Wednesday, August 13, 2014

HOW BULLSHIT WORKS, FERGUSON EDITION.

I'll have more on Ferguson, MO this weekend, but here's a good template for how it's going down with conservatives, from Terresa Monroe-Hamilton at Right Wing News: First, you lay out all sorts of they're-just-animals stuff --
As far as it is being told, Brown, who was a big boy, resisted arrest as he was being put in the cruiser. A tussle ensued where Brown tried to get a hold of the officer’s weapon. He then fled the scene and the cop pursued him...

The real festivities began after the shooting as riots began. Store owners stood outside their businesses with baseball bats and guns to protect their livelihoods. Which explains in part the quadrupled sales in guns across the St. Louis area – looks like the good residents there have a lot more God-given sense than previously thought... 
Rob at Joshuapundit astutely put it: “There’s nothing that says ‘social justice’ like smashing up and looting a convenience store, a grocery or a Wal-Mart.” Indeed. It’s a free for all baby and the crowd is into letting it burn, while yelling “death to all cops"... 
The guy pulled a gun on the officer and was shot for it. No tears here, but it will escalate things. Nearby, a woman was shot in the head in a drive-by. She’ll live, but if this keeps up, the bodies will start to pile up. Let the protests begin.
-- then, having mollified your ooga-booga constituents with this miserable display, you suddenly change gears and pitch it to the up-and-coming "libertarian" crowd (because it's their moment, y'know) --
As awful as the shootings and the senseless waste of life is, the underlying story lies with the police force itself in my eyes...

This is the evil gift of Obama’s governmental control fetish. He has facilitated police forces whose attire is fashioned after the US Marine Corps MARPAT camouflage pattern...

Not very professional conduct on the officer’s part and not how I choose to remember the men in blue who I have looked up to my whole life. I’m not sure when all of this morphed into the police turning into Obama’s new army.
This is not to excuse Obama, whose approach to the issue of cop-militarization expert Radley Balko calls "more of the same, and in some cases worse," but the police have been turning into mini-militaries for decades. Calling it "Obama's new army" is like calling it Obama's Iraq War -- which of course they've also been doing.

To see a middle-American cop gun down an unarmed black kid, and then see his colleagues go colonial on his black neighbors while arresting MSM reporters in a vain attempt to conceal it, and then say it's Obama's fault -- that is some bullshit. And it beautifully encapsulates a conservatarian strategy we've been seeing a lot of lately: Stroke the bigots who are mashing down black folks with one hand, while pathetically pressing the other against your brow and weeping crocodile tears for the civil liberties you claim Democrats stole from you.

149 comments:

  1. susanoftexas11:48 PM

    We will probably see every problem blamed on Obama for eternity. Obama will join the ranks of the Evil Dead one day along with Roosevelt, Stalin and Marx, reanimated in countless fundraising letters.

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  2. Warren_Terra11:55 PM

    As far as it is being told, Brown, who was a big boy, resisted arrest as he was being put in the cruiser.Untrue. The officer was inside the car during the struggle, the door was closed, and the officer and Brown were apparently struggling through the open window.He then fled the scene and the cop pursued himAnd allegedly shot him in the back, and then allegedly shot him in the chest as he attempted to surrender.

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  3. chuckling12:01 AM

    It reminds me of the scene in "Natural Born Killers" where Mickey and Mallory poor gasoline all over Mallory's mom. Referring to Rodney Dangerfield raping her for years, she says something like "you old bitch, you knew what was going on and you did nothing" as she tosses the match.

    That's pretty much how I feel about Obama. Sure, the Republicans are the Rodney Dangerfield's of the story, initiating all of the bad things. But Obama is like his the, an abused woman who pretends everything is okay while standing by and doing nothing (if not actually playing the role of enabler) while great crimes against humanity are being committed.



    And to the point, although he didn't initiate the militarization of the police, he has continued to enable it.

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  4. montag212:02 AM

    Shorter wingers: we'll tolerate an out-of-control paramilitary police force just so long as they're hassling those "others," but we'll still reserve the right to piss our pants at the prospect of those crazy cops coming after us.

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  5. AGoodQuestion12:09 AM

    Check out the photos at the Right Wing News link. There's one of a black protester throwing what looks like a sparkler but, I'll grant, would be scary if you were the target. But the rest? Lots of militarized police looking for an ass to kick. A posse in front of a tattoo parlor who - I'm sorry - seem to define "unfriendly redneck." It makes an odd combo with Monroe-Hamilton's race baiting text. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Right Wing Newsies don't seem to know how their pictures are spending.

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  6. AGoodQuestion12:14 AM

    It depends on convenience. Conservatives have been feigning Clinton nostalgia - or more precisely, playing cute with what they actually miss about those years - since Obama was elected. Part of the whole divide-and-conquer schtick. I can see a future time when Obama is held up as a shining example of what [insert future Democratic president here] SHOULD be like.

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  7. Spaghetti Lee12:21 AM

    Brown, who was a big boy

    When I went to journalism school, I was taught to refrain from mentioning physical details about an article subject (race, gender, etc.) unless it was pertinent to the story. This, I see no reason to put in unless she was actively trying to make her readers afraid of the big scary black man. Seriously, the way she describes him it's like she's talking about someone having trouble leading a horse into a trailer.

    Or, if I try to be as charitable as I possibly can on the subject, policemen panicking when faced with someone physically intimidating is somewhat understandable--although, obviously, their training is supposed to help them keep their cool, this particular guy was fleeing the scene, etc. The issue is more what happens after: the vast majority of the time, the police department closes ranks and refuses to admit culpability and anything, and passive-aggressively join in on re-imagining the guy they shot out of fear and panic as someone who had it coming all along. People fuck up in every profession, but cops seem to have the special privilege of never being held to account for it.

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  8. mortimer200012:24 AM

    Wow. From...
    A black, unarmed 18 year old
    to
    No one contests he was unarmed
    to
    The guy pulled a gun on the officer and was shot for it
    ...in just three paragraphs.

