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Something Else Barack Obama and Bernadine Dohrn Share, Besides Secrets with Terrorist Bill Ayers . . .

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. . . they find vicious murders of women pretty funny.

Bernadine Dohrn in December 1969, joking about the Manson family murder of Sharon Tate:

Dig it! First they killed those pigs and then they put a fork in pig Tate’s belly. Wild!  Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and then eating a meal in the same room, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson!

Barack Obama in October 2012, joking about O.J. Simpson’s attempt to flee justice after murdering his wife Nicole:

“You didn’t know this, but for all you moms and kids out there, you should have confidence that finally somebody is cracking down on Big Bird,” Obama said, alluding to the famous O.J. Simpson chase scene. “Elmo has been seen in a white Suburban. He’s driving for the border.”

Sharon Tate’s blood on her living room wall

Nicole Simpson’s blood on her backyard walkway

Who jokes about things like this?

Sharon Tate was nearly nine months pregnant at the time she was killed.  She had been stripped and tortured before death, a rope strung around her neck and hung from a beam.  She begged the killers to temporarily spare her life, kidnap her, and let her deliver her baby before they killed her.  They laughed and killed her anyway.  She was buried with the body of her deceased son cradled in her arms.

After Tex Watson stabbed Tate to death, Susan Atkins stuck her finger in Tate’s wounds and wrote the word “pig” on a wall with her blood, an act that delighted Bernadine Dohrn when she heard about it.  Dohrn and other Weathermen adopted a four-fingered “fork” salute to signify the act of stabbing Tate in her pregnant stomach.

Bernadine Dohrn at the infamous Flint War Council, where she praised Sharon Tate’s killers

Still not funny: Dohrn, now a “Children’s Rights Law Professor,” smiling with her FBI Most Wanted poster

The 1969 Manson murders (five dead at Tate’s house, two more victims the next night) were intended to start a “race war” between blacks and whites. Ringleader Charles Manson hoped that pinning the brutal crimes on black radicals would anger whites enough to foment all-out war between the races.  Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers shared Manson’s vision of an America where blacks wreaked bloody vengeance on white society.  Dohrn’s “fork salute” was a celebration of such imagined violence: a proxy race war acted out by white hippies on a pregnant white woman’s body in the name of “civil rights.”

O.J. Simpson celebrates his wrongful acquittal

Twenty-five years later, the acquittal of O.J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman was similarly celebrated.  Remember where you were?  Was anybody cheering?  Why were they cheering?

Ronald Goldman’s father and sister, stunned after the acquittal

The acquittal of O.J. Simpson was viewed by many on the Left as a sort of transhistorical balancing of the ledger, despite the warping of the scales of justice needed to achieve it.  Pick a body — pick two bodies — string them up, then give a get-out-of-jail-free card to the killer because of his race.  If the Southern Poverty Law Center had any honor, they would record O.J.’s acquittal as a hate crime alongside old cases of Klansmen who avoided prison for similar crimes.  It was a moment of deep division for the American people and a source of glee only for those who take pleasure in sowing such divisions.  There was nothing funny about it, just as no sane human being would find anything funny about sticking a fork into Sharon Tate’s pregnant stomach.

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, proudly reminiscing about their days “underground” to a groveling reporter

Thomas Sowell recently described Obama this way:

If you want to know what community organizers do, this is it — rub people’s emotions raw to hype their resentments.

Ironically, he said this before Obama told his O.J. Simpson joke.

 Being “post-racial” doesn’t mean that you get to joke about a murder with grim race overtones that tore the country apart.

Especially if you’re the president.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And then, there’s this:

Calif. Parole Board OKs Manson Follower’s Release

LOS ANGELES October 5, 2012 (AP)  A parole board panel has recommended the release of a former Charles Manson follower imprisoned for 40 years for a double murder Manson engineered, but it’s not the last hurdle Bruce Davis will face as he seeks his freedom.
Bruce Davis: helped slaughter two people in 1969, but he did take classes in prison
Davis has been recommended for parole before.  Then-Governor Schwarzenegger rejected the recommendation.  Governor Jerry Brown will likely be making a similar decision very soon.  The last time Davis was recommended for parole, the California Parole Board argued that he deserved to be free because “he had no recent disciplinary problems and had completed education and self-help programs.”
Education and self-help programs.  Like this one.
According to his lawyer, Davis is also an unusually exemplary person who ministers to fellow prisoners and possesses special insight and so on.  They all do.  Prisons are filled with magical, entirely misunderstood people: it’s like a cross between Sound of Music and The Green Mile in there:

Davis became a born-again Christian in prison and ministered to other inmates, married a woman he met through the prison ministry, and has a grown daughter. The couple recently divorced . . . Davis also earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in philosophy of religion.

Well that’s nice.  He also helped torture two men to death.  But, meh.  Bygones.  The last thing the parole board wants to do is dig up the past:

“While your behavior was atrocious, your crimes did occur 43 years ago,” parole board member Jeff Ferguson told Davis, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Elsewhere, in that unfortunately named thing called The Washington Monthly, the blog boards are incandescent with the thought that we would be so crude as a people to even imagine incarcerating anyone for life, particularly for the crime of merely torturing and killing two lesser-known, non-movie-stars.  One commenter offered the following justification for releasing Davis:

[He] didn’t participate in the more sensationalistic murders but rather only those of musician Gary Hinman and the caretaker at the Spahn Ranch, Donald Shea.

You know.  B-listers.

I’ve been predicting this day for years: now that the Left has priced the death penalty out of existence, their new, all hands on deck mission will be to eliminate Life Without Parole.  It is already presumed, in many circles, that believing in life sentences is a worse crime than murder itself.  Soon, the only way to end up behind bars will be to recommend sending people like Bernadine Dohrn or Charles Manson there.

 

Jack Dunphy: the Real Tragedy of Trayvon Martin

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When you want to know about homicide and race, or race and the media, or the media and crime, or crime and politicians, ask a cop:

When a local crime story explodes into the nation’s attention, it is worth asking why it has done so. According to the FBI, a murder occurs every 35.6 minutes in the United States, yet few of these killings garner any notice at all beyond the neighborhoods where they occur. So when any one of America’s roughly 15,000 annual homicides attracts what would seem an inordinate level of interest, we are left to wonder why. Are the people involved emblematic of some larger trend? Do the details of the crime offer instruction on how similar crimes might somehow be averted in the future? Or is there some other explanation, one that reflects the choices made by those who decide what stories they see fit to present to their audiences?

Surely the shooting death of Trayvon Martin is no exemplar of some national trend. Though his alleged killer, George Zimmerman, has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, such “justifiable” killings totaled only 326 in 2010, nearly twice the number reported in 2000 but still a tiny sliver of the total number of homicides reported to police. And even if Zimmerman is shown to have acted illegally in shooting Martin, would this crime reflect some national outbreak of vigilante violence among neighborhood watch volunteers?

No, there has been no such outbreak.

So how to explain the fascination with Trayvon Martin’s death? In dispatching swarms of reporters to Sanford, Florida, where Martin was killed, our sophisticated betters in the media have sought to cloak themselves with cheap grace. They focus on one victim whom they perceive to be — and whom they present to be — an innocent victim of an unprovoked shooting, while ignoring the incalculably larger problem of violent crime in America’s black communities.
Read the rest at Pajamas Media.

George Soros Funds the Fight to Lie About California’s So-Called Three-Strikes Laws

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First, a controlling fact.  California’s much-reviled “three-strikes” law bears no resemblance to what you’ve read about it in the news.  How much no resemblance?  Lots of no resemblance:

  • Prosecutors and judges have discretion in applying the law.  Discretion means “not draconian.”  Discretions means that it isn’t really a “three-strikes” law but merely a recidivist statute that permits, but in no way requires, application of its sentencing guidelines.  Someone can have 20 strikes and the law still won’t necessarily be applied.  Someone can rape and molest dozens of women and children and still not get three strikes sentencing.  The reality of criminal prosecution is that, in virtually all cases, when people face multiple charges (barring a few such as murder) those charges are telescoped down to one or two, and the others offenses are simply not prosecuted.  The tiny number of people facing three-strikes sentencing are extremely flagrant offenders who have committed dozens or hundreds — not two-and-a-half — violent crimes.
  • There are no people serving life sentences “merely” for stealing Cheetos or a VCR tape.  Those are myths.
  • Prosecutors use this recidivist sentencing law so rarely that most apply it just a few times a year, and even then, it frequently doesn’t lead to 25-to-life.  But media reporting frequently stops at the original charge.
  • The lies the media tells about “three-strikes” are legion.  The word” strike” better describes the media’s flailing confabulations about recidivism sentencing than any aspect of sentencing itself.

There is a great website by Mike Reynolds, an expert on California’s three-strikes law and its application (application being 95% of the law, no matter what they tell you in school).  I urge you to read his site and support his efforts:

Three Strikes and You’re Out: Stop Repeat Offenders 

Mike Reynolds debunks myths about three-strikes laws increasing costs for the state.  He proves that prison growth did not occur because of three-strikes laws; he explains who does and does not get enhanced sentencing, and he factors in the financial savings arising from reduction of crime arising directly from the prolific offenders who are sentenced under these laws.  In other words, he does what journalists and politicians ought to be doing, but do not.

