NYT finally gets around to reporting on the “chaos in Seattle”

I’ve reported before on what happened during the recent troubles in Seattle (see here, for instance) , in which a six-block area of the downtown (renamed “CHAZ” or “CHOP”) was taken over by protestors and was abandoned by police, who wouldn’t respond to calls from within the area. Mayor Jenny Durtkan, too, refused to do anything, and even had concrete barriers and portable toilets brought in to reinforce the occupation. Roving groups of armed citizens policed the area, especially at night.

Eventually, the site was cleared by police after several shootings occurred, but things still aren’t back to normal: businesses are either shuttered or aren’t doing much trade, and a group of local businesses is suing the city for abandoning the district, leading to “enormous property damage and lost revenue.”

That revenue is estimated at about $200 million.

I still can’t completely fathom why the city didn’t stop this from the outset, but of course that might have led to immense violence. Still, citizens have to have some assurance that the rule of law will prevail and they will be protected by police. There are several stories in the article about how emergency calls involving looting and intimidation went unanswered by police, and of course the callers are angry.

Nevertheless, the people who were willing to be quoted blame the violence on Antifa, though I suspect that some have been intimidated into not saying anything about the involvement of Black Lives Matter. And remember, antifa is still a radical, left-wing group fighting for what they consider “a more just and equitable country.”

. . . Many are nervous about speaking out lest they lend ammunition to a conservative critique of the Black Lives Matter movement. In Portland, Elizabeth Snow McDougall, the owner of Stevens-Ness legal printers, emphasized her support for the cause before describing the damage done to her business.

“One window broken, then another, then another, then another. Garbage to clean off the sidewalk in front of the store every morning. Urine to wash out of our doorway alcove. Graffiti to remove,” Ms. McDougall wrote in an email. “Costs to board up and later we’ll have costs to repair.”

. . .Many of the business owners on Capitol Hill agreed: Much of the violence they saw and the intimidation of their patrons came from a group these business owners identified as antifa, which they distinguished from the Black Lives Matter movement. “The idea of taking up the Black movement and turning it into a white occupation, it’s white privilege in its finest definition,” Mr. Khan said. “And that’s what they did.”

Antifa, which stands for anti-fascist, is a radical, leaderless leftist political movement that uses armed, violent protest as a method to create what supporters say is a more just and equitable country. They have a strong presence in the Pacific Northwest, including the current protests in Portland.

There’s a great deal of description of the destruction and intimidation that went on there, though I’m surprised it took the NYT too long to describe it (of course, I’m a critic of their overly poltiicized reporting):

Across from Cafe Argento is a funky old auto repair shop called Car Tender run by John McDermott, a big soft-spoken man. On June 14, Mr. McDermott was driving his wife home from their anniversary dinner when he received a call from a neighbor who saw someone trying to break into his shop.

Mr. McDermott and his 27-year-old son, Mason, raced over. A man who was inside the shop, Mr. McDermott said, had emptied the cash drawer and was in the midst of setting the building on fire. Mr. McDermott said he and his son wrestled the man down and planned to hold him until the police arrived. But officers never showed up. A group of several hundred protesters did, according to Mr. McDermott, breaking down the chain-link fence around his shop and claiming that Mr. McDermott had kidnapped the man.

“They started coming across the fence — you see all these beautiful kids, a mob but kids — and they have guns and are pointing them at you and telling you they’re going to kill you,” Mr. McDermott said. “Telling me I’m the K.K.K. I’m not the K.K.K.”

The demonstrators were livestreaming the confrontation. Mr. McDermott’s wife watched, frantically calling anyone she could think of to go help him.

Later, Mr. McDermott’s photo and shop address appeared on a website called Cop Blaster, whose stated aim is to track police brutality but also has galleries of what it calls “Snitches” and “Cop Callers.” The McDermotts were categorized as both of those things on the website, which warned they should “keep their mouths shut.”

