Crack Some Heads And Lock Them Up

  • During the never ending BLM and Antifa riots this year I said on multiple occasions it was time for the police to take action. Billions of dollars lost in damages, buildings burned, business lost. 30 people killed. It’s time to start cracking some heads and locking up these assholes. And then the brief occupation of the Federal capital building happened yesterday. Do I still feel the same way? Yep. Protest is one thing. Rioting is something else. But in my inside voice I also had a different feeling about these rioters. I understand the frustration. I understand the anger. I don’t agree with what they did, but I get why they’re doing it. And then it clicked. The supporters of BLM and Antifa feel the same thing. They’re angry and feel hopeless. They feel marginalized by the system. That utter frustration makes people want to speak out, to be heard. Unfortunately with any protest, that emotion can start spilling over into riots. In every crowd there’s always a bunch of knuckleheads who are simply opportunists, ready to take advantage. Those are the folks who make the news. I agree with almost nothing BLM or Antifa stand for, but I do get the feeling of being left behind by the system. The irony (there’s that word again) is that BLM, Antifa, and the MAGA crowd are all actually fighting the same thing. An oppressive ruling class of elites who’s only goal is to enrich themselves and their donors. Regardless if you’re a minority in a poor neighborhood plagued by crime, failing schools, and zero job prospects, or a middle class blue collar worker struggling to make ends meet, it’s very hard to watch politicians pander and fawn over their political base with words and then go spend a trillion dollars on foreign aid and millions in handouts to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. But wait, you get $600! Don’t spend it all at once. While the anger from the left and right manifests itself differently, it’s fundamentally about the same thing. The system is rigged against me. The system is unfair. People don’t like when things don’t seem fair. Tucker Carlson said it best in his commentary on what happened yesterday. And this applies to this years BLM and Antifa riots as well as yesterdays ridiculousness. You can quell the riots. You can speak soft, soothing words about restoring the integrity of our democracy, bla, bla, bla. But if the ruling elites don’t start to address the underlying issues, this is going to happen again. And again. And at some point we’re not going to like the outcome. I think the ruling class underestimates the level of anger from both the left and right in this country right now.
  • I cannot emphasis strongly enough how dangerous this is – what you are allowed to think and say right now is controlled by three companies. Twitter, Google, and Facebook. Twitter shut down the Presidents account last night. Facebook announced today they are shutting the Presidents account for the next thirteen days. YouTube removes or demonetizes any video that has content that doesn’t echo the left’s talking points. I don’t care if you don’t like what the President says. Millions upon millions of people do. And a few corporations are deciding what the President of the United States can and can not say. If you agree with what these companies did simply because you don’t like the President, you’re a naïve fool. Toe the company line or you’re out. Censoring speech and ideas because you don’t like them leads us down a dark path. The antidote to what’s happening in this country is the exact opposite – we need to shine the light on everything. If you don’t first pull the curtains back and expose the roaches, you’ll never get rid of them.
  • The faux outrage and gnashing of teeth over yesterday’s events makes me want to vomit. Protests are cool as long you’re on the right side.

    AOC – “The thing that critics of activists don’t get is that they tried playing the “polite language” policy game and all it did was make them easier to ignore”. Kamala – “Protesters should not let up”. Pelosi – “I just don’t know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country. Maybe there will be”. Maxine Waters – “… you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere”. Ayanne Pressley – “there needs to be unrest in the streets”.

    I don’t condone it on any side, but one thing is universally true. You squeeze people hard enough for long enough… and shit’s going to happen.
  • As I sit here writing this, I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m saddened. I’m fed up with the outrage. Part of me just wants everything to go back to the status quo so my biggest worry is should I go downhill or cross-country skiing. I don’t know if I’m going to stop blogging, write less often, or simply focus on brilliant commentary about puppy dogs and rainbows. But the overwhelming negativity on social media is getting to me and I don’t see it getting better any time soon. We’ll see.

