DHS Is Engaging In Domestic Surveillance To Protect The Homeland Against Threats To Statues

from the i'm-sorry-i-don't-make-the-rules dept

The DHS doesn't mind engaging in domestic surveillance. After all, it's the Department of Homeland Security, so its purview is the homeland and everyone in it. The problem is the American public has rights and that is always something to consider, however briefly, when doing things like flying drones over American cities or, more questionably, placing people engaged in First Amendment expression under surveillance.

The DHS is now directly engaged in policing free speech. Demonstrations triggered by a Minnesota police officer's killing of an unarmed Black man are occurring on a daily basis. In some cities, the protests have never stopped. Federal agents -- including (inexplicably) a task force from the DEA -- have stepped in to investigate suspected federal crimes. However noble and correct the goal, the physical manifestation of this effort has been unidentified federal officers -- clad head-to-toe in war gear -- dragging people off the street and into unmarked vehicles.

Those who've experienced this say they were questioned aggressively by officers who refused to identify themselves and released with zero paperwork documenting their seemingly unconstitutional detainment or what criminal acts they were suspected of committing.

The DHS is prepared to take its Gestapo act nationwide with the blessing of the president. Any city with a crime problem, or a protest problem… or a "liberal" mayor can expect a swarm of DHS components to step in and start intimidating the protesting populace.

As is the case with any mission involving surveillance, you need to be prepared for the creep. No, this creep belongs to the mission supported by your average DHS foot soldier -- one dressed like he's in Fallujah and believes he has seen the enemy. And it is you. (By "you," I mean your average American standing within rental-car-driving distance of any federal property.)

The DHS is expanding its mission. This fortuitous move accompanies the extension of its leash by President Trump, who seems to feel people expressing their displeasure with law enforcement violence and racism should be intimidated into silence. Lawfare -- generally known as the home of pro-surveillance commentators -- has obtained a document showing the DHS is expanding its enforcement and surveillance efforts to cover other federal property: namely, the statues and monuments protesters have been vandalizing or destroying.

A document provided to Lawfare on July 19 from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I&A) describes personnel as “collecting and reporting on various activities in the context of elevated threats targeting monuments, memorials, and statues”—and it gives legal guidance concerning the “expanded intelligence activities necessary to mitigate the significant threat to homeland security” posed by such activities.

The document, titled “Job Aid: DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I&A) Activities in Furtherance of Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, Statues, and Combatting Recent Criminal Violence,” is not classified. Its three pages each bear the heading “UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.” But it clearly indicates that at least parts of the intelligence community are being tasked with monitoring and collecting information on some protest activities.

Try not to live or work too close to national monuments, Americans. You are the newest threat to the homeland's security. Participation trophies erected to victims of the War of Northern Aggression are sacrosanct if they're owned and operated by the US of A.

One DHS official says this is fine. (Likely more of them feel the same way, but this is the one Lawfare got on the record.) Ken Cuccinelli says statues and such are "federal facilities," and therefore as important to the nation's security as actual government buildings or government databases. And it's not just the federal stuff. The South may rise again yet.

It appears to also include planned vandalism of Confederate (and other historical) monuments and statues, whether federally owned or not.

Thank god this country is coming to the defense of long-dead white men. That's what's important in the wake of white officers killing unarmed Black men.

The memo leverages federal law as a truncheon against anyone who might harbor ill will against federal property which, it must be repeatedly noted, includes monuments erected to racists who engaged in treason. Say what you will about the current president, but at least he hasn't engaged in treason in an openly racist fashion. Yet.

So, in order to ensure the existence of certain people and their progeny, the DHS will be ramping up its domestic surveillance in hopes of catching those violently or non-violently opposed to icons representing America's racist history. Here's what the DHS is permitted to do in response to Trump's executive order demanding the protection of icons who presided over a secession that didn't even last as long as Heinz colored ketchup.

I&A personnel are required to use the least intrusive collection techniques feasible and sufficient when collecting [US person information] or when collecting intelligence or information within the United States. ... I&A personnel are permitted to engage in physical surveillance, the use of mail covers, and the use of monitoring devices only to the extent permitted by and consistent with [rules limiting their use to counterintelligence investigations]. I&A personnel are not permitted to engage in electronic surveillance or unconsented physical searches. Use of these techniques within the United States will be coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation….

Oh, good. Whoever wrote this must be unfamiliar with most of the terms used in the memo they wrote. I'm not sure where they got their info, but it was likely surreptitious and removed from court oversight. You cannot combine "least intrusive method" and "coordinated with the FBI" and still expect "least intrusive" to remain "least intrusive." As for the mail cover part, does the DHS really feel the "liberal anarchists" routinely blamed by the administration are communicating via snail mail? "Hey, we're going to tear down a racist monument later this week. As soon as I can find what's left of my 'forever' stamps, I'll send you the details."

