Smollett and the Scourge of Celebrity Justice

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the dropping of charges against Jussie Smollett. The decision to give Smollett community service and an insulting $10,000 fine has outraged people around the world. Indeed, the City estimates that it spent $130,000 in pursuing the hoax. The costs belie the claim of the Chicago District Attorney that it was merely trying to save badly needed resources. Those resources were already spent in finding the hoax and securing 16 charges from a grand jury. The result is a travesty of justice that shocks the conscience.

Here is the column:

The sudden dismissal of all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett unleashed a torrent of outrage. Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel denounced the decision by the Cook County State’s Attorney Office as a “whitewash of justice.”

There is, however, a more accurate term: “celebrity justice.”

On trials ranging from O.J. Simpson to Michael Jackson to Martha Stewart, I have written on the notion of celebrity justice. Indeed, the objection to “celebrity justice” has been heard in the United States for decades, as people question if the law applies as equally to the rich and famous as it does to average citizens.

The answer is that, no, it does not. In most cases, celebrities actually receive harsher treatment and fewer benefits from the criminal justice system.

Yet, there is no other explanation for the absurd decision to drop all charges in the Smollett case. Smollett sent Chicago and the nation into pandemonium over his claim that two men jumped him on a public street, yelling racist and homophobic insults as well as “This is MAGA country!” The idea that Trump supporters beat a gay African American actor and then tied a rope around his neck, unleashed a torrent of condemnation and protest. Smollett appeared in public in apparent brave defiance of those who abused him.

Later, after a citywide search by Chicago police, Smollett’s story began to unravel. He was uncooperative with police and, soon, two brothers were found to have purchased the rope and other key items from a nearby store. They implicated Smollett in the hoax, and a grand jury handed down 16 charges against him.

Smollett seemed destined for a well-deserved prison stint — until the sudden decision to drop all charges for a token $10,000 fine and community service. Smollett promptly walked out of court and proclaimed he was innocent and the attack did occur.

So, there is videotape of Smollett’s co-conspirators buying the materials used for the hoax. There are two witnesses who reportedly implicated him. There is forensic and material evidence undermining his account. The only thing missing was a confession.

The decision to dismiss was announced by Joe Magats, Cook County’s first assistant state’s attorney, who explained that the county stood by the charges and the allegations of a hoax. He said prosecutors simply decided to prioritize “violent crime, gun crime and the drivers of violence” and that “I don’t see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety.” The explanation was as forced as it was false.

First, Cook County presumably has not decided to confine prosecutions to violent crimes, or everything from blackmail to bank fraud to tax evasion would be effectively immunized.

Second, this was not just any nonviolent offense. Smollett sent a city into crisis and caused the Chicago Police Department to direct huge resources into the search for racist, homophobic Trump supporters terrorizing innocent citizens. Magats said that the office did not want to use limited resources to go after nonviolent crime, but it already spent those resources in uncovering the hoax and securing 16 charges. All that remained was what looked like a perfunctory trial.

Third, Smollett not only used the hoax to try to improve his professional position, but he maintained his innocence after walking free, and his associates attacked his accusers.

Finally, and most importantly, this was framed as a hate crime. In Chicago, committing crimes from disorderly conduct to harassment “by reason of … race [or] … sexual orientation of an individual or group of individuals” is a hate crime. Smollett triggered fear of racist, homophobic attacks through a premeditated, coordinated hoax. His motivation was to use race and sexual orientation to commit a fraud on the city.

The view of the Cook County District Attorney’s office appears to be that if you use race or sexual orientation to terrorize or abuse an individual, you will face serious jail time, but if you fake the same attack to use race or sexual orientation to terrorize or abuse a city, you are forgiven with a small fine.

While Smollett can claim that his was not a hate crime because he did not specifically target a victim, his actions had the same impact on the city.

Magats could claim he was applying blind — not celebrity — justice by securing a plea as in any other false-report case. However, most false reports are not calculated to inflame unrest over racist or homosexual intolerance. Most do not involve an international outcry and an unrepentant defendant. Hopefully, the prosecutors at least scored an autograph, because they walked away with little else.

As someone who has long questioned the mantra of “celebrity justice,” this month is unsettling not only because of the Smollett decision but because of the ongoing controversy surrounding the treatment of sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein was given a ridiculously light plea deal for sexual abuse of underaged girls. The deal came as various powerful figures, including Bill Clinton, were named as travelers on Epstein’s infamous “Lolita Express” flights to his private estate on the Caribbean island of Little Saint James with young girls who allegedly were used as prostitutes. Epstein had the foresight to implicate powerful men in his activities and, when facing a public trial, then U.S. Attorney (and now Labor Secretary) Alexander Acosta cut him an absurd deal to avoid serious jail time and seal the record. The deal was recently declared unlawful — but Epstein avoided a long sentence, his friends avoided an embarrassing trial, and Acosta was later given a cabinet position.

Epstein received special treatment, and his victims were not only denied knowledge of the deal cut with Acosta but denied any semblance of justice.

Celebrity justice is often the ill-informed explanation of acquittals of famous persons. The first “Trial of the Century” in 1921 of film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, for allegedly raping and killing showgirl Virginia Rappe, resulted in acquittal, as did cases against stars like Michael Jackson and Robert Blake. However, these cases had critical flaws — and other celebrities, such as Martha Stewart, were convicted on cases that were overcharged.