Nice business here. Too bad if anything should happen to it!  The whole episode is unfortunate, involving coercion, violence, and destruction—features that I’ve always decried as maladaptive tactics if you want to appeal to the public’s sense of justice. (I’m pretty much a nonviolence kind of guy.) And Trump sure made hay of it! In general, I don’t think the occupation, or the city’s refusal to do much about it for a while, helped the cause of either civil rights or the Democratic Party. In the meantime, business owners (many of them minorities) are still suffering, yet the mayor has a sunshine-y take on it:

These days, storefronts in the neighborhood remain boarded up, covered in Black Lives Matter signs and graffiti. Demonstrators still hold evening protests, albeit smaller and quieter than before. But the businesses remain on edge.

“This is an ongoing crisis,” Mr. Donner said on Tuesday [Donner is owner of a factory in the area who had to negotiate for access to his business, and whose calls to the police went unheeded). “Protesters are apparently staying until they get some of what they want. No one knows what level of city cooperation will be enough for them.”

But the area is slowly going back to its old normal. The park and playing fields have been cleared, and police officers have returned to the streets. An apartment building that opened earlier this summer is finally attracting prospective tenants.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Durkan did not comment on the lawsuit but acknowledged frustrations from small businesses.

“Many who live and work in Capitol Hill and other parts of the city continue to witness daily protests that are rightly demanding an end to systemic racism,” she wrote. “In some circumstances, businesses and residents have faced property destruction in the last two months.”

She encouraged the businesses to file claims.

Finally, as I’ve said before, the demonstration was largely in the service of the “defund the police” movement, and apparently some defunding is happening. Whether or not this is wise is simply above my pay grade, but I’m adamantly against the dissolving of police departments in favor of local militias or of social-service workers who are said to be able to “replace” the police.

The NYT:

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, the Black Lives Matter movement is calling to defund the police, arguing that the criminal justice system is inherently racist.

Leaders in many progressive cities are listening. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a plan to shift $1 billion out of the police budget. The Minneapolis City Council is pitching a major reduction, and the Seattle City Council is pushing for a 50 percent cut to Police Department funding. (The mayor said that plan goes too far.)

Some even call for “abolishing the police” altogether and closing down precincts, which is what happened in Seattle.

78 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. dd
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    And here is a 30 second clip from today’s looting in downtown Chicago.

    Take note of car make being used….

    • Posted August 10, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      “peaceful”

    • pablo
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Ten or Fifteen years ago I read a comment in Salon that turned out to be prophetic: “Salon, where speech is violence and violence is speech.”

  3. Posted August 10, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    There’s a big push locally to abolish the Minneapolis PD. Luckily, Mayor Frey is pushing back on this.

    As I’ve said, the day the MPD goes away, I won’t be going into Minneapolis anymore.

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    The most surprising thing about the NYT’s piece is that it got published. The Commissar must have been distracted.

    • Posted August 10, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Hahaha. So true.

    • dd
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      In many ways, the paper of record hasn’t changed. There was major looting in downtown Chicago early today.

      Here is the homepage of the Times at of 3PM Eastern. Can you find the article about it?

      It’s there…but you must look for it. In other words, unless you look for it, you will likely miss it.

  5. Malgorzata
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    sub.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Really hard to understand this type of non response to violence and just lawlessness. Frankly I would not want to live in Portland or many of the high crime cities. Right here in Wichita is bad enough. Cities like Portland are playing right into the far right with this stuff. This is why Trump attempts to send out the federal troops. When Washington was president we had the Whiskey rebellion and George overreacted to that one too.

  7. Posted August 10, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Yeah, Seattle is pretty much a mess with a hard left City Council. Whole blocks of downtown and Capitol Hill remain boarded up with plywood, like there is a hurricane coming.

    Cliff Mass, a University of Washington meteorologist, got fired from his weather gig on PBS radio station KNKX for writing negatively about the sad state of the city on his personal blog. Since KNKX is partially public funded, does that not violate his First Amendment rights?

