Cops Are Awesome. America Is Awesome. In Both Cases, Criticism Is Forbidden.
Credit: Credit: AP/Gerald Herbert
December 22, 2014

John Cole writes:

Put Up or Shut Up

Since the right wing and members of the media have decided to blame everyone but the god damned shooter for the murder of two policemen in NYC, a phrase keeps popping up over and over and over again- "anti-police rhetoric." Here is a prime example:

We have seen nothing but police bashing from some of the highest offices in the land....

When Ismaaiyl Abdulah Brinsley brutally executed Officers Ramos and Liu he did so in an atmosphere of permissiveness and anti-police rhetoric unlike any that I have seen in 45 years in law enforcement. The rhetoric this time is not from the usual suspects, but from the Mayor of New York City, the Attorney General of the United States, and even the President. It emboldens criminals and sends a message that every encounter a black person has with a police officer is one to be feared....

No one, however, provides any examples of this so-called anti-police rhetoric. It's just there, like phlogiston or the Supreme Court's definition of pornography or the Lord Jeebus's undying love for you. You can't pin it down, you can't point to a concrete example of it- well, except for the doctored Fox news video of Al Sharpton. It’s just an article of faith. It's there, and you just have to believe to see it.

Putting aside the fact that "anti-police rhetoric" is a phrase that has rocketed into prominence faster than anything I can remember since the Dick Cheney “gravitas” chorus of 2000, I would like to see some of this so-called anti-police rhetoric. So put up or shut up. Show me some anti-police rhetoric from Obama, Holder, etc. I’d love to see exactly what is off limits....

Bob Hardt of local news station NY1 confirms what Cole writes in the case of Mayor de Blasio:

Just a few hours after two police officers were fatally gunned down by a deranged madman, Pat Lynch, the head of the police union was playing a dangerous blame game.

Noting that "there's blood on many hands tonight", Lynch added: "That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor."

... I pored carefully through the many transcripts issued by the mayor's office this year and there's not a single bad word about the police in there. The mayor's foes have fixated on one thing -- de Blasio's story that he has cautioned his bi-racial son to be careful around the police.

One out-of-town journalist asked me for the original transcript of de Blasio's remarks which he made on the day that a grand jury declined to indict anyone in the Eric Garner case, assuming the mayor said something quite incendiary. The strongest language comes when the mayor praises his teen-age son as "a good young man, a law-abiding young man, who would never think to do anything wrong, and yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face -- we've had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him."

That's the call to arms against the NYPD?

But, see, that's too much. Asserting that young black males are detained by the police far more often than young white males is too much, even though it's a statement of plain, unambiguous fact. Asserting that stop-and-frisk as implemented in the Bloomberg years was a policy that warranted reconsidering -- in de Blasio's mayoral campaign, that was too much. There is simply no such thing as acceptable constructive criticism of police practices. There are no bad police policies. There are no bad cops. No cop ever deserves to be indicted. Any claim that any cop or any police department has every done anything wrong is a full-frontal assault on law enforcement.

This works exactly like criticizing America. Since the beginning of his presidency, Barack Obama has been accused of being on an "apology tour." In 2009, when the Heritage Foundation listed Obama's "Top 10 Mistakes," they included such statements as "We have not been perfect" (in reference to relations with the Muslim world) and "potentially we've made some mistakes" (in reference to torture revelations). You can't even say those things. It's not allowed.

Oh, and:

Another Heritage example is a speech Obama gave in April 2009 to the Turkish parliament, in which he was trying to urge that country to come to terms with its tragic history with the Armenians: "The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history. Facing the Washington Monument that I spoke of is a memorial of Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed those who were enslaved even after Washington led our Revolution."

That's right -- you're not even allowed to say that slavery was a mistake. (Or at least not if you're a Democrat -- George W. Bush made a similar point in a 2003 speech in Senegal, and no one complained.)

Obama is supposed to say that (in the words of Fox's Andrea Tantaros) "America is awesome."

"The United States of America is awesome. We are awesome, but we've had this discussion" about torture, Tantaros said. She lamented, "the reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are;" rather, "this administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we're not awesome." This is because "they apologized for this country, they don't like this country, they want us to look bad. And all this does is have our enemies laughing at us, that we are having this debate again."

De Blasio is supposed to say that the cops are awesome. Any criticism of any kind is an attempt to destroy law enforcement. It's not permitted. Period.

Oh, and the polemic quoted by John Cole above? It's by Howard Safir -- the worst of Rudy Giuliani's three police commissioners, the one who was in charge when Abner Louima was instrumentally sodomized in a precinct house and Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond were killed by cops. It disgusts me that he's not ashamed to show his face in public.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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