The Social Contract
May 30, 2020 5:58 PM   Subscribe

During a week's break from A Daily Social Distancing Show, Trevor Noah has been thinking. He shares his thoughts in an 18 minute video, George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper.

It's just 18 minutes of him talking into a camera, but his outsider perspective and experiences with race offer insights that I found useful in putting the Now in context.
posted by hippybear (61 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, powerful.
posted by Glinn at 6:36 PM on May 30, 2020

The Trevor Noah video in the post is geoblocked for me, but I was able to watch it on Facebook here.

Very powerful.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:25 PM on May 30, 2020 [6 favorites]

Trevor Noah is a fucking hero.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:32 PM on May 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

He articulated my feelings about looting brilliantly
posted by supermedusa at 7:37 PM on May 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

Watched this a second time. One moment that stood out to me was when he said something like "and this is happening not because anyone is saying it is the color of your skin, but because it is happening to you and people like you with your color of skin."

And I thought, this guy grew up under Apartheid. There was no equivocation about race during those times like there is here in the US when people are being bigoted but deny they are.

It made for a moment of contrast for me that felt stark.

The whole piece is pretty stark, really.
posted by hippybear at 7:54 PM on May 30, 2020 [14 favorites]

I haven't followed his career much beyond knowing he exists, but there is some heft to this man.
posted by sensate at 9:59 PM on May 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

He is very sharp and I agree wholeheartedly that the way we police African Americans is utterly unjust, completely violates the social contract, and would enrage anyone. But I am not seeing African Americans burning our cities, smashing windows and looting. I see peaceful protests being overwhelmed and overtaken by young white men who are violent and destructive. There's no one of color among the violent actors on TV in my city, Seattle. I suspect both ultra leftists and ultra rightists of seizing a moment of universal outrage. How ironic. Noah is so right that if the social contract is breached for people of color, expect countering breaches. But what if African Americans are being tagged for opportunistic violence by empowered white male opportunists?
posted by bearwife at 10:05 PM on May 30, 2020 [36 favorites]

His memoir is excellent. Very much recommend.

“What are the principles” indeed.
posted by amanda at 10:09 PM on May 30, 2020 [5 favorites]

bearwife: my otherwise peaceful and fluffy fun twitter is being flooded with reports from around the country of much the same, false flag operatives moving in to cause mayhem. I don't know how well it's being documented, but it's being talked about.
posted by hippybear at 10:10 PM on May 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Some documentation is occurring, don't know if it's enough.
posted by away for regrooving at 10:55 PM on May 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

The white violence we're seeing is likely a mix of motives and goals.

It's false flag stuff from Proud Boys and other assorted Nazis hoping to start a race war. It's undercover cops. It's assholes with no agenda other than being assholes. And it is also absolutely a lot of white kids who think this is their time to rise up--without ever asking black people how they feel about it, without ever considering who is going to pay the price for their damage.

There's no 100% of anything in a situation like this, but Twitter has plenty of videos of black people telling white protestors to calm the hell down and stop burning shit. You just have to scroll through all the videos of police doing all of their own rioting to find them.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:22 PM on May 30, 2020 [48 favorites]

Also, just to remember how consistently people on the right will co-opt literally anything at any time for their own needs, pay attention to who says "We know the violence isn't coming from black people, it's coming from antifa! They're hurting black people with this!" Because the vast majority of people pointing that finger are MAGA types who will accuse antifa of anything they possibly can.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:24 PM on May 30, 2020 [13 favorites]

Yes, there does seem to be a systematic effort within some federal agencies to pin the blame on "far left" antifa types. Miami-Dade's county mayor referred explicitly to warnings from the feds about antifa groups when he blamed tonight's violence on people "not from here".

