DOJ Releases Its List Of 'Anarchy' Jurisdictions The President Thinks Should Be Blocked From Receiving Federal Funds

from the Pell-grants-no-longer-offered-to-Anarchy-State-University-students dept

The Trump Administration hasn’t met a slope it isn’t willing to grease up and go sliding down. There’s not much united about the states at the moment and the President’s lavish devotion to all things “law and order” is making things worse.

The insertion of federal officers into cities experiencing weeks and months of protests hasn’t done much to reduce the adjacent violence that drew them there in the first place. Engaging in Gestapo-esque “disappearing” of protesters — along with federal officer violence targeting journalists and observers — has done nothing to return order to cities like Portland, Oregon.

Earlier this month, the Administration issued a memo threatening to cut off federal funding to cities the Administration doesn’t like.

My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones. To ensure that Federal funds are neither unduly wasted nor spent in a manner that directly violates our Government’s promise to protect life, liberty, and property, it is imperative that the Federal Government review the use of Federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America’s cities. It is also critical to ensure that Federal grants are used effectively, to safeguard taxpayer dollars entrusted to the Federal Government for the benefit of the American people.

Suddenly the Administration is very concerned about federal spending. Named in the memo were New York City, Seattle, Portland, and Washington DC. All of these have been targets of Trump’s personal attacks via Twitter, where he’s claimed the cities are being ruined by “radical left Democrats.” The memo is transparently partisan. Nowhere in the memo — which is directed to the DOJ and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) — does Trump call out cities in contested states vital to his reelection. Similar protests and/or law enforcement defunding are occurring in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Kenosha, Wisconsin, but neither city is mentioned in the memo.

The memo — issued September 2nd — gave the DOJ two weeks to designate “anarchist” cities unworthy of federal funding. The DOJ has responded, sparing Washington DC, but designating the other three cities mentioned in the memo as “anarchy jurisdictions.”

The U.S. Department of Justice today identified the following three jurisdictions that have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities: New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington. The Department of Justice is continuing to work to identify jurisdictions that meet the criteria set out in the President’s Memorandum and will periodically update the list of selected jurisdictions as required therein.

So, what does it take to become an anarchy under Trump? Not much, apparently. Just an unwillingness to maintain the law enforcement status quo. The DOJ considers it “anarchy” to prevent police from “restoring order” or ordering them to abandon areas they lawfully have access to. (This refers to the temporary “autonomous zone” set up in Seattle by protesters.) These stipulations deal with judgment calls by city mayors during periods of intense civil unrest — unrest prompted by previous police violence, something that’s ignored completely by the memo and the DOJ.

But “anarchy” is also something as simple as police reform.

Whether a jurisdiction disempowers or defunds police departments.

Nobody’s shutting down police departments. Taking police officers out of schools or routing mental health crisis calls to mental health professionals instead of cops isn’t “disempowering.” And if the funds aren’t being used by law enforcement agencies to cover activities they’re no longer being asked to perform, they should be routed to the agencies that are performing them. That’s not “defunding.” That’s just funding.

And if the Attorney General can’t find anything on the list to use to designate a city as “anarchist,” he can always make something up.

Any other related factors the Attorney General deems appropriate.

So, anything could be used to trigger this review. Possibly even just being located in a state Trump doesn’t think he can carry.

Right now, the memo only orders a “review” of existing funding. There are no laws on the books that allow the President to strip federal funding from cities he doesn’t think lean right enough or are too mean to cops. Congress controls federal funding, not the Administration.

The slippery slope is, of course, a route to direct federal control of city and state-level policy making. Pass the “wrong” laws and your federal funds could be reduced or eliminated. If Congress somehow finds a way to make this legal by codifying pro-law enforcement requirements, the federal government will be the final arbiter of local lawmaking. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to work. And the Tenth Amendment is supposed to limit federal interloping like this. Even if a law is passed by Congress to make Trump’s defunding plan “lawful,” it probably won’t be Constitutional. For an administration that leans so heavily on the phrase “rule of law,” it sure seems to ignore rules and laws with alarming frequency.