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      In an earlier incarnation, the FM station at 88.5 mHz now called KNKX and affiliated with NPR, was KPLU, under a broadcast license held by Pacific Lutheran University. In those days, I doubt that the station would have dismissed a meteorologist for expressing a view contrary to Lutheran doctrine in an outside blog. But times have changed.

      As a final sign of the times, a student group has just recently demanded that the University of Washington fire Cliff Mass from his tenured position in Atmospheric Sciences.
      We may next expect a demand that tenure be abolished (or perhaps “defunded”) altogether, and replaced by periodic faculty evaluations by the Commissariat of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

      • pablo
        Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Eliminating tenure might be the only way to disinfect wokeness from universities.

        • Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          Wouldn’t eliminating tenure simply give the Woke even more power? Without it, even the most senior faculty members would be in fear of losing their jobs and, probably, their entire career.

        • savage
          Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          Eliminating grievance studies would be most helpful, but it’s not going to happen.

        • revelator60
          Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          Less damage is caused by tenured professors than by a glut of administrators, who are both woke and consumerist: they view students as customers who must remain pleased by the university and must not be offended at any cost.

          • Mike
            Posted August 10, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            It’s pretty clear from some of the early literature used in the training of resident advisors at many colleges that they see themselves as “educators” (although their jobs are in the administrative staff category and they are specifically not instructors in academic programs), and their role is in educating undergraduate students in antiracism (and antisexism etc.).

  8. Posted August 10, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Every looter and participant of the anti-police brigade should be given a copy of Lord of the Flies. And if they are not wounded by self-reflection, throw in a copy of The Social Contract.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      “Every looter and participant of the anti-police brigade should be given a copy of Lord of the Flies. And if they are not wounded by self-reflection, throw in a copy of The Social Contract.”

      This assumes an inclination to read, a sufficient intellectual curiosity, an attention span of some sufficient length, and a sufficient reading ability.

      • revelator60
        Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        That was my initial thought, but on reflection I don’t think Golding got it wrong. The “real life” Lord of the Flies involved only six boys. In Golding’s book there were considerably more, enough to form rival tribes. And that is where the trouble starts with humanity.

        • john reynolds
          Posted August 11, 2020 at 12:30 am | Permalink

          If you threw a few girls into that teenage crucible the results would have been 1000X more catastrophic.

      • savage
        Posted August 10, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Selection bias is a huge problem here. Reminds me of the Stanford prison experiment: useful to the people who concocted it, but it was always laughable that you could simulate the behavior of criminals with Stanford students.

        • john reynolds
          Posted August 11, 2020 at 1:03 am | Permalink

          I always thought that that was the least laughable part of the experiment.

    • savage
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Committing crime is fun and exciting for these people.

      I suspect you have a more refined moral sense and that mindset is thus alien to you.

  9. Posted August 10, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    It continues to bug me that people talk of defunding the police. Inevitably someone points out that what is really meant is to funnel money from policing to more social programs and community services. Sounds good, right? Then when they report on progress, they tell us how much the police budget has been cut. Why not report on all the new and improved social programs and community services? Of course we know why. No one wants to spend money and creating these programs is hard work. Same old story.

    • Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      And funneling money to various new social service offices cannot be as cost efficient. The police were too broadly tasked, maybe, but they were all under one roof.

      • Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Maybe not as cost efficient but I think the police’s idea of efficiency is doing the social things badly as they aren’t properly trained and don’t have the right kind of motivation. Merely carrying guns makes them not work so well in social situations. I’d like to change “defund the police” into “fund the helpers” and measure progress primarily by how much helping is happening.

    • john reynolds
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      I ask the defund the police people ‘Move money to what?’ I keep hearing about ‘we need new models of dealing with the mentally ill’ and so on. But never an actual model.By the time you make a ‘mental health interdiction worker’ as safe as possible to deal with a knife wielding crackhead you pretty much have a heavily armed police officer. Or you have a ‘mental health interdiction worker’ flanked on both sides by heavily armed police officers.

