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"Never Seen Anything Like It": Los Angeles Residents Stunned As Violent Crimes Creep Into Wealthier Communities

'Never Seen Anything Like It': Los Angeles Residents Stunned As Violent Crimes Creep Into Wealthier Communities After two years of rising crime in Los Angeles, residents of upscale neighborhoods are finally starting to freak out after a spate of 'flash mob' lootings at high-end retail stores have been accompanied with a disturbing increase in violent crimes committed in the suburbs, according to the LA Times. Private security officers guard the Beverly Hills home where Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music producer Clarence Avant, was shot and killed Wednesday. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)   Crews of burglars publicly smashing their way into Los Angeles’ most exclusive stores. Robbers following their victims, including a star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and a BET host, to their residences. And this week, the fatal shooting of 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant, an admired philanthropist and wife of music legend Clarence Avant, in her Beverly Hills home. ...these incidents have sparked a national conversation and led to local concern about both the crimes themselves and where the outrage over the violence will lead. "The fact that this has happened, her being shot and killed in her own home, after giving, sharing, and caring for 81 years has shaken the laws of the Universe," said Oprah Winfrey, expressing grief over Avant's killing via Twitter. "The world is upside down." The Times notes that while overall crime rates within Los Angeles remain far below the notoriously violent 1990s, much of it has been concentrated in poor communities - so it receives virtually no attention. Now that crime has "crept up in wealthier enclaves and thrust its way to the center of public discourse" across the city. Turning point? In 2020, polls showed that California voters largely supported criminal justice reform, as well as rolling back tough sentencing laws to reduce prison populations without nary a thought to how it might affect the crime rate. Now, those concerned about crime and blame liberal policies for its rise are growing more vocal. For others, it's been a serious wake-up call. "I have never seen anything like it," said Dominick DeLuca, owner of the Brooklyn Projects skateboard shop on Melrose Avenue where burglaries and robberies have seen a sharp enough spike in recent months that he's now carrying a gun to work. "In the last two years, I have been broken into three times." On Thursday, Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Michael Moore advocated for locking offenders up, and questioned several pandemic-related policies that put nonviolent arrestees back on the street without bail. Moore said arrests had been made in several high-profile “smash-and-grab” burglaries but lamented that the suspects had all been released pending trial. Garcetti said warehousing criminals in jails without rehabilitating them is not a solution, but neither is ceding the streets to repeat offenders. Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, whose progressive policies around prosecution and sentencing many blame for the uptick in crime, was notably absent at the press conference but said through his office that he is working closely with law enforcement partners to hold perpetrators accountable for such brazen crimes. -LA Times According to LAPD data through Nov. 27, property crime is up 2.6% YoY, but is down 6t.6% from 2019, while robberies are up 3.9% YoY and down 13.6% from 2019. Burglaries are down 8.4% from last year and 7.7% from 2019. Car thefts, meanwhile, are up nearly 53% vs. 2019. The difference? Rich people are now getting hit, so officials are officially concerned. What's more, violent crime is way up - with homicides jumping 46.7% and shootings up 51.4% vs. 2019. As of the end of last month, there were 359 homicides year-to-date, compared with 355 in all of 2020. That said 2008 was LA's deadliest year with 384 homicides. Read the rest of the report here. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/04/2021 - 20:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 4th, 2021

Greenwald: Democrats Are Profoundly Committed To Criminal Justice Reform... For Everyone But Their Enemies

Greenwald: Democrats Are Profoundly Committed To Criminal Justice Reform... For Everyone But Their Enemies Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com, The 2020 protest movement that erupted after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha became one of the most sustained and consequential in modern U.S. history. Though there seems to be a somewhat bizarre effort underway by its advocates to insist that this movement accomplished nothing — why are some claiming that radical cultural and political changes are happening? — it is demonstrably true that, as intended, that the movement transformed discourse and policy around multiple issues from race, to policing, to gender identity, to the teaching of history, and fostered an ongoing effort for still-greater changes. Kyle Rittenhouse makes his way back to the stand to testify during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 10, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He faces counts of felony homicide and felony attempted homicide. (Photo by Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images) The issues raised by that movement were varied and often shifting: though it was catalyzed by the claim that the U.S. is swamped with racist police brutality as illustrated by the Floyd and Blake cases, it quickly metastasized into other areas far removed from those two cases. White Antifa members clashed with Black protesters over the attempt to steer or broaden the movement away from a narrow focus on racist police brutality into one devoted to generalized insurrectionary anarchy. One of the largest and most densely packed gatherings was a spontaneous march, at the height of the COVID pandemic, in Brooklyn, where ten thousand people paid homage to the importance of "black trans lives,” a cause whose relationship to the Floyd and Blake cases was tenuous at best. Institutional changes regarding gender identity were quickly adopted by the corporations and security state institutions that lent their support, however cynically, to this growing movement. But one constant focus of this movement has been the need for sweeping criminal justice reform. Americans were introduced to the slogan "Defund the Police,” with some activists making clear they meant that literally, while leading progressives in Congress chanted along. Prison abolition and the evils of "the "carceral state” became mainstream progressive positions. Last May, The New Yorker heralded what it called “The Emerging Movement for Police and Prison Abolition,” noting that while some activists merely want incremental reform, for many these events "confirmed that the institution of policing should be abolished completely. In the past year or two, propositions to defund or abolish the police and prisons have travelled from incarcerated-activist networks and academic conferences and scholarship into mainstream conversations.” So mainstream did these once-fringe criminal justice reform proposals become that large cities began presenting proposals or referenda to defund the police and replace it with "public safety” alternatives (in most liberal cities where these proposals were presented to residents, including Minneapolis, they were rejected, including with large opposition from Black residents who, polling consistently shows, want the police in their communities). That the U.S. criminal justice system is far too punitive, thus becoming the largest prison state in the world by imposing far longer and harsher prison terms than most western or democratic countries, has been a long-standing view of criminal justice reform advocates (I wrote a 2011 book with that as one of its primary themes). But prior to the 2020 protest movement, that view had largely been confined to the fringes, rarely able to overtake the decades-old harsh law-and-order framework which the GOP began championing in the 1960s with Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, joined in the 1990s by Democrats such as Bill Clinton and Joe Biden. But after this 2020 protest movement, all of that changed. That radical reform was needed to both policing and the criminal justice system — to make the "carceral state” far less punitive and sprawling — became the mainstream view, practically the obligatory view, in Democratic Party politics. One of the most centrist corporatists in the House Democratic Caucus is the former corporate lawyer Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the fourth-ranking member of House Democratic leadership and one of the leading candidates, if not the leading one, to replace Nancy Pelosi when she finally abandons her position as House Democratic leader. Despite his careful centrist image, Jeffries, in mid-2020, began advocating slogans which, just months earlier, had been confined to more radical precincts of academic and leftist activism: Yet a profound dilemma is visible from the momentum of this movement: a large bulk of liberal politics is driven by precisely the opposite impulses. The most loyal Democratic partisans are frequently venerating prosecutors, advocating for harsh criminal punishments, championing punitive theories of criminal law that have long been rejected by liberal jurists and, above all else, often demanding the longest and harshest punishments in "the carceral state” for a large group of people. Why are so many Democrats simultaneously chanting radical criminal reform slogans to abolish or greatly reduce the police and the prison state while simultaneously demanding harsh prison terms for so many people under the classic law-and-order ideology they claim to oppose? The answer is clear: Democrats believe that the only real criminals, or at least the worst ones, are those who reject their political ideology and are their political adversaries. And thus, while they work with one hand to usher in radical reforms to the policing and prison state, they work with the other to concoct theories to justify the long-term imprisonment of their political opponents, even when their alleged crimes involve no violence. This internal contradiction in Democratic politics was vividly illustrated by the fact that — though they will now deny it — the most revered and admired figure over the last five years in liberal politics was Robert Mueller, named in 2001 by George W. Bush to be FBI Director and then in 2017 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be Special Counsel investigating Russiagate. Liberals did not even bother hiding their glee at the prospect that Mueller was coming to arrest and imprison as many of their political adversaries as possible. They sung songs in his honor and danced to their fantasies about the next convictions. Every indictment was cheered, every prosecution applauded, every punishment lamented for being insufficiently harsh, as their favorite cable channels were filled to the brim with the very life-long federal prosecutors their ideology ostensibly opposed. Throughout the Trump years, Democratic politics was driven at its core by a bloodlust to imprison Trump, his family, his aides and his supporters for as long and as harshly as possible. Cravings for punishment and prison, at its core, was what drove the arousal of Russiagate. To accomplish this, they often championed the exact theories of criminal justice which liberal jurists had long warned were abusive and even unconstitutional. Few convictions excited them as much as the one obtained by Mueller against former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whose grave crime was lying to the FBI by falsely denying that he had spoken to a Russian official about foreign policy during the transition, weeks before he was to assume his White House job. The most admired liberal judges, such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens, had long argued that lying to the FBI in the way Flynn did should not even be a crime at all, that making it one was a violation of the constitutional right against self-incrimination and bestowed the FBI with the power to turn citizens into criminals through entrapment. But no matter: Flynn was a Trump supporter, and therefore they were thrilled he was prosecuted and outraged he spent no time in prison. Then there is Julian Assange, who has been effectively detained for a decade and confined to a harsh high-security British prison for two years on charges that he committed “espionage” by publishing authentic documents in 2010 that exposed crimes by the U.S. Government. As someone who has long reported on WikiLeaks and advocated for Assange's rights, I vividly recall how much support there was for him back then on the liberal-left. Yet virtually all of that support disappeared in 2016, when he committed the real crime that caused Democrats and liberals to hate him and want him in prison: namely, he published true and publicly relevant documents that reflected poorly on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. As a result of the political impact of Assange's work, there is little opposition to his prosecution among Democrats and a great deal of glee over his imprisonment, despite the consensus view from press freedom and civil liberties groups that the prosecution of Assange poses the greatest threat to press freedoms in years, and despite its reliance on dangerously broad interpretations of what the wildly authoritarian 1917 Espionage Age encompasses. Here one finds the same dynamic: Democrats believe that the gravest crimes, the only ones that merit harsh prison, are not murder, rape or assault but political and ideological opposition to their leaders, the only real crime which Assange committed in their eyes. Indeed, the only thing that changed from 2013, when Democrats cheered the Obama DOJ for not indicting Assange, to 2021, when Democrats applaud the Biden DOJ for aggressively prosecuting him is that, in the interim he engaged in journalistic and political activity that harmed Democrats. Thus, they are itching to see him spend years longer if not decades more in the harsh carceral state which, in other circumstances, they pretend to oppose. Like Trump officials, Assange harmed the political interests of Democrats, and thus the harshest state punishments are warranted. The most protracted thirst for harsh criminal punishment from Democrats has been directed at those who participated in the protest-turned-riot at the Capitol on January 6. Of the more than six hundred people charged with crimes in connection with that riot, only a minority are accused of using violence of any kind. In other words, the majority of 1/6 defendants are accused of non-violent crimes. While few object to prison terms for people who used violence as part of that riot (even though many progressives do object to long prison terms for those who used violence as part of the 2020 protest movement), a large number of non-violent protesters face serious felony charges and lengthy prison terms. That non-violent protesters should not be imprisoned is foundational… To read the rest, click here to subscribe Tyler Durden Thu, 11/11/2021 - 18:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 11th, 2021

The Age Of Intolerance: Cancel Culture"s War On Free Speech

The Age Of Intolerance: Cancel Culture's War On Free Speech Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners.” - George Carlin Cancel culture - political correctness amped up on steroids, the self-righteousness of a narcissistic age, and a mass-marketed pseudo-morality that is little more than fascism disguised as tolerance - has shifted us into an Age of Intolerance, policed by techno-censors, social media bullies, and government watchdogs. Everything is now fair game for censorship if it can be construed as hateful, hurtful, bigoted or offensive provided that it runs counter to the established viewpoint. In this way, the most controversial issues of our day—race, religion, sex, sexuality, politics, science, health, government corruption, police brutality, etc.—have become battlegrounds for those who claim to believe in freedom of speech but only when it favors the views and positions they support. “Free speech for me but not for thee” is how my good friend and free speech purist Nat Hentoff used to sum up this double standard. This tendency to censor, silence, delete, label as “hateful,” and demonize viewpoints that run counter to the cultural elite is being embraced with a near-fanatical zealotry by a cult-like establishment that values conformity and group-think over individuality. For instance, are you skeptical about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines? Do you have concerns about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election? Do you subscribe to religious beliefs that shape your views on sexuality, marriage and gender? Do you, deliberately or inadvertently, engage in misgendering (identifying a person’s gender incorrectly) or deadnaming (using the wrong pronouns or birth name for a transgender person)? Say yes to any of those questions and then dare to voice those views in anything louder than a whisper and you might find yourself suspended on Twitter, shut out of Facebook, and banned across various social media platforms. This authoritarian intolerance masquerading as tolerance, civility and love (what comedian George Carlin referred to as “fascism pretending to be manners”) is the end result of a politically correct culture that has become radicalized, institutionalized and tyrannical. In the past few years, for example, prominent social media voices have been censored, silenced and made to disappear from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for voicing ideas that were deemed politically incorrect, hateful, dangerous or conspiratorial. Most recently, Twitter suspended conservative podcaster Matt Walsh for violating its hate speech policy by sharing his views about transgendered individuals. “The greatest female Jeopardy champion of all time is a man. The top female college swimmer is a man. The first female four star admiral in the Public Health Service is a man. Men have dominated female high school track and the female MMA circuit. The patriarchy wins in the end,” Walsh tweeted on Dec. 30, 2021. J.K. Rowling, author of the popular Harry Potter series, has found herself denounced as transphobic and widely shunned for daring to criticize efforts by transgender activists to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender. Rowling’s essay explaining her views is a powerful, articulate, well-researched piece that not only stresses the importance of free speech and women’s rights while denouncing efforts by trans activists to demonize those who subscribe to “wrongthink,” but also recognizes that while the struggle over gender dysmorphia is real, concerns about safeguarding natal women and girls from abuse are also legitimate. Ironically enough, Rowling’s shunning included literal book burning. Yet as Ray Bradbury once warned, “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.” Indeed, the First Amendment is going up in flames before our eyes, but those first sparks were lit long ago and have been fed by intolerance all along the political spectrum. Consider some of the kinds of speech being targeted for censorship or outright elimination. Offensive, politically incorrect and “unsafe” speech: Political correctness has resulted in the chilling of free speech and a growing hostility to those who exercise their rights to speak freely. Where this has become painfully evident is on college campuses, which have become hotbeds of student-led censorship, trigger warnings, microaggressions, and “red light” speech policies targeting anything that might cause someone to feel uncomfortable, unsafe or offended. Bullying, intimidating speech: Warning that “school bullies become tomorrow’s hate crimes defendants,” the Justice Department has led the way in urging schools to curtail bullying, going so far as to classify “teasing” as a form of “bullying,” and “rude” or “hurtful” “text messages” as “cyberbullying.” Hateful speech: Hate speech—speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation—is the primary candidate for online censorship. Corporate internet giants Google, Twitter and Facebook continue to re-define what kinds of speech will be permitted online and what will be deleted. Dangerous, anti-government speech: As part of its ongoing war on “extremism,” the government has partnered with the tech industry to counter online “propaganda” by terrorists hoping to recruit support or plan attacks. In this way, anyone who criticizes the government online can be considered an extremist and will have their content reported to government agencies for further investigation or deleted. In fact, the Justice Department is planning to form a new domestic terrorism unit to ferret out individuals “who seek to commit violent criminal acts in furtherance of domestic social or political goals.” What this will mean is more surveillance, more pre-crime programs, and more targeting of individuals whose speech may qualify as “dangerous.” The upshot of all of this editing, parsing, banning and silencing is the emergence of a new language, what George Orwell referred to as Newspeak, which places the power to control language in the hands of the totalitarian state. Under such a system, language becomes a weapon to change the way people think by changing the words they use. The end result is mind control and a sleepwalking populace. In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind lest they find themselves ostracized or placed under surveillance. Even when the motives behind this rigidly calibrated reorientation of societal language appear well-intentioned—discouraging racism, condemning violence, denouncing discrimination and hatred—inevitably, the end result is the same: intolerance, indoctrination and infantilism. The social shunning favored by activists and corporations borrows heavily from the mind control tactics used by authoritarian cults as a means of controlling its members. As Dr. Steven Hassan writes in Psychology Today: “By ordering members to be cut off, they can no longer participate. Information and sharing of thoughts, feelings, and experiences are stifled. Thought-stopping and use of loaded terms keep a person constrained into a black-and-white, all-or-nothing world. This controls members through fear and guilt.” This mind control can take many forms, but the end result is an enslaved, compliant populace incapable of challenging tyranny. As Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, once observed, “We’re developing a new citizenry, one that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won’t be able to think.” The problem as I see it is that we’ve allowed ourselves to be persuaded that we need someone else to think and speak for us. And we’ve bought into the idea that we need the government and its corporate partners to shield us from that which is ugly or upsetting or mean. The result is a society in which we’ve stopped debating among ourselves, stopped thinking for ourselves, and stopped believing that we can fix our own problems and resolve our own differences. In short, we have reduced ourselves to a largely silent, passive, polarized populace incapable of working through our own problems and reliant on the government to protect us from our fears. As Nat Hentoff, that inveterate champion of the First Amendment, once observed, “The quintessential difference between a free nation, as we profess to be, and a totalitarian state, is that here everyone, including a foe of democracy, has the right to speak his mind.” What this means is opening the door to more speech not less, even if that speech is offensive to some. Understanding that freedom for those in the unpopular minority constitutes the ultimate tolerance in a free society, James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, fought for a First Amendment that protected the “minority” against the majority, ensuring that even in the face of overwhelming pressure, a minority of one—even one who espouses distasteful viewpoints—would still have the right to speak freely, pray freely, assemble freely, challenge the government freely, and broadcast his views in the press freely. We haven’t done ourselves—or the nation—any favors by becoming so fearfully polite, careful to avoid offense, and largely unwilling to be labeled intolerant, hateful or closed-minded that we’ve eliminated words, phrases and symbols from public discourse. We have allowed our fears—fear for our safety, fear of each other, fear of being labeled racist or hateful or prejudiced, etc.—to trump our freedom of speech and muzzle us far more effectively than any government edict could. Ultimately the war on free speech—and that’s exactly what it is: a war being waged by Americans against other Americans—is a war that is driven by fear. By bottling up dissent, we have created a pressure cooker of stifled misery and discontent that is now bubbling over and fomenting even more hate, distrust and paranoia among portions of the populace. By muzzling free speech, we are contributing to a growing underclass of Americans who are being told that they can’t take part in American public life unless they “fit in.” The First Amendment is a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world. When there is no steam valve to release the pressure, frustration builds, anger grows, and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation. Be warned: whatever we tolerate now—whatever we turn a blind eye to—whatever we rationalize when it is inflicted on others will eventually come back to imprison us, one and all. Eventually, “we the people” will be the ones in the crosshairs. At some point or another, depending on how the government and its corporate allies define what constitutes “hate” or “extremism, “we the people” might all be considered guilty of some thought crime or other. When that time comes, there may be no one left to speak out or speak up in our defense. After all, it’s a slippery slope from censoring so-called illegitimate ideas to silencing truth. Eventually, as George Orwell predicted, telling the truth will become a revolutionary act. We are on a fast-moving trajectory. In other words, whatever powers you allow the government and its corporate operatives to claim now, for the sake of the greater good or because you like or trust those in charge, will eventually be abused and used against you by tyrants of your own making. This is the tyranny of the majority against the minority marching in lockstep with technofascism. If Americans don’t vociferously defend the right of a minority of one to subscribe to, let alone voice, ideas and opinions that may be offensive, hateful, intolerant or merely different, then we’re going to soon find that we have no rights whatsoever (to speak, assemble, agree, disagree, protest, opt in, opt out, or forge our own paths as individuals). No matter what our numbers might be, no matter what our views might be, no matter what party we might belong to, it will not be long before “we the people” constitute a powerless minority in the eyes of a power-fueled fascist state driven to maintain its power at all costs. We are almost at that point now. Free speech is no longer free. On paper—at least according to the U.S. Constitution—we are technically free to speak. In reality, however, we are only as free to speak as a government official—or corporate entities such as Facebook, Google or YouTube—may allow. The steady, pervasive censorship creep that is being inflicted on us by corporate tech giants with the blessing of the powers-that-be threatens to bring about a restructuring of reality straight out of Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Truth polices speech and ensures that facts conform to whatever version of reality the government propagandists embrace. Orwell intended 1984 as a warning. Instead, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, it is being used as a dystopian instruction manual for socially engineering a populace that is compliant, conformist and obedient to Big Brother. The police state could not ask for a better citizenry than one that carries out its own censorship, spying and policing. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/12/2022 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 13th, 2022

