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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I don't know if I should write this

What to write? What to write? I spent all day yesterday trying to think of the right way to respond to the injustices of Ferguson. Anyone unfortunate enough to get within listening distance heard some pretty brutal words -- the kind of words which, if published, might have gotten me into trouble.

The following may seem intemperate. Those around me have heard worse.

While downtown Baltimore yesterday, I talked to an older black guy who derided the rioters in Ferguson. He recalled the riots of April 1968, which destroyed a sector of this city which has never been properly rebuilt. (One of those areas surrounds the cemetery where the fetid cadaver of Allen Dulles lies not far away from the corpse of John Wilkes Booth.) "Rioting never solves anything," he said. Maybe he was right, but I still didn't want to hear it.

Some thoughts:

1. White people -- on teevee and elsewhere -- keep repeating that Michael Brown "charged" the officer's car. McCulloch clearly stated that there was conflicting testimony on this score. The fact that so many white people use that term unthinkingly proves their racism.

I'm sorry, but the R word is justified in this instance. You cannot presume from the outset a point of questioned testimony that should have been determined at trial. Racists consider testimony "credible" only when it buttresses their preconcieved notions. We have to ask ourselves why some pundits don't want "their" witnesses to face cross-examination. What are they afraid of?

2. A man in a car (especially a man in a heavy vehicle like a police cruiser) never -- NEVER -- has anything to fear from a single unarmed individual. That's what the gas pedal is for.

Well, to be fair: If the car is out of gas or trapped between two other cars, the driver may have reason to fear. But Officer Wilson was not in that situation. He could have scooted out of the way and, if need be, called for back-up.

3. McCulloch kept repeating that the Grand Jury made its decision based on physical evidence. It is clear now that this decision was based primarily on Darren Wilson's testimony.

4. McCulloch could have gotten an indictment if he wanted one. As the commonly-heard saying has it, a DA can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. A grand jury was convened purely to allow McCulloch to blame others for his decision.

5. As a reader of this blog put it: "Differing accounts of what happened huh? That's USUALLY why they have trials." Those twelve words sum up this entire post. If we allowed trials to occur only when all witnesses agree, we'd have a lot fewer trials.

6. Wilson's testimony seems to have been a prime example of what the cops in L.A. call "testi-lying." See video above.

7. Why should we trust what the police call "physical evidence"? Why should we trust their testimony? The cops -- in that town and in other towns -- have been running a racket, using poor working people as a cash register. Check out the revealing words about forfeiture in Ferguson's budget (pdf)). And check out this piece. Even the NYT has published an uncharacteristically hip article.

At trial, a clever attorney could have reminded the jury of the many things the cops have done to earn the community's mistrust and hatred.

Frankly, that's the kind of spectacle I long to see.

I would love to see juries automatically presume that the cops are lying in every single case. Not one syllable cops say should be trusted. If a cop says "He wore a blue jacket," presume that the jacket was some other color -- even if you have a photo proving that the jacket was blue.

More than that. Jurors and other citizens should do everything possible to make the lives of cops miserable. A cop's kid should be spat on every single day he goes to school. Cops should wake up to see paint buckets emptied on their cars. Why? Here's why. And here's why.

Keep treating cops like garbage until cops stop acting like garbage. And a hearty FUCK YOU to any thuggish cop who boo-hoo-hoos about being hated by the very people he is trying to serve when he's out there every day putting his life on the line yada yada yada. Cops are hated for good reason, as you can see here.

For the average citizen, the police are worse than the mafia. Until the cops stop functioning as a hyper-mafia, they should be treated the same way the heroic Vietnamese treated French and American soldiers.

I used to have a great respect for policemen. Seriously. I was taught from an early age to revere those guys, and I would love nothing more than to return to that attitude. But damn it, there have been too many stories like this one. And this one. And this one. And this one. And this one.

Cops need to be taught a lesson, and that lesson is this: Actions have consequences. If cops have become robbers -- as indeed they have -- well, they chose that course, and now they must take the consequences.

