, 06.04.2020 08:24 PM

My latest: we’ve been here before

Riots across the country.  Dozens of them, every night.

Blood all over the streets.  Broken glass crunching underfoot.  Tear gas and smouldering police cars combining to produce a stench that is as unbearable as it is unforgettable.  Fear is everywhere, tight as the zip ties on a protestor’s wrists.  

The protestors? After night and night of this, they are spent but still unable to sleep. Like someone once sang, they ain’t got no swing – except for the ring of the truncheon thing.

Hundreds injured.  Some killed.  More than $100 million in property damage – lost to looting and arson and destruction, much of it done by whites with no skin in the game.  As it were.

The United States is at war with itself.  Like Dr. King once said, a hundred lifetimes ago, the “nation’s Summers of riots are caused by our Winters of delay.”  They will continue to happen, he said back then, “as long as America postpones justice, equality and humanity.” 

The postponement of justice, equality and humanity has been presided over, in the main, by the Republican candidate for President of the United States.  A vile, contemptible shadow of a man, whose default position is racism and and sexism and hate and dark conspiracy theories.

It’s his metier.  In this Summer of Riots, it works for him.  Always has.  He’s been here before.

The Republican nominee decries the riots, but he secretly revels in them. Every brick thrown, every car torched, every small business reduced to ashes – they are re-electing him.  

And the Republican smiles, his prophecy nearly complete.

In all, there have been 159 riots.  In Buffalo, the riot started on the East Side.  Some black teenagers had been breaking some windows on William Street.  Within hours, 200 riot police are dispatched, and the street battles commence in earnest. The following day, it gets worse, with cars flipped over, stores looted, graffiti spray-painted everywhere. This time, 400 police are on hand. By the end, forty blacks are seriously injured – nearly half from bullet wounds. 

In Newark, two white cops arrest a black cab driver, who has signalled to pass a double-parked police car.  They arrest him, viciously beat him, and take him to the 4th Police Precinct, where he is charged with assaulting the officers and “making insulting remarks.” Residents of a nearby public housing project see the unconscious taxi driver being being dragged into the precinct, and a large crowd gathers outside.  Rocks are thrown; clubs are brought down on black bodies.

Within hours, a march is organized to protest police brutality in Newark. Looting commences, and spreads quickly along Springfield Avenue, the business district. Molotov cocktails are thrown; buildings catch fire. Shotguns are issued to police. They are told to “fire if necessary.” So, a woman is killed in a fusillade of bullets directed at the window of her second-floor apartment. Things get worse: there are more riots, looting, violence, and destruction.  Many, many are hurt; some are killed.

That is just Buffalo and Newark, but it’s happening all over, like some grim newsreel footage of a broken country, falling to pieces.  

Hundreds converge on the house where the Republican presidential is huddled behind drawn curtains.  The Republican summons a senior aide, and says he wants “ideas about how to push the line.”  The aide is delighted.

He says the turmoil outside can be “made into a huge incident, if we work hard to crank it up.” It could be a “really major story,” he says, that “might be effective” on Election Day.

And so they get to work.  Having decided to stoke a racial backlash, and then ride it to victory, the Republican Party’s candidate for the presidency threatens the rioters at every opportunity. The rioters are filled with “bitter hatred” for all that is good in America, he says.

“It will get worse unless we take the offensive!” he thunders.  “We must restore order!”

By now, a columnist’s sleight of hand may have been revealed.  The Republican presidential nominee above is not Donald Trump, it is Richard Nixon.  The year is not 2020 – it is 1967 and 1968, when Nixon was catapulted into the White House by a white middle class that has grown terrified of race riots on their TV screens every night.

Dr. King, in those quotes up above – in that speech he made at Stanford in 1967, speaking to a mostly-white audience about the Watts riots in Los Angeles – also said that “riots are the language of the unheard.” And they are.  They don’t just spring out of thin air – riots happen for a reason.

But they are also “socially destructive and self-defeating,” Dr. King said.

