On November 24th, 2015 Heather Mac Donald wrote: “Last night President Obama betrayed the nation.” “Even as he went on national television to respond to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, the vicious violence that would destroy businesses and livelihoods over the next several hours was underway. Obama had one job and one job only last night: to defend the workings of the criminal-justice system and the rule of law. Instead, he turned his talk into a primer on police racism and criminal-justice bias. In so doing, he perverted his role as the leader of all Americans and as the country’s most visible symbol of the primacy of the law.
Obama gestured wanly toward the need to respect the grand jury’s decision and to protest peacefully. “We are a nation built on the rule of law. And so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” he said. But his tone of voice and body language unmistakably conveyed his disagreement, if not disgust, with that decision. “There are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry. It’s an understandable reaction,” he said. Understandable, so long as one ignores the evidence presented to the grand jury. The testimony of a half-dozen black observers at the scene demolished the early incendiary reports that Wilson attacked Brown in cold blood and shot Brown in his back when his hands were up. Those early witnesses who had claimed gratuitous brutality on Wilson’s part contradicted themselves and were in turn contradicted by the physical evidence and by other witnesses, who corroborated Wilson’s testimony that Brown had attacked him and had tried to grab his gun. (Minutes before, the nearly 300-pound Brown had thuggishly robbed a shopkeeper of a box of cigars; Wilson had received a report of that robbery and a description of Brown before stopping him.) Obama should have briefly reiterated the grounds for not indicting Wilson and applauded the decision as the product of a scrupulously thorough and fair process. He should have praised the jurors for their service and courage in following the evidence where it led them. And he should have concluded by noting that there is no fairer criminal justice system in the world than the one we have in the United States.
Instead, Obama reprimanded local police officers in advance for their presumed overreaction to the protests: “I also appeal to the law enforcement officials in Ferguson and the region to show care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur. . . . They need to work with the community, not against the community, to distinguish the handful of people who may use the grand jury’s decision as an excuse for violence . . . from the vast majority who just want their voices heard around legitimate issues in terms of how communities and law enforcement interact.” Such skepticism about the ability of the police to maintain the peace appropriately was unwarranted at the time and even more so in retrospect; the forces of law and order didn’t fire a single shot last night. Nor did they inflict injury, despite having been fired at themselves. Missouri governor Jay Nixon has been under attack for days for having authorized a potential mobilization of the National Guard—as if the August rioting didn’t more than justify such a precaution. Any small business owner facing another wave of violence would have been desperate for such protection and more. Though Nixon didn’t actually call up the Guard last night, his prophylactic declaration of a state of emergency proved prescient.
Obama left no doubt that he believed the narrative of the mainstream media and race activists about Ferguson. That narrative held that the shooting of Brown was a symbol of nationwide police misbehavior and that the August riots were an “understandable” reaction to widespread societal injustice. “The situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation. The fact is in too many parts of this country a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color.” This distrust is justified, in Obama’s view. He reinvoked the “diversity” bromide about the racial composition of police forces, implying that white officers cannot fairly police black communities. In fact, some of the most criticized law-enforcement bodies in recent years have been majority black.
“We have made enormous progress in race relations,” Obama conceded. “But what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up. . . . The law too often feels like it’s being applied in a discriminatory fashion . . . these are real issues. And we have to lift them up and not deny them or try to tamp them down.”
To claim that the laws are applied in a discriminatory fashion is a calumny, unsupported by evidence. For the president of the United States to put his imprimatur on such propaganda is bad enough; to do so following a verdict in so incendiary a case is grossly irresponsible. But such partiality follows the pattern of this administration in Ferguson and elsewhere, with Attorney General Eric Holder prematurely declaring the Ferguson police force in need of wholesale change and President Obama invoking Ferguson at the United Nations as a manifestation of America’s ethnic strife.
Last night’s wanton destruction was over-determined. For weeks, the press has been salivating at the potential for black violence. The New York Times has been running several stories a day, most on the front page, about such a prospect, building on its series earlier in the fall about racism in Ferguson. Press coverage of racial tension treats black violence as both expected and normal. By now, riots are regarded as virtually a black entitlement.