8. Let's not blame "outside agitators" for the Ferguson riot. Come on: Nobody takes the Revolutionary Communist Party seriously. They're clowns. Frankly, I've always thought that Bob Avakian worked for the feds. The RCP was Ronald Reagan's best recruiting tool on the UCLA campus, back when I was a student there. As for Al Sharpton: He definitely worked for Uncle.

The real "outside agitators" in Ferguson are the cops. The robbing, thieving, ultra-corrupt cops.

9. If a guy like McCulloch recommends peaceful protest -- well, what more evidence do you need? Obviously, peaceful protest is useless. Peaceful protest is what the Establishment wants you to do. (Yeah, I said it: The Establishment. Time for that useful term to come back into circulation.) The Establishment considers protest to be part of the system -- a way for the oppressed to blow off steam.


Do not waste your time with protest. Rebel.

Each of you will have to work out the specifics of how to rebel, although the words written above may suggest an idea or two. But the following two pieces of advice may be of some help.

First, history tells us that the most effective forms of rebellion are planned events, done in cold blood.

Second, being a rebel is like being a boxer: You don't win if you hurt yourself. You have to hurt the other guy.

Added note: I'm getting a lot of hits from the Free Republic. Guess they hate me. Oddly enough, this is one of the few posts I've written containing links to sites run by Libertarians. In these strange times, the usual right/left dichotomy doesn't always tell the full story.
Some good points and real passion behind that. Perhaps that kind of racism you're describing should be explained as internalized or ingrained.

Thanksgiving is going to be tough....
"After the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the government called on police to become the eyes and ears of homeland security on America’s highways."(

CIA ,DHS planning to destroy some of their email archives.

obviously UN-related

Agreed, but.............. In my city in the Midwest we have a concept called Community Policing. Adopted by some and created in Madison by former police Chief Couper (his blog, We may have a few rotten apples but the majority of police here are the most respectful, kind and helpful people in any institution in the city. And yes, they DO save lives every day.

We really need to look to the leaders of any organization. Do they give special preference to friends and the wealthy or do they treat everyone equally? That's nearly impossible in this world today but we can strive for that. Police do serve the community ( break ins, robberies, murders etc) but they have also historically served as protectors of the rich ( oh yes Mr. Big, we understand, you weren't involved at all, thanks for coming in, sorry to bother you).

I'm so saddened when I see the best in blue in my city and they are compared in any way to Ferguson. Our present Chief has referred to the Ferguson cops as "rent-a-cop". He's great, but does he place a high preference on protecting the wealthy? Honestly, I don't know.

Last thought. Everybody likes to talk about how many people police officers kill. Question. How many people do doctors kill? Or any other profession. And in those professions, do they risk they're lives every day?
When Ukrainian Neo-Nazi gangs attacked unarmed police in Kiev with clubs, iron bars, bricks and Molotov cocktails, the American media labelled them as "pro-democracy demonstrators", whereas blacks in Ferguson are now nothing but "rioters". Racism and disinformation run so deep in our society that's it's no wonder most people, including those who call themselves progressives, seem incapable of an unorthodox thought.

As this conflict spreads from city to city across the country it's important to remember that one man's riot is another man's rebellion.

You should not have written this.
Calling all cops garbage is like calling all blacks criminals.

Shame on you
You first instinct was correct.
"Calling all cops garbage is like calling all blacks criminals"

The difference is this: Cops have power. Most black people do not.

Not all cops are garbage, but even the non-garbage cops have learned not to rock the boat and not to air dirty laundry. Everyone knows this. Thus, even the good cops are bad cops, because the good cops acquiesce to the evils within the system.

You can't be a good gear within a bad machine.

Treating the non-garbage cops as if they were garbage cops will have an obvious salutary effect: This tactic will force the good cops to deal with what is happening around them. Maybe they'll become disgusted. Maybe they will start ratting out their corrupt brethren. Better still, maybe they will quit and become agents for change.

Be honest. How many "good" cops have written articles or gone on radio talk shows to denounce the forfeiture racket? Isn't it much more likely that good cops will rationalize the corruption, will go along to get along?