Prosecutors often relish the opportunity to try a celebrity, and their concerns about “celebrity justice” criticism push them toward overcharging cases. Some cases, however, are distorted by the pull of influence and power before trial. That was the case with Epstein, which produced a grotesque result; he used backchannels to secure a secret deal with Acosta — a deal recently declared by a federal judge to have violated federal law.

Smollett may also have turned to such backchannel efforts. News reports have alleged that Michele Obama’s former chief of staff, Tina Tchen, and another Smollett associate contacted Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to seek her intervention in the case soon after the scandal broke. Foxx is accused of keeping the Smollett team informed of developments, and she later had to recuse herself. That left the matter to her subordinate, Magats, who cut a deal for Smollett that drew a rare public rebuke from the mayor and the Chicago Police Department — as well as international outcry.

Smollett may have benefitted from a simple failure of prosecutorial judgment or a raw example of celebrity justice. Like the Epstein case, it is not clear if the problem was an absence of blind justice or of equal justice. What is clear, however, is that this represents a travesty of justice.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

105 thoughts on “Smollett and the Scourge of Celebrity Justice”

  1. Speaking Of False Reports:

    ALEX JONES BLAMES ‘PSYCHOSIS’..

    FOR SANDY HOOK CONSPIRACY THEORIES

    On March 29, the Sandy Hook attorneys took the extraordinary step of posting the hours-long deposition of Jones to YouTube — in the spirit of “transparency,” they said.

    “Alex Jones has tried to do everything he can to try his case in the media,” said Wesley Ball, one attorney in the team of lawyers representing the Sandy Hook families. Ball said the deposition was part of a motion filed by Jones’s attorneys to ensure there was enough evidence against their client to proceed in the court.

    “The best thing we can hope for is to get Alex Jones to trial,” Ball said. For now, he said they prefer to let the evidence and deposition speak for themselves.

    The videos, published in two parts, offer a window into Jones’s thoughts on the years-long smear campaign he and his Infowars show waged against the facts of the shooting at Sandy Hook, the integrity of the investigation that followed, and the families of the 26 children and educators who were killed.

    Most notably, Jones refused to acknowledge whether his actions added to the grief and distress of those who had lost loved ones in the shooting, and he claimed the lawsuits filed against him were retaliatory for Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid in the 2016 election. When shown short video clips of himself from his own TV show, Jones continuously claimed they had been manipulated or taken out of context.

    He also blamed his years of misinformation and spin about the massacre on “psychosis.” Jones claimed that years of witnessing “corrupt” governments and institutions made him deeply skeptical of the “mainstream media” and the “agenda hidden behind things.”

    “And I, myself, have almost had like a form of psychosis back in the past where I basically thought everything was staged, even though I’m now learning a lot of times things aren’t staged,” Jones said. “So I think as a pundit, someone giving an opinion, that, you know, my opinions have been wrong. But they were never wrong consciously to hurt people.”

    Jones acknowledged that he now believes the shooting happened and that children were killed, even after years of calling the event a “hoax” and survivors “crisis actors” without evidence. But, he said he still believes there was a “coverup.”

    “I still have questions about Sandy Hook, but I know people that know some of the Sandy Hook families. They say, ‘No, it’s real’ — people I think are credible. And so over the years, I’ve — you know, especially as it’s become a huge issue, had time to really retrospectively think about it,” Jones said. “And as the whole thing matured, I’ve had a chance to believe that children died, and it’s a tragedy. But there are still real anomalies in the attempt to basically keep it blacked out that generally, when you see that in government, something’s being covered up.”

    During the questioning, the Sandy Hook attorneys outlined the main conspiracy theories Jones has broadcast during the last six years and provided evidence debunking each one. Jones acknowledged that some of the so-called anomalies that initially inspired his conspiracy theories were later proven to be false. But he stopped short of taking responsibility for creating those theories; he told the Sandy Hook lawyers he was simply reporting on Internet chatter and providing a platform for the free exchange of ideas.

    Jones claimed that the media, corporate lawyers, “the establishment” and the Democratic Party tried to make it seem like he was obsessed with the Sandy Hook massacre and that it was his only “identity.” They “tricked” him into consistently debating it, he said.

    Edited from: “Alex Jones Sued For His False Sand Hook Hoax Claims. He Blames ‘PSYCHOSIS”

    Today’s WASHINGTON POST

  2. One of my all fav quotes “Beyond the ethical navigational beacon” ~~~~~Jonathan Turley Georgetown

  3. KAMALA HARRIS AND JUSSIE SMOLETTE video at this link:

    https://cloverchronicle.com/2019/02/15/huge-kamala-harris-is-allegedly-involved-in-jussie-smolletts-maga-country-hoax/
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    HUGE: Kamala Harris Was Allegedly Involved In Jussie Smollett’s “MAGA Country” Hoax

    Smollett originally claimed late last month that he was attacked by two white men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him while they wrapped a rope around his neck and yelled, “This is MAGA country!”

    Sources close to the case have told multiple news outlets that detectives are investigating the possibility that Smollett “staged the incident” with the help of the aforementioned brothers, who happen to originate from Nigeria and work with the actor on ‘Empire.’