I'm not sure the evidence backs up that claim, unless they have a very peculiar definition of antifa.
posted by wierdo at 11:31 PM on May 30, 2020 [6 favorites]

The thing about cops or right wing agitators (but I repeat myself?) infiltrating protest movements is that it's absolutely designed to both serve a first purpose, steering the overt course of events, and second, making discussion of same sound like it should be conducted while wearing a tinfoil hat. In my experience the average sort of naive person who doesn't want to think much about what's happening will jump at the chance to both dismiss it as X-files nuttery and cling to their preconceived notion. Most of the dummies in the rank and file may not realize that but absolutely I think it's a designed outcome. And now I have to go for a tinfoil hat fitting.
posted by axiom at 11:34 PM on May 30, 2020 [11 favorites]

Here's an article from CBS Miami that discloses the effort.

It is not stated who exactly was the subject of the warnings, only that the president and others have mentioned antifa recently.
posted by wierdo at 11:34 PM on May 30, 2020

I bet MAGA and antifas have both used this moment to foster violence. We shall see but that's my take. I know Trump constantly incites right wing violence and thereby invites left wing response but it's all poisonous and undermines social justice. And democratic stability for that matter.
posted by bearwife at 11:34 PM on May 30, 2020 [6 favorites]

I really like this WaPo piece, imagining if we reported on the US the way that we report on violence in other countries.

I think it does a brilliant job of highlighting how serious things are, and also how we apply a completely different standard to non-west violence and events.
posted by smoke at 11:41 PM on May 30, 2020 [18 favorites]

Just so we're clear that this is far from a new conversation: Jay Smooth in 2014 after Ferguson. Five years later, squinting for any signs of change.
posted by SoundInhabitant at 11:54 PM on May 30, 2020 [6 favorites]

Avoiding the edit button, I should also say - Trevor really pulls together the dominos using the "benefit" of the news cycle synchronicity. I loved how well he fleshed out the argument.
posted by SoundInhabitant at 12:01 AM on May 31, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've been reading the riots thread, and not posting because I am so far removed, but I too found Noah's talk very powerful, all the time knowing he is from South Africa. Coming from a country that was until recently was defined by racism, as a black man, he can articulate something that I've been thinking about for decades. I live in a country where racism has been a huge political factor since 1996. At the time I was living in the US, so it was at first only on visits here I saw the change, and could compare, and there is one huge difference. (Here, the racism is towards immigrants from Muslim countries), a young man of color will experience discrimination when applying for jobs, he will be denied access to nightclubs, he will be stopped by the police regularly, some people will avoid him, and that may include his teachers. All of this is bad. But he won't be killed by a policeman, or be shot by a random stranger because of the color of his skin. I read this yesterday, written by the mother of a black boy.

About the riots: stay safe everyone. When there were riots here last time, many years ago, thankfully, I was driving out to the suburbs to cook for my family because of a family crisis. Normally I shopped in my own neighborhood, but one night I went into the supermarket in the posh neighborhood where my family lived, and next to me at the meat counter were two clearly upper class young men discussing wether they should go into the city to participate in the riots. I was so angry. I was living with two young girls in a cloud of tear gas, and they were treating it as a game.
posted by mumimor at 12:05 AM on May 31, 2020 [10 favorites]

A small mob of young men set fire to a pile of trash and a potted tree earlier tonight, outside my bedroom window on 5th Avenue in New York's Greenwich Village. White kids lit the fires, and then black kids danced around it. They painted "GEORGE FUCK COPS" on the pavement but they weren't chanting protest slogans, just whooping and cheering when the fire lit.

But as they wandered off, another black guy arrived, walking a bike – its rear wheel looked bent – and started straightening up the mess the mob had made. He moved the burnt tree and its pot out of the street and dragged the garbage cans back to their corners and stood them back up. And then he walked his bike down 5th Ave after the mob – I assume to clean up their next mess.
posted by nicwolff at 12:24 AM on May 31, 2020 [62 favorites]

A particular Chinese editorial / satirical / propaganda piece is getting a lot shares. US should stand with Minnesota violent protesters as it did with HK rioters.


(Trump) instructed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to "get his act together and bring the city under control," saying the alternative was that he would send in the National Guard and "get the job done right."

"When the looting starts, the shooting starts," Trump said. He said he had spoken to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and told him "the military is with him all the way."