As for the ban on "unconsented physical searches," it would appear dragging people into unmarked vans for searches and questioning -- as observed in Portland, Oregon -- would violate the DHS's internal rules.

The DHS is supposed to focus on threats, according to this memo. But the threats include those against non-living sculptures and government buildings. Nothing forbids the DHS from going "open source" and surveilling even more protected speech: social media posts by American citizens. Whatever's published publicly can be observed without troubling any Constitutional amendments. But should the DHS do this, especially when the only thing "threatened" is some statues of questionable societal value?

The memo does at least tell DHS personnel they can't engage in surveillance of protected speech. But the rest of it gives them all the excuses they need to ignore this Constitutional guidance. Free speech apparently isn't free if it includes disparagement of national monuments that agents and officers can construe as potentially threatening.

While we may agree there is value in protecting certain federal property from attacks or vandalism, the inclusion of non-entities whose replacement value is up for discussion twists this into an easily-abusable avenue for increased domestic surveillance. As Lawfare points out, it's kind of absurd to extend efforts to prevent harm to government functions to include literally symbolic entities.

We will leave for another day the almost philosophical question of what level of damage might reasonably be said to impede the purpose or function of a statue. Suffice it to say that DHS analysts are now authorized to collect intelligence on threats to inflict such damage—though apparently not damage that falls short of impeding a statue’s “purpose or function,” whatever that may be.

The memo cautions against unjustified surveillance but surrounds it with vague directives like this one, where actions not overtly worshipful of a federally-erected monument could be perceived as an impediment to its "purpose or function." Most monuments are erected in hopes of respectful adoration. Standing in the way of intended adoration may be enough to welcome the unblinking gaze of the DHS's many eyes.

This isn't how America is supposed to work. Political speech deserves the utmost in First Amendment protections. There's a long list of federal crimes federal agencies could be concerning themselves with. But the DHS and the administration have decided idolatry is a proud tradition that must be upheld. The president loves his symbols. And the DHS's activities -- observed with horror by American citizens engaged in peaceful protests -- are Trump's jingoistic words made flesh.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: 1st amendment, dhs, domestic surveillance, donald trump, executive order, statues, surveillance


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  • icon
    hij (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 11:04am

    Statues Good - Nature Bad

    From the same people who decried the response to the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as being authoritarian.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 22 Jul 2020 @ 11:56am

    DHS is reliably making a case for its own defunding, or even elimination. This country has no need or desire for brownshirts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 12:23pm

    The most guilty of all

    If they are going to go after the defacers of public statues and monuments then they should certainly target pigeons. I look forward to seeing them capture, indict, prosecute, and incarcerate pigeons by the thousands for publicly doing their business on our Federal treasures.

    That might (but I doubt) keep them from going after the other two legged (but wingless) threats.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 7:25am

      Re: The most guilty of all

      Well, while we are on the subject.. how about the parks that are now the home of Canadien geese? They crap everywhere and us humans (for whom the parks were built) must be told by the parks people the parks are here now so geese can crap everywhere and we can't do a f👩🏽‍✈️cking thing about it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 1:12pm

    Apparently the White House is now consulting with John Yoo, the lawyer who came up with the justification for waterboarding.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 1:24pm

    History of the creation

    Of Police agencies..
    So many, so little time.
    Most of them created for a few purposes, that ended, then had to find another purpose...
    Somewhat boring if you ask me.

    The Main police forces in the metro areas, were built up over UNIONS, and breaking them up.
    FBI, was interstate laws. As each state couldnt go past state lines to chase crooks.

    For all of our policing, Who was watching the Gov.?
    Most of us Stopped, after things DIDNT change much. Things voted for, never came to fruit. Those that Passed elections and became laws never enforced. The Gov. never wondered to the corps to see IF' women were being paid Equal to men. Or even watched for Cruelty to other races, then white. Nor fair wage for Fair work.
    Over the last 40+ years, the idea of the Gov. being to big, has cut services that the Gov. had instituted, BECAUSE in the past someone needed to monitor certain things. Like Food processes. And at this time, of the 3 agencies required to monitor Food from Field to table, only 8% of it can be inspected. So the corps decide to condense the processing, and we are getting Cross contamination Problems.. and the corps dont get the idea of whats happening. So WHAT they throw tons away, they raise prices to cover it, and the law suits.

    IMO.
    We have more police agencies, then we have any other agencies. Between the Military, and the 40+ Police agencies, what are they trying to do?
    Cutting all the other services, is causing problems.

    There is a strange idea that happens. If the police sit around and SHOW that nothing is worth arresting people, we think they need to be Cut back.. But if they run around giving tickets, its a very good thing.
    The Same goes for the other agencies that are supposed to monitor and protect the services we have. If they arnt SHOWING things being done, then things must be fine and we need to CUT those services..

