AG Bill Barr Pretends The Nation Was Better Off Being Bullied By Cops, Lies About The Success Of 'Tough On Crime' Policies

from the any-AITA-will-tell-you-Barr-is-the-asshole dept

Bill Barr continues to burn the bridge between him and the public he’s supposed to represent. And why shouldn’t he? It’s not like the administration will rein him in, not when he’s willing to act as flak-catcher for the president we’ve all been forced to serve.

It’s good work if you can get it, and by “get it,” I mean subvert the idea of “justice” to mean what it apparently means to Bill Barr. The man has already declared war on the general public, and the encryption the general public uses to protect itself against criminals and state-sponsored hackers. What does “justice” mean to a man like this? It means destroying the populace to ensure cops aren’t unduly burdened by the everyday life of the people they are under no obligation to protect and serve.

Barr’s recent sermon to the converted contains more of the same. The administration that has made a mockery of the phrase “rule of law,” still insists the rule of law is the best thing since improperly-jailed black teens. Barr spoke to a conference you would swear I was making up if I couldn’t produce a link — “Major County Sheriffs of America Winter Conference.” And he delivered just what they wanted to hear: invective insulting anyone who might have the temerity to suggest we (as a nation) jail people far too frequently for far too long.

There have been a few “progressive” prosecutors elevated to the office of District Attorney. This makes Barr sad. But it makes him mostly angry. No one should be allowed to plug up the prison pipeline, not even those who realize the country is not best served by people who think the “fullest extent of the law” is the best interpretation of thousands of vague laws.

So, Barr attacks “progressive” DAs — the one who see prison is not the rehabilitation paradise so often promised by the people Barr fronts for. In fact, it can be argued Barr gives zero shits about rehabilitation. All he cares about is punishment, so it should be painfully aware he should not be heading up an agency with the word “justice” in its title.

Barr’s speech twists facts and hurls invective at those who dare to suggest the best path out of a life of crime might not run through the US penal system.

But before we get to that, let’s get to this outright lie:

You and your deputies face unprecedented challenges. Every day, deputies head out on patrol, never knowing precisely what trials they will face. And the list of assignments we give our deputies and officers keeps getting longer and longer. We no longer merely ask them to keep us safe – we ask them to manage the fallout from a vast range of social pathologies, such as mental illness, widespread homelessness, and drug abuse. It is quite a lot to ask men and women trained to protect the public from dangerous criminals to simultaneously do the jobs of social workers and psychiatrists. Yet our committed law enforcement officers do their best to carry these ever-expanding burdens.

While it’s true we do ask law enforcement officers to handle social problems, it is not truthful to say officers carry this out with the best of their abilities. Law enforcement agencies generally do not train their employees to handle these problems with a different tool set. Instead, they send them out armed with the usual tool set (guns, force deployment) that makes bad situations worse, and results in the wounding or killing of our most marginalized members of society.

But this is Barr’s biggest lie. He claims these new progressives will return us to violent crime’s heyday of the 1990s. And he does this using “facts” that claim the 90s were the safest time of all for Americans.

Another similar problem is the increasing number of district attorneys who have fashioned for themselves a new role of judge-legislator-prosecutor. These self-styled “social justice” reformers are refusing to enforce entire categories of law, including law against resisting police officers. In so doing, these DAs are putting everyone in danger.

Their policies are pushing a number of America’s cities back toward a more dangerous past. Under the district attorney in Philadelphia, the murder rate in that city is at its highest point in over a decade. Other cities with these “progressive” DAs – like San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Chicago, and Baltimore – have all suffered historic levels of homicide and other violent crime. This is while crime nationwide, generally, is going down.

Barr is right. Nationwide violent crime is on the decline. That a few outliers are producing spikes has nothing to do with “progressive DAs” and everything to do with regression to the mean. No one can say definitively why crime has declined so much, but to pin it on Reagan-era policies (as Barr does) is fucking ridiculous.

We have seen these policies before. They reigned supreme at the state level from the 1960s to the early 1990s. During this time, violent crime rates tripled in our country. They peaked in 1991 and 1992. By that time, the country had had enough. Following the lead of the policies of the Reagan, H.W. Bush administrations, the states started to make their systems tougher on crime.

