Under The Table

Thesis: If people can’t trust the institutions they have relied on to enforce the laws and administer the justice system fairly, impartially, honestly and diligently, they will start their own institutions to do it for themselves.

Corolary: This is usually an extraordinarily ugly thing. See also: The Mafia, the Provos, the various Lebanese militias, Salvadoran and Argentinean and other nations’ “death squads” of the left and right.

Observation: we are having trouble trusting our institutions to administer justice fairly, impartially, honestly and diligently.

Exhibit 1: young woman notes the FBI slow-rolled the investigation of famous man who abused her horribly at age 15 – and then allegedly lied about her statements:

Bear in mind, Ms. Maroney is at least a C-list celebrity – the crowd who can usually count on some name recognition to deter the worst abuses. If FBI handles the case of someone with name recognition, a public profile and a photo with Barack Obama on her resume, what can the average schnook expect?

Exhibit 2: 49 people may have died because the FBI didn’t want to lose an informant:

Exhibit 3: As noted in the Tweet above, the FBI was alleged to have shaken and baked the “plot” to kidnap Michigan Governor Whitmer to fluff up their “oncoming wave of white nationalist terror” meme.

In this case, it seems there are some limits even the FBI won’t transgress

…that we know of.

If the people can’t trust their institutions to administer the justice system fairly, impartially, honestly and diligently…

…what, then?

I don’t want to keep seeing the same hands.

Vibrant

Sure is a good thing the State Fair banned the law abiding citizen from carrying on the Fairgrounds.

Otherwise, who knows what kind of mischief all those law-abiding citizens will get into.

Foreshadowing

Minneapolis’s city council, in its infinite, er, wisdom, voted to replace its police department with…

…well, they’ll get back to you on that.

But if you’re looking for a hint as to what law enforcement might look like in a new “Moved Forward” Minneapolis, this episode might offer a clue:

On the one hand, I suppose “dumping the problem on the general public, especially the ones you’ve been demonizing for a generation, like landlords” makes sense to a certain segment of the population.

On the other? Responsibility and accountability without the power and authority to do what’s needed to carry them out is the very definition of oppression.

I’m going to go out on a short, sturdy limb and guess that barbering about “oppression” is going to be considered a “privilege”.

As Predicted Here

Last year, when the FBI triiumphantly claimed that they’d busted a plot to kidnap MIchigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, I said, in as many words, “I bet a shiny new quarter this was a setup by the feds”.

My quarter is looking safer and safer:

The explosives expert was the undercover FBI agent. He was the one who figured out where to plant the explosive and offered to obtain as much as the group wanted. Would there even have been a plan to blow up the bridge without him? The Iraq War veteran is heard barking at the other members about not hanging around unless they were “down with the thought of kidnapping.” It almost sounds as if he had to talk some of them into it. A government informant from Wisconsin was the person who traveled around the country and introduced various militia members to each other, sometimes paying their travel costs. Many of the eventual members had never met each other before this. There were fully a dozen informants and undercover agents involved every step of the way.

When you put all of that together, you are forced to consider the question that Buzzfeed is asking. Without all of those agents and government informants holding people’s hands and guiding their steps, would there even have been a conspiracy without them? The defendants are saying no. They claim that the whole idea of kidnapping Whitmer never rose above the level of fantasy, though they freely admit going to paramilitary training sessions together and engaging in anti-government conversations and online chats.

My two cents: the establisment wants to deliver on that “wave of white supremacist terror” they’ve been promising since 2009, they’re willing to create it from scratch.

Hate

Disclaimers offered in advance: it’s The Blaze, so it’s just a smidgen suspect.

But if it’s true, I’m not sure I like this story all that much: The police charged a Utah woman with a “hate crime“ for destroying a “Back the Blue“ sign and quote smirking and “at a deputy in an “intimidating“ manner.

“As I concluded my traffic stop and released the individuals, I observed some of the individuals’ friends approach them and attempt to console them,” the deputy wrote in a probable cause affidavit, the News said.

“I observed one of the friends, later identified to be Lauren Gibson, stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ sign next to where the traffic stop was conducted, crumble it up in a destructive manner, and throw it into a trash can all while smirking in an intimidating manner towards me,” the deputy added, according the paper.

On the one hand? I’m not going to say there’s not some smidgen of glorious schadenfreude involved in seeing one of these entitled little “progressive“ twerps getting a comeuppance.

On the other?

