Police riots and Dictator Don: Open thread

Police are rioting, coast to coast, functioning not as protectors of the peace but as counterdemonstrators trying to beat down, often quite literally, those who would rein them in. Meanwhile, Trump is threatening to sic the military on demonstrators, a good percentage of us are living under curfew, and it’s really starting to seem, as Don Lemon of all people noted on CNN, like “we are teetering on the brink of dictatorship.”

So let’s have another open thread. No trolls.


96 replies on “Police riots and Dictator Don: Open thread”


Sweet-looking guitar. Never had the guts to go for more than six strings on a guitar, but I had a 5-string bass for a while about a decade and a half ago – an old Ibanez Soundgear. I sold it for a Destroyer bass, that I later (stupidly) also sold. That Destroyer sounded killer for metal stuff.

Other current instruments:
Epiphone SG
Squier Strat (candy apple red, maple fretboard, just like Mark Knopfler 🙂 )
Squier P-bass (owned it since 1991. Total workhorse.)
Mitchell steel-string acoustic (nothing fancy – Music & Arts house-brand, but sounds quite good for the money)
…and, if it ever gets here, I should be getting a Steinberger Spirit guitar soon. The second guitar I bought because I saw Mark Knopfler playing one 🙂

@surplus – maybe not out-and-out fascists, but one of my most recent songs takes a metaphorical poke at the fox news crowd and hate-media propagandists. “Most recent” being written about 2018 or so; snail’s pace would be an upgrade from my normal creative output rate. Don’t want to cross any self-promotion lines here, though.

Breaking news is that Chauvin had another charge tacked on (second-degree murder) and the three cops who held Floyd down for Chauvin to murder have been charged as well (with aiding and abetting murder).


I do not. I’m sure Chauvin has been arraigned but the other three may not have even been arrested yet. I get this from WaPo which has few details at this time.

Ever since Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign I promised myself to try not to obsess and stress over politics, and to instead try to work on myself and my social anxiety, if not for myself then at least so that I could be a better activist next time. It has suddenly become very difficult to tear my eyes away from the news, let alone avoid the anxiety that comes with it. Too little sleep, too much ice-cream, too much wondering if I should relax with video games or watch the news, too little actually doing one or the other. The one thought that has really been distressing is that right now, more than ever we need to unite everyone on the left, but there is a number reasons that doesn’t seem to be happening, which largely stems from “humans are irrational creatures”.

A lot of former Bernie supporters have stated they will not vote for Joe Biden. The “lesser of two evils” situation feels like a trap to them. Apparently the only way to avoid the trap is to vote green party, to avoid voting in the way the political establishment expects them to vote. They fear the corporate take over of the government, and I do too. While I have argued online that Biden is better than Trump (even in terms of corporate take-over) he is not vastly better. Neither of those candidates are going to reverse the growing wealth inequality. Of course these people don’t see Trump or Trumpism as a serious threat when compared to corporatism, and the notion that Trump could end democracy is dismissed as “Trump derangement syndrome,” or simply that politicians rely on corporate campaign money so democracy is in greater danger from that. A lot rides on Biden’s reaction to the current situation, unfortunately he has historically been a “tough on crime” candidate. Hypothetically Obama has the experience to at least understand why people are so upset.

There is a divide among progressives and I think it comes from people whose priorities are similar but not identical, but because they are so principled and passionate the small differences feel like major differences. In addition when a progressive attacks, criticizes, or de-platforms another progressive it has a much larger effect than when a progressive attacks a non-progressive. There is a relatively recent flood of people inspired by Bernie Sanders who place economic justice above other progressive issues. They agree that racism, sexism, etc. are major issues too but they aren’t focused on any of that. Meanwhile there are a lot of progressives over the last few decades who have acknowledged the problem of economic inequality but haven’t quite prioritized that. Wealth inequality has increased during the existence of third wave feminism, but despite reading ‘’ religiously several years ago I don’t recall them specifically discussing that fact. LQBTQ issues came up, race issues came up, but not the growing problem of wealth inequality. Still I believe that these two groups should be allies, these are all similar problems, they don’t really disagree fundamentally, and there is a very strong and threatening enemy. Trump himself makes it clear that the social far right and the economic right wing can work together, why not the left?