    Speaking of sources…

    One person who apparently has knowledge of the situation claims 2020 presidential hopeful Kamala Harris may be involved (link):

    “This puppy [Jussie Smollett] is tied to Kamala. There is a chance this will come out. CPD is pissed about the situation. They had the phone records before the spreadsheet was given to them. They also had the two Nigerians from following them on video from walking to taxis, etc. They had payment records. The interview on Good Morning America will be damning. Detectives have been 2 steps ahead the whole time. Would suggest for people to contact their representatives to have Kamala investigated. She is involved and wish I could tell you how I know. Just contact your reps and push for them to look into this. It may help.”

    Kamala Harris Jussie Smollett Connection

    But, why would Harris help Smollett stage an incident like this? Oh, that’s right: To make Trump supporters, as well as the POTUS himself, look even more “racist” than the media already portrays them to be. This would undoubtedly help not only her 2020 campaign, but her fellow Democratic contenders as well. On January 29, 2019, Harris took to Twitter to condemn the attack, saying it “was an attempted modern day lynching”:

    So far, there has only been one post by this particular source. We’ll continue to keep an eye on it to see if they have any other potentially damning information about Kamala Harris’s alleged connection to the Jussie Smollett case.

    UPDATE #1: Here is a video showing Harris and Smollett chanting “Time’s Up” at a MLK Day parade on January 15, 2018 –

  4. Kim Foxx has an “interesting” defense of her office in the Chicago Tribune.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-kim-foxx-jussie-smollett-20190329-story.html

    People who have an interest in law school may want to root through it to spot legal and logical problems.

    It will be good preparation for your LSATS.

    After you are done, there is a good analysis of the article here:

    https://www.tmz.com/2019/03/30/jussie-smollett-prosecutor-kim-foxx-attacks-mayor-police-superintendent/

    1. Thanks, Steve, for posting that Tribune Op-Ed.

      From a Cook County State’s Attorney’s perspective it might be bad optics to hit someone with multiple felonies for a non-violent offense; especially with homicides so rampant in Chicago.

      Foxx makes no mention of the Nigerian brothers who would be essential witnesses against Jesse Smollett. Yet I still believe those two could be a complicating factor. As I noted yesterday, they could be in the country illegally. And Ms Foxx may not want to call attention to that. She may not want ICE taking them into custody after they cooperated in solving the Jesse Smollett mystery.

      1. “From a Cook County State’s Attorney’s perspective it might be bad optics to hit someone with multiple felonies for a non-violent offense.”

        Well then they ought not to have done that. They over-charged. Then they under-charged. They fumbled the football every step of the way. To quote the Reason blog: “It would have been perfectly appropriate to show Smollett leniency. In general, we should not send people to prison unless they pose some actual danger to society. Community service and some sort of fine is a perfectly reasonable conclusion to this case—but only alongside an admission of guilt.”

        https://reason.com/blog/2019/03/28/kim-foxx-jussie-smollett-prosecutor

        1. Steve, it sounds to me like that ‘is’ going to happen. I think Smollet has signed a waiver forfeiting any right to sue the Police or State’s Attorney’s office. He also forfeits his bond and might still be liable to the investigative costs.

          Then too there is the question of Smollet’s career. Even in Hollywood, producers are reluctant to cast someone known for fraud. Hollywood is generally superstitious. An actor known for fraud could bring bad karma to a project. Casting someone else would just be so much easier. And there’s always someone else with the same looks and talent.

          1. True. What goes around comes around. I don’t know if the prosecutor did him any long-term favors. He’s a disturbed young man, and MIGHT actually have come back from this over time of he’d owned up to it.

        2. To quote the Reason blog: “It would have been perfectly appropriate to show Smollett leniency. In general, we should not send people to prison unless they pose some actual danger to society.

          Another item for ‘libertarians generate inanity’ file. He broke the frigging law. You can jail him or you can beat him in the public square with a rattan cane. Having him report to a social worker every weak is a formula for providing employment to social workers. Hitting him with a fine is a waste unless you go Swedish and scale fines to known assets.

          He requires punishment, and there are only a few ways to do that.

          1. Well you don’t have to be a libertarian to agree with the article I posted. For you to imply that I’m a libertarian just because I liked this particular is without merit.

            1. Didn’t comment on you and don’t care. You quote Reason, and they’re a libertarian publication. And quite predictable for a’ that.

              It’s actually a nonsense locution. Someone who concocts a fraud like the one under discussion and consumers man-hours which could be expended on actual crime has demonstrated he’s a danger and merits the loss of his freedom for a time. The disposition of Reason is adolescent, and that’s what you expect from most species of libertarian.

              1. “Another item for ‘libertarians generate inanity’ file.”
                No. The article is good on its own whether you’re a libertarian or not.

                  1. I doubt that you read it. The reason article advocates for a plea bargain, admission of guilt, and punishment.

              2. Tabby, you should know that I frequently dealt with the Cook County States Attorney’s office in my onetime role of ‘Investigator’.

                Though I haven’t held that job lately, I imagine Chicago crime is still a serious issue. The States Attorney of Cook County scarcely wants to try a disgraced Gay Black Actor for multiple felonies stemming from one incident.

                In Chicago it’s hard to justify that many felonies on a single fraud.

                Smollett’s attorneys would have no trouble showing plea bargains are struck every day allowing felonies to go misdemeanor. Especially for first time offenders. State’s Attorney Foxx has too many heinous crimes to prosecute. The Smollett case would be totally thankless for her.