      ‘Self policing neighborhoods’? Translation: Gangs, warlords running the third-world sh*t-show. Like in Seattle’s Chop.

  10. Roo
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I will be really curious to see what large corporations do with their messaging over the next few years. As I always say, money talks. The ‘most moneyed’ are currently being looted and losing sales due to the resulting instability. This may not be on their radar as much at the moment, since we’re in the midst of Covid (not a lot of shoppers out and about anyways, so riots might not make as much of an impact) and anti-Trump sentiments run so high (meaning, I think corporations on the Left are ok with a lot so long as it’s seen as an anti-Trump movement.) When the dust settles and either Biden is elected or Trump does 4 more years and is ineligible for another run, however, I think it will be an interesting sociological experiment to see how or if corporate messaging changes.

    • AlTazim
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Realistically, corporations are fine with the riots. They have sophisticated insurance contracts, teams of lawyers to make sure they get their insurance payouts, access to sophisticated security technology and in-house security teams such that they don’t need to work with police, deep pockets to rebuild and keep their employees on payroll and partial pay during shutdowns, and have received plenty of money from PPP for bailouts. Furthermore, the riots clean out their small and medium enterprise competitors, who don’t have these resources and will go out of business in short order: how can you operate a restaurant or a boutique clothing store downtown if you can’t rely on police, riots are a regular threat, and Big Insurance Inc. says your insurance policy doesn’t cover civil disturbances and you can’t afford a white shoe law firm to argue otherwise?

      Get ready for a return to the era when the cities were mostly full of check-cashing companies and liquor stores with bars over the windows, and your most reliable option for a nice dinner out was a chain restaurant in a suburban strip mall.

      • Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think any of this is true. Big business does have insurance but if risk goes up, the premiums do too. They don’t like that. Companies have Risk Assessment departments in order to do their own assessment of such risks. Those things cost them money and subtracts from profit and shareholder value.

        • Roo
          Posted August 10, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          Agree – I think many companies operate on smaller profit margins than people assume (that’s just my impression so take it with a grain of salt though), insurance premiums are indeed a big thing, and the loss of ad revenue from being able to have a flashy storefront in a densely populated area is also a fairly significant loss.

          I feel corporations are becoming more and more influential, and are now becoming significant donors to colleges and universities. I feel fairly certain there will be a ‘narrative push’ in the coming decade or so on this topic – I highly doubt it will be a direct reversal of what they have already said (as corporations in general have so prominently pushed themselves as proponents of the current social justice movement, so any reversal on that point would look wildly hypocritical) but my guess is that they will frame it as helping to ‘reform’ law enforcement in some way (in keeping with the social justice narrative,) then tout the heck out of things like increased surveillance while advertising decreased use of force statistics if it accomplishes that (which it probably would, I think.)

          Or maybe all this quarantining has made me dystopian, who knows. I do like crystal ball gazing sometimes though. So that’s my prediction, fwiw.

        • AlTazim
          Posted August 10, 2020 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

          There’s a difference between “support” and “are fine with” the riots. They’d prefer to do business in a geography in which there are no riots. But when faced with the current sociopolitical landscape, they’ll chalk up the riots and the attendant insurance premium increases and bump in security costs under “cost of doing business” on the balance sheet. It is important to maintain “goodwill” for the brand on the balance sheet too; not only that, but you can amortize it. Then when the money has dried up in 10 years after the community runs out of money, they’ll pull out and go elsewhere. Granted, I have been watching a lot of 80s dystopian cyberpunk.

          • Roo
            Posted August 10, 2020 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

            I think that would be true if we were talking about a one-off situation. This appears to be a sustained state of affairs, however. In the midst of a pandemic, with law enforcement basically told to stand down, what’s going to change? At this point it looks like intermittent looting will be an ongoing situation.

      • RPG
        Posted August 10, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Reportedly large corporations have donated millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter. Although Antifa is the primary culprit in the vandalism, arson and attacks on police in Portland, BLM does partake in the violence too. Although in Portland from what I have seen it is white radicals who support BLM that are guilty of most of the mob violence.

