The Plutocracy Whisperer

whisperer

Y’all may not know this, but I am the Plutocracy Whisperer. So I would like to translate for you what the Business Roundtable, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Retail Federation are trying to tell Orange Man.

They are trying to tell him,

Yo, Orange Man!

Would you please tell your cult followers to stop acting like idiots and jerks, because they are killing themselves and they are killing lots of other people.

And worse, far worse than that, far, far worse than that, they are killing our profits.

The Business Roundtable, Crème de la Crème of the Plutocracy, Wants to Share Some Thoughts on Police Reform

Monopoly

The Business Roundtable writes,

Business Roundtable Police Reform Principles

Community Engagement

No effort to address policing issues will succeed without strong partnership and trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, including neighborhood and civil rights groups, schools, religious leaders, social workers and mental health professionals, local employers and others. Business Roundtable applauds bipartisan support for more investment in programs to promote community policing and increase police force diversity and community representation. Business Roundtable members further commit to working with community groups to uplift underserved populations.

Data Collection and Transparency

Transparency is a core democratic value. It is essential not only to better protect our citizens, but also to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Better data on law enforcement officer misconduct will improve departments’ hiring decisions, hold departments accountable, inform solutions, and enable better targeting of resources. To obtain federal funding, police departments should be required to collect, maintain and report data, including on detentions and use of force, as well as demographic information about arrests and detainees.

Accountability

The vast majority of police officers are dedicated public servants who pursue their work with courage and decency. For police officers who abuse their positions, or departments that allow abusive behavior, accountability is critical.

Business Roundtable supports the establishment of a National Police Misconduct Registry to maintain disciplinary records of officers, which will inform hiring decisions and promote public accountability. Data aggregated at the department level should also be made available to the public.

Further, the Department of Justice should establish minimum decertification standards to guide misconduct investigations, which should be carried to completion, whether or not an officer leaves the force, with findings of misconduct entered permanently on an officer’s record and available in a National Police Misconduct Registry.

To foster accountability at the department level, Business Roundtable supports grants to states to conduct pattern or practice investigations. Experience with Department of Justice investigations into actions involving a pattern or practice of conduct that violates individuals’ civil rights has shown that these types of investigations can lead to the adoption of new and constructive policies and procedures at the department level. 1

Minimum National Policing Standards

While principal responsibility for policing should remain at the state and local level, the continued crisis of excessive use of force, the loss of Black lives and the related loss of trust in law enforcement across many communities of color necessitates federal minimum standards for policing that are readily understood by the American public and tied to eligibility for federal grants. These standards should include a minimum national standard on use of lethal and non-lethal force; bans on chokeholds and carotid holds, except when deadly force is warranted; a duty to intervene; a ban on racial profiling; and a Department of Justice review and establishment of minimum credentialing and accreditation standards and procedures for officers.

Business Roundtable also urges policymakers to raise the standard for use of no-knock warrants and to require police departments to collect and report data around their use, including demographic information about the subjects, injuries, fatalities and whether use of the warrant produced admissible evidence of criminal activity.

Training

Business Roundtable supports federal investments in more robust training programs, including on alternatives to use of force, de-escalation and crisis intervention, mitigation of implicit racial bias, and methods to intervene to prevent another officer’s excessive use of force. Business Roundtable also supports vital investments in training to allow officers to better respond to mental health and addiction – an under-resourced area – including through co-response with social workers and mental health experts. Federally-supported training programs should be rigorously studied to ensure their effectiveness. Business Roundtable welcomes the opportunity to assist police departments in developing sound, data-driven training.

There are a number of other issues likely to be addressed as part of the final negotiations, including compensation or restitution for victims. Business Roundtable would welcome the opportunity to play a constructive role on any issue. To achieve meaningful reform that fosters trust between police departments and the communities they serve, Business Roundtable urges Members of Congress to come together and enact legislation before Congress’s August recess.

Pollyanna’s Back on the Valium Today

oh no

I think she has some 3M and some Harley-Davidson in her portfolio.

Manufacturing is Going to Hell in a Handbasket

The Wall Street Journal informs us that Manufacturers Hit a Wall as Coronavirus Saps Demand: Caterpillar, Harley and 3M are among companies idling production and cutting costs:

Major U.S. manufacturers said some closed plants may never reopen and new product introductions could be delayed, after the coronavirus pandemic slashed demand for everything from motorcycles to industrial paint.

