Monday, June 29, 2020

Know Your Opponent

As we charge forth into the hardcore election season, there’s one thing that’s crucial to keep in mind: It’s not just Trump who’s sent this country down the tubes. Trump is the sideshow. I guarantee, if Mike Pence would have been president, very little would have been done differently.

In my opinion, things could have been much worse if this were a Pence administration. He would have hired people who got things done. They could have done a lot more damage to governmental infrastructure because they wouldn’t be stepping on their own dicks every week.

Nevertheless, look at what Trump has already done…

·        The EPA has been gutted with major rollbacks on pollution and environmental controls.
·        The CFPB has been defanged, with the people running it dedicated to NOT doing anything that will cost the banks any money. The “financial watchdog for The People” is gone.
·        The State Department is a shell of its former self. Staff reductions have left it with no more than a skeleton crew.
·        Huge tax cuts for the 1%, scraps for the rest of us.
·        Disbanding of the pandemic response team.
·        Former industry execs are running the bureaus that used to regulate the industries they came from and it’s not because they know how to be tougher on them. It’s so they can ensure there will be little government interference to get in the way of quarterly profits.
·        Appointment of conservative judges with little or no trial experience, who rule against abortion at every turn, against any program or regulation that will cost money from Business, against the loosening of immigration policies, and for whatever bright idea the Republicans decide to push next. (Look at the judge who just ruled that Justice can refuse to prosecute a friend of Trump’s who has already pleaded guilty, confounding the country’s legal leaders and scholars.)
·        Carving out huge piles of COVID dough earmarked for the richest, most prosperous companies in the country, to be handed out in secret, with no conditions.
·        Packing police departments with so much military hardware and equipment, they now function as an army to be unleashed on average Americans.
·        Tariffs on foreign goods… wait… no, that’s just Trump, who doesn’t understand how tariffs work.
·        Limited Federal response to the coronavirus, which is a hallmark of Republican governance: Let the market hand it. You’re on your own. You saw how they’re ending the funding for COVID test sites, right? That’s vintage Republicanism… cut funding, declare victory and fold up shop, then blame the Democrats when the virus is still raging afterward.
·        Withdrawing from the Paris accords and the Iran agreement.
·        Inactivity on and hostility to the reality of climate change.
·        Draconian immigration policy, including sealing borders and detaining pretty much everyone, without a nod to human rights, let alone due process.

None of those are things that originated from Trump. These are Republican positions that would have been carried out by any Republicans in charge of this term. His cabinet, his advisors, and the GOP Senate has given him cover to accomplish all of these things because it’s what Republicans want. Hands off big business. Screw the environment (as far as doing anything that will cost money.) Keep trying to overturn Roe (not that the leadership actually cares about abortion but they have to throw their religious voting base a bone. What they care about is weaponizing abortion to use against Democrats.)

If Biden’s smart, he won’t just run against Trump, he’ll run against all the Republicans, using the points above. These are their big ideas, so use them as weapons. I know he wants to unite the country but from what I’ve seen from the last 30 years of Republicans, they won’t compromise an inch. If we’re going to get anything done, we’ll have to do it on our own.

That’s why voting out Trump without making changes to the Senate and firming up the House will not be enough. A Democratic president can undo anything Bunkerboy did via Executive order, but it’s going to take cooperation to re-fund the agencies Trump took apart. You know that once the Democrats are in charge, Republicans will rediscover their long lost enthusiasm for deficit reduction and try to keep the government from repopulating itself with competent staffing. To Republicans, there’s always room in the budget for tax cuts for the rich, but when it comes to looking out for the rest of us, there’s never enough money.

It won’t even be enough to just win the Senate; we’ll need 60 votes to get anything done. Remember how much trouble Mitch McConnell gave the Obama administration, even as minority leader? Mitch has no shame and no pity. He’ll filibuster every single bill for 8 years if he has to until the Koch Brother or the Mercers tell him differently. So we can’t lose our focus if nothing major happens in the first two years of a Biden presidency. We may need to wait for the 2022 elections to get the Senate where we need it.

But at least we can stop the bleeding.

Of course, all this is assuming we can win the presidency in November. The Republicans have been saying this will be the most rigged election in history. Part of me thinks they’re just getting their excuses and battle plan ready for the massive blue wave. But the other part of me thinks they’re finally telling the truth. It WILL be the most rigged election ever because they know how hard they’re working to rig it.