Think of all the legitimate hate crimes that “Progressive“, under the cover that urban progressive privilege grant them, have carried out over the past 10 or 15 years; James Hodgkinson and his shooting spree against Republicans, the assault on Senator Rand Paul, and for that matter this little list of politically motivated bias crimes that I used to maintain until it stopped being fun, for that matter, among many others.

Distraction of signs and “intimidating“ “smirking“? That’s every election season for every conservative in Saint Paul.

Is it a good thing that, of all of the non-Leftist victims of bias-based assaults in this country, only cops seem to be covered by hate crime laws?

Know Them By Their Actions

Never forget this:

And when your “progressive” friends and relatives bleat “what about January 6?”

There was never any chance that riot, stupid and despicable as it was, was going to damage, or even significantly interrupt, our democratic process. None.

On the other hand, dismantling trust in our institutions – the legal system, in this case?

That could very well do the treuck, over time.

What’s A Cubit?

Bill Cosby is out of jail:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the indecent assault conviction of Bill Cosby on Wednesday and ordered his release from prison after finding that he was denied protection against self-incrimination.

The court said that a prosecutor’s decision not to charge Cosby, 83, in an earlier case opened the door for him to speak freely in a lawsuit against him, thinking he would not incriminate himself criminally. A second prosecutor later used the lawsuit testimony in a criminal trial, and that testimony was key in his conviction years later.

Cosby was convicted on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018 of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, and was serving a three- to 10-year sentence. He has served nearly three years of the sentence.

The state Supreme Court said Cosby cannot be retried on the same charges.

Let’s be clear from the outset — I hold no brief for Bill Cosby. Based on the available evidence, he’s a flat-out monster and richly deserved punishment for his misdeeds. I do hold a brief for due process, however, and there’s no question his prosecution was a violation of his rights. The right against self-incrimination is of paramount importance. All things being equal, I would rather not see Bill Cosby’s face in the future, once we get past this round of media attention.

So yeah, Bill Cosby as he is now carries little value, but what about Bill Cosby as he once was? He was one of the best comedians of the previous century, arriving on the scene around 1960, the same time as Bob Newhart (beloved), Jonathan Winters (much missed), Don Rickles (“problematic”), and Woody Allen (reviled, mostly on merit). Cosby first became famous for his “Noah” bit, which is still hilarious nearly 60 years on:

God: (standing on a chair behind Noah, he rings a bell once) NOAH.

Noah: (Looks up) Is someone calling me? (Shrugs and goes back to his work)

God: (Ding) NOAH!!

Noah: Who is that?

God: It’s the Lord, Noah.

Noah: Right … Where are ya? What do ya want? I’ve been good.

God: I want you to build an ark.

Noah: Right … What’s an ark?

God: Get some wood and build it 300 cubits by 80 cubits by 40 cubits.

Noah: Right … What’s a cubit?

I wouldn’t want to see Noah’s Menard’s bill — that much is certain.

Between the Noah bit, his Fat Albert routines, and the decade-long kids show based on those routines that was a staple of my childhood, Cosby was ubiquitous even before his 1980s era sitcom ruled the airwaves. He was America’s Dad. It was all a lie, yes — he is also a sexual predator and a hypocrite of the first order, but he was a wonderful interpreter of the human condition. What do we do with useful monsters? It’s a conversation worth having.

Too Much To Hope For

Back in 1987, the Guardian Angels short-lived Twin Cities chapter “closed down” the Cecil Newman housing project in North Minneapolis – basically blockading it from criminals, keeping everyone out but the residents.

Legal? No less so than the CHAZ in south Minneapolis today is. Make of that what you will.

Needed. Pffft, yeah. Newman was a hotbed of drug dealing and crime, as the Twin Cities first wave of gang violence was just getting started, still years before “Murderapolis”. .

I was producing the “Geoff Charles Show” at the time. As we covered the story on day, Geoff said – one of the clear blue, live on the air, as he was wont to do, “Get me Curt Sliwa”, the fouorn2run

So I called the Guardian Angels in New York. “He’s in Minneapolis”.

I called the Guardian Angels at their Minneapolis number. “He’s at Cecil Newman”.

I called Cecil Newman. The phone rang a couple times. A New York accent said “Hello”.

“I’m looking for Curt Sliwa”.

“Tha’ts me”.

It was one of my favorite moments of that part of my career.

34 years later, he’s got the GOP endorsement for Mayor of New York. And he’s talking sense:

I mean, I’ll be realistic; a Republican has about as much chance of winning in New York as one does in Chicago, these days; I doubt Giuliani could make a dent these days.