Reddit Allows Hate Speech to Flourish in Its Global Forums, Moderators Say

Reddit moderators around the world say that racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, misinformation and personal threats are running rampant on the site When Reddit moderator asantos3 clicked on a thread inside the group r/Portugueses in December and found it full of racist comments, he wasn’t exactly surprised. The group is often home to nationalist and nativist rhetoric, and in this instance, users here were responding angrily to a new law that allowed increased freedom of movement between Portuguese-speaking countries including African nations like Mozambique and Angola. “Wonderful, more stupid Blacks to rob me in the street,” read one comment in Portuguese, which received 19 likes. “This Africanization of Portugal can only lead the country to a third-world backwardness,” read another. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] So, asantos3, who moderates the much larger and more mainstream group r/Portugal, quickly sent a report to Reddit staffers with a link to the thread. Within minutes, he received an automated response: “After investigating, we’ve found that the reported content doesn’t violate Reddit’s Content Policy.” The response was disappointing but predictable for asantos3, who has served as a volunteer content moderator for six years. As part of his duties, he deletes comments that contain racism, homophobia, sexism and other policy violations, and sends reports to Reddit about hate speech coming from smaller satellite groups like r/Portugeses. Asantos3 spoke on the condition that he would be identified only by his Reddit handle. He says his duties have led to him being doxxed—with personal details including his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles posted online— and threatened. And asantos3 says that the company itself has repeatedly ignored reports of harassment from him and other moderators. “We mostly stopped reporting stuff, because we don’t have feedback,” he says. “We have no idea if they read our reports, or if there are even Portuguese-speaking people in the company.” Reddit’s problem is a global one, say current and former moderators. Indian subreddits like r/chodi and r/DesiMeta include Islamophobic posts and calls for the genocide of Muslims. In subreddits about China like r/sino and r/genzedong, users attack Uyghurs and promote violence against them. And members of r/Portugueses regularly traffic in anti-Black, anti-Roma and anti-immigrant sentiment. READ MORE: The Subreddit /r/Collapse Has Become the Doomscrolling Capital of the Internet. Can Its Users Break Free? “Anything outside the anglosphere is pretty much ignored, to be honest,” 11th Dimension, a former moderator of r/Portugal who stepped down from his role due to burnout, says. “It’s hard to convey to the company what’s racist and what’s not when the admins are so far from the details and the cultural differences.” TIME spoke to 19 Reddit moderators around the world who shared similar stories and concerns about the San-Francisco-based company’s reluctance to control hate-speech in its non-English language forums. Nearly all of the moderators agreed to speak on the condition that their real names would not be published because they say they have received death threats and other attacks online for their work. This all-volunteer corps of moderators, of which there are at least tens of thousands, is only growing in importance for the company. Reddit announced in December that it intends to make an initial public offering of stock in 2022. The company was recently valued at $10 billion, is one of the 25 most visited websites in the world according to multiple trackers and has made its international expansion a key aspect of its post-IPO growth strategy. But some of its most devoted users—its unpaid moderators—argue that while the company aims to be the “front page of the internet,” it has not invested in the infrastructure to combat vile content that is rife on many of its non-English language pages. Reddit has acknowledged that its expansion to international markets makes policing its platform more difficult, and some moderators said the company has taken steps in recent months to correct the longstanding problems. “When we begin to open in non-English speaking countries, moderation does get more complex,” a Reddit spokesperson said in a statement to TIME. “We are investing now to build and hire for non-English capabilities and add support for more languages.” READ MORE: Facebook Let an Islamophobic Conspiracy Theory Flourish in India Despite Employees’ Warnings These problems are not unique to Reddit. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have each struggled to contain hate speech and misinformation as they pushed into new markets around the world. Facebook groups and posts, for example, have been linked to real-world violence in India, the Philippines, Myanmar and other countries even as the platform spends billions of dollars a year on safety and security. This year, other Silicon Valley companies will be watching closely as Reddit embarks on a precarious balancing act: to gain legitimacy and generate revenue while retaining its freewheeling, decentralized structure. Can the company preserve free speech while protecting its users? And will its model of running a lean operation with few paid staffers allow it to adapt to the responsibilities of hosting growing, diverse communities around the world? More from TIME Many moderators and analysts are skeptical. “Reddit has very little incentive to do anything about problems [in subreddits] because they see them as a self-governing problem,” Adrienne Massanari, an associate professor at American University who has been studying Reddit for years and wrote a book on its communities, says. “They’re creating a very successful business model in pushing work to moderators and users, who have to be exposed to horrific stuff.” Using dog whistles to get around the rules Zach Gibson—Getty ImagesReddit Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman looks on during a hearing with the House Communications and Technology and House Commerce Subcommittees on Oct. 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. The hearing investigated measures to foster a healthier internet and protect consumers. Reddit, founded in 2005, is essentially a messaging board, but it could be compared to a high school extracurriculars fair. The site comprises hundreds of self-contained forums arranged by varied interests, from sports to makeup to art to pets. While many of these subreddits are innocuous, it’s no secret that Reddit has long been a haven for unseemly behavior. Reddit CEO, Steve Huffman, even explicitly stated in 2018 that racism was not against Reddit’s rules, elaborating that “on Reddit there will be people with beliefs different from your own, sometimes extremely so.” However, over the two years—following intense criticism rained down on the company over its hate speech and harassment policies, including in the wake of the murder of George Floyd—the company backed away from its original hands-off ethos and has been hard at work to clean up its communities and clamp down on noxious, racist behavior. Toxic communities like r/The_Donald have been banned; AI-powered tools aimed at curbing hate speech and abuse have been rolled out; backchannels between moderators and company employees have been established. READ MORE: Reddit Places a ‘Quarantine’ on The_Donald, Its Largest Community of Trump Supporters But many non-English moderators say that cleanup has not extended to the pages they monitor. R/India is one of the largest national subreddits, with 693,000 members. There, users will typically find a fairly tame mix of news links, memes and local photos. That’s partly down to the hard work of unpaid moderators to remove Islamophic content. A group of five r/India moderators, speaking to TIME over a Zoom call, say they can spend several hours a day actively responding to queries, removing hate speech and banning rogue accounts. (Old moderators approve the applications of new ones; the primary draws of the gig, according to moderators, are community-building and the ability to help shape a discourse.) One moderator for r/India has served in his role since 2011, when there was a more laissez-faire approach. Moderators soon realized that a hands-off moderation style “wasn’t working because it allowed the worst people to dominate the conversations,” he says. “There would be lots of people just saying things like ‘Muslims need to die.’” When moderators began to block these users, some would simply return with a new account and taunt them, creating an endless game of whack-a-mole. Moderators say they saw other users instead start or join offshoot groups that allowed more controversial posts. The largest of those r/India offshoots currently is r/Chodi, which was created in 2019 and has 90,000 members who create hundreds of posts a day. R/Chodi—which translates as a crude slang in Hindi—contains ample examples of far-right Hindu nationalism that often spills over into hate speech and sectarian bigotry. Dozens of posts a week denigrate Islam, often depicting Muslims as ignorant, violent or incestuous. “Poorer, dumber, breeding like rats. They’ve got it all,” one post says about Muslims in India, which is still online. “India needs to eliminate them before they rise up,” read another, which has since been deleted. (R/Chodi’s increased popularity has coincided with a steep rise in religious hate crimes in India.) As r/Chodi has faced criticism from communities like r/AgainstHateSpeech, the group’s own moderators have made efforts to halt the most overt examples of hate speech, including creating a list of banned words. But r/Chodi posters have simply turned to code words and increasingly slippery rhetoric, to get around the moderators and Reddit’s AI-driven natural language processing techniques, according to r/India moderators. Muslims are referred to using coded language such as “Abduls,” “Mull@s,” “K2as,” or, derisively, “Peace loving” people. Christians are referred to as “Xtians”; while Pakistan is called “Porkistan.” Reddit said in a statement that automation and machine learning “help moderators remove 99% of reported hateful content.” But, studies have shown that AI is far less powerful when working outside the language it was designed in. The moderators who spoke with TIME say they have tried to flag these alternative slurs to the Reddit administrators, paid employees who are largely based in the U.S., but have been mostly ignored. “I have tried to report these comments 20 or 30 times, easily,” a second r/India moderator says. “I’ve tried to collate these slurs and send them the translations, but it was never even replied to.” In a statement responding to the moderator’s claim, Reddit wrote that “harassment, bullying, and threats of violence or content that promotes hate based on identity or vulnerability” are prohibited on the platform and that they “review and work with communities that may engage in such behavior, including the subreddit in question.” Extremists around the world use code words in a way similar to the users of r/Chodi. The user DubTeeDub—who moderates r/AgainstHateSubreddits and wrote a widely shared open letter last year excoriating racism on the platform and demanding change—says that Reddit’s administrators have failed to keep up with racists’ constantly evolving dog whistles, such as Neo-Nazis putting Jewish names in triple parentheses to signal their identity. “It’s very clearly a white supremacist symbol, but the admins will just say, ‘that seems fine to me,’ and they’ll ignore it,” DubTeeDub, says. But the moderators of r/India feel that Reddit is not only allowing hate speech to spread on r/Chodi and other similar groups, but actively pushing users toward the group. They have found posts from r/Chodi within r/India itself, algorithmically suggested as “posts you may like” and giving the subreddit a veneer of tacit official approval. “These are very hateful subs, and we don’t want our subscribers going there,” a second r/India moderator says. “They can discover them on their own, but that should not be happening from inside our sub.” Reddit’s volunteer moderators face threats The fraught interplay between r/India and r/Chodi is emblematic of cat-and-mouse games playing out in subreddits in other parts of the world, especially as far-right political groups amass power in many countries and gain legions of followers. In Portugal, r/Portugueses (6,900 members) is filled with anti-Roma and anti-Semitic rhetoric, homophobia, and racist depictions of Africans. “How is it possible for someone to want to see a place like this full of Africans, Brazilians, Indians and I don’t know what else?” posted one commenter alongside an idyllic illustration of a Portuguese town. A screenshot from the Reddit community r/Portugueses, which often includes anti-Black, anti-Roma and anti-immigrant sentiment. “How is it possible for someone to want to see a place like this full of Africans, Brazilians, Indians, and I don’t know what else?,” the caption reads in Portuguese. Concerned moderators have attempted to report these posts and, in turn, become targets of abuse. One of the most common tactics is for zealous users to band together and report moderators for invented reasons in an effort to get them suspended or banned by unsuspecting admins. DubTeeDub says these types of tactics have led to his suspension at least seven times. But the attacks often turn much more personal and vicious, as trolls dig up moderators’ personal information. Asantos3, the r/Portugal moderator, says he’s been stalked across LinkedIn and Instagram. One user offered Bitcoin to anyone who could find out his address. “It’s so weird, but some of these actions are so common that we kind of ignore them now,” he says. In Brazil, a São Paulo-based student and r/Brasil moderator who gave his name as Tet said he was threatened and doxxed when he and other moderators tried to crack down on the hate speech on r/Brasilivre (176,000 members), on which users post transphobia, anti-Black racism and homophobic slurs. “Stay smart because we’re watching you. Don’t think I’m the only one,” wrote one commenter in Portuguese. “I will find each one of you and kill you slowly.” Another user posted Tet’s address and personal Facebook account, writing, “Just let the hate flow and f— with them… bring trouble to their lives.” Neither of those posters have active accounts anymore, and Tet has since stopped moderating the subreddit partly due to burnout. Perhaps it’s not surprising that there’s a high level of fatigue among moderators, who are often forced to see the worst aspects of Reddit on a daily basis. One r/India moderator tells TIME that women are especially vulnerable to harassment. “I know female mods are regularly hounded, targeted, not given space: it’s not a place to identify as a woman,” he says. How Reddit can move forward Many other social media platforms are struggling to balance free speech ideals with the aggressive spread of hate speech and misinformation on their platforms. This fall, documents released by the whistleblower Frances Haugen showed that Facebook deprioritized efforts to curtail misinformation. In July, Black soccer players for England’s national team received torrents of racist abuse on Facebook and Twitter following the Euro 2021 Championship final, provoking British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to demand “the urgent need for action” from social media companies. In India, Facebook allowed Hindu extremists to operate openly on its platform for months, despite being banned by the platform. Facebook, in response to criticism, has pledged to bolster its safety team and resources: it has 40,000 employees working on safety and security alone. Reddit, similarly, is pledging to ramp up its efforts, although its team is skeletal in comparison. Over the last year, the company has expanded its workforce from 700 to 1,300. A Reddit spokesperson said that the company opened offices in Canada, the U.K., Australia and Germany, and would “continue to expand to other countries” in an effort to get closer to their global communities. Reddit created a Mod Council to receive feedback from moderators last year. It is also testing a new feature to give users more advanced blocking capabilities to limit the mobilizing power of extremists, harassers and bigots. In October 2021, the company posted a statement laying out statistics about its efforts toward “internationalizing safety,” and wrote, “The data largely shows that our content moderation is scaling and that international communities show healthy levels of reporting and moderation.” Many Reddit moderators feel the site’s system of using volunteer moderators is less healthy than the company suggests. “There are a lot of people who just move on,” Jonathan Deans, a Scotland-based moderator of r/worldnews, says. “They’re like, ‘I’m sick of doing this. We just remove hateful comments all day, and what do we get out of it? Not really anything.” Massanari, the American University professor, argues that Reddit’s problems will continue to worsen without a concerted internal effort. “Reddit’s defense has been, ‘If you ignore these spaces, they’ll go away,’” she says. “But the scholars and experts who have researched extremism and hate speech for years have clearly said that the more you allow that stuff to continue, you get more and more extreme versions of it.” “We take safety extremely seriously and are committed to continuously enhancing our policies and processes to ensure the safety of users and moderators on our platform,” Reddit said in a statement. “We are seeing some improvements in the prevalence of hateful content as a result of our efforts, and we will continue to invest in our safety capabilities as well as moderator tools and resources.” Ellen Pao, the former interim chief executive of Reddit and current CEO of Project Include, agrees that the company’s unpaid moderation model has severe limits. When she led the company in between 2014 and 2015, Pao made it a priority to take down revenge porn and unauthorized nude photos and to ban toxic communities like the fat-shaming community r/fatpeoplehate, which spurred a huge backlash from many of Reddit’s most active users. Pao says that Silicon Valley has historically sidelined efforts like these in favor of their bottom lines. “You have these platforms that were founded by white men, who do not experience the same levels of toxicity, harassment and harm themselves, so they don’t see or understand these problems and let them fester,” she says. “It’s something they’ve been able to ignore for a long time.” Pao says that hiring more people whose jobs involve confronting these issues is the first step. “If you really care about your users, and if you really want to prevent harassment and harm, then why wouldn’t you take on those roles yourself?” she says. Back in Portugal, the moderator asantos3 is still spending his free time trying to clean up Portuguese-language subreddits. After receiving the automated message about the racist thread, he sent a frustrated note with more details to the Reddit’s staff administrators. This time, an admin wrote back—a rare occurrence in itself. But the note only reinforced the gap between him and the company: “I think some things may be getting lost in the translations here but am happy to take another look,” the admin wrote. “It would also help if you were able to explain a bit more directly how the linked article promotes hate.” Asantos3 responded with some details, and reported a few more comments in the thread, which asserted that the influx of Portuguese-speaking Africans would lead to “population replacement and genocide,” “kidnap and rape,” and “violent possessive monkey rage.” But he received the same automated brush-off and never heard back from a human. The whole thread, as of publication, is still online. “I’m feeling frustrated,” he said. “I guess it doesn’t matter at all.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 13th, 2022

Reuters Data Scientist Fired After Nuking BLM Narrative, Exposing "Significant Left-Wing Bias" In Reporting

Reuters Data Scientist Fired After Nuking BLM Narrative, Exposing 'Significant Left-Wing Bias' In Reporting On Tuesday, we republished a column from a journalist who resigned from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation because the network exhibited such extreme left-wing bias and propaganda that she couldn't be a part of it any longer. Today, bring you the story of Zac Kriegman, a former Reuters data scientist who was fired after performing a statistical analysis which refuted claims by Black Lives Matter, and spoke out against the company's culture of "diversity and inclusion" which unquestioningly celebrated the BLM narrative. As journalist Chris F. Rufo writes in City Journal: "Driven by what he called a “moral obligation” to speak out, Kriegman refused to celebrate unquestioningly the BLM narrative and his company’s “diversity and inclusion” programming; to the contrary, he argued that Reuters was exhibiting significant left-wing bias in the newsroom and that the ongoing BLM protests, riots, and calls to “defund the police” would wreak havoc on minority communities." Week after week, Kriegman felt increasingly disillusioned by the Thomson Reuters line. Finally, on the first Tuesday in May 2021, he posted a long, data-intensive critique of BLM’s and his company’s hypocrisy. He was sent to Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion for the chance to reform his thoughts. - He refused—so they fired him. -City Journal Kriegman, who has a bachelors in economics from Michigan, a JD from Harvard, and "years of experience with high-tech startups, a white-shoe law firm, and an econometrics research consultancy," spent six years at Thomson Reuters, where he rose through the ranks to spearhead the company's efforts on AI, machine learning, and advanced software engineering. By the time he was fired, he was the Director of Data Science, and lead a team which was in the process of implementing deep learning throughout the corporation. Following the death of George Floyd, Kriegman described Reuters as a "blue bubble" where "people were constantly celebrating Black Lives Matter, where it was assumed that everyone was on board." The company asked employees to participated in a "21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge," which promoted reparations, academic articles on critical race theory (on which Rufo has written extensively), and instructions on "how to be a better white person." The materials were both patronizing and 'outright racist,' writes Rufo. The Reuters workforce was told that their "black colleagues" are "confused and scared," and are barely able to show up to work. They allegedly felt pressured to "take the personal trauma we all know to be true and tuck it away to protect white people," who are unable to grasp the black experience because of their own whiteness. To right the wrongs of slavery and systemic oppression, white Reuters employees were told to let themselves get "called out" by minority colleagues, and then respond with "I believe you"; "I recognize that I have work to do"; "I apologize, I'm going to do better." Ultimately, white people are supposed to admit their complicity in systemic racism and repent for their collective guilt, because "White people built this system. White people control this system," according to a learning module from self-described "wypipologist" Michael Harriot. "It is white people who have tacitly agreed to perpetuate white supremacy throughout America’s history. It is you who must confront your racist friends, coworkers, and relatives. You have to cure your country of this disease. The sickness is not ours." Kriegman came to believe that the company’s “blue bubble” had created a significant bias in the company’s news reporting. “Reuters is not having the internal discussions about the facts and the research, and they’re not letting that shape how they present the news to people. I think they’ve adopted a perspective and they’re unwilling to examine that perspective, even internally, and that’s shaping everything that they write,” Kriegman said. Consequently, Reuters adopted a narrative that promotes a naïve, left-wing narrative about Black Lives Matter and fails to provide accurate context—which is particularly egregious because, unlike obviously left-leaning outlets such as the New York Times, Reuters has a reputation as a source of objective news reporting. A review of Reuters coverage over the spring and summer of 2020 confirms Kriegman’s interpretation. Though early articles covering the first days of the chaos in Minneapolis were straightforward about the violence—“Protests, looting erupt in Minneapolis over racially charged killing by police,” reads one headline—Reuters’s coverage eventually seemed like it had been processed to add ideology and euphemism. Beginning in the summer and continuing over the course of the year, the newswire’s reporting adopted the BLM narrative in substance and style. The stories framed the unrest as a “a new national reckoning about racial injustice” and described the protests as “mostly peaceful” or “largely peaceful,” despite widespread violence, looting, and crime. “More than 93% of recent demonstrations connected to Black Lives Matter were peaceful,” Reuters insisted, even as rioters caused up to $2 billion in property damage across the country. The company’s news reporters adopted the syntax of BLM activists. A May 8 story opened with the familiar “say their names” recitation, ignoring the fact that the first named individual, for example, had attacked a police officer, who was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing: “Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Freddie Gray. Their names are seared into Americans’ memories, egregious examples of lethal police violence that stirred protests and prompted big payouts to the victims’ families.” Even as Seattle’s infamous “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” descended into lawlessness and saw the brutal murder of two black teenagers, the newswire’s headlines downplayed the destruction, claiming that the Seattle protests were “diminished but not dismantled.” -City Journal According to Kriegman, Reuters 'data-based fact checks' were also biased - and always in favor of BLM interpretations. In one instance, the wire service's "special report" claimed that "a growing body of research supports the perception that police unfairly target Black Americans. They are more likely to be stopped, searched and arrested than their white compatriots. They also are more likely to be killed by police." Reuters dedicated just two short paragraphs to refute the viewpoint, which it quickly dismisses to continue advancing the pro-BLM argument. Reuters made an evidence-free claim that qualified immunity - which is protected by the Supreme Court - is "rooted in racism." The company also hosted a panel with left-wing pundits to discuss criminal reform, which ended up uncritically promoting such policies as "defund the police," and who suggested that "hundreds" of unjustified police killings of black men "fail to win victims any redress." As usual, no facts backed up their claims. The company’s data reporting consistently re-contextualized accurate information about racial violence and policing in order to align with Black Lives Matter rhetoric. In a “fact check” of a social media post that claimed whites are more likely to be killed by blacks than blacks are to be killed by whites, Reuters concedes that this is factually accurate but labels the post “misleading”—in part because it doesn’t show that police kill black people at a higher rate than their share of the overall population, a completely unrelated claim. Likewise, when President Donald Trump accurately pointed out that police officers kill “more white people” than black people each year, Reuters immediately published a story reframing the narrative. Though the report admitted that “half of people killed by police are white,” the writers pushed the line that “Black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate” and then used a quotation from the American Civil Liberties Union to paint the president as a “racist.” -City Journal "I did look through Reuters’s news, and it was concerning to me that a lot of the same issues that I was seeing in other media outlets seemed to be replicated in Reuters’s news, where they were reporting favorably about Black Lives Matter protests without giving any context to the claims that were being made at those protests [and] without giving any context about the ‘Ferguson effect’ and how police pulling back on their proactive policing has been pretty clearly linked to a dramatic increase in murders," Kriegman told Rufo. "At a certain point, it just feels like a moral obligation to speak out when something that’s having such a devastating impact is being celebrated so widely, especially in a news company where the perspective that’s celebrated is having such a big impact externally." Kriegman took two months off from Thomson Reuters to 'grapple with the statistical and ethical implications' of how the company was reporting on the BLM movement and related riots. While on leave, he embarked on a careful statistical investigation comparing BLM's claims on racism, violence and policing with hard evidence. The result: a 12,000-word essay, titled “BLM is Anti-Black Systemic Racism,” that called into question the entire sequence of claims by the Black Lives Matter movement and echoed by the Reuters news team. “I believe the Black Lives Matter (‘BLM’) movement arose out of a passionate desire to protect black people from racism and to move our whole society towards healing from a legacy of centuries of brutal oppression,” Kriegman wrote in the introduction. “Unfortunately, over the past few years I have grown more and more concerned about the damage that the movement is doing to many low-income black communities. I have avidly followed the research on the movement and its impacts, which has led me, inexorably, to the conclusion that the claim at the heart of the movement, that police more readily shoot black people, is false and likely responsible for thousands of black people being murdered in the most disadvantaged communities in the country.” Thomson Reuters, Kriegman continued, has a special obligation to “resist simplistic narratives that are not based in facts and evidence, especially when those narratives are having such a profoundly negative impact on minority or marginalized groups.” -City Journal The essay debunks three key claims of BLM activists and their media supporters. That police officers kill blacks disproportionately That law enforcement 'over-polices' black neighborhoods That policies such as "defund the police" will reduce violence. Rufo breaks down Kriegman's arguments:  First, Kriegman writes that the narrative about police officers systematically hunting and killing blacks is not supported by the evidence. “For instance, in 2020 there were 457 whites shot and killed by police, compared to 243 blacks. Of those, 24 of the whites killed were unarmed compared to 18 blacks,” he writes, citing the Washington Post database of police shootings. And though the number of blacks killed might be disproportionate compared with the percentage of blacks in the overall population, it is not disproportionate to the level of violent crime committed by black citizens. “Depending on the type of violent crime, whites either commit a slightly greater (non-fatal crimes) or slightly smaller (fatal, and serious non-fatal crimes) percentage of the total violent crime than blacks, but in all cases roughly in the same ballpark,” Kriegman writes. However, according to the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey data, “there are many more whites killed by police, even though whites account for a similar absolute number of violent offenders. Thus, if the number of potentially violent encounters with police reflects the violent crime rates, then the raw statistics suggest that there is actually a slight anti-white bias in police applications of lethal force.” To round out his case, Kriegman concludes with a study by Harvard’s Roland Fryer, which, according to Fryer, “didn’t find evidence for anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police use of force across all shootings, and, if anything, found anti-White disparities when controlling for race-specific crime.” Next, Kriegman takes up “over-policing.” Black Lives Matter activists and Reuters reporters had pushed the idea that police officers focus disproportionate attention on black neighborhoods and, because of deep-seated “racial bias,” are more likely to stop, search, and arrest black Americans “than their white compatriots.” While this might be true on its face, Kriegman writes, it misses the appropriate context: black neighborhoods are significantly more violent than white neighborhoods. If police want to reduce violent crime, they must spend more time in the places where violent crime occurs. Kriegman points out to his colleagues in Thomson Reuters’s Boston office that “the reason that police have more confrontations in predominantly black neighborhoods in Boston is because that is where the great bulk of violent crime is occurring,” with nearly all the annual murders happening in predominantly black neighborhoods such as Dorchester and Roxbury—far from the homes and offices of his colleagues in the professional-managerial class at Reuters. And Boston is hardly an outlier. According to Kriegman, the most rigorous statistical analyses demonstrate that violent-crime rates and policing are, in fact, highly correlated and proportionate. He quotes a Justice Department report which “found that for nonfatal violent crimes that victims said were reported to police, whites accounted for 48% of offenders and 46% of arrestees. Blacks accounted for 35% of offenders and 33% of arrestees. Asians accounted for 2% of offenders and 1% of arrestees. None of these differences between the percentage of offenders and the percentage of arrestees of a given race were statistically significant.” Finally, Kriegman addresses the policy implications of “de-policing.” Contrary to Reuters’s sometimes glowing coverage of the “defund the police” movement, Kriegman makes the case that de-policing, whether it occurs because of the “Ferguson Effect” or because of deliberate policy choices, has led to disaster for black communities. His argument, building on the work of City Journal’s Heather Mac Donald, follows this logic: after high-profile police-involved killings, such as those involving Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Black Lives Matter movement and the media have demonized police departments and caused many officers to reduce proactive policing measures and to pull back from situations out of fear that they might need to use force. The result, according to data from a range of academic literature, is an increase in crime and violence. Kriegman again cites Fryer, who concluded that the Ferguson Effect led to 900 excess murders in five cities he considered, and the University of Utah’s Paul G. Cassell, who found that the “Minneapolis Effect” led to 1,520 excess murders in the United States. Thus, BLM’s signature policy solution—“defund the police”—would likely lead to incredible carnage in black communities. -City Journal Instead of his essay winning hearts and minds at Reuters, where he hoped it would help his colleagues move beyond "the blue bubble" and see "how devastating Black Lives Matter has been to black communities," Reuters HR panicked and took down Kriegman's post. "I didn’t know what to expect going into it, but I expected the reaction to be intense," said Kriegman. "And it was." He says a "team of HR and communications professionals" were called in to manage the situation, which they told him they were "reviewing." When he asked multiple times about the company's decision to remove his essay, he was told that it was too "antagonistic" and "provocative," and that he needed to work with their head of diversity and inclusion, Cristina Juvier, if he wanted to pursue the matter further. Read the rest of the report here. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/06/2022 - 17:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 6th, 2022