I would be much more comfortable with Biden’s polling lead if I didn’t know the lengths Republicans are going to suppress the vote. Kentucky was just a warmup. Anywhere there is a GOP governor and legislature, you’re going to find stricter voter ID programs, more restrictions on voting by mail, and more polling stations closing in urban areas. It’s right there in their game plan and they’re not even hiding it any longer.

Keep in mind that the national polling numbers aren’t very useful. Hillary had good national numbers too. The only ones that count are the state by state numbers because that’s how the election will be won and lost. When Biden is ahead by 15% in each battleground state, then I may be happy. But it’s still just polling numbers. There’s a barrier between telephone polls and voting booths which is being heightened by the GOP every day.

Also, be prepared not to know who the winners are on Election Night. Mail-in ballots are going to play a big role in many states and they probably won’t be counted until later in the week. Try not to let the speculation run away with you while the prognosticators fill up the hours with prognostications.

Republicans will be claiming voter fraud while simultaneously rebutting the same charges against them, as the news stations run film of huge lines in black neighborhoods, due to lack of equipment.

We’ll know when we know and with any luck, the margin will be so big it will have been impossible to fake.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Homeless Thoughts - The Tik-Tok Edition

I can’t believe this is still controversial but my Facebook timeline is blowing up over the removal of confederate statues. I’ve never seen so many comfortable white people dig in so hard over something that would be obvious in any civilized country… that memorializing and venerating those who wished to withdraw from this country so that they could keep other human beings in perpetual servitude is not a good idea and is offensive to relatives of those who were the victims of this oppression. (As well as anyone with a conscience.)

I love it when these dingle-berries fall back on “erasing history.” For Pete’s sake, the history is still there, it is always there and always will be. What is celebrated is a different story.

I’ve covered this before, in May of 2017, and then again that August.

I’m also tired of the argument: “But they’re removing our history!”

You know what?  Not all our history is something of which we should be proud.

People love to bring up Nazi Germany in persuasive arguments, but I’ll tell you what… There is a lot of history in Germany too, but you don’t see the Germans celebrating it.  Modern Germans (skinheads aside) are mortified by their country’s involvement in WWII; they’re not putting up monuments to the efficiency of their concentration camps or celebrating the nobility and devotion of the oven-operators.

History should be remembered and learned from.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be commemorated.”

It’s a bullshit argument meant to deflect from the point they don’t want to make out loud… That they fear for their position of social dominance. I mean, that’s why all those confederate statues were put up in the first place, right? To let the newly freed black people know who was really still in charge.

And they see the statue thing as an extension of the Black Lives Matter protests, which makes it automatically null and void. If people would just get arrested for flimsy reasons without squirming, they wouldn’t get beaten, shot, or choked out. See? Not our fault. Blame the criminals and the media.

They Doth Protesteth Too Much, Methinks
So far it seems like everyone they find that’s responsible for protest violence turns out to be white nationalists rather than BLM folks or Antifa. I don’t know why these “Boogaloo Bois” are getting cut so much slack.

They say they’re using the protests to frame the others for violence in an attempt to light the fuse on a race war. You know who also thought committing violence to a race war was a good idea?

Everyone thought Manson was batshit crazy but I guess he was just ahead of his time. He would have fit right in with these “Boogaloo” assholes.

Rallying Cry
I loved seeing that empty arena in Tulsa, didn’t you? So much egg on so much face.

On one hand, I liked hearing how a bunch of teenagers threw such a monkey wrench in the mix. But on the other hand, I kind of wish they weren’t a factor so there would be one less excuse about why the place was so empty. I know they tried to blame protesters, but a plethora of witnesses attest that they never came within two blocks of the arena. No one really knows how much of a factor these Tik-Tok kids were.

It still sounds like the Trump camp should have been able to sift out the waste. It’s their own fault for hyping the numbers they were seeing. They wanted to troll blacks and liberals by commandeering Juneteeth? They just got trolled right back, to devastating effect.

Maybe for the next rally, they should ask for a credit card number. Of course, that might suppress turnout from Trump fans by another third. That is unless his tepid, tedious, whine-a-thon in Tulsa didn’t snuff it out completely.

