Crime pays as NYC DAs drop most post-death-of-George Floyd looting and rioting charges

North Michigan Avenue in Chicago last summer after rioting

By John Ruberry

A bit more than a year ago most large American cities were struck by widespread rioting and looting after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 

Of course for the most part the rioting was termed “unrest” by the mainstream media. In case you think reporters forgot what the word “riot” means, the “R” word was front in center in January news coverage after a pro-Donald Trump mob stormed the US Capitol. 

Local television reporters across the country–who are generally more credible than their dead-tree media counterparts–brought viewers many scenes of unmasked people emptying out stores. Some of the looters even posted their crimes on social media.

Were these outrages open-and-shut case for prosecutors? Yes, but not in the way you think. 

From NBC New York:

NYPD data reviewed by the NBC New York I-Team shows 118 arrests were made in the Bronx during the worst of the looting in early June. 

Since then, the NYPD says the Bronx DA and the courts have dismissed most of those cases – 73 in all. Eighteen cases remain open and there have been 19 convictions for mostly lesser counts like trespassing, counts which carry no jail time. 

Jessica Betancourt owns an eyeglass shop that was looted and destroyed along Burnside Avenue in the Bronx last June.

Those numbers, to be honest with you, is [sic] disgusting,” Betancourt said when told of the few cases being prosecuted.

According to the NBC New York, prosecutors are claiming that there is a backlog of cases because of the COVID-19 epidemic. “If they are so overworked that they can’t handle the mission that they’re hired for, then maybe they should find another line of work,” says former NYPD Chief of Patrol Wilbur Chapman.  True, that.

There is a similar pattern of prosecutorial malpractice in Manhattan too. The DA in Manhattan is Cyrus Vance Jr, the leftist zealot who is on a Captain Ahab-like quest to charge Donald Trump with crimes.

The primary focus of any prosecutor should be to protect the public. But are prosecutors subject to the “CSI Effect” that plagues trials? That is, short of videotaped confessions of criminals, there is always room for a scintilla of doubt–because cases laid out perfectly when presented in a television drama.

Maybe. But instead I suspect there is an even worse possibility.

During the rioting last summer in Chicago I watched live coverage on WGN-TV of a couple of women calmly loading their car with what must have been looted goods. The license plate of their car was readable. Locating the criminals should have been quite easy. I wonder if Cook County’s state’s attorney, the woke Kim Foxx who of course dropped the hoax charges against Jussie Smollett–since reinstated with a special prosecutor in charge–botherered to investigate those two looters?

Yes, I had to bring up Smollett. As a black man and a gay man–that’s a two-fer–the former Empire actor is automatically a double-victim. And since many of the looters were minorities, they are victims too. Not of course the owners of stores that were looted last year even though many of those shop owners were minorities too. The criminals are the victims here, it’s not the other way around. If this quasi-reasoning makes sense to you then I recommend that you watch less CNN and MSNBC–and cancel your subscription to The Atlantic.

Some in the dead-tree media have called these riots and outbreaks of looting an uprising. Here and here, for instance. Meanwhile, the investigation of the attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters, which The Media Elect is calling either a riot or an insurrection–is being aggressively pursued by federal prosecutors, and the allegd perpetatrors are being charged with low-level crimes such as tresspassing. Yes, they should be prosecuted. But to call the Capitol Riot, in the words some federal prosecutors, an “existential threat” to the republic is a gross exaggeration. And some of those alleged rioters are being held in solitary confinement in Gitmo-like conditions, including the moron who put his on Nancy Pelosi’s desk and the so-called QAnon Shaman. Yeah, I get it, the feds have jurisdiction over the Capitol attack, not New York or Chicago prosecutors. But the message to the public should be clear here.

Then there is Antifa, which for weeks was violently attacking nearly every night the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon. Where is the dogged federal investigation of those riots? 

But I fear some in prosecutorial circles sympathize with Antifa, as I strongly suspect they do in regards to the George Floyd “uprising.”

It seems that prosecutors are taking sides. And that in the right circumstances crime pays well for the criminals. 

But civil society cannot survive such a mindset. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Two lawsuits filed over Democrats’ gerrymandered legislative districts in Illinois

Minding the Illinois political maze for decades.

By John Ruberry

Since posting my Illinois gerrymandering entry here last week there is an update.

First some background: Despite multiple promises to veto a partisan remap of Illinois state legislative districts, Democratic governor JB Pritzker signed into law new hyper-partisan new state House and Senate districts, claiming that these new maps preserve diversity.

Not so fast, JB.

Late Thursday the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, on behalf of five Hispanic voters, filed suit in federal court claiming that the new maps are “malapportioned.” AP sums up the controversey beautifully. “But the challenge from MALDEF,” the wire service says, “expands the source of objections to the very groups whose voting rights Democrats say they are protecting.”

Earlier last week the Illinois Republican Party also filed a federal lawsuit that claims that the new maps violate the 14th Amendment to the US Contsitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

Indeed it may. Illinois’ constitution states that new General Assembly district maps must be drawn by legislators by the end of June after each decennial census. If not, the process moves to an eight-person committee evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. If that panel can’t come to a decision then two names are placed in a hat, one Republican and one Democrat. Lovers of political theater will be thrilled to learn that the four times the remapping committee was formed, three times times no decision was reached and the tiebreaker clause was invoked. In 2000 a stovepipe hat said to have been worn by Abraham Lincoln was used for the tiebreaking ceremony.

