If your blood does not boil; if your belief in the rule of law is not shaken; if your doubts about the “deep state” are not erased, then I question your vital signs.
What Sidney Powell and her team have unearthed, exposed, should shock any American alive.
I do not, I cannot endorse much of President Trump’s style or his methods, but if you are an American, please ask yourself: If the Democrat Party is in the White House and controls the US Congress, how and who will address the unbelievable corruption present in today’s Federal government? Who will be safe?
What a sorry state of liberal politicians. Yes, people (?) continue to vote them into office. As my father often says: “People get what they deserve.” mrossol
For those wondering where the Defund the Police movement is going, look no further than New York City. On Tuesday the City Council endorsed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bid to cut $1 billion from the police—roughly 17% of the department’s budget.
New York isn’t the only city moving to defund its police, but it bears particular significance as America’s commercial capital. And its funding cuts are especially striking because it comes in a place that implemented the policing revolution that transformed the Big Apple from a crime-ridden metropolis in the early 1990s into what it was in 2014 when Mr. de Blasio was sworn in: America’s safest big city. Thousands of New Yorkers are alive today because of this policing revolution’s success at reducing the murder rate.
No doubt the City Council was mindful of the protesters gathered outside their building who clashed with police. Far from being happy with the cut, the protesters complained the $1 billion wasn’t nearly enough. It never is.
When Mr. de Blasio first ran for mayor, he campaigned against the police and vowed to end a tactic called stop and frisk. Liberals claimed it wasn’t responsible for the reduction in crime, which they attributed to demographics. In 2013 federal Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that stop and frisk was unconstitutional, and eventually the city abandoned it.
Now the antipolicing efforts are accelerating. The City Council has eased the laws against such quality-of-life offenses as vagrancy and public urination, and Manhattan’s district attorney is no longer prosecuting them. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bail reform this year lets even repeat offenders back on the streets immediately. In recent weeks the police department dismantled its plainclothes anti-crime units under political pressure. The head of the police captains association has called for ending the highly successful CompStat system that tracks crimes across the city and helps police focus on high-crime neighborhoods. The union says it encourages too many police interactions with minorities that result in police being blamed.
The result is already more crime. For the first half of 2020, murders in New York City rose 21% over the same period a year ago, shootings are up 46% and shooting victims are up 53%. The victims include a 17-year-old high school basketball star, Brandon Hendricks, who was gunned down Sunday night in the Bronx while attending a barbecue.
“You have a criminal justice system that is imploding,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters last week. “Imploding. That’s the kindest way to put it.” The New York Post reports that since the George Floyd protests began police retirements are spiking, with 272 cops choosing to leave the force—compared with 183 over the same period last year. They won’t be replaced as the city’s budget cuts will forgo two of the next four classes of NYPD recruits, reducing the headcount by 1,163 uniformed officers (out of some 36,000).
As police retreat from the anti-crime lessons of the last three decades, and even from active policing lest cops be put in the dock, the crime rate in New York will bear close watching. If violence and disorder continue to rise, the fault will lie with the rich liberals who empower criminals and then leave the consequences to be suffered by the most vulnerable.
WSJ 7/2/2020. Letters to the Editor.
There is a common theme between the discussions of morality and moral law in Daniel Henninger’s “Smiley Face Liberalism” (Wonder Land, June 25) and “Notable & Quotable: Dr. King” (June 25). Mr. Henninger speaks of the left’s erasure of “even the idea of a functioning consensus about morality,” concluding that in a society untethered to a shared moral baseline, no one today has moral authority. The latter quotes a portion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful and timeless “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in the context of the recent kerfuffle at UCLA, where lecturer W. Ajax Peris is under investigation for having the temerity to read King’s letter aloud in class, in which King used the n-word twice.
One suspects UCLA’s microaggression monitors have little real concern about their exquisitely sensitive students hearing Dr. King’s meaningful, historical use of a word that is heard in almost every gangsta-rap song today. Rather, it is King’s message about the foundation for a moral code that is most threatening to leftist academia’s relativism, i.e., that “just” laws must be rooted in natural law, eternal law or the law of God. As with the writers of our Declaration of Independence, which refers to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” King declared there must be a fixed touchstone or standard against which to determine what laws are moral and just, or not. Otherwise, laws can be declared just or unjust arbitrarily, as it suits the ideology of the loudest or most powerful voice in the conversation. One can only wonder how King himself would have fared if he read his letter verbatim today in a class of those offended UCLA students.
Ed Grysavage St. Augustine, Fla.
And you were thinking about moving west…
Seattle’s City Council prides itself on being an early adopter of new business mandates. Seattle was the first major U.S. city to adopt a $15 minimum wage and one of the first to require businesses to provide paid sick leave. The City Council achieved another first last week, when it unanimously enacted an ordinance requiring food-delivery app companies to provide gig workers “premium pay” for deliveries in the city, on top of their usual compensation, and prohibiting the companies from raising fees or leaving the city in response, even if the new rule causes them to lose money.
Instead of erecting a wall to keep people out, Seattle is attempting to create a legal wall to keep businesses in.
The ordinance was first suggested by Working Washington, a Seattle labor organization backed by the Service Employees International Union. On-demand delivery workers in the city—think Instacart shoppers and DoorDash couriers—must be paid a premium of $2.50 a stop in the city for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency declared by Mayor Jenny Durkan.
With thousands of homebound Seattle residents in need of grocery deliveries, the costs add up. The City Council expects the companies to eat it: The ordinance states that gig companies may not “reduce or otherwise modify the areas in the City that are served,” “reduce a gig worker’s compensation,” or “add customer charges to online orders for delivery of groceries” in response to the new premium. If a company violates the ordinance, the city can pursue it with penalties beyond the city limits.
To understand how unprecedented this is, imagine if Seattle’s $15 minimum-wage law restricted restaurants from closing their doors or adjusting their prices in response, effectively forcing them to continue operating at a loss.
If that sounds illegal, it probably is. In a detailed memo sent in May to Mayor Durkan, the trade group TechNet described how the ordinance would violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. By “forcing a business to continue unprofitable operations, the City would be extracting payments from an unwilling person and thus taking private property without any—let alone just—compensation.”
That isn’t the only problem. The ordinance may also thwart the will of Washington state voters, who in 2018 approved an initiative under which “a local governmental entity may not impose or collect any tax, fee, or other assessment on groceries.” Charges and exactions on the transportation of groceries were specifically precluded.
Seattle’s City Council has a history of legally questionable legislation. In 2017 it passed a “wealth tax” on the income of wealthy households, even though the city attorney had advised that it would be illegal under state law. The courts agreed, and in April the state Supreme Court denied the city’s bid to review the decision. The city also recently walked away from a long legal dispute over a 2015 law that gave Uber and Lyft drivers, who use apps provided by the companies to work as independent contractors, the right to bargain collectively.
Seattle may believe it has the budget to back another costly legal fight, but other municipalities—whose budgets are strained as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis—will think twice before imitating the ordinance.
Even without mandates, gig companies are providing Covid-related benefits to workers who contract with them. Shipt is providing up to two weeks of financial assistance to its shoppers if they get Covid. DoorDash is offering financial assistance to “Dashers” who test positive or are told by a medical professional to self-isolate.
There may be merit to offering additional pay during the current crisis, but it’s a policy best handled voluntarily, in cooperation with gig companies, not in opposition to them.
Mr. Vernuccio is a senior fellow at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Mr. Saltsman is managing director at the Employment Policies Institute