Police forces across the country have become organized theft rings. I used to think that the cops in Tijuana were corrupt, but those guys are pansies compared to what's going on in America.

So what choice do we have? We have to be honest about what is going on. We have to resist what has happened. We have to treat these robbers-with-badges like pariahs. We have to make them hate themselves by treating them -- ALL of them -- like garbage.

I don't see any other way to effect change. "Peaceful protest" clearly does not work.
By the way, I never said that all cops were garbage. I said they should be treated LIKE garbage.
OK, why don't we just disband the police force in Ferguson and let the citizens who live there handle any crime there? Sorta like western justice.

I'm serious. Anytime a population gets over 50% black, just disband the police department.

Could you live with that?
Joseph wrote...As a reader of this blog put it: "Differing accounts of what happened huh? That's USUALLY why they have trials." Those twelve words sum up this entire post. If we allowed trials to occur only when all witnesses agree, we'd have a lot fewer trials.

I KNEW you would twist this around. Of course witnesses can have conflicting viewpoints,but when the viewpoints conflict on the same side, that points to something that could be viewed as racist as well. Or can only caucasians be racist in your world?
As for being safe in the car explanation, that is inaccurate as well. There was another person involved no? Wasn't that person around the car as well? How can the officer keep their eye on the attacker and go forward without even looking where he is going? It can't be done.

It is also possible that if the deceased were actually a pretty bad dude that no one from his community would out him either.

Wasn't he caught on tape stealing from a store just earlier that day? Are we to believe that was his first time ever stealing? Somebody his size stealing, how can that be painted as an innocent young kid? And no I'm not justifying his death, but to portray him as a innocent young boy seems incorrect as well.

Joseph, why don't you go into the Ferguson community and do a fair and balanced tribute video about the deceased. Good luck with that.
You could have constructed a much more useful commentary if you simply had advocated that police officers more closely resemble the racial community they patrol.

Not an exact percentage ratio, but something that is probably closer than what it is in Ferguson.

I think you're going to need one of these:
Freepers are not libertarian, at all. They are neocon, earth-rapers, it's where the Cheney's might hang out. So you linking to libertarian sites is not a 'right' thing.

On Ferguson. we just need to read our Alain Badiou to see why this is happening; why this is the new normal. We will be seeing more and more rioting, as the injustice continues unabated.

And it is a capital injustice. The top 100 people in the usa making more than the bottom 180 million! Come on, you have to go back to medieval times to find something like that disparity.

And the debt. The average student coming out 30 grand in debt. Get in line sucker. The national debt. What a great tool. Make the government do austerity to make payments of increasing percentage of the pie.

The Democratic party is not going to be where the revolution, if we ever see it, happens.
Alessandro and Richard: Follow my links. Most of them don't talk about race; most of them describe crime -- or "legalized" theft. My point is simple: Why should anyone trust or tolerate police who act like mafiosi? And just how bad do things have to get before rebellion becomes justified?
Thanksgiving is always tough with families of disparate views of the world and country. This year the Wilson non-indictment will likely dominate conversations between left and right family members. Makes life interesting. Or not.

No one expected a Wilson indictment because police across the country have gotten away with this and worse. What's worse than a dead body? you ask. Shaking down poor communities on ludicrous charges, stacking escalating fines and charges on people who are living on the edge turns entire neighborhoods into the walking dead--no opportunity to get out from under, few jobs and lousy pay when jobs exist and public officials who take great pride in filling the coffers with confiscated goods and money from people who have little of either. People need to read the shenanigans that public 'servants' have been exacting on communities like Ferguson. It's downright disgusting.

Yes, cops have a hard job and put their lives on the line. The good cops need to start standing up and calling the bad ones out. The systemic theft and brutality in poor neighborhoods needs to stop. Too bad if a police force doesn't have the money for a cappuchino/latte machine or the latest military gear from our pointless ME wars.

The rage we've been seeing across the country isn't the result of one death alone. It's rage against many dead bodies in the street. Like the 12-year old shot to death the other day for having a toy pistol. Anyone think that would happen in an upscale, white neighborhood? And if it did happen, anyone think there wouldn't be demands for the cops head???