                And it’s ridiculous to think this has already cost Smollet tens of thousands in legal fees. Plus he forfeits his $10,000 bond. Then the CPD might sue him still for the $130,000 investigation costs. Smollett could wind up losing a good six figures on this.

                Then there’s the matter of Smollet’s career. Will “Empire” ever take him back? That’s still in doubt. If not, Jesse Smollet could find himself competing with at least 100 actors for the same types of roles.

                1. Then let them plea bargain, Peter. They didn’t do that. They elected nulle prosse, then the judge sealed the file. An Illinois lawyer I correspond with (who has a criminal defense practice) was absolutely poleaxed by that last maneuver. The whole thing stinks on ice. Quit eating sh!t sandwiches.

                  1. Tabby, spend a day in Chicago courts and see what kind of cases come up and the pleas that are struck. Then you’d get a clearer perspective on this matter.

          2. “To quote the Reason blog: “It would have been perfectly appropriate to show Smollett leniency. In general, we should not send people to prison unless they pose some actual danger to society.””

            That is a highly disingenuous quote from the article. In fact you truncated my quote from the article above which continues: “Community service and some sort of fine is a perfectly reasonable conclusion to this case—but only alongside an admission of guilt.”

      2. At bare minimum they should have required an admission of guilt, apology, and he should have been fined the cost to the police department. Then he should have done more than those few hours of community service, and no Jesse Jackson.

        If it had gone farther and he actually tried to get two innocent white guys in prison then he should have done jail time.

  5. Jussie Smollett Tests America’s Taste for Lies
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/jussie-smollett-tests-americas-taste-for-lies-11553898368

    Chicago’s Democratic machine didn’t want to hold a hate-crime faker accountable.

    Mr. Smollett’s insistence on his innocent victimhood, however unctuous, must now be counted a legal masterstroke. Johnnie Cochran would be impressed. It left Chicago prosecutors only the option of near-unconditional surrender if they wanted to make the case go away before Tuesday’s runoff mayoral election—which they clearly did.

    Whatever your exact theory of how the case was corrupted, Chicago’s famous Democratic political machine arguably did what was in its own interest. Kim Foxx, the Cook County state prosecutor, who “recused” herself but didn’t, obviously had much to lose if the case went to trial, given her early meddling on behalf of the Smollett family. Well-served also were the two candidates in Tuesday’s all-Democratic runoff for mayor, whom it behooved to have a no-win political controversy end on the watch of unpopular outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

    And then there’s Jussie himself, scion of an apparently well-connected family. He can go back to resuscitating his career and proclaiming his victimhood. On Thursday, his lawyers doubled down, calling him the victim of a “smear campaign” by city officials, including Mr. Emanuel. If he was attacked by the two Nigerian brothers who the police say were his confederates, one lawyer theorized, then they must have been wearing “whiteface.”

    “From top to bottom, this is not on the level,” Mayor Emanuel told reporters, pointing to the 16 charges a grand jury had returned against Mr. Smollett for falsely claiming he was set upon by a pair of racist, homophobic Trump supporters.

    In the past 48 hours, even basic questions related to the prosecutor’s conduct have gotten contradictory and confused answers. Here’s the story as we now have it: Early in the case, Ms. Foxx fielded an outreach from Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, on behalf of the Smollett family. The family had “concerns about the investigation” as it was being pursued by Chicago P.D.

    Of course they did. Mr. Smollett’s story had huge plausibility issues from the start and everybody knew it.

    The family wanted Ms. Foxx to pressure the Chicago police chief to drop his investigation and hand matters over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She dutifully button-holed the chief and now claims she did so on the presumption that Mr. Smollett was the victim. It never occurred to her that he might turn out to be the suspect. Uh huh.

    When it became clear he would be charged, she recused herself, but under the rules of her office that meant the case should have been handed over to a court-appointed special prosecutor. Instead it was handed over to her nearest deputy. Her staff now explains that her recusal was “colloquial” rather than in the “legal sense.”

    When the O.J. verdict came down 24 years ago, many spoke of “jury nullification.” Chicago has offered up an example of prosecutor nullification. Though some are trying to muddy the issue, let’s understand that the choice before Ms. Foxx’s office was not whether to send a first-time offender to prison. It was whether his slap on the wrist should at least come with an acknowledgment of the wrong he did.

    Americans are plenty cynical about elite self-dealing, though now some will surely prefer to believe Jussie’s lies than believe he is a liar. Others will argue, cogently, that faking a hate crime is itself a hate crime. Then again a preference for lying about such matters is becoming epidemic.

    Mayor Emanuel on the radio Thursday, for some reason trying to discourage the feds from investigating the Chicago miscarriage, threw in a familiar slur about President Trump’s remarks after the Charlottesville riot. Never mind that Mr. Trump’s plain words have now found their way even into Wikipedia’s account. When he spoke of “fine people” on both sides of the argument about Confederate statues, he explicitly said, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”

    In an environment where even the media doesn’t always seem to care about truth, why shouldn’t Jussie Smollett, his family and his apparently broad support network hope his lie can prevail too? The first clue may come at Saturday’s NAACP Image Awards, where he’s up for his role in the Fox show, “Empire.”

  6. “When they go low, we go high.” ???