@Naglfar A while ago Naglfar said Peter Coffin said that employers should be able to fire people for being Trans. All of his videos are criticizing capitalism and he even personally identifies as non-binary, so the notion that he would value the rights of an employer over a Trans* person is absurd. I don’t follow him much any more, but a complete reversal of one’s beleifs is less likely that the idea that somebody somewhere misunderstood and spread false information on the internet. Personally I am tempted to blame Twitter, but the real problem is the willingness to attack other progressives based on relatively little information, regardless of platform or context. One problematic comment somehow can overpower a career of progressive activism. Social media that depicts the problematic comment as a huge scandal is inevitable shared more frequently than social media that acknowledges human imperfection. I also suspect the reason he might be disliked is that he often criticizes the dynamics of social media, likening social media personalities to capitalists and directly equating attention to currency. Anyone who relies on social media could get defensive, and there are a lot of progressives who rely on social media but don’t want to think of themselves of attention-capitalists. I would have posted a comment on the thread where your comment actually is, but I am hesitant to start fights over nit-picking, as the above text might suggest, it is just an example of a belief that threatens to invalidate a progressive voice but is also completely wrong about what that voice is actually trying to say.

This feels like a pivotal moment:

Defense lawyer source: protestors arrested by NYPD are being pulled aside by FBI at precincts & asked about anti-fascist sentiments or connections to antifa.

Do you have “anti-fascist sentiments”? In this context, the correct answer is “I’m saying nothing without a lawyer”, but the mere fact that the feds are asking will be a chapter heading in a future history book. If “anti-fascist sentiments” are now grounds for suspicion, what does that make the government?


and the notion that Trump could end democracy…

…assumes that the US ever had one in any meaningful sense. Keep in mind that it’s only within living memory that this country has even pretended to treat everyone equally*, and even now many people are prevented from having the vote. Furthermore, the Senate is deliberately antidemocratic and used to be much more so: the purpose is to ensure slave states have disproportionate** representation. Then there’s the Electoral College, put in place to install a rich white man as president just in case voters picked someone without enough of those qualities. American democracy has always been a sham.

*Not just the Civil Rights Act; did you know that it was illegal for Native Americans to practice their own religion until 1978?

**To the number of people allowed to vote in their states, that is

Nice personal attack on something I didn’t say.

First off, Coffin uses they/them pronouns. Second, what they said about a still up on Twitter last I checked, I am not twisting their words, you can see exactly what they said on Twitter. And no, Peter Coffin does not have a career of progressive activism, they have a long history of saying misogynistic and transphobic stuff and using their non-binary status as a shield. It is 100% possible to be a minority and still be bigoted either from internalized bigotry or hatred of other minorities. This is why I dislike Peter Coffin. That and that they and their fans harassed Warren supporters and then said we were the reason Bernie didn’t win.

@Dalillama: The very concept of Democracy, despite meaning “rule by the people”, was originally founded on the idea that people who are invested in and empowered by the current system should have some say in how it works. The poor, uneducated masses can’t possibly understand how government works, or to vote for the “right” thing even if they did (i.e. a system which would oppress them by practical necessity). And in one sense they did have a point – the only working models they had back then were stone age tribalism and bronze age agricultural-based heavily stratified society, and who wants to “live like a barbarian”? And when the US revived the idea a couple thousand years later they only really had a third model, the Iroqouis confederacy, which was kind of both.

Most later democracies emerged during the industrial age, so had a lot less agricultural-age baggage baked into their system. Though today, even industrial-age-based democracy is causing issues in our information-age world, but at least it’s less out-of-date than the US system.

@Naglfar: This isn’t aimed at you, it’s just general commentary based on your post.

