Louis DeJoy accused of ‘voter suppression’

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 13, 2020, at 9:52 am.
  2. September 13, 10:49 am:
    • There have been tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases and hundreds of deaths at animal flesh packing plants. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined merely two companies a mere $29,000, apparently under influence from the Trump administration. Labor representatives worry the paltry fines will function as a disincentive to safety.[1]
  3. September 13, 9:23 pm:
  4. September 14, 2:46 am:
    • I’m not sure that the horse isn’t already out of the barn, but confirming the last update (September 13, 9:23 pm), it appears the judge did indeed grant a temporary restraining order against the Postal Service.[2]
  5. September 14, 3:06 am:
    • I guess this is Sally (figure 2) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Conservatism

There is a new blog post entitled, “On ‘freedom.’


Postal Service

“In Colorado, every registered voter is sent a ballot without having to make a request and voters are urged to return ballots by mail sooner than seven days before the election. My office asked USPS officials to delay or not send the mailer in Colorado, but they refused to commit to that,” said [Colorado Secretary of State Jena] Griswold. Voters in states with similar vote-by-mail, such as California and Washington, could also be misled by the postcard’s recommendations.[3]

I had thought the card was pretty germaine, but given its obvious significance in this election, took the precaution of scanning it in (figure 1) before, as I do with nearly everything, shredding it:[4]

Fig. 1. Scan of card received by author on September 11, 2020, from the U.S. Postal Service.

Sure enough, there is specific advice there that could conflict with some states’ rules. And it really wouldn’t have taken a lot of rephrasing to mollify Jena Griswold and her colleagues from, she says, at least five other states.[5]

Jake Johnson, “Condemning ‘Attempt at Voter Suppression,’ Colorado Sues DeJoy Over Misleading Postal Service Mailers,” Common Dreams, September 12, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/12/condemning-attempt-voter-suppression-colorado-sues-dejoy-over-misleading-postal

Colleen Flynn and Evan Kruegel, “TRO against USPS granted in lawsuit filed by Colo. Sec. of State Jena Griswold,” KDVR, September 12, 2020, https://kdvr.com/news/tro-against-usps-granted-in-lawsuit-filed-by-colo-sec-of-state-jena-griswold/


Animal flesh

Kimberly Kindy, “More than 200 meat plant workers in the U.S. have died of covid-19. Federal regulators just issued two modest fines,” Washington Post, September 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/osha-covid-meat-plant-fines/2020/09/13/1dca3e14-f395-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html


Sally


Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for Eastern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico, as of September 14, 2020, at 2:02 am.


  1. [1]Kimberly Kindy, “More than 200 meat plant workers in the U.S. have died of covid-19. Federal regulators just issued two modest fines,” Washington Post, September 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/osha-covid-meat-plant-fines/2020/09/13/1dca3e14-f395-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html
  2. [2]Colleen Flynn and Evan Kruegel, “TRO against USPS granted in lawsuit filed by Colo. Sec. of State Jena Griswold,” KDVR, September 12, 2020, https://kdvr.com/news/tro-against-usps-granted-in-lawsuit-filed-by-colo-sec-of-state-jena-griswold/
  3. [3]Jake Johnson, “Condemning ‘Attempt at Voter Suppression,’ Colorado Sues DeJoy Over Misleading Postal Service Mailers,” Common Dreams, September 12, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/12/condemning-attempt-voter-suppression-colorado-sues-dejoy-over-misleading-postal
  4. [4]The idea is that should I dispose of anything that might be used against me in this way, the motherfuckers will have to piece together a lot of junk before they find it.
  5. [5]Jake Johnson, “Condemning ‘Attempt at Voter Suppression,’ Colorado Sues DeJoy Over Misleading Postal Service Mailers,” Common Dreams, September 12, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/12/condemning-attempt-voter-suppression-colorado-sues-dejoy-over-misleading-postal

Welcome to the apocalypse

Horse race

It’s a truly bizarre platform under the circumstances, but as is typical for neoliberals, utterly and willfully ignorant of reality:

“M4A” means Medicare For All.