    HOW about, we CUT the Congress back? do we really need all those idiots? Once all the laws are made, what do lawmakers do? Nothing? or TRY to look busy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:02pm

    Money well spent

    Well, I'll certainly sleep better at night knowing that taxpayer money and government agencies are on the job to protect statues commemorating and celebrating racist, slave-owning and/or slavery supporting losers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:39pm

    What was the original purpose of the DHS?

    After the 9/11 attacks, it was decided [by whom?] that the rivalry between our different branches of law enforcement was impeding the freeflow of information between them, so the FBI wasn't talking to the CIA wasn't talking to the NSA and so on. Bush decided all these departments needed to be pulled together under one umbrella, the Department of Homeland Security...which never really fulfilled its stated purpose. (But whatever. This is normal. This is fine.)

    So the DHS became the CIA of the homeland. Where the CIA spies (and engages in espionage activities) abroad, the DHS spies (and engages in espionage activities) domestically. At the time, your neighbor might be a member of an Islamist terrorist cell and so it was justified to suddenly treat all of civilian US as the enemy. Everyone [who?] knew who the real enemies were.

    The NSA and FBI both repurposed themselves towards national security (meaning, more or less securing the current regime from all threats) which fattened their budget, but left their original tasks (protecting national communications / detecting and investigating major crime) unattended. It's a good era for haxxorz, and a good era for high-stakes white collar crime. It's also a good era for large government departments with ambiguous purposes.

    In time, a lot of... doctrine of necessity policies suffered from function creep. The NSA's PRISM program uncovered by Snowden in 2013 was a mass domestic surveillance program to be used only to detect Islamic terrorists (and not, say, white-supremacist terrorists, or Evangelical fundamentalist terrorists), but later got expanded to interdict drug trade. Combine that with asset forfeiture and Maudib no longer needs the weirding module. That is to say, much of law enforcement can expand its own budget, usually by detecting large quantities of seizable cash held by racial minorities, and taking it under the color of law.

    doctrine of necessity is how the Ring ended up in Gondor, and man does the Ring like being in Gondor.

    In the current era, Trump simply took a tool that was custom made for Mussolini and is looking to utilize it to its full potential.

    It's a good reminder, we elect our officials in order to prevent Caligulas, Joffreys, Ibrahims and Trumps from getting into positions of power where they are a liability rather than a functional asset to the nation. The election of Trump in 2016 and our failure to remove him from office despite several atrocities that have cost lives (by the thousands plus) should serve as an indictment of the nation's system of selecting administrative officials who define and enact policy.

    Since the next election is not going to serve to change this significantly, the people of the US need to turn to methods beyond the system... that or suffer, maybe even embrace the tyranny we find ourselves under today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:27pm

      Re: What was the original purpose of the DHS?

      love the concept,
      But is the same as protests..
      No one pays attention to the protest, unless SOMEONE gets someone upset, but by getting the other side upset, they STILL dont focus on the subject of the protest.

      HOW do we get people to listen? HOw do we get the Gov. to listen and FIX THINGS.
      WE elected these people, when are we going to FIRE THEM?? I dont think there is a 2 week notice.

      Can we be justified, in NOT paying taxes? As a protest? Only if enough of us DONT pay.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 8:23pm

        Re: Re: What was the original purpose of the DHS?

        Even the hint of organizing a revolution will get the Feds comin without a knockin. Maybe that's why it is so difficult getting the "we the people" to behave like "we the people." We can easily see the problem before us every day. Sixty years ago, "we the people" gave them an inch, and they took our country.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 12:59am

      Re: What was the original purpose of the DHS?

      "...that the rivalry between our different branches of law enforcement was impeding the freeflow of information between them..."

      That was the official push, yes, but as was the case with so very many things under the GWB administration it was just the convenient scapegoat reason. Somehow you had to explain away the fact that the FBI had been aware of extremist muslim fundamentalists planning to hijack and pilot passenger airlines - and had been explicitly told to back off because the suspects were very well connected to influential saudis. That the saudi relatives and associates of the 9/11 terrorists were then given armed escorts to the airport so they could flee the country before getting arrested and interrogated only compounded that mess.

      You could argue that much of the basis for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan was to avert attention from the fact that the core of Al-Quaeda consisted primarily of scions of wealthy saudis.

      With the primary reason out of the way come the secondary ones, and that's where your very well put together summary comes in. Essentially there was in certain circles a hankering for the good old days of Hoover when the G-man was that generic troubleshooter who went into action when the powers above rhetorically muttered "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?". Right after the Church Commission it would have been impossible for any US law enforcement to employ undocumented and unsupervised action against their own citizens. Now? Strictly speaking there's little in the way of taking a leaf from the '60's and order the "disappearance" of dissidents again.

      "Since the next election is not going to serve to change this significantly, the people of the US need to turn to methods beyond the system... that or suffer, maybe even embrace the tyranny we find ourselves under today."