    • savage
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      This would only be a concern for corporations that rely on retail, though. Tech companies probably benefit from the chaos.

  11. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I always suspected ‘Antifa’ to be a kind of false flag operation.
    Now they may not be that, but they are, since basically leaderless and not organised, extremely vulnerable to be used by the extreme right to carry out actions that will discredit the ‘left’.

    • Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes! It’s like Antifa’s whole existence is as something for the Hard Right to focus on. If they didn’t exist already, they would have been invented.

    • eric grobler
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      “extremely vulnerable to be used by the extreme right to carry out actions that will discredit the ‘left’.”

      Yes, these poor kids were indoctrinated by “left wing” academics who are in fact right wing agents.

      I find Paul’s comment very upsetting.

      • Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        You are twisting words and ideas. The point is that the Right can say things like the violence was due to Antifa terrorists with no proof. Antifa’s mere existence (perhaps mostly as a name that people know) lends plausibility to such claims. The bottom line is that Antifa has more impact as a referent for the Right than any fighting against fascism they might have done.

        • eric grobler
          Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          “The point is that the Right can say things like the violence was due to Antifa terrorists with no proof.”

          Your assertion is that Antifa is unfairly branded as a violent organization?

          • Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

            Go ahead, just keep making things up. My points have been made already.

            • eric grobler
              Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

              “I don’t think we’re defending the Guardian and NYT. ”

              Ok, I suspect we are actually 95% in agreement on these topics!

              I am just very grumpy and angry that the world has gone mad – perhaps me including!

              My apologies.

              • Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

                No problem. I agree. The world certainly has gone mad, and diseased too.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            No Eric, Paul did not say anything like that. ‘Antifa’ obviously is a violent organisation, or should I say non-organisation?
            We just don’t know if most of them are kids that react childishly to any form of authority, that is used by the far right, or that the far right kinda infiltrated -or originated- it for their nefarious purposes.

            • eric grobler
              Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

              “No Eric, Paul did not say anything like that.”

              Fair enough, apologizes to Paul.

              However, in today’s poisonous and sectarian atmosphere left wing voices like the Guardian and NYT do not scrutinize BLM and Antifa as they would have done 20 years ago.

              “any form of authority, that is used by the far right, or that the far right kinda infiltrated”

              This is why you and Paul confuses me, you insist in inserting the “right” when it comes to Antifa.

              How “far right” are the “authorities” in Portland and Seattle? They behave as if it is Apartheid South Africa.

              The question is, who is brainwashing these children?
              The answer? far left academia.

              • Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think we’re defending the Guardian and NYT. They should criticize BLM and organizations on all sides for their bad ideas and corruption whenever they are present. Our host has done a good job of pointing out how they have been increasingly invaded by Wokeness and I suspect the majority of commenters here agree with that assessment.

    • RPG
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Antifa has been around for a while. They were violently attacking Trump supporters at Trump rallies during the campaign in 2016. Most notably at San Jose and near Chicago if my memory is correct.

      Earlier they called themselves anarchists and vandalized businesses to protest a meeting of the World Trade Assoc in Seattle in 1999 where they “conducted vandalism of corporate properties in downtown Seattle. In a subsequent communique, they listed the particular corporations targeted, which they considered to have committed corporate crime.[11] “Who were those masked anarchists in Seattle?”. Salon. December 10, 1999

    • john reynolds
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      In the early 60’s my father and others organized local ‘ban the bomb’ marches. They had permits, the march was held on a Sunday, they marched on the sidewalks, sometimes had motorcycle police handling the intersections to keep the parade moving. The parade and speeches were over by 2 or 3 because the people were adults with jobs and kids. These were mostly WWII vets. My father told me the two things they always looked out for were ‘agent provocateurs’ and anarchists. People who would discredit their movement.

      How times have changed.

