10:20 cnn reporter miguel marquez, getting pushed away by police from people who are getting arrested: "are we under martial law? we have a right to work." "i think the constitution still applies." " this is a curfew, not a police state."
10:10 one possible issue: the police might be angry. put down the fucking sticks.
10:07 baltimore is interesting tonight. the curfew itself has become the issue, and it would really be a shame to straight-up provoke a problem in a fundamentally happy city by sheer military-style occupation. the occupiers are themselves the issue tonight; the massed national guard, the horses, and so on. i don't think that curfews in general can be constitutional, for one thing. but if things go bad tonight, they have only themselves to blame.
how can we fix our inner cities? everyone has a prescription: david brooks prescribes 'social psychology'. (well, psychologists can definitely help with the torture). or yet another round of education reform. more welfare. less. 'jobs'. build housing projects. implode housing projects. decades of failure with all these plans makes no impression at all. here's my prescription: stop trying to fix black people. supposing that you should, or that you know how, is just more racial hierarchy. right? fix yourself, honky. you don't know how folks live, and your picture of how folks ought to live is just that they ought to live like you. work on your own racial attitudes, your arrogance, your presumption that you are yourself the norm, and let people figure out how they ought to live, how they ought to unite in a community, how they ought to raise their children, etc. stop diagnosing people, which is just dishonest, self-congratulatory sneering.
education is the key! however, re-educating black children, or instituting mind control in pre-school under compulsion, is the grossest idea of all. and it would be evil - like kidnapping american indian children and putting them in boarding schools - even if it were effective. but decades of this shit have left you here (my god, d. watkins is everywhere). and here is exactly where my junior high in dc was in 1971. it has left you doing real evil to real children under coercion; it has made our society a prison camp. let go.
10:30 maybe it's going to be relatively quiet tonight after all.
10:17 fox sent geraldo rivera, for pity's sake.
9:38 the argument about 'thug' is completely characteristic of today's political discourse. megyn kelly is bashing people about it right now on fox: folks are 'thug is a racialized term'. right, replies megyn. so you're saying that obama and rawlings-blake are racists? because i look at barack obama and i don't see a racist. really, they're snickering about it. for god's sake argue about something rather than nothing. i realize that nothing is easier to deal with than something. people really do have a straight-up magical account of language. words are powerful. they're probably at home right now doing incantations to control the weather, or folding up the names of their enemies on slips of paper and setting them on fire. 'words are powerful' is prologue to the censorship. people think that not saying 'thug' or finding some new euphemism or whatever would address the problem. the prohibition on 'racialized language' is fundamentally how white racism went unconscious. i can't be a racist because i don't us the wrong words. but every word has a dozen close synonyms; you just have the same thoughts in slightly different terms. people think that is substantial improvement. protesters or criminals? i don't know, they are doing what they're doing. you can see it. call it whatever, you haven't changed it.
9:15 note on the march route in philadelphia: the federal detention center is a block from the national constitution center. the former certainly gives a clearer, more honest picture of what america is. they should just toss the schoolkids in there when they come to see the liberty bell and let them fend for themselves.
8:32 seriously it's quite as though they are trying to provoke (and justify) violence. hard to know, but this might be pretty different than the last couple of nights.
8:27 where is barack obama? our first black president is our second white richard nixon. country's kind of teetering on the brink right now. i guess i am, as expressed at 8:15.
8:15 honestly? i'd be responding by theorizing that the police threw those molotov cocktails at themselves. for very good reasons, they wanted to self-immolate. part of their relentless pursuit of justice. to serve and protect. or just to serve up some good pork barbecue. or, to back off a second: maybe before you served up some ridiculous evil bullshit, you should have thought about just how angry that would make people.
8:05 yo it is tough in philly right now. this is pretty amazing; certainly unprecedented since the 60s: multiple american cities in serious civil unrest. seems like police have let them onto 95? hard to see exactly where they are. at any rate, right near my lover jane irish's place. no i guess they diverted them.
5:05 you'd have to be truly bent to take seriously the police leaks about how freddie gray assaulted himself. this is one of many things that show you who we're dealing with, and who the people of baltimore have been dealing with for a long time. quite the vicious piece of self-defense, and one that will help you assign credibility to whatever report may someday be produced. there may be no solution short of getting rid of absolutely everyone who has ever in any official capacity been anywhere near the baltimore police. these people expect to have credibility because of their 'authority' and outfits and stuff. when that finally dissolves...never respect, for example, the president in virtue of the fact that he is the president; that's mere self-subordination. and surely any superficial acquaintance with american history etc would teach a rational being that presidents or police chiefs etc are no better - no smarter, no more decent or truthful - than average among human beings. i'm not saying they're not worse, however.