Even if nothing happens past this point, the Administration will still be posting a periodic list of enemy cities and seeking some way to block them from receiving federal funds. And the selection process is transparently partisan, targeting only cities that have pushed back against Trump’s heated rhetoric and his “offers” to deploy federal stormtroopers to handle local protests. This is more malignant ugliness from an administration that’s served up plenty over the last four years.

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Comments on “DOJ Releases Its List Of 'Anarchy' Jurisdictions The President Thinks Should Be Blocked From Receiving Federal Funds”

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66 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"I’m expecting an "October surprise" of snake oil released in an end-run around the FDA rules."

FTFY. I have no doubt if there’s anything he can release, he will force it to be released. Even if it’s actively harmful, ineffective, or just a vitamin booster shot with a crayoned-in "C0v1d-19 garanteed cvre" label.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Which has some seriously disturbing implications and repercussions, as he’s corrupted the system to such an extent that I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be very wary of any vaccine released not because I don’t believe that vaccines in general work(they very much do), but because at this point I simply cannot trust that Trump won’t try to rush something out the door and to hell with the consequences, so long as he thinks it will benefit him.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I mean, kinda? The article says that they are considering tougher rules than normal for emergency authorization of any vaccine, but that the rules are being looked over by White House Office of Management and Budget, which given the heavy bias involved with anything WH related doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, something made all the worse by the rest of the article pointing out a slew of problems with Trump and his cult screwing things up and undermining any agency that steps out of line, and the FDA’s botched handling of hydroxychloroquine and plasma treatment.

As articles to inspire confidence go I gotta say it’s not good, as if anything it just highlighted just how horrible Trump and his cult have made things and how that can and has impacted agencies and concerns that can be life and death for hundreds of millions.

ryuugami says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I have no doubt if there’s anything he can release, he will force it to be released. Even if it’s actively harmful, ineffective, or just a vitamin booster shot with a crayoned-in "C0v1d-19 garanteed cvre" label.

In other words, it’ll be a "two birds with one stone" action.

In the short term, murder thousands of people with an untested vaccine in exchange for a few votes.

In the long term, murder millions of people by handing munition about the "danger" of vaccines to anti-vaxxers.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"…shouldn’t America Be Great Again by now? LOL"

Here’s the likely answer from the alt-right Stormfront trolls who occasionally deign to disgrace us with their presence;

"But Obama!"

You see, that Kenyan-born muslim has the power to go back and forth in time and fuck shit up for honest law-abiding people everywhen. That’s how he’s screwed with every attempt to make America Great Again ever since he put a bullet in Lincoln and bollixed Goldwater’s election chances. We’re pretty sure he shanked Julius Caesar as well, just because he really hates good leadership. That’s why Donald is so jumpy about BLM and Antifa. You never know when either of those movements will spit out a black man with superpowers and a raging hateboner for the White Man because EVIL.

/s because much of the logic employed by trump cultists imply some or all of the above must be true…

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Anonymous Coward says:

This sounds like another brilliant step forward.

If your goal is internal division, civil unrest, civil war, and possibly succession (so in other words, if you are trying your best to commit treason).

Also: this sounds like an excellent excuse to route more funding away from the clowns idols (but only if it actually makes sense, funding choices for critical civilian infrastructure should be based on where it does the citizens the most good, not political motives… but this sounds like it might give an excuse to make rational decisions instead of caving to political pressure that came with the funding).

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MathFox says:

Re:

Trump seems to think that he can keep a position of power after getting less votes than his opponent in the presidential election again by asking the violent part of his supporters to pick up arms to protect that position of power. If that means civil war, well that gives his business friends options to make money.

One can see parallels to how other oppressive regimes came to power… (1930’s anyone?)

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Trump seems to think that he can keep a position of power after getting less votes than his opponent in the presidential election again by asking the violent part of his supporters to pick up arms to protect that position of power."

Unfortunately the "violent" part of his supporter base seems to include quite a lot of the rank-and-file of the US armed forces and probably every high-ranking officer still in active service.

