Go to content Go to navigation Go to search

Our crisis is a brand.

MARIA BARTIROMO
Secretary, we were just going through the situation in Portland. I want to get to the other major cities of our country and the violence happening there, but why can’t—before we finish on Portland, why can’t you just arrest the leadership in Portland because of their ignoring what’s really happening on the ground?

CHAD WOLF
Well we absolutely are doing that. So we’re working with the FBI there in Portland, the US Attorney’s office there in Portland to address the leaders that are organizing this and then going after them. We’re also making arrests every night. We made more than seven or eight arrests last night and we’ll continue to do that, we’ll continue to hold these criminals accountable. If the city government won’t, the federal government will hold these folks accountable.

Leave aside for just a moment the head-spinning question of whether Chad Wolf ever got it through his five o’clock Michael Bay former-lobbyist shadow that the Fox News anchor meant arresting the Mayor, and the City Council, and not the good folks running Riot Ribs—isn’t it astonishing just how many constitutional crises we can be teetering on the brink of, these days? And never manage to tumble over?

ACAB. Feds GTFO. Defund the police. DHS delenda est.

Messrs. Underhill.

Knowing as you must of my interest in all things psychoceramic, and my professional investment in one small corner of the field, and knowing as you might of the longstanding similarities between stories of alien abductions, and stories of fairy kidnaps (previously commented upon by among others Jacques Vallée, who was played by François Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), well: you can then imagine the thrill that passed through me when I learned that the zelyonye chelovechki, or “Little Green Men”—unidentified alien soldiers in green camo who first popped up all over Ukraine during the 2014 annexation of Crimea—were also known to those invaded as vezhlivye lyudi: the “Polite People.”

Lownsdale Chapman Square.

ANGLE - CHAD WOLF ON THE STEPS OF THE LOBBY

CLOSE UP to the front row. CAMERA FOLLOWS.

WILLIAMS
It is oh-dark-thirty.

He closes up the plywood over the front doors.

ANGLE - TWO LITTLE GREEN MEN IN CAMO

LGM 1 nods toward WOLF

LGM 1
(sotto voce)
So who is that?

WOLF
Lemme' have your attention for a moment.

ANGLE - WOLF ON THE STEPS OF THE LOBBY

WOLF (CONT’D)
’Cause you're talking about, what you're talking about, bitching about that bust you shot, some son of a bitch don't want to do what he's told... somebody don't want to respect you, some broad you think you got a chance with, so on, let's talk about something important.
(to WILLIAMS)
Are they all here?

WILLIAMS
All but the FBI.

WOLF
(checks watch)
Well, I'm going anyway. Let's talk about something important.

LGM 2 gets up, walks to a rack of rifles and flash-bangs and grenades. He starts to take a grenade.

WOLF (CONT'D)
Put. That tear gas. Down. Tear gas is for closers only, you think I'm fuckin' with you, I am not fuckin' with you: I'm here from DC, I'm here from Trump and Barr... and I'm here on a mission of mercy...
(he checks notes)
You're with BORTAC? You call yourself a cop, you son of a bitch...

ANGLE - LGM 1

LGM 1 gets up, starts for the plywood over the front doors.

LGM 1
I don't gave to listen to this shit.

WOLF
You certainly don't, pal, ’cause the good news is: you’re fired.
(pause)
The bad news is you got, all of you've got just one week to regain your jobs. Starting with tonight. Starting with tonight's riot... Oh: have I got your attention now? Good. ’Cause we’re having a little contest. And the fellow with the highest body count wins first place. First prize is a brand new Silverado. You wanna' see second prize?

He reaches into his briefcase, takes out a cheap contraption of camo webbing and pouches.

WOLF (CONT'D)
Second prize is a tactical diaper bag. Third prize is you're fired. You get the picture, are you laughing now? You got violent anarchists coming at that door, seventy-two minutes, Trump and Barr paid good money, get their names, to bust them. You can't bust the anarchists you're given, you can't bust shit, you are shit... hit the bricks, pal, and beat it ’cause you're going out.

LGM 2
The intel's weak.

Pause.

WOLF
The intel's weak! The fuckin' intel is weak? You're weak. I been in this business fifteen years.

LGM 1
What's your name?

WOLF
Fuck you, that's my name. You know why, Mister? ’Cause you drove an unmarked van to get here tonight, I flew a Sikorsky S-76. That's my name, and your name is you're wanting, and you can't play in the man's game, you can't bust them, then go home and tell whoever the fuck your troubles. Because One Thing Counts in This Life: Get Them to Kneel on the Sidewalk Before You. You hear me, you pieces of shit...? I know your war stories. I know the bullshit excuses that are your lives. What do you know...? What do you know...