Biden Accuses Trump Of Spinning "Web Of Lies" While Promising To "Defend Democracy" In Jan. 6 Speech

Biden Accuses Trump Of Spinning "Web Of Lies" While Promising To "Defend Democracy" In Jan. 6 Speech Update (0940ET): Just as expected, President Biden came out swinging in his speech Thursday morning, but still somehow missed the mark. Although he never mentioned Trump by name, the 79-year-old geriatric president tried his hardest to sound virile. "I will stand in the breach. I will defend this nation. And I will allow no one to put a dagger to the throat of American democracy," Biden announced. At this point, we're mostly surprised he managed to wake up this early. In its review of the speech, the NYT wondered if this is a preview of the kind of rhetoric Americans are likely to see heading into the midterms this fall - and 2024 just around the corner after that. The strategy worked for Dems in 2020, but has been less effective in the months since, as the electorate has focused mostly on surging inflation and COVID numbers, issues that directly impact most Americans. At one point, Biden proclaimed that his predecessor wasn't just "a former president but a defeated former president". He also blasted Trump for doing "nothing" for hours as the "assault" on the Capitol ground on. He also accused his main political rival of spinning a "web of lies" and for placing his own ego above protecting Democracy. At least one GOP senator, Lindsey Graham, accused Biden of brazenly politicizing the occasion. What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden. I wonder if the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan with al-Qaeda elements present, contrary to President Biden’s beliefs, are allowing this speech to be carried? — Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 6, 2022 * * * As President Biden attempts to squeeze as much political capital as he can out of the anniversary of the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol, the White House has informed the press that Biden intends to accuse his predecessor, President Trump, of having "singular responsibility" for the events of that day. The remarks come as the new AG Merrick Garland insists that anyone involved with that day's events will be prosecuted, whether they were present or not. We'll set aside the fact that the AG has stopped just short of openly calling for Americans to be persecuted for thought crimes, and focus on the matter at hand: that President Biden's sagging polling and twin devils of inflation and the current COVID surge have left him in a desperate position. In ten months, Americans will head to the polls in what's bound to be a closely watched midterm election. It's possible Democrats could lose both of their narrow Congressional majorities. To try and stop this from happening, Biden needs to try and scare Americans into remembering how bad the last guy was. And he intends to accomplish this with high-handed rhetoric about media lies and the "subversion" of Democracy. Biden is set to speak live from the Statuary Hall of the Capitol at 0900ET. Readers can watch live below: The Biden Team has already distributed select excerpts from the president's planned remarks to the media. In one quip, Biden exhorts Americans not to accept "political violence as the norm". "Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm? Are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people?” Biden will say in his speech, according to excerpts provided by the White House. “We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation." As Bloomberg points out in its coverage, Biden appears to be abandoning a strategy of not mentioning Trump directly. As his poll numbers continue to sag, Biden and his team are going to try "reengaging" with Trump (on a purely rhetorical basis) to see if this might help lift Biden's sagging approval rating. The day represents "a rhetorical opportunity" for Biden to change the narrative of his flailing presidency and "reorient" the conversation away from the disastrous handling of the COVID pandemic and toward something more politically useful for the Democrats. Speaking during yesterday's White House press briefing, Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted that Biden was "personally" affected by the events of Jan. 6. "It hit him personally", she said (though not as personally as it hit AOC, who infamously lied about the "rioters" threatening her during the "siege". Psaki also claimed Biden would be discussing "the truth" of what happened that day, while pushing back against "lies" and the "subversion" of American democracy. Biden's comments are part of a "day long" parade of speeches from top Democrats including - of course - Nancy Pelosi. The speeches will focus on the importance of "democracy" and dovetail with Biden's planned push to reject voter ID laws that are increasingly being implemented across the country at the state level. Pelosi, Biden and VP Kamala Harris will all speak at the Capitol (starting at 0900ET, as we noted above). After a morning of remarks, a House pro forma session will be held on the House floor at noon, with prayer, a statement from the chair and a moment of silence. At 1300ET, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden will moderate a conversation between historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham to "establish and preserve the narrative" of Jan. 6.  At 1430ET, members of Congress will reflect on Jan. 6, presided over by Representative Jason Crowe. A prayer vigil will be held at 1730ET. One person we won't be hearing from Thursday (thanks in part to the ongoing social media blackout): President Trump. He has cancelled a planned press conference at Mar a Lago at the urging of allies, according to Bloomberg. Although we wouldn't be surprised to hear something from him, perhaps in the form of a statement disseminated through one of his former aides, or  perhaps on Gettr. Both Pelosi and Schumer have released statements to mark the occasion: Pelosi's comments came in the form of a press release: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a singular message for Americans and the world on the eve of the anniversary of the horrific attack on the Capitol: “Democracy won.” In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, steps from where a mob loyal to Donald Trump laid siege to the building, Pelosi said it’s time for the country to turn to its “better angels,” draw from history and ensure a day like Jan. 6 never happens again. “Make no mistake, our democracy was on the brink of catastrophe,” Pelosi told the AP. “Democracy won that night,” she said. “These people, because of the courageous work of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police and others, they were deterred in their action to stop the peaceful transfer of power. They lost.” The speaker will lead Congress on Thursday in a day of remembrance at the Capitol, with President Joe Biden speaking in the morning, and historians and lawmakers sharing remembrances throughout the day — though few Republicans are expected to attend. The deadly insurrection stunned the country, and the world, as rioters ransacked the Capitol, some in hand-to-hand combat with police, after a defeated President Trump exhorted them to fight as Congress was certifying the Biden’s election. Pelosi said no one could have imagined a U.S. president calling for an insurrection, but there’s now an “enormous civic lesson learned as to what a president is capable of,” she said. “I think now people are alerted to the fact that there can be rogue presidents.” The California congresswoman, who made history 15 years ago as the first female speaker of the House -- and has become one of the most powerful leaders ever to have held the gavel -- said she bears “absolutely no sense of responsibility” for the current divisions in Congress, or the country. After having twice led the House to impeach Trump, she said her message to those who assaulted the Capitol — and the millions of Americans who backed Trump and may support him again — is that they were lied to. Countless court cases and investigations have shown no evidence of voter fraud that could have tipped the election, as he claims. “They may have thought that was right,” she said. ”But they were lied to by the president of the United States.” For that, she said, “he should be ashamed.” Sitting beneath a portrait of George Washington, Pelosi drew heavily on the founders’ vision for a country where Americans would have many differences but rely on common sense to resolve them. She drew on Abraham Lincoln’s time -- insisting on constructing the dome of the Capitol despite naysayers during the Civil War-- to keep the country together. “We cannot shirk our responsibility. We have the power and we have the responsibility and we will live up to that to keep our country together,” she said. “Let’s hope that we never elect a president who will incite an insurrection on the Congress of the United States.” Looking back on the night of Jan. 6 after the riot, Pelosi said she is most proud of the decision congressional leaders made, once the Capitol was cleared of the mob, to quickly return to certify the election results. She hopes to “soon” reopen the mostly shuttered Capitol -- a “symbol of democracy to the world,“ now closed longer than any other time in its history — once the coronavirus pandemic wanes and the physician’s office signals it is safe. And Pelosi urged Americans to look ahead, not back. “The future is America’s resilience, America’s greatness,” she said. “America will always prevail and that we will survive — even what we went through last year.” And here are Schumer's: Dear Colleague: As we approach the anniversary of the January 6 attack on our Capitol and our democracy, I am writing to follow up on my last Dear Colleague before Christmas, specifically to outline next steps on urgently-needed voting rights legislation. One year ago this week, we experienced great sorrow: mere hours after the dawn of a new Congress and a new Majority, our beloved Capitol was attacked. It was attacked in a naked attempt to derail our Republic’s most sacred tradition: the peaceful transfer of power. Domestic violent extremists sought to inflict chaos and violence. Fueled by conspiracy and the ravings of a vengeful former President, they sought to destroy our Republic. Our democracy held – for now. As we all are witnessing, the attacks on our democracy have not ceased. In fact, they have only accelerated. Much like the violent insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol nearly one year ago, Republican officials in states across the country have seized on the former president’s Big Lie about widespread voter fraud to enact anti-democratic legislation and seize control of typically non-partisan election administration functions. While these actions all proceed under the guise of so-called “election integrity”, the true aim couldn’t be more clear. They want to unwind the progress of our Union, restrict access to the ballot, silence the voices of millions of voters, and undermine free and fair elections. They wish to propagate the Big Lie perpetuated by the former president that our elections are not on the level. Make no mistake about it: this week Senate Democrats will make clear that what happened on January 6th and the one-sided, partisan actions being taken by Republican-led state legislatures across the country are directly linked, and we can and must take strong action to stop this antidemocratic march. Specifically, as we honor the brave Capitol police officers who defended us from those motivated by the Big Lie who tried to undo a fair and free election, Senate Democrats will continue to make the case for passing voting rights legislation to counter the Republican voter suppression and election nullification laws with the same anti-democratic motives born out of the Big Lie. Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness - an effort to delegitimize our election process, and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration – they will be the new norm. Given the urgency of the situation and imminence of the votes, we as Senate Democrats must urge the public in a variety of different ways to impress upon their Senators the importance of acting and reforming the Senate rules, if that becomes a perquisite for action to save our democracy. Our Caucus has fought back against these assaults, uniting behind comprehensive legislation that would address these threats to our democracy. Sadly, these common-sense solutions to defend our democracy have been repeatedly blocked by our Republican colleagues, who seem wholly uninterested in taking any meaningful steps to stem the rising tide of antidemocratic sentiment still being stoked by the former president today. In June, August, October, and once more in November, Republicans weaponized arcane Senate rules to prevent even a simple debate on how to protect our democracy. The Senate was designed to protect the political rights of the minority in the chamber, through the promise of debate and the opportunity to amend. But over the years, those rights have been warped and contorted to obstruct and embarrass the will of majority – something our Founders explicitly opposed. The constitution specified what measures demanded a supermajority – including impeachment or the ratification of treaties. But they explicitly rejected supermajority requirements for legislation, having learned firsthand of such a requirement’s defects under the Articles of Confederation. The weaponization of rules once meant to short-circuit obstruction have been hijacked to guarantee obstruction. We must ask ourselves: if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same? We must adapt. The Senate must evolve, like it has many times before. The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history. As former Senator Robert Byrd famously said, Senate Rules “must be changed to reflect changed circumstances.” Put more plainly by Senator Byrd, “Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past.” The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic. Over the coming weeks, the Senate will once again consider how to perfect this union and confront the historic challenges facing our democracy. We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us. But if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/06/2022 - 09:58.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 6th, 2022

