Attorney General Bill Barr's statements outside the Justice Department continue to signal that he is a fascist and autocrat, and that he is arguably more dangerous than Donald Trump is right now to the American people.
Speaking to a roomful of police officers and prosecutors on Tuesday, Attorney General William P. Barr drew a parallel between protests against soldiers during the Vietnam War and demonstrations against law enforcement today.
But this time, he suggested, those who don’t show “respect” to authority could lose access to police services.
“Today, the American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” Barr said in pointed remarks delivered at a Justice Department ceremony to honor police officers.
Barr added that “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”
Although Barr didn’t specify what “communities” he was referencing, activists decried his speech as a clear attack on minorities who have protested police brutality and other racially skewed law enforcement abuses.
“Barr’s words are as revealing as they are disturbing ― flagrantly dismissive of the rights of Americans of color, disrespectful to countless law enforcement officers who work hard to serve their communities, and full of a continuing disregard for the rule of law,” Jeb Fain, a spokesperson for liberal super PAC American Bridge, told HuffPost, which first reported on the comments.
As attorney general, Barr has attacked liberal district attorneys who have pushed for police accountability in cities like Philadelphia and St. Louis and suggested that there should be “zero tolerance for resisting police.”
Before handing out honors to police officers at Tuesday’s ceremony for the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing, Barr described seeing deployed troops celebrated at airports and lamented that police aren’t more openly feted.
“When police officers roll out of their precincts every morning, there are no crowds along the highway cheering them on, and when you go home at the end of the day, there’s no ticker-tape parade,” he said, echoing virtually word-for-word comments he made in August to the Fraternal Order of Police.
The attorney general then compared police to Vietnam-era soldiers returning home to face those opposed to the conflict.
“In the Vietnam era, our country learned a lesson. I remember that our brave troops who served in that conflict weren’t treated very well in many cases when they came home, and sometimes they bore the brunt of people who were opposed to the war,” he said. “The respect and gratitude owed to them was not given. And it took decades for the American people finally to realize that.”
The fascism from fifty years ago never left the GOP. Steve M explains:
Boomer Republicans love to invoke the late 1960s and early 1970s. They love it because the fifty-year backlash to the much shorter era of protest and progress began at that time, with Nixon's election and reelection, with the governorship of future president Ronald Reagan, with hard-hat riots against anti-war protestors and Clint Eastwood revenge movies. They also love the era because they've never updated their stereotypes of the enemy. Black and Hispanic people are criminals. Feminists ("women's libbers") are hairy-legged man-haters. Men on the left are effeminate, smelly, sandal-wearing longhairs. Can it be that it was all so simple then?
The fantasy, then and now, was a complete withdrawal of "law and order" from the cities, or at least the "bad" neighborhoods, at which point all "those people" would kill one another off and leave the good people in a state of pleasant suburban peace, and allow the rich to turn the cities into high-end playgrounds. To a large extent, the rich got the latter wish, but it was as a result of the War on Crime -- which is a reminder that the police presence in higher-crime areas isn't on behalf of the residents, but on behalf of the elites who want the poor kept down. So Barr is bluffing -- the elites will always want have-nots policed. But it's a fantasy that's never lost its appeal to people like him.
Barr may be bluffing to the extent that no city government wants a riot on their hands and in the press and that police chiefs get fired when they happen, but then again the local press is disappearing at a rapid clip, and the FOX doomsday preppers have always loved a good "no-go zone" bullshit story.
Thing is though Barr can cause a lot of trouble for people, and once again I remind you that the nation's top cop saying "Protect and serve, but only if I think they deserve it" while comparing cops to the military is pretty much peak fascism.
America will survive a second Trump term with Barr as AG, but you'd better double the estimates of the number of people currently incarcerated and triple the estimates of police killing people.