The Truth Behind Chicago’s Violence No, Chicago is not an exceptionally dangerous city.

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The bloodletting in Chicago last weekend, with 74 people shot, 12 fatally, was enough to horrify even locals, who are relatively inured to chronic slaughter at the hands of gun-wielding felons. “Unbelievable,” said state Rep. La Shawn Ford, a black Chicago Democrat who went so far as to call on President Donald Trump for help.
The shock was also evident beyond Chicago. Rudy Giuliani blamed Democrats in general and Mayor Rahm Emanuel in particular. The mayor’s legacy, he tweeted, is “more murders in his city than ever before.” Everywhere, there was agreement that the city’s mayhem is out of control and in urgent need of measures to contain it.
But don’t believe the hype. There are not, in fact, more murders in Chicago than ever before. The number of homicides peaked at 920 in 1991. The death toll last year was 674—and that was down 15 percent from 2016. This year, even with the latest frenzy of shootings, the number of homicides is 25 percent lower than it was at this point in 2017.

These are real signs of progress, however tardy and insufficient. If this year’s trajectory holds, it would mean some 280 fewer people dying violently this year than just two years ago. Another year on this trend line would put the city about where it was in 2013—when the number of homicides hit the lowest level in 48 years.
Contrary to popular myth, cynically promoted by Trump and other outside critics, Chicago is not an exceptionally dangerous city. In terms of violent crime, it is less afflicted than a number of large cities, including St. Louis, Baltimore, and New Orleans.
Republicans blame unbroken Democratic control of Chicago for its mayhem. But partisan coloration is an unreliable indicator of crime patterns. Of the 10 states with the highest rates of violence, seven voted for Trump. Los Angeles, whose homicide rate is enviably low, has had only Democratic mayors since 2001.
It’s easy to blame the mayor for the persistent bloodshed—and former police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who is running against Emanuel in the February election, does not pass up the opportunity. McCarthy headed the Chicago Police Department from 2011 to 2015, and he claims credit for the improvement that occurred in that period.
But he was also in charge of Chicago police when an officer shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald—a gross overreaction that police labored to cover up. The spike in murders began just after the release of dashcam video showing the victim walking away from police before being riddled with bullets. The revelation, which contradicted official accounts, sparked public outrage, particularly among African-Americans.
One problem in Chicago is the dismally low number of homicides that police are able to solve—about 1 in 6. But the department’s poor reputation among many of the people most at risk discourages the sort of cooperation from citizens that cops need to catch the killers.
The city’s record of failing to discipline officers who resort to unjustified lethal force is corrosive. Last year, WBEZ reported that since 2007, the city’s Independent Police Review Authority had “investigated police shootings that have killed at least 130 people and injured 285 others”—and “found officers at fault in just two of those cases, both off-duty” incidents.
The Chicago Reporter provided additional evidence. “From 2012 to 2015, the city spent more than $263 million on settlements, judgments and outside legal counsel for police misconduct,” it found. If police want more help from the communities they serve, this is not the way to get it.
Despite these failures, the decline in homicides suggests that the city and the department are doing something right. But what that might be is hard to determine with any confidence.
The fight against crime can’t be restricted to more or better policing. Chicago’s crime problem is concentrated in a small number of poor, blighted, mostly African-American neighborhoods. Those areas owe their plight largely to a sordid history of systemic, deliberate racial discrimination and violence, endemic poverty, and official neglect over decades.
The conditions that breed rampant crime in parts of Chicago came about not by accident but by policy. The recent attention shows that people here and elsewhere care about the violence. Do they care about fixing the causes?

By Steve Chapman/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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The Democratic Party is White Supremacist, Too

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“Neither party gives a damn about Black people’s right to self-determination.”