The Truths We Dared Not Speak In 2021

The Truths We Dared Not Speak In 2021 Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com, As the long year of 2021 finally came to a close, there were a number of truths Americans on the Left found themselves privately acknowledging but unable to say in public for fear of doing damage to their political cause, their own reputations, or their sense of security. But as 2022 advances, it will become even more difficult to hide these truths.  Collusion, RIP No one wishes to speak of the “dossier” anymore. Everyone knows why: it was never a dossier. It was always a mishmash concoction of half-baked fantasies and outright lies, sloppily thrown together by the grifter and has-been ex-British spy and Trump hater, Christopher Steele—all in the pay of Hillary Clinton, the original architect of the collusion hoax.  Steele himself admitted that he had no sources or notes to substantiate his “research.” Most of those who had seeded the dossier around Washington now either agree it was fake, or “partially” false, or remain silent in embarrassment.  The perpetual NeverTrump revisionism is reduced to “The Russian Hoax Hoax,” in pathetic fashion suggesting Putin still colluded with Trump and such “collusion” is provable even without the dossier.  The logic is Orwellian: in 2017-2020 we heard, “But the dossier shows that ….” In 2020-2021 we heard, “Whoever said the dossier had anything to do with Russian collusion?”  The FBI—that in part used their paid informant Steele’s lies to birth FISA warrants—now disowns it. The entire 22-month, $40-million Mueller charade ended up in tragicomic style with Robert Mueller under oath denying he knew much of anything about either the purveyor of the dossier, Fusion GPS, or the dossier itself.  James Comey when asked about it and the investigations it spawned, on 245 occasions under oath claimed he lost his memory or had no knowledge of it.  The Russian collusion hoax will go down in history as one of the most shameful examples of Washington, D.C. mass hysteria, and of a concentrated effort to destroy an elected president, in modern American political history.  In the end, we always come back to where we started: Hillary Clinton.  She used the three firewalls of the Democratic National Committee, the Perkins Coie legal firm, and Fusion GPS, to pay Steele, a foreign national, likely barred by law from providing such dirt to a U.S. presidential campaign.  Steele then grabbed Clinton and FBI money, and in lazy fashion made a few calls to the now indicted Igor Danchenko, a Russian working in Washington, D.C. at the left-wing Brookings Institution, along with a Clinton crony Charles Dolan doing business in Moscow. Presto, Steele typed up their myths, in scary intelligence white-paper fashion, and passed them off as top-secret “Russian sources.” The dossier became the “proof” needed to show that Trump, in the words of former CIA director John Brennan, was “treasonous” or, as former Director of National Intelligence General (ret.) James Clapper alleged, was a “Russian asset.”  The Russian collusion hoax is now akin to Joe Biden’s cognitive decline; everyone knows it, but few bother to state the obvious—or rehash their now embarrassing earlier denials. When the Musical Chairs Music Stops  Everyone knows the government cannot keep running up astronomical annual deficits. It is piling up a near $30 trillion national debt, printing trillions of dollars—and hoping to keep inflation down to 7 percent per year. Everyone knows that, and no one wishes to talk, much less do anything, about it.  Instead, we simply will go on redistributing money, inflating the economy, and hoping that the middle classes are naïve enough to believe that their inflated paychecks outpace their greater inflationary costs that, in truth, have more than wiped out all their wage gains.  When the interest rate hikes invariably come—the longer we wait, the worse will be the reckoning—we will again know the stagflation of the 1970s and 1980s.  The only calculus the Democrats weigh is whether they can print their way to a semblance of normality through 2022, in hopes the helium-over-inflated economy blows up only after the elections.  Who knows, maybe then they can blame Joe Biden in 2023 for empowering them to wreck the economy and losing the Congress, as a way of arguing his clear cognitive decline suddenly warrants resignation.  Spiraling Crimes without Criminals  Almost every statistic related to violent crime is up. Smash-and-grab has reached tony places like Union Square in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, and Carmel by the Sea.  Car-jackings are endemic. Gun sales are booming—among terrified upscale white liberals.  An entire blame-the victim protocol emerges—drive your oldest car, dress down, hide your jewelry, hire security guards for your person and business—because mysteriously there are no victimizers, or at least none that can be mentioned.  The once popular, but now discredited BLM has been reduced to a caricature, arguing that such violent crimes are constructs created by white people to jail black people, that Jussie Smollett was innocent and a victim of racism, and that the Waukesha massacre was the apparent start of a needed “revolution.”  Everyone knows that defunding the police failed and dangerously so. The public accepts that the Soros DAs are both incompetent and sinister. People of all classes and races look at crime statistics. They watch internet videos. They compare firsthand experience with robbery, assault, and theft. And they surmise that young black males are disproportionately—in terms of their percentages in the population—responsible for much of the violent crime wave, from murders to car-jackings to smash-and-grab mass thefts. The more the media fails to print descriptions of suspects in criminal assaults, the more universities cavalierly violate the federal Clery Act by failing to provide their campus communities needed information about criminal suspects’ descriptions, and the more big-city mayors and district attorneys deny an epidemic of violent assault, the more the public knows that crime is even worse than what they hear, see, feel, and experience first-hand. The public also assumes that voicing the truth is deemed “racist” and thus will earn them a doxing or canceling—and so in Soviet-style keep quiet. We do not dare speak of disproportionate black perpetrators of hate crimes, rare interracial crimes, and the killing of police. Yet such silence does not hide the truth that cannot be quite smothered . In a recent op-ed, Heather Mac Donald estimated that “A police officer is about 400 times as likely to be killed by a black suspect as an unarmed black is to be killed by a police ­officer.”  So, we have a crime wave without criminals in the manner we had a SUV on autopilot without a driver that killed six and injured 62 in Waukesha.  Unofficially, the paradox plays out with the upscale blue-city suburbanite still with the BLM sign on his lawn but with a new 12-gauge under the bed, with the BLM hierarchs and their loud enablers living like Patrisse Cullors, Colin Kaepernick, or LeBron James in rich, mostly white areas, with ample walls and security fences and gates.  So, the year ended with a near record of black-on-black homicides, and a new record of lethal shootings—of police officers on duty.  Biden, A Robust 95?  Everyone knows that Biden may be chronologically 78, but mentally and physically he is at best 95 or more. People sense that he is failing at a geometric rate that makes his ability to last even another year “problematic.” But no one says much because the nation has never removed a president or, other than Richard Nixon, had a president resign.  The Left knows that they were on record from 2017-2020 with incessant 25th Amendment coup talk and went so low as to wheel out a Yale psychiatrist to claim Trump was crazy and needed an intervention removal. Their constant haranguing forced Trump to take the Montreal Cognitive Assessment—which he aced and which Joe Biden most assuredly will not take, nor will be encouraged to take.  Apparently, Biden’s handlers believe in the next three years he can imitate the last few months of Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, where the inactive president was kept incommunicado in bed while the wall of his family and close associates deluded the country and lied about Wilson’s true health condition.  Kamala Harris plays a bad Spiro Agnew. True, she is so incompetent that calls to ask Biden to step down resemble the early voices who asked the same of Nixon but were met with, “So you want Agnew?”  But unlike Agnew who resigned in disgrace after pleading nolo contendere to a single charge of tax evasion, Kamala Harris is in no legal jeopardy. And so, the idea of a “President Harris” who is not non compos mentis apparently is more frightening to the public than keeping Joe Biden who is non compos mentis. And thus, talk of Biden’s diminishing capacity always is interrupted by “So you want President Harris?”  In the end, we are left only with such ironies. The Left, which damned John McCain for selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate, is mute about the far less qualified Kamala Harris as an actual vice president. The matters of race and gender preferences that ensured the incompetent Harris her job are now transmogrified into matters of racism that supposedly explain the charges of her critics.  The Virus is Dead, But the Virus Will Never Die!  We all know the administration has little clue how to deal with COVID-19. We nod that it does and meanwhile scramble in “everyman for himself” fashion. Who wishes to say or admit that his own government has no idea how to stop the virus, but has a great number of ideas about how to weaponize it for political purposes? Now there are more dead from COVID-19 in Biden’s tenure than during Trump’s, despite well over 60 percent of the population being fully vaxxed and 2-years’ experience in treating the virus. A 2020-Biden would demand that 2021-Biden be charged with responsibility for well over 400,000 COVID-19 deaths on his watch and thus should resign.  Everyone knew Biden had no plan, at least not any different from what Trump was doing. His autopilot agenda was simply to claim ownership of the Warp Speed inoculations and assume that by March 2021 COVID was finally burning itself out as it bumped into too many people with prior natural or vaccinated immunity.  In Biden’s logic, nature and Trump had stopped COVID-19, but he would credit his own inaction and 90-day miracle leadership from Washington.  Now Biden is a sanctimonious, Oedipus-like figure, the deliverer who cannot stop the plague that in an eerie way exposes his existential flaws.  So, Delta and then Omicron arrived. Breakthrough cases accompanied both. Suddenly Biden was calling for the states to step up, given “there is no federal solution” to the crisis. He meant that vaccinations do not guarantee immunity from COVID infections anymore.  Masks and social distancing do not stop Omicron’s spread. There is no federal success in supplying easy testing and an array of therapeutics and medicines to the public.  Like the proverbial cranky “get off my grass” neighbor, an oblivious and irate Biden still ignores the shortage of tests, the value of therapeutics and natural immunity, and the reality of thousands of breakthrough infections—caught in his senility warp to croak on about “masks” and “vaccinations.” In 2020, Biden was attacking Trump as if he were acting under “The Articles of Confederation” in outsourcing authority to governors to adopt and manage the crisis as they saw best. In 2021 Biden was praising such Trumpist federalism as he renounced his former much ballyhooed federal authority when blasting Trump as an anti-Federalist who followed the Articles of Confederation.  In the end, Americans are in 2022 where they were at the beginning of the virus in March 2020: China has successfully hidden the origins of the COVID.  The WHO cannot be trusted.  The CDC, NIH, and NIAID are incompetent and politically weaponized.  The pharmaceutical industries see relief only in more multi-billion-dollar booster rollouts and $700-a-pill remedies. Dr. “I am the science” Fauci in cyclical fashion is on TV all day.  He claims on Tuesday that what he said on Monday needed updating, with the intention of saying on Wednesday that his correction on Tuesday was also wrong, while he awaits more bookings for Thursday’s clarifications—all the while damning the ignorant mob who disseminates supposedly false information.  The Year’s Ironies  At the end of this second terrible year, we are left only with ironies.  Vaccinations are a must for soldiers and federal employees, but no barrier to entry for 2 million illegal aliens (is breaking the law a way to avoid the mandate?).  If you are vaxxed, you are safe; but if your antibody level is even higher from natural immunity, you are not?  If you get COVID, you are on your own, given the government has no idea what affordable pill you should swallow or what protocol you should follow.  Social distancing and masks are vital—unless you go out on the street protesting in concert with BLM or are a California official dining at the French Laundry, or a liberal politician getting your hair done. Those Americans in 2020 who claimed their president was all too real, know now they voted in a president who is all too false.  Those Americans who thought up every conceivable legal and illegal way of forcing the hated Trump out of office are racking their brains in vain to use those talents to find just one way of easing out their beloved Joe Biden.  Those Americans, who love the free cash for staying home, fear that the money they got might help to explain why it is now less valuable.  Those Americans, who claimed moral superiority for their masks and three shots—and still got COVID—cannot decide whether they were lied to by Donald Trump, lied to by Joe Biden—or simply lied to themselves.  Those Americans who praised defunding the police and excused looting, arson, and violence are pondering whether it is better to renounce their idiocy, or to stay quiet and take one more carjacking, one more assault, or one more break-in—for the cause. Those Americans who applauded the disreputable efforts of Michael Avenatti, John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Robert Mueller, Adam Schiff, Christopher Steele, and Alexander Vindman to destroy Trump at all costs, got all they wanted—and thereby have all but destroyed the progressive cause, and likely made Donald Trump all the more powerful, the more so they sought to ruin him. Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022

San Francisco Mayor Finally Blasts "All The Bulls**t That"s Destroyed" The City, Demands More Money For Cops

San Francisco Mayor Finally Blasts "All The Bulls**t That's Destroyed" The City, Demands More Money For Cops Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, After Black Lives Matter protesters last year demanded that cities “Defund the Police,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed held a press conference to announce that her city would be one of the first to do exactly that. Breed announced $120 million in cuts to the budgets of both San Francisco’s police and sheriff's departments. A spokesperson for the police officers’ union warned the cuts "could impact our ability to respond to emergencies,” but the police chief assured the public that the cuts “will not diminish our ability to provide essential services." Yesterday, Breed reversed herself in dramatic fashion, announcing that she was making an emergency request to the city’s Board of Supervisors for more money for the police to support a crackdown on crime, including open air drug dealing, car break-ins, and retail theft. The plan contains much of what the California Peace Coalition, which Environmental Progress and I cofounded last spring, has been demanding, including in a series of protests by parents of homeless addicts, parents of children killed by fentanyl, and recovering addicts. San Francisco Mayor Breed and other San Francisco politicians have for years promised to crack down on drug dealing and crime, and things have only grown worse over, so skepticism is merited. Already, progressives in San Francisco have denounced Mayor Breed’s plan, which she announced with the support of just two members of the city’s 11 Board of Supervisors, and without the apparent support of the city’s District Attorney. But there’s good reason for hope. Breed's plan lays out big goals and makes very specific promises, including more funding for police. There will be a recall election next June of San Francisco’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin which many political experts believe will succeed. And the progressive Supervisor who represents the Tenderloin, the neighborhood with most of city’s open drug scene, is running for state assembly, creating a leadership vacuum and opportunity for Breed. More importantly, Breed’s speech has the potential to change the conversation about crime. Breed explicitly embraced “tough love,” which is a very different philosophy from Woke victimology, which divides the world into victims and oppressors and demands that victims, a category that includes street addicts and criminals, only be given things, from cash and clean needles to their own apartment with butler service, and not be held accountable for their actions. "I'm proud this city believes in giving people second chances,” said Breed. “Nevertheless, we also need there to be accountability when someone does break the law...Our compassion cannot be mistaken for weakness or indifference…. I was raised by my grandmother to believe in 'tough love,' in keeping your house in order, and we need that, now more than ever." Breed punctuated her emotional speech with an explitive. “It is time for the reign of criminals to end,” she said. “And it comes to an end when are more aggressive with law enforcement and less tolerant of all the bulls**t that has destroyed our city.” Why is that? What explains Breed’s 180 degree reversal in less than 18 months? And what will determine whether she keeps her promise? SF Mayor @LondonBreed has literally just called bullshit on progressive criminal justice reformers “It is time for the reign of criminals to end. It comes to an end when are more aggressive with law enforcement & less tolerant of all the BULLSHIT that has destroyed our city” pic.twitter.com/ewqheftUun — Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 14, 2021 Murder, Looting, and Drug Deaths The main reason for Breed’s turnabout is skyrocketing crime. A report released yesterday by San Francisco’s Public Policy Institute of California concluded that homicides increased in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco by 17% in 2021. Property crimes in those four cities rose 7% between 2020 and 2021, reaching 25,000 total in October. Two-thirds of increase is due to larcenies, mainly car break-ins (by 21%) and vehicle thefts (by 10%). PPIC stresses that property and violent crimes are lower than historic levels, but business leaders and residents have told me for two years that they often do not report many crimes. And the rate of arrest has declined significantly for many crimes. In 2019, 40% of all shoplifting reports resulted in arrest; in 2021, only 19% did. San Francisco’s progressive D.A. charged just 46% of theft arrests, a 16 point decline since he took office in 2020, and charged just 35% of petty theft arrests, a 23 point decline from two years ago. In November, San Francisco was the first of several progressive cities hit by smash-and-grab mobs of thieves, sometimes as many as 80 in a group. Video from the San Francisco looting of Louis Vuitton shows criminals walking casually out of the store, goods in hand. In response, many of San Francisco’s luxury stores in its Union Square shopping district boarded up their windows, making the area resemble a blighted neighborhood in Detroit, and embarrassing city leaders.  Meanwhile, San Francisco’s open drug scene contributed to three times more deaths from illicit drugs than covid last year, and has degraded the low-income historically black Tenderloin neighborhood. San Francisco could shut the open drug scene down like European cities did but has instead refused to mandate proven medical treatment to drug addicts. San Francisco’s progressive leaders have effectively been overseeing a radical social experiment, one that killed more African Americans last year alone than the entire Tuskegee syphilis experiment killed over 40 years. Breed has been personally impacted by addiction and crime. Both Breed’s sister and brother struggled with addiction while growing up in public housing in San Francisco. Her sister died of a drug overdose and her brother is in prison for armed robbery. “I am not for playing games with my life when it comes to politics,” she told an interviewer. “I’ve been in that community, working in the trenches, dealing with the public safety issues, dealing with those things because my people are the ones getting left behind at the end of the day.” But Breed also had to be pushed. In May, I helped Jacqui Berlinn, a mother of a homeless fentanyl addict, organize the first-ever protest of open drug dealing in the Tenderloin, which generated national and local headlines and local TV coverage. A few months later, Berlinn and I co-founded, with parents of children killed by fentanyl, recovering addicts, and community leaders, a new state-wide group, the California Peace Coalition, to demand the enforcement of laws against open drug dealing, mandatory treatment for addicts who break the law, and a state takeover of psychiatric and addiction care. Then, in early November, over 200 mostly poor and working class people in the Tenderloin protested a 161% increase in violence in the neighborhood between 2020 and 2021, and open drug dealing, in a march on City Hall. Part of their motivation was a brutal attack on an 11-year-old girl while she was walking to school. The day before, a 61-year-old man was shot while sitting in a donut shop. Two weeks later, a half a dozen gunmen fired 30 and 40 rounds at each other, sending bystanders running in chaos. Breed put their voices at the heart of her announcement. “Last week, I met with a group of families from the TL [Tenderloin],” she wrote. “I was told about drug dealers threatening grandmothers. About mid-day shootings near a park where a single mother brings her toddler after school. About assaults on the street…. We need to take back our Tenderloin.” The response to Breed’s remarks from parents and residents was overwhelmingly positive. “I can’t express how happy this makes me,” tweeted Berlinn. Tom Wolff, a formerly homeless drug addict who is on the city’s Drug Dealing Task Force, said, "I'm really happy to hear the mayor take a tougher approach on this. We can't arrest our way out of everything, but there needs to be some target specific enforcement." Michelle Tandler, a San Francisco native whose photos of boarded up Union Square stores went viral, said, “I've been observing Mayor Breed for many years now and have to say, I think this was her greatest speech to-date. Mayor Breed took a stand for what is right. I haven't seen her this impassioned since her inauguration a few years back.” Seizing the Momentum Breed’s speech puts pressure on progressive San Francisco supervisors and the District Attorney to shut down the open drug scene in the Tenderloin. When he ran for office in 2018, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin called “open-air drug use and drug sales… technically victimless crimes.” When Boudin announced that he was not going to prosecute street-level drug dealers he said it was because they are “themselves [are] victims of human trafficking.”  But, after the looting of Louis Vuitton, Boudin struck a more tough-on-crime tone. “I'm outraged by the looting in Union Square last night” Boudin tweeted. “We are seeing similar crimes across the country. I have a simple message: don't bring that noise to our City.” Stanford addiction expert @KeithNHumphreys describes the importance, and politics, of the promise by San Francisco Mayor @LondonBreed to shut down the open drug scene in the Tenderloin neighborhood, which kills addicts and is ruining the city. pic.twitter.com/yEhnTbbcpi — Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 15, 2021 But standing up for luxury stores is different from shutting down open drug scenes. “Boudin made a very strong statement after the [flash mob] theft of Louis Vuitton,” said Stanford addiction specialist Keith Humphreys. “But I want a DA who is the most worried about the poorest residents and less about Louis Vuitton.” Other politicians are responding to the crime wave. California Attorney General Rob Bonta promised “more resources” for investigating retail theft. And the Mayor of Oakland, which will have its highest homicides in nine years, has demanded more funding for the police, and asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to finally implement technology that would allow police to read license plates on state highways to catch criminals. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he viewed Breed’s announcement as vindication for what he has been advocating. “Californians are tolerant, but we don’t tolerate brazen crime and dangerous streets,” he said. ”It should not even be a question as to whether or not the open drug markets should be shut down — I’ve been saying for years: if you let people live and do drugs on the streets, you’re condemning them to die on the streets. I enforced this as Mayor of San Diego and it must be enforced throughout California.” Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, a former Republican running for California Attorney General as an independent, praised Breed and used her announcement to attack Attorney General Bonta as soft-on-crime. “Bravo to London Breed,” Schubert tweeted, “and her commitment to cracking down on crime and open air drug usage. Breed has laid out common sense strategies that Rob Bonta clearly disagrees with. San Franciscans deserve better than an Attorney General who won’t listen to local officials about common sense public safety measures.” Breed’s announcement come days after former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter attacked progressive District Attorney Larry Krasner for dismissing the city’s record high homicides, and several weeks after Seattle voters, of whom less than 10 percent voted for Donald Trump in 2020, elected a Republican as the city’s State Attorney in response to rising crime. “I don't think we can overestimate the influence of the city of Seattle voting 8% for Donald Trump one year ago and voting 55% for a Republican city attorney who had a law and order platform in this year’s election,” said Humphreys. Here’s former Philly Mayor @Michael_Nutter denouncing “white wokeness” and “white privilege” for resulting in more homicide and crime pic.twitter.com/05bLU1Tdqn — Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 14, 2021 In the end, shutting down the city’s open drug scenes is crucial to ending drug deaths and the chaos that plagues the city. “It is an entirely fixable problem,” said Humphreys, “as many cities have shown. There will still be drug use and addiction in San Francisco. But harm reduction requires closing down open air drug scenes. Every city in America has drug problems. They do not all have a drug scene like San Francisco.” Humphreys emphasized, as did the authors of a study of how five European cities closed open drug scenes, that coordination between homeless service providers and police officers is crucial. The head of one of them, Urban Alchemy, Lena Miller, said, in response to Breed’s announcement, “We are relieved. The problem wasn’t created overnight and solving it will take time. But we very happy and looking forward to everyone coming off the sidelines to solve this.” For Humphreys, citing the European model, “Harm reduction is not a fantasy about a drug-free society, which we're never going to have. It's trying to minimize the damage that drugs do. Closing down open drug markets is going to have huge gains for people, particularly in the Tenderloin, but more broadly in the city.” Breed announcement may help change how Americans think about drugs. While it may not be possible to halt drugs from coming into the U.S., it is possible to shut down open drug scenes, and mandate treatment for those who need it. “The public is wanting some action here and she's going to try to deliver it,” said Humphreys. “I think her announcement will resonate in some of these other cities, too, and give courage. I admire the mayor for taking a political risk on behalf of the least powerful people in the city.” *  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael's substack here Tyler Durden Thu, 12/16/2021 - 21:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 16th, 2021

House Republicans mocked Ilhan Omar"s bill to establish an envoy to combat Islamophobia worldwide

Republicans used the hearing to mock the Muslim lawmaker, and one proposed an amendment referencing a conspiracy theory about the congresswoman. Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota plays a voicemail containing an Islamophobic death threat at a press conference on Capitol Hill on November 30, 2021.Drew Angerer/Getty Images Republicans mocked a bill by Rep. Omar to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia worldwide. "How about those that are gay, you know, the LGBTQ community? That should be part of this bill," said one Republican. The vote comes as progressives call for Lauren Boebert to be punished for her Islamophobic comments. In the wake of Rep. Lauren Boebert's Islamophobic comments suggesting that Rep. Ilhan Omar was a suicide bomber, House Republicans spent much of a Thursday hearing mocking a bill put forth by the Muslim Minnesota congresswoman to combat Islamophobia worldwide."I have many Pennsylvania Dutch that feel that they're not treated properly," said Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania, sarcastically calling for their inclusion in Omar's anti-Islamophobia bill. "How about those that are gay, you know, the LGBTQ community? That should be part of this bill.""Let's keep going, you know, there are people that are overweight, and there are skinny kids that get picked on," Meuser added. "Why aren't they included in this as well?"—Jeremy Slevin (@jeremyslevin) December 9, 2021 Rep. Omar's bill, which she introduced in late October alongside Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, would require the State Department to establish a special envoy for monitoring and combating Islamophobia and is modeled after a similar position created in 2004 to combat anti-Semitism."For over a decade we have seen increasing incidents of violent Islamophobia both in the US and worldwide — from the genocide of the Rohingya in Burma, and Uyghurs in China, to the attacks on Muslim refugees in Canada and New Zealand," Rep. Schakowsky said at the time.Hate crimes against American Muslims saw a 17% spike in 2017, when then-President Trump imposed a travel ban most focused on majority-Muslim nations.The bill ultimately passed the House Foreign Relations Committee on Friday, with every Democrat voting in favor and every Republican opposed, and is expected to head to a full House vote on Tuesday. Democratic leadership is reportedly considering a vote on the bill as way to respond to the Boebert controversy, even as progressive lawmakers have introduced a resolution to strip Boebert of her committees.House Republican leaders, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, have declined to forcefully condemn Boebert's Islamophobic rhetoric or take any meaningful action against her.Omar spoke tearfully about the experience at a November 30 press conference, playing a threatening, Islamophobic voicemail that she received after a phone call with Boebert went awry.'Shameful and embarrassing'On Thursday evening, Republicans used both proposed amendments to Omar's bill and comments during the hearing to mock both the bill and Omar herself, in addition to downplaying Islamophobia.Republican Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio, who accidentally posted an image from an anti-Semitic website in 2017, said that Omar's bill would "trivialize" anti-Semitism, given the existence of another State Department post to combat that form of bigotry. "We should avoid such a dangerous false equivalency at all costs, as it could be used by some extremists to actually justify further anti-Semitic activity," said Chabot.Republican Rep. Brian Mast said that he believed the bill, which is focused on acts of violence against Muslim populations abroad, was about targeting those who had "hurt somebody's feelings.""If you ask 20 different people what Islamophobia means today, especially in the Democratic Party, you're going to get 20 different answers," said the Florida Republican. "And that answer is going to be what they decide best fits their political narrative to go out there and attack you."And Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Ohio offered an amendment to specify that it "shall not be considered Islamophobia for an individual to criticize a brother marrying a sister for the purpose of committing immigration fraud in the United States," an apparent reference to long-standing right-wing conspiracy theories about the congresswoman.As of publication time, the amendment was no longer available on the House Foreign Relations Committee website and was presumably withdrawn. Rep. Buck's office did not respond to Insider's request for comment.The text of Rep. Buck's amendment to Rep. Omar's bill.Screenshot/House Foreign Relations CommitteeBut other amendments by Buck, including one mentioning female genital mutilation, remained online. Another amendment offered by Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania sought to exclude "any action (to include counter-terrorism measures) taken by the Israeli Government" from the bill.In a statement to Insider, Omar condemned Republican behavior during the hearing."It is shameful and embarrassing that the Republican Party's response to blatant Islamophobia and incitement of violence is to double down on anti-Muslim rhetoric," she said. "Instead of engaging in a good faith discussion on how to address the rise of Islamophobic violence, Republicans engaged in ad hominem attacks, belittled Muslims, and minimized the pain of Muslim communities around the world."And Democrats on the committee sought to defend Omar's bill."One reason the United States is doing a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in China is because China's engaging in a genocide of Muslims, of the Uyghurs, because of their religion," said Rep. Ted Lieu of California. "The Rohingya in Burma were slaughtered because they were Muslims."He also called attention to Boebert's Islamophobic remarks."We had a congressmember from the Republican Party joke about a congressmember in the Democratic Party, that somehow she was a terrorist simply because of a religion," Lieu said. "That's Islamophobia."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 10th, 2021