This is a lie. There is no way around this. Nobody was being “progressive” about crime/incarceration during that 30-year span. Reagan kicked off a whole new wave of “tough on crime” politicians. And his tough-talking inspired a new generation of short-sighted legislators who increased incarceration rates while crime spiraled to unparalleled levels. Perhaps Barr should be pointed to Prohibition, where its enactment caused violent crime to spike while resulting in an unprecedented number of cops being killed. It was peak “Tough on Crime,” and it resulted in more crime and more dead law enforcement officers than at any other time in our nation’s history.

Anyway, fuck this guy. Let’s hear what he has to say about “progressive DAs:”

The policies of these DAs also sabotage the effectiveness of community policing and “precision” policing, which depend heavily on obtaining information from members of the community. When DAs engage in catch-and-release and revolving-door policies, people in the neighborhood who might otherwise provide information are scared to come forward.

Hmm. Let’s just swap the words “law enforcement officials” for “DAs” in that paragraph and see if we can’t suss out why people might not trust the police.

The policies of these [police officials] also sabotage the effectiveness of community policing and “precision” policing, which depend heavily on obtaining information from members of the community. When [police officials] engage in catch-and-release and revolving-door policies, people in the neighborhood who might otherwise provide information are scared to come forward.

Law enforcement agencies operate the worst revolving door — one that allows bad cops to whitewash their past and return to work with zero lessons learned. The near-constant application of qualified immunity to rights violations makes this worse. And police unions have generated enough power politicians are afraid to cross them when implementing accountability policies, stripping them of their teeth and usefulness.

William Barr has presumed everyone but government employees to be guilty. That’s why we don’t deserve relief from the US’s world-leading incarceration rate or the protection that device encryption gives us. The general public is presumed guilty and the only people with unvarnished halos are hovering above an agency willing to sacrifice its morals to appease the man on top.

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Comments on “AG Bill Barr Pretends The Nation Was Better Off Being Bullied By Cops, Lies About The Success Of 'Tough On Crime' Policies”

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132 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Meh. Prison in the USA isn’t particularly about rehabilitation or punishment. Its primary purpose, and one that it fulfills admirably well by and large, is mitigation: isolating dangerous criminals from the general public so that they are unable to cause further harm to us.

When viewed through that lens, a lot of things make a whole lot more sense.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Which is not only not what the legal system is for, it doesn’t accomplish that as even assuming that was the correct use of the legal system very few people get life sentences, meaning the ‘dangerous criminals’ are going to be right back out soon enough and since you didn’t bother rehabilitating them if anything they are likely to be worse that time around, not to mention by that logic you could lock up anyone and everyone to ‘keep the public safe’.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually, when viewed through that lens the only thing it does is raises the question of why you have so much more dangerous criminals than other countries, since your prison population is so much larger than most other places.

I wonder if it’s because you don’t bother with rehabilitation? Or maybe the profits are just too sweet, who knows?

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Highest inmates per capita

I’d argue that’s a sign we convict too easily by far. Judges in the twentieth century are notorious for disregarding or even advocating the reciprocal of Blackstone’s ratio.

One innocent person in a penal system delegitimizes the court system that put him (her) there. If a justice system cannot demonstrate its legitimacy (other than being the guy with the gun) then all its prisoners are political prisoners. And all its laws are baseless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

That number may also be partly due to the US being able to afford to incarcerate that many people. From the international news I read it seems other countries have a whole lot of violent offenders allowed to continue to live among society with no real change following their capture. How does that make sense?

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"That number may also be partly due to the US being able to afford to incarcerate that many people. "

Actually the US can’t really afford to incarcerate that many people either. There’s been a lot of stink raised around the fact that plenty of US prisons don’t fulfill either security or humanitarian minimums due to cost cuts, and it wasn’t that long ago that California was ordered to release around 30% of their prison population because the state was about to suffer bankruptcy over the cost of the penal system.

As for your assertion that other countries allow violent offenders to continue to live among society following capture, i refer to you the US equivalent – the bail system which allows most arrested suspects, even for murder, the leeway to post bail and go right back to daily life until the trial date.

It’s normally standard that anyone merely arrested as a suspect can’t easily be deprived of liberty until proven guilty. This does indeed make a lot of sense, because the contrary would make for a very scary world indeed.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: "How does anyone know you aren't a criminal?"