The Democrats suffered a serious setback at the U.S. Supreme Court, this week, as the Justices unanimously ruled that the party’s plaintiffs had not proven they had been harmed by Wisconsin’s Republican-crafted State Assembly district map. The high court also ruled unanimously against a Republican challenge of a Democrat-crafted Maryland congressional district, but on the more narrow ground that the GOP had waited too long to seek an injunction. As a result, there is still no U.S. Supreme Court standard for determining what constitutes “gerrymandering” — unlawfully drawing legislative maps to the detriment of…whom?

The “whom” is most important. In the Wisconsin case, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “This court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences. The court’s constitutionally prescribed role is to vindicate the individual rights of the people appearing before it.” Such a narrow interpretation is designed — like most of the court majority’s legal reasoning – to frustrate challenges based on alleged harms to groups of plaintiffs. Although protections for Black people’s voting rights are well established in U.S. law, the high court appears reluctant to extend protections to “generalized” groups defined by their “partisan preferences” — like Democrats and Republicans.

Both parties, however, are intent to preserve the duopoly system that splits the U.S. polity between them, for the benefit of their corporate masters.”

There is no question that Republicans have rigged the electoral map, wherever possible, to favor whites and rural voters — as is enshrined in historical U.S. electoral structures, most notably, the wholly undemocratic U.S. Senate, which allocates two senators for each state, regardless of population, and the Electoral College, which gives citizens in overwhelmingly white and rural Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota three times the presidential voting power of citizens in polyglot New York, Florida, and California. Democrats rig the game, too, when they get the chance, although it’s an uphill race. Both parties, however, are intent to preserve the duopoly system that splits the U.S. polity between them, for the benefit of their corporate masters. And neither party gives a damn about Black people’s right to self-determination — which includes the ability to elect representatives and executives of their choice, unless that choice is a Democrat or Republican.

On this issue, the Democrats’ principled stance is worse than the Republicans. The Democrats consistently oppose Black “super-majority” voting districts that empower African Americans to elect candidates of their choice without significant non-Black support, while the GOP favors such districts. The Democratic Party abhors deep concentrations of Black voters, preferring to spread the Black vote over a number of districts to enhance Democratic legislative prospects, statewide. Republicans want as many Black votes as possible locked up in a few super-majority districts, rendering the rest of the legislative map an electoral battleground among whites, where Republicans can expect to fare well.

“Choice” vs “Influence”

The Democratic Party is determined to deny Blacks decisive electoral power. The Party fights tooth and nail to limit the number of voting districts in which Blacks have sufficient numbers to elect candidates of their “choice.” Instead, the Party preaches that Blacks are better off spread out in districts where they make up 20 or 30 percent of the vote, but can “influence” more elections. The Democrats’ preference is to dilute the Black electorate so that no “choice” remains but to vote for whatever candidate is put forward by the fat cats that control the reins of the Party.

Democratic districting schemes are designed to reduce Blacks to captive vote-fodder, dependable ciphers to shore up Democratic weakness among whites.

The very concept of Black self-determination is anathema to the Democratic Party — just as it is on the Republican side of the duopoly. However, the GOP can live with — and gain some legislative advantages from — the creation of Black majority districts, since they are the stronger party among whites in most states. Democrats demand that Blacks surrender the power to conduct their own political battles in majority Black environments and choose officeholders that reflect Black people’s evolving political will. Instead, Blacks are relegated to the status of yes-men to the Party — a political captivity dressed up as “diversity.”

“Democratic districting schemes are designed to reduce Blacks to captive vote-fodder.”

And “yes-men” and women is what we’ve gotten from this deal with the Democrats. The Black Misleadership Class is steeped in subservience to the Democratic Party, which has been its connection to the ruling classes of U.S. society. In that sense, the Party is the root of corruption in the Black polity. The other main conduit of corruption, the GOP, is effectively off-limits, since its organizing principle is white supremacy. The duopoly system locks Blacks in the Democrats’ foul and abusive embrace.