    Now that's what you call yer Right Wing News, folks.

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  9. you beat me to it-- i was just going to try and come up with a comment about that phrase. i literally just set 'the invisible bridge' down to get online and now the feedback whine coming from 1974 has got my teeth on edge.

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  10. Spaghetti Lee12:33 AM

    Which 'men in blue' does she mean, I wonder. Daryl Gates? Jon Burge? The ones in Chicago in 1968?

    It's hard for me to remember at a time like this that there are honorable cops out there--there are. I've known plenty of them. But what kind of idiot thinks that police overstepping their boundaries is brand new? Even the specific trend of policemen being trained to be more like soldiers is old news to anyone who's been paying attention.

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  11. montag212:35 AM

    And, of course, the mainstream will play along with an outright lie, because "it's out there."

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  12. There was another police killing in the area, maybe yesterday & the guy was armed (or the cops had a throw down) There were also statements that it had nothing to do w/ tensions in Ferguson.

    I had the same thought so I went looking for mangoes.
    We are now into a third day and night of riots and the latest is that someone else has now been shot by another cop. Fuel to the fire and this baby has yet to sing. The guy pulled a gun on the officer and was shot for it. No tears here, but it will escalate things. Nearby, a woman was shot in the head in a drive-by. She’ll live, but if this keeps up, the bodies will start to pile up. Let the protests begin.

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  13. montag212:41 AM

    The contents of the right-wing toolbox haven't changed much in all these years. A hammer, a whistle, a megaphone and a rope have done yeoman duty for decades.

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  14. i grew up in the south; "big boy" speaks volumes. it's like listening to one of the dumb rednecks in my dad's 'burb.

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  15. Spaghetti Lee12:44 AM

    It is pretty amazing how many balls they're able to keep in the air at once. "'Ha ha, look at 'em run!' Whoops, I mean 'Oh woe! Police overreach is shocking and terrifying!' Whoops, I mean 'Only savages riot against officers of the law!' Whoops, I mean 'Aim for the head! Second-amendment solutions! Blood of tyrants!' Whoops, etc."

    I mean, I used to think that social pressure against spewing bullshit constantly to the point of contradicting yourself every five seconds was sufficient to keep it under control. And I'll continue to be impressed by the sheer amount of cognitive dissonance no matter how often someone quotes the relevant Orwell passages to me. It's not even Orwellian cognitive dissonance, which is perpetrated on the people by the state; this is just straight up saying whatever is best for your argument at any given time. No shame, no apologies, no corrections, no nothing. I hope it never stops impressing me, because if it does I've probably become just as cynical as them.

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  16. mortimer200012:49 AM

    Thanks, I missed that.

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  17. Her's a police sparkler.


    The First Missouri Regiment against unarmed civilians. It's like Gaza.

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  18. PulletSurprise12:53 AM

    The issue at this point is that the cops are continuing to get institutional support in their mandate to "maintain order" while their entire operation is under a cloud. And as the situation unfolds, it's clear that they are incapable of fulfilling their mandate. Add poor training, poor/absent leadership, and a seemingly bottomless supply of advanced weapons and tactics at their disposal, and you have the ongoing clusterfuck that is this situation.

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  19. Stroke the bigots who are mashing down black folks with one hand, while
    pathetically pressing the other against your brow and weeping crocodile
    tears for the civil liberties you claim Democrats stole from you.



    Is this "exterminate the brutes" to concern trollery pivot convincing to anyone?

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  20. PulletSurprise1:27 AM

    policemen panicking when faced with someone physically intimidating is somewhat understandable--although, obviously, their training is supposed to help them keep their cool



    Given reports of how they're treating MSM journalists, it doesn't sound like professionalism in the performance of their duties* is really a pressing concern for them.


    * that they assert that it's their duty to harass, intimidate, detain, and assault members of the press leaves a lot of open questions about the quality of their training.

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  21. A device? Perhaps suspect device is a better description.



    Been on a SLF jag for a week.

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  22. calling all toasters2:04 AM

    "Stroke the bigots who are mashing down black folks with one hand, while pathetically pressing the other against your brow and weeping crocodile tears for the civil liberties you claim Democrats stole from you.


    Ein volk, ein Reich, Ayn Rand.

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  23. One of those notable covers that's better than the original.

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  24. He's a one-trick pony, to be sure.

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  25. Gromet2:23 AM

    I read about the cops telling everyone to leave the McDonalds for no stated reason, demanding an ID from a man because he photographed them, refusing to state their names or badge numbers, arresting people without zero cause -- the police are acting a lot like the British did at wherever it was they killed Crispus Attucks and a bunch of other proto-Americans. I don't think it's a stretch to say that resisting them, when they act this way, is a patriotic duty. At some point, unless you're running for World's Hugest Moron, you can't say "I look up to the men in blue, but not the way they act." Of course, the rightblogger who thinks racist-in-chief Obama has made a praetorian guard of the police force of Ferguson (so they were under orders to shoot the black kid? Jiminy, her delusion isn't even internally consistent) might be taking WHM in a walk.

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  26. Gromet2:34 AM

    This. I watch them react to Ferguson in a kind of disbelief as it contradicts everything they were saying just yesterday. And even if all you have to go on is today's news, it still springs half a dozen leaks. Monroe-Hamilton says store owners are right to have guns to protect their God-given rights... and also says the dead kid had no right to resist a bureau of the state that she herself declares has amply demonstrated violent abuse of power. What exactly are our God-given rights in your view, Monroe-Hamilton? And is there a point at which we must stop defending them and let them be taken away? Um... does that point happen to shift one way or another, depending on how we compare to a paper bag?

    Anyway, I don't think they're cynically changing their story around, in most cases. I think they're idiots.