Caterpillar Inc. CAT -0.50% said Tuesday that its first-quarter revenue fell by a fifth, and Harley-Davidson Inc. HOG 12.46% said retail sales of its motorcycles slumped around the world during the quarter. 3M Co. MMM 2.03% said it would furlough workers and idle some factory lines apart from its booming N95 mask business, a sign of the broad economic malaise affecting even companies with a hot product.

“The impact of Covid-19 on our business has been significantly more severe and chaotic than any cyclical downturn we had envisioned,” Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said on a conference call. …

Big chunks of the U.S. industrial base remain closed as part of the effort to contain the virus. Other factories are closed due to declining demand or parts shortages. Caterpillar and 3M said a quarter of their factories are offline. Harley, which idled assembly plants in mid-March, said it is restarting some production. The Milwaukee-based company also said, though, that the worsening economic outlook has prompted it to reconsider when to introduce some new models it is counting on to draw new customers. Nearly two-thirds of its U.S. dealers remain closed.

And so on, and so on.

Delusional Thinking Versus Political Survival: Guess Which One Wins?

“Political survival,” you might have responded, as your knee jerked.

Understandable, but: WRONG ANSWER!

Political aggrandizement would have dictated that Trump act in a totally different way than he has acted. Even today, even today, he might save his sorry political skin if he appointed a czar or czarina, put that person in charge, got the hell out of the way, and claimed all the credit.

But he is delusional. Not about everything—I assume he knows the difference between the dining room and the bathroom, and that he can distinguish between Melania and a Japanese sex doll. But he remains delusional about science, medicine, and the economy. And he demands that we sacrifice our lives, not to mention our jobs and our stock portfolios, so that he does not have to face reality.

Paul Waldman writes,

Consider what it says that we read this paragraph not on Feb. 27, not on March 27, but on April 27, after the pandemic has progressed so far:

Pressure mounted Monday on the White House and Congress to develop a national strategy to test Americans for exposure to the novel coronavirus, as health and economic experts said the current patchwork of testing efforts is insufficient to allow the economy to reopen safely.

A national testing strategy might indeed be helpful! Perhaps the Trump administration will get around to it one of these days.

We Report, You Decide

A good friend from downstairs, and a person of very advanced progressive views, has forwarded this from salon.com, Pulitzer winner Chris Hedges: These “are the good times — compared to what’s coming next”: Author of “America: The Farewell Tour”: We’re heading for a steep decline; Biden and the Democrats have no answers. The article makes a strong case for the rottenness of the American political economy and for the complicity of both political parties. Please read it, if you are interested in reading an argument along these lines.

Among (many) other things, the author allows as how

A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for more of the same. The ruling elites would prefer Joe Biden, just like they preferred Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is vulgar and an embarrassment. But the ruling elites also made it abundantly clear about their interests: Many of these people were quoted by name saying that if Bernie Sanders was the nominee — or even Elizabeth Warren — they would vote for Donald Trump.

All that said, I would detect a material difference between the candidate who is utterly delusional about basic medical, scientific, and economic facts, and who is prepared to take the whole damn country down with him to protect his delusions about facts and his delusions of grandeur—versus another candidate who is able to absorb relevant facts and draw reasonable conclusions.

And I would hazard the guess that some of the folks at 3M, Caterpillar, and Harley-Davidson may be having the same epiphany right about now.

duh

The Root of All Evil, The Root of Fascism

mussolini quote

This afternoon’s scripture reading comes from Saint Paul:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

One important kind of evil engendered by the greed of the plutocrats is the evil caused, time and again, when they embrace the demagogue, in the vain hope that they can control him.

There are two suggested readings on that topic today.

Jonathan Chait, An Insider Book Tries to Praise Trump, But Instead Exposes His Corruption

Trumponomics is a damning exposé of the corrupt bargain between Donald Trump and the party’s wealthy insiders. The odd thing is that the book is not intended as an exposé at all, but as an auto-hagiography written by three Republican policy entrepreneurs who helped win Trump over and shape his program, and are so lacking in self-awareness that they earnestly believe they are defending both Trump and his partners.

I encourage you to read the whole post. It is the mother and father of all takedowns.

This afternoon’s other recommended read is Jens Kruse, What an Obscure German Novel Taught Me About Dictators, which recounts how blind faith in normality and human decency can dampen timely resistance, and bring about disaster.