You notice how he still hasn’t hung the portrait of Obama yet? The man couldn’t act like a president if you spotted him the “Pres” and “Dent.” (He already has the “I.”)

I think he’s missing a campaign item. Who among his base wouldn’t want to see him hang a black man? You’d think he’d be all over that one.

Conservatism in Action
I saw in the ongoing talks for the next coronavirus relief bill that Republicans want to send out a “Returning to Work” bonus, for those who have gone back to their jobs.

Is that not Republicanism personified? Giving money to those who have it. But the people who are really hurting? “Screw them… bunch’a lazy scroungers!”

Not that they really care about those just returning to work. They know that the well-to-do have been working from home all along. If they were serious about helping the rest, they'd have raised the minimum wage, but you don't see that happening, do you? As long as Republicans one house in Congress, a minimum wage hike is DOA.


This just circles back to the protests and BLM. It’s where white people pretend that the only people getting killed are those who had it coming. They completely discount the legions of stories of police roughing up civilians for trivial reasons.

“Breaking the law?”

I saw a database with over 700 videos of cops blasting people, protesters mostly, who were just… protesting. Not looting, not throwing rocks, not breaking windows, but assembling in accordance with their first amendment rights and protesting.

What this comes down to with memes like this is, “As long as my friends, family and I are not being inconvenienced, the hell with anyone else. Who cares about a bunch of troublemakers?”

If these people had to spend two weeks walking in the shoes of an African-American, they’d spontaneously combust. Then there would be a nationwide run on tiki torches.

And for cryin' out loud, can we please retire the Willie Wonka meme? It's done... just done. Every time it appears, another Gene Wilder fan has an embolism.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Debunkery - The Racism Continues Edition

You have to hand it to the Trumpies; no matter what happens in society, the racism is never far from the surface. And sometimes it’s right there on top.
I have to admit, I’m not a fan of this “fashion statement” either. I always think back to what a former work friend, a 60-something African-American woman, once said about guys who dress like this: “Don’t nobody want to see yo stank draws!

Is it offensive? I think it’s more dumb than offensive. Fashions of the young have always pissed off the old. These guys want to make it even harder to get a job than it already is? That’s their problem.

But is it really more offensive than placing permanent markers to honor those who fought to capture and enslave a race of people? Not hardly. Spit wad versus ICBM, as far as offensiveness goes.

How does a statue in the same place suddenly become offensive?” Because times fuckin’ change and it’s not the 1800s anymore. I’m sure it was offensive to some people back then too, it’s just that no one cared. The popular culture today is trying to have us behave better than we used to and empathize with people who have been trampled over the years. There’s nothing wrong with that, other than for those who enjoyed the trampling and wish to continue the stampede.

Yes, some people are, indeed, that ignorant. 

The first tipoff that this is a giant sack of racist bullshit is the use of loaded and not necessarily correct phrases. “Violent felon?” “Career criminal?” I read that he got in one scrape with a woman and had a number of drug busts for possession of small amounts of coke. Several of the busts, I saw, were conducted by an officer who was known for planting drugs on those he didn’t like (or immediately bent over for him, I suppose.) Maybe some of that career was owed to a crooked cop.

Seven funerals?” I’m not sure where that came from. I saw one big televised event. Maybe the writer was confused by seeing the funeral on seven stations. So I’m painting the first half of this meme as a gross exaggeration.

As for the soldiers dying part… Of course it’s a tragedy when any of our troops die in battle. But is the answer to give each one 7 televised funerals when they get home? Granted, I’m sure there is a segment of the population who would love that.

The sad truth is, people who sign up for military service do so knowing that they might die in battle (or otherwise serving our country). It’s part of the deal. They’re not looking for the gaudy attentions of people they never met. They know that if all goes wrong, their loved ones can expect a knock on the door, polite condolences and a triangled flag at the funeral.

This meme is just one more person with a military fetish who wants everyone to know how patriotic they are. And if they can do so at the expense of a black man, all the better. 

And now we come to the backdoor racism.

I’m pretty sure that sign is photoshopped*, so who knows what the sign this dude is holding up really said. So I’ll cut the guy in the picture a break. But the message is typical bullshit coming from white people who are tired of hearing about race.

