was it part of the normal prerogatives of a President?

The President's defenders continue to assert vigorously that the Administration has done nothing wrong:

Bush Administration sources say that Fredo Gonzales
wanted to prove he could do things too
During her appearance in the Senate, [Former White House Political Director Sara] Taylor said she did not believe “there was any wrongdoing by anybody at the White House.” She said she had been subpoenaed to appear and said in her opening statement that she would answer questions only about what she described as factual issues.

In a somewhat disjointed account of her role in the dismissals, Ms. Taylor refused to respond to a number of the lawmakers’ questions, frequently citing a letter by Mr. Fielding describing the expansive terms of Mr. Bush’s directive that she should not testify about confidential deliberations at the White House.

Ms. Taylor, 32, is a veteran of Mr. Bush’s White House political operation and a longtime aide to Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser. She said her decision to leave the White House earlier this year was unrelated to the uproar over the fired prosecutors.

Further buttressing the case that the termination of the U.S. Attorneys was legitimate is provided by the caliber of key individuals in the Bush Administration and political shop, none of whom would ever be associated with anything remotely underhanded, ethical, or abusive, including

  • Steve Schmidt, who worked for Karl Rove in the White House and on the campaign until 2006, 
  • Nicolle Wallace, who was White House Communications Director until she left int he summer of 2006, just a few months before the midterm debacle,
  • David Frum, who left his job as a Bush speechwriter in 2002 to take up a no-heavy-lifting gig at the pro-Bush pro-Republican American Enterprise Institute, and
  • John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Although Democrats tried to make hay over the unexplained disappearance of millions of emails from Karl Rove's account and others at private Republican political committees which may have been relevant to the investigation into the firings, most experienced political observers believe that the Democrats' concerns are overblown.

“We're supposed to get excited about using private email servers for government business?  What a load of crap,” said Republican political consultant Kellyanne Conway.  “Can you imagine anyone caring what server was being used by which official when?” she chortled, “right George?”, referring to her beloved husband George Conway nestling by her side.

The Democrats were similarly frustrated in their efforts to make a political issue over the Bush Administration's sweeping claims of executive and absolute privilege that they used repeatedly to block witnesses from testifying or limiting the scope of their answers:

A lawyer for Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that she had been ordered by the White House not to appear at a hearing on Thursday.

Ms. Miers’s lawyer, George T. Manning, gave the House panel a letter dated Tuesday from Fred F. Fielding, the White House counsel, that said Ms. Miers had “absolute immunity” from being compelled to testify — an assertion that committee officials said was not supported by any court decision and did not mean she was not obliged to appear.

“It's just a distraction from the important issue, which is escalating the war in Iraq and bombing Iran,” said Republican pundit Billy Kristol.

With the inquiries winding down, it seems clear that the Democrats were never able to find the alleged political fire behind the smoke.  However, given the embarrassment that the affair has caused Republicans as they prepare to fight a tough election, it is reasonable to predict that the Republicans have learned their lesson and will never try again to rid themselves of U.S. Attorneys on any basis that could be questioned.

It's our hope that this so-called “scandal” will play no role in this year's elections, so that the nation can focus on the important issues facing it, including cutting Social Security, restoring a common sense of national purpose and community, and inspiring the young by forcing them to perform unpaid national service after high school.  And one more thing – thanks for the soprassata sub, Dave, it was delicious!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Department of Shameless Appropriation

Editors' Note:  Long-time Spy readers will note that we are usually sparing in quoting other sources, on the theory that if we can't improve on what someone else says, why steal their stuff? Sometimes, though, a piece comes along that perfectly summarizes something we've been trying to say in a more clumsy fashion, and so in admiration we are ripping off this column from Air Mail Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Stanley.  Perhaps she will forgive us, this one time.

When Mitt Romney, wearing a mask, his normally Brylcreem-smooth hair slightly askew, joined a Black Lives Matter protest in Washington last Sunday, it was kind of a mixed blessing. We’re all for Republicans breaking with their president, but let’s face it, that was a stunt, not a road-to-Damascus conversion. Romney and other Republican grandees, from Colin Powell to George W. Bush, have little to lose by dumping on Trump, and most have personal grievances that suggest their rejection has more to do with pique than principle. (Remember “Low Energy Jeb”? )

The fact that they are collecting hosannas for announcing they won’t support Trump’s re-election is downright insulting. Really? Now they voice their objections? And what are they going to do about it besides not check the Trump box on Election Day?

