Some thoughts on today’s headlines:
1. As of this writing, 5 Dallas police officers were shot and killed last night during a Black Lives Matter occupation event. Strangely (or, is it typically?), the media is refusing to identify the suspected murderers. The media only does that when the killers are Muslim or (less typically) black. The murders of the police officers appear to have been very well-coordinated, with trained snipers involved. That sounds like it would be more in line with Muslim terrorists than with any spur of the moment violence resulting from the Black Lives Matter presence en scene. This close to Orlando’s massacre of almost 50 gays by Muslims in Orlando, it’s obvious the media would want to suppress any information about Muslims being involved in the Dallas murders if that indeed is the case. Here in Chicago, the media deliberately will not report that blacks are involved when it is instances of black-on-gay crime in areas like Boystown, where black “youth” from the Southside head up north to hunt gay men late at night. Gays leaving the bars and walking home are bashed, robbed, and in some cases murdered by black “youth”…yet those who report on these crimes always contort themselves into pretzels avoiding mentioning that blacks were involved. People who work for the Dinosaur Media engage in a kind of obsessive values-signaling when they omit vital information like any sort of description of the people committing violent crimes (because the reporters want to “help” that poor minority group by not perpetuating a negative perception of that group…by accurately reporting on members of the group preying on gay people and hurting/killing them). The fact that so little is known at the moment about the people who engaged in the attack on Dallas is a bright red flag that the values-signaling media is deliberately hiding something. The government is on this too in many cases and will withhold identifying information about Muslims (or sometimes blacks) who engage in violent crimes. Again, politics and the ideological narrative they want to tell gets in the way of reporting on what actually happens in this country.
2. We need to have an honest and open conversation about the police in our country. Because at least 5 police officers in Dallas were murdered yesterday, that thing will happen when we as a society will now feel pressure to not say a bad word about the police for a period of time, as doing so would be disrespectful to the brave and good officers who were killed senselessly by what appears to be premeditated assassins who targeted the police for some reason (whether it was Islam or a Black Lives Matter agenda). I think as a culture we should resist the urge to silence valid criticism of the police because a national conversation has to be had about the root causes behind the horrendous Black Lives Matter radicalism. BLM is just the latest manifestation of what was Occupy Wall Street in 2012 (and was essentially the Obama campaign in 2008). This is just the most radical elements of the Left changing and reshaping and reforming every few years into something new and destructive: in this latest guise as BLM, they’ve revved up racial animosity and encouraged black people to commit violence in the same way that the Left is aggressively importing Muslim colonists to create more chaos and violence in this country. It’s all part of the Left’s Cloward-Piven strategy to destabilize and collapse the country through transformative chaos (after which these fools believe some magical utopia will follow). BLM are useful idiots for the Left…and they are despicable for sure…but the police in places like Chicago are out of control and good police officers never seem to admit that there are bad apples in their ranks. This is similar to how Muslims never seem to do anything about the Islamic terrorists in their midst. If the shooters yesterday were part of Black Lives Matter, then it must be addressed that Black Lives Matter couldn’t exist if police in big cities like Chicago didn’t earn a reputation for hurting or killing people senselessly (and good cops covering up for the bad ones because of a code of silence the police have when circling the wagons). When something tragic happens, we as a country tend to go into lockdown mode and overcompensate by deciding to self-censor “out of respect.” For many months after 9/11, no criticism of police was allowed either because many police officers died in the Trade Center towers. I think we can — and should — separate our feelings of support for the officers murdered from the ongoing conversation we need to have about what role police should fill in our society and how they should treat the public. They should not be a paramilitary force that cracks skulls and victimizes the public like a gestapo stormtrooper force. At the same time, the police officers who are doing their jobs well should be honored by a grateful public for being professional and brave and dedicated to protecting and serving. The problem is that the police don’t self-police and have allowed bad apples to spoil the public’s trust, to the point where in Chicago at least I don’t think the average reasonable person would tell you that they have any trust at all in Chicago cops (who are by and large seen as always looking for some way to harass, punish, or persecute Chicagoans…particularly minorities). All of this animosity and resentment that the police themselves caused by allowing bad apples to continue on the force has fueled the Black Lives Matter agenda…which may have either resulted in yesterday’s tragedy (or been co-opted by another group, such as Muslims, who wanted to set off a powder keg). We still don’t know exactly what went down in Dallas…but we shouldn’t allow our knee-jerk feelings one way or the other to impeded the adult, mature, reasoned, and considered conversation that we all need to have about how police should be used in modern society to protect and serve the public (not harass and persecute us). Now is a time for calm. For rational thought. For honoring the fallen but not going into overcompensation mode that disallows any valid criticism of police because people are feeling emotional in this moment. Black Lives Matter, however, really does need to come to an end and disappear after this. It was always an Alinsky astroturfed political tool the Left was using to foster chaos…and the Left needs to put this away and retreat for a while, like it did with Occupy Wall Street.
3. You have got to read the comments on this article about George Takei reacting negatively to the new Star Trek movie ret-conning his character Sulu as gay. This is from a website called AintItCool.com that I have been reading since the late 1990s. Though the years, it’s been a very Leftist site…bashing Bush, bashing McCain/Palin, bashing Romney, very pro-Obama…but there’s a change lately, as I think there’s a subtle change happening a lot of places now that the Golden Age of Hope and Change is coming to an end and people (even on the Left) are no longer feeling the social pressure to toe the ideological line at every moment of the day. Yesterday, it was announced that in the new Star Trek movie that the character Sulu (played by John Chu in the most recent films) would be openly gay, have a husband, and be raising a daughter in the most heteronormative way. George Takei, who played Sulu in the original tee-vee series and in the first set of Star Trek movies, thinks this sucks. I agree with him on so many levels. First, I don’t think established characters need to be radically changed (or ret-conned…which is the term for saying today that a character has always been This or That, completely changing who that character has always been, because you want to retroactively reconceive — ret-con — the character to suit some ideological purpose today). Most times, a white character is emblackened (made black) because Hollywood is just too damn lazy to come up with an original black character (so they will make Jimmy Olsen or Perry White black — or both — in a Superman show or movie). This thing with Sulu is the first time I am aware of that Hollywood has decided to ret-con someone as gay who was never gay before.
Second, I’m a gay guy who doesn’t like how Hollywood wants to domesticate and heteronormalize gay people. Not every gay guy needs to be depicted as being partnered up and raising a daughter (usually generically Asian, like on Modern Family). This is more values-signaling by Hollywood: where the idiots making these movies or shows think it proves what enlightened and perfect people they are because they can conceive gay male characters who are “normal” and “good” because they are aping what straight people do. I’m not sure where the obsession came from where gay men all have to have Asian babies though, but it’s strange. Years ago, I was at a Christmas party where guys were trading stories about the weirdest things their families ever did after they either came out or people woke up and realized that they were gay. The winner of the storytelling round was clearly the guy whose family bought him a dress for Christmas. I hope this really happened and it was not just an urban legend he retold, because it was hilarious. His well-meaning family figured out he was gay and wanted to make being gay “easier” for him by acknowledging it on Christmas morning…by giving him a dress. This guy was a rough and tumble rugby/hockey sort who never had any cross-dressing inclinations, but his family in Indiana or wherever just assumed that he would want a dress (like the shapeless, boxy kind Barbara Bush favored in the late-80s). He opened the box and was horrified…but at the same time he was touched that his family really thought they were doing a great thing for him. Which put him in the awkward position of having to explain to them that, no, this was not how it worked…but he was grateful they tried.
George Takei’s not really grateful that Hollywood “tried” by ret-conning Sulu into a gay man when the character was always straight. I’m not glad they tried either. Again, just like when Little Orphan Annie is emblackened or one of the super heroes is suddenly “diversified” by randomly making the character an ethnic minority instead of a caucasian, I don’t understand why the idiots pecking at keyboards in Tinseltown couldn’t come up with a new character who happened to be gay. In every Star Trek movie, there are new characters. Instead of making one of them straight, just have him be gay. Diversity ensues…yet the insulting ret-conning isn’t needed. Whenever a character is emblackened (or emfaggened in this) I just roll my eyes and view it like someone giving out hand-me-downs. Hollywood was tired of Little Orphan Annie and didn’t want to play with her anymore, so she was given to black people as Black Annie. Someone gets bored writing Spiderman or Captain America comics, so instead of stopping they turn the character black and let black people have him for a while (until it gets popular again and then the character is returned to “normal”). I’m tired of all this garbage.