      There's an argument to be made that the current election system rewards a move toward political extremism. I'd advise Hasan Minhaj's "Patriot Act" episode about "We're doing elections wrong". It's on youtube. He boils down - quite clearly - how the current US system of elections have forced the emergence of the precise situation the founding fathers didn't want - the two-party system - and why one of those parties will always be widening it's tent, while the other party will increasingly narrow it's approach.

      TL;DR?

      As long as your elections are First Past the Post or Winner Takes All you're screwed. That will always produce the most meaningless or most extreme candidate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 7:08am

      Re: What was the original purpose of the DHS?

      DHS stands for Digital Home System which originally began as VHS or Video Home System started by JVC of Japan in 1976 and soon graced every household in America in multiple rooms! We love to Freeze- frame those movies, don't we?!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Flakbait (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:40pm

    Federal "troops" are operating inside cities of the United States against the explicit wishes of the duly-elected Governor and Mayor, snatching people off the streets. Some may disagree, but many believe that this is the type of activity for which the 2nd Amendment was written.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 7:44am

      Re:

      This (snatching people off the street and pounding the crap out of them) also was the job of the SS in nazi germany.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 1:01am

      Re:

      "...many believe that this is the type of activity for which the 2nd Amendment was written."

      Pretty clear, looking at the correspondence and justification written by the founding fathers that this is indeed the exact situation 2A was written for.

      What they didn't predict might have been the situation where the gun nuts all sit at home and don't give a rats ass about government abuse until the G-man has their own bunker surrounded.

      I've been see-sawing a lot about gun ownership in the US but I'm more and more inclined to believe that what the left should have done is arm themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 12:13pm

        Re: Re:

        The left has indeed armed themselves while at the same time disarmed as many people from all walks of life as they could and continue. Where were you when they spent about a billion dollars on hollow point ammunition a few years back. You can bet your ass most of them sleep with a loaded sidearm under their pillows.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 1:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The left has indeed armed themselves..."
          "...You can bet your ass most of them sleep with a loaded sidearm under their pillows."

          So the reason the left is all marching around unarmed in the streets and catching rubber bullets and tear gas while not firing back is, presumably, because their sidearms are still under their bloody pillows?

          I'm not sure what's more pathetic. That right-wing gun nuts try to pretend the obviously unarmed people are the ones nicking all the guns for themselves, or that they are fuckwits enough to display that broken logic for everyone to see, all the time.

          "...while at the same time disarmed as many people from all walks of life as they could and continue."

          Which is, I guess, why everyone in the US can still, in most states, walk down the street wielding a .50 Barret in open carry even if they have a long history of mental illness and violent crimes. Yup, the left sure did manage to disarm...uh, not a whole lot of people, come to think of it.

          But you do you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 7:18pm

    Nazi germany used the term "homeland" exclusively and every time I hear it used in a US governmental DHS context, I have to almost throw up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 7:33pm

      "Homeland"

      Nazi germany used the term "homeland" exclusively and every time I hear it used in a US governmental DHS context, I have to almost throw up.

      That's an appropriate response, and when I heard George W. Bush talking about it during its inception, it seemed conspicuously relevant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Cowardly Lion, 23 Jul 2020 @ 2:33am

        Re: "Homeland"

        I might be wrong, but I always thought that the Nazi's had "Fatherland" and the Soviets had "Motherland".

        That said, when Bush came up with "Homeland" and "The Patriot Act" I thought; "here we go again...".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 6:50am

          Re: Re: "Homeland"

          Homeland, Motherland, Fatherland is all the best part of being oppressed by dictators. It is meant to make us all feel warm and cozy while the governments send our children off to war.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 7:19am

          Re: Re: "Homeland"

          Yes, Cowardly lion, you are right again. I haven't got a brain.. anyone you know?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 7:20am

          Re: Re: "Homeland"

          Whether it's Rodina, Vaterland, or Homeland, the use of the word is always a solid tell that a politician is trying to sell you a shit sandwich while implying that not eating it in public with a smile on your face is unpatriotic and borderline traitorous.

          GWB and his neocons similarly tried to rebrand french fries into "freedom fries" simply because the french were - like every other nation - vocally outspoken about the blunt falsehoods peddled to justify the Iraq war.

          Republicans today resemble nothing so much as the braying herd of ideologists blindly following Stalin in soviet russia, Mao in revolutionary china, or Hitler in the science-hostile quackery of the reich. Facts don't matter, faith does.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 10:50am

          "Homeland" compared to "Fatherland"

          That may be right. I remember comparisons to the German and the intention to invoke Homefront without yet suggesting we were going to intern those at home.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 12:54am

      Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

      Nearly two decades ago. Times change. People now recognize that maybe we don't need historical revisionist statues, set up by racist groups to intimidate freed people, by commemorating racist traitors who literally fought against our country in order to own human beings...

