Wednesday, July 1, 2020

How Long Have The Riots Been In The Planning? (Updated and Expanded)

Since at least 2016.

      One of the features of these recent riots have been the complete lack of interest from local politicians to control the riots and looting or prosecute rioters and looters. As one example, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has refused to charge rioters that had been arrested for various crimes, resulting in their being released. Gardner's 2016 campaign received at least 3 large donations from the George Soros backed super-pac, the Safety & Justice Committee, totaling $190,000. (See also this story from the Missouri Times).

      State Attorney Andrew Warren, Hillsborough County (Tampa) Florida, had announced in mid-June that his office would not prosecute those arrested on charges of unlawful assembly. Warren's 2016 run was funded by SorosCook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had also planned to drop charges against many of those arrested for violating curfew or disorderly conduct earlier in June during days of protest and civil unrest. Yup, her campaign had also been financed by Soros. Kim Ogg, the district attorney for Harris County, Texas (Houston) dismissed nearly 800 criminal cases against protesters arrested during George Floyd marches. Her 2016 election was also funded by Soros.

      In fact, Soros has been very active over the last several years in local and state elections for prosecutors. As the Missouri Times article notes,  Soros had funded candidates in Houston, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; two races in Mississippi; Bossier City, Louisiana and Chicago. A 2016 article from Politico reported:
      The billionaire financier has channeled more than $3 million into seven local district-attorney campaigns in six states over the past year — a sum that exceeds the total spent on the 2016 presidential campaign by all but a handful of rival super-donors.

      His money has supported African-American and Hispanic candidates for these powerful local roles, all of whom ran on platforms sharing major goals of Soros’, like reducing racial disparities in sentencing and directing some drug offenders to diversion programs instead of to trial. It is by far the most tangible action in a progressive push to find, prepare and finance criminal justice reform-oriented candidates for jobs that have been held by longtime incumbents and serve as pipelines to the federal courts — and it has inspired fury among opponents angry about the outside influence in local elections.
It further explains:
Soros has spent on district attorney campaigns in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas through a network of state-level super PACs and a national “527” unlimited-money group, each named a variation on “Safety and Justice.” (Soros has also funded a federal super PAC with the same name.) Each organization received most of its money directly from Soros, according to public state and federal financial records, though some groups also got donations from nonprofits like the Civic Participation Action Fund, which gave to the Safety and Justice group in Illinois.
The article also notes that "Soros’ spending started on these races about a year ago, when he put over $1 million into 'Safety and Justice' groups that helped elect two new district attorneys in Louisiana and Mississippi and reelect a third — Hinds County, Miss., DA Robert Shuler Smith — who has since been charged by the Mississippi attorney general with improperly providing information to defendants."

      A 2018 Los Angeles Times article similarly reported:
     Wealthy donors are spending millions of dollars to back would-be prosecutors who want to reduce incarceration, crack down on police misconduct and revamp a bail system they contend unfairly imprisons poor people before trial.

      The effort is part of a years-long campaign by liberal groups to reshape the nation’s criminal justice system. New York billionaire George Soros headlines a consortium of private funders, the American Civil Liberties Union and other social justice groups and Democratic activists targeting four of the 56 district attorney positions up for election on June 5. Five other California candidates are receiving lesser support.
And it goes beyond financial contributions. The LA Times article continues:
      In Sacramento County, where liberal activists are embedded directly in the insurgent campaign of Noah Phillips, the deputy prosecutor is attacking his boss’ record of having never charged a police officer who shot a civilian.

     Phillips credits Soros’ team for scripting and paying for his television ad. Fundraising help came from a senior advisor to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, now at the helm of Real Justice, a political action committee with a mission to “fix our broken justice system” that is underwritten by Cari Tuna, the wife of Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. Other national advocates and philanthropists provide writing services and media coaching.
      At the same time, Black Lives Matter activists were holding near-daily protests on the doorstep of Phillips’ opponent, career prosecutor Anne Marie Schubert. They demanded Schubert press charges against officers who earlier this year, searching for a burglary suspect, shot and killed an unarmed black man named Stephon Clark. To keep demonstrators at a distance, Schubert surrounded her office with a 10-foot fence.
(Underline added). Other candidates mentioned in the article as receiving assistance from Soros were Geneviéve Jones-Wright (San Diego County), Pamela Price (Alameda County), Diana Becton (Conta Costra County), as well as smaller donations to challengers in Marin, Riverside, San Bernardino, Stanislaus and Yolo counties.