It goes to the original “Black Lives Matter” fallacy about how “All Lives Matter,” with the point being that “All Lives” aren’t under siege. Like a favorite meme says,

Of course all lives matter, that’s a given. But some need special attention right now because they are being harassed by cops, arrested on flimsy pretenses, killed in custody, and having white women call the police on them just for being black and existing near them. They’re shuttled into crumbling neighborhoods with dead-end schools, with few options for jobs or even fresh food. Politicians close the voting stations in their neighborhoods and require government IDs, which can be time-consuming and expensive to obtain so that it takes hours just to vote. And that helps keep things just the way they are.

So yeah, black people in this country have some legitimate grievances. So don’t be so hasty in turning the conversation back to you, Carl. (I’m proposing “Carl” as a male “Karen.” Who’s with me?)

*Look at the “A’s.” They’re all identical. Just look for any two of the same letter. You’ll see they’re exactly the same.

This one’s not racist, just stupid.

As I said last week, it’s not the fact that Bunkerboy had a photo op… it’s that he had peaceful protesters gassed and shot with rubber bullets to clear the space for his photo op. Not to mention his using the Bible as a photo-op prop.

But this is what conservatives do when they can’t win an argument… they misrepresent the issue until it becomes something they think they can win, hence they pretend that Democrats are upset that the president got his picture taken.

In Other News
Lest I spend the entire post in a rage, I do have a couple of odd things to share.

Last week I went into the office for the first time since 3/11. I can do about 99% of my job from home but there are a couple things that require me to be in the office, like handling parking badges and filing paperwork. So last Tuesday I ventured out into the wild blue office.

It was strange because I was literally the only person in my department (which occupies one-quarter of our floor). There were maybe 6-8 people on the whole floor.

For me, it was just like working from home, only roomier. And I got to start my day with a Dilbert binge, to make up for all the day by day calendar cartoons I missed.

Now I should be OK until at least August.

But maybe this COVID thing is starting to turn around. I’ve been seeing some signs. Last week, while making dinner, I discovered the Infinity Calamari.
The Infinity Calamari portends the arrival of endless calamari. Unfortunately, we were not blessed with the sight of the Infinity Dipping Sauce, so our bounty was for naught.

Sweetpea was not deterred though. She immediately fashioned a seafood talisman:
I swear, when I married her, I didn’t know she played with her food.

Just wondering, is random silliness a side effect of The “Rona?”

Monday, June 8, 2020

Missing the Point

Last week saw the outrage against police brutality continue unabated. Fortunately, the looting and violence seem to have thinned out, making way for the earnest and peaceful protest of the status quo.

By far, the biggest story was #Bunkerboy’s photo op outside the church. You can tell how his fan club got very sensitive about what a clusterfuck that was by how fast the supportive memes came out. I saw this on Facebook last Monday:

True to form, they still miss the point.

We are not outraged, necessarily about posing with the Bible. We most definitely ARE outraged about clearing a peaceful protest with tear gas (or pepper spray which may be chemical or non-chemical, who cares when it’s burning the shit out of your eyes), a half-hour before a general curfew was to go into effect.

Yes, a different crowd set fire to a church nursery (which didn’t “burn down the church”), but that wasn’t who got gassed. It’s like if you got pissed about stepping in dog poop coming out of your office downtown and then went home and kicked your neighbor’s dog. It doesn’t make you tough, it makes you a dick.

The unarmed protesters, led by officials of the church, were exercising their First
Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. Just to be clear:

First Amendment:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

There’s not a lot of wiggle room there. The protesters were 100% in the right. And #Bunkerboy had them moved out with teargas by unmarked mystery forces, which turned out to be prison guards and Parks and Rec guys, which is all Bill Barr could scare up without violating more of the Constitution. All this, just to be seen as “strong,” after word got out of his hiding out in the White House bunker, with the lights off.

As far as being outraged about using the Bible as a prop, I was more disgusted by the shallowness and amused by the ham-handedness. Someone really should have taught him how to hold the damned thing.

For the record, here’s how you hold up a Bible for the crowd:

 Holding up the bible because the Sheriff is near.

I don’t know if it’s really upside down, but it’s certainly backward, which if you think about it, totally fits. Of course he’d hold it up so it was facing himself. I’m just surprised it didn’t burn his tiny hand.

