The Railroading of Derek Chauvin Day 2

Defense attorney Eric Nelson in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Chauvin’s attorney gets prosecution witnesses to admit it is not always possible to know if someone is unconscious during a “blood choke” and will fight again once revived. Also, another prosecution witness admits officers checked Floyd’s pulse several times.

You will not read or hear this in the mainstream media – even the putative conservative media. They all seem determined to condemn Derek Chauvin. But defense attorney Eric Nelson had an opportunity to question the prosecution’s witnesses. He discredited them. 

First, he questioned Donald Williams II, the professional mixed martial artist (MMA), who was at the scene when Derek Chauvin was trying to restrain George Floyd. Nelson asked Williams about his martial arts training. Williams said he practiced various martial arts such as Muay Thai, Wrestling, and Jiu-Jitsu. He added that he went from wrestling in college to being a Mixed Martial Artist about ten years ago. Williams acknowledged that he learned submission chokes. He has used them in training sessions and in bouts. He also acknowledged that an MMA contest employs all of the various methods of fighting: striking, grappling, and includes choking and other submissions. The point is to “knock the person out, render him unconscious” stated Nelson and asked Williams if this is true. Williams confirmed this is true.

Nelson then mentioned Williams’ professional MMA record. It is interesting he did. Because this is a fact mentioned in this Houston Courant column on March 30. This column noted that two-thirds of Williams’ losses were by submission choke. So Williams has been on the receiving end of being rendered unconscious or surrendering several times as a pro after being choked.

Then Nelson asked Williams to confirm, which he did, that in MMA contests there are weight classes. A 250 lb fighter is not matched with a 150 lb fighter, for example. Williams also acknowledged referees are present in matches. 

Williams also confirmed that when one fighter has another fighter in a chokehold the referee ensures that the fighter being choked is still conscious. This is because it is not always possible for one fighter to know when another fighter is unconscious during the application of a choke. 

Williams also testified that even after a fighter has been rendered unconscious by a choke, said fighter often will continue or want to continue to fight again after regaining consciousness. 

Williams gave uncertain or guarded responses about the difference between how an air choke works and a blood choke works. He also testified, because of his experience as a security guard, that there is a lot of anxiety and stress involved when working in front of a hostile crowd. 

Then Nelson established that Williams did not know what occurred prior to his arrival at the scene. For example, he was unaware that an ambulance had been called for Floyd. He was also unaware that police had been dealing with Floyd for fifteen minutes prior to his arrival. 

Donald Williams was reacting out of ignorance.

Williams also testified he did not hear any conversations among the three officers with Floyd. He grew angrier as he watched the scene unfolding in front of him. “I really wanted to beat the shit out of the police officers,” Nelson quoted Williams as saying. Williams called the police “bums” and more vulgar comments. Williams kept haranguing the police after Floyd was taken away by ambulance. 

Donald Williams was reacting out of anger.

Simply put, without knowing everything that occurred before, Williams passed judgment on the actions the police took without knowing why they did or what they did. He just made prejudicial presumptions that were hostile to the police. 

Donald Williams acted out of ignorance and hostility towards the police.

Nelson also cross-examined an unidentified female teenage witness. He asked the young girl if she ever said she observed the officers checking Floyd’s pulse. She said, “I even saw them check his pulse multiple times before the ambulance got there.” Initially, she denied saying this. But after Nelson showed her the transcript of her interview with law enforcement immediately following the incident she admitted it. She also said she was angry.

The prosecution witnesses were both angry and hostile to the police. Their testimony was at times guarded, evasive, or incorrect, or all three.

  • Derek Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson established that if Derek Chauvin used a chokehold he would not necessarily know when the person being choked is unconscious.
  • He also established that those who are rendered unconscious by chokeholds can revive and want to continue fighting.
  • He also established that contrary to media reports officers did check Floyd several times for his pulse.

Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson made powerful points and compelling arguments. He blunted – if not discredited – two of the prosecution’s leading witnesses. Even to the extent of extracting testimony that confirmed Chauvin’s innocence.

But you will not hear this on MSNBC, CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, or NPR. You will not read this in the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Boston Globe, Washington Examiner, OANN, or Newsmax. 

Read the Houston Courant to get the latest news about the trial of Derek Chauvin.

The Railroading of Derek Chauvin, Day 1

The persecution of Derek Chauvin continued on the first day of the trial of Derek Chauvin. The term trial is used loosely here. Railroading, Kangaroo Court, Stalinist Show Trial, or Lynching of Derek Chauvin are all actually more appropriate labels. 

The media, liberal and conservative, already pronounced Officer Derek Chauvin guilty. Frankly, the media pronounced him guilty before he was arrested. For nearly the past year, America’s Fourth Estate has been acting as Judge, Jury, and Lord High Executioner. 

A great example is that of Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett. He wrote a column on March 29th that stated unqualifiedly Chauvin is guilty based simply on a segment of the video showing Chauvin restraining George Floyd.

Jarrett wrote an emotional plea, “Watching the recording was heart-wrenching and grotesque.  It was so atrocious that I venture to say it would be impossible for any compassionate person not to be incensed and angry at Chauvin’s actions, as well as his corresponding indifference to a human life.  Chauvin has a strange and defiant look on his face.  It made you wonder whether there was hatred in his heart.”  

This is a very strong condemnation by Jarrett. I felt compelled to contact him via tweet offering to debate him about his lurid – some might say disgraceful – accusations. I do not expect Jarrett to reply. Armchair Quarterbacks never do.

Jarrett said the same that night on Hannity. Noted use of force expert, Sean Hannity, concurred. Hannity, who always seems to manage working into a conversation that he is learning a martial art, weighed in by saying he knows for certain how to restrain someone, and that what Chauvin did was unnecessary. The world is awaiting Hannity’s next book, How to Effect Arrests Based on My Lifelong Experience Controlling Violent People. He will be plugging it soon on his show.