From Mike’s site:

What is sometimes mistaken (or misunderstood) is the level of violence and brutality, as compared to the value of something rather minor. My daughter, Kimber, was murdered over a “minor” purse snatching. In fact, most murders are over little or “minor value” issues. Keep in mind, every “Three Strikes” case is closely reviewed by prosecutors who must prove the prior convictions in court. In the event that the defendant is found guilty of the current felony offense, the judge can, and does, review the merits of the case to decide whether or not to apply the full “25 to Life”, or reduce the case to a second strike.

On average, only (1) out of every (9) eligible third strikers gets a “25 to Life” sentence. The average third striker has (5) prior serious or violent felony convictions.

Read Mike’s site!  

~~~

Meanwhile, anti-three-strikes activism is an astroturfed social movement funded for years through various channels by billionaire financier George Soros.  The Los Angeles Times reports that Soros just gave $500,000 to the effort to get an anti-three-strikes measure on the California ballot in November.  The other major funding of the ballot initiative is Stanford Law Professor David Mills.  I wonder if anyone’s done an audit to see how much educational taxpayer money (even private schools rely largely on public funds) Professor Mills has used for his political activism.  His “academic” website is basically an advertisement for activism.  Why do California residents put up with paying for this guy’s hobbies?  Can’t he take his druggie-yellow sunglasses off for a photo for his law school?  Is that too much to ask?  What is that, a denim shirt?  Would a suit kill him?

“Professor” David Mills, Stanford University, Photographed on a Sunny Day.

Maybe he dresses this way to conceal the fact that he made a fortune in private investment firms before picking up a starring role at the previously dignified Stanford Law posing as a denim-wearing soldier for the right of thugs, rapists, and home invaders to continue their prolific criminal careers against non-investment firm types who can’t afford personal security like Mills’ and Soros’.

David Mills doesn’t even have a real vitae.  He’s published four editorials (one, risibly, in Slate; one, risibly, in MSN Slate) and one law review article in his own school’s law review, co-authored by a real scholar.

My goodness, the things that get you a law professorship at Stanford these days!

~~~

 Anyway, back to the three-strikes campaign.  Below you’ll find some articles I’ve written on the real criminal careers of the more famous poster-children of Soros’ and Mills’ cause.  It took decades for ordinary people and crime victims to create enough traction in the justice system to merely punish a small percentage of prolific criminals.  Now we stand to lose such progress.  These men — sheltered by their extreme wealth, capable of avoiding the consequences of their actions, are trying to empty the prisons in order to make themselves feel virtuous while spitting in the faces of law abiding Americans.  It’s a consequence-free titilation for them, on your backs and the safety of your loved ones.

If you’re in California, the time to push back is now.  George Soros and David Mills merely have money.  We have the truth.  We need letters to the editor every time someone makes a false claim about saving money on prison costs, or cries alligator tears about Supermaxes cluttered with Cheetos-stealing Jean Valjeans and other nonsensical lies.

Here are links to just a few of my posts on three-strikes laws and other recidivist measures under attack by George Soros:

Jerry DeWayne Williams: The original “pizza slice” poster boy for the anti-three strikes movement . . . and his real record

Robert Ferguson: “Bag of cheese” poster boy for the anti-three strikes crowd; of course there’s more to the story

Rodney Alcala: California serial killer and sexual torturer (worked for the LA Times after he racked up a horrifying record)

Russell Burton: 20 years of serial leniency for horrific recidivist sexual assaults in California and Georgia 

Lavelle McNutt: Prolific serial rapist with 36-year record of leniency in at least two states

Cliff Kincaid on the Real Story of the UC Davis Pepperspray Incident . . . and UC Davis Prof. Nathan Brown on “Teaching” Revolution

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Cliff Kincaid interviewed UC Davis Professor Nathan Brown regarding Brown’s call for the campus to become a no-go zone for police.  This is a new strategy being used by many Occupy groups and other protestors, who look to be beginning to migrate to college campuses now that cold’s setting in.

Universities and colleges tend to be more hospitable than city parks, because they are much more nursery-like: nice places to crash; built-in constituencies of the verbosely idle; anorectic girls willing to share their cafeteria cards; PR-allergic administrators . . . and protection from the more deranged homeless and/or criminal hoi polloi who harshed many a city-park-Occupy vibe by hogging the tofu loaf, among less amusing ironies.

Besides, universities are already occupied by herds of tenured professors dreaming nostalgically of their own big moments occupying the lunchroom at Columbia.  And tenured professors have a superpower in the form of double-secret-protected speech, which they like to call “academic freedom,” a highly unusual title if you think about it, because, unlike other things labelled “free,” “academic freedom” is guarded very, very jealously by the very tiny subset of faculty who claim it for themselves.

 Professor Nathan Brown, exercising his special superpower academic freedom of speech

So it would seem that college campuses are ideal places for the weary Occupiers to winter, except, ironically, if the faculty succeed in this throw-out-the-police thing.  For, if excited gaggles of tenured professors like the ones occupying the English Department of UC Davis do get their way, then all the other perks of protesting on campus — warm dorm showers, landscaping for pupping tents, safety for females and other living things — well, all of that is going to go poof the moment every pickpocket, sex offender, and crazy homeless person learns that the post-structuralists over at U.C.D. have booted the campus cops to the curb.

The following is an actual statement by the entire UC Davis English Department demanding the disbanding of the school’s police force.  It sure is going to be a highly stimulated crowd at the Department Holiday Party this year:

 The faculty of the UC Davis English Department supports the Board of the Davis Faculty Association in calling for Chancellor Katehi’s immediate resignation and for “a policy that will end the practice of forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff, and community protesters by police on the UC Davis campus.” Further, given the demonstrable threat posed by the University of California Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to the safety of students, faculty, staff, and community members on our campus and others in the UC system, we propose that such a policy include the disbanding of the UCPD and the institution of an ordinance against the presence of police forces on the UC Davis campus, unless their presence is specifically requested by a member of the campus community. This will initiate a genuinely collective effort to determine how best to ensure the health and safety of the campus community at UC Davis.

Hmmm, except, as Cliff Kincaid observes, UC Davis has an actual crime problem:

According to the most recent crime statistics, while crime on campus in general showed little change from 2009-2010, some serious crimes were on the rise. There were 88 burglaries on campus in 2010, compared with 84 in 2009, and 21 forcible sex offenses compared with 18 the previous year. There were 11 aggravated assaults compared with nine in 2009.

How much worse will that get, once the coppers get replaced with composition teachers or, God forbid, roving militias conscripted from Philosophy or Classics?  Forget Occupy for a moment, and consider preoccupation, which ranks high among things that make campuses desirable for predators, along with stuff like:

      • keeping odd hours
      • living away from home for the first time
      • spatial un-vigilance due to music devices wedged in ears
      • public lugging of expensive consumer electronics on expensive bicycles
      • distractions brought upon by big ideas and/or hormones
      • beer

And that’s just the professors.  Think of the students.

~~~

Professor Brown, who earns a nice salary teaching classes on incoherencies such as the poetics of nanotechnology, has become something of a celebrity, thanks to an open-letter-blog-post currently mounted beneath an image of a fist on the website Bicycle Barricade (Get it?  French Revolution plus expensive bicycles), in which he fumed, scolded, and grandstanded; used the word “outrage” a lot; issued accusations about severe physical injuries that have not been confirmed by anyone; referred to himself as a special asset to the school, and then told the school’s chancellor that she, in contrast to him, was not an asset.  The latter seems awfully materialistic, coming from someone advocating for the overthrowing of rapacious consumerism, but, whatever.

Brown j’accuses:

[T]he administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. . . I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds. . . I am writing to tell you in no uncertain terms [emphasis inserted, to emphasize the hysterical tone] that there must be space for protest on our campus. There must be space for political dissent on our campus. There must be space for civil disobedience on our campus. [Why?  He does not explain.] There must be space for students to assert their right to decide on the form of their protest, their dissent, and their civil disobedience—including the simple act of setting up tents in solidarity with other students who have done so. [Let me see if I’ve got this right: they need space to assert their right to decide on the form of protest, and then they need other space to do the protesting . . . wait, I’m getting confused, perhaps you could say more about that]  There must be space for protest and dissent, especially, when the object of protest and dissent is police brutality itself. You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation.

[Here comes the deconstruction part, so hang tight]Your words express concern for the safety of our students. Your actions express no concern whatsoever for the safety of our students. I deduce from this discrepancy that you are not, in fact, concerned about the safety of our students. Your actions directly threaten the safety of our students. And I want you to know that this is clear. It is clear to anyone who reads your campus emails concerning our “Principles of Community” and who also takes the time to inform themselves about your actions. You should bear in mind that when you send emails to the UC Davis community, you address a body of faculty and students who are well trained to see through rhetoric that evinces care for students while implicitly threatening them. I see through your rhetoric very clearly. You also write to a campus community that knows how to speak truth to power. That is what I am doing.

I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately. . .

And so on.

You can find the entire “manifesto” here; yes, there is much, much more of it.  Technically, repetition is a rhetorical device, as I am sure Professor Brown will demonstrate repeatedly in coming days.  The tone of all of this is terribly childish, but, to me, not nearly so disturbing as the contents of the following video, which I need to preface by saying that it resembles nothing so much as one of those totalitarian mind-control dystopias hippy professors used to attempt to inoculate us against by assigning books by Orwell, back when I used to take English classes, or rather, back when I used to take English classes where the professors actually assigned novels, instead of assigning political manifestos instead of novels in English classes:
[you-tube video here.]
~~~
Despite all the cop-hating and protest-leading he’s been doing lately, Dr. Brown still seems to find it curious that anyone would question his course syllabus on past and present protest movements, titled: The Real Movement of History – Left Communism and the Communization Current.  Indeed, it is true, as he asserts, that his syllabus covers the seminal Marxist texts, a reasonable academic subject, if taught reasonably, by which I mean objectively.
Though I know the word “objective” is objectionable, I’m just going to put it out there.
Curiously, though, the syllabus ends with The Coming Insurrection, a manifesto with extremely detailed descriptions of the very scenario unfolding largely under Dr. Brown’s direction on the U.C. Davis campus as I write this, a scenario beginning with creating and then escalating conflicts with police, then demanding the removal of police from public spaces, then “occupying” those spaces, then fomenting total, violent revolution in which no one group takes responsibility for the violence being perpetrated by their leaderless, horizontal, mass-chanting compadres once the police have gone home — to protect their threatened families, is the way it goes in Dr. Brown’s reading list.