88% Of Black Marylanders Support Governor"s Plan To "Re-Fund The Police"  

88% Of Black Marylanders Support Governor's Plan To 'Re-Fund The Police'   Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan recently announced a $150 million proposal to "re-fund the police" despite state Democrats denouncing the move as "divisive" and "misguided." But who cares what Democrats think, and let's focus on the people of Baltimore City who may experience one of the most murderous years on record. We want to hear what they think about the governor's proposal.  According to internal polling obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, an astonishing 88% of black voters support Hogan's plan to increase police funding. The poll was conducted by an outside group with relations to Hogan, showing 64% of black voters "strongly support" the governor's plan to re-fund state and local police agencies," while 24% "somewhat support." Across racial lines, 89% and 74% of white and Hispanic voters support it, respectively Efforts by Democrats to defund the police and demoralize officers have backfired. The movement began after the Ferguson and Baltimore Riots, and ever since, the city has experienced some of the most violent crimes on record.  Currently, there is no law and order on the streets of Baltimore. Hogan said it's the worst possible time to reduce police funding because it would undermine public safety. He advocated for more investing and beefing up budgets to restore the peace in the metro area.   However, across party lines, Democrat politicians slammed the governor's plan, calling it "misguided" and the wrong measure to make communities safer.  Hogan pointed specifically to Baltimore and said, "people are being shot nearly every single day" in the city, "and we all have an obligation to do something about it right now." He said, "I want those families and all of the victims of this violence to know that we will not stop pursuing those criminals who are terrorizing our community." The defund movement may be popular with some wealthy (white) elites, activists on the extreme left. Still, there's the silent majority of black folks who oppose defunding the police, according to a recent Harvard's Center for American Political Studies and Harris Poll.  Most of all, Americans want police, prosecutors, and judges to uphold the law because the law is the law, which makes a society civil. Progressive cities that attempt to dismantle or undermine the law and policing cause more harm than good with surging violent crime to show forth.  This past summer, in Oakland, California, black families stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the police against Antifa's "defund the police" chaos.  Ordinary people across America, no matter their race, desire law-and-order, and with that comes prosperity. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 22:10.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Why Crime Is Out Of Control In San Francisco

Why Crime Is Out Of Control In San Francisco Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, San Franciscans get what they voted for with Chesa Boudin... When Chesa Boudin ran for San Francisco district attorney in 2019, he said crime was caused by poverty, wealth inequality and inadequate government spending on social programs. He called prostitution, open drug use and drug dealing “victimless crimes” and promised not to prosecute them. The result has been an increase in crime so sharp that San Francisco’s liberal residents are now paying for private security guards, taking self-defense classes, and supporting a recall of Mr. Boudin, with a vote set for June 2022. Retailers like Walgreens and Target are closing stores in the city, citing rampant shoplifting. Last week, a shockingly organized mob of looters ransacked a downtown Louis Vuitton store. Mr. Boudin and his defenders say crime in San Francisco has actually declined under his watch. The store closings had little to do with shoplifting, they insist; Walgreens announced in 2019 it would close stores as a cost-saving measure. And after the Louis Vuitton looting, Mr. Boudin talked tough on Twitter : “Standby for felony charges. Indeed, some crimes did decline, but for Covid-related reasons, while many other offenses increased. The pandemic crimped tourism, which meant fewer car break-ins and less shoplifting, but both are now on the rise. Car break-ins were 75% higher in May 2021 than in 2019, before the pandemic. While it’s true that official incidents of shoplifting haven’t increased under Mr. Boudin, the punishment has changed—and the bad guys appear to have gotten the message. In 2019, 40% of all shoplifting reports resulted in arrest; in 2021, under Mr. Boudin, only 19% did. Walgreens says shoplifting is five times as high, and security costs 50 times as high, in its San Francisco stores as the chainwide average. Why Crime Is Rising in San Francisco: A Video Explainerpic.twitter.com/Tc6TW4Eq9j — Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) November 28, 2021 Meantime, the charging rate for theft by Mr. Boudin’s office declined from 62% in 2019 to 46% in 2021; for petty theft it fell from 58% to 35%. San Francisco’s jail population has plummeted to 766 in 2021 from 2,850 in 2019. More than half of all offenders, and three-quarters of the most violent ones, who are released from jail before trial commit new crimes. Like other progressive prosecutors around the country, Mr. Boudin has expressed great antipathy toward the police. At his election-night party, a supporter led the crowd in a chant against the Police Officers’ Association: “F— the POA! F— the POA!” The San Francisco Police Department is short 400 officers and demoralized. A security video obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle last week appeared to show officers allowing a robbery of a marijuana dispensary. Total narcotics arrests declined by half from 2019 to 2021. Mr. Boudin has increased charges for some crimes. The charging rate for rape rose from 43% to 53%, and for narcotics dealing from 47% to 60%, even as it declined for theft, illegal weapons and assault. He appears to be following through on his promise to ignore quality-of-life crimes, but it’s also the case that the state has ordered local prosecutors to reduce prosecution of such crimes because of Covid. The solution to San Francisco’s problems is relatively straightforward. The city needs to shut down the drug scene by working with the federal government to deport dealers who are here illegally, most of whom are from Honduras; arrest addicts who camp and use drugs publicly and offer them rehab as an alternative to jail; and redevelop the squalid Tenderloin neighborhood, which, because of the influx of out-of-town addicts, fosters depravity and criminality affecting the entire city. The situation has degenerated to the point that an opportunity exists for moderates to wrest power away from progressives like Mr. Boudin and implement a sweeping, common-sense political agenda. What’s not clear is whether most San Franciscans want to do this, or could do it alone, without the involvement of California’s state government, which is sitting on a $31 billion budget surplus. San Francisco is an uberliberal place, and Mr. Boudin is only the latest in a long line of progressive prosecutors. In the mid-1990s voters elected Terence Hallinan, who had a history of illegal drug use and promised to stop arrests of street addicts and prostitutes. When Mr. Boudin blamed crime on inequality in 2019, his message landed on sympathetic ears. When he said he wouldn’t prosecute victimless crimes, he was singing a familiar hymn. It may be that Mr. Boudin went too far, even for San Francisco’s progressive voters, with his statements justifying crime and demonizing the police. But if history is any guide, they won’t have learned anything more from the experiment in lawlessness than they did from the one in the mid-1990s, and will almost certainly repeat it. *  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael's substack here Tyler Durden Sun, 11/28/2021 - 21:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 28th, 2021

LAPD Targets "Follow-Home" Robbery Crime Wave

LAPD Targets "Follow-Home" Robbery Crime Wave Authored by Jill McLaughlin via The Epoch Times, Police are ramping up efforts to crush an escalating wave of violent crime in the Los Angeles area targeting popular shopping districts, wealthy residents, and celebrities. A spate of “follow-home” robbers turned deadly this week, resulting in the murder of a 23-year-old man outside of a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard Nov. 23. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) responded to the homicide by announcing the formation of a “Follow Home Task Force.” The county sheriff also declared his intention to do what it took to stop the growing trend. Violent crimes are on the rise in Los Angeles. Area law enforcement reported an increase of nearly 4 percent since 2019, according to the latest law enforcement numbers released in October. Police Chief Michel Moore said gang violence was an underlying influence. The department had identified 133 robberies connected to the trend of suspects following victims home from Melrose Avenue, the Jewelry District, and high-end restaurants and nightclubs, Moore said this week. “The victims were being targeted based on the high-end jewelry they were wearing or the high-end car they were driving,” the LAPD said in a Nov. 24 release. Last week, the LAPD reported that six gangs were involved in the violent “follow-home robberies” spree. “When we look at the underlying influences of that street violence … Those involved with gangs continue to be the highest area of concentration,” Moore told NBC Los Angeles in June. Los Angeles, nicknamed the “Gang Capital of America,” has about 450 active gangs operating in the county, the LAPD reported in September. Street gangs were involved in a 37 percent increase in murders by June, Moore told reporters, adding that he believed the overall spikes in killings and shootings were related to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The city has seen a 49 percent increase in homicides, recording 325 in the first 10 months this year, and a 16 percent jump in aggravated assaults. The number of people shot climbed to 1,203 by Oct. 23—a 50 percent jump since 2019—according to the report. The number of shooting victims was about 122 a month from August through October. Criminals have also targeted vehicles, resulting in a dramatic rise of 50 percent in auto thefts this year. During that same time, law enforcement recorded a 28 percent decrease in arrests, with arrests for violent crimes dropping nearly 9 percent in the Los Angeles area. The LAPD reported making 16 percent fewer traffic stops and almost 2 percent, or 770, fewer arrests this year, compared to last year. Officers made 34 percent fewer stops this year and 31 percent fewer arrests than five years ago. The apparent gang-related robberies follow a trend—dubbed as “burglary tourism” by the police—involving Chilean gangs identified last year. In 2020, law enforcement alerted the public about gangs of Chilean nationals using visa waivers to come to the U.S. for the purpose of burglarizing homes, businesses, and vehicles. In February, five Chilean men were arrested in connection to a burglary spree that targeted trailheads and dog parks throughout Thousand Oaks. ‘Follow-Home’ Robberies in US and UK Similar “follow-home” robberies and crimes targeting celebrities or wealthy residents have also occurred in San Francisco, New York, Houston, and the United Kingdom. In July, a couple was followed to their San Francisco home and robbed by a man with a semi-automatic rifle. The suspect rear-ended the couple’s car while they drove home from a mall. In April, a San Francisco woman also reported being followed home from Richmond to Sunset and attacked for her handbag and jewelry, and a father was held at gunpoint outside his Concord home after being followed home from lunch in Walnut Creek, according to news reports. County, State to Join Efforts Targeting Criminals Los Angeles County and state officials said this week they intended to increase efforts to curtail the crime wave. The county sheriff Alex Villanueva also said his department would take steps to stop the recent rash of violence. “This is completely unacceptable,” Villanueva wrote in a social media post Nov. 23. “As long as I am your Sheriff, we will do what it takes to stop this growing trend of lawlessness. This is what happens when you defund the police.” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday he planned to send a budget proposal to lawmakers in January that contained “an exponential increase of support” to help cities and counties fight organized retail theft and “other quality of life issues.” Decrease in Police Presence Law enforcement responded quickly at first to the uptick in shootings and robberies in the Melrose Avenue area this year by increasing foot and horse patrols, but that has diminished. The lack of police presence this week concerned some residents and businesses on the avenue after recent robberies. One longtime resident said police presence in the area was needed to keep crime under control. “I think it’s very vital to have a constant police presence,” said Ron Ashford, 73, a 30-year resident of the adjacent Fairfax District. He said he was concerned when the patrols slowed down recently, reflecting on the situation Wednesday as he sat at a table on the sidewalk on Melrose Avenue. He has seen crime increase in the area, and “It wasn’t this bad years ago,” he said. Ashford said he is concerned crime will escalate if police retreat from the area. “I said, watch, when it dies down, [the criminals] will come back,” Ashford said. On July 19, three suspects attempted to rob victims at gunpoint in the parking lot of Media Wine and Spirits. One of the victims used his own firearm to shoot at the suspects, apparently hitting two of them, according to the LAPD. Two of the suspects were arrested. The incident was just one of several violent crimes along Melrose Avenue this year. In September, outdoor diners were held at gunpoint at La Crème Café and robbed of property. The next day, an employee at the Oldboy Barbershop was also robbed. And in August, a Shoe Palace employee was shot and killed during a shoe raffle. On Nov. 13, victims were returning home to a short-term rental on North Gardner Street, about a block from Melrose Avenue. They were followed home and robbed at gunpoint by eight suspects after returning from a nightclub. Media Wine and Spirits owner Askkar said the shooting at his store parking lot was an isolated event. His customers were doing well and life has returned to “normal” along the avenue after an increase in police presence, he said. “There is no threat,” Askar told the Epoch Times. “Everything is cool. We’re good and everything is safe.” Some shops are taking precautions, posting private security outside, or changing the way they operate. The Spitfire Girl clothing store has stopped allowing female employees to close by themselves after the crimes, a store clerk told the Epoch Times. “Oftentimes, people are making us feel uncomfortable,” associate Sean Ghedi said. A store employee who watches the open door to Cookies & Kicks, a shoe store on Melrose Avenue, said he was working when shots were fired during the robbery at Media Wine and Spirits. Their store hasn’t had any problems, the employee who asked to remain anonymous told the Epoch Times. “This is the nicer part of LA, but it’s still LA at the end of the day,” the employee said. Celebrities, Wealthy Residents Targeted Celebrity Dorit Kemsley of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” reported Oct. 27 she was followed to her Encino home by two men wearing masks. A home video showed the men smashing sliding glass doors to gain entry before taking as much as $1 million in valuables. Former BET host “Terrence J” Jenkins was followed to his Sherman Oaks home at about 3 a.m. Nov. 10 by four masked men in a silver Jeep Cherokee, police reported. One of them ordered him out of his car, but he and a passenger drove away, instead, and were followed by the suspects. Shots were fired, but no one was injured, according to reports. Actor and comedian Jeremy Piven reported a burglary at his home in the Hollywood Hills in October when $20,000 worth of clothing was stolen, he said. Singer Rihanna’s Los Angeles home was also targeted in July when a man reportedly jumped one of her walls in an attempt to break into her house, police reported. Residents Increase Private Security Onguard Inc., a security guard service that serves southern California, has received several requests for service from businesses and residents after the recent “follow-home robberies.” “There has been an increase in calls and an increase in clients reaching out to us,” Onguard Inc. CEO Ray Nomair told the Epoch Times. One couple requested 24-hour security guards posted in their driveway at their Beverly Hills home until February. Another client asked for private protection while her husband was traveling, he said. The clients are afraid of trespassers breaking in and stealing property, he said. The Ring cameras that residents install themselves to monitor their properties are not enough in these cases, Nomair said. Police: Residents Not Wear Expensive Jewelry, Clothing The LAPD issued a list of recommendations for area residents to help avoid the “follow home robberies.” Police suggested residents should not wear expensive jewelry or other “high-value” property and to be aware of their surroundings when walking out of a restaurant or other place of business. “There’s no item of jewelry or piece of property that they have that is worth their life, and so if they find themselves in such a perilous situation, to cooperate, be a good witness. … Do not chase people, do not try to pursue people, and do not try to take actions yourself other than to minimize the chance that you become a victim of the type of violence we saw this morning,” Moore told reporters. The LAPD recommended that if drivers noticed they were being followed, they should not drive home and instead go to a police station and call 911. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/28/2021 - 15:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 28th, 2021

Greenwald: The Cynical And Dangerous Weaponization Of The "White Supremacist" Label