But Fox journalists were not alone in tying the rope to hang Chauvin. Read some of the tweets from the omniscient, self-anointed, guardians of truth, justice, and the American way:

At 10:50 AM on March 29, 2021, Glenn Kirschner a Legal Analyst former federal prosecutor tweeted: “As the prosecutor just said in his opening statement in the Derek Chauvin case: even after George Floyd becomes unconscious, defendant Chauvin, doesn’t let up, doesn’t get up.” This is a powerful statement . . . and powerfully incriminating against Derek Chauvin.” Just to make sure his followers know where he stands on this case Kirschner hashtags his tweet #JusticeMatters to demonstrate his partiality.

Now it is clear that Floyd was resisting arrest. He already tried to escape once. He was complaining about not being able to breathe well before he was on the ground. These are facts, not speculation such as expressed by the contemptible journalists Jarrett and Kirschner.

Another NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst, with the Twitter handle Joyce Alene (Joyce Alene White Vance) tweeted three minutes after Kirschner, “In opening, prosecutors say that when an EMT who was a bystander approached to try & check George Floyd’s pulse & render aid, Chauvin refused her & pointed his mace at her.” 

There is a recording of Chauvin telling a colleague that he wants to keep Floyd, who was acting violent and irrational, right where he was until the ambulance arrived. Now, why would Chauvin say this if he intended on murdering Floyd? As far as not wanting help from someone who claims to be an EMT well how does he know she is who she says?

Another tweet by a nonjournalist put forth a popular Leftwing conspiracy theory about Chauvin: “He’s a dirty cop that got busted by Floyd for being on the take at the club.” Her source for this? Who knows? 

Another MSNBC commentator Ali Velsh tweets: “You’ll hear both 8:46 & 9:29 referenced in the trial of Derek Chauvin. 8:46 comes from the Hennepin County Attorney’s initial complaint against Chauvin. Police body camera footage released in August showed Chauvin had his knee on #GeorgeFloyd‘s neck for 9:29.”

Once again it bears repeating, Chauvin is heard on audiotape saying he wants to keep Floyd still until an ambulance arrives.

Lauren Dawn Johnson, host of Fox 29’s GOOD DAY PHILADELPHIA tweeted: “Witness explains a lot of Derek Chauvin’s movements in the video as “putting pressure down on his neck.” The shoulder shifts show increased pressure on the neck.” 

Johnson may have been referring to a prosecution witness by the name of Donald Willliams II. He is a professional mixed martial artist. He has a professional record of five wins and six losses. All his wins came by decision. All of his losses were by being submitted with chokes or by technical knockouts.  

Williams said Chauvin used a blood choke. If this is true, then Williams is admitting that Chauvin was using a technique designed to render a person unconscious, not kill him. He knows this because of his experience as a mixed martial arts fighter. Such a choke is used in mixed martial arts competitions to make fighters unconscious. Williams lost many of his pro fights this way.

Besides Williams is incorrect by describing a knee on the back of the neck as a blood choke. It is not a carotid artery choke. The technique Chauvin used was a PMR or prone maximal restraint. This technique has been known to be problematic. (But more on this later in another column.)

Williams seems to lack credibility by any objective standard. His testimony is merely to incite the jury. He obviously did so to Lauren Dawn Johnson of Philadelphia’s Fox29 morning television program. 

But the media, Democrat politicians (and many Republicans – Mike Pence are you listening?), the self-anointed civil rights activists, and the Leftist fanatics should be honest and admit that this “trial” is not about Derek Chauvin. It is about dividing the nation, pitting one group against another, and promulgating hate. What happened to Floyd has happened to others – without regard to race, religion, creed, or gender. No, this “trial” is about perpetuating hateful stereotypes and tearing the nation apart.

What is being done to Chauvin is being done to all police everywhere.

The New York Times Can’t Get Basic Facts Right on Election Reform

Reprinted with permission from the Heritage Foundation.

Not surprisingly, the New York Times is pushing liberal talking points when it falsely asserts in an article from Tuesday that reforms by state legislatures to remedy the vulnerabilities in their election laws are “voting restrictions.”

Trying to guarantee the fairness and integrity of the election process, when polling shows a large number of Americans have lost confidence in the security of our system, isn’t “rolling back access to voting,” as they put it. It is ensuring that every eligible voter is able to vote, and that their vote isn’t stolen or diluted due to errors or fraud.

What does the New York Times categorize as a “voting restriction” that is “rolling back access to voting”? One example,  according to the Times, is a new Arizona law just signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey that “requires the secretary of state to compare death records with voter registrations.”

If you want to make sure that fraudsters can take advantage of a registered voter who is deceased in order to submit a counterfeit ballot in that voter’s name, you could, we suppose, call this a “voting restriction.” But we bet that most people would think that “rolling back access to voting” by dead people is probably a good idea. 

Examples of this and other types of fraud, which the Times asserts is just “voter fraud dogma,” as if it doesn’t exist, can be found in The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database, which contains over 1,300 proven cases of fraud. In 2020 in Paterson, New Jersey, and in 2018 in the Ninth Congressional District of North Carolina, political operatives committed such massive voter fraud that judges ordered new elections. We doubt voters there believe election fraud is just “dogma.”    

The Times credits our two organizations, The Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action, and our list of election integrity best practices published on Feb. 1, for some of the changes that Arizona adopted. This list of recommendations was based on years of research and experience in the administration of elections. 

If Arizona followed our recommendation that states complete “monthly comparisons of the statewide voter registration list with … state vital records” to identify voters who are deceased, we are happy that they did so.

In fact, we hope Arizona and other states that are pursuing election reforms  follow all of our recommendations, which are intended to ensure accurate, up-to-date voter registration lists.

That includes not just verifying and comparing voter registration lists with state death records. It also means doing the same thing with the databases maintained by state departments of motor vehicles; state corrections departments (to check for felons whose ability to vote has been taken away); and state welfare and public assistance agencies, to find information relevant to registration, such as address changes, deaths, citizenship status, or other factors affecting eligibility.