      Also, that law was not about protecting racist statues, but all kinds of public monuments from vandalism. Not from the public seeking change.

      Maybe you should try to change too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

        Ooh- that- felt- so- good!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

        Damn that George Washington, damn him to hell.... /s

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 1:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

          ..but wasn't it a white man who freed the slaves? No one talks about that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 1:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

            "..but wasn't it a white man who freed the slaves? No one talks about that."

            Well, of course. As a white man he had the keys to the shackles. Mind you, Lincoln did go the distance of explaining, in detail, why a black man should only ever be consider 3/5ths of a white man.

            All too many on the union side wanted the slaves freed not because they thought of black people as "people" but because they were liberal enough not to condone animal abuse.

            And that's basically the "equality" view the US was shaped under.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 12:17pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

              You speak as if you were there. You dismiss any and all compassion for these people that many people had. My family and all of their aquaintences never owned slaves. They would have never hesitated to hire or help anyone in need that they could help. That is some very sour grapes you be carrying around to what end?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 12:55pm

                Sour grapes

                His sour grapes are nothing compared to mine. We still perpetuated peonage to drive the economy and still do, whether through sharecropping, the truck system, child labor and undocumented immigrant labor, not to mention the pressure from the 1980s to present day to keep compensation standards to a minimum so that 80%+ of the US labor force was in precarious poverty even before the COVID-19 epidemic.

                This is the kindle from which violent revolutions spark and nations burn. It also demonstrates the US was a brief step away from feudalism, but always more eager to backstep than pursue real equality.

                History has rarely shown us masters who were consistently compassionate. Quite the reverse, in which our aristocracy seems to be eager to accelerate atrocity until the peons have nothing left to lose.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 2:53pm

                  Re: Sour grapes

                  We all suffer at the hands of the aristocracy, but the BLM extends beyond those who design economies and push government's policies which are deploreably racist to a fault to the outer regions of humanity who have no interest at all in seeing them suffer for the color of their skin. That is all I'm saying.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 3:17pm

                    Re: Re: Sour grapes

                    We all suffer at the hands of the aristocracy, but the BLM extends beyond those who design economies and push government's policies which are deploreably racist to a fault to the outer regions of humanity who have no interest at all in seeing them suffer for the color of their skin. That is all I'm saying.

                    I'm not sure I'm parsing this correctly, so I'm going to guess.

                    It sounds like you're asserting because you have no racist sentiments yourself, you shouldn't suffer from those who revolt against a racist system.

                    To that (and clarify if you're saying something different) I'd submit that you still benefit from a society that is systemically racist. A society that that exists while outlawing some of the people still does those people disservice by occupying a place that an inclusive society would occupy.

                    Our marginalized groups are entirely in the right to raze societies that do not regard them just as predators compete for common quarry.

                    Whatever rights you assert to say you shouldn't be involved are null an void if some people are not afforded the same rights, for any reason, and they have the force and will to siege your civilization that theirs be erected in its place.

                    This is why ultimately the society that serves the largest public is ultimately going to prevail over those that do not.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 3:45pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Sour grapes

                      It is not as if we don't all suffer when a few suffer. But, I'll not take the blame for whatever happened two or three hundred years ago because there now be a suspect few uprising about it now. If I started to tell you who is really behind it, you probably just tell me to put my tin hat back on.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 11:28pm

                        "I won't take the blame"

                        This isn't about blame anymore. Blame is a notion for individual justice within a society. Since the marginalized are excluded from society and exploited by society, their objective becomes the dismantling of the current paradigm to create a new one in which they are included (and if they're interested in the long game -- which they may choose not to be -- one that includes everyone else).

                        We've tried to reform US society so that it is inclusive and have been failing for over a century now. It's time to raze it to the ground and begin anew. Only I suspect most people are going to need to watch the public get chewed up by the recently unmasked fascist police state for a while.

                        But ultimately we're going to have to revolt and force change violently. Whether we wait for a million more deaths, or ten million, our plutocrats and authoritarians can't help themselves but keep feeding forsaken lives into the machine.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 8:04am

                          Re: "I won't take the blame"

                          "But ultimately we're going to have to revolt and force change violently."

                          "chewed up by the recently unmasked fascist police state for a while."

                          The U.S. has a few corrupt cities, sure I get it. By and large the rest of us don't really give a shit what color you are. I'm an Indian. Should I hate Whitey too? Maybe I should start ripping down all the monuments that remind the white man of the Indian war? I want them to stay up as a reminder to all of our history and errors.