Trump may be sui generis horribilis, but his norm-busting presidency didn’t come out of nowhere. In many ways, he’s the raw embodiment of decades of Republican race-baiting and dog-whistling, except he ditched the dog whistle for a megaphone. Some of his most appalling decisions, statements, and tweets are rooted in Republican worst practices.

Tweeters on the anti-racist left are so busy canceling each other that they seem to have lost sight of the real enemy. (Hint: he’s the one who won’t consider changing the names of military bases named after Confederate generals.)

So, let’s not forget Bush Sr.’s infamous “Willie Horton” ads, in 1988, designed to scare white voters with the specter of African-American rapists on the rampage. Bush tossed all his patrician heritage and breeding overboard to make racism the ugly underbelly of his victory over Michael Dukakis. The only difference is that Bush Sr. delegated the dirty work to the help; Trump would have emblazoned Willie Horton’s face on his golf shirt.

During the 2000 South Carolina primary, George W. Bush’s campaign denied having anything to do with the false rumor that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child. (She was actually Bridget, his adopted daughter from Bangladesh.) Were Trump then running, he would have blitzed Twitter with #Blackbabygate; Bush sought plausible deniability of any connection to the story.

And W. certainly didn’t complain when a right-wing veterans’ group smeared the war record of Senator John Kerry in 2004. That jujitsu was so mind-boggling it gave birth to a verb, “Swift Boating.” The veterans championed Bush, who had pulled out all the stops to avoid combat in Vietnam, and viciously attacked the patriotism of Kerry, who had volunteered to go and won three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star in combat. Trump—the bone-spur warrior—used the same cudgel against John McCain. (“He’s a hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”) The difference: Trump crowed his calumnies on Twitter and national television. Bush let his Swift Boating surrogates do the deed.

Remember: Bush Jr. rushed into a needless invasion of Iraq based on a family grudge and trumped-up intelligence—exactly the kind of thing you’d expect Trump to do. Except that on this subject—and this subject alone—Trump is correct that Bush’s war was wrong.

Which brings us to Colin Powell, who said last Sunday that he will vote for Biden. Big whoop. When he was Bush’s secretary of state, Powell knew his boss was wrong before the invasion and didn’t speak up—or resign. Instead, he sat before the United Nations and made a “case.” He could have done better. Even General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a job Powell once held, admitted he was wrong to be at Trump’s side in Lafayette Square, and that was just a photo op, not a war: “I should not have been there.” Thank you.

And as much as Trump has done to divide and discredit this country, Bush’s willfully ignorant war lust—which in the region cost the lives of 7,000 Americans and 182,000 Iraqi civilians, and wasted $5.4 trillion—was surely one of the falling dominoes that got us to this sorry state. (Oh, and Bush tried to put his White House counsel Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court, a choice so ridiculous that even conservatives complained. That would be like Trump nominating Rudolph Giuliani to the bench. Which could happen.)

Not voting for Trump is a given. We think these Trump enablers owe this country a bit more than that. Here’s a thought: Romney doesn’t need to muss his hair and march. Why not just Venmo the N.A.A.C.P. 10 percent of the $250 million he amassed from Bain? A $25 million tithe would go a long way toward their get-out-the-vote efforts. The Mormons won’t miss his contribution: their church is reportedly sitting on a $100 billion investment fund.

Colin Powell should join a Democratic Party phone bank and call every military serviceperson and veteran and beg them not to vote for Trump. He should lead the fight to rename military bases.

As for George W. Bush, why can’t he put down his paintbrush and pick up his Rolodex and call every oilman, C.E.O., and banker he ever did a favor for and call in the markers? Bush nominated two of the five justices who voted in favor of Citizens United. (Short definition: big business can now spend as much money as it wants for a candidate.) Let him put some of that unlimited corporate campaign spending where his mouth is.

Trump is monstrous, but he is not an orphan. Let his predecessors make amends.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Spy's Review of Unreadable Books Pandemic Special

Editors' Note: Long-time Spy readers tell us “Sir, we really like your Review of Unreadable Books.”  We get that all the time.  It's tremendous. There's never been anything like that, probably. For the 4% of you who haven't said those exact words to us, an Unreadable Book is not only terrible, but its inherent lack of quality can be definitively determined without having to crack open its covers. After being cooped up for three months with no end in sight thanks to the collapse of a functioning national government, we understand the temptation to read a book. Just not one of these.

