Yesterday, the Senate unanimously passed Lindsey Graham's toothless resolution condemning Putin as a war criminal. The idea behind it was to encourage the International Criminal Court. Maybe in would have more resonance if the U.S. was a member. And speaking of "toothless," did you know that Brits warned the Duma weeks in advance that the members were going to be sanctioned and their assets frozen, enough time for all the members to get their liquid assets out of Britain? And as the U.S. moves-- gingerly-- to sanction billionaire Putin lap dog kleptocrat Sir Leonid Blavatsky, has anyone mentioned undoing the knighthood Britain sold him?
The head of the Justice Department's KleptoCaptute task force, veteran corruption prosecutor Andrew Adams warned "There will not be an escape hatch around the sanctions through money launderers and opaque financial networks." Maybe if he began by arresting Blavatnik-- the briber-- and Marco Rubio-- the bribee-- more people would take his task force seriously.
This morning, Tom Winter and Chloe Atkins reported the escape hatch is that the task force will not be looking at past transgressions. They wrote that "The task force-- made up of prosecutors, agents, analysts and linguists-- will investigate and prosecute current and future sanctions as a result of the Ukraine invasion. That will include combating illegal efforts to undermine the restrictions on Russian financial institutions, targeting efforts to use cryptocurrency to evade sanctions and using civil and criminal asset forfeiture authority to seize assets belonging to people subject to sanctions." In other words, a big joke and a complete waste of money meant only to assure Americans something is being done, while nothing is being done at all. "Adams," they added, "declined to name the oligarchs or organizations his office is specifically targeting, but he said those listed on the Treasury Department’s sanctions list 'are clearly in the crosshairs.' ... The Biden administration ordered new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and others in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle this month in response to the invasion of Ukraine. Among those targeted were Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a wealthy businessman known as 'Putin’s chef,' and Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov, one of Russia’s richest men and a close ally of Putin." As happy I am that the property of Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko in the U.S. is now frozen, please wake me up when a billionaire spends the night in prison.
I'd like to see more law-and-order candidates elected to office. Not more oppressors of working people-- we have plenty of those-- but people running on platforms that indicate they will fight for Justice every day and in every way. Want to see what a real law and order candidate looks like? Take a look at the Twitter account of populist Democrat running for the open Missouri Senate seat, Lucas Kunce. Yesterday, after noting that "In a week, the price for a barrel of oil dropped from $130.50 to under $100. But prices at the pump are STILL at record highs. Big Oil wants to keep America on its knees. Our politicians have spent 40 years holding us there."
And it's not just Oil Oligarchs Kunce is looking at. Here are two tweets in a row-- one targeting corrupt members of Congress trading stocks and the other targeting war profiteers:
And speaking of Missouri, the governor and all the statewide officials are conservative Republicans. The state legislature consists of a Senate with 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats and a House with 114 Republicans and 48 Dems. In other words, fake "law and order" Republicans run the whole show and guess what... crime is rampant, the real crime of homelessness and the targeting of working families by economic predators and even the kind of crime they themselves are always whining about. Missouri, for example, has the 5th highest murder rate in America:
Of course, it isn't just Missouri. Murder is rampant in the blood red states where cynical politicians are always whining about liberal permissiveness causing crime. U.S. media follows their lead and has created a narrative blaming big cities run by Democrats as havens for criminals. "There is a large piece of the homicide story that is missing and calls into question the veracity of the right-wing obsession over homicides in Democratic cities: murder rates are far higher in Trump-voting red states than Biden-voting blue states. And sometimes, murder rates are highest in cities with Republican mayors."
For example, Jacksonville, a city with a Republican mayor, had 128 more murders in 2020 than San Francisco, a city with a Democrat mayor, despite their comparable populations. In fact, the homicide rate in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco was half that of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Bakersfield, a city with a Republican mayor that overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Yet there is barely a whisper, let alone an outcry, over the stunning levels of murders in these and other places.
... [M]urder rates are, on average, 40% higher in the 25 states Donald Trump won in the last presidential election compared to those that voted for Joe Biden. In addition, murder rates in many of these red states dwarf those in blue states like New York, California, and Massachusetts. And finally, many of the states with the worst murder rates-- like Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas-- are ones that few would describe as urban. Only 2 of America’s top 100 cities in population are located in these high murder rate states. And not a single one of the top 10 murder states registers in the top 15 for population density.
Whether one does or does not blame Republican leaders for high murder rates, it seems that Republican officeholders do a better job of blaming Democrats for lethal crime than actually reducing lethal crime.
...In 2020, murder rates increased nearly everywhere. But they increased more in Trump-voting states than Biden-voting states, albeit slightly. The average increase in murder rate across all Trump-voting states was 32.2% compared to 30.8% in Biden-voting states.
Three out of the five states with the highest murder rates in 2020-- Mississippi, Missouri, and Alabama-- didn’t have reliable 2019 data available, so they weren’t included in this analysis.
Three of the five states with the largest increase in murder rate were Trump-voting Wyoming at 91.7%, South Dakota at 69%, and Nebraska at 59.1%. These states are decidedly rural and do not conform to the chaos-in-the-city meme that has overtaken the crime debate. Biden-voting Wisconsin came in at the number three spot at 63.2% and Minnesota came in fifth at 58.1%. Out of the top ten states, six were Trump-voting states—with the additional three being Kentucky, West Virginia, and Kansas. The remaining states in the top ten were Delaware and Washington. Only one of the top ten states in murder rate increases, Delaware, was among the top twenty in population density.