US political elites seem to be fierce in all directions. They directly applauded Hong Kong's riots, calling them a "beautiful sight" of democracy. The chaos in Hong Kong has lasted for over a year and military forces have not been dispatched. Yet after only three days of chaos in Minnesota, Trump publicly threatened the use of firepower and implied military forces could be utilized.
posted by xdvesper at 12:47 AM on May 31, 2020 [21 favorites]

I don't doubt there are bad actors who participate in the protests for nefarious reasons, to delegitimize them/escalate them for their own purposes, and it's important to talk about that to stop over-eager and under-informed white allies from playing into their hands. One can argue about the strategic value of violence in such a conflict, but it's certainly not the white ally's place to make these decisions.

But we also need to be careful not to play into their hands in another way, by giving them too much importance, making the narrative about them. That's the point that Trevor Noah really drove home for me here - there's no use in fretting too much over whether a protest will be considered legitimate, because there's no way a protest will ever be considered legitimate by those in power. Do some of these people looting the Target have less valid reasons than others? Sure, but it's also just the wrong question to ask. The question we need to focus on is "Are there any valid reasons for a black person not to be looting the Target right now?" and "How can we make a society where there would be valid reasons after all?"
posted by sohalt at 1:00 AM on May 31, 2020 [65 favorites]

via twitter: AG BARR: “In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized & driven by anarchtic left extremist groups—far left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics.”

Barr is very dangerous. I expect him to dispute the election results. Don't take your eyes off him.
posted by adept256 at 2:21 AM on May 31, 2020 [35 favorites]

"They're using antifa-like tactics against us" is simultaneously non-sensical (what's an "antifa tactic?!") and highly telling (in this case, I agree with Barr I guess that he is on or adjacent to the "fa" side?).
posted by eviemath at 6:34 AM on May 31, 2020 [6 favorites]

Anti-fa tactics, you know, like the battle of midway or the D day invasion.
posted by eustatic at 8:57 AM on May 31, 2020 [34 favorites]

The right has again co-opted language, so "antifa" now means "violent tactics" in the US mainstream
posted by goinWhereTheClimateSuitsMyClothes at 9:26 AM on May 31, 2020 [4 favorites]

Trevor Noah has a gift for getting to the heart of things. I always appreciate his commentary, but here it is especially powerful.

Regarding the co-opting of the protests, I'm not saying that there is no such thing as left wing violence in the US. But I will say that given the current environment, where groups like the Proud Boys stage raids in liberal cities, and right wing militias take it on themselves to "police" the border, and right wing terrorist attacks are a relatively common feature of life, I think it is important not to accept the right wing media antifa narrative. This is yet another issue where the right attempts to normalize their behavior by claiming it happens on both sides, and that must not be allowed.
posted by Nothing at 9:32 AM on May 31, 2020 [20 favorites]

Just to expand on Noah, he is truly remarkable. His memoir is very very good. Somehow my mixed race ten year old, who has always been really attuned to race and trying to make sense of his place, got exposed to Trevor Noah and his perspective really resonates with him. He's read the memoir and done reports on Noah for school. He insists on watching The Daily Show on DVR every night, even through the pandemic. I didn't plan this or push it, but aside from being a little concerned about how my kids' developing perception of Trump as merely a one-dimensional cartoonish buffoon, I trust the moral and intellectual lens that Noah uses to explain the news to my kids. I don't like comparisons between Noah and St. Jon Stewart, both share the same outrage but when Stewart's analysis kind of stopped at the outrage, Noah's goes further. Like Stephen Colbert, he has a huge amount of heart, something I think is extremely important for my kids to see right now. We watched this whole clip as a family.

