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#Ferguson: Cops say they won't use tear gas, use it, and keep reporters away from the scene (and why not a People's Tribunal?)

That builds confidence:

In all, seven people were arrested early Sunday for "failure to disperse" during a five-hour curfew that was imposed earlier in the day. Johnson said the police used tear gas in response to a report of the shooting and arrested the seven people from the roof of a restaurant.

Update, 3:20 a.m.: Police confirmed the reporters on the ground were right after all, tear gas was used in addition to smoke bombs in order to disperse protesters in Ferguson who defied the curfew.

Police denied initial reports that they had fired several rounds of tear gas into the protesters, insisting they were smoke bombs. Others aren’t so sure.

The Guardian’s Jon Swaine, for example, directly calls the claim a lie:

AP contributor Nigel Duara says the claims that it was just smoke is “fucking bullshit”:

Vice’s Tim Pool also has no doubts:

Alderman Antonio French for his part does not directly contradict police but says the smoke “does burn the eyes”:

Whether it was tear gas or not is a key question because State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of Ferguson security, had earlier said police wouldn’t enforce the curfew “with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas.”

[A]lmost two hours after the curfew began, it appears most of the streets of Ferguson have been cleared, but it’s difficult to tell, particularly considering that officers are keeping reporters away from the scene, reportedly threatening arrests to anyone who leaves a designated press area.

Well, that's a Clusterfuck. Or not. But here's what really frosts me. Another statement from (black) State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson: Read below the fold...

Here's the study that nukes "Make me do it," "lesser of two evils," and every other legacy partisan talking point

I forget whether I gave this article its own post, but it certainly deserves it. Allan J. Lichtman in The Hill (of all places):

A shattering new study by two political science professors has found that ordinary Americans have virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States.

This study should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government. To reclaim the promise of American democracy, ordinary citizens must act positively to change the relationship between the people and our government

The new study, with the jaw-clenching title of "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens," is forthcoming in the fall 2014 edition of Perspectives on Politics. Its authors, Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, examined survey data on 1,779 national policy issues for which they could gauge the preferences of average citizens, economic elites, mass-based interest groups and business-dominated interest groups. They used statistical methods to determine the influence of each of these four groups on policy outcomes, including both policies that are adopted and rejected.

The analysts found that when controlling for the power of economic elites and organized interest groups, the influence of ordinary Americans registers at a "non-significant, near-zero level." [Emphasis beyond italics mine. Does blink still work? Alas, no.] he analysts further discovered that rich individuals and business-dominated interest groups dominate the policymaking process. The mass-based interest groups had minimal influence compared to the business-based interest groups.

The study also debunks the notion that the policy preferences of business and the rich reflect the views of common citizens. They found to the contrary that such preferences often sharply diverge and when they do, the economic elites and business interests almost always win and the ordinary Americans lose.

The authors also say that given limitations to tapping into the full power elite in America and their policy preferences, "the real world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater" than their findings indicate.

So there you have it. That makes electoral politics 100% kayfabe with respect to policy[1], no? Read below the fold...

In the garden: What are these plants?

Because you demanded it!

This is the plant with the pretty yellow flowers (though the photograph could be better; I need a hood so I can see the screen when the sun is at my back, because otherwise my shadow tends to end up in the frame). Read below the fold...

Salon still peddling narratives of Democratic weakness

If Thomas Frank keeps writing like this, I'm gonna have to stop paying attention (not that he cares, or Salon cares, but I have better things to do). Let me excerpt the high low points:

How to wreck the GOP in 3 easy steps!
President Obama is in the doldrums. ...

Read below the fold...

In the garden: Blushing tomatoes

This is exciting! Read below the fold...

Tweet of the Day (3)

Well, so much for Bernie

Tweet of the day

In the garden: After moar rain. Moar thigmotropism!

Yeah, OK, flower, water drops. But anyhow:

(Part of me wants a whole bed of poppies, but I think I like a wildflower mix, with poppies included, that cycles through a whole season even better.)

The sun came out, so glint on the raspberries: Read below the fold...

The Democrats sure aren't giving Jack Trammell a lot of help

I hate to quote the Washington Times, but since they actually covered the story, this from August 6:

Jack Trammell, the Democratic nominee to fill ousted Rep. Eric I. Cantor’s seat in Virginia, has not yet filed personal financial disclosure forms, putting him on the wrong side of federal law and leaving voters in the dark about the college professor’s income, investments and potential debts.

Federal disclosure rules require congressional candidates to file ethics forms a month after they become serious candidates — triggered when they are nominated by a party or when they raise at least $5,000.

Mr. Trammell became a serious candidate for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District seat on June 8, meaning he should have filed his disclosure by the middle of July.

Alerted to his failure, Trammell campaign manager Beth Cope blamed an “oversight” and said they will file soon.

She said the campaign had received assurances from the House Office of the Clerk that no fines would be issued if he files by Aug. 16.

No followup, so I assume the Trammell campaign took care of this. But here we've got a novice candidate; Trammell is only in the race because his right wing opponent, David Brat, miraculously took down Eric Cantor. Do the Democrats want Trammell to make a go of it against Brat? Or do they want to stifle him? Based on performance so far, I'm going with "stifle." After all, don't parties, and in particular party chairs, exist to help novice candidates like Trammell navigate around these pitfalls? So WTF? Read below the fold...

Celebrity death pr0n

When I read headlines like this I want to scream and throw stuff:

The terror behind our grief: What we talk about when we talk about Robin Williams.

Because whenever I see "we" in the headline of a major media headline, it's almost always false. Whaddaya mean, "we"? But more than that: Read below the fold...

Ferguson cops denied nurse who wanted to give Brown CPR

Tweet of the day

#SuspectedLooters

eBook readers literally can't follow the plot

(Human readers, that is; not tablets.) Look at the bottom finding:

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