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  27. Gromet2:53 AM

    There's a book by Mike Royko called "Boss" that is worth a read, and it touches on Daley's moves to modernize the police. I won't capture Royko's exact brilliant wording, but there's a passage about how under the new regime, officers suddenly spoke very professionally when recounting incidents at investigations into their misbehavior. "We kicked in the door and the perp stood up so we each got a crack at his head with our clubs and I sat on him while Johnson tossed the joint" suddenly became "We entered the domicile and the suspect immediately made a threatening move, necessitating deployment of appropriate force to suppress the threat so that we could conduct a thorough search of the premises." In Royko's view, it wasn't that the old thuggery suddenly dried up, just that it disappeared into a lot of dry talk. So you can date the militarization of the police back to the reforms of the 1960s, if you'd like, when the business of cracking skulls took on the tone of a NORAD report on killotonnage. And it wasn't the hippies and commies like Obama doing that reforming.

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  28. Another Kiwi3:54 AM

    Sitting twitter, watching Fergusson happen has been unforgettable. Robocop is here.

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  29. A hammer, a whistle, a megaphone and a rope

    And tissues! I always tell them to bring tissues, but do they listen?

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  30. ken_lov6:23 AM

    "Right Wing News" belongs under a rock in a sewer somewhere.

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  31. Derelict7:32 AM

    . . . say it's Obama's fault -- that is some bullshit.

    Or maybe it's horseshit. Where's our winger linguist to help us now?

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  32. Derelict7:37 AM

    As Roy will no doubt note when he delves into the darkness for his column, the really ugly part of the Right's reaction is how many of them are rubbing their hands together with barely concealed glee. "Oh, boy! The race riots we've always predicted will swallow America are finally here! And it's because YOU elected president blackity-black. So all the good White folks are buying guns, guns, guns, stocking up on ammo and crates of Vienna beef, and getting ready for the dark hordes. Just like we said!!!!"

    Sadly, I have no doubt that many of these same people squealing with delight over the prospect of race war in America are also devout Christians who pray for Armageddon just so they can watch Jesus rampage on their neighbors.

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  33. BadExampleMan7:44 AM

    On Twitter under hastag-Ferguson you can find people from Gaza giving advice on how to deal with teargas.


    Time to wheel out JBS Haldane again - the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine.

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  34. coozledad7:44 AM

    Someone has suggested calling up the guard or the military to disarm the Ferguson police.


    If you think all you've been hearing from the "Libertarian moment" is nigger nigger nigger, you haven't heard shit, yet.

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  35. Susan of Texas8:12 AM

    Unfortunately you and I are the enablers in our scenario, not Obama. If you expected Obama or anyone else with power to give it up without a fight to the death (ours), you would be wrong. We are not willing to take to the streets to fight so we get what we deserve.

    If you are currently in Ferguson or have been jailed for your freedom fighting I apologize for my assumptions.





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  36. mortimer20008:54 AM

    I keep reading descriptions like "a cop killed an unarmed boy for jaywalking," as if it's a bad thing. People are missing the bigger picture. Just as the "Broken Windows Theory" holds that prosecuting perpetrators of vandalism and other minor crimes prevents escalation into more serious crime, the "Really Petty Bullshit Theory" dictates that cracking down on criminal activity like jaywalking or selling loosies on the sidewalk prevents such behavior from escalating into more serious crimes like breaking windows. The statistical proof of this is persuasive, especially if the perpetrators are murdered outright.

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  37. Bizarro Mike8:56 AM

    Has anyone on the right really suggested that the protesters would be better off armed? Most of the second amendment stuff seems to go real quiet when it looks like the "wrong people" will be toting guns.

    The deadspin article covers this ground, linking it to the killing in Walmart a while back of a black man picking up a toy gun in the toy gun aisle.

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  38. Bizarro Mike8:59 AM

    I can't laugh about this stuff. Seeing those MRAP vehicles and "police" officers in camo pointing assault weapons at protesters is too much. I want to will it all to go backwards, for Brown to get up off of the asphalt, bullets leaving his body, and be ready to go to school on Monday. I want the fucking military vehicles to go backwards in time, the funds that bought them reassigned to useful purpose, and the very steel in their armor plating used to repair bridges. This is so horrible.

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  39. Helmut Monotreme9:12 AM

    A while back? you mean last week? http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/cops-shoot-and-kill-man-holding-toy-gun-walmart

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  40. BigHank539:14 AM

    Have you ever run into this concept in Buddhism?

    The diversity of Buddhism in
    its many different schools and sects are like the wondrous prismatic
    rays of a single universal pure light, seen as it were through the
    many facets of the beautiful diamond of Dharma.


    In the case of our lovely right-wing shouters, their diamond is the fear of any kind of power that's not under their control. They're fine with torture, executions, and re-education camps...as long as they get to decide who gets tortured, executed, and re-educated. No matter how often they mouth platitudes about freedom and liberty, they hate even the idea that other people might have a different idea about what to do with their freedom. So: no freedom for them, because non-conformity, be it political, religious, or ethnic, is betrayal.

    This is how they can simultaneously believe that they're the Silent Majority and also that they're about to have the jackboots descend on their necks. Their inner compass points to FEAR, and their every move reflects it.

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  41. Bizarro Mike9:19 AM

    Christ. I guess it is open season now.

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  42. BigHank539:20 AM

    It's not for us, or even any general audience. It's for the people who can't decide if they want to hatewank over the black people being beaten and killed, or if they want to fearwank over the jack-booted federal thugs forcing things down their throat. So they're trying to combine the two.

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  43. Leonard Pierce9:20 AM

    This feels like a watershed moment in so many ways, many of which have been discussed to death already: the way it makes the racism of law enforcement nakedly obvious, the lack of accountability from the government and the press, the frustrating lack of progress as we seem to be reliving the '60s (hell, the '30s) over again. But for me, the real stunner is something I really should have learned a long time ago: a huge number of right-wingers simply do not care about the facts.