He starts to write graffiti on the marble wall of the lobby.

ANGLE - THE LOBBY WALL

writes huge in chalk: "A.B.C."

WOLF (O.S.)
A.B.C.
A. Always
B. Be
C. Cruel, Always Be Cruel

ANGLE - WOLF ON THE STEPS OF THE LOBBY

WOLF (CONT'D)
Always Be Cruel.
(writes)
A.I.D.A.
Attention, Intimidation, Detonation, Arrest.
Attention: Do I have your attention!
Intimidation: Are you intimidated? I know you are, because it's fuck-or-walk: you bust or you hit the bricks.
Detonation: Are you ready to blow shit up for Christ?
and Arrest?
A.I.D.A. Get out there, you got the anarchists coming in. You think they came in to get out of the pandemic? A guy don't link arms on the line ’lest he wants to get busted: They're sitting out there, waiting to give you their dignity... You gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

The first duty.

Past his sell-by Acting Secretary Chad Wolf
addresses our Vezhlivye Lyudi.

Some additional context.

For years, the Portland Police and the Department of Homeland Security have worked with fascist and far-right organizers to coordinate their demonstrations and facilitate their violence against anti-racist and anti-fascist counter-protesters as well as the general public. In June 2018, DHS worked directly with Gibson to plan a rally in downtown Portland during which fascists were permitted to attack counter-demonstrators with impunity. In early 2019, texts between far-right leader Joey Gibson and members of the Portland Police Bureau came to light, revealing that the police were feeding Gibson information, letting him know when his colleagues that were on probation needed to lay low, and informed him in advance about anti-fascist events and activities. Police faced no consequences for this.

a joint statement by It’s Going Down and Crimethinc.

Some further context:

Before federal officers started dragging people into unmarked vans, PPB was pulling civilians out of their cars if they drove too close to the protests.

Tuck Woodstock

And but also:

Promised Land.

OH NOES THE STATUES

Standing figures of a pioneer family, circa 1843. The parents stand to the back and their son stands between them in front. The father is bearded and wearing a long-sleeve shirt, trousers with suspenders and mid-calf boots. He points with his proper right hand and his proper left arm is around his wife, who wears a long prairie dress shawl, and apron. Her hair is in a bun, and she holds a doll to her chest in her proper left hand. The boy wears trousers with suspenders and his shirt sleeves are rolled up. He holds a Bible in his proper right hand, against his proper right leg. A wagon wheel and leaning rifle stand behind the father figure.

In conclusion: ACAB. Abolish prisons. Defund the police. ICE delenda est.

Always already again, again.

So that’s the choice we face, my fellow Americans: between freedom and opportunity or socialism and decline. And I have no doubt, as all of us do all that we can, even in these challenging times between now and November 3rd, we’ll see our way through. We’ll be there for our neighbors and friends, we will heal our land, and then we will win a great victory for freedom and our very way of life. And with President Donald Trump in the White House for four more years, we’ll make America great again, again.”

Again, again.

Sapir-Whorffery.

A thread about the civil suit brought in the Southern District of New York by the Bronx Defenders, the Legal Aid Society, the Brooklyn Defender Service, the Queens Defenders, the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and the New York County Defender Service against the Office of Court Administration and Chief Administrative Judge of the Unified Court System Lawrence K. Marks, regarding ill-conceived efforts to proceed with in-person court appearances during a raging (and accelerating) pandemic (a subject, you must understand, that I take somewhat personally), anyway, this Twitter thread rather rapidly dissolves as random people leap in to shout BUT OUR KID’S or But let’s send kids to school, which is just barely topic-adjacent, if you squint in the right and most generous light, but even so it’s so much static, record-scratch catchphrases shouted at random (pro? or con?) because maybe they just might stick to the protein coating of the thread, much like the more obvious ejaculates of yore: BUT HER EMAILS; nevertheless, she persisted; ah, well, nevertheless. —I never much liked the Darmok episode of Star Trek, but I gotta admit: if you want Shaka, when the walls fell, welp: this is how you get Shaka, when the walls fell. —Or Ascians. I bet we end up Ascians.

Speaking of self-publishing—

—as we were:

Trilogy!

I’ve finally managed to secure test printings of paperbacks from a print-on-demand shop that isn’t wholly owned by the largest and hungriest and most endangering river-system in the world, and holy cats, they are beautiful? They sit in the hand just right and the paper, the paper has this rough-hewn pulpy feel like a mass-market paperback you picked up from a spinner rack instead of that glossy slick you get from so many self-published books like too many (wonderfully, eminently playable) small-press RPGs. —It only took me 22 business days, plus shipping, to do it, since apparently what with the raging pandemic and all there’s been something of an impact on our ability to order and print and place books on demand, but hey.