    And then…. Michelle Obama’s former aide intervenes and now poof! Jussie is a free man with a clean record walking the Red Carpet at the NAACP Image Awards this weekend all because of who he is and who he knows. Elite liberal privilege in action.

    So, as Michelle O says, “when they go low, we go high”…or at least “high” as defined by the Chicago way….or something like that…

    Or as actor James Woods put it, “If I ever hear another Democrat say Michelle Obama “goes high,” I’ll puke. This is what real obstruction of justice looks like, folks.”

  7. Since the charges were not “dismissed with prejudice” can’t he be charged again? I don’t believe jeopardy has attached.

      1. Why are Chris Rock’s completely fanciful thoughts about other people’s desires of any interest?

        Try this experiment. Stand in front of a classroom of 30 blacks and ask them to imagine a machine that could turn them white, and ask them how much they’d want in monetary compensation ‘ere they’d consent to be subject to the machine.

        1. For once an interesting thought from absurd, though not as interesting as Chris Rock’s.

          Yes, I bet that not all of them would want to enter that machine, but they’d almost all think about it. Now imagine the same experiment with a group of whites.

          Compare the results of your fanciful imagination.

          1. though not as interesting as Chris Rock’s.

            He’s projecting objects on others. That’s of no interest to a normal person. You pretend its of interest in a lame attempt to make a polemical point.

      2. There is, of course, absolutely no way for Chris Rock to know if zero out of millions of white men would want to trade places with him. What we do know, however, is that if there is a drop of any minority blood, people are claiming it on application forms. There are cases like Rachel Dolezal (sp?) who had no African ancestry whatsoever, yet “identified” as one, even walking around in what the Left would consider “blackface.” That said, blackface has a very specific meaning, which requires a cartoonish exaggeration of black features painted on a white person with the intent to mock or parody. Dressing up like a black person you adore, in homage, and darkening your skin with makeup to play the part is most emphatically not blackface.

        Chris Rock’s point has been entirely disproven.

        However, he rocks as a comedian, pun intended. One of my favorite videos is “How Not to Get Your A^&*^ Kicked By The Police.” Another is “Good Hair.” He is completely not PC. He has a cutting wit, but I have never heard him get really savage in his comedy, like Kathy Griffin, whom I could never watch.

        He’s one of my favorite comedians.

        1. Link to CR’s point being “entirely disproven”?

          Hey, we’re all white here, right – enigma’s not in the building – we can admit it.

          1. Anon……..are you the good Anon or the bad Anon??
            You were so nice a couple of days ago that I thought maybe you had had a lobotomy, no offense.
            But then someone signed in as the “good” Anon.

            Please clarify, as, you know the old saying– a person with TWO Anons never knows what time it is……..or something like that😊

          2. My my my, you make some vast assumptions don’t you Anon? I wonder how Enigma feels being singled out by you as the token black on the blog? Now, are we going by the one drop rule? Or the Liz Warren rule? Or…..????

          3. He said not a single white guy would trade places with him.

            There are white guys who pretend to be black. White guys who wear dreads. An infamous case of a white woman pretending to be black and working at the NAACP. Many cases where, instead of trying to “pass for white”, anyone with a drop of minority ancestry claims it on application forms.

            That disproves his claim, which was really hyperbole and not a literal statement, anyway. I imagine that someone in grinding poverty would want to trade places with a rich famous person. Someone with a terminal illness would want to trade places with a healthy person. Someone handicapped would want to trade places. Someone older would want to trade places with someone younger. Someone with no friends would want to trade places with someone who has sycophants, fans, admirers, and friends. And men who think he’s the coolest would trade places.

            It’s just hyperbole. It is not evidence that the US is racist.

            In fact, the US is documented as one of the least racist countries in the world. We were at the forefront of abolishing slavery, which still thrives in Africa. In fact, an African slave owner can come here as a foreign exchange student, benefit from enrolling as a minority, and enjoy all sorts of benefits and support systems meant to help the descendants of those his ancestors sold into slavery. How’s that for fair?

            Here is a map of modern day slavery. Note where the US falls on the scale. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/11/18/map-the-worlds-36-million-slaves/?utm_term=.221e3d56889e

            You cannot unwind past ills. It is unethical to punish a son for his father’s crimes, let alone his great-great-great grandfather. It is unethical to punish the descendants of those who did not own slaves for the sins of a minority of people who did own slaves, at a time in history when slavery was global, and had existed globally since before recorded time. There was a first time for – spoken language, written language, fire, the wheel…and there was a fist time for a culture to repudiate slavery and awaken a sense of true empathy and respect for his fellow men. You most certainly cannot bash his descendants 5 generations later because he didn’t invent this idea sooner.

            Punishing someone for their skin color is the tool of racist hatred. No good ever comes of it. We should abandon the inherent racism and bigotry of identity politics and judge each other on our character. You cannot right the wrongs of yesterday, because no action would stand up to the test of time.

            I am also extremely tired of this hyper fixation upon basal melanin concentration. We all descend from the same people. We spread out, became bottlenecked in various areas, and then over thousands of years each little island of humanity developed its own look, a range of hair and eye and skin and family traits. That’s how the island effect works, until you could recognize if someone came from China, or Japan, or Egypt, or the Ottoman Empire, or Scotland…And then, the islands joined together again with global travel, and all us cousins reunited, and fought with each other, and sometimes we got along. We are all branches on the same family tree.