Our justice system is no longer even pretending to be equitable. Color blind, class blind, justice for all. It's become a sad, ugly joke.

And just how bad do things have to get before rebellion becomes justified?

I think that's a perfectly valid question. I'm just surprised to hear it coming from someone who cited the fate of the Paris Commune to argue that violent resistance was always a bad idea.
For a minute there I thought you were going to express an independent opinion.
It is indeed ALMOST always a bad idea, and the fate of the Paris Commune proves the point.

I advised people to rebel. There are numerous ways to do so, and many of those ways do not involve violence.

For example, treating policemen as social pariahs is both non-violent and perfectly legal. Choosing not to accord any credibility to police testimony in courtroom proceedings is also non-violent and (I think) legal. Putting emotional pressure on well-meaning cops to tell the truth about the forfeiture racket is a non-violent and legal method of rebellion.

There are many other strategies. As I said, people will have to work out those strategies for themselves.
This won't improve your mood.

Police didn't arrest him or file charges. He was initially listed as the 'victim' (rather than the teenage girl he ran over).
The police lie in every single case. They lie even when they don't have to. There's something about swearing by almighty God and raising their right hand that makes them lie their knickers off and keep a straight face and back while they're doing it. If a police officer showed a proper respect for the truth, his peers would soon ostracise him. Very soon. He'd have made a real boo-boo.

"A cop's kid should be spat on every single day he goes to school." Steady on! That's silly and nasty. You can't blame children for what their parents do.

Where I come from, police are already treated as social pariahs. They are one of the few occupational groups - another being schoolteachers - who predominantly hang out among their own. Not many people want to drink in a pub that cops go to.

But beware the false idea that the police are the main enemy. They're not.
@ Joseph : 8:15 PM
"ALMOST always"
The logical structure of such leaves me ALWAYS mind-buggeled.
"nobody can jump into the same river twice" ALMOST
You propose treating police officers like garbage. That's how Michael Brown treated Darren Wilson.
No, RobJ...that's how Darren Wilson treated Michael Brown.
Well, Joseph, if that's how you feel.

I'm a long time reader and frequent admirer, but I'm also the mother of a cop and the grandmother of one of those children you advocate spitting upon.

At the moment, I see very little difference between you and those whom you profess to hate. Do you honestly believe that we should treat an entire group and their offspring like garbage because of the horrible actions of some?

That's wrong and immoral, whether it's crooked cops, white supremacist bigots, or unhinged Islamophobes, or YOU doing it.
"FBI data released over the past month reveals that so-called “justifiable homicides” reached a record high last year, while the number of officers killed in the line of duty fell to its lowest level in decades."

Dear Anonymous...that says a lot right there since you can make up a nym and that apparently was beyond you. The mother of a cop says more about you than about Joseph. I'm sure the children spitting on your grandkid/s will be doing so on account of the toxic mix of entitlement and ....mentality, and the lack of prowess therein.

I agree completely with the premise that such treatment is necessary for all cops, so that the "good" gears in the bad machine will start to balk.

Everything Peggysue said! It turned out my family was well-behaved, but only because they are such diehard foodies that the only topic ever discussed while eating

The dogs, on the other hand, were total brats. Mine, the worst of them.

Joseph, I know I'm late on commenting here but......I disagree about spitting on the cops kids, don't blame them for the moral shortcomings of their parents. As to the rest, you are 100% spot on. I'm amazed at how many people are accusing you of doing what they themselves are doing....spouting an opinion that is not yours. The defenders of the cop sound like they are just regurgitating talking heads from the MSM. Talk about not being capable of original thought. Police lie as a matter of course, yet we are to believe that the officer, who filed no report (as is standard procedure), did not have his statement taken at the scene (also standard procedure), and had 3 months to concoct an exonerating testimony, didn't lie about what happened. Not to mention a prosecutor who did everything in his power to make sure the defendant wouldn't get indicted (i.e., not doing the job we the people pay him to do). Yeah, sure. People are far more gullible than I had previously thought.
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