Greenwald: The Cynical And Dangerous Weaponization Of The "White Supremacist" Label Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com, Within hours of the August 25, 2020, shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin — not days, but hours — it was decreed as unquestioned fact in mainstream political and media circles that the shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse, was a "white supremacist.” Over the next fifteen months, up to and including his acquittal by a jury of his peers on all charges, this label was applied to him more times than one can count by corporate media outlets as though it were proven fact. Indeed, that Rittenhouse was a "white supremacist” was deemed so unquestionably true that questioning it was cast as evidence of one's own racist inclinations (defending a white supremacist). A protester with a sign is seen outside of the Hall of Justice during the Reject the Verdict rally on November 20, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. Demonstrators from Black Lives Matter Louisville and Louisville 'Showing Up for Racial Justice' held the rally to refute the recent acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, who claimed self defense after killing two protesters and injuring another on August 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images) Yet all along, there was never any substantial evidence, let alone convincing proof, that it was true. This fact is, or at least should be, an extraordinary, even scandalous, event: a 17-year-old was widely vilified as being a white supremacist by a union of national media and major politicians despite there being no evidence to support the accusation. Yet it took his acquittal by a jury who heard all the evidence and testimony for parts of the corporate press to finally summon the courage to point out that what had been Gospel about Rittenhouse for the last fifteen months was, in fact, utterly baseless. A Washington Post news article was published late last week that was designed to chide "both sides” for exploiting the Rittenhouse case for their own purposes while failing to adhere carefully to actual facts. Ever since the shootings in Kenosha, they lamented, "Kyle Rittenhouse has been a human canvas onto which the nation’s political divisions were mapped.” In attempting to set the record straight, the Post article contained this amazing admission: As conservatives coalesced around the idea of Rittenhouse as a blameless defender of law and order, many on the left just as quickly cast him as the embodiment of the far-right threat. Despite a lack of evidence, hundreds of social media posts immediately pinned Rittenhouse with extremist labels: white supremacist, self-styled militia member, a “boogaloo boy” seeking violent revolution, or part of the misogynistic “incel” movement.  “On the left he’s become a symbol of white supremacy that isn’t being held accountable in the United States today,” said Becca Lewis, a researcher of far-right movements and a doctoral candidate at Stanford University. “You see him getting conflated with a lot of the police officers who’ve shot unarmed Black men and with Trump himself and all these other things. On both sides, he’s become a symbol much bigger than himself.” Soon after the shootings, then-candidate Joe Biden told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Rittenhouse was allegedly part of a militia group in Illinois. In the next sentence, Biden segued to criticism of Trump and hate groups: “Have you ever heard this president say one negative thing about white supremacists? Valuable though this rather belated admission is, there were two grand ironies about this passage. The first is that The Post itself was one of the newspapers which published multiple articles and columns applying this evidence-free "white supremacist" label to Rittenhouse. Indeed, four days after this admission by The Post's newsroom, their opinion editors published an op-ed by Robert Jones that flatly asserted the very same accusation which The Post itself says is bereft of evidence: “Despite his boyish white frat boy appearance, there was plenty of evidence of Rittenhouse’s deeper white supremacist orientation.” In other words, Post editors approved publication of grave accusations which, just four days earlier, their own newsroom explicitly stated lacked evidence. The second irony is that while the Post article lamented everyone else's carelessness with the facts of this case, the publication itself — while purporting to fact-check the rest of the world — affirmed one of the most common falsehoods: namely, that Rittenhouse carried a gun across state lines. The article thus now carries this correction at the top: “An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Kyle Rittenhouse brought his AR-15 across state lines. He has testified that he picked up the weapon from a friend’s house in Wisconsin. This article has been corrected.” It continues to be staggering how media outlets which purport to explain the Rittenhouse case get caught over and over spreading utter falsehoods about the most basic facts of the case, proving they did not watch the trial or learn much about what happened beyond what they heard in passing from like-minded liberals on Twitter. There is simply no way to have paid close attention to this case, let alone have watched the trial, and believe that he carried a gun across state lines, yet this false assertion made it past numerous Post reporters, editors and fact-checkers purporting to "correct the record” about this case. Yet again, we find that the same news outlets which love to accuse others of “disinformation” — and want the internet censored in the name of stopping it — frequently pontificate on topics about which they know nothing, without the slightest concern for whether or not it is true. Those who continue to condemn Rittenhouse as a white supremacist — including the author of The Post op-ed published four days after the paper concluded the accusation was baseless — typically point to his appearance at a bar in January, 2021, for a photo alongside members of the Proud Boys in which he was photographed making the “okay” sign gesture. That once-common gesture, according to USA Today, “has become a symbol used by white supremacists.” Rittenhouse insists that the appearance was arranged by his right-wing attorneys Lin Wood and John Pierce — whom he quickly fired and accused of exploiting him for fund-raising purposes — and that he had no idea that the people with whom he was posting for a photo were Proud Boys members ("I thought they were just a bunch of, like, construction dudes based on how they looked”), nor had he ever heard that the “OK” sign was a symbol of "white power.” Rittenhouse's denial about this once-benign gesture seems shocking to people who spend all their days drowning in highly politicized Twitter discourse — where such a claim is treated as common knowledge — but is completely believable for the vast majority of Americans who do not. In fact, the whole point of the adolescent 4chan hoax was to convert one of the most common and benign gestures into a symbol of white power so that anyone making it would be suspect. As The New York Times recounted, the gesture has long been “used for several purposes in sign languages, and in yoga as a symbol to demonstrate inner perfection. It figures in an innocuous made-you-look game. Most of all, it has been commonly used for generations to signal 'O.K.,’ or all is well.” But whatever one chooses to believe about that episode is irrelevant to whether these immediate declarations of Rittenhouse's "white supremacy” were valid. That bar appearance took place in January, 2021 — five months after the Kenosha shootings. Yet Rittenhouse was instantly declared to be a "white supremacist” — and by “instantly,” I mean: within hours of the shooting. “A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15,” was how Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) described Rittenhouse the next day in a mega-viral tweet; her tweet consecrated not only this "white supremacist” accusation which persisted for months, but also affirmed the falsehood that he crossed state lines with an AR-15. It does not require an advanced degree in physics to understand that his posing for a photo in that bar with Proud Boys members, flashing the OK sign, five months later in January, 2020, could not serve as a rational evidentiary basis for Rep. Pressley's accusation the day after the shootings that he was a "white supremacist,” nor could it serve as the justification for five consecutive months of national media outlets accusing him of the same. Unless his accusers had the power to see into the future, they branded him a white supremacist with no basis whatsoever — or, as The Post put it this week, “despite a lack of evidence.” A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15. He shot and killed 2 people who had assembled to affirm the value, dignity, and worth of Black lives. Fix your damn headlines. — Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) August 27, 2020 The only other “evidence” ever cited to support the rather grave accusation that this 17-year-old is a "white supremacist” were social media postings of his in which he expressed positive sentiments toward the police and then-President Trump, including with the phrase "Blue Lives Matter." That was all that existed — the entirety of the case — that led the most powerful media outlets and politicians to stamp on this adolescent's forehead the gravest accusation one can face in American culture. This is really the heart of the matter: this episode vividly demonstrates how cheapened and emptied and cynically wielded this "white supremacist" slogan has become. The oft-implicit but sometimes-explicit premise in liberal discourse is that everyone who deviates in any way from liberal dogma is a white supremacist by definition. Within this rubric, perhaps the most decisive "evidence" that one is a white supremacist is that one supports the Republican Party and former President Trump — i.e., that half of the voting electorate in the U.S. at least are white supremacists. A subsidiary assumption is that anyone who views the police as a necessary, positive force in U.S. society is inherently guilty of racism (it is fine to revere federal policing agencies such as the FBI and other federal security forces such as the CIA, as most Democrats do; the hallmark of a white supremacist is someone who believes that the local police — the ones who show up when citizens call 911 — is a generally positive rather than negative force in society). An illustration of how casually and recklessly this accusation is tossed around occurred last year, shortly after the George Floyd killing, when my long-time friend and colleague, Intercept journalist Lee Fang, was widely vilified as a racist and white supremacist, first by his own Intercept colleague, journalist Akela Lacy, and then — in one of the most stunningly mindless acts of herd behavior — by literally hundreds if not thousands of members of the national press, including many who barely knew who Lee was but nonetheless were content to echo the accusation (that Lee is himself not white is, of course, not an impediment, not even a speed bump, on the road to castigating him as a modern-day KKK adherent). As Matt Taibbi wrote in disgust about this shameful media episode: [Lacy's accustory] tweet received tens of thousands of likes and responses along the lines of, “Lee Fang has been like this for years, but the current moment only makes his anti-Blackness more glaring,” and “Lee Fang spouting racist bullshit it must be a day ending in day.” A significant number of Fang’s co-workers, nearly all white, as well as reporters from other major news organizations like the New York Times and MSNBC and political activists (one former Elizabeth Warren staffer tweeted, “Get him!”), issued likes and messages of support for the notion that Fang was a racist. Writing in New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait documented that “Lacy called him racist in a pair of tweets, the first of which alone received more than 30,000 likes and 5,000 retweets.” What was the evidence justifying Lee Fang's conviction by mob justice of these charges? He (like Rittenhouse) has expressed the view that police, despite needing reforms, are largely a positive presence in protecting innocent people from violent crime; he suggested violence harms rather than helps social justice causes; and he published a video interview he conducted of a young BLM supporter complaining that many liberals only care when white police officers kill black people but not when black people in his neighborhood are killed by anyone who is not white. Now-deleted tweets from Intercept reporter Akela Lacy, accusing her Intercept colleague Lee Fang of being a racist, June 3, 2020. That such banal and commonly held views are woefully insufficient to justify the reputation-destroying accusation that someone is a white supremacist should be too self-evident to require any explanation. But in case such an explanation is required, consider that polls continually and reliably show that the pro-police sentiments of the type that caused Rittenhouse, Fang, and so many others to be vilified by liberal elites as "white supremacists” are held not only by a majority of Americans, but by a majority of black and brown Americans, the very people on whose behalf these elite accusers purport to speak. For years, polling data has shown that the communities which want at least the same level of policing if not more are communities composed primarily of Black, Brown and poor people. It is not hard to understand why. If the police are defunded or radically reduced, rich people will simply hire private security (even more than they already employ for their homes, neighborhoods and persons), and any resulting crime increases will fall most heavily on poorer communities. Thus, polling data reliably shows that it is these communities that want either the same level of policing or more — the exact view which, if you express, will result in guardians of elite liberal discourse declaring you to be a "white supremacist.” Indeed — according to one Gallup poll taken in the wake of the George Floyd killing, when anti-police sentiment was at its peak — the groups that most want a greater police presence in their communities are Black and Latino citizens: In the wake of anger over the Floyd and Jacob Blake cases, several large liberal cities succeeded in placing referendums on the ballot for this year that proposed major defunding or restructuring of local police. They failed in almost all cases, including ones with large Black populations such as Minneapolis, where Floyd died, precisely because non-white voters rejected it. In other words, expressing the same views about policing that large numbers of Black residents hold somehow subjects one to accusations of "white supremacy” in the dominant elite liberal discourse. What all of this demonstrates is that insult terms like "white supremacist” and "racist” and "white nationalist” have lost any fixed meaning. They are instead being trivialized and degraded into little more than discourse toys to be tossed around for fun and reputation-destruction by liberals, who believe they have ascended to a place of such elevated racial enlightenment that they are now the sole and exclusive owners of these terms and thus free to hurl them in whatever manner they please. It is not an overstatement to observe that in elite liberal discourse, there are literally no evidentiary requirements that must be fulfilled before one is free to malign political adversaries with those accusatory terms. That is why editors at The Washington Post published an op-ed proclaiming Rittenhouse was plagued by “deeper white supremacist orientation” just four days after its news division explicitly concluded that such an accusation "lacks evidence” — because it it permissible to accuse people of racism and white supremacy without any evidence needed. It is inherently disturbing and destructive any time a person is publicly branded as something for which there is no evidence. That is intrinsically something we should collectively abhor. But this growing trend in liberal discourse is not just ethically repellent but dangerous. By so flagrantly cheapening and exploiting the "white supremacist” accusation from what it should be (a potent weapon deployed to stigmatize and ostracize actual racists) into something far more tawdry (a plaything used by Democrats to demean and destroy their enemies whenever the mood strikes), its cynical abusers are draining the term of all of its vibrancy, potency and force, so that when it is needed, for actual racists, people will have tuned it out, knowing that is used deceitfully, recklessly and for cheap entertainment. A similar dynamic emerged with accusations of anti-semitism and the weaponization of it to demonize criticisms of Israel. It is, of course, true that some criticisms of the Israeli government are partially grounded or even largely motivated by anti-semitism — just as it is true that some championing of the local police or support for Trump grows out of racist sentiments. But the converse is just as true: one can vehemently criticize the actions of the Israeli government the same as any other government without being driven by an iota of anti-semitism (indeed, many of the most vocal critics of Israel are proudly Jewish), in exactly the same way as one can be highly supportive of the local police or Donald Trump without an iota of racism (a proposition that should need no proof, but is nonetheless highlighted by the uncomfortable fact that growing number of non-whites supporting both Trump and the police). But the cynical, manipulative weaponization of anti-semitism accusations to smear all critics of Israel has rendered the accusation far weaker and more easily dismissible than it once was — exactly as is now happening to the accusatory terms "white supremacist” and “white nationalist” and "racist,” which are being increasingly understood, validly so, not as a grave and sincere condemnation but a cheap tactic to be applied recklessly, for the tawdry entertainment one derives from public rituals of reputation-destruction. BBC, Nov. 22, 2020 Ever since his acquittal, Rittenhouse has made a series of public statements directly at odds with the dark, hateful image constructed of him by the national press over the last sixteen months, while he was forced to remain silent by the charges he faced. He has professed support for the Black Lives Matter movement, argued that the U.S. is plagued by structural racism, and suggested that he would have suffered a worse fate if he had been Black. The same people who are smugly certain that his entire character and soul was permanently captured by that fleeting moment in a bar when he was seventeen and flashed an “okay" symbol — and who are certain that his denials that he knew what it meant or with whom he was posing are false — have, of course, scoffed at these recent statements of his as self-serving and insincere, even though they offer far greater insight into Rittenhouse's actual views on questions of race than anything thus far presented. But that is the point. The political and media faction that casually and recklessly brands people as "white supremacists” the way normal people utter “excuse me” while navigating a large crowd have no interest at all in whether the accusation is true. They are devoted to reducing everyone whose political ideology diverges from their own to their worst possible moment — no matter how long ago it happened or how unrepresentative of their lives it is — in order to derive the most ungenerous and destructive meaning from it. It is a movement that is at once driven by rigorous rules resulting in righteous decrees of sin and sweeping denunciations, yet completely bereft of the possibility of grace or redemption. And its most cherished weapon is accusing anyone who they decide is an enemy or even just an adversary of being a white supremacist, a white nationalist, a racist — to the point where these terms now sound like reflexively recited daily prayer slogans than anything one needs to take seriously or which has the possibility to engage on the merits. For fifteen months, it was gospel in political and media circles that Kyle Rittenhouse was a "white supremacist terrorist” only for The Washington Post to suddenly announce that this claim persisted “despite a lack of evidence.” But that lack of evidence really does not matter, which is why that announcement by The Post received so little notice. Under the rules of this rotted discourse, evidence is not a requirement to affirm this accusation. All that is needed is an intuition, a tingly sensation, and — above all else — the realization that hurling the accusation will yield some personal or political advantage. Like all cynical weapons, it worked for awhile, but is rapidly running out of efficacy as its manipulative usage becomes more and more visible. The term is still needed as a tool to fight actual racism, but those who most vocally and flamboyantly proclaim themselves solemnly devoted to that cause have rendered that tool virtually useless, thanks to their self-interested misuse and abuse of it. To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 20:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021

Shellenberger: Why Anti-Police Activism Kills

Shellenberger: Why Anti-Police Activism Kills Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, In response to anti-police protests, many officers quit, resulting in shortages and a spike in avoidable deaths, from homicides to heart attacks, of innocents... Will Yurek with three of his four children including Drew (far right) who called 911 when his father suffered a heart attack. First responders say the city of Seattle failed to save Will’s life because of a police shortage. At 1:24pm on Nov. 2, 13-year-old Drew Yurek called 911 to report an emergency: his father Will didn’t feel well and needed help. Medics arrived six minutes later, but were told by dispatch to wait for the police before entering; there was a cautionary note that flagged the occupant of the address as being hostile to first responders. But the note was outdated, and referred to a previous tenant. Because of a shortage of police officers first reported by Seattle journalist Jason Rantz, the medics were left to wait outside the house until cops could arrive. At 1:37pm, Drew called 911 again, desperate. He needed help. Medics waited two more minutes before deciding to ignore the order and enter the building. They found Will and started to perform CPR and apply a defibrillator. But by then it was too late. Despite their best efforts, Will, 45 and a father of four, died of a heart attack as Drew looked on. The police did not arrive until 1:45pm. Now Drew’s mother, Meagan Petersen, is planning to sue the city of Seattle. “People need to know how the city let this happen,” said Meagan, who is divorced from Will and lives in Utah. “They could have saved Will if the system was working like it should.” Firefighters and police officers I spoke to said they believe they could have saved the man’s life had there not been a shortage of cops. By the end of 2020, 200 police officers had left the Seattle police force. What happened to Will Yurek and what his son had to suffer is a tragic but cautionary tale of what happens when activism and moral cowardice at the top of government destroys public safety and common sense in society. It has happened in Seattle, but many other parts of the country have also fallen victim — with many more in peril, too. Before a vaccine mandate took 100 police officers off the street in mid-October, the Seattle police department was short at least 400 police officers to be at the minimum considered necessary to protect public safety. Why is that? The overwhelming and unavoidable reason is anti-police protests by Black Lives Matter activists. This happened nationwide, but was worse in Seattle, where Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and progressive members of the Seattle City Council allowed anarchists to briefly take over the downtown Capitol Hill neighborhood in the summer of 2020. Durkan did so to show solidarity with anti-police protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. The anti-police protests in Seattle were surprising because in 2018 the City Council had hired a black woman, Carmen Best, for the first time to serve as the city’s police chief. Best opened up for the first time about what happened last summer in an interview with me for my book, “San Fransicko,” earlier this year. Best is also one of the candidates NYC’s Mayor-Elect Eric Adams is considering for NYPD Commissioner. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, left, talks with activist Raz Simone, right front, and others near a plywood-covered and closed police precinct behind them on June 9, 2020. “I refuse to work for this socialist City Council and their political agenda,” said one officer. “It ultimately will destroy the fabric of this once fine city.” Another said the city’s progressive City Council “will be the downfall of the city of Seattle.”  Anti-police protests took a toll around the country. At least two dozen other police chiefs or senior officers resigned, retired, or took disability leave in America’s 50 biggest cities in 2020, while 3,700 beat officers left. Today there are fewer police officers per capita in America than at any time since 1992. In 2020, the homicide rate increased on average by more than one-third in America’s 57 largest cities. Homicides rose in 51 cities and declined in just six of them. Homicides rose 35 percent in Los Angeles, 31 percent in Oakland, 74 percent in Seattle, 63 percent in Portland, 60 percent in Chicago, and 47 percent in New York City.  Some blamed the coronavirus pandemic, and higher gun sales, which rose in March. But homicides in 2020 only started to rise in June, after Black Lives Matter protests, not March. And there had been a similar spike in homicides in 2015 when there was no coronavirus pandemic.  The lack of sufficient police may have made communities more vulnerable to the spikes in homicides seen in 2015 and 2020, as police were redirected to deal with anti-police protests. “When you have your officers and detectives every night on the front line dealing with demonstration after demonstration after demonstration,” said former police chief Best, “they are not engaging with community members. They are not talking to young people. All of that is not happening because the focus now is on the nightly demonstrations.”  “When people believe the procedures of formal social control are unjust,” notes University of Missouri criminologist Richard Rosenfeld, whose research is relied upon by the Department of Justice, “they are less likely to obey the law.”  Counter to the claims of those who advocate defunding the police as a way to reduce violence, the evidence suggests that fewer cops may mean more police misconduct, because the remaining officers must work longer and more stressful hours. Research has found that fatigue predicts a rise in public complaints against cops: a 13-hour rather than 10-hour shift significantly boosts their prevalence, while back-to-back shifts quadruple their odds. The people who suffer most from anti-police activism are black. Nationally, 30 times more African Americans were killed by civilians than by police in 2019. Today, black Americans are seven to eight times more likely to die from homicide than white Americans. If anti-police protests increase homicides, why do groups like Black Lives Matter do it? Because they are after radical system change, not less violence. Radical thinkers, from anarchists to socialists, have for 200 years blamed our capitalist system for crime, and justified crime as a revolutionary act. Crime is a rational response to the high levels of inequality created by capitalism, they argue. For the most part, societies, including in Seattle, have dismissed these radical arguments. “The anarchists had always been a cosplay clown joke,” Seattle Police officer Christopher Young told me earlier this year. “On May Day they would come and fight the police and break some windows. We’d be like, ‘Okay guys, go back to your mother’s basement.’” But after the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016, the anarchists rebranded themselves as “anti-fascists,” said Young, and that increased their legitimacy in the eyes of Seattle’s progressive voters. “They said, ‘We’re here to fight the racists and fascists.’” “The community really wanted more cops,” she told me. “At least three City Council members campaigned on more cops. They wanted better response times.” They also wanted more racial and gender diversity and so, said Best, she created a plan “to have a lot more diversity with our hiring, for women and people of color both. We got to almost 40 percent of either minority or women representation as new hires.” But after the Floyd killing, Seattle anarchists started attacking the police. “Within that large group of people who were there peacefully protesting,” said Best, “there were groups there to create mayhem, throw rocks, bottles, and incendiary stuff, and point lasers at the officers.”  In June, somebody removed a police barricade that had prevented demonstrators from protesting in front of the East Precinct downtown. “It was decided,” said Best, “to remove the barricade and to allow the demonstrators to fill in the street in front of the precinct. We didn’t want to give up the precinct. I have to tell you it was not my decision.”  Progressive members of the Seattle City Council had pressured Mayor Durkan to order the police to abandon their precinct building.  “The next morning,” said Best, “there were these folks out there armed with long rifles, telling the officers who responded that it was their ‘sovereign land.’ ‘What sovereign property are they talking about?’” Best asked her colleagues. “Well, they’re talking about Twelfth Avenue.” She laughed. “We had never experienced anything like that.”  And therein began CHAZ, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best Later, the organizers would rename the area CHOP, for Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. The anarchist leaders invited hundreds of Seattle’s homeless residents to move into the occupied zone, and many did. When asked, Seattle’s mayor insisted that everything would work out fine.  “How long do you think Seattle and those few blocks [will] look like this?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Seattle’s mayor. “I don’t know,” she replied. “We could have a summer of love!”  But soon after, said Best, “We were getting reports of rape, robbery, assault… I don’t know what the Wild West was like, but it couldn’t have been any worse than that.”  Armed residents at CHOP shot two teenage boys just before it was shut down. At least one of them could have been saved. But CHOP’s unelected leaders didn’t allow first responders in until hours later. The homicides led Chief Best to demand permission from the City Attorney to retake the neighborhood, which she did a few days later.  But then, in August 2020, a few weeks later, the Seattle City Council voted to cut the budget of the Seattle Police Department. “That means that all these new people that we hired who are black, people of color, and women will be the first ones to go,” Best told the City Council. “Because it’s first in, first out.”  The council said they wanted Best to go through and pick the people to fire.  “Let me get this straight,” she said she told the council. “You want me to pick the white people to go? Are you crazy?’ They were highly dismissive. It was the most bizarre thing that I had ever dealt with.”  Best criticized the City Council. “I said that they were being reckless and dangerous and that people are going to suffer for it,” she said. “The next day, one of the city councilors said, ‘We need to cut her salary by 40 percent.’ It wasn’t even on the agenda for them to talk about. It was highly punitive and retaliatory.” And so Best resigned. By the end of 2020, 200 police officers had left the Seattle police force.  In truth, much of what people believe about the police is wrong. Police killings of African Americans in our 58 largest cities declined from 217 per year in the 1970s to 157 per year in the 2010s. And there are no racial differences in police killings when accounting for whether or not the suspect was armed or a threat (“justified” vs “unjustified” shooting). Reducing homicides and other crimes will require more police, and that will require community and political leaders to educate voters, and publicly apologize for their role in unfairly demonizing police officers. Most of all, we should seek to make amends to the victims of anti-police activism, including the Yurek family, who are mourning the loss of a young father at Thanksgiving time. “Mr. Yurek’s young son acted quickly and competently. Unfortunately, the city of Seattle was neither quick nor competent,” said the family’s attorney, Mark Lindquist of the Herrmann Law Group. But Will Yurek’s death could gain new meaning if it helps us, as Americans, to view police officers as vital, if imperfect, public servants, and take the measures necessary to affirm their role, and recruit them back into our city police forces. *  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael's substack here Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 23:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

Colorado Officials Scrapping "Sex Offender" Term, Citing "Negative Effects"

Colorado Officials Scrapping "Sex Offender" Term, Citing "Negative Effects" Authored by Naveen Athrappully via The Epoch Times, A Colorado board voted on Friday to no longer recognize the term “sex offender” in official documentation for people who commit sexual offenses to reflect so-called “person-first” language. The Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB), which controls treatment standards for people convicted of sex crimes, voted 10–6 to call offenders “adults who commit sexual offenses” in its standards and guidelines for sex offenders. “The language change applies only to the SOMB Standards; the term ‘sex offender’ will continue to be used in Colorado statute and the criminal justice system, including courts, law enforcement and the Colorado Sex Offender Registry. The name of the SOMB itself will also remain unchanged,” the board stated in an announcement. The revision will be open to public comment for 20 days, after which the board will review public sentiment and discuss adjustments before ratifying the change during the next meeting, which is set for Dec. 17. The SOMB is a 25-member board made up of everyone from public defenders to prosecutors, created by the Colorado General Assembly in order to establish standards for treatment and management of adult and juvenile sex offenders. Its aim is to prevent them from recommitting crimes, while enhancing protection for victims. Treatment providers would have to follow the new guidelines when assisting sex offenders, and in other official communications. Although law enforcement and the criminal justice system do not fall within the purview of the latest language revision, some worry it’s a step in that direction. “Referring to me by a label for something I did half my life ago is inappropriate and downright offensive,” said Derek Logue to CBS 4 Denver. He preferred to be called “client,” which was one of the five terms the board considered. Kimberly Kline, a licensed counselor and chair of the board, told the Denver Post, “I think the biggest thing is research really shows us that assigning a label has the potential for negative effects in rehabilitation.” Kimberly Corbin, a rape survivor, told CBS 4 Denver: “It’s very, very damaging for those who people who are labeled when it has to do with gender, race, sexuality, ability, but those are not their choices, the biggest thing for me is these are choices that sex offenders make.” “I’m involved today after hearing that it would be improper or offensive in some manner for me to refer to the man who raped me as a sex offender,” Corbin added. Several attempts to change official language have been made throughout the country, including a sheriff in Dane County, Wisconsin, deciding to discard the term, “inmate,” and replacing it with “residents.” Last year, lawmakers were considering removing the phrase “sexually violent predator” from statutes but eventually backed away. The Colorado board will not drop “sex offender” from its own name as only the state Legislature has the right to change the name of the board. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

Farewell, Bill de Blasio: Good riddance to the mayor who talked the talk but failed to walk the walk