    Last night, I was glued to Twitter and the livestreams, and what struck me almost as much as the unfolding abuse was how the conservatives were lying about stuff that was literally happening right in front of our eyes. Not just the background stuff like Brown being "6'6" and 300 pounds", having a "record as long as your arm", and the whole bullshit narrative about how he was killed, which, even if it's true -- and it isn't -- means that the cop who killed him ignored procedure repeatedly from the beginning. I'm talking about stuff that anyone could see just by opening a browser window: claiming that the police last night were quelling a riot, when you could clearly see there was no riot taking place; talking about violent protesters looting, burning, and assaulting cops, when nothing of the kind was happening on live cameras available to anyone; raving about the animal thugs out in the streets that simply were not there. Right now on Twitter some liberty-wanking NRO dullard is arguing with Wesley Lowery that he shouldn't have interfered with a cop trying to clear out a "hot zone", when, for Christ's sake, we could ALL SEE the footage that LOWERY HIMSELF took, and there was nothing like cops clearing a hot zone -- it was a couple of knuckle-draggers deliberately targeting a journalist.


    That's what's so frustrating to me -- a group of people so dogmatic that they literally do not care about the truth that everyone can see happening in front of their very eyes, and prefer to keep pushing their preferred narrative, despite the fact that it exists only in their heads. How do you fight that? How do you make progress against people who not only believe bullshit, but believe bullshit even when they KNOW that it's bullshit? Especially when you consider the fact that people like have been on and will be on every jury that ever tries a case of police brutality; "Fuck a video, I don't need my lyin' eyes. I KNOW what those people are like."

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  44. BigHank539:28 AM

    What do you mean, "now"? Only thing that's changed is people are paying a little more attention.

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  45. Bizarro Mike9:30 AM

    What a crock. Pointing assault weapons at people protesting the slaying of a boy with his hands up... People keep saying the police are dressed in riot gear, but I don't see shields and helmets with face guards, I see carbines and tactical radios. This is not how you restore order, it is how you stoke a conflict.

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  46. L Bob Rife9:34 AM

    It's tough to grasp the concept of the dictator/sissy duality of Quantumbama.

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  47. Helmut Monotreme9:35 AM

    Are the Bundy ranch libertarians going to amend their Gadsen flags to say 'Don't tread on me, but we're OK with shooting all the unarmed black men you want'?

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  48. John E Williams9:50 AM

    One bizarre aspect to all this is that if you shuffle the players, what's happening in Ferguson would be the white guy gun nut Tea Party wet dream. Imagine if cops had shot down an Open Carry asshole in the street. It would be Christmas for Benghazi morons.

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  49. Derelict9:53 AM

    It's not cognitive dissonance if you understand their pretzel logic. The Ferguson PD attacking Black people is evidence of Obama's war on Whites because the PD is outside the law, just like Obama. So, yeah: Today the cops are cracking the skulls of Blacks. But just you watch: tomorrow those cops will be rounding up conservatives for the re-education camps.

    The companion piece to this is how Obama is taking away everyone's guns by allowing people to buy as many guns as they want. We're just one more false-flag government op against an elementary school or day-care center before the Black Panthers start going door to door to take our guns.

    As you can see, conservatives are really special people living in a really special universe where reality as we observe and understand it does not apply.

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  50. Good points on police militarization. It's a long-term phenomenon. If it happens to have escalated over the last five years (and I'm not saying it has), that's only because two Republican wars in Asia have created more surplus/obsolete weaponry and gear to hand out like candy.


    I lived a few miles south of Ferguson for 12 years (until the end of 2012) and know it well. Almost lived there once -- we looked at an apartment in Canfield Green, the complex the victim lived in. I drove every one of its streets multiple times in an ice cream truck in the early part of the oughts. Some thoughts on that:


    - I've seen Ferguson portrayed as some kind of "black ghetto" town in the media, apparently based mostly on its proximity to urban north St. Louis city. In fact, it's a fairly nice, mixed race, lower-middle-class suburb that until this incident few would have considered unsafe to live, work, shop, etc. in.


    - In my experience, police departments in north St. Louis County are far whiter than the community demographics around them would suggest they should be ... and even controlling for the higher ratio of African-Americans to whites in the area, it's very clear that the cops go out of their way to seek "encounters" with young black males. And God help you if you're a young black male driving a nice car. Pencil in some time for frequent police stops followed by waiting for the drug dogs -- because in addition to the thuggish attitudes encouraged by militarization, there are the job security perks of asset forfeiture. One Escalade, auctioned off, is good for quite a bit of overtime.

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  51. That "sparkler" is a tear gas canister that was just shot at the crowd by the police. And the photo deserves a Pulitzer. As an anarchist I'm not much of a nationalist, but seeing that kid in that American flag shirt standing up to the invaders brought tears to my eyes.

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  52. Derelict10:00 AM

    I want the fucking military vehicles to go backwards in time, the funds that bought them reassigned to useful purpose, and the very steel in their armor plating used to repair bridges.

    It's the "useful purpose" that sparks the political fighting. We look at that money and think "fix roads, educate children, heal the sick, house the homeless, feed the hungry, advance medical science."

    Conservatives look at that money and think "Donald Trump and Paris Hilton, Jamie Dimon and Steve Ballmer--they all really need more tax cuts. And if we can't give the 0.01% more tax cuts, then we have no reasonable choice but to buy military hardware."

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  53. When I was an undergrad in the School of Life, I learned you didn't call a black man a "boy," big or small.

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  54. Derelict10:01 AM

    That last part has always been a part of that flag in its Teahadist incarnation--it's sewn in fine needlepoint along the edge.

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  55. In summary: Waaaah! I'm the real victim!! Or maybe the police? No, it is definitely me!

    P.S. - What War on Drugs and then Terror that resulted in even the tiniest police forces being given open-ended gift certificates to Battle Gear, Inc.? Never heard of it.

    As awful as the shootings and the senseless waste of life is, the
    underlying story lies with the police force itself in my eyes...

