Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Crime Spree That Wasn't

As MSNBC's Hayes Brown points out, the "major increase in crime under Biden" doesn't actually exist, except in the minds of Republican voters who are lying and being lied to by the right-wing noise machine.

A Gallup Poll released Friday morning found that 56% of Americans think crime has increased in their local area over the last year, the most in 50 years. But as I’ve said before, there’s often a disconnect between the perception of increased crime in an area and whether that purported increase can accurately be measured. That goes double for a climate like today’s, where the GOP is determined to frame cities as liberal-created hellscapes.

Gallup noted that “Americans have consistently been more likely to say crime is worsening in the U.S. than in their local area,” and that held true in its latest findings: 78% of respondents think that crime is up nationwide compared to 2021, versus the 56% who believe crime is up where they live. In other words, people are more likely to think that rising crime is a problem somewhere else than it is in their own community.

Small wonder when the GOP is spending so heavily on hammering home that message. “Since July 1, the National Republican Congressional Committee has run at least $4 million in general-election ads with police or crime themes, with the House GOP’s main super PAC running $12.1 million over that period,” Politico reported this week, using data from nonpartisan research firm AdImpact.

And, surprise surprise, it’s Republicans who are most convinced in Gallup’s polling that crime is coming for us all. “Currently, 73% of Republicans say crime in their area has risen, while 51% of independents and 42% of Democrats say the same,” the polling firm found. That’s a 6-point increase compared to last year, which in turn was a massive leap from the 38% of Republicans who said crime was up when asked in 2020. More impressively, a full 95% of Republicans in this most recent poll believe that crime is up nationally, “the highest ever for any party group,” as Gallup put it.

But that belief doesn’t square with what we know so far this year about crime across the nation — which admittedly is not a lot. Crime statistics are not collected uniformly nationwide, leaving us with large gaps in our understanding. In the absence of accurate and current data, we’re left with anecdotes or perceptions, as Gallup has measured.

One useful source is the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, which last month released its 2021 data on criminal victimization nationwide. When it comes to “violent victimization” — aka people who are the victims of violent crimes like rape, robbery and aggravated assault, but not murder — it found that the estimated rate had declined from 2012 through last year and that the rate “did not change” between 2020 and 2021. As for property crimes, the rate also had not significantly increased from the previous year.


The Justice Department numbers are pretty well-documented. Crime is down significantly from, say, the "superpredator" 90's. But it's not like being a Republican in 2022 has anything to do with reality, after all. When the vast majority of your party believes in conspiracy theories and unfounded idiocy, why should the perception of crime have any factual truth to it? 

When Republican tell you to your face that larges sections of liberal cities have been completely destroyed in "Antifa riots" in 2020, that the election was stolen, and the JFK Jr is still alive, why wouldn't they say that crime is out of control?

They lie and are lied to about everything else, after all.

These Disunited States, Con't

Less than two weeks before the 2022 elections, the U.S. government is warning of a "heightened threat" to the midterm contests, fueled by a rise in domestic violent extremism, or DVE, and driven by ideological grievances and access to potential targets, according to a joint intelligence bulletin obtained by CBS News.

"Potential targets of DVE violence include candidates running for public office, elected officials, election workers, political rallies, political party representatives, racial and religious minorities, or perceived ideological opponents," the bulletin, published Friday, stated.

The bulletin was issued on the same day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband was violently attacked by a man who broke into their home and demanded, "Where's Nancy? Where's Nancy?"

According to the memo distributed to law enforcement partners nationwide Friday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) predict that "violence will largely be dependent on drivers such as personalized ideological grievances and the accessibility of potential targets throughout the election cycle." Intelligence analysts assess that the "most plausible" threat ahead of Election Day comes from "lone offenders who leverage election-related issues to justify violence," with many individuals still amplifying false narratives of fraud that date back to the 2020 general election.

Analysts cautioned that government officials and personnel, "including candidates in the midterm election and officials involved in administering elections," will likely remain "attractive targets" to those motivated by debunked claims of election fraud that have spread online. U.S. Capitol Police have reported a "sharp increase" of threats against members of Congress in recent years and notably documented 9,600 direct or indirect threats in 2021 alone.

"We assess some [domestic violent extremists] motivated by election-related grievances would likely view election-related infrastructure, personnel, and voters involved in the election process as attractive targets — including at publicly accessible locations like polling places, ballot drop-box locations, voter registration sites, campaign events, and political party offices," the bulletin warns.

Their aim, the bulletin suggests, would be to try to discredit the elections: "DVEs could target components of the election infrastructure in hopes of swaying voting habits, undermining perceptions of the legitimacy of the voting process, or prompting a particular government reaction."

And it goes on to note that the places where people vote could be targeted for attacks "because they prioritize accessibility to maximize exposure to potential voters, making them vulnerable to simple, easy-to-use weapons, like firearms, vehicles, edged weapons, and incendiary devices, which DVEs have used in the past."

"Some [domestic violent extremists], particularly anti-government and anti-authority violent extremists and racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists motivated by differing perceptions of issues like government overreach, firearms regulation, and immigration policy, will potentially view social and political tensions during the upcoming midterm election as an opportunity to use or promote violence in furtherance of their ideological goals," the bulletin noted
I'd say this was an unprecedented threat to America, but January 6th made it abundantly clear what precedent is now for Republicans and election violence.  Frankly, this is a warning that should have sent months ago, with federal law enforcement and Justice Department task forces in place in Republican states well before now.

MAGA terrorist violence over the days and weeks ahead is almost guaranteed at this point. The only question is how bad the bill will be when it comes due.
Vote early if you can, and be careful on Tuesday the 8th.
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