THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 2021
The things we can't hear in Our Town: We were visited by Plato last night, or by someone presenting as same. Incongruously, this being carried a Xeroxed copy of Plato's Seventh Letter.
We've mentioned the famous document several times in the past. Below, you see the section we've commonly cited.
Alas! When Plato was still a young man, Athens' democracy was overthrown. Many years later, he recalled the way he reacted:
PLATO: The existing constitution, which was subject to widespread criticism, was overthrown...and a committee of Thirty given supreme power. As it happened some of them were friends and relations of mine and they at once invited me to join them, as if it were the natural thing for me to do.
My feelings were what were to be expected in a young man: I thought they were going to reform society and rule justly, and so I watched their proceedings with deep interest. I found that they soon made the earlier regime look like a golden age.
Among other things they tried to incriminate my old friend Socrates, whom I should not hesitate to call the most upright man then living, by sending him, with others, to arrest a fellow-citizen, and bring him forcibly to execution; Socrates refused, and risked everything rather than make himself a party to their wickedness. When I saw all this, and other things as bad, I was disgusted and withdrew from the wickedness of the times.
The Athenian democracy was soon restored, but Socrates was brought to trial on “a monstrous charge.”
The execution of Socrates pretty much finished off Plato too. “The more closely I studied the politicians and the laws and customs of the day, and the older I grew, the more difficult it seemed to me to govern rightly,” Plato later recalled.
As a young man, Plato had been disgusted by "the wickedness of the times." We thought again of that famous letter as we watched the start of today's Morning Joe.
We'll have to admit that we also thought of the widely-cited "banality of evil."
In the program's first fifteen minutes, the Morning Joe gang offered a thoroughly banal account of the traffic stop which resulted in last Sunday's death of Daunte Wright.
There was little sign that this fatuous gang had any real idea what they were talking about. To appearances, they were building melodrama and speaking from script, as is their normal practice.
Joe marveled at the crazy idea that "three police officers were approaching anyone on the basis of an expired license plate." At that point, the New York Times' Mara Gay stepped in to support Joe's vacuous narrative.
As always, Willie quickly chimed in, repeating the things he'd heard. Hs there ever been a more reliable yes-man? He's Our Town's version of Pence!
It was the banality of this exchange which evoked the "wickedness" of that earlier era. Very frankly, we thought of Vladimir Putin's many wins—of the likelihood that the autocrats really may score an overall win over our own failing system.
(We refer to the ongoing, existential battle to which President Biden has been alluding of late.)
The ongoing collapse of our failing system was captured by the banal performance of the Morning Joe gang. We compared their banal presentation to the backgrounds facts of this deeply unfortunate matter—to the basic background information which has begun to emerge.
We aren't being told about these facts here in the streets of Our Town. Along with many others, Joe and Willie and Mika and Mara have been handing us the latest version of a story we very much like.
To what background facts do we refer? Consider the detailed report of those facts at the well-known site, Snopes.com.
Snopes is not a conservative site. Jessica Lee, who fact-checked this matter for Snopes, is a bit of a left-leaning propagandist.
That said, Lee did substantial fact-checking for the fact-check site concerning the arrest, and the death, of Wright. Once you fight your way through her early bursts of propaganda, you start to encounter the background information to which you won't be exposed in Our Town.
They're hearing about it over on Fox. You just can't hear it here.
Why did Brooklyn Park police pull Wright over that day? That still isn't fully clear. But as Lee performs her fact-checking duties, it does become fairly clear why police were attempting to detain him right before he broke away and attempted to flee.
Even this morning, the Morning Joe gang soaked that decision by the police in oceans of sarcasm / ridicule. As Lee quotes and describes the basic court records, the background to Sunday's attempted arrest starts here:
LEE (4/14/21): Using Minnesota’s online database of court records, we obtained a probable-cause statement outlining law-enforcement’s accusations against Wright, including allegations that he choked and threatened a woman with a handgun while robbing her.
According to that document, he and a high school friend went over to an apartment in Osseo (a neighboring suburb to...Brooklyn Center), to party one night in December 2019. At the end of the hangout, around 2:30 a.m., the young men supposedly could not find a ride home, so two women who lived in the home allowed them to sleep on the floor.