                          History is history. You can tear down the monuments but you can't change the past. Those monument stand as a reminder of our errors as a society. To remove them begs to repeat them.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 1:09pm

                            Re: Re: "I won't take the blame"

                            Don't forget that we are supposed to be ruled by a majority to wit depending on who is counting. Majority can have their say and maybe the majority will give an ear.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 1:11pm

                              Re: Re: Re: "I won't take the blame"

                              The minority is not going to rule at the end of the day.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • icon
                                Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 2:46pm

                                "The minority is not going to rule at the end of the day."

                                The majority did not choose the president, or our Republican senate or the US supreme court.

                                And at this time the public is rapidly running out of nonviolent options for redress of grievances.

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 8:56pm

                                  Re: "The minority is not going to rule at the end of the day."

                                  Actually, the government is also running out of non-violent methods to rule. The government will always say who is the majority.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2020 @ 3:03am

                                    Re: Re: "The minority is not going to rule at the end of the day

                                    Actually, the government is also running out of non-violent methods to rule.

                                    Well yes, but the problem is that they are not meant to rule, but rather to represent and lead..

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                    • icon
                                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 1:56am

                                      Re: Re: Re: "The minority is not going to rule at the end of the

                                      "Well yes, but the problem is that they are not meant to rule, but rather to represent and lead.."

                                      Sounds as if you've mistaken the US system of government for an actual democracy - or representative republic. Pretty sure that in practical terms it now fails to make the key criteria for either.

                                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 1:19pm

                            "A few corrupt cities"

                            The problem is not whether or not you hate a given color or a given marginalized group. The problem is you are happy to act to protect a system that benefits you but antagonizes them.

                            It's like parishioners who still attend church and still tithe even when the church routinely buries sexual assaults by its clergy and throws the victims to the cold. It's still disregard.

                            Also it's not a few corrupt cities. The entire DoJ including all the departments of law enforcement and the whole DA system is corrupt and abusive (and rules despotically through selective enforcement and false convictions). It preys on most demographics in the US, but the marginalized are victimized the most.

                            And monuments celebrating slavers, cruel robber barons and other Randian heroes doesn't remind us of our history. We seem to have easily minimized most of the atrocities of the US, not to mention the similarity of the current movements to 1930s Germany. Our statues are doing nothing.

                            Regarding who you hate or do not hate, the point remains that we thrive best as a pluralist society, and it is always going to feel too pluralist for some folk. But we've now stood idle for over a century while those in power blame the marginalized for the society's woes, and the lumpenproles and precariats eat that propaganda up with a fork.

                            But this isn't prescriptive, it's descriptive. Feel free to stand apathetic to the grievances of your fellow citizens, but as you do, your demand for absolution won't stop the fire when it flashes.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 9:35pm

                              Re: "A few corrupt cities"

                              I was at Kent State University May 5, 1970. I have an all clear view of despotism. I watched live on TV the day they shot the President of the United States of America, a once greatly respected country. That day marked a new government was in town. I have watched with vigilence decade after decade for what has brought us to where we are now. We will never change politics from the bottom up.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • icon
                                Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 11:20pm

                                Changing politics from the bottom up

                                Well, it's either that or watching the administration evacuate the bottom and work its way upwards.

                                The Endlösung der Judenfrage was justified in 1942 by people who couldn't face directly what they were seeking to do, on the grounds that it was too expensive to maintain the ghettos and prisons, and too expensive to deport them to other nations.

                                It's a process that's happened already, highlighted by our unconcern for COVID-19 infections in our prisons and detention centers. We've already decided that some people are not worthy of human consideration. Now it's only a matter of contracting the threshold of acceptable people.

                                Of course we're all on the list. It's just a matter of how far below the Communists and Trade Unionists we individually are, and if the Allies will liberate us before our time is up.

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2020 @ 3:02am

                                  Re: Changing politics from the bottom up

                                  Is there no one that can trick this three headed monster into devouring itself?

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • icon
                                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 2:14am

                                    Re: Re: Changing politics from the bottom up

                                    "Is there no one that can trick this three headed monster into devouring itself?"

                                    It keeps doing that - with the one end result that after the monster consumed two heads the remaining one is that much more monstrous. Stalin was the product of just such a power struggle, as was Caligula, Nero, the worst of the chinese emperors, and Hitler.

                                    It's generally speaking not a good idea to let a political monstrosity consume itself. All that achieves is to concentrate the malice.

                                    Democratic input in elections is the mechanism meant to cut off that particular road before it meanders into the end goal where it produces a Hitler rather than a Hindenburg.

                                    And unfortunately the US election process is just so screwed-up it can't fulfill that democratic input. Even leaving gerrymandering and the electoral college bias aside the First Past The Post system guarantees ever more extremist partisan politics are encouraged.

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2020 @ 9:05am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Changing politics from the bottom up

                                      I say, "Let the political monstrocity consume itself away." Better that than it proceeding to devour even nature itself.

                                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                      • icon
                                        Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 12:24pm

                                        Better than proceeding to devour nature itself

                                        That's the problem. Human lives and natural resources are easy food for the beast. Failed states are notorious for ending bloodily while survivors are mostly refugees who escape from its reach.