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to change the city and stand up to the NYPD. He did nothing of the sort. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images Outgoing New York Ciy Mayor Bill de Blasio ran as a progressive. But his record on criminal justice — from closing Rikers Island to defending the NYPD — shows he's anything but a progressive. So farewell de Blasio, and good riddance. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. Farewell Bill de Blasio, the progressive we never knew, and good riddance. As the outgoing New York City mayor's second term nears its end, he leaves office with the city in the middle of a humanitarian crisis. This year alone, 14 people have died at Rikers Island, the city's infamous jail. People there are not guilty of anything,they are being held pre-trial and simply can't afford bail. They suffer violence and medical neglect amplified by a pandemic.Recently, de Blasio also issued an executive order authorizing indefinite solitary comment in New York City jails. Solitary confinement is a form of psychological torture and the UN condemns such confinement lasting longer than two weeks. The mayor's move backtracks from his earlier commitments to criminal justice reform and is an about-face from his rhetoric in June to end solitary confinement. While this shouldn't be a surprise, I have to ask what, exactly, happened to the man who campaigned as a police reformer and the enemy of stop-and-frisk? The mayor came into office on a progressive platform, pledged to champion overlooked communities and curtail police tactics that had disproportionately targeted Black and Hispanic residents. Many people came to this administration full of enthusiasm, but that hope diminished quickly, as he showed reluctance to use his political capital to push for changes, while dashing hopes for real change among progressives. De Blasio only talked the talkIf ever there was an early sign of what De Blasio's tenure would become, it would be his very first police commissioner: William Bratton. Bratton is a cop's cop who held the role under the infamously anti-democratic Rudy Giuliani. He reaffirmed the city's commitment to the "broken windows theory" of enforcement, the failed policing strategy which holds that aggressively policing low-level offenses will root out larger ones.And that was just the beginning of de Blasio's about face on justice reform. De Blasio followed his more conservative predecessors in reflexively defending the cops in a moment of crisis, going from campaign speeches railing against racist police tactics to defending the NYPD's violent crackdown on protests over the last year."I do believe the NYPD has acted appropriately," the mayor said on May 31, 2020, the night a pair of police cruisers lurched into a crowd of protesters. A self-defined progressive mayor elected on a promise to reduce police racism  defending cop cars ramming into protestors exemplifies his disappointing tenure.In the last year alone, de Blasio has expanded the NYPD's budget, criticized protestors,  refused to end solitary confinement, and has long resisted the grassroots movement to close the Rikers Island prison complex. De Blasio has also expanded the city's collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and demonized new bail reforms aimed at keeping thousands of people out of jail.At times of crisis, you see who people really are. De Blasio has taken credit for court-ordered reforms that followed a settlement in the stop-and-frisk lawsuit. He has also claimed responsibility for falling crime rates that have been on a downward slope for decades. It will be hard for him to undo the harm he has caused in the next two months, but De Blasio Still has the power to end the use of solitary in New York jails and close Rikers Island. We are far from New York City being a beacon of progressive leadership. De Blasio has lacked the moral clarity and political courage to guide the city through meaningful change, failing to deliver the justice, accountability and safety he had promised all New Yorkers — in particular people of color.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 20th, 2021

The 23 best history books written by women, from previously untold war stories to page-turning biographies

From this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning history book to detailed war stories and biographies, these are the best history books written by women. From this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning history book to detailed war stories and biographies, these are the best history books written by women.Amazon; Bookshop; Alyssa Powell/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. About 75% of history books are written by men, and many ignore the perspectives of women. These history books were all written by women, including this year's Pulitzer Prize winner. Want more books? Check out the best historical fiction books. In 2015, a study concluded about 75% of history books, from biographies to war histories, are written by men. Throughout time, white men have often dominated historical narratives, ignoring the perspectives of women, BIPOC, and queer communities whose truths and histories differ from the authors of the majority of history books. To gather these recommendations of great history books written by women, we looked at bestseller lists on Amazon and Audible, plus recommendations from Goodreads reviewers. The books on this list cover a wide range of topics, from true princess stories to American history from a fresh perspective, offering something new for any reader looking for a great history book written by a woman. The 23 best history books written by women:"Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America" by Marcia ChatelainBookshop"Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America" by Marcia Chatelain, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.79The winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for History, "Franchise" is the true history behind fast-food restaurants and their turbulent relationships with Black communities. Marcia Chatelain's history read examines the conflicts of capitalism, franchising, and tension between McDonald's and the civil rights movement."Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption" by Laura HillenbrandBookshop"Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.49In May of 1943, a bomber flown by Lieutenant Louis Zamperini of the Army Air Forces crashed into the middle of the ocean, leaving the young officer stranded with little chance of survival. This historical account follows his journey to safety under the impossible circumstances during World War II. "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States" by Roxanne Dunbar-OrtizAmazon"An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.22This history book spans 400 years of American history through the perspective of Indigenous people that have been brutalized, destabilized, and constantly taken advantage of by United States leadership. Beginning with life before colonization, this necessary historical read chronicles the devastating truth of American history without sugar-coating any events."The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women" by Kate MooreAmazon"The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women" by Kate Moore, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.97When Marie Curie discovered radium, it was quickly incorporated into medication, beauty products, and even beverages. This shocking history read focuses on the hundreds of young women who worked coveted jobs in radium factories, unaware of the fatal side effects of radium exposure."Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee ShetterlyAmazon"Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.17Known for its popular 2016 film adaptation, "Hidden Figures" is a New York Times bestseller about five Black female mathematicians who worked for NASA through World War II, the Space Race, and the Cold War. Segregated from their white coworkers, these women were instrumental in developing flight calculations, rocket launches, and scientific advancements that would change history and pave the way for future scientists and mathematicians."Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present" by Adrienne KeeneBookshop"Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present" by Adrienne Keene, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.46"Notable Native People" is an accessible and illustrated history read about 50 Indigenous people (including Alaskan and Hawaiian natives). From artists and athletes to activists and scientists, this nonfiction read is a great resource to learn about Indigenous history, culture, and challenges these communities have faced."The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War" by Joanne B. FreemanAmazon"The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War" by Joanne B. Freeman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.99Joanne B. Freeman is a historian who drew from a broad range of resources to create "The Field of Blood," a historical account and analysis of the turbulent and violent years in Congress before the Civil War. From newspaper conspiracies that raised tensions to literal fistfights between representatives, this historical read paints a troubling picture of growing violence in government from the 1830s through the Civil War and how these conflicts affected history."The Library Book" by Susan OrleanAmazon"The Library Book" by Susan Orlean, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.85On April 29, 1986, a fire began at the Los Angeles Public Library that reached 2000 degrees, burned for seven hours, and destroyed and damaged 11,000 books. "The Library Book" is a nonfiction read that chronicles the LAPL fire, reexamines the case of a man suspected of starting the fire, and demonstrates the crucial role libraries play in society."The Rape of Nanking" by Iris ChangBookshop"The Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.13During the Sino-Japanese War, Japanese General Matsui Iwane ordered the destruction of Nanking, resulting in a horrifying massacre where over 300,000 Chinese civilians were raped and murdered. Iris Chang is a historian and journalist who uses the perspectives of Japanese soldiers, Chinese civilians, and a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon Nanking to tell the story of this painful piece of history."Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel WilkersonBookshop"Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel Wilkerson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.79The winner of the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards for History and nominated for the National Book Award amongst countless other awards, "Caste" is a masterful history book about the caste system that has shaped America and continues to divide society. Deeply researched, this nonfiction read explores eight pillars that exist within caste systems around the world and through history, drawing from countless stories that demonstrate the effects of caste systems and the ways in which we can move forward to a hopeful future."The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation" by Anna Malaika TubbsBookshop"The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation" by Anna Malaika Tubbs, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $18Seeking to fill a gaping hole in history, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs wrote the story of three mothers who would make enduring marks on history not only through their sons, but through their own resistance and beliefs. Louise Little, Alberta Williams King, and Emma Berdis Jones were each raised beneath suffocating Jim Crow laws and raised their sons with all of their love and knowledge, pushing each child on to greatness."The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca SklootAmazon"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.10Henrietta Lacks was a woman whose cells were taken without her knowledge and studied for decades, ultimately used to develop a polio vaccine, study cancer, and test the effects of an atomic bomb. Now dead for over 60 years, Henrietta is buried in an unmarked grave and her family has been offered no compensation, despite her cells launching a multi-million dollar industry and having been cloned millions of times. This nonfiction read combines science and history to uncover the story of Henrietta Lacks, her cells, and the consequences of scientific discovery."Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History-Without the Fairy-Tale Endings" by Linda Rodríguez McRobbieBookshop"Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History-Without the Fairy-Tale Endings" by Linda Rodríguez McRobbie, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.59"Princesses Behaving Badly" is a historical read that offers the true tales of princesses through time who don't have the fairytale lives we've seen in cartoons and bedtime stories. This book offers the stories of real-life princesses, from princess spies and pirates to warriors and rebels, and is perfect for history buffs or anyone looking for a unique series of mini-biographies."The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West" by Megan Kate NelsonBookshop"The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West" by Megan Kate Nelson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.49While most may think of the Civil War as a battle between the North and the South, the war also devastated Indigenous communities in the West. A finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for History, this nonfiction read focuses on nine individuals, from a Union Army wife who cared for Confederate soldiers in New Mexico to a Navajo woman who resisted the Union's campaigns."The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story" by Nikole Hannah-JonesAmazon"The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story" by Nikole Hannah-Jones, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $24.99A year before the famous Mayflower landed on the shores of Massachusetts, another ship arrived on the shores of what would one day be Virginia, carrying 20-30 enslaved people from Africa. This history book redefines the early histories we've been taught and demonstrates how this ship's arrival in 1619 spurred centuries of slavery and persistent racism in the future United States."The Making of Asian America: A History" by Erika LeeBookshop"The Making of Asian America: A History" by Erika Lee, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.49Erika Lee is a writer, professor, and historian who aims to help readers understand America's present through the past, writing the books she always wanted to answer her questions about immigrants, Asian Americans, and race. "The Making of Asian America" spans from the 1500s to the present, analyzing Asian immigration to America, historical mistreatment of Asian Americans, and the complicated relationship that still exists between America and Asian American citizens."When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt" by Kara CooneyBookshop"When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt" by Kara Cooney, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69In "When Women Ruled the World," Egyptologist Kara Cooney chronicles the lives and reign of six female pharaohs from Hatshepsut to Cleopatra and examines how their rule differed from the role of women in politics for thousands of years after. As women have historically been used as political pawns, Kara Cooney examines how these female pharaohs evaded such a path, and ruled with real power, along with what we can learn from their leadership today."The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper" by Hallie RubenholdAmazon"The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper" by Hallie Rubenhold, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.19Jack the Ripper is a serial killer who has never been identified, but whose crimes and untrue history have become exponentially more famous than the women he killed. Both gripping true crime and fascinating history, this nonfiction read uses the stories of five women to tell the truth about Jack the Ripper."A Black Women's History of the United States" by Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and Dr. Kali Nicole GrossAmazon"A Black Women's History of the United States" by Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and Dr. Kali Nicole Gross, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.72Using a range of voices from enslaved women to civil rights activists, historians Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and Dr. Kali Nicole Gross emphasize the narratives of Black women through America's history. This history book follows inspirational women through some of the most devastating pieces of America's history, exploring how Black women have always shaped history even if their stories were silenced."Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution" by Helen ZiaAmazon"Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution" by Helen Zia, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.56In 1949, China's Communist revolution drove countless Shanghai citizens out of the city in fear. "Last Boat Out of Shanghai" follows the stories of four young people who wrestled with their own decisions to flee and landed as refugees in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States. Though driven by different circumstances, each story is linked by personal trauma from the Japanese invasion, civil war, and communist revolution as the refugees looked to make new lives for themselves."The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote" by Elaine F. WeissAmazon"The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote" by Elaine F. Weiss, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.49"The Woman's Hour" is an inspiring historical read about the fight to ratify the 19th amendment and grant women the right to vote. A great read for anyone looking to understand the complexities and challenges faced by the women's rights movement, this nonfiction book is energetic, fascinating, and contains incredible imagery of the United States in 1920."Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy" by Heather Ann ThompsonAmazon"Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy" by Heather Ann Thompson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.95On September 9, 1971, almost 1,300 prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York rose in a protest against mistreatment that led to a four-day hostage negotiation for improved living conditions. "Blood in the Water" is the civil rights history of the events that led to the protest, the details of the four-day standoff that ended with 39 dead and nearly 100 injured, and the consequences that lasted decades."Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War" by Karen AbbottAmazon"Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War" by Karen Abbott, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.89With in-depth research from primary source materials and interviews, Karen Abbott has brought to life the stories of four previously unheard-of women who each became spies during the Civil War. Each from different walks of life and armed with different motives, the women became courageous heroines in the war, their stories finally told in this nonfiction read that also contains 39 photographs.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 18th, 2021

"A World Gone Mad": Upscale LA Neighborhood Wrestles With Worsening Homeless Crisis

'A World Gone Mad': Upscale LA Neighborhood Wrestles With Worsening Homeless Crisis Authored by Jamie Joseph via The Epoch Times, Abbott Kinney Boulevard is a picture-perfect hidden gem in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, known for its boutique shops and locally-owned dining joints. The mile-long strip sings to the tune of upper-middle-class patrons who come to Venice Beach to soak in its peculiar rhythm. The neighborhood’s tight-knit community of homeowners who have lived in the area for decades are proud to reside in this unique nook of town. A woman walks down a sidewalk passing a homeless encampment in Venice, Calif., on Nov. 10, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) But over the last year, the community within this stretch of Venice grew even closer over a common frustration: the growing homeless encampments. The issue is not new to Los Angeles as a whole, which has more than 41,000 people living on its streets, according to the latest homeless count, with more than 66,000 homeless people countywide. A forecast by the Economic Roundtable estimates that number could reach nearly 90,000 by the year 2023. Venice has approximately 2,000 people living unhoused, making it the second largest congregant of homeless people in the city after Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. Drugs, needles, trash, violence, fires, and encampments have become all too common to the Venice community. They say their pleas for help often fall on deaf ears when it comes to their city leaders, while tourists, homeowners, workers, and other homeless people have become victims to random assaults by a more violent crowd of transients. “It’s a world gone mad,” Venice resident Deborah Keaton told The Epoch Times. “It’s our own making too. I’m a liberal, a Democrat, and we voted for these measures that decriminalize a lot of this behavior, and so there’s no repercussions for these guys.” A man smokes a cigarette in a homeless RV encampment in Venice, Calif., on Nov. 10, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) When Keaton steps outside her home on North Venice Blvd. between Abbott Kinney and Electric Ave., her reality is not the white-picket fence experience she bought into 30 years ago when she purchased her home. An encampment, including a handful of parked RVs, has popped up adjacent to her house, making hers the closest house to the neighborhood’s new hot spot for crime and drug dealing. The transients living inside the RVs play loud music all day and night, she said. She filed a police report against the apparent ringleader of the RV encampment, Brandon Washington, because she says he approached her gate and allegedly made threats against her family. “He rang the bell, and he was wasted, and he said to me: ‘I just need to know all the evil people, is your husband evil? Because I need to kill your husband,’” Keaton said. “It was scary.” She captured the entire interaction on her Ring doorbell camera. “There’s no repercussions for these guys, and they can’t be held and they know it. A lot of these guys have been arrested 400 times,” she said. Neighbors allege Washington—who often appears to be on drugs—has prostituted women in the RVs, in addition to dealing methamphetamine to other homeless people. Keaton said in the summer a woman was hiding in her backyard, because she said Washington was “pimping her out.” These stories have become all too common in Venice. Ansar El Muhammad, who goes by “Brother Stan” in Venice, knows the plight of Washington all too well. About 20 years ago, Washington was in Muhammad’s niece’s wedding. Both were born and raised in Venice and ran in the same circles. “Even though everybody is up in arms about this, these are human beings,” Muhammad told The Epoch Times. “Brandon’s a good guy, it’s the drugs that are doing that to him. So, I understand the neighbors’ perspective.” Muhammad has become somewhat of a neighborhood protector, taking matters into his own hands. He runs H.E.L.P.E.R Foundation, a gang intervention coalition serving the Venice and Mar Vista neighborhoods. Venice neighbors say they trust him so much they call him first when there’s a safety or noise issue. The homeless trust him, too, so he is able to keep the peace. Most of the vagrants in Venice are involved in some element of gang activity, even if they are not officially part of a set, he said. Drug addiction is also rampant among the homeless, making it more difficult for them to accept resources. “So, for my friend over here, what do I do? I build rapport, I have to wait for him to say ‘Stan, I’m ready,’” he said. Other outreach workers across the county have told The Epoch Times the same thing—contact must be repeatedly made before some people accept help. Pat, an unsheltered resident in Venice Beach, told The Epoch Times earlier this year there should be more solutions by city leaders to encourage special rehab programs that would “give people a sense of accountability.” “There’s got to be a way, a path forward from sleeping on the pavement to eventually having a place. But I think all of the energy to give that path forward should come from the person in that situation,” he said. Neighbors Criticize Local Policies The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Homeless Outreach and Services Team (LASD HOST) conducted a cleanup of the sidewalk surrounding the RVs on Sept. 8 and 9, but Keaton said they won’t enforce any measures that would force the RVs to move. She fears the trash will pile up again and attract additional criminal activity. “The LAPD says they can’t enforce it because it comes down from the mayor’s office, but according to the Sheriff’s Department, the LAPD are not supposed to take orders from the mayor’s office—but that’s the deal,” Keaton said. Venice Neighborhood Council Board member Soledad Ursua told The Epoch Times the RVs receive citations, but a homeless service provider in the area allegedly pays for the tickets. Ursua said the pandemic also changed the homeless situation by encouraging transients to move to new residential areas in the city near commercial areas. “This is different because there’s people who are totally selling drugs, they’re doing drugs, and it’s outside a residence,” Ursua said. “I’ve had to clean up human feces in my carport three times,” she added. During the summer, HOST conducted a massive cleanup and outreach effort on the Venice boardwalk. Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva deployed deputies to the area while media reports slammed city leaders for not addressing the issue. Encampment fires were at an all time high: more than 54 percent of all fires in Los Angeles were caused by encampments this year, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported. The neighborhood experienced a sharp uptick in crime during the summer, too, according to statistics provided to the Venice Neighborhood Council by LAPD Capt. Steve Embrich. Year-to-date numbers showed that robberies nearly tripled since the same period last year. Homeless-related robberies were up 260 percent, homeless-related assaults with a deadly weapon were up 118 percent, property crimes and area burglaries were up 85 percent, and grand theft auto was up 74 percent. “We’ve been inundated with calls, with concerns, with images from the news, from people picking up the phone, emailing, sending us letters, about what’s going on in Venice,” Villanueva told reporters during a press conference inside the Hall of Justice on June 23. “And that is a microcosm of what’s going on throughout the entire county of Los Angeles.” Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin—who was also a local advocate for defunding the LAPD—countered Villanueva’s efforts and asked the Los Angeles Homeless and Poverty Committee to shift $5 million in budgeted aid to fund housing programs in his district. Those funds were sent to the St. Joseph Center to conduct outreach on the boardwalk. However, some tents have started popping back up on the boardwalk, with residents saying many homeless individuals have just been moved around. An unhoused member of the Venice community, Butch Say, believes most homeless people in Venice don’t want the help. Say, who described himself as a traveling nomad, told The Epoch Times during the boardwalk cleanup that most of them prefer to live on the street. “They go, ‘No, I love it out here. Nobody tells me what to do, and I run around in my underwear,” he said. “You know, whatever. They’re crazy. What can I say? It’s Venice.” Not a ‘Housing’ Problem While Los Angeles dealt with a homeless crisis prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, city restrictions may have exacerbated the problem. Curfew on tents in public were rolled back and sanitation crews were cut to mitigate the spread of the virus. Other city codes were suspended, too. As a result, many homeless people—mostly addicts—flocked to the beach. In a previous interview with The Epoch Times, local bar owner Luis Perez said Venice always had a quirky community of homeless individuals, but they were largely artists and entertainers. They weren’t addicts. He said he saw homeless individuals being bussed in and dropped off on the boardwalk. As state and city leaders peddle the state-sanctioned “housing first” model, which suggests the solution to homelessness lies within building more affordable housing units, Venice Beach natives have a different perspective. “A lot of them don’t want housing. See, this is the issue—they put all this money in here for housing, but there’s less than 5 percent of this population across the city that want it. They say ‘to hell with housing,’” Muhammad said. “You know why? Because they’re addicts.” California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks with reporters at a VA facility in Brentwood, Calif., on Nov, 10, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) On Nov. 10, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. During the press conference, Newsom told reporters that $22 billion in funds is being invested to address “the issue of affordability, housing, and homelessness, to support these efforts all across the state of California.” “Yes, I see what you see, yes I’m mindful of what is happening, but I’m also more optimistic than I’ve ever been. We are seeing progress,” he said. But residents say they look around, and the problem seems to be getting worse. “I voted for Proposition HHH. I [would] be the first one to say I want a solution. And honestly, I would probably vote for another one if I thought the money was going to be correctly spent,” said Venice Neighborhood Council Board member Robert Thibodeau. “But the thing is, where’s the light on the ground solutions? Where’s the FEMA style response, the striking sort of immediate solutions that you would have with [Hurricane] Katrina, because to me, this is Katrina.” Local business owners—the heartbeat of Venice—have been speaking out, too. Klaus Moeller, co-owner of Ben & Jerry’s on the boardwalk, told The Epoch Times in an email during the summer that “this is not a local homeless problem.” “This is a problem about out-of-state transients and drug dealers/users moving in because they can act without repercussions,” he said. Moeller added his employees have been attacked by transients on the boardwalk. Neighbors also criticized Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond passed in 2016 by Angelenos to build 10,000 supportive housing units. As of February, the city controller discovered only 489 of the bond-funded units were ready for occupancy. Because of the lack of supportive housing, a number of tiny home villages have popped up across the county as lower-cost alternative for interim housing. However, some residents say they won’t make much of a difference. “They wouldn’t move indoors. It’s not a housing crisis—it’s an addiction crisis,” Los Angeles native and new Venice resident, Kate Linden, told The Epoch Times. Linden said she emails Lt. Geff Deedrick—who leads the HOST efforts—weekly letting him know what’s going on. But the HOST team can only come in when they are given orders. Previously, Lt. Deedrick told The Epoch Times: “The HOST team provides that guardian mentality, so you can have a safe space for those discussions, but that’s where the policy makers and executives and those things, we leave that to them; we deploy at the direction of the sheriff.” A deputy from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department speaks to a homeless man sitting in front of his encampment in Venice, Calif., on June 8, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) Residents Launch Recall Campaign Many Venice neighbors who originally voted in Councilmember Bonin to represent them in the 11th district, like Keaton, are pulling back their support. Earlier this year, a recall campaign was launched, and on Nov. 10, petitioners collected enough signatures to move forward in the recall election process. They blame Bonin for the increased homelessness and lack of enforcement on street camping that they say brings gang activity into the neighborhood. On Oct. 22, the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban encampments in 54 specified areas, with Bonin and Councilmember Nithya Raman the only two dissenting votes. Thibodeau said Bonin’s views are on the “radical fringe,” that aligns with special interest groups and far-left activists. Thibodeau, who identifies as a centrist, said he’s sent dozens of emails to Bonin’s office with no response. “The sad thing is lot of this has happened because of a higher level of tolerance in the community and a compassion in the community—we’ve been abused, because we’re compassionate people,” Thibodeau told The Epoch Times. “He will not enforce [camping restrictions] in his district. So, now what, he’s in charge of policing too?” During a city council meeting last month, Bonin voted not to enforce a ban on camping due to a lack of prior street engagement to notify the homeless. But according to city documents (pdf), the cost of signage and outreach would cost as much as $2 million. “There was an agreement about street engagements, and I think we need to live by that part as well,” Bonin said. “I am certain that a lot of work has been done, but it still isn’t to the level of what we committed to as a body. And I’m concerned about us losing the commitment to the street engagement strategy and not making sure that it is adequately resourced.” Adding to the residents’ frustrations, the LAPD has their hands tied due to the city’s catch-and-release policies. Homeless people who commit crimes are often back on the streets within hours if they refuse services. Thibodeau said he believes Bonin is transforming Venice into a “containment zone” by not enforcing any anti-camping ordinances. Meanwhile, Bonin is planning several large supportive housing developments in Venice Beach and Mar Vista. Bonin and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also championed A Bridge Housing supportive units in Venice for $8 million that came out of Prop. HHH funds. Residents say most of the homeless who reside in the shelter are “dual residents,” meaning they have a bed in the shelter as well as a tent on the street. “There are no new planned facilities in Pacific Palisades. Brentwood happens to have the VA but nowhere else in Brentwood … so we’re making a Containment Zone here like Skid Row,” he said. As far as the sidewalk on N. Venice Boulevard taken over by RVs and tents, Thibodeau said, “Living next to this stuff is very draining.” He said he’s thinking about organizing street protests to address the issue. Councilmember Bonin’s office did not respond to a request for comment by press deadline. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/14/2021 - 22:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 14th, 2021