But, the Democrats don’t just corrupt Black officeholders; they distort and deform the Black political conversation, through unrelenting suppression and cooptation of the Black Radical Tradition. Blacks are the most left-leaning, socialist-friendly, pro-peace ethnic constituency in the country, by far — but that is not reflected in Black electoral politics. The Democratic Party is the duopoly system’s mechanism to snuff out Black radicalism. Black Democratic officials and operatives have, for the past four decades, overseen the day-to-day maintenance of the Black Mass Incarceration State in the inner cities, on behalf of the Lords of Capital. The Democratic Party is, in truth, the long arm of the ruling class, reaching into every political nook and cranny of Black America and strangling every radical Black political tendency in its crib.

“The Democratic Party is the duopoly system’s mechanism to snuff out Black radicalism.”

Black majorities, unrestrained, tend to hatch radical approaches to capitalist and white supremacist-inflicted problems. Is it any wonder that the self-proclaimed “most radical city on the planet ” is 80 percent Black Jackson, Mississippi? Or that Amiri Baraka’s son is the hugely popular mayor of Newark, New Jersey, the state’s largest city, where whites make up only 13 percent of the population? Or that the Bay Area Center For Voting Research found, back in 2005, that

“The list of America’s most liberal [sic] cities reads like a who’s who of prominent African American communities. Gary, Washington D.C., Newark, Flint, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Birmingham have long had prominent black populations. While most black voters have consistently supported Democrats since the 1960s, it is the white liberals that have slowly withered away over the decades, leaving African Americans as the sole standard bearers for the left….” — (See The Black Commentator, “Where the Left Lives ,” by Bruce Dixon.)

It is the Democratic Party’s job — its division of labor under the duopoly electoral arrangement — to subvert and suppress those radical tendencies, and to dilute the power of Black majorities wherever they exist. The Party has blunted the radicalism of the leftist city halls in Jackson and Newark, and seeks to bleach out “too-Black” legislative districts wherever possible.

Therefore, the American electoral duopoly is composed of two white supremacist parties: the Republicans, for whom white supremacy is an organizing principle, and the Democrats, the party that claims the allegiance of virtually all Black voters, but whose mission is to politically pacify and neutralize Blacks, in service of the ruling class.

By Glenn Ford/BlackAgendaReport

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Tear down the ‘blue wall of silence’: New York Dem destroys sheriff who blames police violence on blacks

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Image: Raw Story

A New York Democrat shut down a black conservative Wisconsin sheriff who blamed police violence on black criminality.

David Clarke, the Milwaukee County sheriff, described “black-on-black crime” as the “elephant in the room” Tuesday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the rising tensions between police officers and African-Americans.

“The conversation should be about transforming black underclass subculture behavior,” said Clarke, who frequently appears on Fox News. “The discussion must start with addressing the behavior of people who have no respect for authority, who fight with and try to disarm the police, who flee the police, and who engage in other flawed lifestyle choices.”

“Bashing the police is the low-hanging fruit,” the sheriff added. “It is easier to talk about the rare killing of a black male by police because emotion can be exploited for political advantage.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) agreed that black-on-black crime was a problem – but he pointed out that 83 percent of white homicide victims were killed by other white people.

“Is white-on-white violence also a problem that we should have a robust discussion about?” the lawmaker asked the sheriff.

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Posted by The NON-Conformist

Keystone XL: Mary Landrieu’s final indignity

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Image: AP Photo/Bill Haber

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has participated in a keg stand. She has run this desperate ad. She lost an energy committee chairmanship that she often touted, when the GOP took the Senate on Nov. 4. She has clashed — in front of reporters — with a leader of her party. That same party basically abandoned her in her runoff campaign for a fourth term.

But on Tuesday, she suffered the biggest indignity of her 2014 campaign, and possibly of her political career.

Landrieu, reduced to a relatively pointless gambit to demonstrate her clout in Washington, failed to secure the 60 votes required to move forward with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. She came up one vote shy.

This was basically Landrieu’s final play. With no party funding for her campaign, she has been drubbed on the airwaves — as in, exponentially so. And even before that, few gave her much hope in her runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

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Posted by Libergirl

What Does Thom Tillis Want?