That’s not quite the same pedagogical coincidence as looking up at the sky whilst reading Wordsworth and suddenly thinking that you might consider “wandering lonely as a cloud.”

I quote The Coming Insurrection at length here because I think it’s important to see the point at which it is impossible for Dr. Brown to continue coyly insisting that he is merely teaching historical texts of revolution, as opposed to performing them step-by-step on the taxpayer’s dime while pretending to teach English:

In the subway, there’s no longer any trace of the screen of embarrassment that normally impedes the gestures of the passengers. Strangers make conversation without making passes. A band of comrades conferring on a street corner. Much larger assemblies on the boulevards, absorbed in discussions. Surprise attacks mounted in city after city, day after day. A new military barracks has been sacked and burned to the ground. The evicted residents of a building have stopped negotiating with the mayor’s office; they settle in. A company manager is inspired to blow away a handful of his colleagues in the middle of a meeting. There’s been a leak of files containing the personal addresses of all the cops, together with those of prison officials, causing an unprecedented wave of sudden relocations [emphasis added throughout]. We carry our surplus goods into the old village bar and grocery store, and take what we lack. Some of us stay long enough to discuss the general situation and figure out the hardware we need for the machine shop. The radio keeps the insurgents informed of the retreat of the government forces. A rocket has just breached a wall of the Clairvaux prison. Impossible to say if it has been months or years since the “events” began. And the prime minister seems very alone in his appeals for calm. . .

Liberate territory from police occupation. If possible, avoid direct confrontation.

“This business shows that we are not dealing with young people making social demands, but with individuals who are declaring war on the Republic,” noted a lucid cop about recent clashes. The push to liberate territory from police occupation is already underway, and can count on the endless reserves of resentment that the forces of order have marshaled against it.  Even the “social movements” are gradually being seduced by the riots, just like the festive crowds in Rennes who fought the cops every Thursday night in 2005, or those in Barcelona who destroyed a shopping district during a botellion. The movement against the CPE witnessed the recurrent return of the Molotov cocktail. But on this front certain banlieues remain unsurpassed. Specifically, when it comes to the technique they’ve been perfecting for some time now: the surprise attack. Like the one on October 13, 2006 in Epinay. A private-security team headed out after getting a report of something stolen from a car. When they arrived, one of the security guards “found himself blocked by two vehicles parked diagonally across the street and by more than thirty people carrying metal bars and pistols . . .

There’s no ideal form of action. What’s essential is that action assume a certain form, that it give rise to a form instead of having one imposed on it. This presupposes a shared political and geographical position – like the sections of the Paris Commune during the French Revolution – as well as the circulation of a shared knowledge. As for deciding on actions, the principle could be as follows: each person should do their own reconnaissance, the information would then be put together, and the decision will occur to us rather than being made by us. The circulation of knowledge cancels hierarchy; it equalizes by raising up. Proliferating horizontal communication is also the best form of coordination among different communes, the best way to put an end to hegemony.

Sound familiar?  Watch the whole creepy Dr. Brown repeato-video, and read his entire manifesto, and then as much of The Coming Insurrection as you can take without needing a nice long walk, and then let me know if you believe this guy has a snowball’s chance in hell of calling himself a mere scholar and not tactician of Marxist revolutionary tactics . . . anywhere but in academia, of course, where wishes are horses being ridden by beggars.

Furthermore, mustering all the authority of a former graduate student who involuntarily took a snootful of Marxist theory courses myself while expecting them to be about stuff like poetry or literature, I sincerely doubt Dr. Brown even grasps at feigning academic objectivity in his classroom.

I doubt it precisely because of the way he stood ranting in public about the relationship between his scholarship and the protests in which he was engaging.

I, too, have been schooled to interpret texts and see through rhetoric, and my take on Nathan Brown is that he stood in his own public square quivering precisely at the frisson of un-objectively teaching while doing — all the while feeling the ghost of the soapbox in Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner creaking beneath his Birkenstocks.

Or perhaps, his expensive Italian shoes.

But the main point here is not the class politics of footwear, and I apologize for presumptuousness on my part.  The point is whether Dr. Brown is being truthful when he says that his scholarship is one thing and his activism another, or whether the actual content of the former might not raise some troubling questions regarding both his academic professionalism and his current ascendence to spokesperson for the entire U.C. Davis English Faculty on the subject of overthrowing the police.

Let’s set aside, for a moment, the fact that Dr. Brown fails to include in his fascinating survey courses any viewpoint contrary to the assertion that communism is the inevitable and right endpoint of all history, shades of Fukuyama certainly withstanding.  Such is the minutiae of crabbed minds.  Or, the discipline of teaching history as once practiced (not performed) by modest intellectual giants in short-sleeved button-collared shirts humanly striving above all else to preserve the protocols demanded of them by the creed of professional objectivity.

Let’s set all this . . . traditionalism . . . aside, this outré neutrality, cast it into the depths of extreme relativism from which Harold Bloom, who is responsible for so much of it, somehow rises every morning inexplicably smelling as if he has just washed both his hands, as we instead contemplate one detail — the detail of how Dr. Brown’s oddly-named survey course on communism ends precisely where his public persona begins — with cries for bloody, absolute revolution in the streets, and not-too-veiled threats towards any and all “authority figures” but especially the police.