    You know what else is a senseless waste? The letters that were sacrificed to create this senseless assemblage of words. These morons are all caricatures of the very worst attorneys in the world. "Quick, throw more words on the smouldering pile of bullshit!"

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  56. glennisw10:05 AM

    You know, the theory might have worked out OK if the cop had said, "Hey, young man, I'm concerned for your safety here in the street, Would you please use the sidewalk?" instead of "Get on the fucking sidewalk!" and then popped the car door open to show the kid who was boss.


    It's called "community policing" and obviously Ferguson, MO, isn't familiar with the concept.

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  57. Nice to see those training dollars were well spent.

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  58. Oh, you mean this?

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  59. glennisw10:08 AM

    I read a commenter on the WAPO site who actually said it was the reporters' fault for so selfishly deciding to use McDonalds as a "workplace" - as if no one ever goes into an eating establishment to use their laptop or smart phone. And that if they'd only gathered up their things a little faster, they wouldn't have been arrested.

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  60. When I went to journalism school, I was taught to refrain from
    mentioning physical details about an article subject (race, gender,
    etc.) unless it was pertinent to the story.


    The fucksticks who translate their lizard-brain impulses into something sort of like the written word by farting at their keyboards would say this makes you an elitist doody-head who is too chicken to reveal The Truth.

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  61. Ah, but she used a bullshit spreading magic passive voice word jumble: "As far as it is being told."


    Who is doing the telling? Who knows? Could be her equally stupid friends, or shit she read on Stormfart or the voices in her head.

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  62. Dr. Hunky Jimpjorps10:51 AM

    Conservatives see black people and see dangerous weapons, with fists twice as deadly as guns. To them, the militarization of the police is just them catching up in the arms race.

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  63. I've seen some self-described libertarians comment on the situation on Twitter throughout yesterday, criticizing excessive force by police and violation of rights - among them Radley Balko (Balko has been writing for years about police militarization). He's also been criticizing conservatives such as Breitbart News people for their reaction to what the police have been doing in Ferguson.

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  64. Magatha11:07 AM

    Yes, the post 9/11 infusion of funds to law enforcement and other "at-risk" agencies and other entities - and how it dovetails with the war on drugs (not that we seem to have been able to reduce American consumption of illegal drugs in a way that might help stabilize Central American countries) - is the gift that keeps on giving.

    I kind of get it. Your agency gets money, it needs to be spent in a certain way, and if you don't use it, you lose it. Hence the acquisition of anti-IED type vehicles by regular US police forces. In my community, we benefited in one particular instance in a happy, non-militaristic way. We have a lot of open space and watershed land. Some of my favorite hiking trails go through water district land. The water district, which after 9/11 was one of those agencies tasked with beefing up security to protect against terrorist contamination of our water supply, got some of those funds.

    One of the things they did was improve a small sub-station located on a well-used but fairly remote fire road/hiking trail. They surrounded the station with more secure fencing, gates, and barbed wire...and they installed a drinking fountain with a basin for a dog water dish, so now the water district personnel and we hikers have a perfectly situated hydration station with the best tasting water in the county. This is one of the little things that reminds me every day how damn lucky I am to live where I do.

    But Ferguson gets anti-insurgent battle gear and escalating militarization, and too many communities become further and further estranged from the law enforcement officers who are, or should be, our own neighbors.

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  65. If you haven't already, you should read "The Authoritarians" by Bob Altemeyer (Google it, he makes it available for free on his web site). The gist of it is that there's a portion of the population that he refers to as "authoritarian followers" who are psychologically predisposed to that kind of dogmatic thinking - preferring their accepted facts over observable reality, able to believe multiple contradictory "accepted facts" at once, etc. Naturally, most of them are right-wingers. And it does seem like 90% of wingnut pundits are that way. I'm no psychologist (Altemeyer is, for what it's worth; the book is heavily evidence-based), but the impression I get from the book is that, yeah, they're basically unreachable with logic and evidence.


    I'd be curious if these kinds of people would still appear in significant numbers in, say, a stateless communist society. I suspect not. I'm sure there's some genetic component, but it seems likely (to my layman's understanding) that cultural conditioning plays a large role.

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  66. Bizarro Mike11:26 AM

    I'm disgusted, but not surprised. I lived in Durham, NC for a while, where white Duke students would be deathly afraid of working-class black neighborhoods. They were "sketchy" because reasons and had to be avoided. The whole Sketch Factor app kerfluffle brought all that back.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Ellis_Weiner11:31 AM

    Not to be tendentious (and nothing good can follow that phrase), but we, meaning "Western Civilization," have for millennia had an institution that validates and glorifies not caring about "the truth that everyone can see happening in front of their very eyes" and offers eternal bliss to those who "prefer to keep pushing their preferred narrative, despite the fact that it exists only in their heads."

    I call it "religion." For its adherents, it's praiseworthy to believe, and assert, the opposite of what is objectively true. It's a virtue, not just a personal style. How else does a person whose life, every minute of every day, is made possible by science, announce that he/she "doesn't believe" in evolution or global warming? Maybe that's what they mean by "in Christ all things are possible."

    ReplyDelete
  68. Ellis_Weiner11:33 AM

    Please accept your Internet with our compliments.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Yeah, I don't recall seeing much "clash" going on. Maybe I missed it.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Just out of curiosity, are black people even ALLOWED into gun shows? Want sane gun safety laws? Suggest that it might be time for black people to start stocking up.