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He’s an empty suit programmed to repeat his talking points over and over. Anything that Kay Hagan said in previous debates was met with… she votes with Barack Obama 96% of the time…she votes with Barack Obama 96% of the time! LG

Image: dailyhaymaker.com

 

The Republican candidate for Senate from North Carolina has shown a remarkable knack for moving up in the ranks, but he seems less sure what to do once he gets there.

Thom Tillis is a man in a hurry. He went from city councilor to North Carolina House speaker in just five years. Four months into his second term as speaker, he was running for U.S. Senate. The man who would hand the Republicans control of the Senate has been a lot of things in a short amount of time. And while he seems to know where he’s going, it’s less clear that he knows what he’ll do once he gets there.

Tillis started his political career as a city councilor in Cornelius, a wealthy suburb of Charlotte. In 2006, after a single term, he upset a Republican incumbent in a primary for a state House seat. Like all freshmen, Tillis arrived in Raleigh as a backbencher, but he quickly impressed his Republican colleagues, who chose him freshman leader. In just his second term, he joined the House GOP leadership as minority whip.

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Posted by Libergirl

California anti-gun senator charged with corruption and trafficking firearms

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A California state senator known for his outspoken views in support of gun control was arrested on Wednesday and charged with illegally trafficking in firearms alongside multiple counts of public corruption.

California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) (Reuters)

Image: Russia Today

In a federal corruption investigation that nabbed 26 people on charges ranging from drug smuggling to murder-for-hire, Democratic state Sen. Leland Yee was indicted on conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license and to illegally import firearm, and six counts of corruption, which included handing out favors in exchange for substantial campaign contributions.

If convicted, Yee could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each corruption charge, while the gun trafficking count could result in five years in prison and a similar fine.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the FBI affidavit claims Yee offered to negotiate illegal firearms sales on multiple occasions in exchange for financial donations towards his campaign. He allegedly told an undercover FBI agent of his connections to firearms dealers in Asia and Russia, with CBS San Francisco reporting he knew an arms dealer who’d been shipping “cargo containers” of weapons to Muslim rebels in the Philippines.

The meeting between Yee and the undercover agent was brokered by Keith Jackson, a political consultant with ties to Raymond Chow, whom the FBI identified as the ringleader of a Chinatown gang. Chow introduced an FBI agent who’d made his way into the group to Jackson, who was the first to tell of Yee’s connections to arms dealers.

More from Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

WaPo Fact Checker Downgrades Obamacare ‘Horror Story’ to 3 Pinocchios

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The case of Julie Boonstra, a leukemia patient who was featured in an Americans for Prosperity ad against Representative Gary Peters (D-MI) claiming she had lost her doctor and seen her premiums rise as a result of the Affordable Care Act, became controversial last month after politicians and reporters disputed the details of the ad, finding that Obamacare would actually improve her health coverage at lower cost.

Image: Politico

Glenn Kessler, Washington Post’s fact checker, originally assigned the story ‘two Pinocchios’ (on a scale of four) pending further information about Boonstra’s plan (which he said AFP declined to give him). On Tuesday morning, he downgraded AFP’s ad to ’3 Pinocchios,’ arguing that much of Boonstra’s story had proven to be false, and that the group’s new ad, which merely says that Boonstra’s plan “isn’t right for me,” is a much fuzzier and “more subjective” claim.

Kessler noted that Boonstra’s new plan allowed her to retain her old doctor, and lowered her premiums by $1,200/year. It also covered all of her prescription medications and all of her out of pocket medical expenses on a bone marrow transplant, contrary to her worries on both.

“One cannot claim that a plan is ‘unaffordable’ when over the course of the year it will provide you with substantial savings,” Kessler wrote. “Thus we are changing the rating on this ad from Two Pinocchios to Three Pinocchios.”

From The Washington Post via Mediate

Posted by Libergirl

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