Um, we can assume you are.

The average American commits three felonies a day. Most of them are non-violent, but some of them could still land you twenty-five years in federal prison if an official decided he wanted to make you disappear. (Say, to seduce your spouse or seize your property, or appoint a friend to your job.)

In the meantime, torturing POWs during the Iraq war was made legal by the United States. Designating someone a person-of-interest for no given reason, and then spying on them, or denying them access to air travel, or seizing all their assets, is also legal in the US and done all the time.

May it’s time to rethink crime and law and criminal.

Anon says:

Re: Re: Re: "How does anyone know you aren't a criminal?"

Yes, Jerry Pournelle once described the ancient Roman crime of "maiestus" – failing to give deference to the majesty of the State. In the days of the emperors, you could be charged if you were not respectful enough to the authority of the one in a position that they felt should deserve your respect. This is the case today. Failure to plead guilty means you could face 35 years in jail instead of 6 months, for failing to give due deference to the DA. Failure to defer to he police means you could be assaulted, shot, robbed or whatever it takes to make you show the expected respect to the law enforcement officer standing before you.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "How does anyone know you aren't a criminal?"

"Failure to plead guilty means you could face 35 years in jail instead of 6 months, for failing to give due deference to the DA."

Well, obviously. If the DA in your state has to run for office then making his quota of successful convictions if the first thing he needs to accomplish.

So if you’re malicious enough to want to plead innocent just because there’s no good evidence against you for the crime which might bring you those six months you may instead end up facing a double jeopardy trial where what’s riding on the jury is whether you life free or die in jail as an old man.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: "How does anyone know you aren't a criminal?"

Oh, not this crap again! Have you actually read the book that certain types love to cite as "evidence" of this "fact"? Have you seen the "common, everyday acts" that it claims are committed by ordinary Americans all the time?

If you had, you’d know just how laughable the claim is. Virtually every example is something that 1) common people don’t do anyway and 2) the people who do do them, don’t do them everyday.

The average American commits zero felonies a day.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "How does anyone know you aren't a criminal?"

"The average American commits zero felonies a day."

Wrong. And that hasn’t, strictly speaking, been true for a LONG time. The average american owns at least one type of electronic device and is thus guaranteed guilty of multiple federal crimes and unlawful behavior.

Every country has an assortment of laws which, although they haven’t been struck from the tablets, still in theory hold legal weight. The US more so than most. The risks of violating federal law aside, state law is a shit-show in itself.

Mispronouncing "Arkansas"? Six months in jail, or steep fines. Still valid.

Sharing your netflix password with your child or spouse? Illegal in Tennessee.

You like to run with your dog so it starts chasing you? Illegal in Kentucky.

Order a beer and a shot in one go? Illegal in Hawaii.

Playing soccer in a park on a sunday without a permit? Illegal in Massachusetts.

Wear masks in public? Illegal in New york, and routinely violated every halloween.

you live in a nation which thought the Jim Crow laws made sense andproduces 25% worth of it’s GNP in lawyers alone and you believe – seriously – that your nation isn’t suffering from extreme overlexification?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 "How does anyone know you aren't a criminal?"

Even if not counting the various weird and wonderful statutes in various states, don’t prosecutors have some leeway in what is and isn’t a felony? I’m hazy on the exact workings, but I’m sure I’ve read numerous cases where a prosecutor decided to charge a felony where standard procedure for the particular activity was usually to charge misdemeanour.

I could be wrong, but if I can that means that you literally don’t know how something would be charged if you made a mistake – and I’d challenge the AC above to say to me with a straight face that nobody commits misdemeanours unknowingly in their daily life.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 "How does anyone know you aren't a criminal?"

"…don’t prosecutors have some leeway in what is and isn’t a felony?"

Often, yes. Whether you are a criminal or not often boils down to whether any person in a given position determines so.
Te most ridiculous example in recent times being the various patriot acts as a result of which you can, despite not having done anything at all, be considered an "enemy combatant" and get shipped off to some place where constitutional protections will not reach, IF a sufficiently senior officer in law enforcement or intelligence puts your name on a list.