Restoring American Democracy
By David Frum  
$28.99, already marked down to $26.09. 

What does America need now? If you said advice from a middle-aged white Canadian who used to flack for George W. Bush, then you're the target audience for Trumpocalypse.

Frum first came to infamy waving the bloody shirt for George W. Bush's gruesome war of choice and torture in Iraq and other placesRemember the Axis of Evil, as he yclept three disparate countries, two of which had recently been at war with each other, for one of Bush's warmongering speeches?  (That would be Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, for those of you with short attention spans.)
From the Great White North comes the man with a plan

Since then, he's had a conversion of sorts as he's realized that not only was he wrong about every f***in' thing but his future success as a no-heavy-lifting neocon gasbag required, sball we say, a mid-course correction.  He has sorta apologized for the hundreds of thousands of lives he helped to end or ruin in Iraq.  So now we should just let the ghosts of Abu Ghraib rest in peace.  To paraphrase Julie Hagerty 's explanation for gambling away their life savings in Lost in America, he said he was sorry.

So what's on his mind now?  He's been heard telling us how bad the Tangerine-Faced Grifter as if the TFG wasn't the culmination of 60 years of corrupt, plutocratic, race-baiting, antidemocratic, divisive Republican politics.

That's page 1, but he's got another 321 to fill.  What could be in there?  We confess; we cheated a little and read the review by Joe Klein, ex-celebrity creative writer who wrote a roman sans clu about Hillary Clinton having an affair or some such BS.  Perfect.

According to Klein, Frum proposes “bold and provocative” initiatives, but danks Gott not “wild eyed,” like eliminating the grotesquely unfair and useless Electoral College. Why not? Supposedly it's unfeasible, although if states representing a majority of electoral votes passed laws requiring electors to vote for the national popular vote winner (and they're only 74 EV's away), it would be completely useless and therefore easily rubbished by Constitutional amendment.

But any ham-and-egger can gas on about what can't be done to fix our democracy.  Frum's got so much more:

He proposes a political trade: a severe tightening of immigration rules in return for the passage of much-needed social and climate legislation 

Whiskey. Tango.  Foxtrot.

First, it takes balls the size of icebergs for a, as noted above, Canadian whom we rescued from his native frozen wasteland, to propose closing the door behind him, leaving millions trapped north of the border forced to eat hamburgers slathered with mayonnaise and French fries drenched in gravy and worse.

Second, have you ever met anyone, anywhere who has said they would be willing to support spending on social welfare and regulations to limit the harm of climate change as long as we barred the door to those browns and blacks seeking a new life in America?  What's the connection?

Klein approvingly quotes the Frumster's breathtaking historical analysis:

It is possible, he observes, that stopping the human flow from Eastern Europe, and creating a more homogeneous America, made it easier for Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson to pass their enormous social programs. 

It's possible that a horrible racist immigration act passed in 1924 made possible social programs enacted in 1993-37 and in 1964-65?  What about other legislation passed around that time, like Prohibition?  Did that help?  And if screwing minority immigrants was such a boon to social legislation, why was none passed under Republican government from 1924 through 1932 and again from 1953 to 1960?  And, after the same Democratic government that passed Great Society programs also fixed the most outrageously racist aspects of immigration law in 1965, how did we get Obamacare in 2010?

Having brought us a nonexistent Axis of Evil, Toronto's gift to us invents a non-existent Axis of Racist History.  Both leave you spinning, from incredulity and outrage.

In fact, animus toward immigrants, rejection of climate science, and opposition to social spending based on racism are characteristics of a well-defined group of people.  You know them as Republicans.

Here's an idea, for which you need not pay us $26.99: how about winning the Presidency and both houses of Congress and then (1) restore equity and decency to our immigration system, (2) spend and regulate to avoid the worst effects of climate change, and (3) repair and restore the social safety net, including health care for all?  It's so easy – all you have to do is vote Democratic.

Bonus dumb s***: After following Frummie's arguments right off of Occam's Cliff, Klein has some crapcan ideas of his own he'd like to plug, presumably in a book for which he too will get a big advance:

To my mind, the only government program that can mitigate tribalism is a robust form of national service.

Old white men love this national service ragtime, amirite, Homewrecker Dave Brooks?  Why should young people be forced to labor for free or short money whilst entitled old s***s like Joe and Dave get to live large scarfing down sopprrasata subs?