4:55 one thing i like is that it took the authorities 40 years to realize that the 'war on drugs' wasn't working, or that it was an insane racist nightmare relying on the principle that the state has a right to control your body and immediate environment: a total assertion of the legitimacy of tyranny. now even hillary clinton is pretending to re-think. but really, we're just going to continue to place our lives in the hands of politicians who are this immune to reality. we ourselves might be immune to empirical evidence about what political 'leaders' are: how smart, how worthy of our deference and trust. every time it didn't work for forty years, that was an argument for redoubling our efforts to incarcerate all black men or whatever. the sudden realization now is sad and stupid and based merely on polling.
4:40 as a matter of fact, philly is in the house. 'philly is baltimore'.
martin o'malley, defending his legacy on cnn as he runs for president: "we've got to constantly improve our policing, and our policing of the police." now that is a good basic statement of one extreme dilemma of statism: who will police the police who are policing the police? and who will police the police who are policing the police who are policing the police? if you were sincere about trying to restrain the arbitrary power of the state, you would be instituting an infinite regress of oppression. good luck! you are definitely going to need to annex all resources of the society, and then all those in the universe. for one reason or another (for example, that the state has the power by definition to take stuff, a circumstance under which most people will convince themselves that they have the best reasons to take ever-more), we've been in that spiral for centuries, with no end in sight.
ps, martin o'malley is now a non-starter as a presidential candidate.
my favorite law enforcement clone on cnn is tom fuentes, "former assistant director of the fbi". what he wants to know - really the only thing he wants to know - is why no one is outraged by black-on-black crime. giuliani famously took this line on ferguson. (a) plenty of people are concerned or outraged about black-on-black crime. (b) it's a mere distraction, also a racist distraction, i feel. it's as though you were criticizing isis, and people were all like, 'why is no one worried about geese migration?' or maybe they are more connected than that, because implicitly the idea is that that is what justifies police brutality against black people. why doesn't anyone understand that we're dealing with animals here?
10:25 many people would like to say that the violence was a distraction, and that the peaceful protests are really making a difference. i think it could not be more obvious that the violence has galvanized everyone. politicians are in west baltimore promising a total transformation, of employment, education, poverty, etc. would you get there without the violence? (not that they're going to pay off on it.) what got obama's attention, got him making a statement and working on promises? what? i do not want balt to burn or people to be hurt. but that is what made the whole country sit bolt upright.
9:57 maybe i was unfair to elijah cummings. at least he's there. purely identified with the cops/soldiers. but there.
8:55 the presence of under armour in maryland is rather dramatic. stephanie rawlings-blake wore a logo cap at her news conference yesterday, and larry hogan had a ua logo on his 'governor' shirt today. i hope they are being personally compensated, like a golfer or nascar driver. cashin seven-figure checks and still breaking necks. how much for naming rights to the state?
8:30 it moves me that there are demonstrations in dc and boston, and man that is a big old angry thing taking form in nyc. philly, you in the house? i really do think that bmore and philly are as similar as any two american cities.
d. watkins (also known as dwight) had a rough go of it on cnn just now. he was arguing with one of thousands of police spokesmen drenching the airwaves. now, one thing he did with that spokesman was say something like "of course you'd defend members of your gang'. the first time i heard this move was after rodney king in '92; i had a student from south central la, and he said - i gather making a commonplace observation in his world - that there were three major gangs in los angeles: the crips, bloods, and the lapd. he characterized the lapd as the most violent and irrational of the three.
now, if you are an anarchist (which i admit will discredit you in some circles, particularly in morbidly authoritarian or capitulation culture, e.g. the political right and the political left), this is just flatly, literally true. i personally define anarchism as the position that government has no moral legitimacy, no moral justification to exist. (i take myself literally to have proven that. no one cares, but they have no argument, no plausible reasons to give, on the other side. the point is just to capitulate, not to give reasons or whatever.) now, if that's the case, armed groups roving your neighborhood, whether they have badges or not, are all of a piece, or can only be assessed morally, first, in that they are strutting around town with weapons, which may be a bit of a problem in itself. but they can be assessed in part by their actual effects: if the crips are more violent, or more arbitrary, or more racist, etc., then they are worse than the police, and vice versa. but they are doing exactly the same thing.