White supremacist militia

I have added a note to a previous blog post:

I am remembering a previous blog post in which I witnessed a local cop (in the Pittsburgh area) allowed his dog to bark viciously and persistently at a Black man who was doing nothing more than walking across a parking lot. Instances such as these, this one that I personally witnessed,[1] the one Ryan Devereaux describes,[2] and, of course, the disproportionate killings of Blacks,[3] virtually erase the distinction between police and white supremacist militia, transforming it to a distinction between regular (official) and irregular (unofficial) white supremacist militia. I don’t know how you conclude otherwise.[4]


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Hey cops! Do you know what year it is?” Not Housebroken, August 27, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/27/hey-cops-do-you-know-what-year-it-is/
  2. [2]Ryan Devereaux, “The Thin Blue Line Between Violent, Pro-Trump Militias and Police,” Intercept, August 28, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/08/28/kyle-rittenhouse-violent-pro-trump-militias-police/
  3. [3]Mark Berman et al., “Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people,” Washington Post, June 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/protests-spread-over-police-shootings-police-promised-reforms-every-year-they-still-shoot-nearly-1000-people/2020/06/08/5c204f0c-a67c-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html; James Downie, “Time to toss the ‘bad apples’ excuse,” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/31/time-toss-bad-apples-excuse/; Wesley Lowery, “Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no,” Washington Post, July 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/; Brentin Mock, “What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings,” CityLab, August 6, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/; Elie Mystal, “There’s Only One Possible Conclusion: White America Likes Its Killer Cops,” Nation, May 27, 2020, https://www.thenation.com/article/society/white-america-cops/; Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “How Do We Change America?” New Yorker, June 8, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-do-we-change-america
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Donald Trump’s ‘brown shirts,’” Not Housebroken, September 12, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/30/donald-trumps-brown-shirts/

As Donald Trump faces possible defeat, violence is here

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 30, 2020, at 11:16 am.
  2. August 30, 2020, 10:34 pm:
    • It turns out the shooting victim in Portland may well have been a white supremacist Trump supporter and the shooter may have been among demonstrating Leftists. Further details are sparse[1] but some possibilities come to mind:

      1. This could have been a “false flag” operation in which a white supremacist embedded himself among Leftists and fired at one of his own in an attempt to garner sympathy for the white supremacist cause. Yes, some of them really are this crazy and it’s even conceivable that the victim volunteered to be a martyr.
      2. I have also been seeing on Twitter that as police credibility has evaporated, some Leftists say they are taking up weapons—indeed, some have apparently had them all along. So it’s possible this really was a Leftist shooting at a militia member. It does appear that any violence from the Leftist side may have been provoked by the militia side.[2]
      3. It is possible we will never know the truth. Police have been known to “testilie,” that is, give false testimony, even under oath. The practice may even be ubiquitous and the incentives for both district attorneys and police generally favor at least complicity if not worse.[3] It does appear police sympathies lie with the militia,[4] so we cannot presume that any law enforcement-led investigation will be impartial. And so we have no way to be assured of the honesty of any law enforcement-led investigation.

      Donald Trump is of course seizing on the violence in his “law and order” narrative, praising his supporters.[5]

  3. August 31, 2020, 9:07 am:
    • Guardian coverage of the Portland shooting includes video of the shooting that seems to suggest it occurred away—I don’t know how far away—from clashes between racial justice protesters and right-wing militia groups.[6] It’s possible this had nothing to do with the protests but, adopting the logic of the Kenosha police chief,[7] we might suggest that had this man not come to Portland to provoke violence with protesters, he might still be alive. I’m just guessing Donald Trump won’t acknowledge that.

      This coverage also includes video of militia members driving pickups through protests and pepper-spraying protesters.[8] The driving cars through protesters thing reminds me of the violence in Charlottesville.[9]

  4. August 31, 2020, 9:35 am:
    • As I was dredging my archives to check my recollection of Charlottesville, I came across this:

      In March [2017], [Keith] Mines was one of several national-security experts whom Foreign Policy asked to evaluate the risks of a second civil war—with percentages. Mines concluded that the United States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years. Other experts’ predictions ranged from five per cent to ninety-five per cent. The sobering consensus was thirty-five per cent. And that was five months before Charlottesville.[10]

      I guess I’d have to say this still seems to me to be a stretch. Combatants would likely be drawn from the Left and the extreme right. I’m not seeing it become a mainstream thing. But the violence seems like it might be escalating and it certainly is eye-catching.

  5. August 31, 2020, 10:17 am:
    • If you want to see a map of the homes destroyed in the LNU Complex Fires, including the Walbridge Fire, see this Sacramento Bee article. You’ll have to drag the map quite a ways to the west to get to Sonoma County. I dragged it clear towards Fort Ross near where once I came across a home that was for sale—it was absolutely spectacular—and that I badly wished I was in any kind of condition to purchase. It looks like three homes burned there; I’m wondering if that house was among them.


