Sunday, June 21, 2020

Tyranny, or failed state?

I'm taking part of one of my posts and posting it here since Minneapolis City Council president Lisa Bender told CNN something along the lines of expecting help from the police "comes from a place of privilege."

No, Lisa, it doesn't come from a place of privilege at all.

And your statement comes from sheer ignorance since you have just shown that the Minneapolis city government is a failed state.
A failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly (see also fragile state and state collapse). A state can also fail if the government loses its legitimacy even if it is performing its functions properly. For a stable state it is necessary for the government to enjoy both effectiveness and legitimacy. Likewise, when a nation weakens and its standard of living declines, it introduces the possibility of total governmental collapse. The Fund for Peace characterizes a failed state as having the following characteristics:
  • Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein
  • Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions
  • Inability to provide public services
  • Inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community
Common characteristics of a failing state include a central government so weak or ineffective that it has an inability to raise taxes or other support, and has little practical control over much of its territory and hence there is a non-provision of public services. When this happens, widespread corruption and criminality, the intervention of state and non-state actors, the appearance of refugees and the involuntary movement of populations, sharp economic decline, and foreign military intervention can occur.
Bad move, Lisa, you shouldn't say things like that if you want to keep your job! You are saying that you have a failed state.

And that is in no way a privilege.

Anyway, one thing the riots demonstrated was that there was another possibility for why a someone would need an assault rifle, which is the exact opposite of “tyrannical government”.  That is when your country has become a failed state.

Failure to keep public order, or intentionally dismantling the the organisations which keep public order are exactly that. And it's a shit time to start saying things like defund, dismantle, or abolish the police after a riot has destroyed your city.

Anyway, not only have US cities been trashed, but the sales of assault rifles have gone through the roof. People who you normally wouldn't consider owning one are out trying to buy one.

Rudyard Kipling said something about keeping your head when others are losing theirs being a sign of leadership. The past few weeks were a time for cool heads, not virtue signalling.

Especially if the signalling sends the wrong messages.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Why I think Donald Trump will get another four years!

I remember driving through Western Pennsylvania a few days after the 2016 election. It was obvious why Trump won then. The Dems didn't bother to reassess what happened and are now set to fuck up even worse than in 2016.

First off, running Joe Biden who was a train wreck to begin with, but continues to show WHY he is correct when he tells people to vote for the other guy. Biden lost the election when he told the UAW Worker in Detroit he didn't need an assault rifle among other things, but it gets us to.

The Riots, while the Dems would like to pin everything on Trump. The "Trump is Bad" strategy was a loser in 2016: it's even worse in 2020. Toss in the riots happened in Democratically controlled areas for the most part. Nixon won as the law and order candidate in 1968. Trump will win because the Dems are the party of disorganisation.

The fall out from the riots. Loads of people bought guns. Assault rifles vanished from the marketplace both brick and mortar as well as internet. Gun control, firearms regulation, gun violence prevention, or whatever you want to call it is going to be a dead letter for some time as armed bands troop around left and right: literally.

Let's add in the talk of defunding or disbanding the police, which is one of the worst imaginable cases of branding an idea that anyone could have come up with at this time. Armed groups from all sides of the political spectrum are walking the streets: what could go wrong here? Police reorganisation might have made more sense.

But it doesn't matter since Biden has made it clear that he's not on board.
Let's not forget the Covid-19 thing, which was another disaster. It was something that pointed out the need to "medicare for all", universal basic income, or just good leadership.

In fact, the past few months have been an advertisement for why the Democrats are on the wrong track and running the wrong candidate. But I am not expecting much change. Especially when the candidate who is running is one who really isn't going to change a thing.

Casey Jones is driving the train full speed ahead high on cocaine, And there might even be speed involved.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A militarised police is nothing new...outside the United States

The term "Gendarme" may connote the quaint French Policeman like the one in this picture.

Not really, the French Gendarmerie Nationale is one of France's two national police forces. Unlike the Police Nationale, the Gendarmerie Nationale is a branch of the French Armed Forces placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior with additional duties to the Ministry of Defense.