So! You can certainly order them through me, which would make me ineffably happy, but your local library, or an independent bookstore, might also appreciate the nod, and anyway, them? Being plugged into the way things are? Might move it all along a little faster, because, what takes me, the publisher, 22 business days to deliver, the river insists would only take 11 to 17.

A perspective of privilege.

Donald Trump, Jr., says he’s assembled some pages from his anti-Biden Burn Book into a tome that he’ll self-publish to “send a shot across the bow” of traditional publishing, and oh, honey, let me stop you right there. —When I say I’m self-publishing to send a shot across the bow of traditional publishing, everybody laughs, because the shot’s at most a limp spit-wad that can’t even make it from the back row of the classroom, much less across any multinational bows, but when you say you’re self-publishing, Junior, everybody laughs, because your shot across the bow is apparently so appallingly self-evidently spectacularly self-owningly shitty that the world-famous influence suck-ups of Regnery Publishing can’t even be bothered to launder a bribe through bookclub-to-landfill purchases. —You’ll still make a gasping fortune, you failson fuck, enough that would more than better the lives of dozens of others so much better than ever you could be, but hey: we’ll still be able to laugh at you, long after you toddle your fortuneless way to that bourne from which no traveler returns.

Meanwhile.

“My family and colleagues told me that when I have kids, I’ll think about the separations differently, but I don’t think so. DHS sent me to the border to see the separations for myself, to try to make me more compassionate, but it didn’t work.”

“It didn’t work? I will never forget what I saw. —Seriously. Are you a white nationalist?”

“No, but I believe if you come to America, you should assimilate. Why do we need to have ‘Little Havana’?”

Katie Miller, press secretary to Republican Vice President Mike Pence, in conversation with NBC News reporter Jacob Soboroff

As a rule of thumb, anyone so glib and presumptuous as to brush off as “ugliness and bigotry” the enduring political and moral legacy of William F. Buckley Jr. has, for that reason alone, no business involving himself in Republican affairs.

Matthew Scully, proudly stood athwart what he thinks to be history

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains—

“In this formulation of society, what matters is what generates a ‘culture’ that leaves ‘us [writers] room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes.’ A little dabble of transphobia to get the blood flowing, as it were. A letter more attuned to material reality might observe that, for most people, there is little, if any, ‘room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes’ in modern society. Most Americans are an unexpected medical bill or car crash away from bankruptcy. Black people, in particular, need not even actually engage in any ‘experimentation, risk taking, or mistakes’ for their lives to be ruined, or taken from them. What was Tamir Rice’s mistake? Breonna Taylor’s? But the ability of non-writers to make mistakes without being ground to dust by the economy and the state is not ‘the lifeblood of a liberal society.’ People are not the lifeblood of the letter’s ideal society. No, it is J.K. Rowling’s tweets that are the lifeblood of society. Not, you know, actual lives or actual blood.” —Julius the Intern

Things fall apart.

“The US’s decline started with little things,” is how they tease the article, which, I mean, “little things,” but hey, it’s Bloomberg, they’re trying, so you’re reading your way down the list, empty construction sites, okay, capricious hospital bills, sure, and, uh—

Bloomberg’s Opinion.

—I mean, I know the rich are different from you an’ me, but do they really want to go and flaunt it in the dek like that?

Six percent! Mothering fuck.

Anyway. —Any decline in the United States isn’t starting, it’s accelerating, signed by things that are anything but little—and the heights from which we’re falling were only ever notional for just about most everybody. The City was only ever Shining thanks to the efforts of folks who were never allowed to live in it, and the Hill it’s built on’s a rotten foundation, prone to subsidence with the slightest shock. Forget Bloomberg; Tressie McMillan Cottom has much more pertinent things to say about the pandemic, and the always already cracks it’s made impossible to ignore.

Bug inkling.

Holla at ya boy!” he joyfully cries, decked out Boogaloo-style, Big Luau Aloha shirt under a tactical vest, over a Big Igloo T-shirt, summoning his posse to defend a statue of Cristoffa Corombo and thus by extension the entirety of the unquestionably superior culture of Western White Straight Masculinely Muscular Judeo-Christian Enlightenment from uncultured antifa soy hordes, and I swear to God it’s the unthinking cognitive dissonance that’ll do me in in the end—

Even-the-liberal.