Militia

When Donald Trump was being impeached, I wrote,

I object to the present proceedings because I suspect they would not be occurring at all had Trump targeted anyone other than the neoliberals’ preferred candidate for the neoliberal (Democratic) party presidential nomination[11] and because I think there are stronger grounds for impeachment that would not enable Trump’s bigotry against migrants on the U.S.-Mexican border.[12] I have also worried about the possibility that Trump’s base might resort to violence and it very much appears to me that I now live in an area[13] where some of that violence might occur.[14][15]

That impeachment went down to a well-deserved—I called it “[t]he stupidest impeachment ever, historically notable first for all the offenses it failed to charge Donald Trump with,[16] second for its utterly predictable futility, and third for its transparent (and apparently failed) attempt to protect Joe Biden[17][18]—defeat[19] but now that Donald Trump faces a possible defeat in his re-election bid this November, he has embraced a neoconservative “law and order” mantra in response to Black Lives Matter protests,[20] and the specter I worried about with impeachment seems to be coming to life. The part I didn’t predict was that the police would embrace the militia.[21] There is a new blog post entitled, “Donald Trump’s ‘brown shirts.’

Faiz Siddiqui and Isaac Stanley-Becker, “One person shot dead in Portland following clashes between pro-Trump supporters, counterprotesters,” Washington Post, August 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/29/blm-activists-counterprotesters-clash-portland-leading-arrests/

Hollie Silverman and Alta Spells, “1 person is dead after a shooting during protests in downtown Portland,” CNN, August 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/30/us/portland-protest-fatal-shooting/index.html

Ed Pilkington and Joanna Walters, “Portland clashes: Trump accused of encouraging violence after shooting,” Guardian, August 31, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/30/fatal-shooting-in-portland-as-trump-supporters-clash-with-black-lives-matter-protesters