When it comes to voter ID laws, the Times just can’t help itself in pushing the false and insulting liberal canard that such laws restrict access and prevent members of the public, particularly minority voters, from being able to vote. The Times can’t admit that voter ID requirements are overwhelmingly supported by voters, no matter their race or the political party with which they are affiliated. 

Every state, including Georgia, that has put in a voter ID requirement provides a free ID to anyone who doesn’t already have one. Numerous studies, such as one released in 2019 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, have shown that ID laws do not “suppress” turnout, which is supported by more than 10 years of actual turnout data from states that have these laws in place.

That includes Georgia, where turnout—including of black and Hispanic voters—went up dramatically after a photo ID law became effective.

Of course, you wouldn’t know that, since the New York Times story claims that Georgia’s voter ID law was “ruled discriminatory in 2005.” What the paper of record fails to explain is that the only provision of Georgia’s ID law that a court didn’t like was a requirement that a voter sign a form declaring he was “indigent” in order to get the free ID.

The state quickly changed that so a voter can now simply request a free ID, a minor blip that made no substantive change in the ID law. 

The court then dismissed the claim that the ID law was discriminatory, pointing out that in two years of litigation pursued by Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union, were unable to produce a single Georgian who would “be prevented from voting” due to the ID requirement.

That is why it is dishonest for the Times—and other outlets like CNN, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and a host of others—to keep pushing the false claim that requiring an ID for voting in-person or absentee, one of our basic recommendations that Georgia took up, is somehow “restrictive” or will prevent “access to voting.” 

Average Americans agree with us on this issue, no doubt because they need an ID almost every day to buy a beer, cash a check, buy a cold remedy at their pharmacy, board an airplane, and get vaccinated for COVID-19. 

The Times mischaracterizes many of our other recommendations, trying to cast them in a sinister light.  It says our proposals include “preventing ballot collection.” The Times doesn’t want to explain that we only want to prevent the collection of absentee ballots by political operatives, campaign staffers, and other strangers who have a stake in the outcome of the election. 

Giving political operatives access to ballots puts them in a position to coerce and pressure voters and to change, alter, or fail to deliver a ballot. We fully support allowing family members and caregivers helping voters deliver their absentee ballots, but giving third-party strangers—vote traffickers—that ability is a reckless, dangerous policy.

It is true that we want to give greater access to election observers, but why in the world would the Times think that is somehow a “restriction” or a “roll back” of voting rights? The Times says we want to give greater access to “partisan” election observers, but the reporters must have missed the sentence where we say states should provide complete access to observers from “political parties, candidates, and third-party organizations”—that includes supposedly non-partisan “news” organizations like the Times.

Transparency is essential to guaranteeing the democratic process and maintaining public confidence in the fairness of our elections. That is why our State Department is constantly sending observer teams to countries all around the world and why every state has laws allowing observers.

Apparently, the Times disagrees with that and thinks elections should be conducted under a veil of secrecy. While that may be true with regard to the secrecy of the ballot, it should not be true of any other part of an election.

The goal of our best practices recommendations is to ensure access to the polls for every eligible citizen, and a fair and secure voting and counting process that minimizes errors, mistakes, and fraud. We want a system in which the public trusts the outcome of every election, even when the favored candidate loses.

It is unfortunate that the New York Times doesn’t seem to have the same goal.

Caitlin Flanagan Is Indefensible

Give Caitlin Flanagan this much: her April Atlantic cover story bashing nonpublic schools is a marketing triumph. Controversy sells magazines, and what’s more contrary than slamming private education at a moment when unionized public schoolteachers do so much to vindicate it? COVID closures, postmodernism, and 1619-style pseudo-history increasingly drive parents to seek refuge for their kids in independent institutions. Flanagan is attacking that refuge; and judging by the copious Twitter likes and retweets alone, it’s a canny move.

Flanagan’s commercial win is, all the same, a journalistic failure. In “Private Schools Are Indefensible,” she mainly derides these academies not for their faults but for their merits: they raise money well beyond the tuition that parents pay; they award “generous financial aid” to nonaffluent students; many have state-of-the-art teaching facilities; most have been holding in-person classes since last autumn. The real problem Flanagan identifies is the prodigious gap between the quality of education available to rich kids and that saddled upon poor ones—something more justly blamed on government schools. But having admitted the most compelling argument for educational choice, she instead requests that private schools “get a chain and a padlock and close up shop.”

Private-school choice opponents like Flanagan never explain why they want American education to become more evenly mediocre rather than more evenly excellent. A former English teacher at the prestigious Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, she contents herself with smearing academies like her ex-employer as petri dishes for fatuous socialites. This doesn’t completely work; Flanagan’s argument rests, after all, on the acknowledgement that privately educated children enjoy better schooling than their publicly educated peers. And so, she concedes that her Harvard-Westlake classes “read very good books and pressed students to think deeply about the words on the page.” She also recognizes that private education “allows [students] to dominate” academically at great colleges.

Yet she reels off ugly anecdotes as if they impugn all families who choose independent schools, and as if no horrible families let their children attend public ones. For instance, one nasty boy’s parents called Flanagan out twice for giving him an A- on a writing assignment. Another kid’s father “was so angry about his son’s French grade that he demanded an audit, with the teacher reading out the boy’s marks from her grade book while Dad angrily punched the numbers into his son’s graphing calculator.” We hear of children freaking out under pressure, as “some parents try to help their kids keep it together by asking doctors for study drugs or even sleeping pills.” We’re told of Washington, D.C.’s Sidwell Friends School, where, in 2019, parents reportedly “initiated a campaign of intimidation, surveillance, lurking on campus, and sabotage…” to ensure nothing would ever compromise their children’s elite college prospects. Racist incidents also come to light, e.g. non-black students using the N-word. (Looking back on my own schooling, I certainly heard numerous white buffoons use this slur. But I went to public school.)