To borrow an ugly from the current argot, I’m just trying to problematize these things.

~~~

And now, to this — the true story of what happened on the UC Davis campus in the hours leading up to the use of pepper-spray on a few systematically threatening, definitely not passively-resisting students and non-student professional agitators.  Here is the video you won’t see on the evening news, although it ought to be the one that is being seen, because it shows precisely what these protestors intended for the police they surrounded, and jeered at, and threatened.  Put yourself in the police’s shoes.

The video also shows a great deal about Professor Nathan Brown, although he is not in it.  It shows that despite papering his accusations with overwrought claims about his own special rhetorical perspicacity, he is just an average, even sophomoric, dissembler.  He wildly exaggerated what the police did; he threw a tantrum at his bosses, and he lied about the behavior of the protestors.  Even the best excuse that could be made for him is a particularly pedagogically unfortunate one: he just didn’t do a close enough reading of the text.

And now he is encouraging others to similarly misapprehend, and this makes for a demoralizing spectacle — an entire department of people claiming to be specially trained and insightful readers-of-texts, eagerly signing up without bothering to fact-check an inaccurate, premature, and presumptuous manifesto.

And these are the people getting paid to teach the art of reading.  Reading.  Remember that?

 

 

 

 

 

“Grassroots” Prisoner Strikes in California Actually Funded Directly by George Soros

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The hunger strikes at several California prisons this summer may have seemed like spontaneous uprisings against torturous conditions.  That’s how many incurious souls in the fourth estate are portraying them.  To wit, this hand-wringing Washington Post editorial highlighting the “tragic modesty” of prisoner demands:

DOZENS OF INMATES at California’s Pelican Bay facility went on hunger strikes for several weeks this summer for what seemed like pitifully modest demands: “Allow one photo per year. Allow one phone call per week. Allow wall calendars.”  What would prompt such drastic measures in the quest for such modest goals? Answer: The protest was an exasperated and understandable reaction to the invisible brutality that is solitary confinement. Some of the Pelican Bay inmates have been held in “security housing units” for years; those tagged as gang members can expect to stay there for six years, with no certainty that they will be reintegrated into the general population even if they renounce gang membership.  When an inmate is holed up alone in a cell for up to 23 hours a day with no meaningful human contact, a photograph of a loved one or a weekly telephone call can help to forge a connection with the outside world. With little or no exposure to natural light, a calendar can help forestall losing all track of time, all sense of reality. These simple privileges, in short, can help ward off insanity.

Well, that sounds just horrible.  Why wouldn’t the cruel prison wardens allow a mere snapshot, or wall calendar?

Because the protests weren’t really about family pictures or calendars.  Because the inmates, and particularly their leadership, weren’t really harmless and misunderstood “ex” gang members in the first place.  Because the dozens of well-funded activist organizations who played the media like dumb fiddles aren’t telling the truth about either their tactics or goals.

The whole thing was a set-up, and any fish smarter than many fish in the MSM would have smelled something fishy and swum away from the bait.

Rainy Taylor, “Bay Area Revolution Club”

While the national and international media were busy wringing their hands over the seemingly sentimental prisoner demands, and dumbly reprinting activist agitprop as facts, local news sources like the Sacramento Bee bothered to ask real questions about the policy being protested — Secured Housing Units (SHU), cellblocks which isolate dangerous, disruptive, and gang-related prisoners from the rest of the prison population:

Officials with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation [] said they will review policies on how the agency determines which inmates are believed to be gang leaders who are then placed in a security housing unit.

But they insist that inmates inside the SHU, including several who have identified themselves as leaders of the hunger strike, pose a serious threat to others and are there for very good reasons. [emphasis added]

The state’s security housing units were designed as prisons within prisons to house the most dangerous criminals. While SHU inmates are largely isolated from other prisoners, corrections officials say, they still have certain amenities available to them.

“They have 23 channels, including ESPN,” [corrections spokesman Oscar] Hidalgo said. “I think that’s something that’s far from extreme isolation from the rest of the world.”

These guys get cable, including ESPN.  I certainly don’t pay for that.  Yet they claim they’re striking because they lack “wool caps” for “wintertime.”  Such demands don’t pass any smell test.  They are deliberately designed to create an impression that the prisoners are shivering in the cold, not sitting around watching Sports Center.

Inmates in California SHU watching cable TV . . . what, no HBO?

Yet the “wool caps for winter” campaign was repeated uncritically by media sources throughout the world.  Al Jazeera English published a wildly misleading editorial by one prominent Soros-funded activist, Issac Ontiveros, who calls SHUs “torture.”  For good measure, Ontiveros’ editorial throws in a bunch of other deceptive agitprop painting the U.S. as a “prison industrial complex” that must be overthrown.  He repeats all the activists’ greatest hits, bluntly lying about the real circumstances of mass murderer George Jackson’s death, whitewashing the horrific, racially motivated killings perpetrated by Jackson, and downplaying the murders of prisoners and guards by other prisoners during the Attica riots.  Racial accusation?  Check.  Denial of violence by “activists”?  Check.  America equals police state?  Check.

This is the type of “news” about America being disseminated around the world, all subsidized by George Soros.

Quite astonishingly, the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Committee is actually using photos of the bloody Attica riots to illustrate their demands on behalf of the current California hunger strikers.  This is the coalition homepage:

Get it?  Give in and end the practice of secured housing units for offenders who stab prison guards, or . . . prisoners will riot and stab a bunch of prison guards.

~~~

Back on Planet Sanity, the San Jose Mercury News bothers to document real conditions in the SHUs, plus the behind-bars behavior that landed some of the benighted residents of California’s Secure Housing Units in secure housing to begin with:

Many of the inmates on the tour were housed in pairs in cells stocked with televisions and books. The cells had doors perforated with dozens of tiny holes, instead of standard prison bars, to make it more difficult for inmates to pass items from one to another.

In one area, two inmates in neighboring cells played virtual chess, calling out their moves to one another.

Inmates do have contact with other prisoners, staff and visitors, including spending more than an hour each day in exercise yards, [corrections spokesman Oscar] Hidalgo said. They have 23 cable television channels, reading materials, access to a law library and learning materials, and can correspond with family and friends.

Conditions are “far from what we think is torturous,” Hidalgo said, though some violent inmates and purported gang leaders are kept physically separated.

Three of the state’s prisons have such units, housing about 3,800 of the state’s 161,500 inmates.

Inmates sent to the unit “have essentially earned their way,” Hidalgo said. “They have numerous assaults on inmates, they have numerous assaults on staff, they have to be isolated for their protection and for the protection of other inmates. These are predatory-type inmates, and we need to ensure they are not harmful to others.” . . .

He said the strike originated in the unit’s “short corridor,” home to 202 top gang leaders. The department provided background on five strike leaders at the request of The Associated Press. They include:

— Todd Ashker, 48, who prison officials contend is a high-ranking member of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood. He’s serving 21 years to life for a killing another inmate at Folsom State Prison in 1987, the latest in a long series of convictions. He’s accused of stabbing five inmates and assaulted three employees in prison.

— Danny Troxell, 58, of the Aryan Brotherhood, who’s serving 26 years to life for a Fresno County murder. He’s accused of six assaults on other inmates.

— Arturo Castellanos, 50, of the Mexican Mafia, serving 26 years to life for a Los Angeles County murder. He’s accused of stabbing six inmates in prison.

— Ronnie Dewberry, 53, the Black Guerrilla Family’s “minister of education” in charge of orienting and indoctrinating other inmates. He is serving 25 years to life for an Alameda County murder.

— George Franco, 46, of Nuestra Familia, serving 15 years to life for a Santa Clara County murder.

