Prosecution and Prejudice

We have prosecutors who won’t prosecute the ‘wrong’ people for their crimes and prosecutors hell-bent on prosecuting the ‘right’ people for what they symbolize.

There is a flip side to the way progressives have perverted the concept of prosecuting crime. It is, in its way, just as insidious as the now-familiar delirium that non-prosecution is the best prosecution.

The flip side is equally the fallout of politicizing state police power. It flows naturally from the conceit that the point of prosecution is to run interference for the Left’s favored groups while penalizing those who oppose progressives. It has only disdain for the quaint idea that we prosecute for the purpose of upholding the rule of law, so society as a whole can flourish.

The flip side is this: When today’s cutting-edge prosecutors do deign to prosecute, the target is ideas, not acts. The objective is not to neutralize those who prey on society, but to frame their acts as part of a morality play: the progressives cast as the guardians of “our values,” and the criminals drawing out contempt more for what motivates them — or, at least, what progressives say motivates them — than for any evil they have done.

This is exemplified by the Kyle Rittenhouse prosecution.

The fact that Rittenhouse, then 17 years old, shot and killed people was not decisive in making his prosecution a national story. More people are routinely shot in Chicago than were shot in Kenosha on that fateful night. And, though not as sedulously suppressed as news of black-on-black violence is, white-on-white violence is usually far too humdrum for the media-Democrat complex to take much notice.

Source: Prosecution and Prejudice

Two highly recommended Barnes videos on the Rittenhouse case

For quite a while I’ve been featuring videos with attorney Robert Barnes, and especially the ones about the Rittenhouse case. He’s not only thorough, he’s also lively and interesting. In addition, it turns out that he’s been about 97% correct in describing the case and in making predictions.

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The second is a post-verdict wrap-up. It sheds a lot of light on the jury deliberations and why they took so long:

Source: Two highly recommended Barnes videos on the Rittenhouse case

Kyle Rittenhouse Not Guilty via Rule-of-Law, Guilty; Guilty via Critical Race Theory

This correspondent has reported extensively on the Kyle Rittenhouse incident and trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for AmmoLand, with over two dozen articles in the last 14 months.

Very early on, this correspondent explained there was no murder case, no criminal reckless endangerment, no firearms charge which was consistent with the law.

Repeatedly, the prosecutor, ADA Binger, informed the court the firearms charge was based on what the prosecution believed the law had to be, rather than on what the law was.  It is a microcosm of the left. Decisions are made on what the left believes reality *should be* rather than what reality *is*.

The firearms charge was important to lend the air of illegality to what was obviously legal and ethical self defense.

The case should never have been brought. The performance of the prosecutors during the trial confirmed the prosecution was done for political purposes rather than to bring justice.

The job of a prosecutor is to pursue justice. It is not to obtain successful prosecutions.

The decision not to charge is every bit as important as the decision to charge a suspect.

Six charges were brought against Kyle Rittenhouse less than 48 hours after the self defense shootings occurred. Wisconsin does not require indictments by a grand jury. Charges are commonly brought exclusively by prosecutors.

Kyle Rittenhouse  tried to turn himself in to the police within minutes of the events. He had successfully turned himself in to police about an hour after the events. This was characterized in the media as “being arrested” or “being taken into custody” rather than the factual “turning himself in to police”.

A seventh charge, of violating curfew, was added to the first six charges, in late December, 2020, months after the events in August. The prosecutors botched this late, attempted pile-on. It was later determined no lawful order about the curfew had been entered on August 25.

The next strategy was to hold Kyle in jail with exorbitantly high bail, in order to prevent a good defense, to push him to accept a plea bargain. It is a common, and despicable, prosecution tactic.

In a self defense case where the defendant turned himself in quickly, where voluminous evidence of self defense existed, Kyle should have been released on signature bond, or, at most a few thousand dollars bail.  Kyle’s bail was set at $2 million. This is more evidence of a political persecution, instead of a criminal prosecution.