Flanagan’s sketches are unflattering, but wade through them and you won’t find any ideas to better educate underprivileged students. Isn’t that the goal—or shouldn’t it be? More serious critics of choice programs like vouchers and tax credits will at least ask, do they work? Turns out, evidence that they do keeps accumulating.

Last Monday, Cato Institute education chief Neal McCluskey hosted an online forum with EdChoice fiscal researcher Marty Lueken and Kennesaw State University education economist Ben Scafidi to examine the latest such evidence. Foremost, they addressed the canard that private-school choice “siphons” money out of public education. Teachers’ unions and educrats who oppose vouchers, tax credits, or education savings accounts (ESAs) argue that these policies cost government schools by transferring revenue out of those institutions when families accept the assistance. But on balance, the programs leave public schools with more money because the outgoing kids take away variable costs like textbooks, supplies, food purchases, and sometimes school personnel.

While choice doesn’t lower government schools’ fixed costs—including buildings, land purchases, and utilities—its net financial impact on those schools remains helpful. A study Lueken published earlier this month, titled “The Fiscal Effects of Private K-12 Education Choice Programs in the United States,” analyzed 40 school-choice mechanisms across 19 states and found that they yielded between $12.1 billion and $27.8 billion in cumulative net public savings. That translates to a range of $3,200 to $7,400 per student recipient.

“When you think about it, public schools have the best fiscal deal on the planet Earth,” Scafidi observed. “Public school districts get to keep a huge fraction of funds… when students leave. No one else has that deal. Think about grocery stores: if you shop at Kroger every week for your groceries, and then next week you decide, you know what, I’m going to switch to Walmart…, in the future, Kroger doesn’t get to keep 60 percent of your grocery bill…. Think about universities: when a student leaves my university, Kennesaw State, and transfers to Georgia Tech—which happens from time to time—we lose all funding for that student: we lose state formula funding, we lose tuition and fees, we lose Pell grants…, all that funding follows the students. But public schools get to keep a huge fraction of funding for students they no longer serve, but yet they scream the loudest [that] ‘school choice is taking our money.’ It’s really silly when you think about it.” 

Lueken furthermore made the crucial point that school choice has been shown to benefit both public and nonpublic scholastic quality. Among 27 meticulous studies examining choice’s effect on the test scores of students who stay in public schools, 25 reported such students experienced slight test-score gains, one found no discernible impact, and only one detected a decrease in test scores. And, of course, research to date regarding the outcomes for student participants in vouchers, tax credits, and ESAs finds a largely positive effect, whether the measure in question is test scores, college matriculation, or parental satisfaction. (A compendium of this research can be viewed at

This reality, along with many teachers’ unions’ resistance to reopening schools, is why public interest in choice is surging. Legislators in at least 29 states have introduced bills this year to help families access the nonpublic academies Flanagan vilifies.

Toward ending her essay, Flanagan asks, “Shouldn’t the schools that serve poor children be the very best schools we have?” Yes, they should. So, when state lawmakers work to ensure that America’s best schools serve more poor children, maybe applaud them?

Houston You Have A Problem

Houston has a race and criminal justice problem. There is an enormous racial disparity of Black criminals and Black crime victims versus White criminals and White crime victims. 

While the Black population of Houston, according to 2019 estimates, is about 22 percent, Black crime victims are about 44 percent of all crime victims, according to the Houston Police Department data of Race of Violent Victims for 2019. Furthermore, Blacks make up 61.5 percent of offenders of Reported Violent Crimes in 2019.

Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, there is a lack of righteous indignation from the well financed – to the tune of about $90 million – “civil rights” international organization called Black Lives Matter. Why? Where are the violent protests against this blatant racial gap? Blacks are many times more likely to be killed by other Blacks than Blacks are to be killed by Whites, by White police officers, by police officers of any race, by Asians, by Hispanics, by Catholics, by Jews, by Muslims, by Buddhists, or by Hindus. 

The poor innocent Black victims of crime should want to see some reaction from the self-anointed guardians of Blacks. After all, Houston’s favorite son, George Floyd, who died while being arrested for passing counterfeit money in Minneapolis – after serving time for threatening to kill a pregnant woman during a home invasion- was given a royal send off, complete with a solid gold casket, by these self-anointed guardians.

Do not elderly Black women, who are murdered in Houston by young male Black criminals, deserve at least the ceremony, the funds, the publicity of a drug addict, with a prior conviction for a violent felony? So where is Floyd Mayweather, Beyonce, Lebron James, and Snoop Dog? Why are they not using their substantial wealth to support Black crime victims? Why the silence from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rev. Al Sharpton, “Civil Rights” Attorney Benjamin Crump, Slim Thug, Leela James, Paul Wall, Congressman Al Green (D-TX), and Bishop James Dixon? 

Granted there must not be any political benefit to speaking out on behalf of Black crime victims murdered by Black criminals. But do they not have compassion for Black crime victims? Why do they only go public when a racial controversy they helped stoke can be exploited by them for fame and fortune?

We all know the answers to these questions! The exploitation of race in America for fame and fortune is an absolute disgrace. The line of people looking for personal profit, for professional profit, for publicity, and for political benefit is endless.

What is even worse is the fear and acquiescence by those who should be defending the forces of law and order in society. The silence of those who should be outraged by the idea that crime pays handsomely in America as long as it couched in racial terms is every bit as disgraceful as the exploitation of racial divisiveness.

My upcoming book Blue and Black, Policing and Race in America will delve into these issues and more.

Hospital Ownership Arrangements Criticized by Docs’ Advocates

Physician owners of the emergency practice at Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin reached a deal last month to buy out private-equity partner Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS). The relationship between New York-based WCAS and the level-1 trauma center, among other similar arrangements between private investors and healthcare practices, has caused some alarm among members of the medical community. The concern has been that de facto non-doctor ownership of healthcare facilities hurts quality.