Hidalgo said the strike was coordinated by gang leaders who normally are sworn enemies.

~~~

In order to understand the professional activists orchestrating the hunger strikes, you first have to understand that they view incarceration itself, whatever the crime, as illegitimate.  Their goal, stated openly, is to “empty all prisons.”  Yet, such extreme statements don’t place them beyond the pale in the progressive Left, who largely view America as a fascist police state.  The tone of this activism has grown increasingly extreme, even though public relations efforts often mute the rhetoric for certain audiences.  The current anti-incarceration movement is more powerful and more dangerous than their outré predecessors such as the original Black Panthers.  Unlike these former groups, the current movement’s leaders wield tremendous influence in public policy and legal policy organizations, as well as in the current Justice Department and other government bureaucracies.

Coordinated actions like the California hunger strikes also demonstrate the reach of such extremism into taxpayer-funded institutions like the California university system.  Several movement leaders are tenured professors whose activism is really their only academic work — activism subsidized by the taxpaying victims of the super-thugs being housed in SHU units.

Here are just a few of the activist groups involved in inventing the recent hunger strike.  In one way or another, nearly all these groups are bankrolled by George Soros’ Open Society Foundation:

Critical Resistance — founded by well-reimbursed, Communist, taxpayer-employed, “professor” Angela Davis, Critical Resistance is dedicated to eliminating prisons entirely.  Their mission statement:

We call our vision “abolition”, and take the name purposefully from those who called for the abolition of slavery in the 1800′s. Abolitionists believed that slavery could not be fixed or reformed – it needed to be abolished. As PIC [Prison Industrial Complex] abolitionists today, we also do not believe that reforms can make the PIC just or effective. Our goal is not to improve the system; it is to shrink the system into non-existence.

All of Us Or None — AOUON is at the forefront of a dangerous new legal campaign: promoting lawsuits against corporations like Home Depot when such deep-pocketed targets deign to choose to not hire ex-cons with criminal records.  That’s right — employers everywhere may soon be facing civil rights lawsuits if they choose any non-felon over a felon, or take applicants’ criminal histories into account in any way.  How would you like to not know the criminal background of your kid’s teacher — or your mom’s nursing home aide — or that guy Home Depot sent over to hang the new cabinets?  Disturbingly, Eric Holder is grandstanding on this issue and deploying the resources of the Department of Justice to “research” such discrimination claims.  The EEOC is, of course, on board through Holder’s Cabinet Level Prisoner Re-Entry working group.

Good luck not hiring muggers and robbers in the future.  See here for more shocking details.

Aw, heck.  The day is growing short.  I’ll just list the rest of the organizations agitating for wool hats for violent offenders.  Remember, all of these groups have joined hands with radicals seeking the release of all prisoners and the total elimination of incarceration.  Some things to ponder when reading this list:  Do most of these organizations and “organizations” really look like grassroots groups?  How many are part of the vast activist astroturfing being coordinated through “civil liberties” legal foundations?  How many are extreme left-wing or openly communist political and legal groups rebranding themselves as social justice advocates?  How many are directly or indirectly funded by George Soros?

[Answer: No, Lots, The Rest of Them, and Almost All the Big Ones]

A Better Way Foundation
A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing)
A New Way of Life Reentry Project, Los Angeles, CA
ACLU of California (Read Statement here)
ACLU of Mississippi
AIDs Foundation Chicago
All of Us or None
American Civil Liberties Union (National)
American Friends Service Committee
American Gruner: Coalition of Latino Leaders

American Public Health Association (Prisoner Health Committee, Medical Care Section)

ANSWER
Arkansas Voice for the Children Left Behind
Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco)
Black Awareness Community Development Organization
Breakout!, New Orleans, LA
Bristol Anarchist Black Cross
Building Locally to Organize for Community Safety (BLOCS) –Atlanta, GA
Cafe Intifada
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
California Prison Focus
California Prison Moratorium Project
Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB)
Campaign to End Prison Slavery (UK)
Campaign to End the Death Penalty (Read statement here)
Cante Wanjila Native American Reentry and Support Project, South Dakota
Center for Community Alternatives
Center for Constitutional Rights (National) (Read statement here)
Center for New Community (national)
Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, Providence, RI
Center for Young Women’s Development
Certain Days Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar
Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective (NC) (Read Statement here)
Chicago Anti-Prison Industrial Complex Teaching Collective
Chuco’s Justice Center
CLAC Legal Committee
Coalition for Prisoners Rights
COMITÉ DE SOUTIEN DE LA GRÈVE DE LA FAIM / HUNGERSTRIKE SUPPORT COMMITTEE
Comité pour un Secours rouge canadien
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Community justice network for youth
Community Restoration Services (Los Angeles)
Courage to Resist (Read statement here)
Critical Resistance
CUAV: Community United Against Violence (San Francisco)
Defender Association of Philadelphia
Denver Anarchist Black Cross
Detention Watch Network
East Bay Saturday Diaologues with Dr. Nancy Arvold & April Schlenk
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Fair Chance– Los Angeles Project
Families & Allies of Virginia’s Youth
Families to Amend California’s Three-Strikes (FACTS)
FedCURE
Florida Immigration Coalition (Miami, FL)
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition
Freedom Archives
Freedom Inc (Madison WI)
Fresno County Brown Berets
Friends Committee of Legislation on California
Frontline Soldiers
Generation 5
Glen Cove Solidarity
HIV Prevention Justice Alliance
Human Rights Coalition- Fed Up! (Pittsburg)
Immigrant Workers’ Center
Immigration Law Clinic of UC Davis Law School
International Action Center
International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
International Council for Urban Peace, Justice & Empowerment
International Health Workers for Peace Over Profit (Read Statement here)International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, SF Bay Area Chapter
Justice for Families
Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
Kemba Smith Foundation
Kersplebedeb
L’En-Droit de Laval
La Raza Centro Legal
Labor/Community Strategy Center, Los Angeles, CA
LAGAI-Queer Insurrection
Law Office of Rebecca Young, East Boston, MA
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Little Lake Learning Center
Lucasville Uprising Freedom Network (Read statement here)
Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute (Read statement here)
Merced County Brown Berets
Milk Not Jails, New York
MIM Prisons
Modesto Anarcho Crew
Modesto Copwatch
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Jericho Movement
National Lawyers Guild
National Lawyers Guild University of Pittsburg Chapter
National Policy Partnership for Children of the Incarcerated
National Religious Campaign Against Torture (Read statement here)
NC Piece Corps
Needle Exchange Emergency Program
New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter
New York City Anarchist Black Cross Federation
New York City Anti-Racist Action
November Coalition
Oakland Community Action Network
Oakland Education Association (OEA) Peace & Justice Caucus (Read Statement here)
Osiris Coalition
Parolees for Change (Los Angeles)
Parti communiste révolutionnaire
Pathways To Your FuturePeace & Justice of La Luz, New Mexico
Peace Over Violence Los Angeles
People’s Commission NetworkPeople’s Organization for Progress (NJ)
Peter Cicchino Youth Project of the Urban Justice Center (NY)
Prison Activist Resource Center
Prison Health News
Prison Law Office. (Read Statement here)
Prison Policy Institute, Massachusetts
Prison Radio
Prison Radio Show CKUT 90.3 FM Montreal
Prison Watch Network
Prisoner Correspondence Project
Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York
Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie
QPIRG Concordia
Real Cost of Prisons Project
Redwood Curtain Copwatch
Registered Society within Association for Probation and Offenders’ Assistance, Germany
Republicans for Change
Resurrection After Exoneration, New Orleans, LA
Rethinking Schools
Revolution Newspaper
Revolutionary Athletes Worldwide (R.A.W.)
Revolutionary Hip Hop Report
Riverside Church Prison Ministry
Safe Streets/Strong Communities, New Orleans, LA
San Francisco Women in Black.
SF Pride at Work/HAVOQ (Read statement here)
Shabazz Legal Services
Socialist Action
Solidarity Across Borders
Southern California Library
Stanislaus County Radical Mental Health
Stop the Injunctions Coalition
TalkBLACK, Atlanta, GA
Tamms Year Ten, Illinois
Texas Families of Incarcerated Youth
The Mobilization to Free Mumia-Abu Jamal
The New Orleans Loiterers Union
The New York Campaign Against Torture (NYCAT)
The New York Task Force for Political Prisoners
The Outs
The Termite Collective
The WE Project, Los Angeles
Time for Change Foundation
Toronto Anarchist Black Cross
Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois
Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex (TGI) Justice Project
UHURU Solidarity Movement
United for Drug Policy Reform (Oakland, CA)
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
United National Anti-War Committee
United Panther Movement
Urban Justice Center (New York City)
Vermont Action for Political Prisoners
Visions to Peace Project, Washington, D.C.
Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE)
Voices Unbroken
W. Haywood Burns Institute
WESPAC Foundation (NYC)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Pajaro Valley Chapter
Women’s Council of the CA Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers
Women’s Prison Book Project (Minneapolis, MN)
World Can’t Wait

Fascinatingly, the Open Society Foundation isn’t on the list.  But they don’t really need to be: they are the list.

~~~

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Star Wars Bar Fights, the Compassion Racket, and Prisoner Re-Entry

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Thanks to cost-cutting, or rather, thanks to the fact that there are lots of criminals in California, Los Angeles County is going to have to provide jail beds and parole supervision for 7,000 additional inmates a year who would have otherwise been sent to state prisons.

In the L.A. Times, County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich had this to say:

“It’s a system that’s meant to fail,” Antonovich said, “and who is it going to fail? Every neighborhood, every community where these people are going to be running around….It’s a Pandora’s box. It’s the bar scene — a violent bar scene that you saw in ‘Star Wars’ — except they’re all crazy and nuts.”

This is the only picture I could find of the bar scene in Star Wars.  Everyone looks pretty calm.  I imagine Los Angeles County is about to start looking a whole lot worse.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is predictably responding to the collapse of the justice system by trying to pass a law that would prevent landlords and employers from asking about applicants’ criminal histories, because doing so unfairly stigmatizes them.  Times criminal-activist-cum-reporter Alexandria Le Tellier predictably scolds people for being small-minded and “scared” at the prospect:

I understand the instinct to feel scared and to wonder if criminals deserve jobs when unemployment is so high. But people deserve second chances. They deserve an opportunity to reintegrate into society and to get it right this time. If we create obstacles rather than opening the door to a life that’s worth living, then, as a society, we fail. Beyond compassion, we need to give people a way out of the life that got them in trouble in the first place.

Wow, that’s big of her.  Because, you see, people aren’t trying to protect their employees and businesses, or homes and neighborhoods, by making informed decisions about the character of ex-cons: they’re just being vindictive and scared.  I’m sure Ms. Le Tellier won’t mind when the next violent thug comes knocking to share her loft space.   She’s already sharing her confusion about the difference between “compassion” and “lying to vulnerable people about threats of violence” with the equally contemptuous Father Gregory Boyle of the controversial Homeboy Industries.  Like Le Tellier, Boyle loudly and repeatedly accuses ordinary, non-criminal people of being “heartless” and hateful while insisting that his charges are choirboys underneath all that social misunderstanding.  It’s all our fault, you see, that they’re forced to commit crimes: Los Angeles is just one big scene from Les Miserables where gang members set out to steal loaves of bread to feed their starving young-uns.

Father Boyle.  He thinks the American public is “uncivilized”

Like many self-appointed saintly types, Father Boyle’s sermonizing is laced with threats and insinuations that the heartless public will get what it deserves if it doesn’t yield to his superior example:

We lose our right to be surprised that California has the highest recidivism rate in the country if we refuse to hire folks who have taken responsibility for their crimes and have done their time . . . As a society, we come up lacking in many of the marks of compassion and wisdom by which we measure ourselves as civilized.

Lose our right to be surprised?  There’s something very ugly about so-called religious leaders claiming the moral high ground through this sort of ethical shakedown.  How do offenders “take responsibility” for the harm they have done to society by lying about their pasts to those who would employ or house them?

The dishonest, accusatory, and self-serving moral drama enacted by people like Father Boyle (aka “G-Dog”) and Alexandria Le Tellier is the real barrier standing between offenders’ pasts and their potential for real redemption.  ”Doing time” doesn’t really “repay” society, or offenders’ victims: that’s a mere metaphor, no matter how many times it gets repeated.  Remorse isn’t possible without acknowledgment of harm.  And, like it or not, recidivism arises from criminal intentions, not career disappointment, as Boyle should know, having personally buried “173 of his homies” who apparently failed to find adequate satisfaction in building solar panels or baking bread at Homeboy Industry’s very pricey “campus.”