And if we’re not careful, they may re-elect Donald Trump.  

Just like they elected Richard Nixon.

37 Comments

  1. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    This will be the worse Depression in American history — by a longshot — the United States is already a third world economy and the social safety net has evaporated. And so will go Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    It will get much, much, much, worse before even a hope it gets better. The 1% have finally achieved what they wanted: a massive transfer of everyone’s else wealth into their grubby hands.

    But at some point God will say No. And American politics will never be the same.

    • Pedant says:

      The Baby Boomers took the loot and pulled up the drawbridge.

      But that has little to do with the current round of rioting.

  2. joe long says:

    I think I’ll vote for Trump.

    Why? The media will keep a sharp eye on all his actions. Would the media keep a sharp eye on Biden and his Democrats? Doubt it.

    Trudeau subsidizes the media in Canada. We cannot seem to get details of government spending on infrastructure projects. Remember when Trudeau preached “open and transparent government”? There used to be a day when politicians loudly proclaimed all there infrastructure projects. Now, nada. Won’t tell us where the money’s going. The media should be howling for transparency.

    Now back to the US, the home of pork barrel politics. Will the media criticize the spending of Team Biden?

    Heck in a few years we’ll see pictures of combines harvesting wheat, just like on the Soviet evening news. Imagine Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper gushing over the benefits electric combines!

  3. ABB says:

    No depression. Big US job gains in May. Big economic rebound in demand. Airplanes are filling up. It’s returning. Trump is on a roll. Victory in November.

    • Douglas W says:

      He’s got a chance against Joltin’ Joe.

    • Max says:

      ABB, just when I thought there couldn’t be a stupider post that joe long’s (votes in 2 countries), along comes you. The only thing worse than an idiot with some knowledge is an ignorant idiot. Let me break it down for you bullsh!tter.
      “No depression.” It only stands to reason the employment figures inch up slightly given States were forced to re-open. Trump gets no credit for these jobs. AND, the unemployment numbers for African Americans and Latinos have INCREASED! And even with this ONE ‘jobs report’, it is STILL worse than the Depression. (as I said ‘Idiot’)
      “Big jobs gains in May.” Sure, compared to the HIGHEST ever unemployment rates since the Great Depression that existed in the last quarter report when the economy was essentially closed. So when the States open up, sure some go back to work. Not due to Trump’s magic wand. Oh, and did you know those jobs figures DO NOT include those who stopped looking for work and don’t register in employment offices and surveys? These would be those most vulnerable, disadvantaged, poor and have lost hope.
      “Trump is on a roll.” My, my how quickly you pivot away from 100,000++ DEATHS. Musta been a hoax eh?

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Max,

        You know, what I hope Americans do is write Secretary Scalia to find out why the BLS cooked the May unemployment numbers: the BLS admits they were instructed to “adjust” the numbers. By just whom, I wonder. Obviously, by someone’s office who specializes in lies and outright deceit. But I digress.

        The false number for May is 13.3% but the real number is 16%. And the topper: furloughed workers’ data was deliberately massaged. Without that “adjustment”, the May unemployment rate would be almost 20%, six points below the highest number during The Great Depression.

        Guess this means someone is about to lose an election. (That’s too bad.)

      • ABB says:

        Shockingly, and disrespectfully, you call me an “ignorant idiot” — but by that very comment you expose your own white privileged bigoted ass. So sad!

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      ABB,

      Don’t bet the farm because you can’t repudiate the business cycle. The Fed can continue printing counterfeit currency between now and when hell freezes over and the recession, or more likely, depression will come. The Fed couldn’t hold back the recession in 2008 and won’t hold back the Greatest Depression in 2020. The United States is just the latest Venezuela or Argentina. Just give it time cause it will come.

      U.S. buck tanks, gold and silver in a bull market and the Ten Year Treasury remains stuck in quicksand. Retail investors lost their shirts in 2008 and will do so now. Meanwhile, institutional investors and the Buffets of this world are long out of this market, just like in 2008…surprise!