Source: Kyle Rittenhouse Not Guilty via Rule-of-Law, Guilty; Guilty via Critical Race Theory

Quotation of the Day…

(Don Boudreaux) Tweet … is from page 225 of the 5th edition (2015) of Thomas Sowell’s excellent volume, Basic Economics (footnote deleted):

Even though most studies show that unemployment tends to increase as minimum wages are imposed or increased, those few studies that seem to indicate otherwise have been hailed in some quarters as having “refuted” this “myth.” However, one common problem with some research on the employment effects of minimum wage laws is that surveys of employers before and after a minimum wage increase can survey only those particular businesses which survived in both periods. Given the high rates of business failures in many industries, the results for the surviving businesses may be completely different from the results for the industry as a whole. Using such research methods, you could survey people who have played Russian roulette and “prove” from their experiences that it is a harmless activity, since those for whom it was not harmless are unlikely to be around to be surveyed. Thus you would have “refuted” the “myth” that Russian roulette is dangerous.

Source: Quotation of the Day…

Russia hoax whitewash era begins (2)

(Scott Johnson) The Clinton presidential campaign’s fabrication of the Russia hoax is the dirtiest trick in American political history. Beginning with Glenn Simpson/Fusion GPS and the Perkins Coie law firm, it enlisted co-conspirators in the Obama Department of Justice, the FBI, and the mainstream media.

Matt Taibbi took up the complicity of the mainstream media at his TK News site in “The Russiagate Whitewash Era Begins.” The column is mostly behind his subscription paywall, but Taibbi has now made the column available in the form of a YouTube video and podcast read by Jared Moore. I have posted the video below.

By my lights, however, what we have in the hugely influential stories Maté focuses on is complicity with perpetrators rather than lapses in professional standards. That is the case that Lee Smith argues in his Tablet column “Here Comes the Limited Hangout.” Subhead: “America’s Nixonian press corps takes a page from the Watergate playbook to try and cover up its active role in the criminal Russiagate hoax.”
Why won’t the prestige press come clean on its role in the Russia hoax? Crisis management consultant sketches out the deterrents in his Wall Street Journal column “The media stonewalls on the Steele dossier.” Dezenhall frames the basic problem this way, in terms of incentives…
J. Peder Zane’s RealClearPolitics column makes the case “Why the Russiagate Scandal Outranks the Rest.” This I believe:

Michaael Isikoff and David Corn were key media conduits for the Russia hoax fabrications wrought and disseminated by Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS, the Perkins Coie law firm, and the Clinton campaign in the run-up to the 2016 election. Isikoff and Corn expanded their reporting into the 2018 bestseller Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.

All in all, given the active participation of officials in the upper reaches of the Obama administration, including the FBI, the hoax must be counted the dirtiest trick in American political history. With the perspective afforded by the indictment of Igor Danchenko, Paul Sperry looks back in the RCP column “Journalist-Authors Isikoff, Corn Also Fell For Danchenko’s Mythical Dossier Source.” What did Corn and Isikoff have to say when Sperry came calling? “Neither Corn nor Isikoff responded to requests for comment….Their publisher, Twelve, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, did not reply to emails seeking comment.” Highly recommended.

NOTE: The column follows up on Sperry’s November 10 column “Danchenko Indictment: How Dossier Non-Source Sergei Millian Was Framed.”

Mindless and Mortifying Covid Theater

There seems to be a deeply felt need to feel superior to someone. The coronapocalypse gives people someone to feel superior to — the great un-vaxxed.

(Don Boudreaux) I was prompted to write the note below – which I’ll send to managers of theaters, museums, concert halls, and other public venues – after attending an event at Strathmore, which requires proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks. To open the event, Strathmore’s (unmasked!) director, smiling broadly on stage, declared that “It’s wonderful to be here among the vaccinated!” I wanted to retch, for to my ears it’s as if he’d said “It’s wonderful to be here among the clean and away from the filthy untouchables.”

December 12, 2021

Manager of [Name of venue]

Sir or Madam:

To enter your premises, each of your patrons is required by you both to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 and at all times to wear a mask.

What’s the point of these requirements?