Regarding Dell Seton, based at the University of Texas Hospital in Austin, emergency medical experts have alleged that the dismissal or transfer of nine physicians this winter underscores an inclination on the part of corporate entities like WCAS to rely on underqualified personnel. In some healthcare settings, physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) increasingly perform roles once in the sole purview of medical doctors who are much more expensive to hire.

The possibility of shifting more advanced duties from physicians to other medical staff is an alarming one, according to Dr. Saba Rizvi, an Austin-based emergency physician and an at-large director of the Texas chapter of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM). Rizvi said this is especially disquieting in the COVID-19 era when patient volumes are higher than normal.

“Nurse practitioners are not equipped nor trained nor educated nor do they have the capacity or the background to do lots of things that emergency physicians do,” Rizvi told HC. In particular, she cited airway management procedures like intubations that some patients with severe coronavirus symptoms require. “[NPs] are not an adequate replacement for physicians, and it creates a safety issue for patients who arrive at that center to be treated.” She furthermore noted that, as a university hospital, Dell Seton “has an obligation to teach not only medical residents in the training of emergency medicine but also medical students from the Dell Medical School.” Rizvi fears their educations have been compromised.

Rizvi and other critics of such medical staffing decisions say they boil down to the profit motives of private-equity firms that manage medical practices. An article she published last October in Emergency Medicine News discussed broad criticisms of such ownership arrangements, contending that they not only worsen patient care but sacrifice physicians’ autonomy and due process rights.

Texas has a strong legal framework, known as a corporate practice of medicine (CPOM) law, precluding non-medical ownership of healthcare practices, but Rizvi says companies like WCAS have been able to skirt CPOM laws through what are called “workarounds.” These devices partner senior doctors at a practice with private investors, preserving the notion that the medical office in question is substantially doctor-owned. The problem, Dr. Rizvi said, is that state legal authorities need to be more aggressive in enforcing CPOM statutes.

In 1986, Texas’s statute was prominently enforced in the case Flynn Brothers, Inc. v. First Medical Associates. Therein, a state appellate court decided that even though the deal struck between the private company and the medical organization was portrayed by the two parties as an “independent contractor” agreement, it effectively amounted to non-medical corporate control and ownership of a healthcare practice.

Philadelphia-based Dr. Robert McNamara, a past president of AAEM, said other similarly worrying arrangements are ongoing in Texas, including the lay firm TeamHealth’s partnership with Memorial Hermann Health System and Envision’s partnership with UT Health East Texas. While WCAS is a subsidiary of partly physician-owned U.S. Acute Care Solutions, TeamHealth and Envision are owned entirely by private equity.

“Texas, with low malpractice rates, with the way reimbursements work, it’s an attractive area for these companies, because they can come in and they can charge a lot of money and not have a lot of expenses in terms of medical malpractice, so they’re all over” the state,” McNamara said.

Private equity has assumed an increased role in medicine in recent years. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, for instance, private equity is estimated to own more than 10 percent of the American dermatology market (an industry that has garnered high interest of late because America’s population is greatly aging). These business schemes, wherein private investors essentially head medical practices for a few years, cut costs, and sell the practices for a profit, has drawn the reprehension of political progressives but has also come under the scrutiny of free-marketers.

For example, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, authored a 2011 report in which he generally extolled innovations driven by entrepreneurs with the support of venture capital. He especially observed the role venture-backed firms played in the development of rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient dialysis clinics, and long-term care hospitals. But private-equity outfits function differently than venture-capital ones do. The former typically hold majority shares of a company and therefore assume managerial responsibility for that company; the latter, holding much less ownership in a corporation, leaves the management responsibilities to industry professionals.

“The largest flows of new capital into health services are coming not from venture capitalists focused on developing new concepts in how health care services are delivered, but from private equity investors who are raising funds to acquire—and consolidate—existing health care companies…,” Gottlieb wrote. “Private equity is focused on consolidating and streamlining health care businesses. In some cases, it has been used as a way to wring money out of existing entities, consolidate them, and gain market leverage that lets providers drive up prices. But such financial engineering rarely creates new innovation.” (Gottlieb has continued to lament that venture capital in healthcare has dwindled in the wake of regulatory changes made through Obamacare.)

However America’s healthcare industry reached this point, physicians’ advocates like Drs. Rizvi and McNamara are adamant that the trend toward greater private-equity involvement must end, so doctors are in full charge of medical decisions.

“For the benefit of the patients, you would hope that physicians would decide who is the best person to see a patient in an emergency department, not a company that’s trying to preserve its bottom line,” McNamara said. “The whole selection of who is going to work what shift, are you going to be seen by an emergency doctor, are you going to be seen by a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner, that’s the practice of medicine; and these are business decisions that are being made that really should be made solely by the practicing physicians who are at the site.”

Neither WCAS nor Dell Seton’s press office returned calls for comment.

This Incident Will Not Be Televised

Mugshot of Kenya Jenkins Jr., 21 – courtesy Omaha Police Department

It was only shoplifting. It was not dangerous. Shoplifting is not a capital offense. You should not die over a shoplifting crime.

This is a common refrain by the Socialist/Leftist/Communist/Democratic Party soi disant “civil rights” groups say whenever a Black person is shot by police over a petty crime like shoplifting. Is that not what the self-righteous journalists and pundits always say. You know who they are – Ted Tapper, Ben Crump, Al Sharpton, Don Lemon, Linda Reid, Chris Cuomo, Nicole Wallace, Joy Reid, ACLU, YWCA, Black Lives Matter, Antifa et al.  Shoplifting is not a violent crime. 

Try telling Jeffrey Wittstruck, a White, Omaha, Nebraska, police officer that shoplifting is a nonviolent crime. Wittstruck was shot four times in the head by Kenya Jenkins, a 21-year-old Black male, who was being investigated for shoplifting.