Romanticizing criminals while busking up their feelings of entitlement is a recipe for more crime, not less.

But if the federal government has anything to do with it, the insanity in San Francisco is poised to become national policy, now that the E.E.O.C. is getting into the “prisoner re-entry” game.  ”Re-entry,” also know as showering offenders with public resources — from massages to green jobs to paid positions as “community organizers” – is Eric Holder’s pet project and has been elevated to Cabinet status by President Obama.

The E.E.O.C. recently announced that they’re in the “information and best practices gathering” mode regarding criminal histories and employers, a sure sign that craziness lies ahead.  Who wants to bet that the “best practice” they find turns out to be precisely what the most radical activists want: a right to sue for discrimination if employers or landlords deign to ask applicants to tell the truth about their criminal pasts?

How to Tell A Lie: NPR Says Rioters Just “Dancing” on Police Cars

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This is dancing:

This is not dancing.  This is thugs destroying public property:

The difference may be apparent to ordinary people, but not to certain publicly funded journalists.  Here is how NPR‘s Mark Memmott describes the scene above:

“some witnesses reported others dancing on top of police cruisers taunting them.”

Using the word “dancing” to describe kicking out the windows of police cars is blisteringly dishonest.  In other words, it is par for the course for NPR’s coverage of anything involving police.  Los Angelenos ought to be thanking the police for risking their necks to control and disperse these anti-social morons.  But instead, what we get from NPR is blunt lying.  Memmott acknowledges that “people threw bottles and vandalized cars,” but he calls destroying police vehicles “dancing” and doesn’t tell us who, precisely, were having bottles thrown at them.

In the alternative universe of NPR, police just aren’t as human as other people.  So bottles get “thrown” instead of “thrown at police,” and stomping up and down on police vehicles is called dancing.

The picture above is from the British Daily Mail Online.  Increasingly, I find I have to look to British tabloids to get pictures of street disruptions that American media simply refuses to show.  How interesting.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times used a very strange photo essay to transform an ugly riot against police into a montage of images of police running amuck and attacking harmless-looking individuals.  The photoessay is a triumph of anti-cop agitprop.  It really is very clever of the Times to show no pictures of the crowd’s behavior, only rows of police in riot gear.  Repugnant, but clever.  Here are all five photographs from the Times photoessay.  Unfortunately, I can only post small copies of the first four photos: to really grasp the intentionality of the paper’s efforts to misrepresent the event and paint cops as jackbooted thugs, go here:

See?  No rioters in this one.  Just a human wall of police, lit eerily by fluorescent purple lights.

No rioters here, either. Just one vulnerable-and-calm-looking youth making a peace sign as cops bear down menacingly.

Police running towards something that isn’t captured in the frame.

No rioters, just bystanders passively watching.  The cops are probably running to help other officers tazer some completely innocent grandpa.  In related news, Rodney King got arrested for the 14,000th time since his infamous 1991 arrest/payday.  His other post-can’t we all get along arrests include trying to run over a police officer with a car, hitting his wife with a car, punching a girlfriend in the stomach, indecent exposure, domestic violence against his daughters and their mother, threatening to kill one of his daughters and her mother, and trying to lead police on another famous high-speed chase, though this time the cops wisely just let him endanger scores of innocent drivers by weaving through traffic at speeds exceeding 100mph, until he crashed through a fence and hit a house.

The fourth photo shows a white cop grabbing a black man while another cop picks something up from the sidewalk and a third in riot gear brandishes a police baton.  You can practically hear the imagined caption: “cop in riot gear brandishes police baton.”  No scenes of marauding crowds in this one either, just one guy and three cops. It isn’t clear why the police are apprehending the man.  Did he just steal something?  Why is he running?  The Times doesn’t explain.  Nor do they tell us what this photo has to do with the riot.  Maybe it’s a stock image they use to flesh out their anti-police crusades.

Robocop getting ready to beat on invisible crowd, from the visual propagandists at the Los Angeles Times.

So that’s five photos of police looking menacing without one single image showing the rioters or the size of the out-of-control crowd that gathered outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  All in all, the Times actually ran six rioter-free photos, if you count one from the front page I wasn’t fast enough to capture — of some half-naked love child peering at the police line through a heart shape made with his hands.

Ugh.

In order to actually see pictures of things like rioters jumping on police cars, you do have to look to the British press.  I’ve begun to notice major American dailies “cleaning up” raw footage that shows rioters and criminals committing crime and replacing them with ominous-looking shots of the police response.  Here is a picture showing the size of the crowd.  Contrast this with the Los Angeles Times’ photos, and you can see how hard the Times had to work to disappear the street violence.

Luckily, not all the witnesses were journalists, so at least we have some record of what actually happened.  ”There were people trampling all over the police cars, smashing the windows,” said Greg Magda, who was working in a coffee shop nearby.  Being a non-journalist person, Mr. Magda didn’t get the memo about calling the cop-car-trampling and window-smashing “dancing” instead.  There is a war on cops in this country, and the media is playing an increasingly nasty role in encouraging hatred of police.

{Updated} Aesthetic Tragedy, New York Times Style: Mime Panic Buttons Defunded in California

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It’s hard to find anything to say about this story that the New York Times has not trumped simply by writing it:

A Safety Valve for Inmates, the Arts, Fades in California

NORCO, Calif. — Fifteen men darted across the room, their faces slathered in greasepaint, reciting lines from “Tartuffe.” The stage, such as it was, was a low-ceilinged recreation room, and the cast was a troupe of felons who had just stepped in from the dusty yard of the California Rehabilitation Center . . . Two years ago, arts in corrections programs were a mainstay of prisons across the country, embraced by administrators as a way to channel aggression, break down racial barriers, teach social skills and prepare inmates for the outside world.

Or, maybe not.  Though such activities are supposed to reduce recidivism, Times writer Adam Nagourney acknowledges “there is no conclusive research on that.”

No conclusive research.  No conclusive research, not anywhere in the vast offender-validating, crime-denying rabbit warren of California higher education?  Not one, single, believable, peer-reviewed study subsidized by all the drooling millionaires of PEN?

In other words, despite the best efforts by armies of superlatively funded academic researchers, nobody could cook up a justification for spending money on those “arts coordinator[s] in each of the 33 California state prisons, overseeing a rich variety of theater, painting and dance.”

“[The] programs have become a fading memory,” the Times laments.

Once, in the golden age of not long ago, there were mimes teaching Moliere on your dime to child molesters; felons riffing Tartuffe with tax dollars.  Now, no more.

Mime tear.

Tartuffe, incidentally, is a play that happens to be about distrusting expressions of virtue, and authority in general.  So maybe the problem isn’t “the arts.” Maybe the problem is the art being taught, and who is doing the teaching.  The Times story inadvertently serves as Exhibit A for this theme:

Only two prison arts programs are left in California, and both rely on volunteers and private contributions. The one here is run by the Actors’ Gang, whose artistic director is the actor Tim Robbins [who] has become nearly as familiar a figure at the prison as the warden himself.

Of course, that “familiarity” comes with a price tag for the rest of us, though you can bet your last button they’re not including our names on the embossed fundraiser invites.  It costs money for Tim Robbins to prance around maximum security reliving old movie roles.  ”The real actors are issued panic buttons to attach to their belts, in case they are cornered,” notes the Times.  Why the “real actors” don’t rely on the curative power of aesthetic accomplishment is not explained. But, enough of that; back to Tim Robbins:

Mr. Robbins instructed the inmates to feel fear . . . “What is Tartuffe afraid of?” he said, wearing a wool skullcap and dressed in black. “Being discovered. Because that would mean jail for him.”

“Something is coming after you!” he said urgently to the inmates as they scampered around. “What is it?”

“Cops!” one inmate yelled.

“Cops!” Mr. Robbins responded, clapping his hands in delight. “Then run!”

How wry, shouting at prisoners to run away from the police.  How, Attica-ey.

Admittedly, Mr. Robbins does have experience successfully encouraging the dreams of aspiring young actors.

Oh, wait, scratch that: Mr. Robbins has experience encouraging the murderers of aspiring young actors who dream of success.

Richard Adan, Murdered by Jack Abbott at 22

Ask the family of Richard Adan.  Adan was a 22-year old aspiring actor and playwright who was brutally stabbed to death in 1981 in his own family’s restaurant by Jack Abbott, a sociopathic killer who was supposed to be in prison but had been freed early because Robbins‘ future wife, Susan Sarandon, and others used their star power to obtain his release {Sarandon, in cahoots with Norman Mailer, helped get Abbott released before she met Robbins; Robbins and Sarandon chose to name their son after Abbott a few years later — the original version of this post was incorrect about Robbins’ attendance at Abbott’s 1982 trial — thanks to Cinesnatch for noting the error}.

Robbins‘s future wife Sarandon said she saw artistic talent in Jack Abbott, so obviously he should go free.  Bolstered by intense lobbying by the New York Times, New York’s literary elite, and PEN, some pathetic, star-struck losers on the New York State parole board agreed to let Abbott go, even though he told his artistic sponsors that he would kill again, which he did, a mere did six weeks after his release.