"…and I’d challenge the AC above to say to me with a straight face that nobody commits misdemeanours unknowingly in their daily life."

Either the AC knows he’s speaking utter BS, being fully on board with one set of laws for mee and one for thee…or he is, as so very many rather ignorant and unimaginative people are, convinced that The Law always makes sense so anyone in conflict with it surely deserves it.

For anyone with a background in biology it might be interesting to note that flocks of chimpanzees do the same – if the alpha beats up one monkey it means the rest of the herd immediately makes beating that monkey a joint activity and a point of status.
All too many humans do the same as soon as "authority" brings the hammer down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "How does anyone know you aren't a criminal?"

"The average American commits zero felonies a day."

In order for this to be true, there needs to be zero american crimes.
As soon as there is one crime committed by an american, the average for that parameter is no longer zero. When rounding and/or truncating numbers, it is standard practice to state such.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"…and one that it fulfills admirably well by and large, is mitigation: isolating dangerous criminals from the general public so that they are unable to cause further harm to us."

At rather extreme expense to the taxpayer and with the lack of rehabilitation focus, one which has small-time crooks fed into the prison and hardened psychopaths with a master’s degree in "drugs and violence 101" from the university of hard Knocks crapped out the other end.

The US prison population is, thanks to it’s focus on locking people up, larger in both absolute number and per capita proportion, the highest in the entire western hemisphere.

If the focus was indeed mitigation then it certainly doesn’t fulfill it’s purpose at all when it mainly serves to harden and educate convicts.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

To a district judge post? Yes, that’s an issue. Appellate work and trial work are two separate universes, though, and it’s OK for someone to be considered for an appellate post without trial court experience. (If you had two otherwise equal candidates for an appellate post, and one had 10 years of appellate advocacy experience and no trial court experience while the other had 10 years of trial court experience but hadn’t ever argued before an appeals court, which would you pick?)

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James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Trump hasn’t done anything to any of you.

As you don’t know who we are, its hard to believe you can know that. But more importantly, what does that matter to this article?

Also, if you serve the President please explain how.

Ah. You have that backwards. The president serves the people. But that is what Trump has done to the country. He has convinced his base that they are his servants, and they cheer him for it.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Trump hasn’t done anything to any of you"

Directly? No. I’m sure people can supply the long list of indirect problems he’s caused if you want them to supply it.

"Also, if you serve the President please explain how"

Why would the president’s employers serve him rather than the other way around?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Under Trump my federal taxes dropped by quite a bit. Not to their pre-Obama levels but still an improvement. Obama shifted my federal taxes by $10k in the wrong direction, more than I can just cut a check for.

Still, I’m no fan of Trump. He’s an idiot who only looks out for himself and his cronies. But Obama wasn’t much better by my estimation (and not just because of the tax thing).

Now can we stop focusing on partisanship and start focusing on the individuals and their behavior? It doesn’t matter what party they support. Get rid of the corruption and stupidity.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You must have been a recipient of one of those Trump tax breaks I heard so much about, everyone was going to get extra cash – right?
LOL – not. Poor people still owed the same amount (some more) at the end of the year, the std deduction just did not take out enough and now you have to scrape up a few hundred …. ya mean that tax break?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Obama shifted my federal taxes by $10k in the wrong direction, more than I can just cut a check for."

And rather than recognising that this was a sign of a recovering economy, combined with the massive bill of the Bush-triggered financial crisis needing to be paid (along with several wars finally being brought on to the official books), you hate him for it. Meanwhile, because you’re getting a few crumbs from the massive tax breaks for the rich that will likely be a major cause of the next major crisis, you’re fine with him for that.

"Still, I’m no fan of Trump"

He’s a fan of you, though.

"Get rid of the corruption and stupidity."

They’ve tried, but people like you will constantly vote against the country’s best interest so long as you get the right bribes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You realize none of that Obama stimulus went to creating "Shovel Ready" jobs. Gary johnson’s dog created more shovel ready jobs than Obama. When the stimulus was created, I checked recovery.gov, because I was excited that a some work mauy be done on a highway and bridge near me. But no such luck, money was allocated to local Democratic controlled municipalities. So wall street and unions certainly got their cut from that 900 Billion dollars wasted. It did nothing to help the average american.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Obama stimulus

"It did nothing to help the average american"

This statement demonstrates your lack of knowledge in the field of economics.