We have seen him live a couple times now and his stand up is very, very pee-your-pants funny.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:06 AM on May 31, 2020 [28 favorites]

Oh god, I just went back and watched Trevor Noah's chilling take on the Philando Castille verdict and I had forgotten that this also happened in Minnesota. I have no words besides "burn it all down" there are literally no options left.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:21 AM on May 31, 2020 [12 favorites]

Proud Boys, "Antifa," false flag theories left and right... I feel like that stuff is missing the forest for the trees. The police are rioting, openly.
posted by Beardman at 12:10 PM on May 31, 2020 [14 favorites]

It's funny how all the politicians seem to have settled on "outside agitators" as the explanation for their own constituents overflowing righteous rage - whatever it is motivated by. It removes them from the responsibility of having to face the reality that the very people they supposedly represent are in open revolt.

Yet none of them point out that the very police forces they send in armed to their teeth to subdue that outrage aren't fucking from the communities they police.

In my city 7% of cops live in my community.

So yeah, "outside agitators" really are responsible for a lot of the violence and destruction. Turn on the news and look at what the police do when the cameras are rolling and they know they're being watched.
posted by bradbane at 12:50 PM on May 31, 2020 [32 favorites]

Some police may be rioters. But police are also kneeling in solidarity with Floyd protesters, being attacked by violent agitators, and overall in the past two days are doing their job of keeping the peace. The rioters are hijacking the protests. And they (as well as reckless calls to "burn it all down") are feeding a fascist response by the administration, which is ignoring DHS warnings of mobilization by both left and right wing extremists to attack the left.
posted by bearwife at 12:59 PM on May 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

Some police may be rioters.

It's not debatable. Here's a good roundup of videos to start with (in Slate, not Jacobin): Police Erupt in Violence Nationwide.
posted by Beardman at 1:13 PM on May 31, 2020 [8 favorites]

[A few comments deleted. We are 100% not here for Not All Cops today, please. Read the room.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:28 PM on May 31, 2020 [50 favorites]

That was great. Trevor Noah doesn’t deliver the zingers with the same righteous anger as Stewart, but he always demonstrates a more piercing understanding of issues with a warmth and intelligence that Stewart lacks.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 3:09 PM on May 31, 2020 [3 favorites]

If I were a better artist, I would draw a picture of four officers looking at the American flag with hands over their hearts while they kneel on the body of a black man.

If you are so skilled, feel free to make and distribute widely. I only ask that you send me a copy so I can do so, as well.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2020 [4 favorites]

With Kaepernick kneeling in the background being handcuffed for doing it.
posted by hippybear at 3:23 PM on May 31, 2020

Like, honestly, it's the kneeling thing that brings it all so horribly home. I can't even try to describe the levels of resonance and irony and whatever that all this comes back around to when you bring the neck kneeling around with the sideline kneeling. It's intolerable, and horrible.
posted by hippybear at 3:25 PM on May 31, 2020 [4 favorites]

This was a great commentary, thanks for posting this.
posted by carter at 3:28 PM on May 31, 2020

The thing about cops or right wing agitators (but I repeat myself?) infiltrating protest movements is that it's absolutely designed to both serve a first purpose, steering the overt course of events, and second, making discussion of same sound like it should be conducted while wearing a tinfoil hat.

Not a new tactic.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:39 PM on May 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

I find it hard to think of a time when the social contract was upheld by the powerful in the US.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 6:56 PM on May 31, 2020 [3 favorites]

Beardman's link above includes a video posted by John Cusack (yes, that John Cusack) of cops screaming at him and hitting his bike with batons because he was filming a burning car. Every time I think this timeline can't get weirder, man.
posted by nonasuch at 7:37 PM on May 31, 2020 [9 favorites]

Hey we can stop wondering about who the provocateurs are, Hu Xijin editor of CCP supported Global Times clears up everything on twitter:

I highly suspect that Hong Kong rioters have infiltrated American states. Attacking police stations, smashing shops,blocking roads, breaking public facilities, these are all routine in their protests. Vicious HK rioters obviously are mastermind of violent protests across the US

I mean, maybe? Or it could be that 300 million people just saw a snuff film and the murderers weren't even arrested. I think it's an insult to suggest that people can't really be angry enough to burn down the police station, there must be some outside interference.