  1. [1]Faiz Siddiqui and Isaac Stanley-Becker, “One person shot dead in Portland following clashes between pro-Trump supporters, counterprotesters,” Washington Post, August 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/29/blm-activists-counterprotesters-clash-portland-leading-arrests/
  2. [2]Faiz Siddiqui and Isaac Stanley-Becker, “One person shot dead in Portland following clashes between pro-Trump supporters, counterprotesters,” Washington Post, August 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/29/blm-activists-counterprotesters-clash-portland-leading-arrests/
  3. [3]Mark Joseph Stern, “The Police Lie. All the Time. Can Anything Stop Them?” Slate, August 4, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/08/police-testilying.html
  4. [4]Ryan Devereaux, “The Thin Blue Line Between Violent, Pro-Trump Militias and Police,” Intercept, August 28, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/08/28/kyle-rittenhouse-violent-pro-trump-militias-police/; Jeremy Stahl, “Kenosha Police Chief Blames Protesters for Their Own Deaths, Defends Vigilante Groups,” Slate, August 26, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/08/kenosha-police-chief-daniel-miskinis-blames-protesters-for-own-deaths.html
  5. [5]Faiz Siddiqui and Isaac Stanley-Becker, “One person shot dead in Portland following clashes between pro-Trump supporters, counterprotesters,” Washington Post, August 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/29/blm-activists-counterprotesters-clash-portland-leading-arrests/
  6. [6]Ed Pilkington and Joanna Walters, “Portland clashes: Trump accused of encouraging violence after shooting,” Guardian, August 31, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/30/fatal-shooting-in-portland-as-trump-supporters-clash-with-black-lives-matter-protesters
  7. [7]Jeremy Stahl, “Kenosha Police Chief Blames Protesters for Their Own Deaths, Defends Vigilante Groups,” Slate, August 26, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/08/kenosha-police-chief-daniel-miskinis-blames-protesters-for-own-deaths.html
  8. [8]Ed Pilkington and Joanna Walters, “Portland clashes: Trump accused of encouraging violence after shooting,” Guardian, August 31, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/30/fatal-shooting-in-portland-as-trump-supporters-clash-with-black-lives-matter-protesters
  9. [9]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Charlottesville: One killed in violence over US far-right rally,” August 13, 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40912509
  10. [10]Robin Wright, “Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?” New Yorker, August 14, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/is-america-headed-for-a-new-kind-of-civil-war
  11. [11]David Benfell, “It’s still a smoke-filled room,” December 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/06/its-still-a-smoke-filled-room/; David Benfell, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/07/how-the-neoliberal-usually-known-as-democratic-party-may-well-lose-in-2020/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/
  13. [13]Colin P. Clarke, “One Year After Tree of Life, We Still Aren’t Talking Enough About Violent White Supremacy,” Rand, October 27, 2019, https://www.rand.org/blog/2019/10/one-year-after-tree-of-life-we-still-arent-talking.html; Letrell Deshan Crittenden, “The Pittsburgh problem: race, media and everyday life in the Steel City,” Columbia Journalism Review, October 25, 2019, https://www.cjr.org/tow_center_reports/racism-black-burnout-in-pittsburgh-journalism.php; Eric Heyl, “Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist, Islamic Hate Groups Active In Pittsburgh,” Patch, August 16, 2017, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/pittsburgh/neo-nazi-white-supremacist-islamic-hate-groups-active-pittsburgh; Moriah Ella Mason, “Pittsburgh Doesn’t Need More Guns — We Need Less White Supremacy,” Forward, October 29, 2018, https://forward.com/scribe/413104/pittsburgh-doesnt-need-more-guns-we-need-less-white-supremacy/; Charles Thompson, “Pennsylvania housed 36 active hate groups last year, ranking 8th in the country: report,” Penn Live, February 21, 2019, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/02/southern-poverty-law-center-counts-36-active-hate-groups-in-pennsylvania-in-2018.html
  14. [14]David Benfell, “Militia territory,” Not Housebroken, November 22, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/11/22/militia-territory/
  15. [15]David Benfell, “The least violent solution,” Not Housebroken, December 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/16/the-least-violent-solution/
  16. [16]David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/; see also Democracy Now, “Law Professor: Trump Could Also Have Been Impeached for War Crimes, Assassinations and Corruption,” January 24, 2020, https://www.democracynow.org/2020/1/24/donald_trump_senate_impeachment_trial
  17. [17]David Benfell, “It’s still a smoke-filled room,” Not Housebroken, December 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/06/its-still-a-smoke-filled-room/; David Benfell, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/07/how-the-neoliberal-usually-known-as-democratic-party-may-well-lose-in-2020/; David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/; David Benfell, “The least violent solution,” Not Housebroken, December 16, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/16/the-least-violent-solution/; David Benfell, “The sham (pick your partisan flavor) is on,” Not Housebroken, December 19, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/19/the-sham-pick-your-partisan-flavor-is-on/; David Benfell, “The asterisk,” Not Housebroken, December 21, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/21/the-asterisk/
  18. [18]David Benfell, “One farce down, one to go,” Irregular Bullshit, February 5, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/02/05/one-farce-down-one-to-go/
  19. [19]Jennifer Haberkorn and Sarah D. Wire, “Senate acquits Trump in impeachment trial; Romney breaks with GOP to vote for conviction,” Los Angeles Times, February 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-02-05/senate-expected-to-acquit-president-trump-impeachment-trial
  20. [20]David Benfell, “The authoritarian populist president embraces neoconservatism–to advance his own tyranny,” Not Housebroken, July 29, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/21/the-authoritarian-populist-president-embraces-neoconservatism-to-advance-his-own-tyranny/
  21. [21]Ryan Devereaux, “The Thin Blue Line Between Violent, Pro-Trump Militias and Police,” Intercept, August 28, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/08/28/kyle-rittenhouse-violent-pro-trump-militias-police/; Jeremy Stahl, “Kenosha Police Chief Blames Protesters for Their Own Deaths, Defends Vigilante Groups,” Slate, August 26, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/08/kenosha-police-chief-daniel-miskinis-blames-protesters-for-own-deaths.html

‘Here it is, again, in foreign correspondent voice: The security forces are cracking down on the opposition.’

Police

It seems there are some peculiarities to the judicial system in Virginia which police exploit to repress dissent.[1]

I’m not at all sure these peculiarities are unique to Virginia; in fact, I suspect something like this or perhaps even worse operates in Pittsburgh:

As for [Matthew] Cartier [who was arrested by undercover officers using an undercover van for refusing to cooperate with police at a protest], Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala released a statement saying his arrest should “be a summary offense at best” and should be handled by police in a summary hearing.[2]

Wait. What? Police conduct “summary hearings?”