What surprised me is that the Lefty commenters on AintItCool are tired of it as well! And they actually pick up on the values-signaling all this involves and they hate that as well! So, this is proof that there is hope for our society and culture. The Left has pushed its transformative agenda so far and for so long that even Leftist Millennial males hanging out on a very Lefty site can see this garbage for what it is and they can’t stand it anymore either.
We are definitely in a period of change where people are sick of the political correctness, the emblackening, and now the emfaggening. Hallelujah for small miracles.
What else is on your mind at the start of this weekend?
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[H/t LegalInsurrection for the devastating video above, where Morning Joe rips into FBI Director Comey over the decision not to move forward with prosecution under Espionage Act of Hillary Clinton]
Some thoughts on today’s headlines:
1. Donald Trump should not listen to GOP consultants. Ann Coulter had a great article up yesterday where she went into this, how now that Trump is close to being the official nominee that he will fall victim to the GOP Consultant Class that doomed the McCain and Romney campaigns. Remember that these are the same Cocktail Party consultants who told McCain to just give up and stop campaigning in the last month of the 2008 election and who told Romney not to go after Obama over Benghazi after Romney won the first of the Romney-Obama debates (but after that Romney just phoned it in and surrendered the race). The Cocktail Party crowd seems to take the candidate aside and somehow convinces these guys to lose the race. I have no idea why anyone listens to these people. Trump needs to just be Trump. He needs to call his own shots. He should not be listening to a single person who worked in any way on the McCain or Romney campaigns. But, the Cocktail Partiers seems to have been behind taking down that tweet the other day. Nothing should ever be taken down. Taking things down validates the Left’s Alinsky attacks and gives the Left power. That’s Politics-101, but something the Cocktail Party doesn’t understand. Trump needs to stop listening to them.
2. You have got to read Joel Pollack’s latest article on Breitbart. He really nails a lot of what makes Leftists who they are. A big part of it is that they constantly want to silence anyone whom they disagree with. If the Left does not like hearing something, they aggressively move to shut it down and shut up the person delivering the unpopular opinion. My friend Megan Fox and I encountered exactly this on the ground here in Chicago over the last few years. We wrote about exactly this in our book, SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment. In our case, we discovered that sex crimes were happening and not being reported to authorities in a Chicago suburban library, where the staff actively worked to cover all this up and even pressured female employees who complained about it to quit their jobs if they didn’t like it. The local government and local police targeted us for harassment and intimidation to try to scare us away and shut us up and stop us from confronting the elected trustees about what was happening. They even filed a SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) lawsuit against us to silence us and attempt to restrict our future speech. This is how the Left operates at large. Friends and family of people who worked at the library and other members of the American Library Association went on social media and made death and rape threats against Megan. Someone vandalized her car and threw dead animals into her drive way. It was insane. All because the Left did not like that the unreported sex crimes happening in an American Library Association member library were being criticized and exposed by members of the public who had uncovered documentation of this evil through Freedom of Information Act requests. The local media refused to report on any of this because reporters did not want to run a story where a library was shown to be doing anything wrong. Leftists saw that the Left’s agenda of sexualizing children and using public libraries as transformation agents in communities was being challenged, so Leftists did what they always do…and tried to silence and intimidate and bully the people they disagreed with. This is all standard operating practices for the Left. Start paying attention to stories where you see this happening over and over and over again: you will be amazed at how predictable the Left is and you will start to understand how small of a bubble Leftists live in because they aggressively oppress and censor any conflicting opinions.
3. Virginia Hale at Breitbart writes about how Muslim colonists coming to the West have no skills and are unemployable. This should be obvious to everyone. What’s happening to Europe is similar to what’s happening here in the US: the worst of the worst of the Third World is being purposely sent to the West to colonize our nations and disrupt our national identities. These are people who are not wanted in their own countries because they have no skills (and many have mental or other problems). In Europe’s case, it’s clear that Muslim families are sending their unwanted, trouble-making, psychologically damaged sons to the West to get rid of them (and also hope to obtain money from Germany or Sweden or wherever when the Muslims get sent back). None of these people will ever provide any sort of value or benefit to the countries they are colonizing. They will never do anything productive for the places they land. Instead, they will just congregate together in little, destructive Muslim colonies within the Western nation, never assimilating and instead festering and fermenting hatred of the West. This is all a giant recipe for disaster. Muslim countries are deliberately doing this, as these unwanted Muslims who are being sent to the West are useful for establishing colonies that will serve as stepping stones for future colonization and civilization jihad efforts. The West has no use for all of these unskilled, uneducated, and damaged Muslims. This is similar to how the United States has no use for the Third World peasants who are being dumped on us at our southern border. We do not have factories or other industry here any longer that needs millions of unskilled, uneducated people. All we are doing is taking in more mouths to feed and bodies to house on the taxpayers’ dime. It is all madness and folly.
What else is on your mind today?
[Click above to embiggen: Drudge’s front page for 7/6/16]
Some thoughts on today’s headlines.
1. Monica Crowley raised some great points in a Facebook post. For those of you out there who are upset that FBI Director Comey seemingly buckled under political pressure and chose not to recommend criminal charges for Hillary Clinton, Crowley raises the specter that this move harms Hillary in ways you might not see at first. Look around the Interwebs today and see something remarkable: there are different factions angry about this decision by the FBI for different reasons. Few people are cheering it and even fewer think it was the right call by the FBI. The majority consensus is that the FBI damaged itself and its credibility by refusing to recommend prosecution of Hillary for things that others, such as a “hero marine nailed for secret email,” were prosecuted for. Americans are a forgiving people but also possess an inextricable sense of fair play. Cheating and favoritism are frowned upon here…and once people form an opinion that someone is a cheater, that opinion never changes. What Hillary Clinton did to herself with this email garbage is probably the worst political mistake that any human being has made in American politics…because it redefined her to a lot of people. Even people who hated her before now hate her for a more concrete reason…and people who defended her for years and years (and even decades) now have said they’ve had it and this was the last straw. This is anecdotal, but it was my personal experience back in the snowy 2008 campaign leading up to Iowa: back when she ran the first time for president, animosity aimed at Hillary was over the fact that people wanted her to leave her husband and they were angry she stayed with him after he cheated. Others would say that Hillary was just someone’s wife and had accomplished nothing in her own right. A few people would just say they never liked her, but could not define why. It was just a nebulous dislike of her, or they didn’t want to say it was because they wanted her to leave her husband. Back in 2008, people were still very focused on wanting her to be divorced and to have left Bill. After the 2008 election and while she was Secretary of State, there was a brief period where even the people who said they hated her seemed to agree she would have been a better president than Obama. I think Hillary picked up on that, which is why she wanted to leave the State Department before she could mess that up in any way…she finally got people to stop talking about how much they wanted her to be divorced and how they hated her…and she even had Republicans saying she would have been better than Obama. In truth, if she had become president Hillary would have been very much like Jeb Bush in a pantsuit. The Bushes and the Clintons are one and the same at this point, and both families seem to take orders from the Saudis. How Benghazi was handled and Hillary’s tone-deaf response to that criticism and her strange decision to tell lies and to go along with whatever lies the Obama people were telling was a big blow to her…but one she could have recovered from because people’s memories are so short and Mitt Romney made the fateful decision in 2012 to not turn Benghazi into a big issue. Since Mitt didn’t care about it in the last days of the 2012 campaign, people at large didn’t care about Benghazi much after that. I know that there are those out there that are still VERY passionate about this failure of our government (and they should be)…but by and large the public moved on and didn’t blame Hillary for much if anything. And then this email scandal hit the fan, but even that was nebulous. It’s complicated for people to understand what was on which server etc. and why that matters. What people CAN understand however is favoritism and elitism and some people being above the law. I’ve seen people spitting mad since yesterday who have not been worked up about anything Hillary-related for years. These are people who don’t like her but were resigned to her becoming president because the fix always seemed in. What FBI Director Comey did yesterday changed that in a way that is still unfolding. People understand that laws were broken with those emails…and that the government chose not to do anything about it because Hillary is Hillary and is above the law. This angers people in a way that I don’t think the talking heads pundits appreciate. If Donald Trump keeps on this and if he pulls no punches and just keeps hammering it, he really has an opportunity to make people angry at both the Clintons and the establishment in a new way. Now, the people who could never really put into words why they hate Hillary Clinton have this concrete fresh example of why they hate her: the fact that the FBI said she was above the law and couldn’t be touched, no matter what she did. This is new. It is devastating because it taps into whatever hatred people had for Hillary for years but could never effectively articulate. Now, they have something they can say — and say loudly — and it’s cogent, relevant, and topical. “Extremely careless” will be said over and over again through November. I don’t know how Hillary will be able to overcome that if Trump does not let it go.
