Butcher For Hire

If you wanna have a protest in the USA
You wanna speak your mind in the American Way
If there are some rich white men with whom you disagree
And thought you have the right of assembly
There’s a man that you should know
‘Cause he will follow you wherever you go

John Timoney, butcher for hire
He’s a brutal thug and a dirty liar
He’s a cop among cops, a man among men
And, oh my God, he’s back again

And he’ll protect our freedom in his own special way
By smashing in your face today He’ll spray tear gas in your eyes
He’ll look into the camera and tell lies
And if you complain the deal is raw He will declare martial law


He’ll ban dancing, he’ll ban art He’ll ban medics on go-carts
He’ll ban meetings, he’ll ban signs He’ll ban circles, he’ll ban lines
He’ll stand up upon his throne
And say “go back to your free speech zone”


But someday he’ll meet his end
He’s already half-way round the bend
He’ll take stock of what he’s done
Stare at the notches on his gun
He’ll look into the mirror and at his poor wife
And say, “Oh my God — I’ve been a scumbag my whole life”


“Butcher For Hire” first appeared on the 2004 CD, Songs for Mahmud.

John Timoney is a much-celebrated former police chief of several different cities. Somewhere along the line he got a reputation for being good at dealing with big protests. They said he was popular among the establishment because he was so fair-minded and even-handed, but in reality his popularity seemed clearly to be the result of his enthusiastic embrace of violence and systematic violations of the law carried out by police departments under his command. Which is exactly what happened wherever he reigned over a police department, most notably Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the Republican National Convention in 2000, and Miami, Florida during the time of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) talks in 2003. During both protests, police were extremely violent and militarized, and used all kinds of underhanded tactics to attempt to divide and destroy the anti-capitalist movement of the day. Last I heard, Timoney is training cops in the nation of Bahrain in how to brutalize their own restive population.