but, rule of law! don't get me started, peon. tell me the crips don't have a list of rules, a code, and punish you for violations. but...the social contract! heavens this is the most ridiculous and the most actually discredited argument in the history of human thought. just start with hume's "of the original contract". but it does not matter, it really does not matter to anyone, whether it's a completely ridiculous argument. but what about the collective? it's not just the individual. well, the collective on this account broke freddie gray's neck. either that was someone in particular, or it was all of us together. was that you? because that's what you just asserted. you should be punished for it, or all of us together should be, i guess. start beating yourself and anyone you see on the street. that's all of us together, putting baltimore under military occupation. it's the protesters, confronting themselves with automatic weapons and armor. correct, little b? these are really sad and stupid arguments, a leering semblance of rationality. but any reason is a good enough reason to submit.
i do want to point out that human beings have also been known to resist, though. they are doing that now.
one thing about the news media now: they seem to treat social media as an unimpeachable source, while the police use it for 'intelligence'. so, any evidence that the crips, bloods, and black guerilla army joined together to 'take out police' yesterday? no, but someone posted something like that on facebook, and that extremely sensational claim, repeated everywhere all the time without much skepticism, is part of what freaked everybody out. i'd think perhaps it had something to do with the police non-response, or the fact that the police had just one major goal: keeping themselves safe. i've said this before: you don't know how easy it is to shut a city down or stop air traffic or alter all conditions with some half-assed post in this situation, which has basically arisen because of 'the war on terror': all threats must be taken seriously. you're giving incredible power to anyone with a facebook or twitter account. the police call reading facebook 'intelligence' and then whatever you say on facebook is their actionable intelligence. the media is so concerned with chasing and catching up to social media, and not being made obsolete by social media, that they try to be social media. they are so proud that they are reading social media that they take seriously or regard as credible anything that comes up there. if you're on social media, think about how good an approach that really is.
e.g. on the basis of social media chatter, they shut down the social security administration and other offices today. really, you could make the government inoperable just by sitting at home typing. i think it's fair to say that, as in v for vendetta, let's say, the government does fear the people. or it's just that fear is the dominant emotion in the sort of people who become government officials. in seeking to make themselves and others safe, they are liable to make themselves impossible.
at any rate, on behalf of the crips, bloods, and international order of oddfellows, i declare that today we will be planting a biological agent in governor larry hogan's butt.
10:15 but i'm just gonna drift off tonight praying for the city, where i've lived or worked on and off for decades, where my kids have been raised, and which i sort of love. when i moved there in 1981 from dc, i loved the personality, of which dc has none: the ethnic and blue-collar flavors, the deep funk of the place, like john waters and the world he depicts in his bent way. there's a lot of there there, little down 95 in our nation's capital. it's paradigmatic america, which itself is terribly disturbing tonight.
9:40 obama's detachment on these occasions has shown you who he is. martin walked so barack could hide.
9:30 i predict that the basic task of the national guard will be guarding the police stations and stuff, or maybe one guardsman accompanying each officer muttering self-esteem affirmations or pretending with them that they all have balls.
9:25 reporters have been infinitely more courageous than the police, and without the guns, armor, shields, tasers, gas, etc. this is what might really rock the country: if we suddenly see that the police are an illusion. they strut around in those uniforms, looking for a scrawny ass to kick in a big gang. but lunge at them suddenly and they piss themselves and start whimpering. they better hope that the black guerillas don't show up tonight in a hostile mood.
9:18 the police are going to blame rawlings-blake for holding them back. the gov blamed her for not asking for help much earlier. she is going to be toasted in this fire. i think they were eyeing her for the senate or the governor's office; her carer is over, and she has been pathetic. but no more pathetic than everyone else. no one is going to take any responsibility for anything, which is what government bureaucracies are for (that is, they are for shoving off responsibility). the police who were there know that they are actual cowards, though. they got their ass kicked, and they better be glad that there weren't actually outside agitators or competent insurrectionists, or there'd have suddenly been projectiles coming from behind the police lines too, and no space in the hospitals.
9:07 gov hogan says this is nowhere near as bad as '68. yes it is, and it could be much worse.
