Monthly Archives: April 2015

I feel so ashamed….

…I can’t spot an obvious disagreement I might have….  http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/240634-michael-moore-disarm-the-police

“Filmmaker Michael Moore on Thursday called for the release of all blacks jailed on drug sentences to be released, and for the police to be disarmed.

“Here’s my demand: I want every African-American currently incarcerated for drug ‘crimes’ or non-violent offenses released from prison today,” Moore tweeted. (Zingy:  I don’t think that’s an absurd sentiment)

“Next demand: Disarm the police,” he continued.  (Zingy:  I don’t think that’s an absurd sentiment)

Moore’s tweets were in response to the rioting in Baltimore earlier this week, which was triggered by the death in police custody of a 25-year-old black man.

“We have ¼ billion 2nd Amendment guns in our homes 4 protection,” Moore wrote. “We’ll survive til the right cops r hired.”  (Zingy: not a stretch as a practical observation such that it would ever happen)

The “Fahrenheit 9/11” director additionally accused national law enforcement of practicing racial discrimination against blacks.

“And the rest who r imprisoned – I don’t believe 50 percent did what they’re accused of,” Moore tweeted(Zingy:  50% might be too high, but with plea adjudication being the rule, and it being flawed a flawed method, you might say 50% or more of them were not served with justice.)

“Lies, greed, a modern day slave system,” he added. “Poor whites 2.”  (Zingy:  A bit hyperbolic)

Moore argued “local cops now militarized” upheld this system of oppression. This status quo, he continued, undermines America’s deepest values.  (Zingy:  I don’t think that’s an absurd sentiment)

“Founding Fathers said NO army policing our soil,” the filmmaker charged. (Zingy:  that’s right)

“Why do cops have tanks?” he asked. “Oh right – the Enemy: The Black Man.”  (Zingy:  I don’t think that’s an absurd sentiment)

Moore also listed a summary of alleged grievances perpetrated by police departments against minority communities, especially blacks.

“Imprison u, shoot u, sever your spine, crush your larynx, send u to war, keep u poor, call u a thug, not let u vote,” he tweeted.

“But u can sing for us,” Moore finished.  (Zingy:  he goes for the trope there, but yeah, that’s a real irony)

The director’s screed was in response to violent protests in Baltimore earlier this week.

Riots erupted Monday over the death of Freddie Gray. Baltimore police on Tuesday arrested 235 people after confrontations in the streets.

The city additionally imposed a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. that will last through the end of the week.

Plus 40

People are talking about the big round number anniversary here, and it occurs to me I was operating under a math to year dissonance, and unawares that I was.  I associate the end of the Vietnam war with the conclusion Kissinger brought to it, what they say in textbooks, like January 1973.  That’s 42 +  years.  But that helicopter photo is from 1975, that’s 40 years.  Are we saying Vietnam ended in 1975 now?  http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2015/04/remembering-vietnam-a-week-when-it-all-fell-apart/

My textbook understanding is also that ’68 election turned somewhat on who was thought most credible in claiming a plan to end the war.  And when you understand Republicans by today’s terms, it’s hard to figure that man was Nixon.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamization  But the alternative I guess was Humphrey, LBJs VP.  Not terribly credible.

My own family, those that were of voting age, were I think conventionally anti-war by ’68, and my father and uncle were just back from Vietnam.  Everyone voted for Humphrey anyway so far as I know, that being a Minnesota thing paired with a Roosevelt-ian revulsion for Republicans.

“The Marines’ initial assignment was defensive. The first deployment of 3,500 in March 1965 was increased to nearly 200,000 by December.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War  My father was not yet 21 and been a Marine for 3 years by 1965.  He was deployed to Vietnam end of 1965, so we are going on his 50th year anniversary.  He set foot in country via the old Higgins boats to seashore that they ran out from troop carriers.  There’s probably an operation name associated with that, as it seems something more purposeful than landing at an airstrip that was available, and the country was not overrun in that area at that time.  I do not know what the operation name was.  I believe he was rotated out in fall of 1966.  He was a bone fide infantry rifleman out doing guerilla interdiction via helicopter drops and was in ‘action’ over 9 or 10 months.  Were they battles?  Skirmishes?  He got malaria in Vietnam and recovered in Manila for some weeks before being sent back.  I do not believe the malaria ever affected him since.  I think I recall that he got burnt badly on his left forearm by a hot rifle barrel while hunkered down in a ditch or behind a downed tree during some event.  Burn scar is still there, mighta been as big as an Eisenhower silver dollar originally.