The next morning, after one of the women left for work, her roommate told authorities that Wright blocked the apartment’s exit, pulled out a handgun, and demanded that she hand over $820 in cash, the statement alleged. She supposedly had the money to pay rent. The document continued:
The $820 cash was tucked in the VICTIM’s bra and DEFENDANT WRIGHT placed his hand around VICTIM’s neck and choked her while trying to pull the cash out from under her bra. […] DEFENDANT WRIGHT then told her that he would shoot her and said “Give me the money and we will go”. DEFENDANT WRIGHT then tried to choke VICTIM a second time and tried to take her money.
After an unknown amount of time passed, the female victim identified Wright and his friend as the alleged perpetrators by looking at photograph line-ups, according to the complaint.
At present, these are all allegations—claims. But according to Snopes, that's where the story begins—and Lee is quoting court documents.
Already, we're in a different world, as compared to the innocuous craftings we're handed here in Our Town. Our spotless minds are being shielded from unpleasant information like this—from information which helps explain why police were attempting to detain Wright last Sunday.
Lee has described how the story began. As she continues, she explains where the story went next:
LEE: [O]n Dec. 4, 2019, authorities indeed filed paperwork to issue a warrant for his arrest for the alleged robbery in Osseo. But, about two days later, law enforcement fulfilled that warrant; they arrested Wright and his friend. Wright quickly posted bond, as outlined via the documentation displayed below, and agreed to follow the court’s orders so he could leave jail.
[Photocopy of court document is presented]
Then, the following summer, officers with the neighboring Minneapolis Police Department cited Wright for carrying a pistol without a permit and trying to evade their directions (both misdemeanor offenses), the records showed.
"For trying to evade their directions?" At that point, Lee provides a photocopy of the statement of probable cause describing Wright's behavior during this later incident.
According to that statement, Minneapolis police had received "a gun call" about a light-complexioned 17-year-old black male who had been "waving a gun around" and had then driven away. When the officers located the car the caller had described, it was determined that Wright was the person with the gun, but he ran away, thereby evading arrest.
Those are all allegations—claims. That said, Lee continues from there:
LEE: Because those alleged infractions violated the terms of his jail release mentioned above (and his probation officer said he stopped checking in, per the documents), Wright was detained again and released on bond in September 2020.
Then, just weeks before his death, Wright did not show up for his first court appearance on April 2 to discuss his alleged offenses in Minneapolis. It was unknown why Wright missed the court hearing.
In response to that absence, a judge issued another order for his arrest, and that was the active warrant (displayed below) when Brooklyn Center police ran his name through their background software moments before killing him.
A born propagandist, Lee works in one last shot in the last two words we've posted. That said, she had presented a large amount of background information—information you aren't allowed to know about here in Our Town.
The allegations about Wright are all, of course. allegations. At issue is the ugly, stupid, disgraceful clowning by Scarborough, Gay and Geist on this morning's spectacularly banal TV show.
As you follow the news orgs here in Our Town, you will be handed a pleasing story in which Brooklyn Park police inexplicably stopped and tried to detain Wright because of his several air fresheners. This is the latest stupid story we've been fed, in the last ten years, about events of this type.
You won't be told about the court documents to which the officers were reacting that day. By general agreement of the guild, our spotless minds will be protected from any such complexities.
Plato was repulsed by the "wickedness" he saw around him. We'll suggest that all of us who live in Our Town are drowning in a sea of banality which may be just as destructive and ugly.
We're being told a ridiculous story by the overpaid, corporate-owned children at our "cable news" channels. In the process, we're receiving the "background information" our spotless minds want to hear.
Because our spotless minds are so weak, let us state one point. No one is saying that Wright should have been shot last Sunday.
No one is saying that, not even the shooter! Despite this blindingly obvious fact, the idiots who appear on our "cable news" channels keep setting that straw man up, then heroically knocking it down. Again and again, our "cable news" stars are astoundingly faux and/or dumb.
The silly story we're being told is designed to skew our understanding of what happened last Sunday. It's designed to skew our understanding of why Wright was being detained when he broke free and was about to drive away.
We're being handed a stupidly sanitized version of what happened. Our Town's news orgs have been working from this general template for the past many years—certainly so in the case of police shooting deaths.
People who watch the Fox News Channel are being told that this repellent gong-show is being performed in Our Town. We ourselves are the only ones who are kept in the dark!
There is no way a modern nation can survive the practiced tribal banality of these Morning Joe / Anderson Cooper days. Meanwhile, the embattled Rachel has been on her best behavior this week.
She's been on her best behavior. The weeks of clowning have stopped.
She's also been avoiding, as always. It's been that way from the start.
Tomorrow: Why do we put up with this? Rachel Maddow's disgraceful clowning over the past several weeks