That said, there are provocateurs and they're stupid assholes.
posted by adept256 at 7:48 PM on May 31, 2020 [5 favorites]

That was such an intense video. I went to his channel for some lols but damn I loved what he said.
posted by bendy at 9:24 PM on May 31, 2020

From siderea at Dreamwidth (who's been featured here a few times): Riot, an Irregular Verb [current events, ling, US]

In the present tense, "to riot" means for black people and presumed sympathizers to commit property damage, e.g. "it's 2020 and the rioting protesters are breaking windows and burning buildings in Atlanta"

In the past tense, "to riot" means for armed mobs of white people to go on murder sprees in black neighborhoods, slaughtering every black person they meet, e.g. "in 1906, the rioting citizens, some 10,000 to 15,000 strong, attacked various of Atlanta's predominantly black neighborhoods, such as Decatur Street, ultimately killing 25 to 30 people".

See also, "the Atlanta race riot", "the Charleston riot", "the Longview race riot", "the Jenkins County riot", "the Garfield Park riot", "the Washington race riot", "the Chicago race riot", et cetera.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:34 PM on May 31, 2020 [18 favorites]

This is a great Q&A with Noah.
posted by mumimor at 10:07 AM on June 1, 2020

From an excellent Twitter thread on the language of "outside agitators" by @williamcson:

People are really out here parroting white supremacist talking points about “anarchists,” “radicals,” and “outside agitators.” These narratives have been repeatedly regurgitated by the state and the police and many are shamelessly endorsing it. [image: a KKK flyer from the 1930s]

False narratives about white leftists getting Black people in trouble are old tricks. If you're Black, you're already in trouble because of white supremacy. Repeating Jim Crow-era KKK police lies about “outside agitators” and ”radicals” manipulating Black people won't save us.

A movement against police violence is being co-opted by the president and both sides of the political establishment. The rich, wealthy, and elite hope to help shift focus to radicals in an effort to control justifiable rage using police talking points and some are falling for it.

Black history is filled with violent uprisings, riots, and rebellions that got us where we are today. People either don't know that or they hope to erase it in efforts to quell the anger. Anyone trying to say all Black people must protest one way are misinformed or manipulative.

If you need to address something with white people you feel are out of pocket and jeopardizing people, then address that with them. Talk it out. Just do not come over here with that KKK, police “outside agitators” and ”anarchists” here to get good Black people in trouble shit.

If you do not know there are Black people on the left that are communists, anarchists, abolitionists, and you feel the need to erase us by making these into strictly white ideologies you are either misinformed or manipulative. If you are the latter, get out the way and shut up.

posted by Beardman at 12:07 PM on June 1, 2020 [7 favorites]

It's been pointed out that "outside agitators" are often "people from a nearby suburb or smaller town a short distance away." When people from Sparks and Truckee are arrested for protesting in Reno... they're not traveling to Reno to Cause Extra Trouble. They're traveling to Reno because that's the big city where the large-group activist stuff happens.

(But Truckee! A whole different state! Yeah, a city in a whole different state that's a half-hour's drive away.)

If people from Oakland are discovered protesting in San Francisco, or vice versa, I don't assume anyone's trying to cause problems for Those Other People; I assume their friends or family or the businesses they care about are in the other city.

If people from Los Angeles are coming to San Francisco to protest, we can start talking about "outside agitators."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:36 PM on June 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

1998 - impeachment
1919 - pandemic
1929 - depression
1967 - civil rights protests

We're only six months in. This fucking year.
posted by adept256 at 7:44 PM on June 1, 2020 [13 favorites]

FWIW, nearly half of the people arrested in Miami Saturday night from outside the county. Most of those people were from Broward and Palm Beach counties, though. I'm not sure how to interpret that since on the one hand, it's all the same metro area, but on the other they had their own sizable protests.

About 15% of the total were from out of state.

I'm pretty certain the talk about outside agitators is just a distraction, especially since most of the violent escalation has begun with the cops.