Realistically, Bernie was never going to do better than 40% almost no matter what. At this stage, his only chances of winning were: If there was one weak main competitor who discouraged Democratic turnout, in which case he’d have a real tough time in the general; if there were 2-3 strong competitors who appeal to different segments split the vote enough that he could squeak through with a plurality, which almost sort of happened (unfortunately Biden scored enough of the cenrist/moderate conservative vote to run away with it and prevent a close vote) in which case Warren’s presence in the race would be *instrumental* to his win (assuming the Democratic Convention didn’t decide to be jackasses and hand it to someone else, probably Biden, which they might have); or the 20-something far-left which makes a big chunk of his base would break with convention and vote in the primaries en-masse – which they didn’t, they made a tepid showing as usual – though to be slightly fair this time around they sort of had an excuse, as most states don’t have vote-by-mail and, you know, coronavirus.

And if you get into the math of people’s second and third choices, it appears that if Warren dropped out, it would have helped Biden somewhat more than Sanders. It wasn’t a simple case of Warren “siphoning off” the progressive votes which Sanders needed to win, in which case it would be equally valid to demand that Sanders drop out for a Warren win.

I mean, I would be happy with a Sanders presidency, but the numbers just aren’t on his side, either for a normal year or the ludicrous set of circumstances which exist this year. It would require a different set of out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, or the general culture being more socialism-friendly than it currently is. So anyone putting the sole blame on Warren isn’t seeing the big picture. Like, at all.

Wealth inequality is a favorite amongst white progressives because it actually affects white progressives. It affects non-white people more and in that sense a reduction in wealth inequality could theoretically aid non-white communities. But the reality is that a reduction in wealth inequality that helped less-wealthy white people get a leg up would probably make a lot of white progressives content and they’d never bother to address other problems that don’t affect them personally.

Housing inequality is probably the #1 most impactful inequality in the United States, but you don’t see white progressives, in their nice white hipster neighborhoods, getting up in arms about it in the same numbers as they get up in arms about wealth inequality, even though the two are interrelated in non-white communities. Housing inequality is intertwined with many other types of inequality – wealth, health care, policing, employment, education, the list goes on – and reducing or eliminating housing inequality would solve many ills. But white progressives are not active in that scene to the degree that they ought to be, and which they would be if they were personally impacted by it.

So wealth inequality is important, but it’s not the most important thing, and the outsized importance given to it by some white sectors makes it seem like it’s all-encompassing when it absolutely is not.

Sorry if my previous post was too aggressive, I just had a bit of a knee jerk response to QuantumInc’s random bringing up a prior incident and calling me a liar (at least, that’s how I read it).
I know that Bernie wasn’t going to win, I was responding to QI and mentioned something about Sanders at the end as an example about Coffin.

I think the main reason so many white progressives are class reductionists is because it can get them out of acknowledging their own white privilege or cishet male privileges. To discuss racial or gender related inequalities, they would have to listen to minorities and women, and they don’t want to do that.

I assure you, I do not need a lecture on political history 101, and particularly not on the history of democracy, much of which actually involves various ‘barbarian’ societies. If you’d care to discuss what I wrote, it would be appreciated.


We all acutely feel the privileges we lack, and don’t much notice the ones we have. Socioeconomic privilege is the one that most white people notice because most white people don’t have it – or, at least, they can always point to someone who has more. Even conservatives are capable of understanding the privileges that, for whatever reason, they don’t have. It doesn’t take a “woke” mind to know when you don’t have something that you need.

But I expect better of white progressives, and I am eternally disappointed when they harp about socioeconomic inequality – coincidentally, the inequality that actually affects them.

Also, the narrative is now that David McAtee, the restaurant owner in Louisville who was murdered by cops on Monday morning, definitely had a gun and he definitely fired at cops and was shot in an exchange of gunfire where the police unerringly hit their exact target. This has become the common wisdom such that it’s even in WaPo. People are speculating as to why he would have shot at the cops, not questioning at all whether he actually did.

