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a blog by Ann Althouse

Things screamed by Chris Christie's niece as she was dragged off a Spirit Airlines flight.

I'm reading "Chris Christie’s niece shouted ‘Do you know who I am?’ during violent plane meltdown" (NY Post).

The niece, Shannon Epstein, had confronted some other passengers, presumably because they looked Hispanic, and asked them if they were smuggling cocaine.

I just want to note some things she's accused of yelling:

1. “Do you guys think I have cocaine in my p—y?” 

2. "I’m a lesbian. Is that it? Do you want put your dick in me? That’s it, isn’t it. That’s what this is all about? You want to put your dick in my mouth, don’t you? You’re so f—ed, you asshole."

3. "By this time tomorrow you will both be in jail. What the f— did I do?

4. "Do you know who I am? I’m related to some very powerful people and I need to get back on that plane to New Jersey. Do you know who I am? I’m Chris Christie’s daughter and you’re so f—ed. You will lose your job over this s—. I know Donald Trump.”

5. “Wow, you guys like Chris Christie? He’s f—ing friends with f—ing Donald Trump.”

"I know this may sound radical, but we all agree that theft is not OK...People are trying to connect our work to a pro-cop or anti-cop agenda... Most of us just want to get people’s bikes back."

Said Bryce Turner, 27, a member of a Facebook group that tracks down stolen bikes in Burlington, Vermont, where the police force was reduced by 30% after a ballot measure influenced by the George Floyd incident.

Turner is quoted in "The Bike Thieves of Burlington, Vermont/A hunt for stolen goods has put citizens and business owners in the center of a debate about policing and a growing, sometimes violent, problem with crime" (NYT).

Mr. Turner has personally recovered more than a dozen bikes — many of them from City Hall Park. The newly renovated park reopened to the public in October 2020... Mr. Turner and the others in the group say they believe the bikes that end up in the park are being sold in exchange for drugs. “It’s an open-air drug and bike market,” he said of the park.
They believe that the theft is part of a broad black-market operation, and point to a pickup truck that has been photographed around town, hauling a stack of bikes in the back, under a tarp. The police say that they have seen online reports of the pickup but that they have no probable cause to pull the vehicle over.
Still, the bike group perceives a growing sense of lawlessness in the park. One day in August, Mr. Turner was walking past a group of people in the park when someone punched him in the back of the head. Seeing no police officers around, he found a firefighter nearby and told him about the assault. “He called it in to the police, but he basically said nothing is going to come of this,” Mr. Turner said. “The cops have their hands full.”

"It’s no secret that an enormous amount of party leadership in New York State is based on big money and old-school, calcified machine-style politics that creates a very anemic voting base that is disengaged and disenfranchised."

Said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calling for the resignation of Jay Jacobs, the Democratic Party chairman in NY state.

Quoted in"If Democrats Lose the House, They May Have New York to Blame/Republicans flipped four congressional seats in New York, the most of any state in the country. How did this happen in one of the nation’s most liberal states?" by Nicholas Fandos (NYT).

[M]any progressives... lamented that numerous candidates had failed to stake out a bolder agenda that would inspire the state’s 6.5 million Democrats and to invest in more durable on-the-ground organizing, rather than trying to motivate voters out of fear of [GOP candidate for governor Lee] Zeldin.

That's the classic progressive message to Democrats: They need to go further to the left, because that will energize more people. But:

Polls suggested voters living on the outskirts of New York City, and in urban Orthodox Jewish and Asian enclaves, were unusually motivated by rising crime. Record outside spending swamped the airwaves, and Republicans turned out in droves....

That doesn't stop Ocasio-Cortez. She blames Democrats for trying to establish their own credibility on law and order. She rejects "leaning into Republican narratives on crime and safety." The left message is "to talk about gun violence and its roots." 

ADDED:  There's that term again — calcification. Ocasio-Cortez said "big money and old-school, calcified machine-style politics."

"Mr. DePape was looking for Ms. Pelosi, who was in Washington at the time, to interrogate the speaker on an unspecified political matter, according to the federal complaint."

"If she told the 'truth,' he would let her go, but if she 'lied,' he intended to break her kneecaps — forcing her to be wheeled into Congress as a lesson to other Democrats, Mr. DePape told police officers in an interview. He had 'a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and zip ties' according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of California, which filed the charges."

From "Intruder Wanted to Break Speaker Pelosi’s Kneecaps, Federal Complaint Says/Federal prosecutors filed charges on Monday against the man the police said broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and struck her husband with a hammer" (NYT).

"The swift action by the Justice Department in bringing federal charges — on the same day the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office was expected to file its own charges against Mr. DePape — reflects the department’s urgency in addressing what it sees as a politically motivated crime shortly before the 2022 midterm elections. There has been a surge in threats and attacks against figures of both political parties in recent years, and Ms. Pelosi, in particular, has long been the subject of vilification and threats."

ADDED: Here's the criminal complaint. It's worth noting that DePape spoke to the police and revealed his plot to question Nancy Pelosi and to break her kneecaps if she lied, which he expected her to do. Also, he was not dressed in underpants, but shorts, and he had a large backpack and quite a few supplies, including the hammer we've heard so much about. He is alleged to have broken the window next to the door handle and to have found Paul Pelosi in his bedroom, in bed. 

Also: "DEPAPE stated he wanted to tie Pelosi up so that DEPAPE could go to sleep as he was tired from having had to carry a backpack to the Pelosi residence.... DEPAPE explained that he did not leave after Pelosi’s call to 9-1-1 because, much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender."