Here's an idea: impress underemployed rich old white men into national service, allowing them to give back a tad of what they ripped off from their country.  There's an understaffed food bank near Joe and Dave waiting for their call.


I Kept My Pants On [Surely, Guilt by Accusation? – Book Review Ed.]
By Alan Dershowitz 
Hot Books
$25.99, already marked down to $00.00, and worth every penny. 

Dershowitz, shown here with his researchers,
Olga and Shtupela.
You can pretty much tell everything about this book from its blurbs:

“A slashing attack on how people are falsely accused of things they certainly didn't do.  Alan really gets to the heart of the matter, over and over again.” – O.J. Simpson

“Alan opens up a 64-ounce can of whoop-ass on whining beyatches.” – Mike Tyson

“There can be no doubt that Alan Dershowitz has been a shining beacon of hope to child rapists everywhere.” – Professor Jonathan Turley

“I hope he keeps his pants on when he comes to Lucy Vincent Beach this summer.” – The people of Chilmark, Mass.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Law and Disorder: Worst Sequel Ever

By Scott V. Sandford
Spy Justice Correspondent with
Nellie Bly in Buffalo

One hundred years ago [Surely, last week? – Ed.] we reported on an epidemic of police violence against peaceful demonstrators and suggested that a culture of police impunity compounded by ridiculous protections negotiated by racist police unions had made police brutality impossible to control.

But after another week of unwarranted police violence against innocent protesters and members of the press doing their constitutionally-protected jobs, we can report that things have turned around.

Nah, we're just f***in' with yah.  The evidence of out-of-control police continues to mount.  While the Times op-ed page was publishing fascist propaganda from an individual who had absolutely no way to express his views except by going to the floor of the Senate and speaking any time he wanted to, the news pages were actually committing acts of journalism.  Here's the intrepid Ali Watkins, reporting from what was a peaceful demonstration on an open plaza bordered by impregnable government buildings:

It was about 45 minutes past New York City’s 8 p.m. curfew on Wednesday when a peaceful protest march encountered a line of riot police near Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn.

Hundreds of demonstrators stopped and chanted for 10 minutes, arms raised, until their leaders decided to turn the group around and leave the area.

The protesters had not seen that riot police had flooded the plaza behind them, boxing them in. The maneuver was a law enforcement tactic called kettling. The police encircle protesters so that they have no way to exit from a park, city block or other public space, and then charge in and make arrests.

For the next 20 minutes in Downtown Brooklyn, officers swinging batons turned a demonstration that had been largely peaceful into a scene of chaos.

If you're wondering why police used the excuse of a curfew to beat and terrorize peaceful protesters, you'll be pleased to know that the New York Police Department had a fully convincing explanation:

But [Police Commissioner] Shea also stressed that some protesters had come to the demonstrations with the intent to attack the police. He also said the anti-police rhetoric of the demonstrators — and some elected officials — was encouraging attacks on officers, several of whom had been injured with sticks, or thrown bottles and bricks. 

He must have been able to read the minds of those assembled on Cadman Plaza, where no police were attacked and no one was arrested for assaulting a police officer.  As for “anti-police rhetoric,” we're sure that this stalwart defender of law and order would be grateful to learn that any protester can mouth any “anti-police rhetoric,” they choose at any time and in fact to any cop of their choice.  See U.S. Const. Amends. I, XIV.

As for the supposed projectiles hurled at police (which Ms. Watkins, on the scene, saw no evidence of), here's another fun fact – if person A throws something at a police officer, that does not provide an excuse or a justification for police to club or beat persons B through ZZZ who had nothing to do with the alleged throwing or any self-identified journalist covering the event.

Nor do Commissioner Shea and his plug-uglies in blue have a roving warrant to beat or arrest a peaceful crowd because somewhere else (or even within it) someone is using language that hurts their surprisingly tender sensibilities.

Perhaps these facts are why the District Attorneys of New York and Kings Counties, which are charged with prosecuting the lawbreakers arrested by the police, bump, BUMP!, have said they will not press any disorderly conduct charges against protesters caught in police riots.  (It might have been nice if they carried out their duty to prosecute the badge-wearing perpetrators of unjustified violence against citizens exercising their rights, but baby steps.)