     This confluence of events was not a coincidence. Key events are not always (or even mostly) mere happenstance. There can be a lot of planning and thought behind what seems to be a random event or "grass roots" ground swell. Sometimes it takes years or decades of careful work.

     I've written before about the planning that went on behind scenes of the Rosa Park's story and subsequent boycott of the Birmingham, Alabama, bus system, but let me repeat it here:

      The National Archives relates the Rosa Parks myth we all learned in school:
       On December 1, 1955, during a typical evening rush hour in Montgomery, Alabama, a 42-year-old woman took a seat on the bus on her way home from the Montgomery Fair department store where she worked as a seamstress. Before she reached her destination, she quietly set off a social revolution when the bus driver instructed her to move back, and she refused. Rosa Parks, an African American, was arrested that day for violating a city law requiring racial segregation of public buses.

        On the city buses of Montgomery, Alabama, the front 10 seats were permanently reserved for white passengers. ... When the bus became crowded, the bus driver instructed Mrs. Parks and the other three passengers seated in that row, all African Americans, to vacate their seats for the white passengers boarding. Eventually, three of the passengers moved, while Mrs. Parks remained seated, arguing that she was not in a seat reserved for whites. Joseph Blake, the driver, believed he had the discretion to move the line separating black and white passengers. ... [W]hen Mrs. Parks defied his order, he called the police. Officers Day and Mixon came and promptly arrested her.

* * *

       ... Her arrest became a rallying point around which the African American community organized a bus boycott in protest of the discrimination they had endured for years. Martin Luther King, Jr., the 26-year-old minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, emerged as a leader during the well-coordinated, peaceful boycott that lasted 381 days and captured the world's attention. It was during the boycott that Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., first achieved national fame as the public became acquainted with his powerful oratory.
When I was a wee lad, the reason we were told that Parks didn't want to give up her seat was because she was tired and sore from a long day of work.

       Of course, the myth of Rosa Parks, while rooted in real events, does not relate the true facts, and I doubt we know all of them even now. The important point, though, is that the events were not as spontaneous as we are (or were) led to believe. A couple articles on the topic are here and here. Without going into the fine details, the salient facts are as follows: NAACP leaders had previously attempted to organize a boycott of the Montgomery bus system, and were looking for a case to test the law on segregated seating. The first attempt, made after the March 1955 arrest of Claudette Colvin for not vacating her bus seat, failed. A couple primary reasons are advanced for the failure: (1) lack of organization, and (2), probably more important, although Colvin was a member of the Youth Council of the local NAACP chapter, she was unknown to the black community at large. The subsequent arrest of another Youth Council member, Mary Louise Smith, in October 1955, also was deemed inadequate because Smith was too young and poor to generate the necessary sympathy. Although even the current accounts in circulation still make it sound as though Parks' decision was impromptu, it is likely that the NAACP turned to her to act as an agent provocateur prior to her arrest. Parks was the secretary to E.D. Dixon, the local NAACP president. She had been heavily involved in the NAACP and civil rights movement for over a decade, knew all of the important leaders, and was known to the larger black community. Certainly she would have known of the strategy and decisions involving Colvin and Smith. Moreover, there was probably a bit of personal revenge on Parks' mind: James Blake, the bus driver who ordered her to the back of the bus in 1955 had previously thrown her off his bus in 1943 for the same offense. In any event, when Parks was arrested, the NAACP's plan went into effect; within 10 hours, 15,000 flyers had been printed and distributed, and 50 pastors (including Martin Luther King, Jr.) met and agreed to urge their congregations to join in the boycott. The rest, as they say, is history.

      I'm not saying that George Floyd's death was arranged (even if some have noted that Floyd was knelt on for 8:46 minutes and on 9/11, at 8:46 a.m., Flight 11 hit the north tower of the World Trade Center), but that wheels had been set in motion that only needed the right event to drop into gear and propel a certain movement forward.

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