2. America has a major problem with government officials believing that the law does not apply to them. For the last few years, Megan Fox and I have been working on the ground in Illinois, mostly out in the southwest suburbs, studying and documenting corruption of local boards and municipal officials. You might think this would be less exciting or dangerous than covering national politics, but Megan and I actually faced more hostility and received more attacks/threats than either of us ever did on the national beat. After watching both McCain and Romney hand their elections to Obama and the Cocktail Party GOP Establishment consistently cave and surrender to the Left without any sort of a fight, Megan and I both independently decided that the only way to make a difference in American politics would be to focus on local matters…where we could be on the ground covering stories that the Dinosaur Media refused to cover. So, we formed Story Time Digital Media and let it be known that we’d report on wrongdoing and lawbreaking of local officials and public bodies. Our most fascinating and exciting case (so far) was the Orland Park Public Library Board and the lengths it went to in trying to scare us away and stop our investigation. Officials in Orland Park used the police there as a weapon against us, harassing us for almost two years when we’d pass out flyers or protest what elected officials were doing. They would repeatedly violate our First Amendment rights and censor us, bully us, threatened us, etc. We caught Orland Park officials breaking the law over and over again but they all had the attitude that they didn’t care because even though violations of our state’s Open Meetings Act carry misdemeanor Class-C criminal penalties, the State’s Attorney and Attorney General made it clear years ago that they would never prosecute local officials for violating the law. The police also made it clear that they were there to do what the local officials said and that they would harass the public if the local officials wanted the public to be harassed. It is remarkably similar to the attitude that the FBI has when it comes to Hillary Clinton violating the law with the “extremely careless” email scandal. We have a real problem in this country where the government at all levels seems to be covering and running interference for other branches of government, with law enforcement openly and unapologetically hostile towards the public and working as a sort of praetorian guard for elected officials. I urge you to start paying attention to your own local government officials: school boards, library boards, village boards, parks & rec boards, county boards, etc. because I am certain you will find people who are breaking the law left and right (but law enforcement views them as being above the law and will do nothing about it). What we caught happening in Orland Park is happening where you live. Maybe some of what Megan and I went through and documented in our book (SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment) will be useful or instructive for you.
3. Anecdotal remarks at Independence Day parties. My boyfriend Justin and I attended a few Independence Day parties, after going to a suburban parade in the morning. We went to a mixture of get-to-togethers. The first was a Tea Party kind of group, with people I’ve known since 2009 or so; the second was a BBQ with people I met on a recent case that Megan and I worked where we helped do Freedom of Information Act research and gave Open Meetings Act advice/support to some people who were challenging their out-of-control local board; and then the day ended with drinks and fireworks with a younger gay crowd that Justin knows. So, two of the groups were politically minded and the gay group was, sadly, like all gay groups (and had a lot of the Left’s brainwashing from the “gay community”). This is not a representative sample of anything, but it’s still interesting noticing the changes in people. Remember this is before the FBI Director gave his press conference on 7/5/16, so no one was angry over that yet. In conversations, the election came up and there was never any love for Hillary Clinton. Because people know I worked hard on the 2008 campaign, I’m always expected to defend Hillary, as if I know her personally and am an official surrogate for her. I’ve found that I can’t defend her anymore and that has been true for some time. A big breaking point with me happened because of Hillary’s (and all Democrats’) coziness with Muslims and how the Left wants to aggressively colonize the West with Islam. All Democrats want this and view Muslims as useful, since they disrupt communities and cause chaos as they colonize the West. The Left uses that chaos and violence to then push for gun control, to disarm the public and make it easier for the government to control all our lives. Democrats are basically bringing sharks into the local swimming pools because once the sharks start eating people and causing mayhem then Democrats get to say “You need us to make the pools safe again!,” and of course the answer they have for making things safer is draconian control over everyone’s lives. At that suburban parade in Will County on Monday, the local government proudly featured brand new armored SWAT vehicles and what looked like a war tank in the parade. Why a farming county like Will County needs a paramilitary SWAT war machine is beyond comprehension…but it was just the government showing off that it was powerful and that it had things at its disposal that could really hurt the public if the public ever decided to rise up against the government. Personally, though, I looked at the tens of thousands of people lining the street for the parade…and that giant black SWAT tank seemed pretty puny compared to all of the able-bodied, strong, and patriotic Americans who turned out that morning for the parade. I firmly believe that when things hit the fan that the Left will be sorely disappointed and downright stunned by how useless the paramilitary equipment is against Americans. When the American people finally have enough and decide to topple this corrupt government, the police and state troopers and national guard will have to make a choice between firing on American citizens or turning on the Leftists who count on using law enforcement as an American gestapo. I find it impossible to believe that the good men and women in uniform will make the wrong choice…or that even if they did that they could overwhelm the sheer numbers of Americans who would be shouting ENOUGH! and demanding a return to our constitutional republic. But, every year at these parades when those SWAT vehicles drive by people worry and show fear over them…though more and more people look upon those vehicles with resentment and the sense that it really is only a matter of time before the public and our corrupt government come to revolutionary blows.
Over and over again at whatever party we were at, people would tiptoe around the election in a weird way. No one wanted to be avowedly pro-Trump when talking in a big group but if you got people down to small groups of three or four then they would admit they are voting for Trump. People are truly sick of the political correctness. They are sick of the establishment. This is an election where there will be no staying home and just allowing Democrats to win, because that teaches no one a lesson this time. People admit that they stayed home to teach Republicans a lesson with Romney and McCain…but staying home this November just makes Hillary Clinton president. And this time around, since the establishment was so against Trump, staying home and letting Hillary win doesn’t hurt the establishment (but instead helps the establishment, since the Cocktail Party GOP Elite openly says that it wants Hillary to win).
These are strange times, indeed. The most interesting thing said to me all day came at the gay fireworks watching party. Almost all of those guys were Bernie Sanders supporters and they are very angry with Hillary. The FBI decision to not prosecute her had not even come out yet and they were very worked up about the email scandal. They were griping about the primaries being rigged for Hillary and it all being a sham and also believing that the general election was rigged for her too. There was a sense of hopelessness and anger over that. Normally, gay people are ranting and raving and shouting nonsense about Republicans being evil and wanting to kill gay people and whatever other hooey the “gay community” propagandizes and brainwashes into them. None of that can be said about Trump, especially not after the Muslim Massacre in Orlando. Usually gays go on and on about Christians hating gays and churches needing to be destroyed and how Christians need to be mocked and silenced…but none of that is being said at the moment due to the Muslim attack on a gay bar in Orlando. While gays have not yet made the leap to openly condemning Islam or calling for anything to be done about the Muslim hatred towards gays, they aren’t attacking Christians this time around like they did in 2012 and 2008. Maybe that’s because Trump is so different from previous GOP candidates or that as a brazen New Yorker he’s hard to paint as the stereotypical villain to gays. There are a lot of variables this time around that were not present in 2012 and 2008…including the fact that gay men feel no social pressure to support Hillary Clinton the way that everyone wanted to value-signal by backing the charismatic black guy for president in the last two elections. It’s not hip or cool to support Hillary and there is no social stigma or punishment for not supporting her. In fact, there is social cachet and reward for railing against her and claiming that Bernie Sanders was cheated and robbed. Instead of gays going at the Republicans with venom and bite this time around that sort of aggressive hostility is actually being aimed at Hillary and the DNC for “robbing Bernie.” Never in a million years would I have even begun to dream that something like this would have happened and all these gay guys would be so upset over a near-octogenarian socialist not becoming the Democrats’ presidential nominee.