But it’s sure fun to think about.

Ellison: “You Are All Victims!”

Keith Ellison’s Attorney General’s Office is soliciting “victim impact statements”…

from, literally, everybody.

Community impact statements are statements submitted by those who have been impacted by a crime. Those statements then may be read at the sentencing hearing.

On a form on Ellison’s website, people can submit their own community impact statement describing “how Mr. Chauvin’s offenses have had a social or economic impact” on their lives and community. When submitting, people must select whether they reside in Minneapolis, the state of Minnesota, the United States, or elsewhere.

“It is not common to facilitate the submission of community-impact statements in this way, but this is not a common case,” a spokesman for Ellison’s office told FOX 9.

Reading between the lines: the DFL has to keep the outrage stoked, since none of the other Democrat issues are polling well at all.

Expect Lots Of Headlines About Covid And Marijuana Legalization

As the state heads toward a mid-term election with the control of both the House and Senate, to say nothing of the Constitutional Offices, at stake, a poll shows MInnesotans are un-thrilled with government’s handling of events:

Considering opinions on Gov. Tim Walz’s approach to handling crime, the results have virtually flipped since last year in terms of approval. In June of 2020, 59% approved and 35% disapproved of the governor’s approach to crime, but in June of 2021, 55% disapproved and only 39% approved…Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they visited Minneapolis less than normal in the past year, compared to 4% who said they visited the city more frequently than in the past.

Despite this, a majority of Minnesotans do trust law enforcement to keep the city safe — far more than they trust elected leaders in the state to do the same.

Ample reasons for dissatisfaction are obvious. And some are not so much . More tomorrow in this space.

You Could See It Coming. . .

. . . right up 38th Street:

For the second time in less than a week, Minneapolis city crews worked to reopen the area around 38th Street and Chicago Avenue to traffic and activists have returned makeshift barriers to the area.

Minneapolis city crews, at around 4:50 a.m. Tuesday, were removing items from George Floyd Square in an attempt to reopen the intersection to traffic.

Once crews were done removing items, they left the area.

Later Tuesday, a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew reported activists had returned makeshift barriers to the streets near the intersection.

Our friends in Minneapolis have turned fecklessness into an art form.

Seriously, what’s the point? Either you clear the intersection and ensure it doesn’t get blocked again, or you admit you are too weak to run your city and let the local warlords run the show. This is a stupid game. 

 

Just Another Man Of Peace

Winston Smith, the man killed last week in Uptown, was apparently already “at war” with the police:

Smith’s violent resistance to arrest may have been motivated by his belief that he was engaged in a “war” on cops.

For years leading up to his death, Smith made statements across social media platforms vowing to shoot police officers if he were ever to be apprehended, encouraging his followers to bring guns and bombs to protests and outlining tactics he believed would be most effective to kill members of law enforcement. He also frequently suggested that he was meeting with like-minded people and taking tangible steps towards these aims.

“Get ready for war,” Smith told his followers via Instagram in mid-April.

“Motherfuckers are finna move on these ‘ops,” he continued, using a slang term that means people would attack police.

“All the shooters, suit up,” he ordered. “Lace your boots up, it’s war fucking time. Bring your gun to the protest, bring them fucking bombs and rocket launchers and all that shit.”

Even some of the local media – in this case, ,reliably left-of-center Fox9 – are taking their break from the Twin Cities media’s usual “write a hagiography first, ask questions later” procedure and noting that there just might be an elephant in this particular room.

UPDATE: It’s unclear from media or law enforcement reports whether Smith was involved in January 6, the only example of violence in American history.

The Story Behind The Story

The twitter thread behind this bit of video of a – shall we say – “impaired” man clobbering a rather diminuitive female cop in San Francisco…:

…have focused on the, er, less-than-decisive responses by the locals that came to her assistance.

The guys who wouldn’t put down their coffee before trying to disentangle the high guy.

The fellow who bapped away at him with the decisive authority of a Care Bear.

All the half-hearted tugging.

My angle?

In this day and age, and in that place, the part that amazes me is someone came to help the cop.

The Numbers, Unlike Keith Ellison, Don’t Lie

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There have been a spate of shootings in Minneapolis. Liberals reflexively trot out the same tired solutions: close the gun show loophole and tax ammunition to make it more expensive and therefore harder to obtain. No guns, no bullets, no shootings. Simple, right?