Please explain your understanding of what the Obama Stimulus consisted of and how it was administered. Then show how and why the stated understanding is correct, based upon factual evidence.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'Oh noes, this job that I CHOSE is so very hard!'

If police work is too hard/dangerous then guess what, there are other jobs out there. Find one of them, like say cabby or cashier, and leave police work to people who don’t see the public as enemies and the public’s rights as obstacles to ignore, undermine or bypass.

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Crime

Barr is right. Nationwide violent crime is on the decline. That a few outliers are producing spikes has nothing to do with "progressive DAs"

But it’s all just a huge coincidence that those ‘few outliers’ have nutcase DAs who are literally refusing to enforce the majority of the penal code in their cities?

Starting with radical socialist George Gascón and followed by Chesa Boudin (the adopted kid of Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn), and aided by Prop 47, the district attorney’s office in San Francisco is almost wholly responsible for the syringe-strewn, disease-ridden open sewer that San Francisco has become. They’ve taken one of the most beautiful cities in America and turned it into a shitpile where almost all crime is tolerated, excused, and ignored. And having beheld the consequences of his work, Boudin is still not satisfied and is promising to enforce even fewer laws in the future.

And now Gascón is down in Los Angeles running for D.A. there, promising to bring San Francisco’s Thunderdome to the City of Angels, too.

But yeah, let’s ignore common sense, which tells us when you tolerate behavior, you get more of it, and keep pretending ‘no one can say’ why this explosion of crime, disease, and violence only seems to be happening in cities with radical ‘progressives’ in city government.

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Like I said, go ahead and keep ignoring common sense that tells us when you stop enforcing laws against criminal behavior, you get more criminal behavior.

Maybe you need a ‘study’ or a ‘report’ to tell you that, but most thinking people with even a decade of life experience under their belts know it to be true.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Plaintiff argues that “[an] explosion of crime, disease, and violence only seems to be happening in cities with radical ‘progressives’ in city government”. But Plaintiff offers no facts in their Complaint to support this proposition. The Complaint is summarily dismissed.

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James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

THere is no evidence that shows "[an] explosion of crime, disease, and violence" in any statistically widespread manner, nor that such an explosion is only isolated to "cities with radical ‘progressives’ in city government". And even if you could correlate the two factors, correlation is not causation.

You have several steps of evidence before you can claim your conclusion. And reality isn’t on your side. Overall SF crime is down, with homicides being at a 60 year low. Property crimes, the ones affected by prop 47 raising the bar for felonies in non violent crimes, are down. Your claims are not borne out by the evidence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"Your claims are not born out by the evidence."

Maybe he lives there and sees first hand what the [evidence] does not show. When you walk down any street and are acosted by strangers who may or may not be homeless and you see drunks puking in the alleys and trash strewn about in parks and constant distant sirens sounding off in the air, you get a different perspective for the reality he claims to see.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"When you walk down any street and are acosted by strangers who may or may not be homeless and you see drunks puking in the alleys and trash strewn about in parks and constant distant sirens sounding off in the air…"

You mean that he lives in a human city?

The problem with law is that it rarely, if ever, is capable of preventing the human abilityto act badly without simultaneously removing most freedoms we usually take for granted and desirable.

Thus the key to improving the crime level in any given nation becomes, after a while, less reliant on law enforcement and far more reliant on rehabilitation and education. The swiss can get away with every household possessing a loaded and ready assault rifle while having one of the smallest murder rates in the world.
Mexico City has some of the strictest laws and draconian police on record and boast one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Whether the place you are in is a risky hellhole to live in or not, or rife with casual crime, almost exclusively depends on the state of mental health and general hope of the residents.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

There is no evidence that shows "[an] explosion of crime, disease, and violence" in any statistically widespread manner,

Sure. Walgreens is closing all its stores in San Francisco and abandoning the city on a whim. It’s not because thieves brazenly walk in EVERY SINGLE DAY, and sweep entire shelves of merchandise into bins and bags and walk out, safe in the knowledge the cops don’t arrest for it and the DA doesn’t prosecute any more.