Did you notice anything interesting at any parties you went to over the weekend?
What else is on your mind today?
Watching the FBI live press conference at 11am EST on 7/5/16, via CNN.
* FBI Director says the government does not know what he is about to say.
* Claims he did not coordinate with anyone.
* Says the American people deserve candid information because this is a matter of great public interest.
* Emails had been deleted and servers/devices had been retired; FBI put deletions and missing electronic information together like a jigsaw puzzle. Painstaking review of millions of email fragments that were dumped into “slack space.” Looking for emails that were classified Secret or Confidential.
* Found no evidence of work-related emails being intentionally deleted.
* No archiving done of emails like Gmail does. Lawyers sorting through emails deleted personal ones but left work-related ones.
* FBI concludes no intentional misconduct regarding email deletions.
* FBI did find evidence of “carelessness;” any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position should have known that information that was Top Secret or Secret was being shared over unsecured/unclassified network.
* 7 email chains were very concerning.
* “Security culture” of State Department was lax and lacking, careless.
* No evidence that the system was hacked by foreign agents…but FBI thinks hostile actors did gain access to email accounts of people that Hillary Clinton was emailing. She used personal email extensively, sending confidential documents that hostile actors gained access to.
* FBI collects evidence to give to prosecutors. Normally the FBI does not reveal its recommendations. Unusual transparency is in order here. FBI says that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Hillary Clinton. Must look at context, how similar situations were handled in the past, etc. Could not find a precedent for bringing charges in a case like this: no evidence of intentional or willful misconduct.
* No evidence of disloyalty to the United States, etc.
* Claims the FBI operated independently and was not pressured. Your opinions are irrelevant and don’t matter because the FBI claims it did everything the right way in an apolitical and professional way. If you don’t like that, then tough. He then dropped the mic and walked off the stage.
The timing on this press conference was really strange. I don’t know why they chose to do this on the first day back from Fourth of July weekend. I can understand why they buried Hillary Clinton’s interview with the FBI over this long holiday weekend (and why they revved up that attack on Trump about the star of David to distract from Hillary’s interview), but I don’t know why they chose to start off the news cycle this week first thing in the morning with this press conference from the FBI.
I can’t decide if this press conference was meant to help Hillary or hurt her.
The FBI announced that there will be no criminal charges against Hillary…but her basic competence was called into question regarding carelessness with the Top Secret information. It seemed unnecessary for the FBI Director to go into that and make such an opinion. He could have just announced that no criminal charges would be recommended…but it seems like he felt a need (or had a desire) to call Hillary out for the way that the State Department handled information and how she used her personal email.
It’s interesting to think about why he did that. Is he trying to make the FBI look credible, since that bizarre rendez-vous between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch on her plane convinced so many people that the FBI is taking orders from the Clintons and doing whatever Bill tells them to do? Does the FBI have an animus against Hillary and doesn’t like her…so it’s mad that she won’t be charged criminally (and this was their way of taking a slap at her)?
I thought the press conference was strange. The timing of it was strange. But I’m not sure how the puzzle pieces fit.
What are your thoughts?
Some thoughts on today’s headlines:
1. Chicago feels like more of a war zone than usual today. Last night, Justin and I endured the annual “Is that gunfire or is it just fireworks?” barrage of explosives that afflicts Chicago neighborhoods from roughly June 27th through July 8th or 9th. This also happens around New Year’s Eve and Memorial Day and/or Labor Day. It’s not about celebrating American Independence or anything patriotic or cultural: it’s just that people in Chicago enjoy blowing things up and making loud noise. I’ve noticed that the explosions have been getting worse in recent years while Rahm Emanuel has been Mayor. None of this used to happen when Mayor Daley was in office. There would be fireworks on Independence Day, but police would be out and about keeping it all to a minimum. I think people were also scared of Mayor Daley and/or respected him, so they stayed more in line than they do now. No one respects Rahm Emanuel and he has largely lost control of the city. People despise the police in Chicago now too, so I think setting off explosives when they have any sort of excuse to do so is a big F-U to the police. I’ve never seen anything like this before, the pure hatred that the police have caused to fall on themselves here in Chicago after years of documented abuses like hiding videos of misconduct, trying to destroy evidence of police abuse, etc. Chicago is a powder keg that will experience a major riot in the next few years, as all the variables and elements are set up for that. The Fourth of July fireworks that went on until 3am last night (July 3rd) started at about 6pm or 7pm in the evening. BAM BAM BAM BAM BOOM! KAPLAM! Our apartment building shook. Some of the explosions were so loud that they moved pens and paper on my desk. Anyone who has PTSD from military service or other trauma really needs to leave Chicago in late June/early July. Justin and I were home and actually had to put on action movies to normalize all the explosions going on outside. We watched the last Hunger Games movie (which featured a city under siege), Die Hard (an exploding office building), and Independence Day (the original one from the 1990s, which was explosions galore). I almost never watch action movies because I don’t enjoy seeing anything blow up…but we had to do something until there was a ceasefire in the neighborhood around 3am. Normally I roll my eyes when people say it’s terrible living in Chicago, because I still very much enjoy it here. Justin’s a farm boy who would rather be back in Arkansas but I’ve always lived in cities and normally none of this stuff bothers me…but the fireworks and constant explosions have gotten out of hand. Police choose to do nothing about this, just as they choose to do nothing about all the murders and the gunfire. The only thing the police seem to do is to harass people, look for new ways to ticket parked cars and generate revenue, and cover up atrocities that other police officers have done in Chicago. The Black Lives Matter crowd is full of baloney on most things, but whatever they say about the Chicago police sadly happens to be true. Every year feels like the summer that all of this will come to a head and chickens will come back to roost. God help us all.
2. Some fantastic patriotic music for your Independence Day celebrations. Yesterday, Michelle Malkin sent out a great tweet asking everyone to please call today Independence Day instead of “The Fourth” or “July 4th” or “Super Fun Fireworks Explosions BBQ Day” or whatever. She has a great point. Words matter. Today is Independence Day, which is something that a lot of people lose sight of. The idiots setting off building-shaking explosions in the alleys of Chicago have no idea why today is so important. This is a day that commemorates the bravery of citizens who rose up against a corrupt and treacherous government that had lost the consent of the governed. I think in my lifetime that Americans will have a Second Revolution, because our government has become just as distant, removed, and unrepresentative as the one that ruled over the colonies prior to 1776. A reckoning is needed to wipe out the corruption at all levels, since the Establishment refuses to change on its own and get back to being the government that America wants and needs. We have to shake off this globalist/UN mindset and get back to unapologetically being the greatest country that has ever existed on this planet. Here are a few great songs that I love playing on Independence Day to remind me of our American spirit:
3. Hillary Clinton has a real problem with the lying. Jimmy Kimmel is pretty fantastic. I need to watch his show more often. He’s hilarious and I feel that he strikes a good balance politically. He’s equal opportunity in what he dishes out. This video he has talking about Hillary Clinton being a liar is shocking in how prevalent a depiction of her that is. Listen to how these people talk about her: nothing she does surprises them, they don’t believe anything she says, she lies all the time, she lies about stupid things, etc. It’s really bad. I don’t know how she overcomes this in the general election. She really has a glass jaw when it comes to truthfulness and honesty. This explains why it’s hard for most people to love her or get excited about her candidacy. It’s hard to embrace someone who they see as a pathological liar. She’s no longer even seen as a strategic or manipulative liar. She’s just seen as someone who lies nonstop for no reason, even when lying doesn’t benefit her in any way. She just wakes up in the morning, starts lying, and doesn’t ever stop. I will never understand why she does this because she doesn’t need to and America is sure in a Bullworth mood where it wants unvarnished, raw, cathartic political truth and no more political correctness or pathological lies.
What is on your minds this Independence Day and what stories are you following?