                                        I think a best scenario is a schism of the states. After the (prior) Civil War, they may be too cautious to speak of secession, but we might see the states individually reduce reliance on (and taxes to) the federal government and seek to recreate the gaps where federal services have collapsed.

                                        This won't solve the big pile of problems, but it might break them down and allow smaller flashpoints to erupt independently. Flattening the curve for imperial collapse.

                                        This is where the limits of my own education and information end, though. I can see where history and current events rhyme, but the ways to mitigate the fire gets into esoterics and procedures that I don't fully understand. Also human history is full of uncontrolled descents and few controlled ones.

                                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                        • identicon
                                          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2020 @ 2:42pm

                                          Re: Better than proceeding to devour nature itself

                                          An about face about two thirds the way up the pyramid would do the trick, but that is probably not going to happen. We are watching tyranny destroy our once great nation.

                                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 1:54am

                            Re: Re: "I won't take the blame"

                            "Those monument stand as a reminder of our errors as a society. To remove them begs to repeat them."

                            Rather ironically it's the other way around. When a statue of a KKK confederate hero presides over the town square the message which is sent isn't that "here stands a villain".

                            Bluntly put if your statue keeps attracting large marches of the KKK and neo-nazis to flock around it that statue only teaches one thing - that this city is governed by those who greatly value racism. I'd also add that erecting statues of people who were racists, traitors, and slaveholders sends the wrong message.

                            Preserving history is done by putting stuff into museums, which is where those statues belong. Putting them in the public space is to glorify what those statues stand for.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 1:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

                "You speak as if you were there. You dismiss any and all compassion for these people that many people had. My family and all of their aquaintences never owned slaves."

                You realize that the exact same argument could be made - and was made - in the third reich, Soviet Russia under Stalin...hell, there are remaining memoirs from ancient roman times exculpating prominent families who lived and thrived under Caligula, Nero and Tiberius. All of which looked like concussed lemmings when the nation they were in collapsed around them. All of which went "But we surely did no evil?".

                Let me put it bluntly - it doesn't matter if you and your family themselves are decent people when they live and thrive under an unjust government, because when that government collapses, you and yours will be facing the negative consequences of that collapse in the same manner the truly bad people will.

                Strictly speaking it's not your problem to make sure the ship you're on has a captain willing to talk to the repair crew but if that leak isn't fixed you'll still be sinking along with everyone else.

                When Lincoln did his 3/5th of a person spiel about black people the people standing next to him had the chance to tell him off. They didn't do that and so today the US is on fire. Again. In 1968 well-intentioned white liberals had the chance to push for meaningful reform. Instead they cheered a few times, went back to sleep, and thought "That's it for racism, surely, I mean black people aren't hung in public no more". Well, no. Today they just use a knee to the neck instead of a noose.

                That's why just government is everyones business. That's not optional. Something europeans have had to learn the hard way and all too many americans think just doesn't apply to them.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 2:27pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protec

                  God does let the sun and moon shine on all.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Aug 2020 @ 2:29pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protec

                  You talk big talk, but I don't see you shouting down the walls of Jerico.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 8:37am

        Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

        Either we are a country of law and order or we are not. Protest is fine and converted by the first amendment. Destruction of property is not. If we allow protesters to destroy property then anyone can do it to anything for any reason without recourse. A group of homeowners could tear down a school that blocks their view of the mountains. We cannot allow property to be destroyed at public or private expense. We have methods to make change that use peaceful means. That is what our country was uniquely founded on.

        For the record, I am a Yankee who had family fight for the union and I don't care for the Confederacy or their symbols.

        It seems Mike has gone the usual route for a leftist and uses the fallacy of two outcomes. There is always nuanced answers and almost never an either/or situation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 4:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

          The school should not be built that blocks the citizen residents' view of the mountains.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 4:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

          In the midst of a tyrannical revolt, semantics hardly ever get pulled out of the tool box.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 6:06pm

          "Law and Order"

          Rhe rule of law is not evenly applied. Some of us have access to the legal system. A few of us are above the law and then most of us are beneath it. We can be shot with impunity, have our homes raided with impunity, and even be snatched from our daily walks, convicted (falsely or otherwise) and then imprisoned for long disproportionate periods of our lives just to fill the private prisons with warm bodies.

          This is what our minorities face every motherfucking day.

          So you can't claim that law and order protects your property from their outrage. The law that defines what is your property is not a system to which they have access, and as outlaws, they are in their right to take by force what they can.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 11:45pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

          Either we are a country of law and order or we are not.

          A meaningless tautology. Not useful.

          Protest is fine and converted by the first amendment. Destruction of property is not.

          So... throwing tea into the harbor to protest colonial rule... not okay?

          There are times and places for everything. Context matters.