To try and analogise this to US law enfocement, the Police Nationale would be something like a combination of large city police forces and the FBI. The Gendarmerie would be more like the State Police forces, patrolling the smaller cities, towns, and countryside. But unlike the State Police forces there are two different branches: the Departmentale and the Mobile. The Departmental being like the state police forces.

The mobile being an internal army, quite literally. main responsibilities are:
  • crowd and riot control 
  • general security in support of the Departmental Gendarmerie 
  • military and defense missions missions that require large amounts of personnel (e.g., counter-terrorism patrols)
Nearly 20% of the Mobile Gendarmerie squadrons are permanently deployed on a rotational basis in the French overseas territories. Other units deploy occasionally abroad alongside French troops engaged in military operations (called external operations or OPEX).

Let's toss in the the Gendarmerie Nationale also has the Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale (GIGN), an elite law enforcement and special operations unit numbering about 400 personnel. Its missions include counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, surveillance of national threats, protection of government officials and targeting of organized crime. GIGN is one of the world's top Special Forces groups, which is something that would make people who get upset about armed police to go apoplectic and die.

And the Gendarmerie Nationale's history goes back to the Maréchaussée of the middle ages. Maréchaussée, or Marshalcy.  During the middle ages there were two Grand Officers of the Kingdom of France with police responsibilities: The Marshal of France and the Constable of France. The military policing responsibilities of the Marshal of France were delegated to the Marshal's provost, whose force was known as the Marshalcy because its authority ultimately derived from the Marshal. The Marshalcy dates back to the Hundred Years War, and some historians trace it back to the early twelfth century. Another organisation, the Constabulary (French: Connétablie), was under the command of the Constable of France. The constabulary was regularised as a military body in 1337.

Gendarme means Man at Arms. So the Gendarmes were the "men at arms" of the Middle Ages. The term was more specific than just men who had weapons, but were government officials.

Also, France's Gendarmerie has been highly influential on other national police forces, mostly in civil law and former French Colonies.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Armed gunman? Call in the social worker!

Seriously! What the fuck is with people? Do they think that some "community based solution will work in this type of situation?

The Police and Military are necessary whether people like it or not.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

I may accept that "Assault Rifles"are necessary, but

don't think that has totally changed my opinion on firearms regulation.

if anything I still believe that there should be strict laws to prevent these weapons from falling into the wrong hands. Do you really want Antifa or the Black Lives matters crew to have their hands on guns?

On the other hand, the moment that shit like "violence is justified" and "defund the police" get mentioned then it's time that people are allowed to defend themselves. Minneapolis just voted to defund the police: other cities may follow that insane path.

And the assault rifle has been proven in the battlefield, the music concert, the school house, the night club, etc.

Let the "gun violence prevention advocates" ponder that one as people stock up on firearms. I know that the minimum bad effect of all this is that guns will be a worse problem than before. The GVP crowd should have been calling to stop the violence instead of condoning it.

There are ways to address out of control cops in the system, but the fact is that the incidents which led to this were not non-violent and the plaintiffs would have lost. But that is no reason to defund the police.

Friday, June 5, 2020

I almost bought an AR

I guess the H&K MR556 or SIG516 are AR-15 variants.

So, number one deterrent was price. The SIG is the less expensive of the two, but still in the four figure range. We are talking a price of US$ 1400+. Ouch. Toss in that I am leaning toward the H&K compared to the Sig.

And that's the price if you can find one.

Assault Rifles and guns in general are a hot commodity these days. For good reason given the chaos of the past week. Some people have seen it on TV. Other people have lived it.

And people want to protect themselves. And what better way than with a weapon that was designed for the battlefield and proven in mass shootings across the country. Las Vegas was a good advertisement. The chaos of the past week are the perfect advertisement for a weapon like this.

I may not like it, but it is hard to say that people shouldn't be able to own these weapons when the cities are under siege. That makes me different from a lot of people on the left, but I am also much more pragmatic than a lot of people on the left.

FireShot Capture 012 - Why are some US police forces equipped like military units_ - World n_ - www.theguardian.comThose are the ones who are moaning about the militarisation of the police, like this article in the Guardian. But it misses something that this post is pointing out. Civilians can buy the 5.56 Assault Rifle with no problem. Shouldn't the cops be as well armed as the civilians if they are going to keep the peace?