  4. veronica says:

    “Why? The media will keep a sharp eye on all his actions. Would the media keep a sharp eye on Biden and his Democrats? Doubt it.”
    Don’t be so fucking stupid, the media is watching and amplifying what Trump has done so far, and to what effect?

  5. The Doctor says:

    George Wallace was also a very significant factor as a third-party candidate. I believe he may have been the last third-party candidate since that time to actually carry some states (in his case Southern).

    I’ve heard some very good commentary in recent days to the effect that while there are some obvious similarities to 1968, it was Wallace, not Nixon, who was really the extreme kill-the-hippies law ‘n order candidate. Nixon wasn’t as inflammatory as Wallace, and in fact Nixon was selling himself as the guy who would end the chaos.

    And remember, the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago did not make the Democrats look good at all. So Nixon had an easy time portraying them as the party of chaos and disorder, however fair or unfair that may have been.

    Trump will have a hard time “doing a Nixon” , when you consider all that. Trump is more Wallace than Nixon.

  6. Yet Another Calgarian says:

    The Democrats saying “Trump is an existential threat to our society so please vote for our senile party insider to replace him” is what is going to cause them to fail at the federal level.

    The cognitive dissonance of blaming Trump for 5 decades of governance failure by overwhelming Democrat led administrations at the state and local level to provide accountable policing and basic services will do the rest.

    From the outside looking at the US its pretty apparent both parties are more interested in promoting party over people.

    • Chris Sigvaldason says:

      The Basement-bound Pretender to the Throne versus the Gasoline-Thrower-in-Chief.

      #None of the above. #2020

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      YAC,

      I guess I’m out of date but I was previously told that most states had mandatory balanced budget amendments already in place.

      • Yet Another Calgarian says:

        Ronald i do believe you are correct on the requirement for civil budgets being balanced in most states. New York city for example though looks increasingly likely to lose control of its budget to the state as de Blasio spends like a madman while not even being able to perform basic maintenance tasks on things like streets and subways. Most major urban cities do not have a lot of slack available and most of the planning at the civic level seems tp be get the feds to bail us out which is n0t planning.

        Add in property tax revenue drops that are inevitably coming though and this could really become a huge situation for a large number of cities irrespective of who is nominally running them.

        Over the long term even more so if the large companies manage to cost shift their office space costs to their employees with the work from home schtick. And speaking as an IT guy once you’re out of the office there is no real reason to even keep the work in the country.

        But money aside i dont think you can have real real reforms without addressing how poorly both parties serve their constituents at all three levels of government. The shift to everything being about the Presidential race over the last 50 years has irreparably damaged the system in my opinion and distracted talent and energy from levels of goverment where services actually get delivered to people.

        And for the record I think the GOP died the second they let Trump parasitise them without a fight. Starting to think we are looking at the death ride of the Democratic party too.

        Not sure about November but 2024 could / should make this year look rational by comparison.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          YAC,

          Thank you. I appreciate your ability to break it down much better than I possibly can.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          The other thing of course that should never have been tolerated by government is underfunded or unfunded pension liabilities. Governments as well as corporations were more than happy to get away with this, so a lot of pensioners are in for one hell of a financial nightmare.

          • Yet Another Calgarian says:

            100% agreement on that count. I would say its even worse than that though as that just covers people with defined pensions.

            I don’t think either one of us believes the stock market reflects any sort of reality right now so for those who have been saving on their own in RRSPs/401k/Whatevers there is no implicit bailout waiting in the wings when the market finally does correct and takes all those stored savings with it.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            YAC,

            I hope to hell that people are buying the Newmonts and Barricks of this world. They surely need this type of large cap gold stock insurance in their portfolio now more than ever.

  7. Mark D says:

    The biggest predictor of presidential elections over the past 50 years has been white Catholics. They are basically the largest demographic of swing voters in U.S. politics, spread throughout most of the swing states, and every president as far back as Reagan has won a majority of their votes.