I want to reiterate that I watched the security camera footage multiple times and never saw a gun. His shirt didn’t hang straight; therefore: gun? He reached out the door at one point; therefore: he was shooting at cops? To me it looks like he was waving to people to come run into his restaurant for cover but because he reached upward with his hand he MUST have been shooting at cops. There is an object on the floor at the end which might be gun-shaped if you’re inclined to look for a gun-shaped object there. It could be the tongs he was clearly using earlier; it could be a bloodstain; it could be a gun; it could be anything.

I’m so infuriated. People are just running with this story that he shot at cops and sadly asking what would have made him do it? Was it because he thought the cops were gangsters doing a drive-by? The cops were shooting pepper balls from the word jump, so that seems plausible except for the fact that you can’t see him doing it and there is never a gun visible on the footage. Someone fired a shot. We know the cops were armed with live ammo and we know they were firing pepper balls at peaceful party-goers; is it so impossible that one of the cops fired that first shot that got everyone to start firing into the crowd? Is it so impossible that it was someone who wasn’t David McAtee who fired that first shot; even if it wasn’t a cop, there were a lot of people there. Guns are legal in Kentucky and you can concealed-carry without a permit, so what makes everyone so certain that the victim was the one who fired … except the desire to justify his killing in some way and make it as though he brought it on himself?

If David McAtee had a gun, where the hell is it now? Why do all the people in the crowd agree he didn’t have a gun? It’s fucking sickening. I


Obviously, the “gun” that David McAtee had got picked up by another protester, and it will be conveniently at the scene and suddenly go missing again when the police murder another innocent bystander in cold blood.

Sorry about that photo standing all by itself; I wasn’t able to edit that post. That is a photo of George Floyd holding up a Bible with his own name embossed in gold on the cover. The photo was published 6 days ago. Floyd was, it turns out, very active in the black Christian community in Houston. So Trump’s photo of himself holding up the Bible is an act of trolling. Once again. As always. Hail to the Troll-in-Chief.

George Floyd Left a Gospel Legacy in Houston
As a person of peace, “Big Floyd” opened up ministry opportunities in the Third Ward housing projects.

Trump claims to be ‘best president for Black America since Abraham Lincoln.’ It’s tempting to treat him to an evening at the theatre…


Woman in video: “It brings out the wrong people”

And what people are those, Karen? Just admit you hate Black people already.

Well, Trump reminds me a bit more of Andrew Johnson. Dismantles all the progress of the last few years, is corrupt, and gets impeached.

An NPR story about David McAtee, which at least nods toward questioning the official narrative:

Even the guy’s nephew is all, well, he must have been trying to protect his niece and that’s why he shot at police. There were a dozen people there! Where is the interview with one or more of them??? Why are we taking the cops’ version of events at face value??? Where is the gun that he supposedly fired???

There’s a big issue in general with the media taking the cops statements at face value without fact checking. Some outlet, I think the NY Post published a story saying looters stole $2.4 million in watches from Rolex during the protest, but Rolex later said that no watches were stolen because they weren’t even left out in the first place.

Cops lie constantly and the media either hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care.


Cops lie constantly and the media either hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care.

It’s the second one. They know cops are lying, they just don’t care because they won’t get as much readership if they start calling out the cops as liars. So many white Americans, even center and left ones, have been raised with and believe a narrative that the cops are good with “a few bad ones”, and will stop reading a paper which challenges that.

I don’t understand how the media can refuse to acknowledge that cops lie through their teeth after the effing cops clearly arrested Omar Jimenez on live TV for no reason and later issued a statement that he and the rest of his crew were arrested for refusing to move.

After Omar Jimenez, Linda Tirado, Tim Myers and Amelia Brace, you’d think that the media and journalists would realize that the police are absolutely no friends of theirs, but it seems like they refuse to stop bootlicking anyway.

that the cops are good with “a few bad ones”

Yeah, a few bad apples. Well, the saying is that a few bad apples spoils the bunch, which is accurate with apples because rot will spread from one to another, and is accurate with people as well for the same reason. If you don’t want a spoiled bunch, you pick out and toss away the bad apples, which is exactly what cops don’t do.