    ReplyDelete
  71. XeckyGilchrist11:52 AM

    Well, you need both. The military hardware is for when the peons complain about the effects of the tax cuts.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Oh, fer Chrissakes, Chuck. Have you forgotten the ration of shit that Obama got for commenting on the "stupid" actions of the Cambridge, MA police in the Henry Louis Gates case? Or the comment that "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago"? Or that "...this [Trayvon] could have been my son"? Obama has been as outspoken as he could be, given that he is President of the WHOLE united States, and gets pilloried by the wingnut press whenever he says anything on the subject of race. And the notion that the President has much direct discretion over the militarization of local police forces is just you LOOKING for an argument.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Ever hear of the "giant Negro"? That's a sobriquet that was often used to describe black criminals or suspects in sketchier newspapers of the early 20th century. It was a sensationalistic term, but it was used in stories that were not especially sensationalistic (e.g. "Giant Negro Arrested at Burglary Scene," "White Arsonist and Giant Negro in Prison Break Attempt"). The term was applied pretty loosely, too - any black man over six feet in height could be termed a "giant." By the '30s, though, most papers decided that it was a term that wasn't worth using.


    I never thought that kind of thinking would make a return in the 21st century. I guess it really is a cycle.

    ReplyDelete
  74. BG, watery tart12:13 PM

    The police aren't the only ones who are increasingly militarized --- we have hordes of armed citizens who have proclaimed themselves "militia" ---

    ReplyDelete
  75. Or they elevate him to the Republican Pantheon.

    ReplyDelete
  76. There have been studies, flawed as they might have been. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Authoritarian_Personality

    ReplyDelete
  77. Chyron HR12:38 PM

    Shorter Chuckles: "I blame Obama for whatever we're talking about today."

    NO
    SHIT
    SHERLOCK

    ReplyDelete
  78. Derelict12:39 PM

    Pencil in some time for frequent police stops followed by waiting for the drug dogs

    Officer: Sir, do you mind if I search your car?
    Citizen: I really do not want you to search my personal belongings, so I will not grant you permission to search my car.
    Officer: I'm placing you under arrest for resisting an officer.

    ReplyDelete
  79. PulletSurprise12:42 PM

    This is what minority rule looks like.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Formerly_Nom_De_Plume12:43 PM

    Well, it sure as hell worked with Ronald Reagan.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Derelict12:44 PM

    Can't be--no mention of Hilary or the Clenis.

    ReplyDelete
  82. "If only all those black people had guns, this never would have happened," not a single Don't Tread on Me purist has said to date.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Derelict12:45 PM

    "Broadcasting LIVE! from the grease trap at Third and Main . . ."

    ReplyDelete
  84. It is pretty amazing how many balls they're able to keep in the air at
    once. "'Ha ha, look at 'em run!' Whoops, I mean 'Oh woe! Police
    overreach is shocking and terrifying!' Whoops, I mean 'Only savages riot
    against officers of the law!' Whoops, I mean 'Aim for the head!
    Second-amendment solutions! Blood of tyrants!' Whoops, etc."


    This is perfect because it brings to mind an annoying kid who insists that you watch him be no good at all at juggling. Especially since you know there will be a Force 5 tantrum if you laugh when the 3 tennis balls go flying in 4 different directions.

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  85. The explanation may be no more complicated than "It's different when it's us." It's not deliberate, more like a variant on cognitive dissonance in people who struggle to empathize with people who are different. They attribute more rights to the shopowners because - at least in their minds - the shopowners are more like them than the victim, protesters, or journalists. Now, if in the future the cops come to break up a conservative/libertarian protest (which has happened), expect that to change because now they're targeting "us."

    ReplyDelete
  86. Derelict12:46 PM

    "An armed populace is a frightened populace."

    ReplyDelete
  87. edroso12:53 PM

    This is true.

    ReplyDelete
  88. TomParmenter12:54 PM

    Well, he's a Republican, isn't he?

    ReplyDelete
  89. Police militarization really accelerated in the early 00's as a result of DHS. The Department decided to bring in local PDs to help with their anti-terrorism efforts, and that meant more funding. DHS made the decision not to distribute the money on the basis of need, but instead spread it around equally. As a result, you had all these rural and suburban/exurban communities with small police forces who had hundreds of thousands of dollars that they didn't need. So what did they do? Some of it went towards gear like thermal cameras and RF jammers that was overkill, but did have valid applications in law enforcement. But some department went full-on nuts, buying old assault vehicles, light machine guns, grenade launchers, high-caliber sniper rifles - anything that had a lot of bang behind it.


    My guess is that the three armored vehicles that were seen in Ferguson were bought a decade ago, and this is the first time they've been out of the garage. Some of those PDs weren't quite so restrained - every once in a while, you'd hear a story about a squadron of cops cruising out in a Humvee with a goddamn mounted M60 to arrest a couple of knucklehead pot dealers who maybe had a .38 between them. We were all waiting for some trigger-happy officer to decimate a neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Captain Ambiguity1:38 PM

    Sooner or later, someone is going to decide that the Black Panthers had the right idea, sending armed teams to make sure the cops didn't overstep their authority.

    Preferably sooner.

    ReplyDelete
  91. PulletSurprise1:40 PM

    I don't disagree at all.


    And I don't understand why it's taken this long to relieve them of duty (if Bloomberg reports in this regard are accurate).


    My point is that it's not just the cops. It's a debased institutional system that supports them as they descend into madness.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Gromet1:47 PM

    This offends me so hard it hurts.

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  93. TGuerrant1:52 PM

    And if only black people weren't black, they wouldn't get gunned down.


    Since we all deserve our rotten fates, I'm puzzled about the rightwads not being able to accept losing elections.

    ReplyDelete
  94. TGuerrant1:58 PM

    The profits from selling the military hardware going, of course, into the pockets of the 0.01%, hence the popularity of war among the uppers - that and, naturally, their children never getting sent to be maimed and killed.

    ReplyDelete
  95. stepped_pyramids2:00 PM

    Balko is one of the good ones. There's a lot of his politics I disagree with, but he is sincere and tireless on drug war and police violence issues. If more libertarians were like him, the word would be much more respectable.

    ReplyDelete
  96. RogerAiles2:00 PM

    Conducting business at a restaurant? I've never heard of such a thing.