It occurs to me there’s a real-world way to obtain empirical data to test these theories. I’m all about the SCIENCE. Show me the numbers.

Dictator-for-Life Walz issued Executive Order 20-4 closing public accommodations during the pandemic. His order had the effect of cancelling all gun shows as nobody could rent a hall to hold a public gathering. No gun shows are scheduled until the end of June 2021. Okay – loophole closed 15 months. Any measurable effect on criminals’ ability to acquire firearms to commit shootings? Are there fewer guns on the streets? Fewer people being shot, car-jacked, robbed at gunpoint? What are the numbers?

Ammunition shelves have been bare since before the election. 9mm pistol ammunition which cost $0.20 per round last June peaked at $0.70 and is holding around $0.50 now, but only on the web. There is none on the shelf. If price and scarcity affected criminal shooting patterns, we should be seeing it. Are we? Criminals conserving ammo? Firing fewer shots? Switching to knives or bats because bullets aren’t available? What are the numbers?

Or do the numbers show that criminals can get guns and ammunition pretty much at will, meaning those same tired solutions don’t work in the real world any more than Prohibition or the War on Drugs worked in the real world? It’s important to know the numbers, because if we have empirical evidence showing those same tired solutions don’t work, shouldn’t Liberals stop nattering on about them? Aren’t Liberals interested in SCIENCE? Don’t they care about proof?

Joe Doakes

Why, it’s almost like Twin Cities gangs are actually as immune to the free market as the Minneapolis City Council thinks it is.

Unintended (?) Consequences

A friend of the blog emails:

So, if the cops think they got one of the shooters of those young kids in Mpls, they can’t pull him over if they have a taillight out?

Just asking.

Snark aside, I am trying to imagine the actual process of sorting calls between, at the most extreme case:

  1. The actual cops
  2. The unarmed traffic police
  3. The social workers that are supposed to respond to mental health calls

Mental health cases routinely escalate. As the FOTB notes above, traffic stops find felons all the time; two of Ted Bundy’s arrests, to pick a random example, started as traffic stops; not a few homicides started as mental health calls.

The gnashing and grinding at the 911 center alone will be epic – as will the hordes of cross-department staff that wind up getting laboriously dispatched to calls after the the first social worker or unarmed hall monitor,…er, traffic cop gets “unexpectedly” killed.

This Ain’t No Foolin’ Around

The sound of gunfire, off in the distance/I’m getting used to it now.

That wasn’t off in the distance. It was the scene at 38th and Chicago yesterday, also known as George Floyd Square. Sure, it was the middle of the day, but it’s always a good time to bust a few caps, right? This news report was, ahem, deadpan:

The Minneapolis intersection where George Floyd died was disrupted by gunfire Tuesday, just hours before it was to be the site of a family-friendly street festival marking the anniversary of his death at the hands of police.

Nothing quite says family-friendly street festival like random gunfire. But fortunately, a bona fide journalist was on the scene:

Journalist Philip Crowther, who was shooting live video from 38th and Chicago, reported hearing as many as 30 gunshots about a block east of the intersection. Crowther said a storefront window appeared to have been broken by a gunshot.

“Very quickly things got back to normal,” Crowther said. “People here who spend a significant amount of time, the organizers, were running around asking, ‘Does anyone need a medic?’ It seems like there are no injuries.”

Mr. Crowther? There’s nothing normal about any of this. But hey, we appreciate the narrative!

Free Fire Zone

It’s rapidly becoming a Berg’s Law: if the media doesn’t give any demographic details about a violent criminal (say, a white Hell’s Angel with an umbrella), you can infer the rest.

When I saw the initial coverage of Saturday morning’s bloodbath in the Warehouse District, I treated it as a test.

Up until noonish yesterday (Sunday)? Even after the arrest was made? Not a word about the shooter.

So – was I right?

What do you think?

Carroll was arrested in 2016 for a variety of felonies egregious enough for Mike Freeman to put down his bottle for a moment at try to make an example of.

Carroll ended up getting all charges dismissed, in exchange for pleading guilty to “disorderly condcut”.

Remember – public safety is a privilege.

Well, That Turned Around Fast

Friday Morning: local media cover the bejeebers out of a press conference – the sort of coordinated coverage that screams “a PR flak is working this hard”:

While challenges remain, downtown Minneapolis’ progress toward a post-pandemic revival is picking up steam, according to the panelists who joined a Friday morning online forum hosted by the Minneapolis Downtown Council…“My take on all of this is that you haven’t seen anything yet. Downtown is going to come back stronger and bigger than ever,” said Fhima, who leads the kitchen at Fhima’s Minneapolis.