Currently SCOTUS lacks a member which means the republicans have it 5-3. If he manages to stuff another stooge in there it becomes a 6-3 lead. Either way it is unlikely SCOTUS will scrutinize any of his XO’s for constitutional violations.

So…just assuming he decides to vote himself an ermächtigungsgesetz…who would be telling him that shit is unconstitutional?

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David says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So…just assuming he decides to vote himself an ermächtigungsgesetz…who would be telling him that shit is unconstitutional?

The PATRIOT Act is old news. It’s just that the power creep of the executive it enabled has been used more discretely by presidents preceding Trump. It was a bad idea then, and we get the showcase of just why right now.

But just because Trump did not build his own fascism kit but inherited it does not mean that it isn’t particularly bad news in his hands.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"The PATRIOT Act is old news."

And as bad as it is, still limited. Under the enabling act which created the reich Trump’s call on governors to "dominate the battlespace" would have governors calling down the drone strikes on US streets…or those same governors having themselves a last smoke leaning against a wall while being offered a choice of "Black Lives Matter" blindfolds.

"But just because Trump did not build his own fascism kit but inherited it does not mean that it isn’t particularly bad news in his hands."

The PATRIOT act is bad enough, yea…but Trump is using surprisingly little of it. Hopefully neither he nor any of his stooges realize the levers it actually does let him pull. It is, perhaps, a good thing Trump didn’t include Cheney or Rumsfeld in his cadre of ringpiece cleaners…err, "Advisors".

We can only hope that the primary reason Trump’s signing his more moronic suggestions into executive orders these days is because even the republicans have started drawing back at some of the shit he does – because if not, well, absent any voice from SCOTUS saying "No! HELL No!" there really isn’t anything which prevents Trump from writing himself an enabling act or, to start with, a few extra terms of office.

Bruce C. says:

Didn't we go through this before?

As I recall, during the height of MADD’s influence, the federal government denied highway funding to states unless they raised the drinking age from 18 to 21.

While that was a limited set of funds related to a specific policy, the current situation is similar in broad outlines: enact specific policies or lose federal money.

Key differences:
a) the federal highway bill was passed by congress, not just executive order. But with the right congress, a version of this policy could become law.
b) the order, as written, is much broader than the highway bill, and leaves the AG with a lot of discretionary power. But let’s say, the AG comes up with specific recommendations like defunding public education in cities where police are defunded. Or allowing the president to send in the Army to states where the president thinks there is too much civil disorder. Very hypothetical, but I suspect that a limited form of federal interference could pass constitutional muster.

Not that I want it to. For all that the Federal government has centralized power over the past 50 years or so, the COVID situation has demonstrated the level of autonomy still held by the states.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

the COVID situation has demonstrated the level of autonomy still held by the states

That doesn’t means much when the federal government, which should’ve been coördinating a national pandemic response with all 50 states, basically tells the states “you’re on your own” in re: dealing with COVID-19.

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David says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s not quite like that. The CDC actually put out a rather sensible set of guidelines for health measures and phased reopenings.

This was published as the official government policy. I remember reading it and telling myself "wow, this actually makes sense, and that coming from the current government".

Then Trump went to lambast and namecall any state that would try following rather than ignoring those guidelines.

So some part of the federal government tried doing its job for a coordinated response (though they are increasingly acting like being in a hotseat by now), but Twitler sabotaged it.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

When Trump can basically overrule those scientists by saying something and acting like it’s true — to the point where his sycophants in positions of power accept it as true and run with it — whether actual scientists say something true is irrelevant. The GOP has long rejected outside expertise in fields of science. Such things threaten the tribe. Trump is merely the final form of that rejection.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You seem to be forgetting how long it took for the administration to put out that plan, months after it was needed,

Uh, the reopening plan was actually comparatively timely. In contrast, the shutdown was a disorganized chaos of reality bursting dams rather badly. That first wave took its central hit in the comparatively populous (and as it is typical for that, Democratic governed) NY/NJ area which, like the rest of the country, was unprepared. Trump had better intelligence than Europe about COVID-19 but decided not to act other than instituting a partial travel ban.