Song of the day (repeat): Rage Against The Machine – Killing In the Name (Official Music Video)

6 thoughts on “Crack Some Heads And Lock Them Up”

  1. I don’t blame everything on the elites. There are s lot of things going on that are causing our problems. A lot of them have to duo with technology and globalization. We are going through a cycle of change. Disruptions and upheavals are part part of the process and always have been. To say that is not us or who we are gives us more credit than we deserve. We not that much different than our ancestors.

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    1. First, thanks for the read! I completely agree with you. I’m just a bit more cynical. I think Scott Adams (the Dilbert guy) said it best yesterday. With every software upgrade there’s a brief moment in time where you can’t use the old software or the new code. That’s the moment we’re in.

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  2. Interesting ideas; I enjoyed the read.  Some counter-points for your enjoyment:

    1. It’s a false equivalency to claim that BLM and ANTIFA “want the same thing”.  BLM has a 6-point set of demands, clearly stated on their website, and they collectively agree to stand down once those demands are met.  And whether one agrees or not with these demands, no one can claim that BLM is ambiguous in what drives them.  ANTIFA, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have any platform or goals beyond seeking general anarchy.  How do you know that ANTIFA members are marginalized to feel “angry and hopeless”? Have you ever heard anyone in the ANTIFA chain of command speak on behalf of the greater membership about what motivates them or what endgame equals success for them?  What’s their metric of success when they’ll stand down?  I’ve never heard anyone quantify it either because ANTIFA is a highly decentralized organization of autonomous sub-groups, all with their own goals and objectives, so by definition they will never reach an endgame or be able to claim success.  As best I can tell they seek chaos, and change for the sake of change, such that no one can know “what ANTIFA wants.

    2. “Why do you (and others) call ANTIFA an organization “on the left”?  How did anarchy become a left-leaning ideology?  If anything anarchy is right-leaning, given that it advocates for very small (or no) government, which is very consistent with traditional Republican and Libertarian thinking. BLM is left.  ANTIFA, not so much.  And again, I don’t think even ANTIFA themselves would agree on whether they’re right or left.  This feels like an artificial label created by the media so they can talk about “left vs right” and get more clicks.

    3. Because the crime is very different it’s irresponsible to suggest, just because they’re both angry, that BLM protestors should be treated the same as those who broke into the Capitol!  BLM protestors who turned violent were guilty of crimes against property, whereas the domestic terrorists who violently broke into the Capitol building are guilty of sedition to overthrow the government by terminating a democratic process guaranteed by the constitution. It was a seditious coup d’état – a poorly organized and weakly executed coup – but it was a coup and not a crime against property.  The difference between crimes against property vs sedition is as clear as their punishments laid forth in our codes of law, and no equivalence should be made between the two criminal acts.  Said differently, to state that both groups should be treated equally – because they’re both angry – is like claiming rapists and pick-pockets should receive the same punishment because they “both want something”.

    4. We’re in agreement about abhorring the violence, and I also think we’re in agreement about the source of much of this civil strife although I would word it differently since I believe it’s a cop-out to blame it on “elites”.  Does anyone actually know who the elites are?  Is there a definition?  Eric, I read in your post that you also sometimes feel that the “system is rigged against me”, as do I, but I can promise you there’s someone in our neighborhood who disparages us as elites given our relative (to their) wealth, education, and privilege.

    So instead I think it comes down to your idea of the “ruling class” and their nefarious actions.  But I wonder, who is the ruling class and why is it suddenly different now?  I mean, we’ve had the same form of government and corporate ruling class in the US for 300+ years but the system never resulted, until now, in a significant percentage of the population feeling that their only remaining rational choice is to commit violent sedition.  I wrote a post yesterday on FB about Income Inequality and what I learned from my time in Rwanda talking to people about the 1994 genocide – you should check it out.  (In short, when the relative distance between the haves and have-nots is great enough, the system will break.)  But in Rwanda it was outside colonial powers that rigged the system setting the stage for the inevitable tragedy.  Our constitution is mostly unchanged in 250 years, with the big exception of the civil rights amendments, and our capitalist economic system has created more per capita wealth than any other country in the modern era.  Per capita income is up 10x in the last 50 years and income taxes are down from a top rate of 94% in 1945.  So while this unprecedented wealth creation should equate to a higher quality of life in the US, we are instead experiencing a poverty rate of nearly 10% and a shrinking middle class. At the same time we can’t ignore the fact that the upper-middle and wealthy classes have also grown, so it’s a mixed bag.  In your post you state that the ruling class has rigged the system but I think that’s an oversimplification and that you have more to say.  I’d like to hear it.  Declining workers’ rights in a global economy?  An increase in the shareholder class?  Decline in the US manufacturing sector and the loss of semi-skilled jobs?  Trickle-down tax legislation?  Other?      