Jack Abbott, Toast of New York’s Intelligentsia

So, to summarize: in 1981 Tim Robbins‘ future wife Susan Sarandon was among those who helped get murderer Jack Abbott out of prison on the grounds of Abbott’s perceived artistic “talent.”  Abbott immediately satisfied the edgy aesthetics of Susan Sarandon by performing the ultimate act of “outsider” art, stabbing an innocent young man to death outside the man’s family’s restaurant.  The day after the murder, the New York Times ran a glowing review of Jack Abbott’s art (I can’t provide a link: the Times has Stalinistically mopped away this reprehensible little bit of its own history).  Now, in 2011, the Times runs a story about Robbins teaching theater to violent offenders in order to help them gain early release — because participating in programs like this one is all about gaining points towards release, never mind the claptrap about race harmony and self-actualization.

Yet, somehow, the Times doesn’t feel the need to mention Tim Robbins’ previous record with prisoners and arts programs in this story.  Curious choice.

In 1982, Abbott went on trial again. A few of his other supporters, like Norman Mailer, mustered enough big-boy shame this time to cower in the shadows.  But not Susan Sarandon: she continued lobbying for Jack Abbott’s release on the grounds that he was a talented artist.  Robbins’ especially shameless wife showed up daily for the trial in support of her talented murderer.  Later, after she met Tim Robbins, they named their firstborn son after the killer: Jack Henry Robbins.

It is difficult to imagine the degree of callousness it takes to sit in full view of a family mourning for the death of their son while fawning over his killer.  Then, to name your child after the killer?  That should have been the end of those sickos’ careers.  But in Hollywood, Sarandon and Robbins are considered voices of moral authority, not in spite of this heinous inhumanity, but because of it.  Sarandon and Robbins weren’t done torturing and degrading crime victims after the Abbott case, however: they and Sister Helen Prejean made the lives of several other victims hell in the process of making their film, Dead Man Walking.  They grotesquely rewrote and toned down the crimes, wrote the existence of inconvenient survivors out of the story, and invented the killer’s on-screen remorse wholecloth, all under Tim Robbins’ direction.

Robbins chose to disappear victims and crimes.  Why does the corrections system of California permit him to continue using taxpayer resources to perpetuate similar whitewashing today?  The Times‘ story about Tim Robbins’ touching drama academy behind bars carefully avoids mentioning the crimes these sensitive thespians committed.  Reporter Adam Nagourney did not bother to contact the victims of these men, some of them rapists.  He didn’t bother to ask the victims for their point of view on the program.  Isn’t that what reporters are supposed to do?  Instead, we get giggly effervescence (from the slideshow):

The workshops and rehearsals are antic and oddly entertaining: guards can be spotted peering through a window. The inmates, like Matthew O’Day, are animated, campy, energized, liberated and fearlessly engaged, comfortable even playing women in a sea of gang tattoos and muscles.

“Campy, energized, liberated and fearlessly engaged.” “Cops!” cries Tim Robbins, “clapping his hands in delight.”  ”[R]un,” he shouts.  What are these inmates supposed to be learning?  What do they learn in other programs, like Changing Lives Through Literature (see here and here), which is taught by anti-incarceration activists who pen long, weepy paeans thanking their offender-students for enriching their pale, law abiding lives?  Check out this particularly troubling story.

I first became interested in prisoner education programs when my own rapist got cut loose early (to commit more heinous rapes of his favorite prey, elderly women) because he allegedly completed “college psychology” courses in prison, a fascinating accomplishment for someone who also got time off the front of his sentence for allegedly being mentally slow.  Too many prison higher educations programs and arts programs are run like this, and by people like Tim Robbins, who see rapists and murderers only as heroes and rebels striking out righteously against America’s “stultifying, capitalist, fascist state.”

And so, unsurprisingly, the material taught is most frequently about crooked justice and wrongful incarceration.  How, again, is this supposed to rehabilitate anyone?  It doesn’t, as respected criminologists have observed.  Vocational training, GED preparation, 12-step programs — those things often help, and contrary to the fabulists at the Times and elsewhere who claim that prisoners today have no access to enrichment or education, they are available to higher numbers of inmates — and also higher percentages of inmates — than ever.

In contrast, all these fantasy workshops on poetry, Restoration drama performances, and college classes about injustice in America do nothing but stroke offenders’ — and their teachers’ — egos.  Reading news stories about such programs, it is impossible not to notice how the teachers pose as acolytes, blaming society for their students’ crimes and praising offenders for their extraordinarily special talents and insights.  In this program funded by crime victims and other Virginia taxpayers, Andrew Kaufman brings his young U.Va. students into prison to read books like The Death of Ivan Illyich with offenders.  Ivan Illyich, remember, is a story about an unethical judge.  The U.Va. students — girls — coo on command over the offenders’ good manners, while judging their own non-felonious classmates harshly.  How early they learn what is wanted from them.  ”All four women said the residents were far less superficial and more respectful to them than many male U.Va. students,” the reporter writes.  Really?  Did the girls see the offenders’ records?  Does Kaufman also take them on field trips to visit their victims?

No.  Of course not.  In the moral universe occupied by people like this, the only victims are the men behind bars.  ”Cops,” cries Tim Robbins, “run!”  Inmates can still pursue the arts and read books in all of these prisons, of course.  It’s just that taxpayers and crime victims are no longer subsidizing anti-American, anti-incarceration, anti-bourgeoise arts camps for inmates, as they were once forced to do.  ”We enjoyed this real lush period when there was this boom in prison growth,” brags Laurie Brooks, speaking of the time in the early 1980′s when then-governor Jerry Brown forced taxpayers to shell out for “lush” prisoner arts programs.

Remember how well that turned out? Crime rates continued their steady climb until sentencing reform took hold, removing prolific offenders from the streets for longer than a semester  or two.  So why is it that Tim Robbins, one of the most troubling figures of the pro-offender cultism that resulted in unmeasurable bloodshed and suffering, even permitted to go into California state prisons to hobnob with violent felons?  Why do taxpayers  and voters allow him to enter correctional institutions and foment his own special brand of resentment towards authority figures and police?  Why aren’t victims’ groups up in arms?

Tim Robbins

Isn’t one Jack Abbott one too many?


Three Chances Instead of Three Strikes: Giovanni Ramirez and the Supreme Court

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Giovanni Ramirez has been arrested for inflicting permanent brain damage in the April near-death beating of Giants fan Bryan Stowe.  Some non-news regarding the arrest:

  • Ramirez is “at least” a three-time convict and a felon.
  • Ramirez is a convicted gun criminal.
  • Ramirez is a “documented gang member.”
  • Ramirez was not serving time at the time of the beating.  He was out on parole despite prior convictions for attempted robbery, robbery, and firing a weapon in a public place . . . at least.

Well, who could be surprised?  The headlines this week are about the Supreme Court decision forcing California to release 46,000 inmates on the grounds that their civil rights are violated by prison overcrowding.  Bad enough, but those 46,000 soon-to-be wrongfully freed offenders are only a fraction of the problem.  They, at least, ended up in prison for some portion of their sentences.

In addition to the 46,000, how many Giovanni Ramirezes are “wrongfully freed” by other means in California every year?  Why was Ramirez on parole, instead of being in prison?  Here’s another interesting, unasked question: did some prosecutor and/or judge allow him to plead down to “firing a weapon in a public place” in 2005 to make it easier to avoid applying California’s “three-strikes” law?  Did the prosecutor find some other excuse to avoid seeking three-strikes?  This type of thing happens every day.

In 2005, what were the real charges against Ramirez?  What sentences did he receive for attempted robbery in 1998 and robbery in 1999?  How much time did he serve, and how much time did he get off?

There’s no way to learn the answer to questions like this until somebody in Los Angeles unearths Ramirez’ entire criminal record, from arrests to final dispositions.  And reporters virtually never bother to do that.  The courts and the media collude to conceal basic information about criminal cases from the public.  Journalists don’t like risking their special access by embarrassing judges or prosecutors, so nobody asks the hard questions, such as this one:

Would Bryan Stow be at home playing with his children instead of hovering near death with profound brain damage if some L.A. judge had not granted Giovanni Ramirez an entirely unearned “third chance” in 2005?

When you start looking at complete criminal histories — pleas, dropped charges, nolle prosequi, et. al. — the justice system starts looking more and more like the hat check in a social club for unrepentant thugs.  I started this blog in 2009 when I learned of a judge in my old neighborhood who suffered no consequences (still hasn’t) for wrongfully releasing a serial offender who went on to kill a female cancer researcher.  Rather than spending her time in court examining the offender’s record and assigning the correct statutory punishment, the judge spent her time oohing and ahhing over a wedding dress website with the offender and praising him for “rehabilitating” himself so creatively.

The prosecutor also dropped the ball, but if judges don’t accept responsibility for what happens in their courtrooms, why bother calling them judges?

This terrible dereliction of duty went to the heart of the problem: the judge treated the predator like a victim and also as a sort of Oprah-esque hero of his own life.  She used our resources and her authority to inflate his self-esteem and her own sense of magnanimity, instead of punishing him and protecting us.  And an innocent woman died a horrible death because of it.