    Right now President Trump’s support among white Catholics has dropped signficantly since April, from 60 percent in April down to 37 percent in June.

    It is almost impossible in the U.S. system for an incumbent to lose without major third-party interference. However, Mr Trump will have a difficult time being reelected if he does not win back the white Catholic vote, since they are widely representative of other swing constituencies.

    https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2020/06/04/survey-support-trump-dips-among-white-catholics-amid-pandemic-and

  8. Walter says:

    A month ago the strategy was to keep the economy shut down for 6 months so that Trump could not run on economic success.
    That looked like if wouldn’t work so instead they decided to take advantage of terrible policing by a Democratic police force in a Democratic city in a Democratic state. The new strategy is that if all Democratic cities and states riot and cause panic and destruction – then maybe people will attribute the chaos to the Republican president.
    I am not sure if this strategy will work either. As indicated above, the average moderate might figure out that the Democrats are starting this race war for political reasons.
    When they do, voting Trump is the only logical conclusion.

    • The Doctor says:

      So who is the evil cabal plotting all of this? The Bilderberg Group? The Illuminati? The Elders of Zion? The DNC? Soros? The Deep State? Do tell.

    • Max says:

      And the Lord sayeth, “ye shall know the angry hateful racist bigoted mouth-breathing extreme right wing, white supremacists by their unhinged conspiracies. And if one is debunked, why they have lots more.”

      Golly gee Wally. And here we all thought the shutdown was all about public health and this virus thing! So, if we understand you, the Democrats sacrificed 109,000 of their supporters to beat Trump? (Republic States do not have any cases or deaths, and have immunity when travelling thru Blue States.) But wouldn’t all those strategic deaths help the Republicans with less Democrat voters alive to vote Democrat?? Yer gonna have to unpack that one a bit more Wally.

      As for your Triple D Theory (Democratic State-Police-City), so the 4 officers charged are Democrats??!! That’s a scoop! Why hasn’t Fox called you? Surely you’ll be on tonite! Do you think the Democratic Governor made the cops do it?? As for the thousands and thousands and thousands of demonstrators in the streets, how do you know they are ALL Democrats. I think I know: the demonstrators don’t wear camouflage, carry automatic weapons and wear cheap red ballcaps. Gold Wally! Gold! Gold I tell ‘ya!”

      One imagines you fondled yourself when Rep. Rand Paul cast the 1 oppositional vote to block ‘Anti-Lynching” legislation from passing in Kentucky earlier this week. That was too close for comfort eh Wally? Imagine not being able to lynch with impunity? The horror.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Walter,

      In my world, injustice and economic hell know no particular political persuasion. Black and other minority lives matter as much as white lives. And with an economy going to hell in a handbasket with people starving and many permanently unemployed, they are taking to the streets to denounce what is truly wrong in America. Only fools can’t see a distinct reality right before their eyes. They are precisely the same idiots that point to this as either a Democratic or Republican reality. I’m not talking about the rioters, who belong in jail.

      Biden wasn’t the oaf of the century who fully deregulated financial services by executive order so they can keep doing with wild abandon what they have always done: bankrupting and impoverishing the American people. With his EO, Trump is sending a message that he’s OK with that and is only concerned with the moneyed interests of crony capitalists just like himself. It’s Biden in a fucking landslide come November. Trump is utterly incapable of bringing back this economy. I didn’t say Republicans, I said T-R-U-M-P.

    • Mark D says:

      Walter:

      I’m a political conservative. But in fairness to the Democrats, both the mayor and police chief of Minneapolis had been working to try and reform the local police department due to the number of citizen complaints alleging racism and excessive use of force.

      In fact, reforming the police department had been one of the key planks in the mayor’s campaign. Whereas the current police chief–an African-American–back when he was a lieutenant had been one of five minority police officers in the department to file a legal complaint against the department either for tolerating or encouraging a culture of racism.