However, it is hard for me to entirely dismiss the coincidence that on Saturday night there were cars ablaze and quite a few shops looted here in Miami while both Broward and West Palm were almost entirely peaceable, but come the next day it flipped and the only attempt at looting (in Miami) before the protest ended was shut down by other protesters. Moreover, in both Broward and Palm Beach on Sunday, the worst of the property damage was well away from the organized protests. It doesn't fit the usual pattern (how depressing that there is a usual pattern), so it's hard to dismiss the feeling that some group is attempting to force further escalation beyond that which the larger protest group is intending.
posted by wierdo at 11:22 PM on June 1, 2020 [5 favorites]

I do worry about people who decide "I'll go protest where I can be loud and destructive and not damage any place I care about."

OTOH, some of the protesters are likely, "I work in Miami; all my friends are in Miami; here in West Palm I'm surrounded by conservatives I dislike and where the cops are mostly nice to people who look like me--I'm going to go where I can march alongside people who are actually risking something to be there."

And I'm starting to pay sharp attention to announcements like "## of the protesters were from out of state" in a situation where the city is less than 30 miles from a state border. (Miami, of course, is nowhere near another state border. But it does have a high number of tourists and visitors, and I don't think it's reasonable to say "well, they should wait until they get home to protest, if they're upset at current events.")

tl;dr: it's complicated. The media has a lot of agendas, and very few of them are "give us a clear understanding of how people are feeling and reacting." Dammit.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:37 PM on June 2, 2020

Where is this "outside" that these "outside agitators" come from? Is that a place where Black Americans are getting fair treatment, from non-racist cops?
posted by fragmede at 3:59 PM on June 2, 2020 [7 favorites]

Political theater from the Agitator-In-Chief:
  1. Video: President Trump Delivers Remarks on Protests and Civil Unrest. Statement from the White House on the aftermath and violence that’s erupted across the country following the death of George Floyd., C-SPAN, 6/1/2020.
  2. Article: Trump administration wanted to take control of D.C. police to quell protests, WaPo, 6/2/2020.
  3. Article: Barr personally ordered removal of protesters near White House, leading to use of force against largely peaceful crowd, WaPo, 6/2/2020.
  4. Video: Police force out protesters minutes before Trump can pose for photos, WaPo, 6/1/2020.
  5. Video: President Trump walks across Lafayette Park to St. John's Church, C-SPAN, 6/1/2020. From the White House grounds to the church with entourage (includng AG Barr, WH staff, Jared & Ivanka, reporters, etc.) all surrounded by worried Secret Service agents and dozens (hundreds?) of police lining their route.
  6. Photos: Trump with Bible and White House staff at St. John's Episcopal Church, Washington, DC; Getty Images, 6/1/2020. Compared to his grand entrance, the results of the photo op are pretty dull.
  7. Finally, a review: DC Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington on Trump's photo-op: This was a charade., CNN, 6/2/2020.
The Imperial Donald can certainly grab headlines, but after that he's out of his depth.

Where has VP Mike Pence been through all of this?
posted by cenoxo at 5:17 PM on June 2, 2020 [5 favorites]

Post-performance reviews are not good...
As Trump Calls Protesters ‘Terrorists,’ Tear Gas Clears a Path for His Walk to a Church — Using military helicopters to intimidate U.S. citizens is certainly a new tactic in the ongoing crisis., New York Times; Katie Rogers, Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman; 6/1/2020.

CIA veterans who monitored crackdowns abroad see troubling parallels in Trump’s handling of protests, Washington Post, Greg Miller, 6/2/2020 (h/t katra).

'Words of a dictator': Trump's threat to deploy military raises spectre of fascism, The Guardian, David Smith, 6/2/2020.

Trump plan to deploy troops in cities shocks generals and alarms Democrats in Congress, Yahoo News, David Knowles, 6/2/2020.
...but, with a cast of thousands and rioting in the streets, the show (of force) must go on:
Photos: Extraordinary images show dozens of National Guard troops lined up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on fifth day of protests over the death of George Floyd, Daily Mail, Megan Sheets, 6/3/2020.