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    1. Thanks for the read and excellent comments! My writing and thinking are generally pretty simplistic. Since almost nobody reads what I write, I rarely actually think about what say.

      1. You’re right, looking at it from an organizational level BLM and Antifa do not share the same goals. I don’t think anyone knows what Antifa actually wants. I leap to the conclusion that since they are ostensibly anti-fascist and anti-capitalist they must harbor some resentment towards the “system” that’s preventing them from being the unique little butterflies they’d like to be. (bullshit, like you said I think many of them just want chaos for the sake of chaos). So, from a 50,000 foot level they both are pushing back against a system that’s in some way oppressing them. What or who is doing the oppressing may be different, but I intended to mean that they are similar because “something” is oppressing them.

      2. I base my opinion on two things. The first is Wikipedia, because everything on Wikipedia is true (tongue in cheek). The ‘pedia lists them as left. And since they are in theory anti-fascist, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, all of which tend to be right leaning, I assume they tend to be left. And second when you see them in the news they are overwhelmingly twenty-somethings with multiple facial piercings, and probably living in their parents basement. I’ll go out on a limb and say you’ll be hard pressed to find many in that demographic that lean right. They seem very much in the mold of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. With violence. In reality they probably don’t really identify with any particular political party.

      3. I see your point, but I think you can only make that distinction after the fact because it happened to be the capital. My gut feeling is that on the ground, with tensions and emotions surging, neither BLM or yesterdays idiots had any concrete thoughts about what they were about to do. There’s an empty cop car sitting next a garbage can, someone picks the can up and hurls it through the window in a flash of mob fueled emotion. Or rushing a police barricade. Or taking over and occupying a police building. I don’t think any of them had any real thoughts of sedition or a coup yesterday. It was a mob with mob energy and emotion and anger. Dudes in Viking helmets generally aren’t taken very seriously. The guy from Boise who was in the news said he just got caught up in the moment. I don’t think that’s very different than any other mob or riot. I don’t think the fact that it was the capital makes it any different. I just don’t believe it was an seriously organized effort (which would make it a coup). I think it was an emotional mob, no different than any of the early BLM riots.

      4. I have no specific definition of the elites or ruling class. You’re right, we very much could be considered elite depending upon your perspective. The guy who owns the local fast food restaurant probably is an elite to the 16 year old employee. It’s a vague idea/label referring mostly to those in power (elected or corporate) who are seemingly never held to the same standards you and I would be. I’ll go read your FB (I don’t check FB very often), but I think you’re 100% right. When the income gap reaches a large enough delta, bad things tend to happen. I think this worthy of a post on it’s own, since I’ve never really explored what I think I mean when I throw out the terms. I’m certainly guilty of throwing out generic terms from time to time without pausing to think about what I’m saying.

      Great dialogue, thanks!

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      1. Good dialogue!

        1. I hear you – that’s not an unfair lens through which to look at both BLM and ANTIFA to find a common denominator.  And we’re in agreement about ANTIFA – bunch of hacks who need to be arrested.  I met a few at some of the protests over the Summer and it was clear that they were there to cause property damage and not much else.  I was returning from a mountain bike in the Oakland hills, wearing my full face helmet and chest protector, when I came across a protest in downtown Oakland. When they saw me they thought I was one of them…until I asked them if they had any actionable solutions to Income Inequality beyond busting windows. #crickets

        2. You’re more right than I am on this one – most experts agree that ANTIFA is far-left. I’m just very annoyed by our collective non-response to them mostly out of fear of creating false martyrs (as best I can tell that’s the reason) so I take issue with them being cast as being “left” like me. Just a pet peeve.