Crime Fears Rebound In U.S. After Lull During 2020 Lockdowns

Crime Fears Rebound In U.S. After Lull During 2020 Lockdowns By Megan Brenan of Gallup, Americans' anxiety about experiencing various crimes has largely returned to 2019 levels after dipping during the first year of the pandemic, when social distancing was still high. The percentages of U.S. adults who report that they "frequently" or "occasionally" worry about several specific types of violent and property crimes have increased between five and nine points over the past year. These include getting mugged, having their car stolen or broken into, having their home burglarized when they are at home or away from home, being attacked while driving, being a victim of identity theft, getting murdered and being a victim of terrorism. Worry about the other five crimes is statistically unchanged in comparison with last year, showing differences of less than five points each. Among them are having a school-aged child physically harmed at school, being assaulted or killed by a coworker, being a victim of a hate crime, being sexually assaulted and having one's personal information stolen by computer hackers. These findings are from Gallup's Oct. 1-19 Crime poll, which shows that the latest changes in worry about most of the crimes have essentially restored them to their 2019 levels. However, concerns about being attacked while driving, being a victim of identity theft and being a victim of a hate crime are higher now than in 2019, while worry about one's child being harmed at school is now lower than it was two years ago. Cybercrimes Remain Most Worrying to Americans Gallup has tracked worries about most of the crimes on the list nearly every year since 2000, although the items concerning cybercrimes were added in 2009 (identity theft) and 2017 (computer hacking). Concerns about these two cybercrimes have consistently outpaced the other crimes since they first appeared on the list. Americans are generally more likely to say they or another member of their house has been the victim of these two cybercrimes. Although none of the 13 crimes is a frequent worry for more than 39% of Americans, majorities say they worry at least occasionally about computer hacking (74%) and identity theft (72%). Meanwhile, between 30% and 43% of U.S. adults worry at least occasionally about their car being stolen, their home being burglarized while they are not there, their child being harmed at school, getting mugged, and being a victim of a hate crime or of terrorism. Fear of being assaulted or killed by a coworker while on the job is at the bottom of the list. Notable Demographic Differences in Worry Levels There are a number of notable differences in worry about various crimes among some demographic subgroups: Worry about the physical safety of children at school among parents of those under the age of 18 is 55%, ranking third below the cybercrimes. Women worry more than men about becoming a victim of several of the crimes, including sexual assault, terrorism and both cybercrimes. Twenty-three percent of U.S. adults in the 2021 survey report having been the victim of a crime in the past year, and this group is significantly more likely than those who have not been victimized to report they worry about falling victim to each of the 13 crimes. Specifically, recent crime victims are more than twice as likely as those who have not been a recent crime victim to be concerned about having their car stolen or broken into, 72% versus 35%. Likewise, crime victims are more likely than their counterparts to say they fear being mugged, 56% versus 26%. Suburbanites and those who live in more rural areas are more concerned than those who live in cities about falling victim to cybercrimes. Suburbanites are the most concerned of the three groups about car theft or break-in. Those who live in cities and suburbs are more concerned than rural residents about being mugged. City residents' worry about each of the crimes has not changed much compared with 2020. However, suburban and rural residents are much more concerned this year about car theft, mugging and home burglarizing when not there. Avoiding Dangerous Situations Is Americans' Main Protection From Crime The new survey also updates a Gallup question last asked in 2007, which explores how Americans try to protect themselves from becoming the victim of a crime. Of the seven methods, avoiding certain neighborhoods or areas was the top proactive step U.S. adults took in 2007, and it remains the top means of self-protection today, at 52%. Following distantly behind avoidance of dangerous areas, 37% of U.S. adults say they keep a dog for protection, 36% had a burglar alarm installed and 35% bought a gun for protection. Fewer, between 22% and 26%, say they carry mace or pepper spray, a gun, or a knife for self-defense. Uses of All Means of Protection Have Increased Since 2007 Except for avoiding certain areas, Americans have become significantly more likely to say they use each of these methods of protection since 2007. Uses of personal defense weapons -- a gun, mace and a knife -- are up 10 to 12 points. At the same time, keeping a dog and installing a burglar alarm have risen five to six points. Women and Men Protect Themselves From Crime in Different Ways Women are more likely than men to say they avoid going to unsafe neighborhoods, have a dog for protection, and carry mace or pepper spray. However, men are more likely than women to say they bought a gun, and carry it or a knife for self-defense. Additionally, U.S. adults who say they have been a victim of a crime in the past year are significantly more likely than nonvictims to take or have taken each of the seven precautions. Bottom Line After experiencing a general downturn in worry about becoming a victim of various crimes in 2020, Americans' concerns have mostly rebounded, though more worry today about identity theft, being a hate-crime victim and being carjacked than did so two years ago. Cybercrimes, including computer hacking and identity theft, remain the top crime worries. Changes in concern about crime over the past three years are likely due to several factors. The declines in worry seen in 2020 may have reflected an enhanced sense of security among Americans brought about by social distancing -- staying home more, avoiding public transportation and avoiding places with large crowds. The increases in worry this year may simply be the expected return to normal as social distancing behaviors have eased. But they could also reflect people's awareness from national crime statistics that violent crime was up last year. And while property crimes have continued to decline steadily, the news about violent crime may be influencing broader perceptions of the crime problem. In their efforts to avoid becoming a crime victim, U.S. adults primarily stay away from dangerous areas. However, they have increased their reliance on other steps, including arming themselves with guns, knives, or mace, installing burglar alarms, and getting a dog. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/10/2021 - 14:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 10th, 2021

The 23 best western books, from cowboy classics to feminist reimaginings

From classics like "Lonesome Dove" to new bestsellers like "Outlawed," here are some of the best western books. Some of the best westerns include "Lonesome Dove," "The Gunslinger," and "How Much of These Hills Is Gold." Amazon; Bookshop; Alyssa Powell/Insider When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Westerns are usually categorized as stories of cowboys during the 18th and 19th centuries. This list has classic and contemporary books for western fans. Want more books? Check out the best historical fiction books. Westerns are classically known as stories about cowboys, outlaws, and shoot-outs brought to life in desert towns. Newer westerns, however, explore the untold stories of Native Americans defending their communities, outlawed women on the run, and unlikely romances set on desolate ranches. To gather this list of the best western book recommendations, we looked at bestseller lists on Amazon and Bookshop, award-winning westerns, and favorites from Goodreads reviewers. So whether you're a "Lonesome Dove" fan or completely new to the genre, here are 20 of the best western books. The 23 best western books to read in 2021: A Pulitzer Prize-winning western Amazon "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69The winner of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, "Lonesome Dove" is a western classic and the most popular Western, according to Goodreads members. The story follows Captain Woodrow F. Call and Captain Augustus McCrae, two retired Texas Rangers who live in a small Texas town and drive a cattle herd from Texas to Montana, exploring themes of friendship, resilience, and loss during their epic journey. A western about a community coming together to face frontier violence Amazon "Cherokee America" by Margaret Verble, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.59This western is set in 1875 in the Cherokee Nation West as several stories unravel around Check, a wealthy farmer, mother, and soon-to-be widow. In this book loosely based on the stories told by the author's ancestors, a series of violent events intertwine in Check's life, pushing her and her neighbors to come together to protect the community, no matter the cost.  A western about rebellious female outlaws Amazon "Heresy" by Melissa Lenhardt, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.99Hattie LaCour and Margaret Parker are partners in crime, outlaw women running a gang of underdog outlaws who pull off a series of heists across the West, evading suspicion as no one imagines women could be capable of such elaborate crimes. When a rival male gang chases them down, determined to end their reign, the women must finish one last job to protect their outlaw family.  A western set during the Gold Rush Amazon "How Much of These Hills Is Gold" by C Pam Zhang, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99"How Much of These Hills Is Gold" is a new western set during the American gold rush about two newly orphaned immigrant siblings who flee their mining town shortly after their father's death. As they set off to bury their father, they encounter tiger paw prints, buffalo bones, and the unforgiving landscape while uncovering their family secrets — and their future.  A coming-of-age western Amazon "Fools Crow" by James Welch, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49Written by revered Native American author James Welch and set just after the Civil War, "Fools Crow" is a 1986 western coming-of-age novel set in Montana. White Man's Dog is a young Blackfeet Native American whose community is being invaded by white settlers, forcing his band to either assimilate or fight to maintain their way of life.  A popular 2021 western Amazon "Outlawed" by Anna North, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.40Ada is a midwife in 1894 who loves her husband and her job but is struggling to do the only thing that seems to really matter in society: Have a child of her own. When Ada still can't get pregnant after a year of marriage, she flees her life under the threat of being tried as a witch and joins the Hole in the Wall Gang as an outlaw, determined to create a safe haven for women who have been cast out from society.  A classic western about a vengeful daughter Amazon "True Grit" by Charles Portis, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.35Mattie Ross was 14 when she began to seek vengeance for her father's murder, who was gunned down by a handyman named Tom Chaney. Joined on her mission by a US Marshal and a Texas Ranger, Mattie heads west to hunt down the outlaw and retells her epic journey 50 years later.  A western set during the Mexican Revolution Amazon "El Paso" by Winston Groom, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99From the author who wrote "Forrest Gump," "El Paso" is a historical fiction novel that wraps history around fictional and nonfictional characters during the Mexican Revolution. This story follows Pancho Villa, a revolutionary and feared outlaw who kidnaps a railroad tycoon's grandchildren in this thrilling western full of gunfights, armies, and an epic bullfight.  A western adventure novel Amazon "News of the World" by Paulette Jiles, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.65After the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd was traveling through Northern Texas delivering news of the world to small communities when he was offered $50 in gold to deliver a 10-year-old orphan girl to her remaining family in San Antonio. Raised in a Kiowa tribe and recently reclaimed by the US Army, Johanna has forgotten English, continually tries to escape, and is more than reluctant to make the 400-mile journey with a stranger. An award-winning western Amazon "All the Pretty Horses" by Cormac McCarthy, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.29Cormac McCarthy is known for his profound and gripping westerns like "All the Pretty Horses," which won the National Book Award in 1992 and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1993. This western follows John Grady Cole, the youngest in a long line of Texas Rangers, who was primarily raised by a Mexican family that worked on his grandfather's ranch. When his grandfather passes away and he discovers that the ranch is to be sold, John takes off for the Mexican border with his best friend to find work as a cowboy.  An adventurous modern western Amazon "The Sisters Brothers" by Patrick deWitt, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.19"The Sisters Brothers" is an adventurous and delightful western about the Sisters brothers named Charlie and Eli, assassins for hire who have been set on a mission to kill Hermann Kermit Warm. Though both brothers are disillusioned by the brutality of their work, Eli dreams of a calmer and simpler life as the two set off for gold-mining Sacramento in this novel loved for its compelling dialogue.  The first in Stephen King's western series Amazon "The Gunslinger" by Stephen King, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.83The first of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series, "The Gunslinger" introduces readers to Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger, who has spent years chasing the man in black. Blending traditional western themes with elements of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, this series grips readers from the first installment as Roland meets new and interesting characters on his quest. A collection of western short stories Amazon "Close Range: Wyoming Stories" by Annie Proulx, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.39Nominated for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, this western short story collection about Wyoming ranchers is told with Annie Proulx's profoundly wise yet dark tone. This collection contains the short story "Brokeback Mountain," which was later adapted to the 2005 film of the same name.  A Nebraskan western classic from 1918 Amazon "My Ántonia" by Willa Cather, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $4.99Published in 1918, "My Ántonia" follows Jim Burden, an orphaned boy, and Ántonia Shimerda, the eldest daughter in a family of Czech immigrants. Brought to Nebraska on the same train, Jim and Ántonia are both brought to the midwest to pioneer the land, navigating the challenging and affecting first year in the brutal west. A fantasy western set during the gold rush Amazon "Walk on Earth a Stranger" by Rae Carson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.99Nominated for a National Book Award, "Walk on Earth" is an epic adventure that mixes fantasy and western elements to tell the story of Lee Westfall, a girl with a special power to sense gold anywhere around her. When her life changes completely, she sets off for California- where gold has just been discovered- in the hopes that she can finally be herself amongst those lost in the gold rush.  A thrilling, newly-released western Amazon The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.99Ming Tsu is the son of Chinese immigrants but was raised by the leader of a California crime syndicate and trained as a deadly enforcer. When Ming's wife is kidnapped in a violent raid, Ming partners with a bling clairvoyant, traveling across the west to settle long-buried scores and rescue his wife in this thrilling contemporary western.  A multi-generational western Amazon "The Son" by Philipp Meyer, available at Amazon, from $10.99"The Son" is a Pulitzer-Prize nominated western about Eli McCullough who was 13 when he was taken captive by Comanche natives and adopted as the chief's son, becoming part of the tribe. Years later, when armed Americans destroy Eli's tribe, he's left alone in the world and must make his own way in this multi-generational novel that spans from the 1800s to the oil booms in the 20th century.  A magical, genre-bending western Amazon "The Devil's Revolver" by V.S. McGrath, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $21.95This fantastical western begins with a tense shooting competition and takes off after a double murder and kidnapping, setting 17-year-old Hettie on a mission for revenge. Joined by her crew of underdogs, Hettie sets out with her father's revolver, cursed to take a year off Hettie's life each time she fires it.  A steamy queer western romance Amazon "Long Winter" by Rachel Ember, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.87Robbie lives alone on Riverside Ranch, braving the harsh winter with his cats and horses to care for and keep him company. When he gets a call to pick up his little brother's best friend from jail, old flames reignite as another snowfall traps the men in Robbie's one-room hayloft apartment.  A gripping western mystery novel Amazon "The Cold Dish" by Craig Johnson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.48Craig Johnson is known for his thrilling western mysteries and "The Cold Dish" is one of his most popular novels —  and the first in his "Walt Longmire" starring crime-solving Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire. When Cody Pritchard is found dead two years after he and his friends assaulted a Northern Cheyenne girl, Walt considers this may be an act of vengeance, a theory solidified after a second boy from the assault is murdered. A contemporary western cowboy romance Amazon "Cowboy Rising" by Mia Hopkins, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.09Georgia Meyers is a journalist writing an article about MacKinnon Ranch (a last-ditch effort to save her job at the newspaper) when she meets Daniel MacKinnon, the cattleman's son who recently turned down a promising oil career to take over his family's farm. Though fifth in the "Cowboy Cocktail" series, "Cowboy Rising" can absolutely be read as a standalone novel, as the one-night-stand between Georgia and Daniel takes off to become so much more.  An equally funny and serious satirical western Amazon "Little Big Man" by Thomas Berger, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.64Narrated by the 111-year-old Jack Crabb, this satirical western is about a white man who was raised by the Cheyenne Native Americans and describes his life in the west. As Jack Crabb encounters a cast of famous characters from Buffalo Bill to General Custer, he continually leaves and returns to the Cheyenne community as he considers the entirety of his identity.  A classic western children's book Amazon "Little House on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.27"Little House on the Prairie" is a classic 1935 children's book about Laura Ingalls, who moves from Wisconsin to Kansas as her father builds their family a little house and a new life. This nostalgic and beloved book follows Laura as she and her family explore their challenging new life in the midwest.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 8th, 2021

San Francisco Prosecutors Quit, Residents Fed Up With "Zero Consequence" Policies

San Francisco Prosecutors Quit, Residents Fed Up With 'Zero Consequence' Policies Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin faces a second recall effort over failure to prosecute crimes... California Decriminalized Shoplifting  On October 23, I commented California Decriminalized Shoplifting for Amounts Under $950, Guess What Happened I noted Walgreens closed 22 stores in San Francisco where thefts under $950 are effectively decriminalized. A couple of readers asked "Why just San Francisco?" if it was California Proposition 47 that put the $950 limit on nonviolent misdemeanors.  The answer is total lack of enforcement in San Francisco. San Francisco DA Faces Second Recall Effort Please note San Francisco DA faces second recall effort as residents 'fed up' with progressive 'zero consequence' policies. A second recall effort launched against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin demonstrates how residents are "fed up" with his progressive policies, as his push to reduce jail funding and refusal to prosecute repeat offenders ensures the streets remain marred with open-air drug dealing and violent crime now stretching into the suburbs, a leader of the prominent local police union tells Fox News. Last week, the first Republican-backed recall effort fell just 1,714 signatures short of the 51,325 required to trigger a special election to bring the question of ousting Boudin before voters. Now a second recall effort is being organized, which Boudin brushed off Monday night as proof that his so-called successes in reducing incarceration has "angered the billionaire class." But it’s his progressive approach that’s actually hurting average San Franciscans, San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya tells Fox News, as Boudin’s "swiftest revolving door in criminal justice" sends the message to offenders that there are no consequences for their actions.  Addressing the two recall efforts during his tenure, Boudin participated in a national organizing call for the campaign group "Our Revolution," which was advertised as "celebrating 5 years of electing progressive champions from coast to coast."  "But it’s also angered the ruling class, it’s also angered the billionaire class," he continued. "And that’s why in San Francisco they organized not one, but two separate recall campaigns to try to get me kicked out of office before I’m even halfway through with my term."  San Francisco Prosecutors Quit  Please note San Francisco prosecutors quit progressive DA Chesa Boudin's office, join recall effort. Prosecutors Brooke Jenkins and Don Du Bain told KNTV they have stepped down from their posts in San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office due to his lack of commitment to prosecuting crimes. "Chesa has a radical approach that involves not charging crime in the first place and simply releasing individuals with no rehabilitation and putting them in positions where they are simply more likely to re-offend," Jenkins said in the interview. "Being an African American and Latino woman, I would wholeheartedly agree that the criminal justice system needs a lot of work, but when you are a district attorney, your job is to have balance." Du Bain added that he believed Boudin "disregards the laws that he doesn't like, and he disregards the court decisions that he doesn't like to impose his own version of what he believes is just – and that's not the job of the district attorney." Boudin drew criticism earlier this year when a parolee back on the streets due to his office's actions killed two pedestrians after running a red light in a stolen car. Police say Troy McAlister, 45, was intoxicated when he ran a red light in a stolen car, killing Elizabeth Platt, 60, and Hanako Abe, 27. The San Francisco police officers union says a plea agreement for a robbery set McAlister free on parole in April and that Boudin's office failed to prosecute McAlister's multiple arrests in the aftermath, including one Dec. 20 for alleged car theft. A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman told The Associated Press that McAlister has been incarcerated in state prisons numerous times. In April 2020, he was sentenced in San Francisco County to five years for second-degree robbery and was released on parole for time served. Du Bain said that in one specific case, he was ordered by Boudin to request a more lenient sentence for a man convicted of shooting his girlfriend. Processive Madness School boards, crime, racist college admissions that favor blacks who cannot read, and critical race theory crammed down kids throats are all part of the extreme Left madness sweeping the country. In February, I noted Coca Cola Confirms Training Employees ‘Try To Be Less White’ In July, I commented Critical Race Theory Should Be Banned, and a Black Parent Explains Why "Educators use CRT as their own agenda, to indoctrinate the kids to hate each other," said one black parent to a rousing round of applause at a school board meeting. In May I noted College Entrance Exam SAT Score Racial Profiling: 964=1223 To compensate for the fact that Blacks score lower on average than Asians and Whites, SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’. Dear Criminals Dear criminals, if you want to commit a crime and get away with it, San Francisco is the place to be. *  *  * Like these reports? If so, please Subscribe to MishTalk Email Alerts. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 10:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 26th, 2021