The complete Census figures won’t be available until August. But it’s clear that the Democrats didn’t want the redistricting process to be left by chance, or worse, given to Republicans. So the Dems, rather than work with hard numbers, instead used population estimates from the American Community Survey.

This weekend on Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up, host Mike Flannery ventured into what-aboutism expressed by the left regarding gerrymandering in Republican states. During an interview with state Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield).  Flannery phrased their argument this way, “That the Democrats here stopped short of annihilating as many Republicans as they could in the General Assembly–do you buy that?” Butler responded that he does not and he explained to Flannery, “We have 14 members–Republican members of the House–that were drawn in districts together and we have zero Democrats that were drawn into districts together.” That’s an observation the Wall Street Journal made earlier this month. Because of Democratic gerrymandering after the 2010 census, there are currenly only 45 Republicans among the 118 members in the Illinois House. 

While of course there are no state or federal legal protections to protect GOP state legislators, as I mentioned earlier in this post and last week, Pritzker promised he would veto a partisan remap.

There is a better way. Twice in the 2010s enough signatures were collected to put an amendment to the Illinois Constitution on the general election ballot that would take redistricting out of the hands of legislators and placing a non-partisan committee in control. Twice a lawyer closely tied to Boss Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), the longtime Illinois House speaker who was forced out of power early this year, sued to block having Illinois voters decide the issue. In a party-line vote, the Illinois Supreme Court sided with the Democrats both times.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

In Lady A music battle big crushes little when white privilege meets wokeness

By John Ruberry

Up until a few weeks ago the country trio Lady Antebellum barely registered on my radar. While I do enjoy country music my interest is mostly focused on the Americana genre. As for the country music you hear on most FM radio stations, most of it is formulaic garbage, mediocre pop tunes delivered with a drawl. And that is the type of drivel Lady Antebellum delivers. And it’s not just me who feels that way. In 2010–that year will come back soon in this story–a sub-headline on Slate named Lady Antebellum “the world’s dullest band.”

But their name caught my attention. Even before wokeness became a political movement I thought “Lady Antebellum” was an odd choice of a moniker, as it refers to what some Lost Cause of the Confederacy propagandists viewed as the good old days of the pre-Civil War South. On those infrequent occasions when word came up, until very recently, it referred to plantation manor homes, which of course were staffed by slaves and were financed by agricultural goods produced by slaves. Those good old says weren’t good at all.

According to the band they decided on Lady Antebellum after a photo shoot at one of those mansions.

But after the killing of George Floyd and the protests, some of them of violent, Lady Antebellum announced they were now Lady A.

But as you probably heard there is already a Lady A, Seattle blues artist Anita White, who has been using the name for decades. But she isn’t a superstar or even a star. When White spoke up–that should have been the coda of the new name for the artists-formerly-known-as-Lady Antebellum. Their wokeness compelled the name change. They are white and Anita White is black. Their wokeness should have compelled them to brainstorm for yet another name. Now the former Lady Antebellum is suing White to prevent her performing as Lady A.

There was briefly an informal co-existence agreement between the two Lady As after the group’s name change. But that’s not working out. If you type “Lady A” into the search box on iTunes and Spotify, it’s the new Lady A who appears, not the blue singer. The same result comes at at YouTube.

White now wants $10 million from the Lady A trio–with half going to Black Lives Matter and some charities. The ex-Lady Antebellum calls that demand “exorbitant.” The band has possessed the trademark for “Lady A” since 2010. While I’m not going to pretend, as a non-lawyer, to completely understand the legal side of this dispute, the law appears to favor the band.

Even if the law didn’t, the band has significant financial resources that White doesn’t. For her part, she told Entertainment Weekly that she offered a compromise, “I had suggested on the Zoom call [between the band and her] that they go by the Band Lady A, or Lady A the Band, and I could be Lady A the Artist, but they didn’t want to do that.”

There are a number of lessons in this story that exemplify why our society is so messed up.

There has not been heavy coverage of this suit outside of the entertainment media and Seattle news sources despite the race angle. Conservative websites have been reporting on this story. Now imagine if Lady A the Band were conservative Republicans. This battle would be the lead story on CNN and MSNBC. There would be a constant drumbeat of stories from them–and of course the New York Times and the rest of the legacy media, which of course takes its cue from the Times.

Lady A the Artist told Rolling Stone, “They claim to be allies and that they wanted to change their name out of the racist connotation, and then they sue a black woman for the new name.”

So here is more proof for you that the mainstream media is not interested so much in reporting the news but instead advancing their narrative that America is systemically racist–and conservative Republicans even more so.

Let’s talk common sense. Just because something is legal that doesn’t make it moral. Charles Dickens’ character Mr. Bumble phrased it best in Oliver Twist, “If the law supposes that, the law is a ass–a idiot.” Well maybe that’s an overreach, but there are three idiots in Band Lady A.

I support Peter Sagal’s idea. He hosts NPR’s quiz show Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me! “There is a simple solution to this problem, though,” he said. “Lady A the Band should just go by Lady A-Hole.”

That works for me.

I just typed “Lady A-Hole” into the iTunes search box. Nothing relevant comes up.

Go for it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.