          If we allow protesters to destroy property then anyone can do it to anything for any reason without recourse.

          Nah, buddy. That isn't how it works. Context matters.

          A group of homeowners could tear down a school that blocks their view of the mountains. We cannot allow property to be destroyed at public or private expense. We have methods to make change that use peaceful means. That is what our country was uniquely founded on.

          Again, our country was literally founded on property destruction, and a violation of law and order. So... sorry.

          It seems Mike has gone the usual route for a leftist and uses the fallacy of two outcomes. There is always nuanced answers and almost never an either/or situation.

          You're the one claiming either/or ("either we are a country of law and order or we are not.") I'm not. I'm saying context and nuance matters.

          Also, I'm not a "leftist." But I have learned that anyone who accuses pejoratively me of being a leftist tends to be an idiot, who assumes everyone must fall into one of two buckets (there you are again with your either/or). So, confirmed.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 8:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

            "So... throwing tea into the harbor to protest colonial rule... not okay?"

            I think there's a bit of a difference between throwing tea into a harbor and burning down entire neighborhoods and businesses.

            If the protestors want to tear down a statue, it's stupid, but I get it. But to burn the neighborhoods they live in? That's just idiocy.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 2:42pm

              "to burn the neighborhoods they live in"

              You haven't heard the It's not ours speech have you.

              It's not theirs rather it's corporate cysts that inhabit space in the neighborhood they've been allowed to occupy. When law enforcement does nothing but beat people up and fine them for existing (and are conspicuously absent when domestic violence breaks out) then the precinct isn't theirs.

              When the Target sells only shoddy goods and every customer of color is treated like a hoodlum, then the Target isn't theirs.

              When the football hall of fame require as an admission fee of more than a day's pay of anyone in the neighborhood, then it really isn't theirs. It's cancerous blob that doesn't serve the neighborhood at all.

              Like the statues, they occupy space that could better serve the neighborhood, and as it is, only deteriorates it.

              No one asks the conifers about wildfires either.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 2:44am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

              "I think there's a bit of a difference between throwing tea into a harbor and burning down entire neighborhoods and businesses."

              The boston Tea Party was that funny tongue-in-cheek description of one single act which sparked the uprising. We could, I suppose, use the example where gangs of armed terrorists roamed, murdering largely blameless soldiers and bailiffs under the leadership of ringleaders such as Adams and Washington, I suppose.

              "But to burn the neighborhoods they live in?"

              The neighborhood where they fear every siren and flashing light? Where they grew up learning The talk about how not to get killed by a cop or white supremacist as soon as they step outside? To many of them that's not their neighborhood. It's their ghetto.

              "That's just idiocy."

              It's desperation. If you have no hope left, who cares if the world burns? There was a time when americans understood this. And then they slowly became the convenient English middle-class who might not agree with King George much but found the acts of the traitorous colonials deplorable, stupid and barbaric.

              Most protestors, it has to be said, aren't burning things. It's just a law of nature that when things are bad enough there will always be a few guys lighting torches.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 2:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Bipartisan Support For Statue Protection

          "If we allow protesters to destroy property then anyone can do it to anything for any reason without recourse."

          Like seceding from the United Kingdom, you mean?

          "We cannot allow property to be destroyed at public or private expense."

          Like throwing crates of tea, property of innocent merchants, into the Boston Harbor? Like gangs of armed terrorists led by ringleaders such as Adams and Washington murdering soldiers and bailiffs?

          "We have methods to make change that use peaceful means. That is what our country was uniquely founded on."

          Is THAT why your founding fathers all kept talking about "eternal vigilance" and what the "tree of liberty" had to be watered with?
          As someone who actually read a few history books I'd have to say that it looks very much as if your country was founded on riots in the street and an armed uprising which disregarded every legal and civil recourse.

          "It seems Mike has gone the usual route for a leftist and uses the fallacy of two outcomes."

          After you spent most of your comment rewriting US history as well as denying declaration of independence your comments about "leftism" aren't exactly convincing.

          "For the record, I am a Yankee who had family fight for the union..."

          That's rather odd since the arguments you keep delivering sound more as if your family were redcoats fighting for King George.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Crystal (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 11:51pm

    The Department of Homeland Security has authorized its personnel to collect information on https://www.thedailygrind.net/ protesters who threaten to damage or destroy public memorials and statues, regardless of whether they are on federal property https://www.thedailygrind.net/mycfavisit/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 8:08am

    "Our people have this under scrutiny and if that scrutinization should yield negative, we will scrutinize further. Rest assured, we will not rest until we have scrutinized every scrutinization into this matter."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 10:51am

    It says something about the government that priorities carved stone ahead of the citizens it is supposed to govern. Granted, to govern does not incluse any ethics or morality requirements but our present state of affairs seems to be a complete lack of governance, like they are out to lunch and do not give a shit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.