Which sort is not understanding the nature of exponential growth: reducing the actual seed size of a highly infectuous disease by a factor of 10 does not mean you get 10 times slower spread. You only gain the time the disease would take by itself for spreading by a factor of 10, which isn’t long. All this talk about "saving millions" is complete hogwash.

You need to reduce the growth factor. Everything else is a drop in the bucket. And the U.S. is still not doing what it takes to reduce the growth.

So the plan for countering the disease was not timely. I mean, there isn’t a plan even now. But there was a plan for reopening after everybody was supposed to figure out on his own that closing down could be a good idea. And that plan for reopening actually made sense.

But for meeting its premises in case load reduction, one would have needed a working strategy for lowering the infection rates. That plan was of the form "if we get to this, we can do that". And particularly the fanboy states depending on Trump’s goodwill basically said "great, we’ll do that" without the "if we get to this" conditions being anywhere on the horizon. Partly because there was no national plan for getting there, and still isn’t.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

I mean, there isn’t a plan even now.

There was never a plan to begin with, at least within the Trump administration. They tossed out the pandemic playbook handed to them by the Obama administration because Trump hates a Black guy for being better than him. They didn’t treat COVID with any seriousness for two months, and only after they could no longer ignore the fact that the virus had become a widespread national pandemic. Hell, Trump was trying to pray away the virus (“it’ll just go away”, etc.) and act like if he ignored it, it wouldn’t spread.

Trump had no plan other than to somehow “intimidate” the virus like he would any person who ever got in his way. Over 200,000 Americans have died because, unlike the Obama administration, the Trump administration did nothing to prevent the disease from making it to American shores, then did (and continues to do) the minimum amount of work necessary to show that something was being done. And all of this happened because Trump cares more about his being reëlected to an office that he has no business holding than he does about the people who elected him to office in the first place.

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Cyrus3 says:

Re: Didn't we go through this before?

Yup, massive centralization of Federal power over cities and states has been a fact of Americam life for a century.

The progressive-left loves the big Federal hammer when used to unconstitutionally impose Federal whims on issues they favor — but is shocked and appalled when this same arbitrary power is used to impose obedience of issues they dislike.

The real issue here is the routine exercise of illegal Federal power against the sovereign States.
Cities are not sovereign, but are merely subordinate sectors of State governments.

Progressive do not understand the U.S. Constitution structure of government and/or dismiss it as a quaint archaic guideline.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Didn't we go through this before?

this was a safety initiative, and the requirements were pushed out to all states that didn’t meet the minimum age, not just to the RED or BLUE stats who didn’t meet the mimium.

This is partisian politics at it’s finest, if your state doesn’t support him (aka isn’t Republican), then I don’t care about you or your state…

Similarly, if your state supports him, he still doesn’t care about you or your state, but he won’t try to defund your state…

How nice of him, amiright?

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dfed (profile) says:

Honestly I think I am just pleasantly surprised at the sliver of consistency of Trump about my city: Apparently the White House remembered Minneapolis is a No-Go Zone (TM) because of Sharia Law being enacted, not because we’re an anarchy.

(Christ, what an asshole.)

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'How dare you take up our slack?!'

How terribly surprising, the same administration that has been more than happy to cheer on and defend police violence is now throwing a tempter tantrum that the states might dare to take steps to address the problem, and/or aren’t stupid enough to be making use of tactics that will just make the public even more pissed off, and just so happen to be cities that Trump doesn’t like.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Looks like it's the DOJ that is attempting secession

It would be whatever of the US army doesn’t defect to the new rebels: now it is the core states of the 1860s Union plus some west coast states that would benefit from secession (though MD and VA might just about go with them) and the old Confederate states, plus most of the then-new Union states, that needs the whole union kept together to protect their economies.

If the Alabama government passed a resolution asking for a constitutional convention to grant it the right to secede, the smart move for the blue states would be to say "OK". They don’t even need to be punitive or attempt to discourage other states doing the same thing, because all the states that might plausibly want to leave are ones the rest would be better off without.

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