Given that a MAGA sent a bomb to CNN after hearing violent anti-media rhetoric from Trump and the media still didn’t seem to realize that a fascist government would be bad for them, I have little hope they’ll learn from this. Especially after NYT published that horrific op-ed from Tom Cotton and then defended it as a necessary for the American public to view. I’m honestly not sure what’ll take.

I have been thinking that the one thing that could lessen violent crackdowns against protesters is corporate retail not liking the disruptions to their business. The military emptying streets in commercial areas isn’t good for the bottom line. If politicians aren’t responsive to the well being and rights of the citizens, they may be responsive to disruptions to capital.

Oh, awesome, De Blasio is patting NYPD on the back for “showing a lot of restraint.”

I guess they could be rolling people over in tanks and they’re showing a ton of “restraint” by not openly murdering the people they are sworn to serve and protect (you know, like in Louisville). If that’s the bar to clear, then sure, they’re showing lots of restraint. 🙄

I want to know where the Second Amendment folks are. The ones who say they have guns to protect the people from government tyranny. I saw them when the “tyranny” was “please wear a mask for the safety of your neighbors” but now that the cops are committing fucking war crimes on the American populace … where are they? Cowering under the bed like cowards? Or are they on the brown-shirt side?

Don’t answer that, I already know the answer.

@Policy of Madness

We all acutely feel the privileges we lack, and don’t much notice the ones we have.

This is so true. I don’t often have cause to feel my white, male, cisgender, hetero, educated privileges (and others that I don’t feel to the degree that I couldn’t even think of them just now) … but I am so, so aware of my lack of able-bodied and neurotypical privilege. They’re inescapable.

One where my personal experience is a bit telling is Christian privilege, because as a member of a minority, out-of-the-mainstream sect (Quakers) I benefit from some of it, but far from all. And guess which I end up noticing? Not the privilege that I hold.

It’s one thing to know we hold privilege, it’s another to really be aware of it. It takes work, and it is work that we are obligated to do.

Or are they on the brown-shirt side?

I like to call them Redcaps, both in reference to their MAGA ball caps and these guys:

I initially spoonerized the name and went “oh no, Robert Pattinson is really right wing?”


After Omar Jimenez, Linda Tirado, Tim Myers and Amelia Brace, you’d think that the media and journalists would realize that the police are absolutely no friends of theirs, but it seems like they refuse to stop bootlicking anyway.


Given that a MAGA sent a bomb to CNN after hearing violent anti-media rhetoric from Trump and the media still didn’t seem to realize that a fascist government would be bad for them, I have little hope they’ll learn from this.

Yeah, but you see, the police exist to protect and serve the billionaire owners of the giant media conglomerates, so the word from on high includes “thou shalt not portray the police in a negative light in thy reportage”. Likewise, those billionaires (and, in the case of WaPo, a trillionaire) very much like the current government because it’s basically writing the superrich all the blank checks they might want, starting with the 2017 tax cut and continuing to various coronavirus relief bills in the present, so “whosoever does not treat right-wing voters, including literal bomb-throwing MAGAs, with kid gloves shalt be fired, and wilt everafter suffer eternal destitution in the fiery pits of blackballed unemployment”.

Which you hint at in your very next paragraph:

If politicians aren’t responsive to the well being and rights of the citizens, they may be responsive to disruptions to capital.

As serve the politicians, so serve the media.

I’m not sure I really want to know, but does anyone know how the racists are reacting to the fact that two of the cops involved in the George Floyd murder are of Asian descent?

@Rabid Rabbit
In my experience most white racists don’t hate Asians as much as Black people (which may be related to how Hitler declared Asians equal to Aryans, or how they fetishize Asian women), so they probably won’t hold anything against Asian cops.

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