There aren’t even words to express how much I love this. God Bless the Orlando Sheriff’s Department for standing up, dusting off, and getting back to normal. This is how we should respond in the aftermath of any Muslim attack: we cannot allow Islam to win by changing who we are because of their latest massacre, wherever or whatever it may be.
I truly believe that Whitney Houston’s voice is proof that there is a loving and awesome God. I feel blessed to have not only grown up when she burst on the scene and hit it big but to have also had the extreme luck of meeting her once back in Cleveland. She will always be my vision of an angel and her music remains the soundtrack of my life. Even the worst grump in any bar I’ve ever been in perks up when “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” comes on.
Black, brown, white, straight, gay, whatever the heck you are…classic, vintage Whitney in her prime…singing that song…I don’t know how you could ever possibly sit there and NOT get up and dance. It’s the perfect song for having a fun time, for chasing the blues away, for celebrating LIFE.
I think this Sheriff’s Department video is genius. And I love that through it we get to see the wonderful people who work there. These are not the corrupt and often vile police officers that we have in Chicago who enjoy hurting and harming the public and being bullies with badges. These folks in Orlando seem like real public servants and the sort of people that we all want and need in law enforcement. It’s like another world compared to the horrors we have in Chicago with the petty tyrants in uniform that plague our city here.
Chicago would never be smart enough to do something like this to get life back to normal if we were attacked by Islam. No, in Chicago Rahm Emanuel and others would be too busy taking advantage of the “crisis” to push some other agenda (to take away freedoms of everyone else, but not address the problems with Muslims). There would be no getting back to normal…only exploiting tragedy to push the Left’s agenda further in a city already pushed to the breaking point by tyrannical agendas.
In Orlando, however, local government decided it was time for people to feel safe to dance again and to show Islam that it did not win. They are telling people it is okay to get back to having fun and being Orlando. To do what they all do best and to not let murderous Muslims destroy the fun times of summer in a town that depends on summer fun for its livelihood.
To me, there is no better way to honor and remember the people murdered by Islam in June in a gay bar then to get back to normal and get back to dancing. Be honest and upfront that Islam is the problem and that Muslims are taught to hate and kill gays and do not allow that backwards and bigoted ideology to ever be excused or explained away…but at the same time do not let those medievalist monsters win by being too scared to dance and sing and love this life that God gifted us with.
#KEEPDANCINGORLANDO and #NEVERFORGET and #STOPISLAMNOW
Some thoughts on headlines in the news this gorgeous Sunday:
1. Have you heard of “food tribes”? Robin Rauzi in the Los Angeles Times has a fun article about the nightmare that Special Snowflakes created for him in trying to organize backyard barbecues. Food tribes are people who value-signal by making a big production out of what they will not eat (or try to never let you eat). There’s the “No-Gluten Tribe,” the “No Mammals Tribe,” the “No Grain Tribe,” etc. Here in Chicago, I encounter a lot of people from the “No-Gluten Tribe,” many of whom I see eating bread all the time when they think no one is looking. Not special, magical, no-gluten bread either…just regular bread. So, they are deathly allergic to gluten…until they want bread and forget about the allergy, I guess. Decades ago, Gloria Swanson started what I think was retrospectively the first “Food Tribe” with her big crusade against sugar. She upset a lot of people with that, because her husband at the time was some kind of doctor who opined that sugar is a drug much like cocaine. I think he was onto something like that, because sugar and cocaine are both derived from a very similar kind of plant and both are things that we really shouldn’t be putting into our bodies. Swanson upset the sugar industry so much that one stalker sent her a child-sized coffin full of sugar. (Arguably, that guy was in many ways the first “troll,” because he really hated Swanson’s views on sugar and would essentially “troll” her for years with weird letters, strange things in the mail, etc. similar to what online trolls do to people today.) I argue that we’re living in an age of divisive Tribalism, where people are looking for identity groups wherever they can. People seem to crave a sense of belonging, so being rabidly and vociferously N0-Gluten or No-Mammals or whatever is a chance to become part of something. But what seems to happen is that within these manufactured Food Tribes, people splinter off further and further. You can’t be just No-Mammal…because some people are also No-Fish while others are No-Chicken or Just-Turkey, etc. I like how things were in the 1980s, where your personal self-worth and identity were not linked so intrinsically to what you ate. You would show up somewhere, like on the Fourth of July, and you would eat what was there. I personally can’t stand mayonnaise or anything made with it, and in Cleveland in the 1980s that meant that half a dozen green or orange Tupperware containers full of “salads” would be off-limits to me. Everything called “salad” was drowned in mayo in Cleveland in the 1980s. Potato “salad,” macaroni “salad,” cucumber “salad.” All recipes were from the backs of Hellmans jars. So I would eat the hamburgers and would enjoy them with watermelon or whatever else was left Mayo-Free. And I didn’t complain or expect anyone to make something special for me. In addition to living in an Age of Tribalism we also live at a time when more people are Special than have ever existed previously in human history. There must be some reckoning on the way for that. This over-saturation of Special has to have consequences that will manifest soon (if they aren’t already).
2. Will Muslims blow anything up or murder people on the Fourth of July? It’s a sign of our times that people now ask things like this. In Chicago, instead of people checking the weather report for cookouts tomorrow, people are really asking if it’s safe to go anywhere or if tomorrow’s the day that Islam strikes Chicago. Again, I don’t think Muslims will attack so close temporally or geographically to Orlando. That’s just never been their pattern before. They always hit the West, then enjoy the media scrambling to declare Muslims to be the most misunderstood monsters ever, then lie low for a bit, then lather/rinse/repeat. Americans are a kind and loving and welcoming people who enjoy believing that monsters are not really monsters and are just misunderstood. In this country, people will go out of their way to pretend that Bruce the Shark from JAWS is really our friend Flipper…if only people would give him a chance to show everyone what a great dolphin that toothsome shark really is underneath. Deep down. That’s what makes America so great, this blind willingness to give everyone a chance…and a second chance…and a third chance…to do right. I hope that never changes, but at the same time I wish people would see how Islam uses that against us. Because Muslims never attack close enough together for Americans to get angry enough to want to do something about Islam’s growing presence in the West, we’re all frogs being boiled in water by the cunning and strategic monsters who want to destroy us. Since they never attack in a way that makes Americans want to do anything to eliminate their ability to keep attacking, the attacks will continue so long as they don’t start making it a regular thing. If Muslims hit the US the way they have hit Israel in the past, with seemingly nonstop bombings and suicide attacks and all that, then Americans would put aside that “sharks are just misunderstood dolphins” nonsense and would demand a War on Islam. Muslims clearly don’t want that, so they just instinctively know not to attack on the Fourth of July when it’s so close to a Muslim massacring gays in Orlando in June. Two Muslim attacks in two months on US soil would be unprecedented when the pattern has always been a Muslim attacks…and then months of cooling down and forgetting until the next time Islam kills Americans in America. We’re not at the point yet where there are enough Muslim colonists here in America for these monsters to feel secure and entrenched enough to start monthly attacks. Their numbers are still low enough where they instinctively still feel the need to keep a low profile, with one or two attacks a year. No doubt imams are taking the craziest members of their mosques aside and telling them to stay cool, keep their heads down, and not do anything for Allah until all the white people have forgotten about Orlando. This is how these monsters have always operated and there’s no reason that would change tomorrow.
3. That’s it, I’ve had enough. During the 2012 election, my friend Reba made a comment on something that I had stitched and framed: I’ve lived too long. I can’t take this weird shit anymore. This should be a joke but I know it’s not. It’s on my wall, next to my desk, and every time something happens that is soul-crushing, I look at it and shake my head and think of Reba. This week, when Bill Clinton boarded Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s plane to — very obviously — pressure her to do whatever the Clintons wanted her to do regarding Hillary’s email server problem, I actually said out loud: I’ve lived too long. I can’t take this weird shit anymore.
There are no words. None. I am speechless. The overt shamelessness and open F-U to the American people that this stunt involved is record-breaking. After it happened, the Clintons tried claiming that Bill and Loretta were just hanging out together (because they love each other so much), talking about grand-babies, or trading recipes or something. Because Bill Clinton just does that, with someone whom he’s never had any sort of friendship or personal relationship with ever…because he’s just Mr. Friendly and won’t miss any opportunity to talk about babies with a near-stranger.