            Each of our basal melanin concentration evolved as a perfect balance, to let in enough sunlight to generate Vitamin D, while protecting us from sunburn. Those who had access to oceanic sources of Vitamin D did not pale out like others did in northern latitudes of weak sunlight, where the driver was to let in more light for Vitamin D. Now, we don’t live at the same latitudes where that adaptation developed. So we need sunscreen and/or Vitamin D supplementation.

            We need to live in the Now.

            1. For anyone who keeps saying, “Yes, but slavery…” I have the following to say:

              1. Hundreds of thousands of non slave owners died to end slavery. Hundreds of thousands others were maimed, traumatized, and starved. The entire country split up and fought over it. Freedom was bought with the blood of innocent people.
              2. We have spent trillions of dollars to help black people through myriad social programs, and preferential treatment.
              3. The US is actually the least of the world’s problems in modern day slavery. If you seek justice for slavery, then go and get it in counties where modern day slavery still exists. Go free actual slaves.
              4. You have to treat the whole world the same, not keep punishing the country that helped lead the charge with Great Britain to end slavery. If you seek reparations, then Portugal, the Dutch, Great Britain, and every single country that participated in the slave trade, especially those who persisted after the US desisted, are in the hot seat.
              5. I truely believe that if reparations were enacted, all it would do is destroy the economy. Black people would starve along with everyone else. We already have programs in place to help anyone who is in financial need. We already have myriad programs to specifically aid African Americans. Trillions of dollars. If trillions didn’t do it, then what would more do? Would paying more finally end the problem, or would we hear the same rhetoric year after year after year? I believe that nothing will ever be enough for activists. I also believe it is unfair to punish innocent descendants. It is also impossible to trace for most people which African Americans descended from slaves, and which immigrated here after 1865. It is also impossible to trace if all white people were even here before 1865 or not. Why would you punish the descendent of someone who came during the Irish Potato Famine (brought on by British mismanagement), who were discriminated against here, worked hard, lived in slums, had more disease due to poor living and working conditions…They somehow survived long enough to have descendants, and they have to pay for a crime that took place before they ever immigrated? That is not justice. It’s just weaponization of a government against its own citizens based on skin color. Guilt by skin color is racist.
              6. The Left influencing the African American voting bloc to believe they are victims has hindered their success. Japanese were incarcerated en masse in WWII. All Asians faced extreme prejudice. All women were considered mentally deficient and too emotional to be in control of their own finances. Africans who immigrate here woudl face the same prejudices, if any, that African Americans born here would. And yet, the Asian demographic outperforms all others in academics. They are currently discriminated against in Leftist universities because they judge fairness based on ethnic distribution, rather than valuing any diversity of thought. More women than men now graduate with college degrees. African immigrants do better than those born here. Victim mentality is a lie to get votes. That’s it. Politicians need a platform. They need to convince their voters that they can’t make it on their own. They need a politician to save them. Right wrongs. Take care of them from cradle to grave. Except, no one thrives on government care, and the Projects or Section 8 are misery. When anyone abandons a victim mentality, they do well. If you wait to become a mother until you are married, you will statistically have a middle class life. If you don’t, you will statistically be poor your entire life. If you stay in school, have good attendance, do your homework, and get at a minimum a high school degree, you will do far better than your cohorts who drop out of school or somehow graduate being illiterate. If you go to a trade school or get a marketable degree, you will fare far better financially than those who don’t. If you work hard at your job, and become the best at what you do, you will do better. You can’t do anything about fate. All you can control is your own actions. It grieves me to hear the Left preach to wide eyed, innocent children that they don’t have potential. They can’t succeed. There’s no problem with being a teenage mom or with abandoning children. It’s all the fault of white guys.

              1. We are 2 generations removed from institutional segregation in about 1/2 the states and uncodified segregation through much of the rest. It’s too early to be patting ourselves on the back when the ramifications of that economically and socially still linger. I understand that’s what the GOP teaches its 99% white adherents so they can sleep at night, but the fact remains almost no white men would trade places with Chris Rock, and he’s rich.

                1. We are 2 generations removed from institutional segregation in about 1/2 the states and uncodified segregation through much of the rest.

                  About 1/3 of the states. While we’re at it ‘uncodifed segregation’ is what is known more colloquially as ‘free association’.

                  It’s too early to be patting ourselves on the back when the ramifications of that economically and socially still linger. I understand that’s what the GOP teaches its 99% white adherents so they can sleep at night, but the fact remains almost no white men would trade places with Chris Rock, and he’s rich.

                  Republicans take an interest in practical programs, which you don’t. Liberals have two objects: manufacturing patron-client relations and playing status games. Both are ignoble pursuits and are eschewed by ordinary people.

                  Partisan Democrats, liberals, black chauvinists all have three things in common: not one idea to actually address quality-of-life issues in concentrated black populations, a vague interest only in the actual source of those quality of life issues, and a penchant for manufacturing ‘programs’ which do little but provide an income stream for people with MEd and MSW degrees.

                  Anyone who wishes to address quality-of-life issues in black populations would be concerned to:

                  1. Suppress street crime. Requires properly staffed police forces, courts, and prisons, optimal deployment of police, and nurturing police morale.

