During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the chief spokesperson for President Saddam Hussein government was Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, who held almost daily press conferences denying that the allied forces had swiftly defeated the Iraqi Army and were taking Baghdad. At his last press conferences he is standing outside telling reporters that Baghdad was secure over the the sounds of nearby artillery and small arms fire, and as news footage shows tanks and soldiers sweeping into the city virtually unopposed. For this remarkable demonstration of chutzpah he became known worldwide as “Baghdad Bob.” Last year we decided to give a Baghdad Bob award to a person whose denial of reality rivaled the example set by al-Sahhaf. The winner was MSNBC reporter Ali Velshi, who gave an on-air report during the May 28, 2020 George Floyd riot in Minneapolis. Before cameras, as a one of dozens of the city’s buildings set fire by rioters that night was blazing behind him, Velshi told viewers “I want to be clear on how I characterize this. This is mostly a protest. It is not generally speaking unruly. But fires have been started.”
In the end over 100 buildings in Minneapolis were completely destroyed and 1,500 were damaged in the not generally unruly protest on the nights of May 27-29, 2021.
The selection for 2021 was even more difficult. Days ago Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Times “A lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out.” Apparently she does not read newspapers or watch television news. Almost everything the Congresswoman says qualifies as a denial of reality. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was also in the running with her announcement last weekend that the organized smash-and-grab robberies plaguing the city’s retailers is actually the fault of the retailers for not doing enough to prevent them. Kind of like telling a rape victim that she was responsible because she wore a short skirt. There are many more worthy candidates that should at least win a participation trophy.
But this year there is a tie for the Baghdad Bob award between uber progressive District Attorney in Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and his soulmate, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón.
Both Soros-bankrolled District Attorneys have implemented zero bail policies for what they characterize as “low level” offenders including every kind of thief, including car thieves, along with drunk drivers, most wife beaters and drug dealers. Both DAs have also implemented woke charging and sentencing policies that allow almost all the criminals in their counties to avoid the full consequences of their crimes. This includes violent offenders. What could possibly go wrong? Both cities have become virtual shooting galleries over the past year. Last year Philadelphia hit a 30-year high with 499 homicides and 2,200 people shot. This year Philly has exceeded this by another 13% with 521 murders with most of December left to increase the tally. Robberies also increased this year by a whopping 27%.
But most other reported crimes are down down so on Monday December 6, Krasner held a press conference to announce: “We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness, we don’t have a crisis of crime, we don’t have a crisis of violence. There is not a big spike in crime….There is not a big spike in violent crime. Neither of these things is true.”
As reported by Fox News, Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who left office in 2016, responded: “District Attorney Krasner’s recent remarks about whether we are experiencing a crime crisis are some of the worst, most ignorant and most insulting comments I have every heard spoken by an elected official…..I have to wonder what kind of messed up world of white wokeness Krasner is living in to have so little regard for human lives lost, many of them Black and brown, while he advances his own national profile as a progressive district attorney…..How many more Black and brown people, and others, would have to be gunned down in our streets daily to meet your definition of a crisis.” I could not have said it any better myself.
Not to be outdone on December 8, ABC News Los Angeles covered Gascón’s presser to celebrate his first year as District Attorney and tell the public “We’re trying really hard to use the science that is currently available, the data that is currently available, to do our work….And I’m not going to be intimidated by political rhetoric.” When asked if any of his policies contributed to the skyrocketing rise in homicides or the almost daily smash-and-grab robberies occurring across the county he said “absolutely not.”
Earlier this year Gascón told reporters “While a minority of victims want the maximum punishment imposed in their case, research shows these views are not shared by a majority of survivors of violent crime, as most survivors don’t find healing by putting another person in a cage.” He continued, “Additionally, studies show that excessive sentencing practices have exacerbated recidivism leading to more victims of crime.” Two days later the leaders of California’s largest victims groups called out Gascón for misrepresenting their members with the head of Crime Victims United stating “I find Gascón’s remarks extremely disrespectful to victims. Almost all victims want to see justice done, which means criminals receive the full sentence provided by law.”
A month later CJLF researchers released a working paper reviewing all available studies of the effect of sentencing on recidivism. The researchers found found only one unpublished study supporting Gascon’s claim and noted: “There is no strong basis in the published research for the claim that longer sentences increase recidivism relative to shorter ones. Most studies on the effect of sentence length suggest either no effect on recidivism or slight reductions in recidivism.”
“Cherry-picking a single unpublished paper for what ‘studies show’ when the body of published literature is contrary is a blatant misrepresentation,” said CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger. “The state of our knowledge in this area is still limited, but what we do know tends to refute rather than support Gascón’s claims.”
According to the Los Angeles Times 816 people have been murdered in Los Angeles County so far this year. Robberies and auto theft are also up in the county. As one of Gascón’s own deputies noted “Releasing criminals, not charging crime does not work in Los Angeles. And it’s not making anybody any safer.” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was more pointed about Gascón’s policies: “It’s been an absolute disaster for the community…..It’s been a disaster for public safety. It’s been a disaster for law enforcement.”
When it comes to lying to the public, these two District Attorneys have distinguished themselves and fully deserve the Baghdad Bob award this year.
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