The Clintons used to be inventive and talented liars who would really put effort into their performances. That was always part of their charm, which I know was maddening for a lot of people. Something about their brazenness was always exhilarating though…because they would get away with things that Nixon never dared to dream about. They literally would go on television and sit there saying the exact opposite of the truth and somehow they would make everyone believe them. It was like watching David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear and not being able to figure out how he did it. When the Clintons were on, they were on.
This bit with going on Loretta Lynch’s plane was the last straw for me, though. Bill Clinton’s not even trying anymore. He doesn’t feel the need to wear a fig leaf and just nakedly meets with the Attorney General to tell that fool what to do…and she did it! It angers me as an American that the sitting ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES didn’t order her US Marshals (or whatever security she travels with) to block Clinton and his SS agents from coming anywhere near her plane. A sitting AG trumps a former president in a country that does not have royalty. I am angry that Bill Clinton behaved like a lord and Loretta Lynch accommodated him like a serf.
I’m angry about everything stupid that Hillary Clinton chose to do since 2008. Her judgment has been piss poor and shameful. Back in the 2008 campaign, we could make the argument that Hillary was a victim of circumstances, of Newt Gingrich’s and Ken Starr’s obsessions, of her husband’s bizarre appetites, of the confines of glass ceilings, of irrational hatred against her, etc. Hillary was masterful when she woke up early one day and went on The Today Show to confide that she and her husband (and by extension the American people) were victims of a vast right wing conspiracy and Byzantine plots against them. It was a riveting performance!
At the same time, Republicans still had this elaborate fantasy of Hillary being the smartest woman (if not person) on the planet, an unmatched genius manipulator playing 5th dimensional chess while everyone else was fumbling with checkers. Republican pundits convinced everyone, including themselves, that Hillary was the unsleeping mastermind behind everything that was happening everywhere…and it was all part of her years-in-the-making plot to gain control of the White House and take over the world. Auric Goldfinger had nothing on Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton in that marvelous fantasy. This was a woman destined for greatness and determined to carve her place on Mount Rushmore with her own two hands. She was Joan Crawford and Bette Davis and George Soros (in drag) and an unstoppable robot from the future all rolled up into a pantsuit (and also maybe some kind of alien spider, pulling on strings and manipulating everything to her advantage).
Great Merciful Zeus, just look at how wrong everyone was about Hillary…and about Bill Clinton too. In recent years, both of them have behaved like bumbling idiots. Either they are both too old for the Game of Thrones these days, or social media and 24/7 coverage is catching them doing incredibly stupid things that no one noticed in the past. Did these two always do things as stupid as the email server and the Loretta Lynch Plane Visit? Were they always this artless and crass?
Whatever amusement I once took in watching the Clintons get the better of their foes is now gone. It all ended once Bill Clinton set foot on the Attorney General’s jet and that damn fool Loretta Lynch allowed it. That’s it. I’m done. I’ve lived too long, I’ve seen too much. I can’t take this weird shit anymore. This should be a joke but I know that it’s not.
As much as I want to live to see the day that there is a female US president, I just can’t bear the thought of four years’ of this sort of amateur hour bumbling from people who have so little respect for the American people at this point in their lives that they can’t even bother to do the old magic tricks anymore. The Clintons used to be exasperating to Republicans because nothing stuck to them. They were so good at the games they played that it was captivating to watch. What would they get away with this week? What long time adversary would they take down in a creative and interesting way? Or (if you are my boyfriend Justin or his family) who would they have murdered next?
It’s reached a point where the Clintons think we are all so stupid that they can just stomp onto planes and tell the Attorney General what to do, removing any credibility left for the Justice Department. That upsets me in ways that I can’t even process this morning. It means that no public office, appointed or elected, really matters because somehow the Clintons have become a royal family and can do as they please whenever they please. I do not want to live in a country with such a reality. This is not America. It is not what I signed up for.
It angers me that the IRS is used as a political weapon by Democrats. It angers me that the Justice Department is now an entity that acts as the Palace Guard for the Clintons. All this means that our government at all levels needs a thorough scrubbing and disinfecting from the top-down to restore credibility and confidence in our system of government.
Is that even possible at this point?
I don’t know the answer to that…but I have zero confidence that the Clintons are in any way capable of overseeing such a cleansing.
[Trailer for our book that deals with Bridget Bittman’s SLAPP, filed against us in October 2014. We prevailed in this meritless piece of lawfare, but SLAPPs typically succeed in silencing their targets. SLAPPs are a form of lawfare used by government employees to chill free speech and make people afraid of challenging bad government.]
You may not realize it, but we’re currently facing an epidemic of SLAPP lawfare in this country. A SLAPP is “strategic litigation against public participation,” a term coined by George Pring and Penelope Canan back in the 1990s in their book, SLAPPs: Getting Sued for Speaking Out. This remains the definitive reference on SLAPPs, though a lot has happened since the book was written.
If you are looking for a hobby and a new topic of interest, I suggest starting a binder or notebook and researching what’s happening with SLAPPs. They are an insidious way that the government chills First Amendment protected speech by using the legal system as a weapon against the public and investigative reporters. This is happening where you live, I guarantee…but of course your local media is not talking about it. Typically, people never hear about SLAPPs until either they or someone they know personally is hit with a SLAPP.
Megan Fox and I were SLAPPed back in 2014, when Bridget Bittman (the granddaughter of the woman who used to own the Chicago White Sox sportsball team) sued us in federal court in an effort to silence our First Amendment rights. Bittman at the time was the public spokesman for the Orland Park Public Library and was told to sue us during a board meeting by Diane Jennings, one of the library’s trustees (and also the most loathsome human being I have yet met on this planet). Megan and I had uncovered years and years of unreported crimes that occurred in the library, including: (a) library staff allowing a man to admit to accessing child pornography without police being called, (b) staff allowing men to masturbate in the library openly with their penises fully exposed without calling the police, (c) men stalking women in the stacks, (d) men sexually harassing female library employees but the library telling the women they should quit if they didn’t like it, (e) a man trapping a young woman in a study room while accosting her sexually, (f) young children being accosted sexually in the library, and other sex crimes that all warranted police intervention…but time and again the library staff CHOSE not to call the police when they should have. This was a clear pattern that Megan and I uncovered, where the Orland Park Public Library made a decision to NOT call the police because it seems clear they knew that if they had done so then the police would have come and made arrests…and that would have been bad publicity for the library.
Since Bittman was in charge of the library’s publicity as its spokesman, the library Board pushed her to hit us with a SLAPP to scare us away and silence us. Megan and I wrote about it in our book SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment (now available in paperback and as an eBook too). We prevailed in this SLAPP and our First Amendment rights were upheld, though Bittman’s lawsuit cost us more than two years’ of time to defeat and many hours of work defending ourselves which could have been spent writing, researching, and participating in other investigations into corrupt government.
So, by suing us, Bittman was able to strategically steal time and resources from us that prevented Megan and me from exposing other public bodies that were doing the same things that the Orland Park Public Library was doing…or even prevented us from finding more of what Orland Park was trying to desperately to hide. Bittman knew her lawsuit would never even make it into discovery and she never had any intention of winning (since she knew she never had any ground to stand on); the whole point of the lawsuit was to be a time-killing energy drain that would distract us, take up our time, and cost us precious resources to defend against.
Consumerist has started reporting on SLAPPs, which is great because I hope that more people out there realize that this is happening. In a recent article, Consumerist talked about SLAPPs and how they “leverage the legal system — and all its attendant costs and Byzantine paperwork — in an effort to chill free speech.” In our example with Comiskey heiress Bridget Bittman, Megan and I were forced to come up with a way to defend ourselves in a meritless lawsuit filed by a woman who not only had the remnants of the Comiskey fortune at her disposal but was also being funded by members of the American Library Association (who wanted Megan and me silenced because we were exposing the consequences of years and years of bad ALA policy). Having to mount a defense against even a meritless lawsuit is soul-killingly expensive because of how our system works and how a plaintiff with disreputable attorneys can manipulate the system to cause delay after delay. In Bittman’s case, almost every time there was some filing due, her attorneys (which were the sort of people who advertise on bus benches or in the local coupon paper that comes to your doorstep) would invent some new excuse for why they needed an extension. Sometimes they would do this the day that the filing was due. If everything they said happened to them was true every time they wanted to delay the process, that law firm should be the star of its own reality show: there were mysterious deaths, severe illnesses that would have made great episodes of House, M.D., claims they suddenly had to fly to London, a dog eating the important papers, etc. The strategy appeared to be one of delay, delay, delay…hoping that financially Bittman could outlast us and break us before the lawsuit would ever enter into discovery phase.