Military Helicopters Descend On Washington In Bizarre Very Low-Altitude Show Of Force (Updated) — Using military helicopters to intimidate U.S. citizens is certainly a new tactic in the ongoing crisis., The War Zone, Joseph Trevithick & Tyler Rogoway, 6/2/2020.

Customs And Border Protection Reaper Drone Appears Over Minneapolis Protests — The unmanned aircraft looks to be surveilling the city, which has seen increasingly violent protests following the police killing of George Floyd., The War Zone, Joseph Trevithick, 5/29/2020.
...while another Act waits in the wings.
posted by cenoxo at 8:10 AM on June 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

Military Helicopters Descend On Washington In Bizarre Very Low-Altitude Show Of Force (Updated) — Using military helicopters to intimidate U.S. citizens is certainly a new tactic in the ongoing crisis

Also likely a violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations, unless the military is somehow exempt. The regs allow helicopter pilots to fly below 500' AGL (pretty much) only when landing. Hovering at 50-100' over a built up area or crowd for the lulz is against the rules for a good reason. If they had an engine failure it would be deadly both for people on the helicopter and for those below. (At higher altitude, there is enough reaction time to enter autorotation and find a relatively safe landing spot that isn't likely to kill bystanders)
posted by wierdo at 8:50 AM on June 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Troops should not be used as law enforcement against protesters, Esper says, Military Times, Meghann Myers, 6/3/2020:
As thousands of National Guard and active-duty troops mobilize to Washington, D.C., to support local civilian police to control violence and property damage in the wake of protests over the alleged murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Defense Secretary Mark Esper sought to dispell the idea that service members will be asked to detain or fire upon their fellow citizens.

The Insurrection Act of 1807 allows the federal government to take command of National Guard troops and mobilize active-duty and reservists to put down civil disorder and rebellion, a law that President Donald Trump alluded to on Monday in a speech at the White House.

“The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” Esper told reporters Wednesday at the Pentagon. “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”...
Dozens of troops sounded off on the use of the military to help quell civil unrest. This is what they said., Military Times, Meghann Myers, 6/3/2020:
...the optics of the situation have quickly turned sour for many current service members, who shared their perspectives with Military Times. Of 33 responses from active-duty and reserve component troops reviewed before publication, 30 were opposed to the use of troops to response to protests.

“Using the military to put down protests and supplement the botched efforts of the police to control these protests, particularly through unlawful uses of force, will only further inflame the protests,” a National Guard noncommissioned officer said in an email to Military Times. “This is escalation, not de-escalation. Embroiling the military due to the inaction and failings of the police only serves to conflate the two, and would put both military members and civilians at greater risk. Cracking down with authoritarianism does nothing but further politicize the military and erode the trust the public has in us. There is no winning in this scenario.”
“I don’t think active-duty military deployments are necessary, especially in DC,” an active-duty Army captain wrote. “I believe the president is deploying the military for political reasons and our reputation will be irreparably damaged by the association.”
Others were supportive of the plan, viewing it as a community service and part of their oath.
More examples in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 9:13 AM on June 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

I Cannot Remain Silent — Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so., The Atlantic; Mike Mullen, 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [WP bio], 6/2/2020:
It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president's visit outside St. John's Church. I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump's leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.

Whatever Trump's goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces....
Even in the midst of the carnage we are witnessing, we must endeavor to see American cities and towns as our homes and our neighborhoods. They are not “battle spaces” to be dominated, and must never become so.
posted by cenoxo at 11:55 AM on June 5, 2020

[PHOTO] Latest Trump publicity shot looks like scene from The Omen, BoingBoing, Rob Beschizza, 6/3/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 12:04 PM on June 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

The New White House Fence Is Getting Covered In Protest Art, dcist; Kelsey Proud, Julie Strupp, Jenny Gathright, Nathan Diller; 6/7/2020. (Photos by Matt Blitz and Mary Tyler March.)

More people than your inauguration.
posted by cenoxo at 10:51 PM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

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