In terms of tropes and stock characters…. He had quite a few chaotic years when he got back, which extended well into our family life once there was our family, starting 68… that’s one way to say it, having to do with how to manage how much one drinks beer.  He didn’t quit beer, but he ended up managing it, and if he wasn’t naturally one he ended up this kind of guy with a pretty absurd work ethic.  Ya know, a diligence, and did well with his own professional services shop.  That came about just as he was going to get into his 40’s.  He is not quite retired yet.  He has prostate cancer now, which he’ll probably recover from, and it pisses him off but his stoicism is such that he crabs about other things.  There’s a prostate cancer to Agent Orange correlation, and I think he’s getting some VA disability comp for that besides VA health benefits.

I think I got 5 Vietnam era veterans among dad and uncles, 3 of them were in Vietnam.  I think their service remains a curiosity to all the aunties and us kids who came after.  Ya think, or at least I do, its very weird in some ways that all these average dudes had to be kinda herded up to do this, and they did it…and it is their own thing that no one else can ever really get if they were not there.  And I wasn’t of course, I didn’t live that. The shadow is robust enough to have a material presence though in the life of someone like me, born to the new adults of the 60’s.  Not to be too melodramatic or wordy.

The Deuce

Yeah, I can see that this is the case…. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/04/hillary_clinton_s_impressive_criminal_justice_speech_the_democratic_front.html

I said that:  http://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/8518681/protests-riots-work

I said that:  http://www.slate.com/articles/video/video/2015/04/hbo_now_how_to_watch_on_your_television_without_apple_tv_video.html  Works great, shockingly so.

Riots don’t solve anything II

Megan McCardle is 6’ 3”right?  http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-04-29/baltimore-is-a-reminder-riots-just-don-t-work  Kinda the Brienne of Tarth of blog punditry.  And I love her counterintuitive freakanomics Ayn Randian take on things.  Smart woman.  Like others though, I think she’s too broad in her scope to deduce ‘riots don’t work’.  What’s attainable by rioting is the creation of a political pressure that is acknowledged by the responsible AGs seeing to it that the Freddie Gray investigation is not a police whitewash.  If you get that as a result, and I think it will, rioting worked.  Eric Garner in NY is extremely similar in its circumstances.  They didn’t riot, they didn’t get any prosecutions.  So, rioting not accomplishing anything is to see it as an answer to macro problems, and I think that’s incorrect.

Jots with Dots

Maybe:  http://theweek.com/articles/552471/why-democrats-deserve-chunk-blame-baltimores-anguish  though generally, I’m dissatisfied with the Fox news style observation that because Democrats and their tax and welfare apparatus run the cities, they own blame for the riots.  I don’t think that’s the answer to this question, and I don’t think the riots were an unnatural reaction…  It’s just obtuse…  Ambinder, he lists things which are probably true and then some that might be overstated, but I think the accurate characterization of blame is to note that the urban police and prosecutorial apparatus has malignantly metastasized while in residence within the Democrat coalition.  Democrat politicians are the only ones who can fix this….  Re 1994 Crime Bill:  I did vote for WJC in 92, but was by 94 slipping away from the Ds.  I had a great sense at the time the 94 Crime Bill with all the Clinton cops was a counterintuitive Nixon goes to China law and order jingoistic pander.