  12. eric grobler
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Racism & disrespect towards black officer

    • Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, this is very moving to me.

      • eric grobler
        Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it is sad in an existential way – losing faith in humanity.

  13. Leigh
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I remember seeing and hearing comments from a black woman detailing past racial violence directed at black businesses and neighborhoods — entire communities destroyed by white thugs who faced no consequences. This woman said she couldn’t get too upset by current property destruction. I’m sorry I can’t provide a link because her statements are worth hearing, again and again. We need to hear them because most of us didn’t learn about these events in our history classes.

    Tit-for-tat doesn’t help, and I don’t condone violent protests, and I know they feed into
    right-wing lies … but I can certainly understand why that woman’s words were so powerful. When do we stop racial injustice? How do we stop when vast swaths of our country thinks it is OK to kill black men.

    • Adam M.
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      When do we stop racial injustice? How do we stop when vast swaths of our country thinks it is OK to kill black men.

      But vast swaths of our country don’t think this. Almost nobody does. It’s as much a false narrative as the idea that racist police are going killing black men for no reason other than that they’re black.

      • Max Blancke
        Posted August 10, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        It is not about the truth of the message. The issue is whether the message is effective in provoking the target audience to engage in outraged violence.

        Lots of people readily believe that lynch mobs roam the south looking for Black children, and that police in the US kill hundreds of unarmed and law-abiding Black people each year.

        I will propose that the people spreading those messages are not doing so with any expectation that Black communities or anyone else will have their lives improved through the message’s spread.
        I could see that funding such messaging would be a great investment for those countries or organizations that would benefit from the destabilization of US society.

    • eric grobler
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      “We need to hear them because most of us didn’t learn about these events in our history classes.”
      I agree but it is important that the past is not confused with the present and that it is emphasized that it was a minority of whites that committed these barbaric acts.

      “How do we stop when vast swaths of our country thinks it is OK to kill black men.”

      Just for moment consider that “vast swaths” is an exaggeration.

      Then imagine left wing media and academia repeat the mantra that “white people hate blacks”, “white supremacy” is real, and many white people thinks it is OK to kill black men.

      This is destroying race relations and is psychologically damaging to both white and black children.

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Why do you mock the media if they say: “white supremacy” is real. And why put white supremacy in quotes?

        If you don’t think there is such a thing as white supremacy, and that white supremacists haven’t become emboldened under Trump’s Presidency, I would say you’re woefully mistaken. What do you think the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was about? Fine people on both sides? What do you think is the basis for Stephen Miller’s horrendous immigration policies? When you see someone brandishing a swastika, you don’t see a white supremacist?

        • eric grobler
          Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Mark,

          I am referring to the narrative that the US is a white supremacist culture, white people are inherently racist and “people of color” face systemic racism..

          “Stephen Miller’s horrendous immigration policies”
          I do not know the details, except that my suspicion is that “horrendous” might be a bit of an exaggeration historically and compared to non-western counties.

          I do not know how different the Mexican immigration polices are from Clinton to Trump because objective Journalism is in short supply.

          • GBJames
            Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think you can blame journalism here. Either you haven’t paid attention or you don’t want to know.

            • eric grobler
              Posted August 10, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

              “I don’t think you can blame journalism here. Either you haven’t paid attention or you don’t want to know.”

              Not being an American I have not followed the details and if you think I am being a dick for not trusting the media, then so be it.

              If you can point me to a quality article I will happily read it.
              (A quality article should compare current and previous administration policies)

              • GBJames
                Posted August 10, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

                I think you’re responsible for doing your own research here. I don’t need to satisfy your idiosyncratic needs for “quality journalism”.

              • GBJames
                Posted August 11, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

                Well, all I can say, Eric, is that you assert both your own ignorance and that there is no difference between Clinton and Trump regarding immigration policy. Beyond the obvious contradiction, if you were and American or you had bothered to pay attention to American politics, you would not likely say such a thing. And you block actual discussion of the fact by insisting that the only evidence you will accept is one that adequately passes a test that only you will judge.