Alex Pareene, “The Police Are Pretty Sure They’re Going to Get Away With It,” New Republic, August 28, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/159142/portsmouth-virginia-police-louise-lucas-lisa-lucas-burke


  1. [1]Alex Pareene, “The Police Are Pretty Sure They’re Going to Get Away With It,” New Republic, August 28, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/159142/portsmouth-virginia-police-louise-lucas-lisa-lucas-burke
  2. [2]Lindsay Ward, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Speaks Out After Putting An End To Tactics Used In Controversial Arrest At Oakland Protest,” KDKA, August 18, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/18/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-arrest-oakland-tactics/

A murderer murders and the police chief blames protesters for being out after curfew

Police

A picture I had gotten from Twitter was of an armed young white supremacist appearing at a protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, shooting protesters, and being allowed to leave. A Slate story refers to the shooter as a ‘vigilante’ but otherwise confirms the account[1] and I see no reason to distinguish between white supremacism and those who defend the police assertion of privilege to do whatever the fuck they want, including shooting people, especially including shooting Black people.[2]

[Kenosha Police Chief Daniel] Miskinis’ views of the gathering of vigilante groups that reportedly led to the killing of two local men [in a protest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake] appears to be very much in line with those of his department. Before the shooting, officers in armored vehicles could be seen giving water to armed men gathered with the alleged shooter and telling them, “We appreciate you guys, we really do.” After the killings, the alleged shooter walked slowly past a series of police vehicles with his arms raised and was allowed to simply walk away. (It’s not yet clear what the officers knew about the shooting at the time, but the shots were audible in nearby footage.)[3]

Instead of blaming the white supremacist/vigilante who shot protesters, Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis appears to blame the protesters themselves, saying they were out after a declared curfew.[4]

Jeremy Stahl, “Kenosha Police Chief Blames Protesters for Their Own Deaths, Defends Vigilante Groups,” Slate, August 26, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/08/kenosha-police-chief-daniel-miskinis-blames-protesters-for-own-deaths.html


Horse race


  1. [1]Jeremy Stahl, “Kenosha Police Chief Blames Protesters for Their Own Deaths, Defends Vigilante Groups,” Slate, August 26, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/08/kenosha-police-chief-daniel-miskinis-blames-protesters-for-own-deaths.html
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Don’t just defund the police. Abolish them,” Not Housebroken, August 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/25/dont-just-defund-the-police-abolish-them/
  3. [3]Jeremy Stahl, “Kenosha Police Chief Blames Protesters for Their Own Deaths, Defends Vigilante Groups,” Slate, August 26, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/08/kenosha-police-chief-daniel-miskinis-blames-protesters-for-own-deaths.html
  4. [4]Jeremy Stahl, “Kenosha Police Chief Blames Protesters for Their Own Deaths, Defends Vigilante Groups,” Slate, August 26, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/08/kenosha-police-chief-daniel-miskinis-blames-protesters-for-own-deaths.html

The Talk

It wasn’t that long ago, I had a young Black man in my car who had received only a mild form of “The Talk,” that is, the conversation Black parents very unfortunately need to have with their children about what to do when confronted by police.

I explained to him that cops will lie, that they will just make shit up. Don’t believe me?

Public Defendering Profile picture

Public Defendering

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23 Aug, 14 tweets, 3 min read

Thread about my retaliatory arrest:

6 police units arrived at my mom’s house at 5:30am, 3 different police agencies showed up, all exits from my mom’s house were barricaded, had officers surrounding the house, 1/6

my mom saw through the ring speaker that two officers were sniffing through their license plates under the carport. Mom “may I help you?”thru the ring. They said they had a warrant for me but refused to say what for. Mom told them that I was a public defender and at court. 2/6

I immediately leave my house so not to put my husband or my dog at risk should they get the right address. Driving on the road, I’m anxious that I’ll be targeted and stopped to execute the warrant.

Make it to my office, immediately start hiding out in my colleagues office who has no fucks to give should shit go sideways — there we plan to stay in the office to avoid arrest while figuring out exactly what is going on. My colleague begins by calling the PD with the warrant—

The officer who answered the phone knew me and that they were out trying to execute a warrant for me. When asked what the warrant was for they said they didn’t have to say. When asked for a copy— they said they did not have authorization to provide us with one.

The conversation switched drastically after those two questions to — “where is she? At her office. Bring her to us so we can execute the warrant and arrest her. My colleague told the police officer that would not happen without more information on the warrant.

