Who Taught House Republicans to Cynically Fearmonger About Crime in NYC Like That?
And other news to start your day
9:14 AM EDT on April 18, 2023
The House Judiciary Committee came to town yesterday to hold a "field hearing" in a federal building in Lower Manhattan. On the agenda of the Republican-controlled body was Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The real motivation for this stunt was plain: Bragg presided over the indictment of Donald Trump two weeks ago, and the GOP representatives on the committee wanted to punish Bragg for disrespecting their great leader.
But "you charged my political patron with crimes and I want revenge" doesn't ring out as a righteous premise for a congressional hearing, so there was a cover story: The hearing was actually about "Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan," if its formal title was to be believed.
"Here in Manhattan, the scales of justice are weighed down by politics," inveighed Committee Chair Jim Jordan of Ohio. "For the district attorney, justice isn't blind. It's about looking for opportunities to advance a political agenda—a radical political agenda. Rather than enforcing the law, the DA is using his office to do the bidding of left-wing campaign funders." This last mention was a reference to (((foreign-born financier))) George Soros, who, Republicans explained repeatedly, has donated money to the campaigns of progressive prosecutors in order to advance a soft-on-crime agenda, presumably with the goal of weakening America from within. “Imagine that,” Jordan said. “You leave criminals on the street, you get more crime.”
The hearing was the sort of thing that makes you stupider for being exposed to it, political theater in the distinctive grating register of Washington D.C. But the harmonic overtones of its ostensible purpose was all New York: crime out of control; prosecutions too soft on criminal defendants to offer a credible deterrent; elected officials laughing like sickos at the window as society frays and disintegrates; nefarious left-wing activists behind it all. This discourse is deeply familiar to any New Yorker who has been paying attention over the past three years.
Some of New York's home-grown Jim Jordans cheered the hearing on: The New York Post offered breathless multi-bylined coverage of the hearing, with break-out stories highlighting the individual crime victims Republicans had called to testify, an editorial confirming that indeed "Bragg is the poster boy for radical DAs around the country (many backed by far-left billionaire George Soros) who readily admit their goal is to keep criminals out of jail," and a second editorial alleging that "Media 'fact-checkers' lie to defend Alvin Bragg".
Queens City Councilmember Bob Holden found at the hearing a welcoming venue for his longtime message that there are not enough New Yorkers in jail and prison. "I've not seen the lawlessness that I'm seeing today in New York City today in my lifetime," he told the committee, in a soundbite so good it was excerpted by the Republican Judiciary Committee Twitter account. "That means we're afraid to go anywhere."
Other New Yorkers rallied against the National Republican's efforts to paint New York as a seething nest of violence and crime presided over by scheming communist Jews. Protesters choked the hallways outside the hearing, telling the august politicians what they could do with their investigation. The Daily News, Democratic witnesses, and many others pointed out that crime rates in Jim Jordan's Ohio district are considerably worse than they are in New York City.
And Mayor Eric Adams joined Manhattan Congressional representative Jerry Nadler at a press conference to defend New York. "Welcome to the safest big city in America," Adams said. "The numbers are clear."
The unacknowledged irony of Adams standing up for New York in this way is that the songbook Jim Jordan was singing from yesterday has a lot of numbers Adams has sung himself: New York is overcome by out-of-control crime—check. Prosecutors aren't locking enough people up—check. Leftists are to blame—check.
"It's the highest level of hypocrisy," Adams said on MSNBC yesterday of the cynical exploitation of crime fears to further a political agenda. He may be on to something.
Here are some more links to start your day:
- Rowan Wilson, Hochul's nominee to head the state's highest court, is breezing through his confirmation process, unlike his predecessor.
- Kathy Hochul's nominee to replace Wilson represented Chevron in its successful legal effort to avoid paying damages for environmental devastation in Ecuador, including pursuing racketeering charges against human rights lawyer Steven Donziger.
- Brooklyn Lobster is facing charges of operating as a ponzi scheme, and inexplicably no one has used the headline "Shell Game" yet.
- The Central Park Boathouse is finally coming back.
- If you pull into the wrong driveway in this country you could get shot.
- Journalist in a cage.
- Nicole Malliotakis drove into Manhattan and parked illegally in Foley Square to take part in the congressional hearing on rampant lawlessness.
- The Justice Department is charging two men with running a clandestine police station for the Chinese Government in Lower Manhattan.
- New York took in $3 billion more in taxes last year than anticipated.
And lastly… the people love garments that aren't made by slave labor!
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