    ReplyDelete
  97. gocart mozart2:05 PM

    Back in the day when the NRA was for gun control. Good times.
    http://www.theroot.com/articles/politics/2013/01/black_panthers_and_gun_control_the_nras_flip_flop.html

    ReplyDelete
  98. Derelict2:09 PM

    The only difference being that, with the wingnuts, we get the Force 5 tantrum before the performance begins, with the tantrum continuing while the performance is underway, And, usually, a follow-up tantrum because gravity has too much of a liberal bias (and it's just a theory, anyway).

    ReplyDelete
  99. Jay B.2:18 PM

    There’s nothing that says ‘social justice’ like smashing up and looting a convenience store, a grocery or a Wal-Mart.” Indeed. It’s a free for all baby and the crowd is into letting it burn, while yelling “death to all cops"...


    Social justice would be burning every fucking Wal-Mart to the ground, immediately after taking everything you need off the shelf, then sending Sam Walton a bill for what he owes you still. Social justice would be the good cops left agreeing with the people and marching with them. Social justice is a concept these pinched, sour assholes will always mock because they'll never get it. Of course they bring up the looters (if there were any, I'll never forgive these people for their response to Katrina and I honestly don't believe them when they talk about looting.) and mock those who are seeking simple justice against corrupt, violent authority in this plainly unjust world.

    ReplyDelete
  100. StringOnAStick2:23 PM

    Fear, and anger.

    ReplyDelete
  101. StringOnAStick2:30 PM

    "The Authoritarians" is a great read, and explained a lot of things for me, such as why my authoritarian father, who is a well-educated professional engineer, is also a Bircher of long standing. Now that he has full daily access to Fox news, he's become an even bigger ball of seething rage constantly looking for a target to unload on. I recently watched him threaten a driver who had the temerity to not use his turn signal; if a stroke doesn't get him soon, someone he snaps at will.

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  102. KatWillow2:38 PM

    Unlike Orwell, factual evidence demonstrating the error of one's beliefs, recollections, etc. does NOT need to be destroyed. The right just ignores what they don't like. Or, as my conservative brother says: "It's all LIBERAL LIES! LIES1 LIES!"

    ReplyDelete
  103. KatWillow2:41 PM

    Conservatives "go with their gut", Liberals "with their hearts".
    Conservatives "believe" their leaders, Liberals want factual evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Like at Camp Bundy, only our gun-toting equalizers won't be totally apeshit.

    At least in theory. You'll have to cross your fingers about that one.

    I also have to wonder how the people in Ferguson would feel about more people running around with guns.

    ReplyDelete
  105. KatWillow2:47 PM

    Sounds like he pointed his pistol at Brown and threatened him, and Brown tried to grab the pistol.

    ReplyDelete
  106. StringOnAStick2:47 PM

    Exactly. I smiled an ironic smile this morning when I heard that Walmart had yet another quarter of declining earnings (that's 7 so far), and expected that to continue because fewer customers are going to their stores. Maybe people are finally realizing what a bunch of blood-sucking parasites Walmart and it's owners really are.

    ReplyDelete
  107. How do you fight that?

    Let them keep talking. Give them more microphones. Make sure no one unplugs the PA system.

    ReplyDelete
  108. redoubtagain2:55 PM

    Credit (or debit) Orlando W. Wilson, from Berkeley, who came on board because of the Summerdale scandals. Once he was forcibly retired in 1967 and replaced by James Conlisk Chicagoans went back to wrapping their driver's licenses in twenty-dollar bills again.

    ReplyDelete
  109. redoubtagain3:08 PM

    I can't get the word Militarbehorden--military authorities--out of my head for some reason.

    ReplyDelete
  110. PulletSurprise3:14 PM

    Boston Globe reports that...

    St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said officers on
    Wednesday night tossed tear gas to disperse a large crowd of protesters
    after some threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at officers.
    ...
    County Police Chief Jon Belmar said his officers have responded with
    ‘‘an incredible amount of restraint’’ as they've had rocks and bottles
    thrown at them, been shot at and had two dozen patrol vehicles
    destroyed.

    a) Hm. Don't the cops have access to cameras and video? Or can't a single one of them be arsed to reach outside of their available stockpile of surplus military equipment to start deploying newfangled inventions like a smartphone to help their own case?



    b) "Restraint" like roughing up reporters and tear-gassing film crews?



    Yyyyyeah. Smell test is coming back negative.

    ReplyDelete
  111. willf3:28 PM

    Unfortunately, far too many liberals go with their hearts over the facts, and far too many believe their leaders.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Bizarro Mike3:45 PM

    Or maybe the working and middle class folk have been wiped out by the Great Recession and aren't buying things because they don't have any money. This seems to be because the decent jobs with decent salaries were replaced by Walmart jobs and perma-temp hell. Luxury goods continue to do well, but oh no do not connect that with the restructuring of America away from a middle-class dominated society and back to a stratified society...

    ReplyDelete
  113. redoubtagain3:47 PM

    "It ain't me/It ain't me/I ain't no Chuck-a-ling son
    It ain't me/It ain't me/I ain't no fortunate one"

    ReplyDelete
  114. It's depressing, but that does seem as though it's the more likely explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  115. That's why when Rush Limbaugh talks about President Obama, he's careful to substitute the phrase "man-child."


    Actually, I don't know why he bothers; he's not fooling anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  116. tigrismus4:24 PM

    It's projection, too, as Limbaugh is just an enormous male fetus.

    ReplyDelete
  117. He DOES kinda look like that, now that you mention it...

    ReplyDelete
  118. StringOnAStick4:41 PM

    That is also true; Walmart pays it's employees so little that there are now stories that the employees can't afford to shop there either.
    I still think that the campaign to show just how much government welfare Walmart gets to open a store, and how much their underpaid employees have to rely on government services just to survive are having an effect. I originally avoided Walmart because their stores are an unpleasant experience; now I avoid them and their crappy Costco-rip-off, Sam's Club on unbending principle. I strongly suspect I am not the only one. Walmart's current ad campaign to show what great members of the community they are is just so much flopsweat.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Jimcima5:03 PM

    Believing leaders is different than slavishly following them, the latter of which is almost alwas a conservative phenomenon, at least in the US. But it's always amusing to hear conservatives complain about a supposed "cult of Obama" while doing everything short of lighting candles and praying to graven images of Ronald Reagan.