“Governors nationwide have pursued similarly limited initiatives. This is the reform conjured by focus groups and vetted by police unions, not the one backed by data. Five decades of mass incarceration have so thoroughly limited the imagination of political elites that even a pandemic cannot dislodge their belief in the necessity of mass incarceration. Their refusal of a broad humanitarian release of incarcerated senior citizens serving lengthy sentences—really the lowest of bars—reveals, in its absurd perversity, a deeper truth: even the most liberal of US governors would rather risk their prisons turning into mass graves than offer the faintest of admissions that mass incarceration is a colossal failure and unnecessary for public safety.” —Dan Berger

For, indeed, the watch ought to offend no one, and it is an offence to stay anyone against their will.

A socially distanced rally is a strange thing: but Neysa Bogar read Audre Lorde, and Renee Manes carried a sign that said Public Defenders Telling You That Cops Lie For 50+ Years, and even though we couldn’t hug each other, or rub shoulders, the energy was righteous, and the chants, though slightly muffled, still rang out, and one of those chants was DEFUND THE POLICE, and that’s the strangest thing, to me, at least, about the past mad wild upsetting unsettling enraging couple of weeks? —That this idea, that seemed an uncertain step too far when I first encountered through links to Mariame Kaba‘s Twitter feed, that firmed up underfoot as I read about it and sat with it and thought through it until I came around to the point I could say, yes, we must abolish prisons; yes, we must defund the police, all of them, right down to the ground; yes, we have no choice but to do the work to build a world where life is precious, so that life might be precious: that this wild mad desperately necessarily eutopian idea is suddenly lurching into view through the Overton window, to the point that John Oliver can do a whole dam’ show about it, on HBO.

Defund the police.

But for those who still find themselves clung to the notion of reform (radical, to be sure; meaningful; even bold), or those whose abolitionary imaginary only reaches to medieval Iceland—it occurs to me, that Dogberry’s advice to the watch might well prove an excellent basis for a retraining program for our thin blue lines. —Anyway, it’s a start. Policing delenda est.

The most relevantly framed.

DOGBERRY
This is your charge: you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are to bid any man stand, in the Prince’s name.

SECOND WATCH
How, if a’ will not stand?

DOGBERRY
Why, then, take no note of him, but let him go; and presently call the rest of the watch together, and thank God you are rid of a knave.

VERGES
If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the Prince’s subjects.

DOGBERRY
True, and they are to meddle with none but the Prince’s subjects. You shall also make no noise in the streets: for, for the watch to babble and to talk is most tolerable and not to be endured.

SECOND WATCH
We will rather sleep than talk: we know what belongs to a watch.

DOGBERRY
Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet watchman, for I cannot see how sleeping should offend; only have a care that your bills be not stolen. Well, you are to call at all the alehouses, and bid those that are drunk get them to bed.

SECOND WATCH
How if they will not?

DOGBERRY
Why then, let them alone till they are sober: if they make you not then the better answer, you may say they are not the men you took them for.

The most renowned.

SECOND WATCH
Well, sir.

DOGBERRY
If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your office, to be no true man; and, for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty.

SECOND WATCH
If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him?

DOGBERRY
Truly, by your office, you may; but I think they that touch pitch will be defiled. The most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is to let him show himself what he is and steal out of your company.

VERGES
You have been always called a merciful man, partner.

DOGBERRY
Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more a man who hath any honesty in him.

VERGES
If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse and bid her still it.

SECOND WATCH
How if the nurse be asleep and will not hear us?

DOGBERRY
Why then, depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying; for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes, will never answer a calf when he bleats.

VERGES
’Tis very true.

DOGBERRY
This is the end of the charge. You constable, are to present the Prince’s own person: if you meet the Prince in the night, you may stay him.

VERGES
Nay, by’r lady, that I think, a’ cannot.

DOGBERRY
Five shillings to one on’t, with any man that knows the statutes, he may stay him: marry, not without the Prince be willing; for, indeed, the watch ought to offend no man, and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.

VERGES
By’r lady, I think it be so.

DOGBERRY
Ha, ah, ha! Well, masters, good night: an there be any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your fellows’ counsels and your own, and good night. Come, neighbour.

SECOND WATCH
Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit here upon the church bench till two, and then all to bed.

The most generously apportioned.

Notes from the day job.

Lisa Hay, Oregon’s federal public defender, said 34 of her office’s clients—offenders sentenced for federal crimes in Oregon—are scattered in eight private prisons in Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

“I’m concerned about our clients being held in private prisons because there seems to be no reporting on the level of coronavirus infections in those facilities,” Hay said.

“I don’t know if they are even testing inmates.”

The coronavirus, Hay said, has exposed how detention in private prisons may “result in unequal and inadequate treatment of inmates.”

Private Correctional Institutions.