Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What was McGee, Jr. up to?

It's hard to know what to make of the charges against Micahel McGee, Jr. and the somewhat extraordinary way in which they and his arrest have been handled. The federal complaint does not look good for him. But, based on what we have seen to date, it alleges garden variety corruption.

What seems to make - or at least is alleged to make this case different - may be found in whatever resulted in his state arrest which the Journal Sentinel is reporting as suspicion of "substantial battery/intend bodily harm, party to a crime; substantial battery-intend bodily harm and conspiracy." That is not garden variety corruption.

Those sealed details are what may make this case extraordinary. What public safety concerns prompted the action that was taken? I doubt it was that McGee was a flight risk. Is the state alleging that he took his "stop snitchin'" campaign to another level? Did the campaign against his recall become overzealous?

I hope, for the sake of the community, that the DA can back up his actions and the underlying information comes sooner rather than later. There is, at the moment, a sense among some folks that McGee has been treated differently and we can be sure that he and his supporters will pursue that theme in the coming days.

I am one of those who believe that the McGees are a scourge on the community. But I would not expect a sitting alderman to actually behave (as opposed to talk)violently. Still, I have to believe that Chislom was aware of the political and social ramifications and that something significant prompted him to act as he did. Only time will tell.


Anonymous said...

What public safety concerns prompted the action that was taken?

My $.02:
I think they were concerned about racial violence. And not black/white violence.

So far it seems McGee was hitting up the owners of gas stations and corner bodegas, and not taverns or other businesses. I would imagine the business owners he's extorted were Arabic or Indian, and not black. There was rarely a Word Warrior show that McGee Sr, and Jr. implicitly, didn't express disdain of "A-rabs" and others who are profiting from their community. My guess is word got out that some of these "A-rabs" were cooperating with the authorities. Would anyone be surprised if the state charges reveal McGee was soliciting substantial battery upon some of the witnesses? And as a result, some of his cohorts or ardent supporters would seek out ANY "A-rab" for retribution?

Even if McGee goes to jail, he'll see himself as a martyr for his people; looking out for their best interests against the 'outsiders' profiting from their misery.

Anonymous said...

No doubt anon 10:56 is on to something. One of the associates is a convicted felon with a subsequent firearm possession charge.

Anonymous said...

michael p, not anon, sorry. I'm anon.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the State complaint is sealed in the meantime because it rests primarily on wiretap evidence and somebody wants to make damn sure it was obtained properly and will withstand defense motions to strike.

Anonymous said...

"There is, at the moment, a sense among some folks that McGee has been treated differently."

With respect to this case? Who?

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon 12:59

Listen to callers on WMCS (measured concern) and WNOV (maybe not so measured). I'm not saying that they are right, but the perception is there.

Anon 11:48

Apparently the requirement that the wiretap info be kept under seal is required by state law in all cases and is not something that the state can do if it wants to "make sure" that the tap will hold up. (Hard to fix that after the fact anyway.)

McGee's lawyers know what the evidence is.

Anonymous said...

Rick, are you saying; The more racist or potentially violent people are, the more deference they should be given?

Dad29 said...

Anon 7:46, it seems that the State moved quickly to prevent violence.

That's why the other two characters were also in custody.

It's not 'deference' to arrest a public employee and put them in the slammer--it's actually VERY unusual for that to happen.

Anonymous said...

If McGee is guilty he should be put away. With that being said I must wonder if this is the only type of extortion going on by some people using goverment power for personal interests?

Rick Esenberg said...

Rick, are you saying; The more racist or potentially violent people are, the more deference they should be given?

Not at all. The indicia here are that this is not just a regular public corruption case and that would justify proceeding differently. But given the racial angle of the case, it would be unrealistic to think that Chisolm (who I think is the one that decreed it be done this way)must have felt the need to be really confident that he had it right.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Rick said: I hope, for the sake of the community...

It appears to me that your hyprocrisy has no limits. This Mcgee thing is about a elected official using his power to violate peoples rights.

But when it came to Judge Ziegler who is also an elected official that violated peoples rights, you played it way down rather than hoping for the sake of the community.

Gee Rick, which one is worse?