The whole mess seems to be based on an illegal tactic employed by the NYPD to round up and arrest anyone they don't like, which they call “kettling. ”

In fairness to the NYPD, why would they have any inkling that “kettling” is an unconstitutional abuse of their power?  Who doesn't spend $18,000,000 to settle litigation when they've done nothing wrong, other than the City of New York:

The city of New York has agreed to pay $18m to settle a civil rights claim from hundreds of protesters who were rounded up and detained in overcrowded and dirty conditions after they rallied outside the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Fortunately, the Mayor of New York ran on a staunchly progressive program of curbing police misconduct that targeted minorities, so New Yorkers can count on him to stand tall in defense of the rights of protesters:

On Thursday night, in the Bronx, rows of officers surrounded protesters from all sides, pinning them in before running at them with batons and striking several people. At least one was taken away in a stretcher.

Asked about the incident on WNYC, Mr. de Blasio said the police believed some in the crowd had intended to be destructive.

“The groups organizing that event advertised their desire to do violence and create violence,” Mr. de Blasio said.

“If any protesters were there peacefully and not associated with that, and they got hemmed in at all, that’s something I don’t accept that and we have to fix,” Mr. de Blasio said, promising a full review of the incident. 

Insert your own spit take here.   Our friend Bill Occam suggests that there must a photograph of the Mayor in the possession of the 5-0 that he doesn't want released.  No better explanation has occurred to anyone.

But that's just the steaming teaming mess that is New York City.  In real America, by which we mean the white Midwest beginning at say Syracuse, things must be going much better:

Two Buffalo police officers were charged on Saturday with felony assault after a video showed officers shoving a 75-year-old man who was protesting outside City Hall on Thursday night, officials said. . . . Under New York law, a person who attacks someone 65 or older and is more than 10 years younger than the victim can be charged with felony assault,

You've seen the video – a frail old man approaches a line of police in full riot regalia.  He's pushed to the ground; blood pours from his ears, scores of Buffalo's “finest” do nothing.  Maybe one calls an ambulance.

Fortunately for us old white guys, it's just a couple of bad apples, amirite?  Before charges were preferred, the two thugs were suspended by the Buffalo Police, which led 57 of their colleagues to quit the riot-control unit, although they continue to get full pay and benefits for not doing their jobs:

 So you can get paid for not doing your job on the Buffalo PD?  Where do we sign up for that?

With time hanging heavy on their hands, scores of white Buffalo po-po showed up to protest the effrontery of the Erie County DA, who had the temerity to charge their skullbreakers:

When the rest of the barrel does its best to cover up the rotten ones, then there's a problem with the whole barrel.

Even the normally staid New York Times, when not printing op-eds calling for mass police murder of protesters, has noticed that the problem is the whole barrel, if not the staves and hoops that protect its contents from any bruises, legal or otherwise:

Over the past five years, as demands for reform have mounted in the aftermath of police violence in cities like Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and now Minneapolis, police unions have emerged as one of the most significant roadblocks to change. The greater the political pressure for reform, the more defiant the unions often are in resisting it — with few city officials, including liberal leaders, able to overcome their opposition.

They aggressively protect the rights of members accused of misconduct, often in arbitration hearings that they have battled to keep behind closed doors. And they have also been remarkably effective at fending off broader change, using their political clout and influence to derail efforts to increase accountability. 

We made the same point last week (see below) but it's nice that the Times has weighed in on our side.  We also pointed out that ironclad union advocacy on behalf of cops who kill and beat citizens has been fortified by white Republican advocacy of racist police practices and other forms of domination under the sobriquet “law and order” for 60 years.

The only good news is that white people, never known for being quick on the uptake, are noticing in increasing numbers that murdering black suspects on the streets of America is not in fact an example of law and order. Rather the opposite.  One recent Morning Consult poll on police violence broke down as follows:

Ultimately, getting the police under control is a job for all of us, but especially the white privileged ones.  That was brought home to me this morning, when I learned that a black professional had been accosted by police at gunpoint in our home town, the placid, if not torpid, suburb of Newton, Mass:

According to the Globe, Newton Police were looking for a tall black man alleged to have committed a violent crime.  Tim Duncan is tall and black and that's all it took.  Somehow the Newton Police seem to be able only to keep their tall white men straight.

Now the police apologized, but that's not enough.  Here's what we Tweeted out to the police and the Mayor:

We'll let you know what if anything they had to say.