The press is dusting off hoary tropes about police stops and racism. Clearly we are reentering a period of heightened anti-law enforcement agitation, recalling the racial profiling crusade of the 1990s. The New York Times’s fall series selected various features of Ferguson almost at random and declared them racist, simply by virtue of their being associated with the city. A similar conceit has already emerged regarding the now-concluded grand jury investigation: innocent or admirable features of the prosecutor’s management of the case, such as the thoroughness of the evidence presented, are now blasted as the product of a flawed or deliberately tainted process, so desperate are the activists to discredit the grand jury’s decision.
This misinformation about the criminal-justice system and the police will increase hatred of the police. That hatred, in turn, will heighten the chances of more Michael Browns attacking officers and getting shot themselves. Police officers in the tensest areas may back off of assertive policing. Such de-policing will leave thousands of law-abiding minority residents who fervently support the police ever more vulnerable to thugs.
Obama couldn’t have stopped the violence last night with his address to the nation. But in casting his lot with those who speciously impugn our criminal-justice system, he has increased the likelihood of more such violence in the future.
Take Seattle where a thriving technology industry has fueled the housing market over the past eight years, with Amazon alone adding roughly 40,000 new jobs in that time. The median home price soared 138% since the post-recession trough in 2013, and the city enjoyed significant population growth as highly skilled, well-paid workers ditched Silicon Valley and San Francisco in favor of Seattle’s relative affordability.
Amazon canceled its plans to build an expansive corporate campus in New York City after facing an unexpectedly fierce backlash from Ocasio-Cortez, other Democrat lawmakers, Left-Wing Democrat progressive activists and Left-Wing Democrat union leaders, who believed a tech giant did not deserve nearly $3 billion in government incentives. Opposition took hold among the city’s Democratic politicians who organized a hostile City Council hearing. Protesters filled the seats, unfurled banners and chanted against the company. Not a single council member spoke up in defense of the deal or the company.
Gianna Cerbone, who owns a restaurant several blocks from what would have been the main Amazon campus, saw the benefits of Amazon. She said the demise of the deal was a major blow to people who need jobs and local businesses that would have benefited.
“I’m really upset because I don’t think they realized what they did,” she said of the elected officials who had opposed the plan. “And they’re proud of it? They think they did something lovely? They wanted the political gain, they should have done it in a different way. They get put into office for us, not to work for themselves.”
Their goofus decision caused the abrupt turnabout by Amazon after a much-publicized search for a second headquarters on the East Coast… which had ended when it announced it would open two new sites — one in Queens, with more than 25,000 jobs, and another in Virginia. Head goofy Ocasio-Cortz led the charge.
Amazon’s retreat was a blow to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, damaging their effort to further diversify the city’s economy by making it an inviting location for the technology industry. Here’s hoping Amazon moves to Bucks County, PA. We would welcome the 138% increase in the value of our homes over the next four years… C’mon Amazon… We will work with you to build the types of relationships required to go forward. Bring your jobs and more prosperity to Southeastern PA… It’s a great, great place to live… There’s loads and loads of prime lane available right in Richboro where Murry’s Richboro Mart building is on the market and the great Council Rock, Neshaminy and Central Bucks School Districts have available classrooms and loads of teachers.
When Amazon announced plans for a second headquarters in September 2017, it promised 50,000 high-paying jobs and billions in investment for a community that would be coequal to its home in Seattle. The fast growing successful company, whose ambitions outgrew the number of people it could hire in the Pacific Northwest, set off a nationwide frenzy, with more than 200 cities making bids.
Amazon decided last fall that no one city could provide the number of tech workers it needed and split the headquarters in two.
The company has long been willing to take short-term pain in exchange for maintaining long-term leverage. Richboro, PA sounds like it fills the bill for one of Amazon’s great additions. It’s close to: Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia and Trenton airports, three airports that are fully jet-capable right now with all-weather runways that easily connect flights all over the world. Housing prices are far lower than Queens. More room for future expansion and local government’s that are far more flexible than the goofies in Queens.
Lower Buck’s County is also right next door to Northeast Philly which has a large and excellent labor pool of trained workers. Colleges and Universities abound with University of Penn and Princeton very close by.
Face of the Devil at Mardi Gras….