About 5 minutes later the phone rings, my colleague answers and hands the phone to me. The guy who was trying to execute the warrant was on the phone telling me that this will get ugly if I continue to avoid arrest. Again, I am at my officer and in court at 2pm.

At this point their refusal to come to the courthouse to arrest me or arrest me at my office—was making me think something really sketchy was going on.

I was working on a attempted murder of a police officer case representing the defendant. It seemed far fetched but I was starting to think it was retaliation for that.

I called a few ADAs I knew would do favors for me and asked them to look into it. They later reported that the police wouldn’t give them any information about what the warrant was for— nothing. The ADAs checked the warrant system and a warrant for me didn’t exist.

“When the ADAs called me back they said the same thing “Don’t know what’s going on but this is retaliation about that case. They won’t tell us anything about the warrant but it doesn’t exist. You need to stay somewhere other than your house tonight.

Don’t let them arrest you. I don’t know exactly what is going on but I do know they intend to not release you and fuck with you. The cop mentioned 30 days but They are going to try to hold you for as long as they can.

I plan on finishing them but imma wait to see how much interest I get before I bother typing it all out for nothing

I’m going to finish, I swear. I’m just falling asleep and to do the remainder of the story justice I need to finish it in the morning, so stay tuned.[1]

The cops are trying this on someone they know to be a lawyer, someone they know will know her rights, someone they know has the means to check their claims. Consider what they will do to someone, anyone, who doesn’t have the privilege and the access that this public defender has.


  1. [1]Public Defendering [pseud.], [Twitter thread], August 23, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1297405642848837633.html

The problem of police handling protests against the police

California

Summer Lin, “How are wildfires named? What’s the Lightning Complex? Answers for California fire season,” Sacramento Bee, August 20, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article245117530.html


Pittsburgh

I’m not sure if this is more bullshit or if Bill Peduto is climbing down[1] from being an asshole about protests at his house.[2] In a way, it’s inherently bullshit and can’t be otherwise because police are, in many ways, fundamentally a wrong answer.[3] And it certainly doesn’t help when Peduto claims,

My job is the only job in the city that has to be in that middle and has to be able to recognize the rights of everyone. And yes, that makes me unpopular to both sides, but if I wasn’t unpopular to both sides, I would not be doing my job.[4]

If there is one thing that can be said about the “middle road” in any contest of ideas, it is that it is guaranteed to be incoherent. In this case, it’s at the very least problematic to (still) have police enforcing controls on protests when police are in fact a large part of the problem protesters are protesting against with the racial justice movement—anything they do other than withdraw is guaranteed to further exacerbate protesters’ anger. But Peduto is changing how protests will be handled;[5] I hope it’s really an improvement. But the problem really is more fundamental than the command structure.

Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Makes Leadership Changes In Response To Police’s Handling Of Protests,” KDKA, August 21, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/21/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-police-changes/


  1. [1]Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Makes Leadership Changes In Response To Police’s Handling Of Protests,” KDKA, August 21, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/21/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-police-changes/
  2. [2]Megan Guza And Abby Mackey, “Police disperse overnight protesters at Peduto’s house, mayor decries neighborhood harassment,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 19, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/police-disperse-overnight-protesters-at-pedutos-house-mayor-decries-neighborhood-harassment/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “On police,” Not Housebroken, August 12, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/10/on-police/
  4. [4]Bill Peduto, quoted in Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Makes Leadership Changes In Response To Police’s Handling Of Protests,” KDKA, August 21, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/21/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-police-changes/
  5. [5]Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Makes Leadership Changes In Response To Police’s Handling Of Protests,” KDKA, August 21, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/21/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-police-changes/

Fire 13-4 is now the Walbridge Fire

Walbridge Fire

“Fire 13-4” now has a name: The Walbridge Fire. Don’t ask me. I have no idea how they come up with these designations. The evacuation areas (whether mandatory or warning) seem to have expanded, but Sonoma County’s incident map seems to be down and the notifications I get refer to map grids on a map I don’t know where or how to find.