Still, the panelists said, downtown is currently battling the perception that it’s unsafe — a perception Fhima [1] said was fueled by the lack of foot traffic on downtown streets during the pandemic, when many office workers shifted to working from home and widespread closures of restaurants and venues kept visitors away. Just as an empty restaurant might make diners question the quality of the food, he said, an empty downtown can leave visitors unnerved

“Challenges remain”, indeed.

18 hours after that coordinated burst of manufactured sunshine blowing up the Twin Cities collective nethers:

Two people were killed and 8 wounded in a shooting in downtown Minneapolis, police said early Saturday.

“Preliminary investigation reveals that two people were standing in a crowded area and got into a verbal confrontation,” the Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement.” Both individuals pulled out guns and began shooting at each other.”

Look – I enjoy downtown. I’ve worked there, and 2-3 years ago I used to go down there for concerts fairly regularly – move the Dakota than the First Avenue these days, but whatever. And as a taxpayer, I’ve had a lot of taxpayers money “invested” in it on my behalf, so it’d be nice if the current occupants at the City Council stopped screwing things up.

Not holding my breath, of course.

[1] Have any of Dave Fhima’s restaurants ever succeeded? . I haven’t paid much attention to the restaurant scene, but going back ten years or so, any of his places turned into their own vacant slices of downtown in a year or so.

There Just Has To Be Some Polling

I was more than a little shocked to see this report from Channel 9 yesterday – partly because the Nine is the second-farthest-left leaning TV newsroom in town, and the station runs pro-BLM PSA liners during its newscasts…

…and partly because BLM has been strictly “hands off” as far as questioning in the local media goes.

But darned if they didn’t:

Another woman from the neighborhood took a tart swipe at “Black Lives Matter”, asking (I”m paraphrasing, since the Nine is going to make sure guns, not gang-bangers, are the enduring villains) why the protesters only seem to care if there’s a cop involved.

(If you can find the footage of the other woman, please post a link in the comments – it was one of the most startling things I’ve seen on local media…ever).

Off Message

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Hundreds of shots fired. St. Paul experienced an increase in both violent crimes (up 25%) and property crimes (up 14.9%) last year, which Police Chief Axtell attributed to the “global pandemic, historic levels of rioting and very real economic pain.”

Not January 6th?  Get on message, dude.

Joe Doakes

I’d say “I’m surprised nobody’s blamed ‘white supremacy8′”, but then Councilmember Jalali hasn’t spoken yet.

Urban Progressive Privilge: Two Americas

It would seem there are two black Americas.

One whom upper middle class white progressives have appointed themselves leaders – the type that call Tim Scott “Uncle Tim” and jabber on about defunding and actively harassing the police “for racial justice“…

…and the actual people who live in the neighborhoods that are being gutted.

In Brooklyn Center, where the destruction was visible firsthand, respondents (nearly all black men of various ages) overwhelmingly opposed rioting. An African-American man in an “Army Veteran” hat commented: “We’re human, and we want to be treated with respect,” but we also need to show “respect.”

A man in construction gear remarked: “I guarantee you the people that were looting, nine times out of 10, weren’t from this area. . . . If you feel the need to lash out, then don’t get mad when people, you know, address you as a looter or a rioter.”

A woman in a Black Lives Matter mask agreed: “These are two different things: We have protesters, and then we have rioters.”

The people of Brooklyn Center seemed to hold a pretty nuanced view about the difference between protest and destruction.

On the streets of Washington, on the other hand, support for riots among the capital’s bourgeoisie was almost universal. One young woman said that “if change needs to be made, and it’s not getting done in the traditional avenues, then rioting is a good option.”

All the Democrats had to do to get the black working class that voted for Trump in two-generationi-high numbers back in the fold was not be crazy.

They just can’t do it.

Chum

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Andrew McCarthy writing at National Review says the Chauvin jury was correct to convict him, not based on anything reported in the media or introduced as evidence at trial or the pervasive atmosphere of intimidation, but because the conviction means Chauvin is a bad cop and that exonerates the rest of society from the charge of systemic racism. 

Sacrificing a victim to the mob is shameful.  Twisting your shameful act to pretend it’s all for the greater good is disgusting.  But I expect nothing less from a Never-Trumper. 

Joe Doakes

It’s the sort of rationalization I expect from someone who spent way too much time in the prosecution industry.