I spent hours reviewing everything that Bittman’s attorneys filed, as well as all of the documents that our own attorneys had to file in response. Many more hours were spent collecting documents to rebut Bittman, combing through emails for responsive documents, and assembling everything related to our investigation into the Orland Park Public Library so it could all be reviewed by attorneys. I probably put 200 hours of work, at least, into this sort of tedious-but-necessary document review in our defense against her SLAPP.
That’s 200 hours that I was then not able to spend writing, researching, going to board meetings, or otherwise working as an investigative reporter and citizen sleuth covering corrupt government in Illinois. So, Bittman’s SLAPP lawsuit created an obstacle to my work exposing government corruption, since the SLAPP took time and resources away from me that I would normally have used to investigate bad local government (such as the Orland Park Public Library Board).
SLAPP lawsuits typically end before discovery begins, which is what happened with Bittman’s suit. A federal judge dismissed more than half of the counts she filed against us and then Bittman withdrew the remainder of her lawsuit before any documents were ever exchanged in discovery. No depositions were ever taken and Bittman never had to produce any documents that would have been embarrassing to her or that would have proved she was dishonest in the various claims she made in her suit. The way our legal system is setup, someone like Bittman can file a SLAPP to silence your free speech, never intending to win the lawsuit, and drag it out strategically with delays and extensions…but still have the option of withdrawing it in the end (before she would be exposed in discovery for being dishonest). In Illinois at least, there is no mechanism to punish a plaintiff for bringing a SLAPP using this strategy. That’s why more and more people like Bittman are doing this around the country when they don’t like that someone is criticizing a public body or public employees.
In Illinois we have a weak anti-SLAPP law called the Citizen Participation Act (CPA), but it only is useful in very specific and limited cases in dismissing a SLAPP before the discovery phase. Courts have severely weakened the CPA and have limited its use to only the most rare of occasions. This means our state legislature needs to go back to the drawing board to strengthen it. The courts want to maintain a balance between allowing legitimate lawsuits to continue but ending these vexatious SLAPP suits…and courts in Illinois have felt that balance was not achieved with the CPA.
As Consumerist notes, California has the best anti-SLAPP law in the country that is most pro-defendant: it allows for an expedited hearing on the defendant’s motion to strike, and will award the defendant attorney fees and court costs if the defendant prevails. But remember that there is no federal anti-SLAPP legislation. That’s something that Free Speech activists are trying to remedy right now with Congress. Something that you could do to help would be to write, email, or call your Senators and Congressional representative and tell these people that you want them to support anti-SLAPP legislation at the federal level. Tell them about the book that Megan and I wrote about Bridget Bittman’s SLAPP and what she did to us to try to chill our First Amendment protected speech.
Congress is now considering the SPEAK FREE Act, which would be federal anti-SLAPP legislation. As it’s written now (before it will no doubt be monkeyed with in committees), if the SPEAK FREE Act had been in place back in 2014, Bridget Bittman’s SLAPP against us would have been tossed out much faster than it took for us to ultimately prevail against her. She sued us in October of 2014 and her lawsuit was not fully terminated until May of 2016. That was almost two years’ of time and energy drained by a lawsuit that never involved any discovery or depositions or anything. Because the federal court system works so slowly on its own…and Bittman’s attorneys aggressively pushed for one delay after another to keep things delayed even further…this SLAPP dragged on and on absent anything like the SPEAK FREE Act to eradicate it quickly.
SLAPP lawfare is used by public officials and public employees to tie community activists up in court so they no longer have the time, money, or energy to criticize public bodies. Big developers can also use SLAPPs to crush and silence community opposition to their projects. Large corporations like AMC can even use the threat of a SLAPP to silence people’s free speech rights (in a recent instance reported by Consumerist of the tee-vee network menacing a small website that used to post spoilers and fan theories about the show The Walking Dead…but the threats from AMC’s lawyers silenced and shuttered that spoiler site).
How you can help
1. Setup a Google alert for yourself for the key words SLAPP, ANTI-SLAPP, SPEAK FREE Act, etc. This way, you will be alerted every day if stories appear somewhere on this topic. And you can then start to see how prevalent this problem is.
2. Let people know about our book SHUT UP! and that it involves a SLAPP lawsuit filed against us by Bridget Bittman, granddaughter of Dorothy Comiskey Rigney, the woman who used to own the Chicago White Sox. Bittman’s lawsuit cost us time and resources to defend against and we worked hard to give other people facing SLAPPs lessons and tips for what they, too, can do to defend themselves against this type of vexatious lawfare.
3. Contact your Senators and your Congresscritter. Tell them that you oppose SLAPPs and that you want them to support the SPEAK FREE Act to stop people like Bridget Bittman from being able to file SLAPPs to silence people who take on corrupt local government.
4. Make studying SLAPPs into a new hobby. It’s more interesting than bird watching…and SLAPPs come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. The way to bring change to our government is to empower citizens to be able to fight for that change…and one of the main weapons the government is using against the people are these SLAPPs. Let’s take this away from them so that people will no longer be intimidated into silence or feel that they need to SHUT UP! if they don’t want to be sued by powerful or rich people who have more resources than they do.
Updating what we know about the Joliet Area Community Hospice’s ongoing plot to murder Chester Siniawski by withholding nutrition from him, preventing family members from videoing him (to prove he can speak, that he begs to live, and that he can swallow), and all the other terrible things being done to this man in a private facility where he is NOT a hospice patient, but is instead a resident of the facility being held there against his will. As you know, Chester Siniawski belongs in rehab…not in a horrible place where they believe “death is better” in all circumstances and authorities seemingly look the other way as they starve people to death (since Illinois bureaucrats hear the word “hospice” and immediately stop listening, since they believe people die in hospices every day…never thinking about the fact that if someone is not dying then starving him inside a hospice is MURDER).
1. Chet Siniawski and other Siniawski family members remain under what I believe is an unconstitutional gag order restricting their future speech. Judge Allen in Will County slapped a gag order on the family and won’t allow them to give updates on Cheater’s condition. This appears to be because Judge Allen is personally friendly with someone who works on the hospice’s medical staff. It appears to be unethical for Judge Allen to have not recused himself, since he knows someone at the hospice and putting a gag order on the family only benefits the hospice. How is it possible to silence and censor a family from speaking about the health of their loved one?
2. The Joliet Area Community Hospice was caught playing games with Chester’s videos, changing visiting hours to kick people out when they’d come to see him. The JACH would say that visiting hours went until 930pm for instance, but when someone would come to see Chester at 8pm or 830pm, they’d be told visiting hours were over. If they came at 730pm, they’d be told visiting hours ended at 7pm. The hospice staff would laugh when they did this to people, clearly playing games. Apparently, the JACH got in trouble for this and they have been told they are not allowed to screw around with visitors anymore and they can’t tell people that visiting hours ended any longer.
3. Visitors are now allowed to feed Chester when they come see him. And boy was he hungry! Chester thanks God and thanks the visitors who bring him nourishment. He begs to be fed and he is eager to get more bottles of Muscle Milk and protein shakes to save his life. He is so grateful to everyone who feeds him and gives him water. The JACH staff seem to hate when visitors come and haunt the corridors outside Chester’s room, fuming that Chester is being fed and given hydration when they clearly seem to want Chester to starve and to die so he can never tell a court about all the awful things that the JACH did to him.
4. Chester can swallow and he can ingest nutrition but the JACH continues to lie and claim he cannot swallow. This is a standoff at the moment, because a “Swallow Test” needs to be done to prove Chester can swallow. It seems like the JACH is contriving one excuse after another to try to stop that Swallow Test from being performed, since staff know that if it’s proven that Chester can swallow then they will have no choice but to feed him on a regular basis.