It always irks me to see memes like that and others criticizing protesters, posted by white people who would spontaneously combust if they ever had to live like Black people do every goddamned day. There wouldn’t be enough tiki torches in the world for the size of the protests that would form. I can see it now… The Million Karen March!

They rarely attack the racial justice aspect of the protesters… they usually nibble around the edges with snide remarks about not caring about The ‘Rona. Or the looters. They loooooooove to go off on the looters. It’s like outrage porn to them. They’d prefer dozens of unarmed detainees getting killed by cops than letting one looter get away with a pair of Air Jordans.

I wish a lot of these people could walk a mile in some of these protestor’s shoes. They just have no idea how good they have it.

I’m white and I think I know, but I probably don’t. Not fully.

But I do acknowledge and appreciate the fact that I’ve never had to fear for my life when I encounter a cop. I wrote about it once in 2016, a year after Freddy Gray, when I got pulled over for a ticket:

“Last weekend, for the first time in over 10 years, I got pulled over by a cop. I was going through my neighborhood, revved up by AC/DC on the stereo, and wasn’t sufficiently focused on what I was doing. I should have seen him up ahead, but my mind was already at the bar, which was my destination.

He told me he had me going 40 in a 25 and I didn’t deny it; I just said, “Oh my.” 

He totally had me too.  Because this isn’t a roadway where kids ever play, I usually zip through there pretty quickly.

I was polite, and I produced my license and registration as requested.

When he got back out of his car, I was relieved not to see any pink paper in his hand.  He only had a white printout page for me.

This is a warning,” he said. “Please be more careful.”

Thank you, sir,” I said and went on about my way.

It wasn’t until much later, when thinking back on my experience, I realized just how lucky I have it.

It never crossed my mind at the time that I could get into serious trouble. I never worried that he might come back and tell me I looked like someone who had just robbed a house, or stole a car. I never considered that he might want to look in my trunk or under my seat. I forgot all about wanting to keep my hands in sight, lest he get jittery or trigger-happy. I never worried about being cuffed, beaten, tased, or choked out.

He was calm, polite; friendly even. He joked around about the excuses he’s heard from people driving without their glasses.  Told me to “enjoy the rain” that was on the way.

If I had been an African-American man, I don’t believe that any of those things would have necessarily been true.

I was a college-educated 50-something white male, driving a well-kept late-model car, so I reaped the benefit of the very definition of white privilege. The other time I got pulled over in Baltimore? (44 in a 30, I think.) I got a warning that time too.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a situation where I had to deal with an unreasonable cop. I mean, everything for which I’ve been pulled over, I was doing. I acted politely and professional and so did the cop.

Maybe I ran into a string of righteous cops who would have done the same for anyone.  Or, maybe none of those guys might have been the type to unnecessarily hassle black professors, ministers, politicians, or business leaders, as has happened in the past. I can’t know that… all I know is that I’ve never had a bad experience with the law.

Even that time the transit police set a trap for me because my plates were from out of state (for a year and a half).  Sure, they whacked me for $600 in fines and tickets, but they were never less than polite. And I certainly never feared for my safety.

Sure, maybe they’re just responding to my politeness and respect.  Of course, I’ve never had a reason not to be polite or respectful. I’ve never been patted down just for standing somewhere or had my car searched after a routine traffic stop.

When I’m stopped by a cop, all I’m thinking about is how much this ticket is going to cost me.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had it like that?”

I think people should keep the figurative fires burning until everybody does have it that nice.

Monday, June 1, 2020

It's Groundhog Day with Cops

I’m really growing to hate writing about this subject. Here we are again, with cities across the country on high-alert, crowds gathering to protest, police gathering to break them up, all because yet another cop killed another unarmed African-American over something trivial.

Nothing ever changes. There was déjà vu all over this when wrote about it back in 2015:

Earlier this month, the Walter Scott case, (police shoot guy who’s running away, 8 times in the back, after being stopped for a broken tail light), was the candidate to become the next Ferguson.  But it didn’t because this time almost the entire incident was caught on video, which showed the shooting and subsequent planting of evidence to bolster the cop’s initial story. (I guess getting the killing on video is no longer novel.)

Because of the video, the cop was arrested, which pretty much stemmed any violent public demonstrations.  But without the video, it would have been just one more uncorroborated cop story where the black guy gets killed.