 It is important, in this context, to mention the race of the police officer and the race of the criminal. Why? Because whenever a Black person is injured, shot, and/or killed by a White police officer the news media make an extraordinary effort to inform the public of the races of the officer and the suspect. 

The assault occurred March 12 at the Westroads Mall in Omaha. Fortunately, Officer Wittstruck, a four-year veteran of the Omaha Police Department was listed as stable and recovering.

According to the information released to the press, police responded at 3:27 p.m. They were told by a Penney department store’s loss prevention employee that Jenkins put a package of T-shirts in a backpack and left the store without paying for them. He was being detained in the store’s loss prevention office.

Jenkins did not cooperate with the police. Does this sound familiar? It should. It was what one usually learns about the use of force by police that often result in an Arrest-Related-Death.   

Officer Wittstruck tried to speak to him. Officer Wittstruck asked Jenkins to take off his backpack. Instead, Jenkins put his right hand in his sweatshirt pocket. Once again, a familiar action by a suspect prior to the use of force by police.

Wittstruck asked Jenkins to show his hands multiple times, but Jenkins refused. This is an all too familiar act by a suspect preceding the use of force by police. 

Wittstruck began to place Jenkins under arrest. Jenkins began to resist. He refused to let Wittstruck place him in handcuffs. This is also a familiar pattern. 

A struggle began and Wittstruck tried to use his taser on Jenkins. But the taser was ineffective.  So far, this incident is following such a familiar pattern one might say it was scripted. 

It is at this point that the 21-year-old Black male Kenya Jenkins drew from his sweatshirt a gun. Jenkins then fired four rounds at Wittstruck, who was struck in the head and face. Jenkins then ran out of the loss prevention office to a white BMW in the parking lot. Jenkins sped away in the car.

Despite the seriousness and urgency of his wounds, Officer Wittstruck was able to inform police radio, quite calmly, “Help. I’m down. I need help. I’m in the loss prevention office. I believe I’ve been shot.”

One thing is certain. This incident will not be televised.

There will be no protests on behalf of Officer Wittstruck. There will be no riots in Omaha or anywhere else because of this incident. There will be no national news coverage of this incident. 

Shootings of police officers are not on instant replay. Shootings of police officers are not shown on never-ending video loops on the national news broadcasts. There will be no hand wringing by Brian Williams, there will be no gnashing of teeth by Lebron James, there will be no exhortations by Ariana Grande to provide more funding for police. 

Why? Because this incident will not be televised. You see there is no fortune, fame, or political benefit advocating for police. Maybe there should be.

So George Floyd was NOT Intentionally Murdered by a Racist White Cop?

So far, the most interesting aspect of the trial of police officer Derek Chauvin are the crimes for which he has not been charged. Chauvin has been vilified for his role in the arrest-related-death of a man resisting arrest.

Despite almost a year of riots, ranting and raving by cable news, and even condemnations by supposedly law-and-order radio talk show hosts, Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is not being charged with the intentional murder of George Floyd. Chauvin is not even being charged with a hate crime. So one may be forgiven for being bewildered. After all, there were riots all over the United States, all over the world, about this innocent Black man allegedly being mercilessly killed by a White racist police officer. After all, the Attorney General of Minnesota is Keith Ellison, the first African-American Minnesota attorney general and the first Muslim Minnesota Attorney General.

How could this be?

Yes indeed, how can this be? This lack of charges against Chauvin not mentioning race is incredible considering the portrayals of Floyd’s arrest-related-death as a racist hate crime and cold-blooded murder.

What is even more astounding is that while this depiction of a racially motivated murder may have originated with Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the race hustlers, the grievance industry, and especially the Leftist “civil rights” group, it was repeated by even so-called law and order Republicans. Conservative commentators such as Sean Hannity, the late Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager all were anxious to denounce Derek Chauvin. Republican politicians could not wait to run in front of a camera to condemn Chauvin as a racist murderer without a trial. Even other police officers could not wait to express their outrage.

Presumption of innocence be damned! 

But now we have a trial. A trial that is not about a racial hate crime. A trial that is not about an intentional, willful, premeditated murder. It is not a trial about a racist killer White cop! So were all the media, “civil rights” advocates, law-and-order politicians, Left wing politicians, and other police officers wrong when they said this was intentional murder motivated by racism?

Apparently they were. Do not expect apologies or corrections or mea culpas from these megalomaniacs and provocateurs.

Minnesota has two classes, for lack of a better term, of Second Degree murder. To my knowledge Chauvin is charged under § 609.19(2)(1)

This statute states: Subd. 2.Unintentional murders. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of unintentional murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:

(1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony

This means the prosecution would have to prove that Chauvin unintentionally killed Floyd while committing or attempting to commit a felony. How this can be proven is anybody’s guess – although some “experts” have already pronounced Chauvin guilty.

But a purely dispassionate examination of the facts indicates that Chauvin only attempted to restrain Floyd, who was under the influence of controlled substances and was struggling with police. Indeed, audio evidence, the recording of the conversations from the officers’ body cams,  indicate that Chauvin only wanted to keep Floyd where he was until an ambulance arrived. 

Couple Chauvin’s stated intent with the fact that the immobilization technique Chauvin used was taught to Minneapolis officers (despite the claims of the mayor, the governor of Minnesota, and even the police chief who apparently is unaware – or does not want to admit- what his officers are trained to do). Then add that this  technique has been used by mental health workers and others to restrain people who are violent. Also add that a similar technique was used four years earlier against a White man in Dallas, who was also under the influence of drugs and also died, and it will be damn near impossible to establish that Chauvin intended bodily harm. Indeed, it may be difficult to prove any crime.

But there is one very big problem for Chauvin in his quest to get a fair trial from Ellison and his political buddies in Minnesota. They must placate the Leftist lynch mob. It is why US Attorney General Barr refused a plea deal on federal charges. The same Attorney General Barr who was incapable of finding any crimes by the FBI can easily find crimes by Minneapolis police officers – especially if he is liable to be called a racist.