5. The JACH is still apparently refusing to produce any medical records or other medical documentation to support their claim that Chester should just be allowed to starve to death, not be fed, and not be given water. According to sources, they have not produced a single page of paper that would support doing any of this to Chester.
6. Chet Siniawski continues to ask for help on the family’s GoFundMe page. In my opinion, the Siniawskis seem to have some of the worst lawyers in the whole state but for whatever reason they don’t seem to want to fire them and find better ones. I don’t see any value whatsoever to the family being provided by the firm they have hired, but the family has not been able to find any firm to represent them pro-bono. Their law firm is a Cook County firm and apparently Will County courts are hostile towards Cook County firms. I don’t know why the family didn’t hire a Will County law firm to represent them, but this seems to be contributing to Chester’s plight.
7. Please pray for Chester Siniawski. Every day that he is allowed to be fed and given water is another day he is getting stronger. He is begging to be freed from the Joliet Area Community Hospice so he can go to rehab, build up his strength, and recover from the stroke he suffered back in April. I have never seen a man more mistreated than Chester, with his own wife and the ghouls at that Hospice of Horrors seemingly doing everything they can to keep him from getting better. He is in the fight of his life…and it is an important fight, because once he is freed from that place and is recovered I am sure he will testify against the JACH for what they did to him. And who knows how many other lives can be saved once the story gets out what is really happening in that euthanasia factory.
Megan Fox and I were alerted to something horrible happening at the Jewel-Osco grocery store in Lockport, Illinois. For those not familiar, Jewel (as everyone here calls it) is the major grocery store chain in Chicago. It’s similar to Wegman’s in the east and Giant Eagle in other parts of the country. It’s not the fancy grocery chain and not hipster heaven like Whole Foods: it’s the chain that I’ve always shopped at, with good prices and nice prepared foods for when you don’t feel like cooking. I’ve never had a bad experience at Jewel and have always felt they had great employees who take good care of customers. They also have a really great store brand that I often like better than national brands for things like pop, frozen pizzas, pasta sauce, etc.
I’m disappointed in Jewel at the moment, however, because of how it is treating a young man with autism named Christopher Dodge. Because of our work exposing corruption in local government, readers alerted us to what Jewel has been doing to the Dodge family after Christopher asked to be transferred from one Jewel to another to work in their bake shop as a clerk. Christopher has autism and is into the Asperger’s side of the spectrum. Megan and I spent an afternoon with him and he is a sweet, polite, and quiet young man who is always on time for work, who listens and takes direction well, and who has worked for Jewel for six years.
The issue at hand manifested when Christopher’s car broke down and he lost transportation to the Jewel he worked at in Palos Heights (another Chicago suburb). Christopher lives in Lockport, directly across the street from the Jewel in Lockport. Since he could no longer drive to the Palos Heights store and he was eligible for transfer according to Jewel’s own HR policies, Christopher asked to be moved from Palos Heights to an open bake shop position at the Lockport store. Jewel’s internal HR system showed several open positions in Lockport that Christopher would qualify for, including some in bake shop exactly like what he was doing in Palos Heights.
The problem arose when a store manager named Pete Popek allegedly retaliated against Christopher for a beef that Popek has against Christopher’s mother, Kate. It seems that in the past Kate had worked under Popek at the Lemont Jewel store and filed a corporate complaint against Popek. According to Kate, Popek was disciplined and demoted because of that complaint and transferred from Lemont to Lockport. That transfer of Popek has now come back to haunt the Dodge family, as Popek appears to be holding a grudge against Kate and retaliating against her son Christopher by not allowing him to transfer to the Lockport Jewel, even though that is now the only Jewel he can work at because he has lost his car and no longer has any transportation available besides walking.
Store manager Phil Ireland is siding with Popek and apparently allowing Popek to engage in grudge-holding and retaliation against Kate by not allowing Kate’s son Christopher to transfer to the bake shop at Lockport.
According to my understanding of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, I don’t think anything that Jewel is doing here is legal in any way, shape, or form and it all makes me question whether I want to continue being a Jewel shopper. Chicagoland has other grocery chains I could go to (Whole Foods is actually right on the corner and most convenient to me, but I’ve always been a Jewel shopper and I have that loyalty). I just think it’s sickening that Phil Ireland and Pete Popek are doing this to Christopher.
The EEO Act does not provide for a company refusing to allow a disabled man with autism to transfer to a store that is accessible to him transportation wise when there are open positions in that store. Jewel clearly has a system where employees of one store may transfer to other stores if they qualify for those positions. In Christopher’s case, he is wanting to make a lateral move from one Jewel to another, working in one bake shop instead of another. I do not see how Phil Ireland and Pete Popek have any ground to stand on in refusing to allow this routine job transfer.
Someone with autism who is recognized by the state as being disabled has enough struggles in life. Jewel as a corporation has a mission to employ individuals with disabilities who have trouble finding gainful employment elsewhere. Jewel boasts about their initiative to employ the otherwise unemployable. It is not reasonable for Jewel to go against everything it preaches and advertises about itself in terms of being a good community member and employer of the disabled by refusing to allow a disabled 6-year employee to receive a routine store-to-store transfer.
Additionally, retaliating against Christopher because Popek has a grudge against his mother Kate is deplorable. In my opinion, Popek is not management material and Jewel should rethink his place in the company. If Popek really was demoted and transferred involuntarily because of a complaint that Kate made, then Jewel should be aghast that Popek did not learn his lesson and is now harassing the Dodge family further, this time by targeting Christopher. Getting back at Kate for her complaint by tormenting her disabled son and refusing to allow him to have a job is despicable. The fact that Phil Ireland, the big cheese at the Lockport store, knows what is going on and is allowing it means that Jewel should rethink Ireland’s place in the company as well.
Why does this matter?
In our world and what it’s become, people care very little about anyone but themselves. You will never meet Christopher or Kate Dodge. They are not celebrities who make the cover of the magazines that occupy people’s thoughts at the checkout counter. The retaliation aimed at them in this act of discrimination against Christopher is minor compared to all the horrible things that the government does to Americans these days. So, it’s easy to say “Who cares?” and then click over to whatever earth-shattering horror Drudge has posted this morning.
The reason that Megan and I care about what’s being done to Christopher and Kate Dodge is that we believe Illinois got into the mess that we are in because so many people say “Who cares?”…and if we ever want Illinois to change, we have to start caring about instances where good people are being harmed by powerful bullies. In this case, a disabled man with no car wants to be able to walk to the store right across the street from him and bake bread. He’s not being allowed to do that because some jerk has a grudge against his mother…since the jerk did something bad to his mother in the past and he was punished for it. Since he didn’t like being punished, he now apparently sees a chance to get back at his mother by hurting her son.
Are we as a society okay with this being the norm…or do we think disabled people should be treated better and not be used as pawns in grudge matches involving employers?
Do we as a society expect Jewel to treat the disabled better, since Jewel repeatedly tells us that they are an employer that disabled people can go to for a job when they need it? Should Jewel keep promises that it makes in this regard, especially since the goodwill those promises create for Jewel often provides Jewel with corporate benefit. Jewel does a lot of advertising, a lot of sponsoring of community events, and a lot of lobbying for various favors from local government. That relationship works so long as Jewel is honestly keeping its promises and treating its employees well, particularly the disabled employees. But, if Jewel turns out to mistreat these people…then whatever good will Jewel has acquired is unearned and void…and local government should take a harder look at whatever Jewel wants and start making life harder for Jewel to do business.
A company that mistreats the disabled and allows them to be toyed with because Pete Popek (whoever the hell he thinks he is) sees an opportunity to take advantage of an autistic man’s plight as a means of getting immature revenge on the man’s mother is not a company that I wish to support.
How you can help!
I encourage you to please contact Jewel and tell them what you think and ask them why Christopher Dodge is not being allowed to transfer into one of the open, posted positions at the Lockport, Illinois store.
Jewel is a division of Albertsons/Safeway, so if you know anyone in those corporate ranks, please let them know what is being done to the Dodge family at the Lockport, Illinois store.
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