Vaccination is effective at preventing the vaccinated from suffering serious consequences from Covid. (And children naturally are at virtually no risk from Covid.) Therefore, those of your patrons who choose not to be vaccinated personally bear the costs of their choice without imposing any costs on those of your patrons who choose to be vaccinated. So your requirement of vaccination is pointless.

This conclusion would stand even if we were sure that vaccination appreciably lowers, or even eliminates, the likelihood of vaccinated persons spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus to other persons. But in fact we have no such assurance. Many prominent public-health researchers read the evidence as showing that being vaccinated against Covid does not prevent the vaccinated – at least not for any significant length of time – from becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 and spreading this virus to others. Even CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admits about the vaccines, after the emergence of the Delta variant, that “what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”

Requiring proof of vaccination would thus be pointless even if it were the case that recovery from Covid provided no natural immunity. But in fact the evidence is powerful that recovery from Covid provides significant natural immunity. Because nearly 50 million Americans have tested positive for Covid and recovered – and even apart from the considerations mentioned above – requiring all patrons to show proof of vaccination is, to put it mildly, excessive.

Similar questions apply to masks. Because vaccination is effective at protecting the vaccinated, why do you require each of your patrons to wear a mask? Again, those of your patrons who choose not to wear a mask – just like your patrons who choose not to be vaccinated – impose costs only on themselves and not on those of your patrons who choose differently.

I urge you, in the name of liberal civilization and the open society, to stop mindlessly giving credence to pronouncements from the likes of Anthony Fauci and other government officials who have a personal stake in stoking Covid hysteria for as long as they can. Please let your patrons enjoy what you have to offer without being accosted by pointless Covid restrictions or required to participate in dystopian hygiene theater.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics

 

Source: Mindless and Mortifying Covid Theater

The New York Times does the Rittenhouse aftermath

(Paul Mirengoff) My friend who reads the New York Times calls attention to this article about how, allegedly, the left and the right are reacting to the Rittenhouse verdicts. Here is my friend’s take:

While the piece wants to appear even-handed, it is anything but. The liberals quoted are all politicians or heads of organizations. For conservative responses, the Times goes fishing for memes and social media comments from QAnon and the Proud Boys.

Readers of the Times may think they know how conservatives are reacting after reading this. In fact, they will have little sense of what conservatives consider the real issues: for example, false claims by the media and candidate Biden that Rittenhouse was a white supremacist, false or misleading claims that he had “crossed state lines,” and the failure of Gov. Evers to keep order.

Source: The New York Times does the Rittenhouse aftermath

THE TURN: If you’ve lived through it yourself, you know that The Turn doesn’t happen overnigh…

THE TURN:

If you’ve lived through it yourself, you know that The Turn doesn’t happen overnight, that it isn’t easily distilled into one dramatic breakdown moment, that it happens hazily and over time—first a twitch, then a few more, stretching into a gnawing discomfort and then, eventually, a sense of panic.

You may be among the increasing numbers of people going through The Turn right now. Having lived through the turmoil of the last half decade—through the years of MAGA and antifa and rampant identity politics and, most dramatically, the global turmoil caused by COVID-19—more and more of us feel absolutely and irreparably politically homeless. Instinctively, we looked to the Democratic Party, the only home we and our parents and their parents before them had ever known or seriously considered. But what we saw there—and in the newspapers we used to read, and in the schools whose admission letters once made us so proud—was terrifying. However we tried to explain what was happening on “the left,” it was hard to convince ourselves that it was right, or that it was something we still truly believed in. That is what The Turn is about.

