Go to content Go to navigation Go to search

When the operation of the machine becomes so odious.

“Everything that is happening to the men who knew Taylor is happening because prosecutors do not want to hold Taylor’s murderers accountable. This is what the system does when it does not want to secure a conviction. Prosecutors themselves try to poison the jury pool against their own case, creating avenues of doubt before any trial process gets going. They try to impugn the character of people who will have to be witnesses for the prosecution. They try to avoid doing forensic research so that they have no ‘hard’ evidence to present to the jury, should it come to that. And they try, desperately, to get anybody to speak out against the victim so the defense can use those statements against the prosecution at trial.” —Elie Mystal

Our Americans.

“The police officers stepped out of the room for just a brief moment, just outside the door. And I told the physician like, ‘Hey, I work here, I’m a nurse here.’ And that shifted everything.” —OHSU nurse and volunteer medic Tyler Cox.

Loudly with the quiet part.

Accordingly, I urge you to prioritize public safety and to request federal assistance to restore law and order in Portland. We are standing by to support Portland. At the same time, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that there will come a point when state and local officials fail to protect its citizens from violence, the federal government will have no choice but to protect our American citizens.

This, from illegally Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf, to Ted Wheeler, desperately unpopular mayor of a city that’s been on fire for decades, which is news to most of us who live here, letmetellyou. —That “our” American citizens is a nice fucking touch, isn’t it? Let America’s Sheriff, David Clarke, make it abundantly fucking clear:

The question is when is government going to do something? Inaction is not a plan. You know what happens with inaction? People take the law into their own hands. Government is leaving them no choice. No choice. I don’t advocate for some of the stuff that’s starting to happen, but I am certainly done—I am through with condemning it. I’m done with that.

I’m just telling people, “Hey, you’re on your own.” Think about it, have a plan. Act reasonably. You have to act reasonably. Then you’re going to have to articulate what you did afterwards. But you can’t have government officials and law enforcement executives telling people, “Do not take the law into your own hands.” Well, you’re forcing them to!

And—wait, I’m sorry, but the utterly gratuitous comma splice from our Acting Secretary is just grating my eyeballs, and Christ, you know me, I’m the king of comma splices, but those two independent clauses, “President Trump has made it abundantly clear,” yes yes, and “the federal government will have no choice,” I mean, for fuck’s sake, those two don’t even articulate coherently as one sentence after another in a paragraph, much less as clauses enjambed by a comma! At long last, you murderous franchisees, have you no decency?

MAGA Safari.

—Sorry. Where were we? —Ah, yes: the vicious fuckwad in the back of the pickup truck with the gun is one of “our” Americans, those of us he’s shooting at are by definition not, and he won’t even have to worry about articulating what he did afterwards, because the Portland Police Bureau did fuck-all to stop him, leaving him more than well enough on his own.

Hey. At least we’ve got Paris.

“Defunding the police, after mere *months* of mainstream discussion, polls much better than the total abortion ban that has been the endgame of decades of conservative politics.”

Ecophage.

Another way to look at their downward spiral is as a parable of a housing market that is not primarily intended, or even incentivized, to actually house people. “We don’t finance housing in this country,” says Ron Shiffman, a city planner and tenured professor at Pratt’s School of Architecture. Instead, housing serves as a “financing tool.” The market encourages buyers, whether Saudi princes or the owners of yoga studios, to treat homes like banks, as places to put their money, whether or not they actually live in them. It also motivates developers to build luxury properties with the highest returns, housing fewer residents. In New York, the pandemic brought the dangers of this system painfully to light, as mass economic devastation made many people, even landlords like Gendville and Brooks-Church, suddenly desperate for real-time shelter. “The housing market isn’t meeting the needs of people who are working, who are living, in New York,” Shiffman says. Brooklyn’s runaway success, it turns out, was built on an economic disparity so intense that it has created a microgeneration of gentrifiers like Brooks-Church and Gendville who are now being priced out themselves.

Bridget Read

All those generic slender needles you see piercing the New York skyline, more and more of them every time you used to fly in to Newark, or JFK, in the Before Times, gnomons sweeping shadows over more and more of the streets you used to walk, those towers, every single one of them, are not towers; no one lives in them, as you or I understand living. They’re safety deposit boxes, for offshore billionaires who’ve never thrown parties in those penthouses—or worse, unthinkingly assembled byproducts of the financial eructations of distant hedge funds. (At least billionaires can dream of bit parts in the next Furiously Fast Impossible Mission.) —Have you noticed? Watching the teevee? All the shows filmed in the City: how easily, and how often, now, they can film on location, in great buildings with spectacular views. Somebody’s got to do something with all those empty floors.

Or used to have to have done, at least. Before.

“Plants” with “leaves” no more efficient than today’s solar cells could out-compete real plants, crowding the biosphere with an inedible foliage. Tough omnivorous “bacteria” could out-compete real bacteria: They could spread like blowing pollen, replicate swiftly, and reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days. Dangerous replicators could easily be too tough, small, and rapidly spreading to stop—at least if we make no preparation. We have trouble enough controlling viruses and fruit flies.

Among the cognoscenti of nanotechnology, this threat has become known as the “gray goo problem.” Though masses of uncontrolled replicators need not be gray or gooey, the term “gray goo” emphasizes that replicators able to obliterate life might be less inspiring than a single species of crabgrass. They might be superior in an evolutionary sense, but this need not make them valuable.

