Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Deep Breath Before the Plunge, February 2016 Edition (Updated)

Just keeping up with a few tidbits to tidy up and report on:

The long national nightmare folly of having goddamn wingnuts seize a federal wildlife refuge in the middle of winter has ended at long last. The four remaining occupiers - with the last one flipping his lid on a live feed going into the tall grass of conspiracy-mongering - surrendered themselves to federal agents during today.

These were the insurrectionist terrorist jokers who started a revolution and forgot to bring enough snacks and warm socks for the duration.

In hindsight, the way the FBI handled the situation turned out to be the correct one: rather than go in guns blazing, or set up a massive perimeter grid in a grand show of force, the feds allowed the would-be militia "heroes" set themselves up for glory and trip over their own ineptitude. Knowing these guys wanted to be turned into martyrs, the government agents went the other way and stood back to avoid direct conflicts.

In a way, it worked. The occupiers kept staging weird press conferences and went out of their way to bully/frighten the locals, eliminating any good-will and nationwide support for themselves. Meanwhile, the FBI kept close enough surveillance on them, and when the time and location was right - on a deserted mountain road - they moved in to arrest most of the leadership, leading to only one death of the insurrectionists. From then on it was a matter of time before the remaining wingnuts surrendered.

As a bonus, insurgent-daddy Cliven Bundy - he of the unpaid grazing bills and racist outrage - got pinched at the airport flying in to support his kids Ammon and Prince John Ryan. Now he has to answer for those millions in unpaid fees and for threatening to shoot people over his "god-given right" to be a jerk to his neighbors and the citizenry at large.

I was one of those shouting about the double-standard that law enforcement was setting: whenever it's Blacks or minorities protesting in the streets - even peacefully - the cops show up in force and make confrontations inevitable, leading to dozens wounded and communities broken. Here's the thing, law enforcement: you have a model example now of how to handle protests, through surveillance and arms-length distance to keep the peace while any potential anger fizzles out. It's a model that reduces violence and calms the public mood, and it should be used in the cities as much as it's been used in the remote mountains.

Speaking of law enforcement needing to learn better policing from this, this week the Department of Justice brought the hammer down on the city government of Ferguson MO filing civil rights charges in order to enforce policing reforms there.

There had been ongoing negotiations between the DoJ and the city council up until this week, when the council voted to get certain previously agreed provisions changed to the city's favor:

Ferguson’s city council members voted unanimously on Tuesday night to accept the Justice Department’s proposed reforms only if federal officials agreed to seven changes, which included: changing the deadlines in the agreement, not mandating any salary increases for police officers and altering certain fees.
The Justice Department quickly disparaged the city council’s actions as an unfair development after extensive negotiations. Gupta, who heads the department’s Civil Rights Division, vowed that the federal government “will take the necessary legal actions” to reform the city’s courts and policing practices.
I've written before about how damaging bad policing is on communities, and we as a nation are well overdue for law enforcement reforms that would practice Soft Power policing that they used in Oregon.

A place that might need Soft Power policing is within the ranks of the Democratic voters. The consequences of the New Hampshire primary have been a growing squabble between Hillary's backers and BernieBros over endorsements, which is making both sides look like inconsiderate jerks to those of us outside of the party. What the hell, kids, try to remember the real threat here is Rush Limbaugh Bill O'Reilly Sean Hannity the majority of Fox Not-News staffers the Koch brothers Donald Trump Ted Cruz Marco Rubio Jeb Bush John Kasich and/or All Of the Above. I'm with John Cole on this, people. Stay focused on what matters: keeping the Republicans out of the White House and with any luck kick them out of Congress.

In state news, the Florida Legislature is bringing out competing budgets from the Senate and House, with neither budget fulfilling Rick "No Ethics" Scott's desires for even more tax cuts and handouts to businesses, which is a nice touch but is bound to rub each chamber the wrong way. We may yet see another state government shutdown of embarrassment and uncounted costs.

And in other news, Marco Rubio reportedly broke a tooth when he bit into a frozen Twix bar.

...A frozen Twix bar.

Dammit, Rubio, even here in Florida, we put the candy bars in the FRIDGE part of the refrigerator and NOT the FREEZER part. Okay?! OKAY?!?! Jebus, you earned that broken tooth being a damn moran like that. You couldn't even tell how cold and frozen that Twix bar would be?

And he wants us to trust his judgment to serve as President?!?!

Okay, that's me ranting for the night. Good luck, America.

Update 2/12/2016: Just because I have nowhere else to put this and it'd be a waste of a new post, but Jim Gilmore just didn't want to be kicked around anymore. The number of other political commentators weeping in the passing of his campaign is around 2 and 3/5ths. I'm finding out from David A. Graham here that Gilmore did indeed get just 12 votes in all of Iowa (I just usually joke about that, who knew), wow that actually is impressive. Anyway, we're down to five official victims - Jeb, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, Carson - of the Trump Will Kill Us All Tour, seeing how South Carolina will shred the likes of Kasich and Rubio...

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