9:03 there's a big-ass fire now; looks like a burning block. but where is that, exactly?
8:55 when firefighters were trying to put out the cvs, they were doing it in front of the police line. people were stabbing their hoses. the firefighters' priority was putting out the fire. the police's priority is 'officer safety'. probably they're in an armored convoy right now, heading to atlantic city.
8:40 you know, they wonder why people destroy their own neighborhoods. first off, that's where they are, and that's where the police are abusing them. and second, people who are more less trapped in poverty, in a racial ghetto in a significantly segregated city (in that, bmore is like most american cities), are going to be intensely ambivalent about their neighborhood, which is both a source of pride and symptom of oppression. i want to say again that in many ways the criminal justice system just took over from jim crow as the basic nexus of racial control and destruction. try not to wonder why people are angry, or why criminality itself can be folded into resistance..
8:10 actually police have regained the mall.
8:05 one thing that's clear - and that's different than '68, which i remember (i was 10 years old, in dc) - is that the police are straight-up intimidated. as they keep saying, their first priority is officer safety. they're looting mondawmin mall with impunity right now. that's the mark of an insurrection; the rioters control whole regions. stephanie rawlings-blake and other officials have been in hiding until this moment, when they're finally going press conference. guts would put people like this at the scene.
6:50 actually al jazeera america probably has the best coverage on national networks. they have people who know the city, for one thing.
6:35 elijah cummings sort of looks like john lewis. but he has nothing: no truth, no inspiration, no connection, no idea.
5:50 i believe if i were obama, i'd go to baltimore.
5:45 cnn should stop putting lawyers and law-enforcement people on to the condemn the rioters etc. yeah, i've got that. 'these are not demonstrators; they're criminals". quite the sort of people who only have one sentence, and all of whom have the same sentence. i'd think of cnn's job as showing and telling what is actually happening. or here's their other sentence: 'hard to believe this is happening just 40 miles from the nation's capital!' yeah, stunning. you probably think it can't happen in dc, you doinks.
5:30 they're showing plenty of looting with no police presence. the earlier injuries of police have obviously intimidated them, even with all the armor and teargas etc. so first, let that be a lesson to you about who the police actually are. but of course there might be a big counter-attack later. not sure how well that will go, really. i do love the 'outside agitator' theme; really the mindlessness of the strategic communications hasn't changed since 1965.
5:15 npr is frigging pathetic; no reports from the ground; they're doing movie reviews or whatever. this with their headquarters in dc. a goodly portion of their staff lives in baltimore. really if they can't cover this live, they should fold.
4:12 looks like the intifada out there.
4:00 hard to tell what's gonna happen, but a word to the balt police: a lot of people in balt are armed, and you severed somebody's spine. you might want to think carefully as you roll in the armored vehicles and start firing up the teargas.
3:40 baltimore is rocking in insurrection; watching rock-throwing battles near mondawmin on cnn; they've got no local reporters at all; athena jones has no idea where she is. they've been throwing big rocks at cops, and the cops are now taking the approach of chucking them back, which is never a good sign. could go this way or that, but could go extremely wrong.
Neither Crispin nor I have devoted a lot of space to Pussy Riot. Probably a mistake on our part -- but I'm not writing much these days, and Crispin probably listened to their music, had the fillings fall out of his teeth, and torn between philosopher and rock critic, kind of punted. Musically, they are wretched...they make the Sex Pistols seem expert with their instruments and in a class with with the Three Tenors vocally by comparison with the Russian women. In fairness, Crispin caught on long before I did and put electrons to electrons to comment on Pussy Riot and punk and as usual, did it knowlegably and well. Me, well, he occasionally corrects my grammar and spelling errors. Which amuses me...
Which is not the point -- the Sex Pistols aren't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because they were good but because they were a harbringer of something else. In much the same way, Pussy Riot deserves some attention. Granted, it's not like Sakharov and Solzyenitsen formed a Russian version of the Ayett Brothers. But, they're musicians, poets and intellectuals who did something in marginal taste to make a point and are getting two years in Gulag light as a result. Gulag Light is not the Russian Version of Camp Cupcake, more the Russian Version of a supermax...
So, we could pay some attention. And, the poetry is not without some merit -- reminds me of the lyrics to some of the work of the Afghansi, the Soviet era grunts facing the Muhajadeen. Worth considering.