Placating the Leftist lynch mob is de rigueur in modern America. One need only think back to the confirmation hearing of the putative conservative paradigm Justice Amy Coney Barrett. This solon, when asked about the George Floyd arrest-related-death, furnished an answer revealing how intimidated she was. 

Barrett answered fervidly, “Senator, as you might imagine, given that I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family.” She added that together with her 17-year-old Black adopted daughter “ they wept.” Barrett continued that it was necessary to explain to her black kids that they might be subject to that “brutality.” 

What a contemptible answer by Justice Barrett. She prejudged a White police officer as a racist killer – denying Chauvin the presumption of innocence. She acted as judge, jury, and executioner. Barrett is a disgrace to her profession. 

Barrett’s loathsome pronouncement was a reminder that judges are not neutral arbiters. They are humans with their own prejudices, passions, and ignorance. Barrett is terrified of the Leftist lynch mob. She is more terrified of the Leftist Lynch Mob than she is terrified of  injustice!

So this is the dilemma for Derek Chauvin. He must prove his innocence – as opposed to the prosecution proving his guilt. There is no presumption of innocence for Derek Chauvin. His only chance for a fair trial is for him to have a jury of his peers and a trial judge who, unlike Amy Coney Barrett or Bill Barr, are not cowards. He needs an intrepid judge and jury. He needs a judge and jury who will stand firm against the Leftist Lynch Mob. 

Tragically, for Derek Chauvin, for American justice, and for law abiding Americans intrepid judges and jurors do not seem likely.

Voting-Age Provision Would Make H.R. 1 Even Worse

Imagine yourself a Democrat seeking elective office in a competitive district, the kind of place with a reassuring plenitude of Unitarian churches and vegan bistros, but just a few too many tax-weary entrepreneurs and stodgy evangelicals lurking about to let you breathe easy. You calm yourself by sitting back and rereading an old favorite poem, Bertolt Brecht’s “The Solution,” and you wonder if the author was onto something when he reckoned it could make sense “to dissolve the people and elect another.” (Brecht was being sarcastic, but you, being a Democrat, cannot sense this.)

You desire some extra voters who can’t be bothered to worry about corporate taxes, trade negotiations, fossil-fuel extraction, or law enforcement, who hand-wring instead about the real issues of our time: legalizing prostitution, abolishing prisons, and calling people by their preferred pronouns. Rejoice, then, for Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) wants to help you. Her proposed amendment to H.R. 1, the misnamed “For the People Act,” would let 16-year-olds vote.

A cynical read on this idea is that it burdens tender youths to benefit a more privileged class, namely left-wing politicos. But is such cynicism unwarranted these days? Consider a parallel: teachers unions, since they originated, have capitalized on the powerlessness of children and have done so with preternatural gall in this epoch of COVID shutdowns. Leftist politicians, who at least match American educrats in avarice, have simply found a new way to exploit juveniles by disrupting their focus on their intellectual, social, and spiritual growth.

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Do I exaggerate? An exemplary high-school sophomore, on a typical weekday, makes time for Cartesian geometry, colonial history, Darwinian evolution, and Victorian literature, or some like combination; he goes to band or track or basketball practice; he might devote a half hour to religious study and prayer; he could have considerable chores or family obligations; he will certainly fraternize with his peers and may pursue romantic interests. And if he has a few minutes to spare when the day is done, he might even unwind to a favorite television show or music playlist or video game. Pressley and her accomplices have a message for these kids: Stop! While you’re trying to become a well-adjusted human being, we’ve got big issues to deal with—issues that happen to affect our ability to cement our reelections and live off your parents’ tax dollars.

If students halfway through high school could vote in Pasadena, TX, for example, they’d be tasked this year with electing three members of the San Jacinto College Board of Trustees. If my teenage neighbors in Belmont Hills, PA could be electors, they would vote on jury commissioner, tax collector, and constable. Most educated and civic-minded adults cannot tell you whether the incumbents holding these offices are performing optimally, whether the candidates seeking these spots are impressive, or even what some of their names are; and if grownup voters wanted to get their heads around these questions, it would often take them much time. Why impose this on children, except if you’re a Democratic pol who realizes you’ll gain by doing so, having seen the latest Pew Research Center survey or Harvard Youth Poll?

Pressley takes no pains to hide that she wants more teenage voters because she finds them politically congenial. “By lowering the federal voting age from 18 to 16 years of age,” she said in a House floor speech, “my amendment would enfranchise young Americans to help shape and form the policies that will set the course for our future. From police violence, to immigration reform, to climate change, to the future of work and minimum wage, our young people are organizing, mobilizing, and calling us to action. They are at the forefront of social movements….”

We’ve assumed so far that we’re dealing with model youths; Pressley’s legislation would undoubtedly enfranchise plenty of mediocre ones. But even precocious teenagers generally can’t equal their parents’ wisdom or responsibility. We’ve all met bright 16-year-olds but few of us have met any fully educated ones. These kids have not lived autonomously; they may have held jobs but not earned real livings, much less provided for families of their own. Pressley has said she has 16- and 17-year-old exceptions to this living in her district—teenagers on whom parents rely for income. A proper solution to this would place these children with guardians who can and will care for them, rather than leaving them in a harmful setting and using that environment as a political football.

In any case, when it comes to discernment, the congresswoman assures us the kids are alright. “Some have questioned the maturity of our youth; I don’t,” she remarked in her floor speech. “Sixteen- and 17-year-olds today possess wisdom and maturity defined by today’s challenges, hardships, and opportunities.” So, then, taking her at her word, we can confidently await Pressley’s efforts to allow 16-year-olds to drink, to smoke marijuana, and to carry guns.