                  2. Restructure the school system. That means altering the corporate structure, day detention for incorrigibles run by local sheriffs, tracking, regular regents exams, focused elementary schooling (3 R’s + American history-geography-civics), and secondary schooling wherein manpower is distributed between continuing basic education, VoTech, and academic courses of study, with the last occupying maybe 30% of the total.

                  3. Restructurehigher education: baccalaureate examinations as a screen and briefer programs emphasizing occupational instruction the order of the day.

                  4. Restructure welfare programs: limiting sectorally-specific subsidies to medical care, long-term care, schooling, legal services (to a small degree), and shipping and transportation (to a small degree). Incorporating actuarial soundness into public insurance and pension programs, limiting open-ended doles to the elderly and disabled, and simplifying wage-subsidy programs.

                  5. Deregulate the labor market to reduce hiring inhibitions. This would include promotion of alternatives to lumpy compensation, setting the minimum take home pay at 1/10th mean compensation per worker, repealing employment discrimination law, ending tenure for public employees, repairing pubolic employee compensation schedules, and emphasizing timely examinations for hiring and promotion in the civil service, few exceptions.

                  6. Limit annual issuance of settlers visas to 0.125% of the extant population. Limit the stock of temporary residence permits to a fixed% of the native population. Limit issuance of temporary residents’ visas to diplomatic personnel, quasi-diplomatic personnel, refugees, students, teachers, and dependents of the foregoing.

                  7. Enforce immigration law. That means the wall and that means an ample and dedicated force of federal police officers chasing down visa overstayers and that means detention from arrest to deportation, and that means Wapner hearings that take 7.5 minutes.

                  8. Restructure property taxes in metropolitan settlements. Rank order the census block groups in each such settlement according to household or per capita income. The most impecunious block group, encompassing about 15% of the population, would be Zone A. The next stratum, encompassing 5% of the population, would be Zone B. The last stratum would be Zone C, encompassing 80% of the population. All properties would be assessed periodically. The Zones would be redrawn every 10 years. The tax rate on assessed valuation would be x% in Zone C, 0.5x% in Zone B, and 0% in Zone A.

                  9. Add special details to the sanitation department to run through impecunious neighborhoods to hoover up street trash and sandblast grafitti off the side of buildings. Issue citations to property owners to remove grafiti and fix broken windows, and then intervene and fine in the case of noncompliance.

                  10. Amend building codes pertaining to impecunious neighborhoods as well as zoning regulations, in order to increase the quantum of housing options. More boarding houses, more flop houses, more apartments with shared kitchens, etc.

                  Liberals have no interest in any of this.

                2. Anon, I agree with you that slavery did great and terrible harm.

                  I also know that people come here with 50 cents in their pocket, and become a success. I cannot tell you the pressure on some of my fellow students in the sciences, many of whom were Asians. Asians were discriminated against, and worked in deplorable conditions. We fought a WW with Japan, then the Korean War, and then there was the Vietnam War. Asians, even those who were not Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese, did not have a great time here. Universities currently discriminate against Asians, as do many hiring practices. And yet, Asians as a demographic are extremely success. And their children HAD BETTER BY GOD do well in school and their extracurricular activities or there is hell to pay.

                  This is about culture. There is a particular subculture that suffers, in some areas, an excess of 90% single motherhood rate with absentee fathers. As I’ve stated enough times before, single motherhood is one of the highest risk factors for the mother to live in poverty, and for her children to drop out of school, join gangs, go to jail, etc. Those communtiies who have high rates of single motherhood, are not going anywhere, and they are the jail and gang pipeline. This is true of any race and ethnicity. Government is a poor substitute for a father. If we had solved the single motherhood rate years ago, we would have likely made great strides against gangs, gun violence, crime, and the education gap.

                  So, is the astronomical high rate of single motherhood in black communities the result of slavery? No. Emphatically no. Slaves were not allowed to married whomever they wanted, and when they did pair, they had to substitute “jumping the broom” for any meaningful, religious ceremony to be respected by government. After slavery was abolished, blacks had the lowest rate of single motherhood of any demographic. It wasn’t until the design of the Welfare system penalized two parent households and encouraged single motherhood that we began to subsize, and make more of, his destructive phenomenon. It went from a duty to care for those who need help, to actually causing more people to need help. Efforts to reform welfare to help reunite families and get people out of the system were met with he usual don’t-care-about-kids mantra. That mantra has created the gang riddled wrecks of cities we see today. Strangely, staying the course has no effect on solving the problem.

                  One must also note that someone can escape slavery yesterday in Africa, where it is still practiced, arrive in America today, and be successful tomorrow. Slavery could have personally and horrifically affected someone’s own lifetime, and yet they can be successful in America.

                  The problem isn’t ethnicity or genetics or slavery. It’s the victim culture that generates votes for Democrats. Studies show that all a black woman has to do to be middle class is wait to be married to have kids. Statistically, she’s set. Add a good education to that, and she’s golden. Neither of these changes has anything to do with slavery or Jim Crow, which, by the way, also evaluated someone’s worth based on skin color.