Unsurprisingly, the wedding dress website was a scam.  That tacky aside illustrates an important fact:

The only real rehabilitation is consequences.

Judicial rulings like this are frighteningly routine: judges on ego trips walk into courtrooms and see, in prisoners, a reward-rich private constituency. Grandstand on their behalf, and you win approval from all the places where approval matters to any ambitious judge: law faculty, the ABA, the academic research class, liberal activists, and huge swaths of the federal judiciary positioned between your bench and the Supreme Court.  Also, during administrations like this one, the Justice Department.

Not to mention the media, the DNC, and even certain conservatives — the previously convicted, the pro-pot libertarians, the ego-tripping Christians, and these people.

~~~

I see the Supreme Court decision as the culmination of seventeen years of radical opposition to California’s extremely successful and life-saving three-strikes law.  How successful?  You won’t find many people asking that question in the universities, or the press, but on his well-documented website, Mike Reynolds asserts that three-strikes has had a profound effect on public safety:

[A]n average of 1,000,000 serious or violent crimes are prevented every 5 years and 10,000 Californians spared from becoming murder victims since its passage in 1994.

Yet the public debate continues to revolve around myths of people being sent up for shoplifting cheese or a pizza slice.

The Myth of Jerry DeWayne Williams and his Pizza Slice

Thirteen Strikes and Still Not Out. . . Robert Ferguson is Not a Victim

~~~

Here, if you can stomach it, is a celebratory roadmap to the anti-three-strikes movement by Bill Boyarsky, who presents himself as a loner bemoaning what he (astonishingly) sees as the failure of the media to cover the “neglected evil” of racism in the criminal justice system and specifically California’s three-strikes law.  Now there’s something you never read about in the mainstream press.  Neglected, you know, like Boyarsky was neglected as he was forced to toil in barren fields like . . . the City Editor’s position at the L.A. Times, the Annenberg School for Communications, presiding officer on the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, Northwestern University, and Berkeley.

Bill Boyarsky, courageous voice in the wilderness

It really is all about them.  Damn the cost to the rest of us.

Clockwork Riots, L.A. Lakers Style: These Are Not Sports Fans

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Imagine the crappiest job in the world:

You put on your Men’s Warehouse suit and drive to the office, dreading the inevitable outcome of the day.  Settling into your cubicle, you arrange the day’s work on the chipped laminate desk: a billy club, mace, and a copy of the quarterly budget figures for your division, awaiting approval from above.  In the next cubicle, Joey H. is already rocking back and forth in his mesh swivel knockoff, working the screws on one of the padded armrests.

The word comes from headquarters right before lunch: the budget numbers are good.

Joey lets out a guttural shriek, rips the loosened arm off his chair and kicks the front wall off his cubicle, still howling.  You grab the mace and billyclub and follow him as he tears a path of destruction to the break room, carefully avoiding getting too close, shouting at him to step down.

Joey ignores you and smacks out a fluorescent light fixture with his arm-rest, sending bits of glass and toxic powder all over accounting.  Then he pulls a wad of gasoline-soaked newspaper out of his pocket, lights it with a lighter, and throws the flaming mass in the paper recycling bin by the door.

Mike D. wearily rises from his desk, shouldering his fire extinguisher, and heads for the blaze.

You follow Joey into the break room.  He’s already used a folding chair to demolish the front of the snack machine, filling his pockets with KitKats while chanting “We’re Number One.”  You notice he’s been working out.

“Put the Kit Kats down, Joey,” you say.

“F*** You, Pig-Man,” he screams, winging a full Red Bull can at your face.  Luckily, you thought to wear your plexi face shied to work today.  Now that you’ve cornered him, Joey head-buts your belly.  That hurts.  You smack him a few times with the billy-club, always aware that the altercation is being recorded on security cameras for later review.  Finally, you manage to subdue him with the help of Kathy P., the new associate from sales.  She’s brought her handcuffs, and Joey’s taken off to the bathroom to wash up and get ready for Personnel to review the security tapes.

Later that day, the verdict comes back from Human Resources.  While you should have tried to stop Joey before he broke the front of the snack machine, you’re not going to get docked pay for using excessive force subduing him, like last quarter.  Kathy P. however, is going to have to go before the panel and explain why she bruised Joey H.’s wrist while snapping the handcuffs on.

Cop Injured By Lakers Enthusiasm

Joey H. gets assigned five hours of community service, which immediately gets suspended, as HR is testing a new program which will use positive messaging and self-esteem training to encourage him to stop setting the office on fire.  (Nancy W., still recovering from those lycra burns from the spring quarter numbers, stifles a bitter laugh).  Joey takes the rest of the afternoon off to meet his new esteem coach at the Starbucks.  The rest of the staff gets down to sweeping up broken glass and trying to scrub the scorch marks off the walls while running the numbers on the cost of replacing the carpet.

All except Kathy P., who is hiding in the bathroom to avoid those a-holes from PR who want to snap her picture and use it to illustrate a story they’re writing about the proper way to subdue a co-worker.  You settle into your smoke-fill cubicle and tug your rumpled necktie, wishing you could take it off as you start in on the stack of paperwork explaining your actions.

It’s going to be a long night.  There’s no way you’re going to catch that Lakers game.

~~~

That job would really suck.

It’s called “policing.”

I think most police would be grateful if the media and political leaders would just drop the fiction that such premeditated and utterly predictable riots (oh, I’m sorry, University of Santa Cruz: “uprisings”) really have anything to do with uncontrollable fan excitement over sporting events.

For every honest person knows that certain sporting events are just used by criminals and criminal wannabes to justify — to schedule — their own main events: destroying property, setting fires, looting stores, and throwing heavy things at policemen who are damned if they do respond and damned if they don’t respond.  The Los Angeles Times described the mayhem this time as a “a sour note as Los Angeles Police Department officers clashed with rowdy fans.”  Clashed with?

Imagine what a strictly factual report would say:

Police were forced to prepare for weeks in advance, planning and deploying tactical forces at great personal risk, including risk of lawsuits, and all at taxpayer expense, to try to minimize the anticipated violent lawbreaking scheduled for the conclusion of the Lakers game.

Rowdy fans? Do these look like rowdy fans, or do they look like people who showed up knowing they’d have some consequence-free fun breaking things and attacking bystanders and cops?

Alas, there’s always an apologist in academia ready to argue against personal responsibility:

Psychologist and author Robert Cialdini, who has studied the behavior of sports fans, said the seemingly inevitable reaction by fans on the winning side is rooted not only in the emotional connection they build to their teams but in a chemical one as well.  Fans are so heavily invested in their teams that studies have shown that their testosterone levels spike significantly after they watch a major victory, Cialdini said. Elevated levels of the hormone are known to cause increased aggression, especially in young men.

See, they’re not responsible.  They’re just hormonal.

“When the team wins, we win and we feel it in a very personal way,” Cialdini said. “We’re likely to experience a great sense of arousal and joy even though we haven’t done anything.”

OK, why do people riot when their team loses, too?  Shouldn’t they be taking up needlepoint and thinking about changing their hairstyles instead?  And does this really look like joy over a championship season?

~~~

How about holding the rioters accountable, instead of the police? L.A.T. columnist Sandy Banks did acknowledge that the police presence was necessary, but even she couldn’t resist minimizing the actions of the criminals and reserving too much irritation for the cops putting their lives on the line . . . to protect people like her.  It’s certainly a step in the right direction, but why is it so difficult to look at images like this and just blame the guilty parties . . . full stop?

The antics of a bunch of losers shouldn’t obscure the patience, goodwill and high spirits of the thousands of fans who ventured downtown for a communal party and wound up being treated like pariahs. . .  The basketball game had barely begun when LAPD officers were summoned to dispatch growing crowds in the area.  “Keep moving, keep moving.” The command came over the loudspeaker as a phalanx of officers advanced, moving us off the paseo and onto crowded Figueroa Street. They pulled metal gates across the entrance to the complex to keep us out. . . . [The police] deserve a lot of credit for controlling the chaos. Everywhere you looked there were cops: on horseback, scooters, motorcycles and bikes, in buzzing helicopters and siren-blaring black-and-whites. If that set some nerves on edge, it also made clear who was in charge.  But it was hard not to feel unwanted. “If you don’t have a ticket, go home” was the officers’ message — explicitly delivered and universally ignored.

Throwing chunks of concrete at cops’ heads and trying to pull people out of their vehicles aren’t “antics.”  And what Banks labels a police message here is actually a message from the criminals, to people like her: they own the streets, and law abiding people don’t.  The police were merely stuck in the middle, trying to prevent innocent people from being injured by violent, lawless criminals.

I’d like to see Ms. Banks follow up by following the cases of fifty-or-so rioters arrested for violent “antics,” as they get serially dismissed by the courts.

Maybe then she’ll gain a better understanding of why it really is that L.A. — and other cities, like Atlanta — can’t host public events for decent people like her.  And the answer has nothing to do with whether your team wins, or how the police react to it.