      Attempts by the Democrat mayor to address these problematical behaviours (alleged racism and excessive use of force) and reform the police department were met with strong resistance by rank-and-file officers through the president of the police union. The conflicts between elected politicians and the president of the police union are well-documented in the local media prior to Mr Floyd being killed.

      Here is a news story from April 2019 of the mayor and union president clashing over warrior training:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xuPWyDr85s

      And here is a news story from February of the same police union president critizing the mayor and city council publicly for settling a lawsuit with the family of an African-American man shot and killed by police in 2014:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvAAPq3ExdU

      Now in terms of the union president’s political affiliation, I have not seen any evidence of him being a Democrat. In fact, the evidence seems to point in the other direction. Here is a video of President Trump introducing the police union president at a Trump Rally last year. Notice that the police union president president is wearing the same “Cops for Trump” t-shirt as other law enforcement in the background:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si6RDqsYl78

      And this is the police union president’s reaction to recent events, as reported in the conservative-leaning New York Post:
      https://nypost.com/2020/06/02/george-floyd-had-violent-criminal-history-minneapolis-union-chief/

      This is not on Democrats.

  9. Gilbert says:

    The riots help President Trump. All the acts of vadalism, the violence, the calls for anarchy, and the looting will convince many Americans to re-elect the president. The protests paint the Democrats as the party of chaos and radical activism.

  10. jen says:

    For Democrats, it may be more than an election loss to Trump. We will have to keep an eye on the black vote. Typically this goes 90% Democrat. There are a lot of signs the democrats are having a hard time keeping this vote in tact. Polls are showing that Trumps support in the black community has risen over his term to 25-40%. If this actually becomes a reality the Democrats have a serious problem. They will have difficulty winning the white house for a generation.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Jen,

      Your point is well taken. I doubt that a random series of polls from different companies could spot a false trend but I would counter that since George Floyd was allegedly killed by police, Trump’s comments and tweets have like eroded much of those gains. So where Trump is now in the African-American and other black communities is anyone’s guess. But surely the trend is down.

  11. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    What people forget is that domestic terrorists can also be economically based and their terrorism is all about intimidation and the threat of violence. Those people, armed or otherwise exist on both the far left and far right. They should be dealt with by law enforcement even before they act through rioting, injurying or killing.

    But don’t lump peaceful protesters on the right or left with those domestic terrorists. Both parties love to play dishonest political games and that serially disrespects protesters who are out there at potentially at risk of life and limb to fight for what’s right in their eyes. Sometimes they are right and other times not. But a democracy means exactly that and allows for free speech. However, in my book hate speech is not covered by that precious privilege.

  12. Max says:

    Anybody seen Walter. Drive by smear. Republicans always seem to cut and run.

  13. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    To see Romney out there protesting today spoke legions about what kind of a man he is. He’s a bishop in his church and he should make all Americans proud.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the Republican Senate (except for Murkowski) are still scared shitless of Trump. I guess it’s really true that a coward dies a thousand deaths. In their case, they are at least up to two thousand. They only thing they haven’t thought of yet is to lick his ass but that will also come eventually. Give it time. Maybe Cruz can organize it.

    • The Doctor says:

      Charlie Sykes (a conservative btw) has the perfect name for them: The Invertebrates.

    • Mark D says:

      Ronald:

      There have actually been a few Republican senators who have been critical of President Trump over his handling on recent events. Senators Tim Scott and Ben Sasse were also critical. And from the ladies, Senators Susan Collins and Shelley Moore.

      A number also critized the president over his tweeting and his tone–including Senators John Thune, John Cornyn, and the very conservative Pat Toomey who advised Mr Trumpt to stop tweeting.

      • The Doctor says:

        Collins – the one who claimed Trump had surely “learned his lesson” after she cravenly voted not to even call witnesses at his impeachment trial. She’s a sad joke.

        • Doc,

          It’s my impression that the good people of Maine are about to show her the door. She should have sought advice from Snowe first before pulling off that irresponsible whopper.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Mark,

        Much obliged.

        I need to get in front of the TV more and not just at the last minute each night.

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