Toss in there is a movement to defund the police:
Defunding, said activist Jeralynn Blueford, is the logical response from leaders in this moment of unprecedented unrest. “If police had been serious about reform and policy change, then guess what? People would not be this angry.”
What The Fuck? Serious What the Fuck?

We have seen chaos and looting in US cities over the past week. Gun stores have lines that wrap around the block as people scramble to buy weapons to defend their homes.

While I support keeping guns out of the hands of people like criminals and the looters, it is thoroughly insane to prevent the law abiding to their safety. And for the most part I am sceptical of firearms for home defence, I can get why some people would want them.

It's the image in this Tommy Gun ad from the days when they were freely available.  The ability to protect your home against marauding bands of evil doers.

And the do gooders (I can't really say the left since there are some of us who get what needs to be done) who would defund the police and try to make assault rifles illegal. The argument that "no one needs one of these in a civilian world" rings hollow these days.

The chaos of the past week ISN'T the civilian world and toleration of those who are destroying US cities is wrong. It's turning the "silence is consent" argument back at them. Even worse, it's not silence, but outright appeasement.

Black Lives Matters lost any relevance the moment the fires and violence broke out. They could have salvaged their effort if they stood down and denounced the violence. But allowing violence on either side is wrong.

I don't really like that I have to accept that assault rifles are an undeniable fact of US life, but there needs to be some feeling of safety and security until people stand down: especially the rioters and looters. Violence isn't the answer. Especially if you are not the body authorised by law to keep the peace. Breaking the law really isn't the answer.

There are options other than violence and chaos, however, there is a misguided belief that is what is necessary. That is costing the Black Lives Matters its legitimacy even amongst the people it claims to represent.

Because the people buying guns aren't just white.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

If it's tourist season: does that mean we can shoot them?

I find the above bumper sticker amusing since I have lived in a lot of places which are dependent on tourism (tourist traps?). Nothing like inviting in a bunch of people from California to see your house and say "we don't have anything that old,"

Or watching people come and gawk at the place you buy your groceries. Although, I do have to admit to doing some "supermarket tourism". it is fun to see what  is on sale.

I've jokingly thought, "should I go to where these people live and act the way they do?"

But the reason I am saying this is that some people have distance from where the rioting is taking place and don't understand the scope of the looting and destruction. In particular, the destruction of people's homes or potential homes. the destruction of where people live.

While the people who are missing the scope of the destruction might dismiss the fire in the Starbucks at Philadelphia's Dilworth Plaza since it was just a building. There were cylinders of compressed gas which could have gone off. Not to mention the Starbucks was across from an apartment building.

There was another fire at 17th and Walnut in Philadelphia that lasted through the night. This was an apartment building which again might be dismissed because of the location. One the other hand, fire claimed an 189 affordable housing unit in Minneapolis.

How would the people who are neglecting the scope of the violence react if it were their home and nieghbourhoods being destroyed.

Let's not forget that some of the destruction has moved from what I would consider "strategic areas" which might make sense, if this could make sense, to the deprived areas that the people who claim that "black lives matter" also claim they want to help.

Raiding a supermarket in a deprived area only ensures that it will remain a food desert. Likewise the economic destruction will cripple any recovery made from the riots of the 60s.

Are these well meaning fools causing the Detroitification of US cities? While the do-gooders claim to care about black welfare, they will instead condemn poor city dwellers to an underclass existence.

The problem is that the peaceful protests should have ended the moment the destruction began. The fact that people are having this discussion shows that the destruction changed the dialogue for the worse. Economic power also brings political power.

The movement could have continued in a constructive manner, but it has now been overwhelmed by other concerns.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Reality versus gun rights

It's really fun watching people defend the rioters and looters in the current situation. I'm going to use Pennsylvania law, but there is Title 18, Article F, Chapter 55: Riot, Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses, which means that the destruction and looting caused by the rioters is illegal.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Trashing stores and stealing the contents is not a political act, but a criminal one.