"Police cameras show confusion, anger over DeSantis’ voter fraud arrests/Local police carrying out the arrests were patient, understanding — almost apologetic."

The Tampa Bay Times reports. 

Here's the video: 

There really is some unfortunate confusion with a 2018 statute permitting voting even if you've been convicted of a felony but not if the felony was murder or a sex offense.

I want to see voting laws enforced, but the laws shouldn't be a trap for the unwary. I feel sorry for these people and you can see that the police officers feel sorry for them too.

"It’s complicated. It’s a conflict of values, between wanting security and social justice. Everybody has a responsibility in some ways."

"There are a bunch of issues here, a bunch of threats. We can deal with them in a compassionate way, or a not compassionate way.”

 Said NYU bioethics and public health professor S. Matthew Liao, quoted in "How a Dog’s Killing Turned Brooklyn Progressives Against One Another/After a sudden confrontation that left a golden retriever dead, neighbors came together online to support the owner of the dog. But then things changed" (NYT). 

Notice that the long headline never refers to the attacker. We have the "killing," the "progressives," a "confrontation," a "golden retriever," "neighbors," "the owner," and "things." That's a lot of nouns generated to put a cloak of invisibility over the man who attacked a woman, then attacked the dog that defended her.

But the interesting part of the story really is how people on line switched from empathizing with the woman to viewing the man — who is black — as an embodiment of manifold social problems.

The woman, Jessica Chrustic, 40 — who, we are told, is "a professional beekeeper" — said: "I’m very empathetic toward people who are unhoused and are having hard times and who have mental illness. I think that there should be more resources for them. There should be more housing situations. But what I emphasize is that this is just one person who needs to be removed from the park. He’s violent. End of story. Are they waiting for somebody to die? Are they waiting for someone to get hurt more severely? I was lucky. My dog was not. What happens to the next person? What happens if it’s a child? How many more people need to be harmed?"

The top 2 comments at the Times each have over 3,000 up-votes:

1. "First of all, I find the 'a dog’s killing' headline INFURIATINGLY reductive. The dog died, yes. More importantly, the only reason she did not also die is because of the dog. The man also attacked HER with a stick and has done so before. It really is just a matter of time before he kills a human. If we want to play identity politics, which I would rather not, but if we are…. then I find this piece completely sexist in its disregard for the safety of women in the park. I am so tired at the foibles of men being elevated to the same level as the safety of women.... We can feel sympathy for this disturbed but whatever caused his illness DOES NOT EXCUSE NOR JUSTIFY violently attacking people. How is this even a debate? … [J]ust the stuff that gives the right fodder for saying we are nuts."

2. "The response to the attack on Ms. Chrustic and her dog is exactly why we Progressives are losing the hearts and minds of Americans every day. Dr. Liao might sit comfortably and safely back in his NYU tower and proclaim that 'It’s complicated,' but it's simply not. She was attacked by a violent man who needs to be located, detained, and provided services to protect him and the community. It's that simple. What is truly complicated are the myriad ways in which the government and the community might help the victim and the attacker, but all they're talking about in Park Slope is who's a better liberal. This is why we have Donald Trump."

"I wish I could say that the French Alps healed me. That I basked in their beauty and found the spiritual rest and direction I was seeking."

"But Grenoble frightened me. I heard stories of midday muggings where victims were pepper sprayed. Once, I saw two cars in a parking lot engulfed in flames. Another time, a rock shattered the bus window next to my face while I rode home from work, scattering glass fragments across the seat."

It is as if "Animal Farm" had never been written.

How many stories about politics have been told through non-human animal characters?

I want freedom of speech and abhor the prosecution described here, but the Editorial Board of The Washington Post is writing in a ludicrously ignorant style (and this is no context for intentional humor):

What is so frightening and subversive about a children’s book series featuring a flock of sheep? That is a question for Hong Kong authorities, who on Wednesday convicted the books’ creators on charges of sedition....

The picture books in question, written for children aged 4 to 7, depict sheep trying to protect their village from a pack of wolves. The series contained indirect references to social issues.... Even this implied criticism was too much for prosecutors, who claimed the books “indoctrinated” readers and disseminated “separatist” ideas.....
If there were any questions remaining about how far authorities will go to silence dissent, Wednesday’s conviction offers an ominous clue: Not even illustrated children’s books are safe.

Not even? I would think the literature given to children would be the first thing you would want to control. (It's something we fight about in America.) And if turning the characters into non-human animals got you off the hook for criminal charges, all the criminals would turn their characters into non-human animals.

The problem is the use of criminal law against political speech, and this isn't a distinctively Chinese idea:

Now, Hong Kong authorities appear to be weaponizing British-era sedition statutes to stifle criticism.

Oh! Imagine taking a statute that just happens to be on the books and enforcing it. But here in America, elite writers are deploying the word "sedition" and eyeing the sedition laws that we have on the books.

Just to look in The Washington Post, here's one of your columnists writing last June: "The sedition didn’t stop on Jan. 6. It must be stopped." And there's this article from last May: "How My Hometown Produced a Jan. 6 Sedition Suspect/One writer discovers her small Virginia town’s underside of conspiracy, guns and anti-government belief." And this, from June, about a real "seditious conspiracy" case: "Proud Boys, Tarrio blast sedition charge as politically orchestrated."

ADDED: The author of the June column "The sedition didn’t stop on Jan. 6. It must be stopped" and the first person on the list of "Members of the Editorial Board" — found at the bottom of the editorial about the Hong Kong sedition trial — are the same person: Karen Tumulty. 

"Police cameras show confusion, anger over DeSantis’ voter fraud arrests/Local police carrying out the arrests were patient, understanding — almost apologetic."

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