Pittsburgh

Bill Peduto condemned the plainclothes arrest of a protester mentioned in my most recent blog post[1] and ordered that such tactics not be used in future misdemeanor arrests,[2] but protesters continued to target him, demonstrating outside his home. It would seem the mayor does not appreciate demonstrations that disturb the neighbors in the wee hours. Poor baby. He could have met with them as they demanded, but instead accused one of a felony.[3]

Megan Guza And Abby Mackey, “Police disperse overnight protesters at Peduto’s house, mayor decries neighborhood harassment,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 19, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/police-disperse-overnight-protesters-at-pedutos-house-mayor-decries-neighborhood-harassment/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Off with their heads,” Not Housebroken, August 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/17/off-with-their-heads/
  2. [2]Lindsay Ward, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Speaks Out After Putting An End To Tactics Used In Controversial Arrest At Oakland Protest,” KDKA, August 18, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/18/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-arrest-oakland-tactics/
  3. [3]Megan Guza And Abby Mackey, “Police disperse overnight protesters at Peduto’s house, mayor decries neighborhood harassment,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 19, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/police-disperse-overnight-protesters-at-pedutos-house-mayor-decries-neighborhood-harassment/

A campaign for the disillusioned and the delusional

Horse race

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here or not, but when I moved here, and until a short time after Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for the neoliberal party nomination, there was a house on Baptist Road in Bethel Park that had been festooned with a truly excessive display of support for Sanders. Lots of yard signs, posters, an effigy—it was really completely and totally over the top.

So Sanders effectively concedes and eventually all that comes down and the house now looks pretty much like any other on that street. You can still identify it: Bernie Sanders bumper stickers remain affixed to the mailbox.

But there is no support for Joe Biden here. Rather, a yard sign for a giant meteor strike in 2020 now appears.

I’m seeing a lot of disillusionment with the U.S. political system now on my Twitter feed where there was little or none before. People really imagined progressivism had a chance.

Some are still fighting. Some even still demand that Biden relinquish the nomination in favor of Sanders. A lot of folks will be voting for the Green Party. But there’s also a lot of talk of a general strike and even of revolution that appears in my feed now.

Frankly, I don’t give a damn whether Donald Trump is re-elected or Biden ousts him. Neither of them are acceptable.

And as I said in 2016, if you want me to change my mind, you’d better have a real job for me right fucking now, not the promise of a job, certainly not the mere hope of a job, but an actual job now.

Because if you think I’m voting for four more years of abject humiliation, of poverty, and of being treated like shit on the job market, even with a Ph.D., just so I can have more war, more social inequality, and more environmental catastrophe, you’re simply delusional: There is absolutely nothing for me to vote for here.


Pittsburgh

Lindsay Ward, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Speaks Out After Putting An End To Tactics Used In Controversial Arrest At Oakland Protest,” KDKA, August 18, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/18/pittsburgh-mayor-bill-peduto-arrest-oakland-tactics/


The summer of our discontent

One hot woman

My mother is putting up with a lot out in California, with rotating power outages, 100-plus degree heat, and the upcoming peak of a fire season that looks like it’s going to be really, really bad. It’s also her birthday.

I’m not gonna tell you how old she is. Suffice it to say, she’s outlived a bunch of assholes.

Ironically, with the pandemic, it’s also a time when I’m glad we’re on opposite sides of the country. Driving for Uber and Lyft, I’m exposed to a lot of people in a confined space and it would absolutely not be a good thing for me to give her COVID-19.

Happy birthday, Mom! Such as it is.


Horse race

Robert McCartney, “Here’s one way Trump could try to steal the election, voting experts say,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/heres-one-way-trump-could-try-to-steal-the-election-voting-experts-say/2020/08/16/b5bf0c2a-de66-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html


Pittsburgh

There is a new blog post entitled, “Off with their heads.”

Shelby Cassesse, “Protesters Call For Mayor Peduto’s Resignation After Arrest Of Protester In Oakland,” KDKA, August 16, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/16/protesters-call-for-removal-of-mayor-peduto/

Mary Ann Thomas, “Angry crowd shows up at Mayor Peduto’s home challenging Pittsburgh police arrest of protester,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 16, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protesters-show-up-at-pedutos-home-protesting-city-police-arrest-of-protester-saturday/


Academia

Gee, who[1] could have told us this[2] would happen?

Tim Elfrink, “‘We’ve got to do better than this’: College students raise alarm by packing bars, avoiding masks,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/17/alabama-georgia-college-parties-covid/


  1. [1]Vivian S. Lee, Vindell Washington, and Robert M. Califf, “The Bad Science of Reopening,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-bad-science-of-reopening
  2. [2]Tim Elfrink, “‘We’ve got to do better than this’: College students raise alarm by packing bars, avoiding masks,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/17/alabama-georgia-college-parties-covid/