Let's add in that not only is it a criminal act, but it is actual violence. As I said to one person being able to understand the rioters would also mean that you understand why people are protesting the Covid-19 lockdowns with guns. As they say, they may not agree with the method, but they understand the frustration.

Actually, I find the armed protesters less of a threat than I do an out of control mob who are actually engaged in violent acts. Arson is a major cause of loss of life and injury in commercial properties. Strangely, the people who somehow find that the rioting and looting are justified have an issue with people exercising their right to self-defence.

Rioting, looting, arson, and the other illegal acts mentioned in Title 18, the crimes code, and specifically Title 18, Article F, Chapter 55, are just that crimes and illegal. On the other hand someone does have the right to self-defence if they have a reasonable belief that are in danger of death or serious bodily injury. Which happens to be a very real threat if you are in the sights of rioters.

One person said, "couldn't you get out of their way, or leave town?" Is that a fair question if you get the lockdown order and AREN'T allowed to leave? Someone in that situation is pretty much stuck.

Which gets to the gun rights type's question: "shouldn't the person be allowed to defend themselves?" To which "Fuck, yeah!" seems to be the most sensible answer. And if the best weapon happens to be something semi-auto that can accept a large capacity magazine: then they should indeed be allowed to have such a weapon.

Which is why I titled this the way I did.

The person who somehow feels that the violence is "justified" or "understandable" should also be able to accept that people have a right to protect themselves. And the right which is lawful is the one of self-protection.

Not rioting.

Or as Donald Trump said: “when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

While I don't like Trump or the underlying events which led to the protests, the movement to violence has changed the game to a no win situation. And the people who are going to be the big losers are the ones the protests were supposed to help.

Likewise, I have made it clear that I don't support "gun rights" or believe it to be a real thing, but if people are going to condone violence, then they need to accept that the cycle of violence will continue.

And isn't ending the violence what the protests were trying to do?

 You can condemn the violence, yet still support the underlying cause. If anything, it makes far more sense to condemn the violence instead of allowing the cycle of violence to keep rolling on.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Who was the President of the US on the 13th of July 2013?

Wasn't it Barack Obama?

The post originally asked about the 9th of August 2014 is the date when Michael Brown was fatally shot by 28-year-old white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the city of Ferguson, Missouri. That was the event that led to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. BLM was actually started on 13 July 2013.

Still, Barack Obama was president. And he had been president for 7 years when the Michael Brown incident happened: not George W. Bush or Donald Trump.

It seems there was the usual rioting following that incident. Let's toss in that it seems that like school shootings, the usual drill is: black youth is harmed by police, riots occur, then fuck all happens, only to repeat.

There were also riots in Baltimore after the 2015 shooting of Freddie Gray. Again: black youth is harmed by police, riots occur, then fuck all happens, only to repeat.

My point is that rioting has been used as a tool even during what should have been a racially positive period. But have the results been ever really been positive? Why would I need to be asking all this if there had been positive results.

If anything, the rioting and violence have led to a continuation of the problem. If not making the situation much worse.

I need to add in for good measure that black leaders endorsed Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the 2016 and 2020 primaries. Both Clinton and Biden have a horrid record on race relations.

A riot may be the language of the unheard, but temper tantrums also don't get a positive response.
These consequences were actually foretold by some in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is common on social media to see people quoting King’s statement that a riot is a “language of the unheard.” But in the same remarks from which this popular quote is drawn, King also stated that “riots are socially destructive and self-defeating.”

In February 1968, nine months before Richard Nixon’s election, King warned that increased rioting would lead to a “right-wing takeover.” He pointed to segregationist George Wallace’s presidential bid, saying, “Every time a riot develops, it helps George Wallace.”

“They’ll throw us into concentration camps,” he told supporters of the Poor People’s Campaign. “The Wallaces and [followers of the John Birch Society] will take over. The sick people and the fascists will be strengthened. They’ll cordon off the ghetto, and issue passes for us to get in and out. We cannot stand two more summers like last summer without leading inevitably to a rightwing takeover and a fascist state that will destroy the soul of the nation.”

it's time for a new tactic since the old one hasn't worked in 50 odd years. And King was correct about how things would turn out if rioting is the tactic of choice.