The gray goo threat makes one thing perfectly clear: We cannot afford certain kinds of accidents with replicating assemblers.

Eric Drexler

La même chose.

“Portland is a place where rich ones run away to settle down and grow flowers and shrubbery to hide them from the massacres they’ve caused. Portland is the rose garden town where the red, brown, blackshirt cops ride up and down to show you their finest horses and saddles and gunmetal.” —Woody Guthrie

This machine.

Move fast; break things.

One is not unaware of a certain disgruntlement in certain quarters regarding a certain operation to which one has recently bound oneself; one looks at the one hand, one looks at the other, one manages a shrug of a bromide, life is compromise, I don’t know. It’s another of those situations where the structure is such that your choice or my choice can’t make a dent in the structure, but it’s all the structure will afford any one of us. They’re burning the postal service to the ground to steal an election—you maybe wanna buy a book? Could help pass the time until a general strike’s declared.

Grimly rarebit—

sadly and but lovely relevant. [via]

Farm team.

Aw, hey, Trump and Barr needn’t‘ve worried; Portland’s finest can bring it all on their own!

Portland police smash window, slash tires of woman’s Prius during protest dustup.

Go. Move. Shift.

Photo by by Benjamin Brink.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Portland, the city substantially cut back on camp sweeps to allow people experiencing homelessness to shelter in place. With sweeps on pause, camps have popped up in unusual places, and some have grown.

Over at Street Roots, a photo gallery, of some of the things people can do when they have to do for themselves. —Meanwhile, in LA:

On July 31, the Friday night that California became the first state to surpass 500,000 Coronavirus cases, members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) threw a party.

And of course it was crowded and indoors and without masks, because these are cops, but what on earth is the connection, you might well ask?

The gathering also comes just ahead of what UCLA Law Professor Emeritus Gary Blasi calls a “tsunami of evictions,” which, in Los Angeles, will be carried out by the Sheriff’s Department. The California Judicial Council recently advised that the temporary emergency rules preventing pandemic evictions could expire as soon as August 14.

Some residents don’t have to wait for “UD Day”—the resumption of evictions—to have their shelter disrupted by LASD. In response to the reports of the “LASD party,” LA Postmates Girl tweeted: “Conveniently, a massive homeless encampment that had been in front of #Sassafras for months (started when COVID hit) was just cleared up YESTERDAY.”

KNOCK.LA spoke with an unhoused resident who’d been displaced by the sweep.

“I used to stay right in the bar, I never got any notice, they woke me up at 7 a.m., and told me that I had 15 minutes to get out of there or they were gonna bulldoze my whole place, my whole structure,” the resident said. “They did it, they bulldozed the whole thing. And now they’re having a party.”

He continued: “The only encampments they destroyed were a few of them across the street, mine, and my neighbors right next door. And then one block up, they’re fine. They didn’t touch that at all. It’s crazy. And that bar’s been abandoned, and nobody’s been there at all for two months. All of a sudden now tonight they’re having a party, the day after they kicked me out. They were like, ‘yeah, they need this open now.’”

ACAB. Abolish prisons. Defund all cops. Policing delenda est.

Ineluctable.

On Friday, the federal moratorium on evictions in properties with federally backed mortgages and for tenants who receive government-assisted housing expired. The Urban Institute estimated that provision covered nearly 30% of the country’s rental units.

[…]

By one estimate, some 40 million Americans could be evicted during the public health crisis.

Annie Nova

Facing evictions.

While the majority of Americans continue to stretch paychecks and unemployment aid amid the coronavirus pandemic, Jeff Bezos added a whopping $13 billion to his net worth in just a single day.

[…]

With many Americans trapped at home amid the global pandemic, Amazon has seen a surge in usage. Government-mandated business shut downs as well as the fear of spreading and catching coronavirus have prompted many citizens to turn to online shopping more than ever.

Jessica Schadebeck

Go, find an envelope. Scribble on the back of it. The population of the City of Seattle stands at 744,949, as of 2018. Let’s make the math easier: call it 750,000.

Average household size in Seattle is in the neighborhood of 2.12 persons per: 353,774. Again, in the interest of ease, and spotting the house, let’s call it 355,000 households.

Percentage of households renting in Seattle: 54%, or 191,700; let’s say 192,000.

Percentage of renters in the State of Washington uncertain about making rent in the pandemic, and facing eviction: 28%, per the map above. If we apply it to our estimate of Seattle’s rental households, 53,760—oh, hell. Let’s spot the house again. 55,000.

Average monthly rent in Seattle, as of June 2020: $2,200.

$2,200 times 55,000 equals $121,000,000, to keep the entire City of Seattle safe from eviction for one month.

Thirteen billion dollars, divided by one hundred twenty-one million dollars, equals one hundred seven months of rent for those facing possible eviction in the City of Seattle.

One day’s market fluctuation for one Jeff Bezos equals nine life-changing years for over a hundred thousand people.

We’ve raised over $300,000 within 21 days and frankly, this is too much money to reasonably spend. No single organization needs this much money to make a difference.

Beans

Every billionaire in this country is a failure of policy.

Every billionaire in this world is an affront to God.

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.

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.

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.