You might be living through The Turn if you ever found yourself feeling like free speech should stay free even if it offended some group or individual but now can’t admit it at dinner with friends because you are afraid of being thought a bigot. You are living through The Turn if you have questions about public health policies—including the effects of lockdowns and school closures on the poor and most vulnerable in our society—but can’t ask them out loud because you know you’ll be labeled an anti-vaxxer. You are living through The Turn if you think that burning down towns and looting stores isn’t the best way to promote social justice, but feel you can’t say so because you know you’ll be called a white supremacist. You are living through The Turn if you seethed watching a terrorist organization attack the world’s only Jewish state, but seethed silently because your colleagues were all on Twitter and Facebook sharing celebrity memes about ending Israeli apartheid while having little interest in American kids dying on the streets because of failed policies. If you’ve felt yourself unable to speak your mind, if you have a queasy feeling that your friends might disown you if you shared your most intimately held concerns, if you are feeling a bit breathless and a bit hopeless and entirely unsure what on earth is going on, I am sorry to inform you that The Turn is upon you.

The Turn hit me just a beat before it did you, so I know just how awful it feels. It’s been years now, but I still remember the time a dear friend and mentor took me to lunch and warned me, sternly and without any of the warmth you’d extend to someone you truly loved, to watch what I said about Israel. I still remember how confusing and painful it felt to know that my beliefs—beliefs, mind you, that, until very recently, were so obvious and banal and widely held on the left that they were hardly considered beliefs at all—now labeled me an outcast. The Turn brings with it the sort of pain most of us don’t feel as adults; you’d have to go all the way back to junior high, maybe, to recall a stabbing sensation quite as deep and confounding as watching your friends all turn on you and decide that you’re not worthy of their affection any more. It’s the kind of primal rejection that is devastating precisely because it forces you to rethink everything, not only your convictions about the world but also your idea of yourself, your values, and your priorities. We all want to be embraced. We all want the men and women we consider most swell to approve of us and confirm that we, too, are good and great. We all want the love and the laurels; The Turn takes both away.

But, having been there before, I have one important thing to tell you: If the left is going to make it “right wing” to simply be decent, then it’s OK to be right.

Source: THE TURN: If you’ve lived through it yourself, you know that The Turn doesn’t happen overnigh…

Update: The Misleading Murderer you Know, latest data

Those who follow the debate on restoring Second Amendment rights have probably heard the other side proclaim some variant of:

“Most victims are murdered by people they know.”

The implication is defending yourself from a murderer is futile, because there is no point in trying to defend yourself from a person who is close to you.

This is a way of lying with statistics.The truth is far different.

Few victims are murdered by someone they live with.

In 2013, this correspondent published an essay on the Misleading Murderer that you Know. The numbers were from 2010. This update uses the latest numbers. They  are from  the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for 2019.

The most accurate crime statistics involves homicides, particularly murders. The most easily solved homicides are murders of passion between intimates. The hardest homicides to solve are those where there is no connection between the murderer and the victim.

The largest category of victim in the FBI reports of victim relationships to their murderer is unknown. In 2019, those victims are 49% of the total. It is a huge number. Some of this is because FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) are often filed before an investigation is complete. As murders of passion among intimates are the easiest to solve, this means a much higher percentage of strangers and acquaintances fall into the unknown category when the UCR report is filled out.

The clearance rate for murder in 2019 was 59%. This means 41% were not solved. About 84% of the murderers who are unknown by the time of the UCR report remain unknown. It is likely most of the 16% solved are not intimate partner murders. Those that are, are unlikely to have been living with their victim.

Source: Update: The Misleading Murderer you Know, latest data

WI: Rittenhouse Case, Status Conference set for January 22 for Dominick Black

I suspect the next step will be to go after the dealer who sold the gun to Dominick Black.

On August 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse defended himself from numerous attackers with an AR15 type (Smith & Wesson M&P 15) rifle. The rifle was not legally owned by Kyle.  He had legal possession of it. This was due to a quirk in the law. People under the age of 18 have always been able to buy rifles from private owners and possess them, but they are not allowed to buy them from licensed federal dealers.

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This correspondent noted the dropping or dismissing of the Wisconsin weapons charges against Dominick Black, was almost certain, because the Wisconsin weapons charges against Kyle Rittenhouse were dismissed by Judge Bruce Schroeder during his trial.

A prediction: the charges against Dominick Black will be dropped or dismissed.

The dismissal is likely to occur on 10 January, 2022.

Source: WI: Rittenhouse Case, Status Conference set for January 22 for Dominick Black