So with yet another such story dominating the news cycles, you would think that police forces would start to get the message, that they can’t use citizens (even our possible criminal citizens) as target practice.

But still, the stories keep rolling out.  Right here in Baltimore, a guy died after having his spine 80% severed at the neck after he was taken into custody.  (The charge: running away upon seeing some cops, and having a knife clipped to his belt.)

Taken all together, this tells me just how deeply ingrained it is with our police forces, to view black men as criminals; judged as sub-human for no other reason than that they’re black.  Even with all the heat; all the publicity going on over these incidents, they keep happening over and over again.

And now we’re waist-deep in protests, the appearance of which was inevitable but still rather useless. The cop has already been arrested. Trials take time so this won’t be wrapped up for a while. We had the same problem with Ferguson in 2014, and I wrote:

And the sad thing is that no one knows what really happened.  For all the coverage and attention, I don’t know what happened. You don’t know what happened.  And neither do any of these “expert” commentators and opinionators.

There are three people who know what happened: the cop who shot the kid, and the two witnesses.  Do cops ever lie to cover their asses?  Absolutely.  Do witnesses ever lie to cover for somebody else?  Absolutely.  Which leaves us in exactly the same place.  We don’t know what happened.

So how do you get justice when no one knows what happened?  That’s what everyone is talking about, right?  Justice?

Sure, everyone wants justice.  But what no one wants is to wait for it.  We’re an immediate gratification country.  We want the case wrapped up and the killer brought to justice in an hour, just like we see on Law and Order.”

I used to think that police body-cams would help this issue a great deal, but then learned differently when I saw the lengths people would go to discount what can be seen on video. So in 2014 I opined about how else we may solve the long term problem of racially-inspired cop shootings:

Here, we have a cop using a banned chokehold on an unarmed guy who was just standing there, for the crime of selling single smokes, which is barely a notch above jaywalking, ignoring his pleas that he couldn’t breathe until the guy dies right there on the sidewalk, and the whole thing is on video.  And they STILL didn’t indict the cop.

I just don’t see how that’s possible.  What is it that has to happen, before it’s the cop’s fault?  Kill a dog, while he’s at it?

So no, it’s not like putting body cams on cops is going to solve everything.  To even make a dent in the mistrust between the police and minority citizens, it’s going to take far more complicated solutions to address the root of the problem.  It all comes down to poverty.  Here’s why…

We’ll never solve the mutual mistrust problem when with an overwhelmingly white police force policing an overwhelmingly black (or Hispanic) population.  And dropping a few more token minorities onto the force is not going to cut it.  There has to be a significant, visible difference.

But it’s not like even if they wanted to, all the dudes from the neighborhood can just go sign up and be issued a badge.  They have to meet physical requirements, take an entrance exam which may or may not be biased towards white applicants, go through training, and pass another test.

I’m betting a significant percentage of the candidate pool hasn’t had the best education, which might have helped in passing a test.  A lot of these city schools aren’t exactly shining jewels of educational excellence.  It’s all teachers can do to keep kids’ butts in their seats, sometimes.

And why is that?  Maybe because the kids haven’t been eating well, or maybe they’ve been out all night on the street, or maybe they’re afraid of enjoying the act of learning and getting labeled as “not keeping it real.”

And where does all that come from?  Poverty.  No money, no food, no toys or books or laptops.  No kid is going to thrive under that kind of stress.  Meanwhile, the older poor kids are pressuring them to come out and hustle, to make a few bucks... just watch out for the Po-Po.  Thus begins the mistrust, if it hasn’t already been handed down from preceding generations.

Now, I’m not trying to generalize, and there are obviously exceptions everywhere, but this is a problem that will not be solved by exceptions.  It requires institutional change, not Band-Aids or body cams.

How is that going to happen?  A good start would entail the creation of some real jobs, paying a realistic wage.

A jobs bill could set aside funds for all kinds of highway projects, but not only that, how about setting up an apprenticeship program, to learn the applicable skills?  Start at one wage, during a fixed apprenticeship, then add a few more bucks upon completion. [Snip]

The thing is, these can’t be McJobs; they have to pay off better than dealing or hustling, or else they’re doomed to fail.  There has to be a viable alternative to a life of rotating between crime and jail time.