                There’s little point in further discussion here, IMO.

            • eric grobler
              Posted August 11, 2020 at 12:08 am | Permalink

              “I think you’re responsible for doing your own research here. I don’t need to satisfy your idiosyncratic needs for “quality journalism”.”

              Now I am doubtful whether you actually have an objective view on this. It might be possible that under Clinton and Obama many of the same policies (like deportations with lack of concern for children) were taking place.

          • Mark R.
            Posted August 10, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

            “Stephen Miller’s horrendous immigration policies”
            I do not know the details, except that my suspicion is that “horrendous” might be a bit of an exaggeration historically and compared to non-western counties.

            First of all, why are you comparing anything today “historically”? What does that even mean? Yeah, historically we can compare any “horrendous” comparison. I’m talking about 2020 and today. And also “compared to non-western countries” is a non-sequitur.

            I used the word horrendous to describe children being separated from their parents at the border and the word also refers to amnesty requests stalled and denied for no legal reason. We currently have a border policy all about suffering the people, not helping humanity. I’m one for helping humanity.

            Anyway, you’re not an American (I thought you were) so I understand you don’t know Miller. Believe me “horrendous” is not a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe not “historically”, but that’s a game we can play all day.

            • eric grobler
              Posted August 11, 2020 at 12:05 am | Permalink

              “I used the word horrendous to describe children being separated from their parents at the border”

              I agree that is horrendous.
              However my question is, are you sure that this did not also happen under Clinton or Obama?

        • Adam M.
          Posted August 10, 2020 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

          You’d have a hard time finding more than a miniscule fraction of a percent of Americans that can be justifiably described as “white supremacist”.

          The Unite the Right rally was about protecting Confederate monuments from being torn down, and also about opposing the demographic displacement of whites generally. Neither of those are supremacist positions. Who among them said that whites are superior to all other races, or that whites should rule over them?

          Even if Stephen Miller and Trump got everything they wanted regarding immigration, the United States would still have one of the most lenient immigration systems in the world, especially when compared to practically any non-white nation on Earth. While its wisdom can be debated, there’s nothing inherently supremacist about an immigration policy that opposes illegal immigration or immigration from certain Muslim countries, or that favors skilled, job-based immigration over refuge and family reunification policies.

          Adults who openly brandish swastikas might be white supremacists, but I think you’ll find rather few of those. Certainly the Republican party is not a haven for them. Even the rare people like former congressman Steve King who opine that Western civilization is the best – which may or may not be a white supremacist position; I’ve never heard him say only whites can partake in it but he might think that – are excoriated by the party leadership and kicked out of power.

          If there are actual white supremacists around, they are on the fringe of the fringe.

          • GBJames
            Posted August 11, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            You’d have a hard time finding more than a miniscule fraction of a percent of Americans that can be justifiably described as “white supremacist”.

            This is patently false unless you limit white supremacy to those carrying swastikas. There are countless right wing racists defending confederate flags and flying “thin blue line” flags. I live next door to one of these folk. He’s friendly enough to me, being an old white guy, but his racism runs deep. He walks around in tee shirts that read Jesus is my savior, Trump is my President. The Republican Party is chock-a-block full of people like him.

            • GBJames
              Posted August 11, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

              Damn. I failed to close the italics tag. Erf.

  14. Posted August 10, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I think the language police have a master plan.

  15. Jon Gallant
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Seattle has a bit of a tradition: every
    May Day, there is a little demonstration, at which a small group of white “black bloc” juvenile delinquents break a few shop windows to show what hot-dog radicals they are. The current BLM demonstrations have provided this demographic with richer opportunities. This year, they are called “antifa”, although they are customarily called “Anarchists”.

    This label is typical of press ignorance. It is doubtfull that any of the hot-dog window breakers have ever heard of, let alone read, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Murray Bookchin, or Paul Goodman. The correct label for their tendance is Exhibitionist.