And the fact that there’s a "poop app" for San Francisco that keeps track of the piles of human feces around town so you know when to be wary doesn’t in any way speak to the fact that unsanitary disease-prone conditions are out of control there.

But you keep waiting for some mythical ‘evidence’ or ‘study’ to tell you what the rest of us can see with our own eyes and common sense.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

The problem with "common sense" is that it’s not always factual. I live in a small town, and I can show you the "common sense" holiday destination where it’s safe to take your children or I can show you a town where it’s very easy to buy several types of illegal drugs in bars and restaurants used as family-friendly fronts.

Both of these are true and the two worlds rarely directly collide, but just because you experience one does not make the "common sense" argument that the other does not exist for other people.

Also, anecdotes != data. the fact that Walgreens has experienced targeted criminal activity does not mean that other parts of the city don’t experience lower crime. The facts that a long-standing homeless problem has led to some novelty apps does not mean that it’s worse than it used to be. This is why studies and evidence are important – your biased anecdotes do not reflect everyone’s experience, either locally (as you are arguing here) or nationally (as you failed to argue elsewhere).

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Closing down storefronts due to crime

Rebecca Watson provides context to the Walgreens stores closing in San Francisco, borrowing some bits from Corey Doctorow.

A poop app isn’t surprising given the homeless problem of San Francisco, what is due partially to a number of NIMBY obstruction efforts regarding recovery non-profits and low-income housing, perpetuating the problem of homeless to stay homeless.

Let’s all remember that homeless people are still people, id est actual human beings while the businesses and property owners they annoy are still fighting tooth and nail to not be obligated to provide their own employees a living wage and enough to actually pay rent in the Bay Area.

And that leads to people who are homeless and employed at the same time joining with all the crazies that Governor Reagan long left to be swept up by the SFPD.

So when you get to specifics like poop apps and closing Walgreens stores, the US totally bought the tickets to ride this train. People with attitudes like yours, btr1701, willfully chose policies to create the current situation and then blame it on crime.

It’s not wrongdoing against the state, though, not the County of San Francisco, or California or the United States, but an annoyance to people who see other people as a problem. It’s really difficult for those of us who are not hard-lobbied officials to sympathize with large corporations even if they’re being pillaged by vikings and pirates when they’ve been relentlessly fleecing the rest of the system for decades.

Walgreens in San Francisco can burn the fuck down for all I care, and maybe someone will put a co-op in its place that will recognize homeless people as human lives.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 "Radical" "Progressive" and other adjectives

Identity labels continue to do a poor job of actually representing anything about a given person or group who share that identity. Even less so when applied by a person to another group as if they’re a consistent monolithic front.

In fact, they never are a consistent monolithic front.

Case in point, voters in the US who identify as Christian, Protestant or Evangelist who might pay some homage to Jesus or the Holy Bible, and yet have voted with consistency for policymakers who operate contrary to those associated personal values.

That said, rather than talking about progressives, why not talk about specific issues which some might identify as progressive, such as universal health care, or providing for refugees, or, heck, providing for the general welfare.

Choose your issue, and make your argument without deciding who it is who would vote one way or another, but what policies we should enact to make for a better society.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There is some emerging evidence that Chicago may have naffed up their bail reform effort. HOWEVER: that’s Chicago’s fault/problem, and something that policymakers contemplating bail reform should learn from when implementing it, instead of using it as an excuse to let people rot in jail for reasons that have nothing to do with their actual risk of pre-trial flight.

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James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Crime

Interestingly, Prop 47 only affected property crimes, not violent crimes. both property and violent Crime in SF was down in 2019 over 2018, and is down when comparing 2019 to 2015, the last pre-prop 47 year.

You claim common sense, but I prefer a rigorous analysis of crime rates to establish what forms of policing and laws work. And Crime Statistics do not bear out your issues with San Francisco. Crime Statistics do not bear out a widespread crime and health crisis in progressive metropolitan areas.