She did make one honest remark when introducing her proposal: “My amendment gets to the heart of H.R. 1….” That it does; H.R. 1 contains reams of obscene election policy. Congressional Democrats are interested in the bill’s voting reforms, as they are in Pressley’s amendment, insofar as the changes aid their party’s electoral ambitions. One provision in H.R. 1 would restore suffrage to at least 2.2 million felons, including some still on probation. Also astoundingly, the bill would force states to count ballots cast by voters outside their correct precincts. While the government shouldn’t throw barriers in voters’ way to see if they are smart enough to overcome them, finding one’s own precinct is no sane person’s idea of a challenge. If a voter can’t do this, we ought to declare him a winner of the electoral Darwin Awards and be glad our very lenient system weeded him out.

There’s much else to hate about H.R. 1: it suppresses political speech, removes checks against voter fraud, and requires all states to accept no-excuse absentee ballots. Americans aren’t demanding our electorate comprise only informed and sensible people. But we might want to set that standard for our lawmakers, to protect ourselves against the likes of Ayanna Pressley.

Texas Bill Makes Election Fraud a Felony

A bill under consideration by the Texas legislature, HB 574, makes election fraud in the state a second degree felony, rather than a class A misdemeanor.

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to the prevention of fraud in the conduct of an election.


SECTION 1. Sections 276.013(a) and (b), Election Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 276.013. ELECTION FRAUD. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally makes any effort to:

(1) influence the independent exercise of the vote of another in the presence of the ballot or during the voting process;

(2) cause a voter to become registered, a ballot to be obtained, or a vote to be cast under false pretenses; [or]

(3) count invalid votes or alter a report to include invalid votes;

(4) fail to count valid votes or alter a report to exclude valid votes; or

(5) cause any intentionally misleading statement, representation, or information to be provided:

(A) to an election official; or

(B) on an application for ballot by mail, carrier envelope, or any other official election-related form or document.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.

SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.

Election Fraud

Enviros, Get Out of the Dark

“Green power” evangelists have roughed out a syllogism explaining what caused Texas’s power outages last month and what can prevent them henceforth: 1) A free market in electricity caused the blackouts, 2) fossil fuels accord with the free market, and therefore 3) the state’s regulatory response should boost renewable energy.

Even if both premises were correct, the conclusion is a mighty leap. Of course, the first assumption is tommyrot. Recent analyses by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) and the Heartland Institute have underscored the principal cause of the disaster: unreliable wind and solar power sources couldn’t meet electricity demand and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) didn’t act fast enough to counteract the problem. Was this event simply a matter of ineptitude and daft environmental policy? Almost. It also exposed some daft COVID-19 policy.

Let’s start with the environmental policy. Counter to popular perception, renewables constitute over 28 percent of the Lone Star State’s electricity supply. Texas requires inclusion of solar and wind energy—which are only generated when the weather permits—in the state’s electric grid. Subsidies doled out at the federal, state, and local levels have augmented these sources’ use even further. Texas now outpaces all other states—even California!—in wind-power generation.

Wind and solar power function too unreliably to provide electricity when demand is normal, let alone when it crests, so Texas and other jurisdictions that partly draw upon renewables end up shifting back to fossil fuels whenever the former cannot deliver. Conservative lawmakers have tried to pass legislation forcing wind and solar companies to pay to maintain coal capacity so the lights stay on when wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. The legislature has so far failed to approve such a policy, letting several coal plants close in the meantime.

Green-energy apologists argue that Winter Storm Uri didn’t primarily affect renewables, that it in fact stalled more coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy production. But that ignores the fact that darker skies and colder temperatures took most wind turbines and solar panels offline about four days before the storm began. Fossil fuels provided almost all of Texas’s limited electricity throughout the storm, while renewables supplied 58 percent of Texas’s energy just before the outages.

H. Sterling Burnett, who authored Heartland’s analysis of the power failures, is himself a Texan who experienced them firsthand. “Temperatures in my house fell into the 40s, and within the first night I went through all the heating oil in the old-fashioned lamps I keep for outages caused by periodic tornados, “ he wrote. “For some (not me, fortunately), the problems were even worse. Water-treatment plants lost power, meaning thousands of people lost access to clean water even if their pipes did not freeze. Widespread ‘boil water’ orders were issued, but of course you can’t boil water during a power outage if your stove is electric.”

ERCOT could have averted a major crisis had it responded quickly to the initial failure of solar panels and wind turbines by effecting transitory, rolling blackouts. Being too late to do so, ERCOT triggered many power plants into going offline. Freezing temperatures in turn prevented these facilities from swiftly resuming operation. As a report by TPPF noted, natural-gas producers in the Permian Basin experienced the resulting outages, worsening the situation.

But what role did the government’s intemperate reaction to COVID-19 play in the catastrophe? An investigation by NBC Dallas-Fort Worth indicates that COVID-related work restrictions led to curtailment of power-plant inspections. Further inquiry by Jeffrey A. Tucker of the American Institute for Economic Research reveals that ERCOT board member Erik Johnson warned that accommodation of COVID policy “would significantly impact our ability to conduct continuing training for the ERCOT operators.”

While it’s uncertain whether more intensive inspections and training in 2020 would have prevented last month’s outages, COVID restrictions certainly burdened ERCOT and other grid operators. Tucker quotes one Texas energy specialist who asserted, “[Personal protective equipment] shortages and travel restrictions have made generation maintenance more difficult to schedule.”

Despite environmental and COVID policy blunders, the left-wing press insists on scapegoating not only fossil fuels but also Texas’s electricity-market deregulation that began in the 1990s. Anyone who would undo the latter should consult a meticulous study by Peter R. Hartley, Kenneth B. Medlock III, and Olivera Jankovska of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Appearing in the May 2019 issue of Energy Economics, their research shows that electricity costs in competitive Texas markets declined from 2002 to 2016 while costs in noncompetitive markets did not. Reforms allowing the state’s local electric markets to operate competitively have clearly succeeded.

Still, much else the government has done has failed. Environmentalists, safetyists, and other central planners should own up to the inefficiencies they’ve created and stop urging the government to hatch more of them.