  16. Max Blancke
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    We were in the Asheville area last night, and were watching the local news.
    The reporter was doing a live shot quite a distance from where there was a protest. Far enough away that one could not make out individuals or read their signs.
    But during the shot, some of the angry Antifa folks approached and started to get physically aggressive with the reporter and crew. The shot ended abruptly.
    Later in the broadcast, they went back to the reporter, who was then inside a news van parked out of sight of the protesters, filming with what might have been a phone camera.
    And watching today’s report, they made little mention of the incident. Their website only states that “Certain protesters stood as guards around the group, telling people to stop filming.”

    What sort of person joins a protest in a public space with the expectation that they will not be photographed, then feels that they can rough up a network news crew for reporting on their gathering?

    I think that a lot of people who have been doing their best to keep out of this whole business and only want to be left alone, are starting to wonder if it is time to get involved.

  17. eric grobler
    Posted August 11, 2020 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Apparently this 8 year old boy hit a teacher at school and the police where called to “teach him a lesson”.

    To our American friends, are police often called to discipline children?

    I believe we need more discipline in modern education but this is cruel.
    Maybe I will support defund the police after all!

    • GBJames
      Posted August 11, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Over the past couple of decades police have become fixtures in American schools. This, of course, diverts resources from teaching kids and helps contribute to a prison-feel at schools.

      In Milwaukee, where I live, the school board just voted to abandon this policy. The police department agrees with the decision. This is part of the process of “defunding police” and makes a lot of sense to me.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 12, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      “To our American friends, are police often called to discipline children?”

      As far as I can discern (from my experience in K-12 education), the answer is no.

      To our friends on the other side of the Pond, is student discipline so efficacious that it is never necessary to call for police assistance?

      I contemplate the child’s specific special need. To my mind there is a world of difference between, say, autism and what is generally-/generically-termed “behavioral disorder,” characterized by what is termed “oppositional defiance.” What is the cause of this particular “oppositional defiance” which makes it qualitatively different from that which occasionally makes parenting and teaching an ordeal? DNA and/or Socio-Economic-Cultural influences? (There’s been a lot of “oppositional defiance” in U.S. cities during the last few months.)

      I perceive that schools are very (too?) generous in giving the benefit of the doubt to such students in identifying them as special needs, when perhaps it is just as if not more likely and simply that many of them know how to behave – they just don’t want to. (It must be unpleasant for them to discover that the universe does not conform to their every demand and whim.) I’m fine with this special needs identification, as the student can’t later reasonably claim that no one tried to help him.

      I’m not for police hauling an eight year-old off to jail in handcuffs. But I’m all for a School Resource Officer being available to help de-escalate a situation and, if necessary, to appropriately and safely physically restrain a student threatening or physically assaulting a teacher. No doubt there are those students who (feel themselves uniquely entitled to) find the mere sight of a police officer “triggering.” (I’ve found myself feeling “triggered” – threatened – by uncooperative, disrespectful, bullying students, wishing they were miles away out of sight.)

      Special education teachers and aides are trained in safe physical restraint techniques. (Student age and size have a bearing on the efficacy of these techniques.) As it’s not just special needs students who hit teachers (unless one holds that any student so hitting is by definition a special needs student), it’s probably a prudent idea for general classroom teachers to learn these techniques. Also, perhaps teachers should be trained in purely-defensive techniques so that they might protect themselves. (Surely no reasonable person will construe a teacher blocking a student’s blow as an attack on the student.)

      If much such training has to be done, society may find itself dealing with a severe teacher shortage, as the prospect of being hit by students is not a “carrot” for entering the field, and it is somehow not mentioned in glossy education school and teacher recruitment pamphlets.

  18. eric grobler
    Posted August 11, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “In Milwaukee, where I live, the school board just voted to abandon this policy.”

    Glad to hear.

    Does anyone know if this sort of thing happens anywhere else in the Western World except for the US?

  19. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted August 12, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    How is handing Trump the “Law and Order” card helping any progressive causes?


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