We do this, and it’s a win/win.  People who need jobs can get them and make a living, and our roads and bridges are brought out of “death trap” status.

That’s one idea, and I’m sure there are more to be had.  So why hasn’t anything like this been done yet?  You might ask the GOP, who has blocked every jobs bill in the last 6 years.  You see, their clientele isn’t interested in jobs bills, they’re interested in tax cuts for businesses.  Construction workers aren’t giving millions of dollars to their re-election campaigns, the Koch Brothers are.

As far as they’re concerned, the solution to police versus citizens issue is to build more prisons.  Now that’s a jobs bill they’ll support.”

So that’s it… all we have to do to solve white cops killing black people is solve poverty. No sweat!

In the near term, nothing changes without wholesale changes of attitude and culture with the nation’s police forces. Despite the increased national attention on these kinds of brutal overreactions, the police continue to shoot, beat, and kill African-Americans, even while they know they’re being filmed. It shows you just how ingrained this behavior is. They just can’t seem to conceive that they’re in the wrong.

This cop knew he was being filmed, he knew it could end up on every news feed in the country, but he just stayed there, disregarding calls to get off the guy’s neck, so he could show everyone who the boss is.

If these actions are only carried out by a few “bad apples,” I want to know where they grew. There’s a big-ass bad apple tree out there somewhere that’s spewing these bad apples into police forces everywhere.

It. Just. Keeps. Happening.

I don’t know what’s going on in Minnesota. I thought they were supposed to be so polite up there. Remember back in 2017 the Minneapolis cops accidentally shot a blonde? That’s the modern equivalent of a Man-Bites-Dog story.

Yep, there was another unjustified police shooting this weekend, one which may finally make police forces around the country take a good look at their occupational culture.  This time they really screwed up… they shot a blonde.

An Australian woman who had placed a 911 call to report a sound in the alley behind her home was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Oof-dah.

We know that after the repeated police shootings of black men and black women and white guys who dress like black men, nothing has changed.  The body cameras the cops were wearing, as mandated by all these prior killings, were not turned on, according to the initial police report.  We’ll see what they say in the later police reports.  These things have a way of evolving over time.

Meanwhile, I can just see President 45’s briefing on the matter:

Advisor: Mr. President, we just had another fatal police shooting.  This time it was an immigrant.

Trump: That’s what they get for coming here.  See, I told you we need a wall.

Advisor: No, Mr. President, the immigrant wasn’t Mexican.

Trump: So we lost another raghead who’s just going to radicalize here and blow something up.  No big deal.

Advisor: No, it wasn’t a Muslim man, it was an Australian woman.

Trump:  Good God, man!  Was she hot?

Advisor: As a matter of fact, she was a very attractive blonde.

Trump: Dammit, I could have married her!  Tell all my people… We have to do something about this.  We have to act fast.  The American people will never stand for this senseless slaughter of hot blondes.

Advisor: What do you want us to do, sir?

Trump: Figure out how to blame it on Obama.”

So now we’re awash in protests again, which immediately commands all the attention from the police fetishists and apologists. The only thing that matters to them is that some windows got broke and poor people stole some shoes or TVs. Republicans are very much against the looting of big retail stores like Target, by the common folk. That's the job for the executives.

In other words, “Stop crying or we’ll give you something to cry about.”

How nice to be immune from criticism from anyone who isn’t doing the job themselves.

I understand that it’s a dirty and dangerous job, and we owe a lot to our police officers. But is it too much to ask that they do their jobs without arresting innocent bystanders or beating the shit out of people in handcuffs? Or shooting people who are running away from traffic stops? Or rolling anyone who looks like they have money?

It’s not like we’re just being picky here.

The funny thing is, right after I saw the meme, I read an article in the Baltimore Sun about how the Baltimore City police are now afraid to make arrests because they’ll get in trouble.

So many things set me off.

“Many Baltimore Police officers say making an arrest can be nerve-wracking because they feel overburdened by documenting even necessary force, they worry they will be harshly punished for their actions and they don’t feel supported by commanders.”

If you can take the time to night-stick someone, I think you can take the time to justify it in writing. Next time, maybe they’ll think before they clobber.

"You know, I’d really like to knock the crap out of that guy, but I just don’t wanna do the paperwork.”"