        3. This is the one I struggle with most when I think about January 6th.  While it’s true that there were some “accidental terrorists” in the group – actual protestors who just followed others into the Capitol without really thinking because they were caught up in the moment –  there were also violent seditionists who were masterminding this with a much more diabolical endgame in mind.  They built bombs, transported them across state lines, and placed them in the Hart and Rathburn buildings because they knew that’s where the members of Congress would be rushed for safety when the doors of the Capitol were breached by protestors.  It’s pretty tough sell to argue that this core group of terrorists were “opportunistic” or “in the wrong time at the wrong place.”  It’d be like excusing the Nazis just because there were some low-level German soldiers who didn’t really plan to be there.The FBI needs to do their job, find the terrorists, and throw them in prison for a long time.

        4. I agree that Income Inequality is worthy of a post on its own!  I hear plenty of opinions from Silivalley people about the cause and effects of Income Inequality but since we returned from Atlanta 5 years ago I don’t get many other perspectives.

        New Topic: In this same post you make a strong claim that shutting down Trump’s Twitter account is Censorship, and now Big Tech has taken even further/harsher steps to remove Trump from their platforms.  While I understand the risk to society of silencing any aggrieved party, I struggle with your claim that “a few corporations are deciding what the President of the United States can say.”  Is this really the case, or are they stating that the President must behave ethically and morally in order to have his say”?  The latter is a very reasonable position for a publicly-traded (non-government) entity to take, no?  How is it different than a customer being refused service in a restaurant for not wearing shoes/shirt or being asked to leave a bar because he’s drunk and disorderly?  In its press release Twitter said that in the last year Trump was guilty of tweeting 500+ times with either disinformation or the intent to incite violence.  AKA, drunk and disorderly (online) conduct.  This is all very important given the GOP’s publicly stated intent to rewrite Section 230 of the CDA Act to hold social media companies financially liable for the user-generated content on their sites. 

        And isn’t it kind of big-brothery for a Libertarian like you to advocate that somebody/anybody else should tell a public company who can and can’t use their product?  The reason Libertarianism doesn’t work for me is that I believe some regulation and government oversight is necessary in a functioning society.  Which is interesting because it may be the case that I want less regulation on this one, and you want more, and that you and I would then be arguing for each other’s political party! 

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      2. Good stuff. So, I don’t really see myself as belonging to any particular party. I’m kind of a mutt. I believe in elements of all political thought. The censorship question is murky. I would have much less of a problem with Twitter/Facebook/Google/Apple/Amazon’s argument if they applied it equally. Unfortunately they are very selective when they decide to enforce their moral authority. Where it gets even murkier, is that they are a massive monopoly that has control of all information. Parler tried to create a competitive alternative to Twitter and Google/Apple/Amazon shut them down. I worry when something is so powerful they can unilaterally shut down independent thought. I agree the pure Libertarian thought is silly. We have to have some element of regulation or you end up with anarchy. The never ending struggle is how much? Should a baker be forced to create something he doesn’t agree with? My business can refuse you service, but can I refuse you because you’re Hispanic? And then when something gets big enough it’s like telling someone who’s complaining about their electric bill, if you don’t like it go start your own power company. It’s not realistic. I have no problem with the tech monopolies having their own moral compass and being up front about it. I do have a problem with it not being equally enforced. And all made worse by not having any possible alternative platform. These companies are acting as content editors while simultaneously claiming they’re not responsible for the content. Don’t sue me bro! CNN found out the hard way that they are liable for defamation when they selectively edited the Covington student footage. I don’t see why Twitter or Facebook gets to make the decision as to what is/isn’t a disputed fact (which is very much shaping public opinion) and then claim they’re simply a platform and not responsible for the content. These tech companies actively, purposefully, shaped the election narrative. It’s a power I seriously worry about, independent of political party. I don’t know what the answer is. I do know we’re heading rapidly towards the China social credit system and that scares me.

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