Proof: SF wants to be Venezuela

The San Francisco Chronicle‘s account was matter-of-fact. Chesa Boudin, wrote Michelle Robertson on November 10, had won the election to become San Francisco’s next district attorney. Robertson described Boudin as “the most progressive candidate on the ballot,” and in other references to him – the kind used in newspapers to avoid repeating a person’s name over and over – Boudin was identified as “[t]he 39-year-old” and as “[t]he former deputy public defender.” Boudin was described as having promised in his campaign to “address racial disparity in the criminal justice system, mass incarceration and police accountability” and quoted him as tweeting “We are all feeling the momentum for change in this city!”

Hugo Chavez

Well, that’s one way of looking at Boudin. Reporting on his election at American Thinker, Monica Showalter led with a few teeny little details that Robertson had managed to skirt. For one thing, Boudin “was quite literally Hugo Chavez’s trusted propagandist, translator and advisor, Cuba-groomed from the start.” He’s “been photographed in Venezuela wielding an assault rifle, and getting guerrilla training, according to Venezuelan sources. He literally hung out with the Chavista goon squads known as ‘colectivos,’ the same thugs who drive around in motorcycles and shoot into crowds who protest. Those are his homies.”

Mother’s yearbook picture

So much for Showalter’s summing-up of Boudin’s career. But for those of us at Useful Stooges, Boudin’s surname rang a bell and inspired us to dig further. It couldn’t be true, could it? Ah, but it was: Boudin is the son of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, the notorious Weather Underground members who, after taking part in the 1981 robbery of a Brink’s truck in Rockland County, New York, were found guilty of the murder of two police officers and a security guard. While his parents were carted off to prison, Chesa, a toddler at the time, was handed into he custody of two even more famous members of the Weather Underground: Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who became his stepparents. Among the items on Ayers’ resume is his participation in bombings of the New York City Police Department headquarters in 1970, the U.S. Capitol in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972; Dohrn, aside from having played a role in these endeavors, was also, along with Boudin’s mother, partly responsible for the unintentional March 1970 explosion of a bomb while it was being assembled in the basement of a townhouse at 18 West 11th Street in Greenwich Village. The explosion totally destroyed the townhouse and killed three Weather Underground comrades.

Ayers and Dohrn

In short, Chesa Boudin is a member of domestic terrorist royalty. His parents and stepparents are to deadly, irrational totalitarian violence what the Barrymores were to the theater. In these perverse times, of course, prestigious establishment institutions routinely reward people with such backgrounds: Dohrn now teaches law at Northwestern; Ayers, celebrated for his friendship with Barack Obama and for the rumor that he is the real author of Obama’s Dreams from My Father, is a retired professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Boudin is an adjunct professor at Columbia; Gilbert is still behind bars, but we’re sure Harvard or Yale will have something waiting for him if he lives long enough to serve out his sentence.

Dad, who at present remains behind bars

And now, following in the grand post-Sixties American tradition of proceeding from the world of violent revolutionaries dedicated to the overthrow of the American system to the world of credentialed authorities within that very system, Chesa Boudin has been elected San Francisco DA. Not that he hsn’t earned it: like the progeny of other radical dynasties, he’d led a life of privilege, attending Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, earning a J.D. at Yale, and writing, translating, or co-editing several books celebrating the chavista regime. Well, given his own background with that regime, which turned Venezuela from a free and prosperous country into an oppressive nightmare of grinding poverty, Boudin should be completely at home in the corridors of power in the city by the Bay, that onetime civic gem that, thanks to the Chavez-style ideology of its overlords, is fast turning into the Marxist hellhole of America’s Pacific coast.

Holidays with Rahm

Lately we’ve been engaging in the pastime of cataloguing celebrities who travel to Cuba. Here’s another.

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Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel is the kind of political professional whom even his own friends don’t particularly care for. A longtime fixture of that grubbiest of all American political machines, the Cook County Democrats, he’s brash, rude, obnoxious. (Pick your synonym.) And yet, thanks to his native wiliness and (increasingly) his high-level connections, he’s moved from triumph to triumph.

Born in Chicago, Emanuel attended Northwestern, worked on the 1992 Clinton campaign and then in the Clinton White House, made over $16 million for four years’ work at an investment bank (despite having no background whatsoever in banking), and was a director of Freddie Mac during a major scandal. (According to ABC News, he and his fellow board members “misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors,” thereby helping to precipitate the world financial crisis of 2008.) After spending six years in Congress (where he was head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), he was appointed Obama’s first chief of staff, then ran successfully in 2010 for mayor of the Windy City – a position he now holds.

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With Clinton

When Emanuel took over the reins of power in Chicago, the city was a nightmarish mess. He hasn’t helped. The toddlin’ town remains notorious around the country, in fact the world, for its high crime level – and, in particular, its gang killings. Its public education system is a scandal and an embarrassment. Its bond rating has sunk to near-junk bond level. Most recently, Emanuel has faced mounting criticism for his incompetent handling of the judicial aftermath of a police shooting that took place in October of last year. Incompetence, indeed, seems to have become a hallmark of his tenure. 

But he doesn’t seem fazed by any of it. After five years of spectacular failure in the job of mayor, he clearly hasn’t learned humility. On the contrary, one gets the distinct impression that he’s already working on his next step up the career ladder. A Senate seat? Perhaps even the presidency? “What you see in Rahm Emanuel is what you get, and what you get is raw ambition,” wrote Chicago author Joseph Epstein earlier this year in an acid profile of the mayor. Some public servants actually do think of themselves as servants of the public. Not Emanuel. This guy, observed Epstein, “is in business for himself.” Another pol in his current position might at least try to tamp down the insolence, lose the swagger; alas, the worse things get for Emanuel, the more often he seems to dial his legendary arrogance up to a 10. 

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A word in Obama’s ear

Case in point: at a breakfast event in early December, Mike Allen of Politico spent almost an hour interviewing Emanuel in front of an audience. Then Allen happened to mention something that Emanuel had told him backstage: this year, the mayor and his family were planning to spend the holidays in Cuba. Why Cuba? Allen asked.

It seemed a relatively innocuous question. But instead of immediately answering it, Emanuel launched into Allen, expressing his irritation at the reporter’s disclosure. “Well, first of all, thanks for telling everybody what I’m going to do with my family,” Emanuel said. “You had a private conversation with me and now you decide to make that public. I really don’t appreciate that, for one, I really don’t.”

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Emanuel and family

“I’m sorry,” Allen replied. “I didn’t know that wasn’t known.”

After upbraiding Allen a bit more, Emanuel got around to responding to Allen’s query. He wants, he said, to expose his kids “to other cultures, other parts of the world, and one of the things that we want is for our children to know that the world has people of different faiths, different backgrounds, with different ways of living and coping with similar situations.” He noted that he and his wife, Amy Rule, had previously taken their children to Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Vietnam, and Laos.

Aha! This list of Emanuel family vacation spots explained everything. Obviously, Emanuel likes to take his children to places that are even more horribly governed than the city of Chicago – places with even higher crime rates, lousier schools, crummier economies, more broken-down infrastructure, and more outrageous levels of government corruption, graft, malfeasance, and all-around venality. Get it? This way they’ll actually return home thinking that their father’s done a terrific job in Chicago. Kind of touching, isn’t it?