Also, Violence would seem to be covered by ‘crime’. Do you not think violence is a crime?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

What about violence that is of a different sort? The kind that goes unreported and is off the books but has a devastating consequence none the less plus cops can’t legally do anything to stop. I offer up this true example:

New neighbors move into the neighborhood. At three in the morning they unload the truck clammering, banging laughing and generally disturbing the peace. That total disregard for the people around them continues night after night. At 1:40am almost every night this guy audibly sets his car alarm. It woke me every time and so I confront him, asking if he wouldn’t mind silently arming his alarm. He is too stupid to know that setting the alarm by pushing the beeper button one instead of twice would do the same trick. It disturbed me so much in part because the insulation was so bad in the house I rented. This went on for a year and a half and my sleep had been disturbed so much, I became frazzled and a wreck. Cops wouldn’t do a damn thing. And that asshole just kept being a dick. I finally posted a large sign with an arrow that said, "SADIST WITH HORN FETTISH" that got him really riled! I’m sure he had to explain what a Sadist was and also what a fettish was to his kids. He kept coming across the street and knocking down the sign and calling the cops on me. To which they did nothing. I finally moved out because it messed with my sleep and made me such a wreck! That is a type of violence that is not in the books, can have devastating effects.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Self Defense

In the United States, self-defense is a legal defense for using violence, a subset of necessity A DA may still prosecute and a jury may be unconvinced that violence was necessary under the circumstances.

I don’t know the circumstances with sports, but I assume that when two contestants enter a cage match they may have to sign legal waivers. Some states have laws that allow two civilians to fight unarmed with prior consent, but duels involving lethal weapons are pretty universally outlawed.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Crime

But yeah, let’s ignore common sense, which tells us when you tolerate behavior, you get more of it

Like perhaps tolerating marijuana offenses and as a result having states legalize it and build a market around it?

Perhaps if that behavior had been tolerated decades ago instead of the reefer madness style bullshit law enforcement and the government has been perpetuating for all these years, there would be more resources to go after the real problems in this country.

That’s why you’ve got what you got. Intolerance of the stupid shit in exchange for a lack of resources to combat real problems.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Reefer Madness policing

I’m pretty sure the war on drugs was simply a means to hire more goons and sell more police gear and build more prisons, especially since they went more after drugs popular among minorities and impoverished (crack, meth, pot, etc) in contrast to powder cocaine.

It’s much like the military industrial complex lobbying the federal government to go to war more often, for slighter affronts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Reefer Madness policing

Absolutely, it was economics which has lead America down the road to oblivian. Even the elite knew it wasn’t going to last forever. At some point, the military would want to bring out the really big hardware. So they build a 10 trillion dollar underground bunker tunnel complex equipped with portable nuclear power will cooling from remote lakes and stock it full of hollowpoint rounds of ammunition and tons of spagettios and cat food. But first lets get rid of our liability to the old fuckers. Lets have a truly epic pandemic to start things off.

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Anonymous Coward says:

If you make everyone a criminal...

If you make everyone a criminal, then of course law enforcement will have more to ‘deal with’

we ask them to manage the fallout from a vast range of social pathologies, such as mental illness, widespread homelessness, and drug abuse

and

Following the lead of the policies of the Reagan, H.W. Bush administrations

Go hand-in-hand…
Barr pretends like the de-funding, dismantling and removal of any programs by the government meant to help with all the aforementioned had nothing to do with the following criminalization of each.
Want to fix the problem of having law enforcement ‘handle’ these ‘problems’? then go about trying to help these people rather than deciding they are criminals to be dealt with.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: If you make everyone a criminal...

Barr pretends like the de-funding, dismantling and removal of any programs by the government meant to help with all the aforementioned had nothing to do with the following criminalization of each.

It’s almost as if he didn’t think what would happen if he created a class of people who end up literally having nothing to lose.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: "stop committing crimes, democrats!"

My take on this: Only Republicans are allowed to commit crimes.

It’s been a running theme since the 2016 election won by those who revel in drinking liberal tears and yet our peerless leader has the thinnest skin of them all. The rules for the visiting team are not the same as for those of the hometeam.

Where hypocrisy and moral inconsistency was once the worst offense, now it is an accepted norm.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: "stop committing crimes, democrats!"

"My take on this: Only Republicans are allowed to commit crimes"

My take on this: this guy must be seeing some impressive yoga moves, considering the amount of stretching that must be involved in pretending that it’s Democrats who have been going to prison lately. The spin surrounding Stone’s sentencing must be spectacular.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: "stop committing crimes, democrats!"