Eye on Scandinavia:  http://reason.com/blog/2015/04/30/scandinavia-is-a-collectivist-paradise-n  I was there in 92 to meet my distant cousins.  It’s not like there are limits on how well you can do (see IKEA…), one of these relatives had an earth moving business and he had the exact appearance of the prosperous trades people you encounter here….  Pretty nice house and a depot to keep multiple pieces of very expensive equipment, nice boat on the waterway…  Guys in their 30’s not gainfully employed, on benefits did seemed to be overepresented.

Eye on Scandinavia:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/finland/11568042/Finland-fires-warning-shots-at-foreign-submarine-near-Helsinki.html  Don’t mess with the Finns.

Eye on Salon:  http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/04/salon-defense-of-kazakh-election-is-finally-here.html  Fish, barrel, smoking gun there with Chait.  Some things are too kook lefty for him.  He wants, what, to argue for large L Liberalism.  That’s good, I can appreciate that…. You go down Salon’s sidebar menu, they typically got 3 commentaries on various things Bill Maher has said in the past week.  My distaste for Maher has been moderated, but still, this does not speak well of Salon.

Really grafty…. But maybe not enough to be disqualifying for Dems

This can’t actually be casually dismissed as the Clintons merely lacking the self-discipline to keep their pockets closed to money that gets thrown their way.

http://www.vox.com/2015/4/28/8501643/Clinton-foundation-donors-State

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/04/clinton-foundation-needs-better-defense.html

I mean, sure, you can casually dismiss it… but that’s obtuse or consciously delusional.  It’s a robust influence peddling gambit, and the Clintons understand the power relationships there.  And what’s happening at this moment, with Chait and Vox and the NY Times, is the base is deciding whether or not they’re up to spouting Clinton lies for 5 years or more.  It’s a hard ask because the Clintons may very well disappoint with a scandal that can’t be diminished with a buncha lies.  Other thing is, The Democrat base is in embrace of a sentiment that despises corporate oligarchy and ambiguous money while…. The Clintons are whoring out for corporate oligarchy and getting paid with ambiguous money…  This is going to be the actual complaint the R’s make about Clinton rather than an observation about populism that the Rs may fumble.  It’s that the Clinton’s are whores to the oligarchs.  And it’s true, and the contrast is real.  Certainly Republican’s take ambiguous / soft money and their position on soft money isn’t easy to defend against prevailing thought in these times, but Republicans are almost obtusely ideological there.  They’re not whores generally, not like this.

Jots with dots

Then again, this would be welcome:  http://www.vox.com/2015/4/29/8512283/hillary-clinton-calls-for-end-to-mass-incarceration-reversing-bill

Sanders, in:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/04/29/bernie-sanders-president-2016-vermont/26561211/ Fringy, I don’t actually think he’s got a deep well of well regard.  Ya know, principled man, but he’s Quixote-esque, and his run is Quixote-esque.  But, could do worse.  Like with HRC.  And you can envision where the base gravitates towards him, he stays close, and HRC blows up.

I said that:  http://theweek.com/articles/552189/dont-blame-globalization-china-outsourcing-baltimore-riots  It’s a police problem.  In-group psychology and then passive and institutional racism means minorities suffer more.   It’s also to say, I reject that it’s a root causes thing generally.  Cuz it’s a police problem.

Rand:  Root causes. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/04/29/rand-paul-cites-a-lack-of-fathers-in-baltimore-its-more-nuanced-than-you-think/  Very disappointing pander to the GOP base there, unless he wants to pair it with a notion that we jail too many of these fathers.

Rioting won’t solve anything

That’s supposed to be of commandment like wisdom right?  I’m not sure it’s true, not sure it isnt an answer that creates some movement re this particular problem.  http://theweek.com/articles/551991/rush-judgment-baltimore

Thing is, peaceful protest is yes, somewhat more virtuous I suppose.  And people getting hurt is not desirable.  But it’s otherwise just a tactic.  Figure that Gandhi and MLK sought to expose apartheids corruption by confronting it with protest.  As a practical matter, violent confrontation muddies the contrast with the oppressor, allows them to call the protesters insurrectionists.