    As for "liberals go with their hearts over facts", yes that is what conservatives say we do and also that they are never swayed by emotion but I would suggest that all humans are predisposed to this behavior in some form or another, but being religious, rigid and authoritarian makes one more and not less likely to engage in such emotional reasoning.

    ReplyDelete
  120. How can anyone expect Obama and Holder to DO SOMETHING when they're so busy sucking Wall Street cocks???

    P.S. In case anyone is looking for my snark tag, there isn't one. Here's Jenghazi Rubin, praising Obama and Ted Cruz:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/08/14/reacting-to-missouri/
    ~

    ReplyDelete
  121. RHWombat6:20 PM

    So this is what happens when the arms-makers run out of small countries to pick up and throw against the wall?

    ReplyDelete
  122. satch7:03 PM

    In the Future? It's already happened; remember the faceoff between "Patriotic Americans" and Jackbooted Gubmint Stormtroopers" at the Bundy ranch? Given that they had a chance for a good old fashioned bloodbath and passed it up, I'm guessing that the BLM agents are more secure in their self image (or masculinity, if you prefer) than the Ferguson cops.

    ReplyDelete
  123. satch7:07 PM

    I'm sure that there'll be an episode of "Blue Bloods" this Fall that deals with this in a fair and equitable manner. Tom Selleck will figure it out somehow.

    ReplyDelete
  124. "Fairly nice, mixed race, lower-middle-class suburb" is a pretty good description of where I live too, here east of Atlanta.


    I'd hate to see this same kind of thing happen here.

    ReplyDelete
  125. gocart mozart7:10 PM

    Rep. John Lewis just called for Obama to declare martial law in Ferguson.
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/08/14/3471313/john-lewis-ferguson-martial-law/

    ReplyDelete
  126. satch7:11 PM

    Hmm... no badges, no rank indicators, faces obscured... are you sure those guys aren't Russian Separatists?

    ReplyDelete
  127. Captain Ambiguity8:23 PM

    You're right.

    ReplyDelete
  128. BigHank539:43 PM

    Are you sure those guys are even cops? I mean, how would you tell if one of 'em wasn't?

    ReplyDelete
  129. LookWhosInTheFreezer10:09 PM

    Charles Manson could be a viable Tea Party candidate if it weren't for the whole prison thing.

    ReplyDelete
  130. AGoodQuestion11:08 PM

    But just you watch: tomorrow those cops will be rounding up conservatives for the re-education camps.
    Of course it's always about them. How could it not be?

    ReplyDelete
  131. AGoodQuestion11:21 PM

    So he and the other protesters were the target. Bad day for RW News' photo editor.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person11:55 PM

    There's only two balls, and they really should stop playing with 'em in public...

    ReplyDelete
  133. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person12:00 AM

    "RAF--Resentment, Anger and Fear" are the three boogeymen of Alcoholics Anonymous:

    Resentment that you didn't get your way
    Anger that you're not getting your way
    Fear that you're not gonna get your way


    IANAP, so I dunno how well that actually fits the average alcoholic, but it's as good a description of your basic wingnut as I've ever heard.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person12:03 AM

    The Short Bus Universe? Silly String Theory says there has to be one...

    ReplyDelete
  135. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person12:08 AM

    The World's Oldest Living Little Boy™

    ReplyDelete
  136. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person12:10 AM

    Looking at some of the Feguson pix, I couldn't help but think, WTF, is it still 1968 in Missouri?

    ReplyDelete
  137. DocAmazing1:36 AM

    We are now that small country.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Gabriel Ratchet9:20 AM

    "If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to
    think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and
    Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. Once
    begun upon this downward path, you never know where you are to stop.
    Many a man has dated his ruin from some murder or other that perhaps he
    thought little of at the time."
    -- Thomas de Quincy, Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts

    ReplyDelete
  139. Harry Rumbold12:33 PM

    I think "strapping" is due for a reunion tour.

    ReplyDelete
  140. realinterrobang12:52 PM

    As far as I can tell, yes.

    ReplyDelete
  141. drkrick12:57 PM

    Forget the pot dealers, SWAT teams to serve routine warrants is a common practice in some jurisdictions now.

    Wasn't the reason the up arming money went out equally because distributing by need would have meant most of the money went to cities which tended to be run by Democratic politicians?

    ReplyDelete
  142. drkrick12:58 PM

    Isn't that pretty much the Ferguson PD's version of events? Which of course is the only one she would consider worth retelling.

    ReplyDelete
  143. drkrick1:03 PM

    They did the same thing with Truman in the '80's. It was odd that they went with someone in living memory instead of JFK as the "good Dem" counterpart of Obama. Maybe because Clinton's wife was an opponent of Obama's.

    ReplyDelete
  144. drkrick1:27 PM

    1858 with updated hardware.

    ReplyDelete
  145. PulletSurprise2:00 PM

    I'd peg it to 1854, which was the start of Bleeding Kansas. But it goes back to the incorporation of the state. The Missouri Compromise made their statehood possible.

    ReplyDelete
  146. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person11:13 PM

    You're not. It costs me to bypass Walmart and do my shopping at Brookshire bros (an employee-owned semi-local chain) but I do, because I just plain hate Walmart. I won't pretend to any highfalootin' moral principles, I just hate the store and the people there. At Brookshire, the stockers will damn near aoplogize for being in the same aisle as you. At Walmart, they'll run you over.

    ReplyDelete
  147. Dawn Wave12:02 AM

    Look, this n|gger bullied and robbed a store, thought he was all bad ask and thought he could get away with it because he is black but you know what YOUR DEAD! Good riddance!!

    ReplyDelete