Their research into whether voting rights notification laws increase ex-felons’ voter turnout found that in three states — New York, New Mexico and North Carolina — a majority of ex-felons registered post-incarceration as Democrats. The breakdown was as follows: New York, 61.5 percent Democrat, 9 percent Republican; New Mexico: 51.9 percent Democrat, 18.9 percent Republican; and North Carolina, 54.6 percent Democrat, 10.2 percent Republican.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

And I’m sure you’d be saying the same thing if a “loaded DOJ” run by Republicans were going after Hillary Clinton on the kind of “frivolous” (and still unsubstantiated by federal investigators) charges for which Trump figuratively (and maybe literally) wants her strung up in the town square~.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"I never said it isn’t applicable to those I support"
It is implied.

"Frivolous prosecution loaded DOJ by democrats doesn’t count."
Had you left out the political party reference then the statement would be more correct. With its inclusion, it is implied that the other party does not do such things.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Hands across America rally?

Sounds like a good way to spread COVID-19, also to help some activist-minded folk get dates.

Other than that and charging Trump’s???? soulless core, I don’t see the function of rallies.

Speaking of which, good luck getting one million people into a single coordinated effort, let alone ten.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Hands across America rally?

Its a good project to work out the math first. Work on a safe route across the nation. Coordinate managers by counties. And start the process of calling the attention to Americans! What a monumental effort it would have to be, but the communication is possible.

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Roland Stones says:

When the Good Guys become the Bad Guys

Well of course the public is the enemy.
After all, terrorists, drug dealers, thieves, muggers, rapists, child molesters, arsonists, murderers, and almost every other criminal actor, is indeed a member of the Public. The poor Public is ‘The State’s Enemy No. 1’, absolutely.
So can we now stop being so damned surprised when the State kidnaps folks for rendition/torture and interrogation elsewhere, without due process? Or when the State enacts laws that make life more difficult for the Public, but much easier for the State’s employees. Or when cops dress like Storm Troopers and kill people for holding a cell phone, or for being black.
Either get used to it and conform to the new totalitarian capitalism, or figure out how to take it back, because you have lost the American Dream.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: The American Dream

An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay? That’s a dream that we never actually got. But for a while pay was better here than other nations. But we had our fair share of sharecropping, the truck system, debt bondage and low wages.

Get rich quick lotteries? It was the California gold rush that made those popular. And ever since, a few from the middle class get lucky. But it’s easier to turn seven digits into eight or nine than it is to turn two digits into three or four.

And the problem with becoming exponentially richer is that the older money is willing to spend to make you disappear again.

I think the Soviet dream (Perfect distribution of wealth and power) is probably a healthier goal.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The American Dream ended with women getting the right to vote, feminist protests, and the slaughter of four unarmed people at the hands of the National Guard? Funny, I thought it ended when the wealthiest people in the country made sure the tax laws benefited only the wealthy and the federal minimum wage never rose so poor people wouldn’t keep up with the cost of living and die off.

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A ROGSification says:

Mr. Cushing, you are an amazing writer. But I do not understand why you resisit using the common term that members of the lower tier use to describe these gray area policing nightmares: organized gang stalking.

re: "policies of these DAs also sabotage the effectiveness of community policing and “precision” policing, which depend heavily on obtaining information from members of the community"

Yeah- I imagine that privileging such narratives only destroys first-hand witness testimony, aka, gang stalking survivors accounts.

And,

re: Barr spoke to a conference you would swear I was making up if I couldn’t produce a link

Yeah, TD derailers love links(which they NEVER fucking read), and eventually, these shitbags here crap al over intent, and substance.

Barr is a reaction formation to the lunacy of the left-like.

But without a doubt, Barr is also correct: so-called "progressive DAs" have adopted KKK like tactics of social enforcement/ coercion, aka "gray area policing" aka "organized gang stalking", and it doesn’t look good for them as purported social justice pretenders.

So "Barr is right. Nationwide violent crime is on the decline" is a debateable outcome.

Is it the old KKK structures to commend, or the progressive K4 affiliated adoption of "commumity policing" aka gang stalkers which is to be credited?

Hard to tell, when they use the same tactics, and the same KKK playbook.

My money is on "same as it ever was, in blackface".

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