                  You are legitimately very concerned about the lasting effects of slavery, which ended in 1865, and Jim Crow, which ended in 1962. I am legitimately concerned about the devastating effects of Democrat policy, which directly caused singlemotherhood to skyrocket, with all the attendant poverty, crime, gangs, gun violence, early death, drugs, poor education, and othe misery. That was caused by Democrat policies which destroyed the family unit, and it is still going on today. A mother is penalized if she lives with the father of her children. She gets less money and qualifies for less benefits. I knew a woman who broke up with her boyfriend, the father of her child. He offered her a home to live in with their child, but she could not accept because she would lose too many benefits. She was better off financially in Section 8. He told her not to name him the father on the birth certificate, but to say, “unknown” because she would get more assistance, faster, and it would keep him out of family court. She could not work very much or she woudl lose benefits. It was more worth it to her to keep taking classes, because her kid got free daycare, but the certificates she earned did not seem marketable.

                  We cannot fix these problems, however, because any effort to do so is immediately attacked by Democrats as not caring about the poor, or being against single Moms. So they perpetuate the very system that causes all those moms to be single, and poor, and they complain about the very gun violence they helped cause.

                  It’s frustrating, and we should do so much better. We could do so much better with bipartisan cooperation, but it’s very difficult to work with people who keep labeling you evil.

      1. Or…a black face wearing white face…under a black ski mask….in sub zero Chicago temps….according to Jussie’s lawyer, anyway 😉

    1. I Bob asked, “Whatever happened to white privilege?”

      If you follow the college admissions scandal you will see that ‘white privilege’ now has to be bought and paid for 😉

      But Liberal elite privilege is a another thing entirely …. that’s why a black man like Jussie can get off scott free, a white man like Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam can still be in office, and a black man like Virginia Lt Gov. Justin Fairfax can still be in office….and on and on it goes…..

    2. You’re referring to white success.

      The “privilege” is that of artificial and unconstitutional affirmative action forcibly imposed by the dictatorship of the proletariat under those principles of communism, redistribution of wealth and social engineering.

      Isn’t it ironic that communism, in its entirety, is antithetical and illegal under the U.S. Constitution.

      And yet there it is, right here in River City!

  8. LIBERAL PRIVILEGE is same as ELITE PRIVILEGE. LIBERAL PRIVILEGE is the PROBLEM. You can get away with anything IF YOU ARE A DEMOCRAT.

  9. Jussie Smollett didn’t just have the case dropped, in spite of a mountain of evidence and multiple camera angles of him committing his crimes. He did not have to admit his guilt and apologize as a condition of this deal. His record was expunged, and the case was sealed, effectively rendering it impossible for the police to comment on his guilt. They could prove it to the moon and back, but they were not given the opportunity. He never admitted his guilt, and in fact now proclaims his innocence.

    What did the DA get to make the victims whole, discourage crime, and get a fair justice? The entire community was a victim. Smollett was allegedly ready to testify against any two men they brought into custody, until he found out those two men were his co-conspirators. Suddenly, he withdrew his willingness to testify against them. I allege that he would have put two innocent white men in prison and ruined their lives forever, in order to promote his lie.

    I also do not believe his story that he did this to get money. When someone lies to this degree, you do not take his word on anything. I allege that he did it as a hate crime against Trump supporters, for poltiical expediency to help Democrats, as well as for all of the attention. He’s just a B actor not going anywhere on his own talent. Trump supporters just would not fit the narrative and terrorize anyone, so he had to take care of it himself.

    In addition, you have a prosecutor who recused herself, and then coordinated a deal to get him off Scott free.

    Another bigoted act against Trump supporters to throw onto the pile.

  10. KAMALA HARRIS AND JUSSIE SMOLETTE video at this link:

    https://cloverchronicle.com/2019/02/15/huge-kamala-harris-is-allegedly-involved-in-jussie-smolletts-maga-country-hoax/
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    HUGE: Kamala Harris Was Allegedly Involved In Jussie Smollett’s “MAGA Country” Hoax

    Smollett originally claimed late last month that he was attacked by two white men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him while they wrapped a rope around his neck and yelled, “This is MAGA country!”

    Sources close to the case have told multiple news outlets that detectives are investigating the possibility that Smollett “staged the incident” with the help of the aforementioned brothers, who happen to originate from Nigeria and work with the actor on ‘Empire.’

    Speaking of sources…

    One person who apparently has knowledge of the situation claims 2020 presidential hopeful Kamala Harris may be involved (link):

    “This puppy [Jussie Smollett] is tied to Kamala. There is a chance this will come out. CPD is pissed about the situation. They had the phone records before the spreadsheet was given to them. They also had the two Nigerians from following them on video from walking to taxis, etc. They had payment records. The interview on Good Morning America will be damning. Detectives have been 2 steps ahead the whole time. Would suggest for people to contact their representatives to have Kamala investigated. She is involved and wish I could tell you how I know. Just contact your reps and push for them to look into this. It may help.”

    Kamala Harris Jussie Smollett Connection

    But, why would Harris help Smollett stage an incident like this? Oh, that’s right: To make Trump supporters, as well as the POTUS himself, look even more “racist” than the media already portrays them to be. This would undoubtedly help not only her 2020 campaign, but her fellow Democratic contenders as well. On January 29, 2019, Harris took to Twitter to condemn the attack, saying it “was an attempted modern day lynching”:

    So far, there has only been one post by this particular source. We’ll continue to keep an eye on it to see if they have any other potentially damning information about Kamala Harris’s alleged connection to the Jussie Smollett case.

    UPDATE #1: Here is a video showing Harris and Smollett chanting “Time’s Up” at a MLK Day parade on January 15, 2018 –

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