Here… I guess I could foresee a peaceful Occupy style protest at the Baltimore municipal square moving the ball at some point, maybe gaining a commitment to civilian review… I dunno.  And ya wonder why it hasn’t happened.  Answer probably being, organizationally it’s very difficult.  But with a riot, what you do apply is some weight in the near term such that it’s very difficult for the Freddie Gray review to be a cleansing operation for the Baltimore police.

Etc.

Jots with Dots:

I said that: Camden Yards.  Except for the parts I didn’t say, but I am kind of with him there in sentiment.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/04/27/orioles-coo-john-angelos-puts-baseball-and-civil-rights-and-protests-in-perspective/

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/04/orioles-john-angelos-baltimore-protests-mlb

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Angelos

I don’t see the usefulness or accuracy of his globalization observation there.  We’re talking about police abuses, and it’s not a metastasizing problem because globalization gives us an abundance of unemployed people on the fringes for the police to beat up.  But the Angelos’ are labor lawyers and globalization tropes are the kind of coin of the realm in their circles.

Been reading in the last couple days that the notion of free trade is kind of if not completely unimpeachable.  There’s like ‘97% consensus’ type certitude on it.  And yeah, free trade dislocates….  But even so I don’t know how an alternate view of barriers and tariffs can be regarded as superior by anyone.  http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/tpa-tpp-progressives-galvanized-for-2016/?dcz=

I’d never heard of this:  http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/301445841.html  Despite a pretty good memory for local history.  Kind of an auspicious one, you’d figure it would have more lingering notoriety.

The Myth: still in business…  http://www.twincities.com/music/ci_27997844/stone-temple-pilots-sans-scott-weiland-play-myth  Just saying, it wasn’t inevitable, I recall the guys who started it were some kind of sketchy up and comer business guy who’s name I forget and Denny Hecker.  Goodness, I haven’t been to that part of Maplewood in a meaningful way for like 15 years.  My parents were from Maplewood and Oakdale and I don’t live that far from it now…  Stone Temple Pilots: I hate the song ‘Plush’ but until last weekend always thought that was by Pearl Jam.  And it’s written, what, from the perspective of some guy who kills a woman and is fretting about discovery of the body,  ‘…dogs begin to smell her’.  So people like Pearl Jam right, they are well regarded, and I couldn’t reconcile that with this stupid song, something did not compute.  That being, it’s not a Pearl Jam song.

Koch Oligarchy for the 1%: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/240190-koch-industries-stops-asking-job-applicants-for-criminal-history

Bitter Clingers

Listening to this MPR show from last Wednesday that is broadly characterized as discussing the intersection between faith and guns.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mpr-news-with-kerri-miller/id95498128?mt=2&i=340512377

I don’t think it’s unfair to speculate that the stentorian Kerri Miller’s exploration of the premise is to obliquely validate a liberal notion that conservative people’s belief in gun ownership is a fellow traveler with their religious faith.  And ya know, thus antiquated, unenlightened, and flat earthy.

Such that the theologian there, Chan, does not seek to put an academic underpinning under ‘bitter clingers’, he is it seems interested in explaining the supposed faith and guns relationship in a way that is not pejorative.

Good for him.  But I don’t think he’s remotely on the right track.  In America, they are not that related despite I guess gun owners being somewhat churchy as a rule.  They are perhaps superficially related, like two pillars standing parallel, but supporting different structures.

In old Europe you had the Church granting legitimacy to a feudal state that said, civilians are not to have arms.  The arms stay in arsenals, and if that time comes, we’ll distribute them to the people.  And when the time of urgency passes, we’ll put them back in the arsenal.  And the Church / feudal state duopoly were very hard for the citizen to defy.

Here, the frontier was initially too dangerous for the elaborate mechanism of a municipal arsenal.  Then, separation of church and state and the basic fact of American pluralism meant a dominant religion couldn’t evolve to be a duopoly partner with the state…. and, common citizens decided they rather liked having their own small arms…

I’m saying, churchy people liking guns is a product of having achieved a secular government at a certain time and place in history, not churchy people liking guns.