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon 10:18

I think I can make a distinction between what Ziegler did and shakedowns and violence. When you have some evidence that she did any of that, come back.

Anonymous said...

1:25pm anonymous is wrong: it is Dimitrius Jackson *Sr.* who had a felony drug conviction and was later picked up with a gun. I believe the Jackson arrested with McGee is *Jr.* or another Dimitrius Jackson. There are at least 2, possibly 3--see municipal court records. But all have had addresses very close to each other. Little Allen Stewart is McGee's uncle. I don't know if he's on the jackson or mcgee side...

the "race angle" is going to be complex for for most people. the WNOV crowd is already regurgitating the McGees' anti-A-rab racism--though obviously they can't tell northern Indians and Pakistanis from Arabs. Truth be told, not many white people are going to crusade for the rights of Mr. Singh, who looks like Saddam Hussein after he crawled out of his spiderhole. People are mean that way, and for most, it's not their moribund local economy.

See the indirectly related story in the JS today about the abysmal lack of black owned businesses in Milwaukee. The underclass-and-proud-of-it contingent has no idea how to make money legitimately and despises those who do--so McGee will be a robin hood hero to them.

The black businesses that complain will be called whining uncle toms. That's already what they're fixing to do with the "other black aldermen." Hines and others took a lot of abuse on WNOV today. Will a resolve form and be sustained to finally differentiate unchosen racial identity from largely self-determined class identity? Will voices of the black middle class assert themselves and tell the bums their day is done?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 10:18, however, it is not a question of which is worse--they are both bad. But alas, Ziegler is a Republican, conservative, white and a judge. While I am not a fan of McGee, he is an alderman and black. I think we all know how the game is played.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have to be played any particular way just because McGee is "black." SO are a lot of other aldermen, and they don't act the fool. They're not incompetent, they're not crooks, they're not racists, they're not reactionary narcissists with a jesus complex.

There was a woman with the hosts on WNOV today who said some odd and cryptic things about arab store owners--that they are "sacrifices." At one point she seemed to think they were admitting guilt and would be prosecuted for making bribes, altough as far as we know now, they did not strike up that relationship; they were extorted. But this woman also said something inexplicable about the arab store owners making themselves targets, or being subject to violence, murder even. She didn't use those words, but she was expressing something about them having no real support form the authorities or anyone, and how they will suffer in some way. ???

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anon 11:21 - did you notice how Rick tried to just blow this off?

Rick - a judge violating peoples rights is far worse then what McGee is accused of because they are supposed to be the ones upholding our rights.
McGee may be a scum bag for how he violated peoples rights but he alone doesn't determine who does and who doesn't get a license to do business.

Anon 11:21 may be right that they are equally bad, but I doubt that we'll see McGee on the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Rick 11:00 AM - are you saying that the intellectual, emotional and financial abuse a judge hands out is not as bad as the physical abuse that McGee allegedly handed out?

Like I said, it appears that your hyprocrisy has no limits.

Rick Esenberg said...

I don't know how to respond to that.

You're saying that I could have a judge fail to tell me that her husband is on the board of a bank who lent me money that I have not paid back or I could have an alderman extort money from me and threaten to "peel back" my "wig."

Tough choice. I'll get back to you.

Anonymous said...

Rick, don't you know? This is a time-tested, tried-and-true tactic of the left.
They'll always have their thumb on the scale.

Anonymous said...

Rick 4:08 - a little side step by you to avoid the issue of publicly elected officials using goverment power to violate peoples rights?

You tried to act concerned for the community when it came to Mcgee but you have showed no concern for the community when it comes to Ziegler. You know how to respond to it but you just simply refuse to openly acknowledge that a bad judge is far worse for the community than a bad alderman. (Although McGee should get what he deserves.)

Anon 4:37 - How far to the right do I need to be to want Judges that violate peoples rights? I thought we are a constituitional republic and not one of the 'ism's of the world!

Anonymous said...

"1:25pm anonymous is wrong: it is Dimitrius Jackson *Sr.* who had a felony drug conviction and was later picked up with a gun."

I'm not wrong. That's the dude.

Anonymous said...

yeah, you are right. That is the guy. Born in 68. McGee's thug entourage is often younger guys, so I thought it might be one of the Dimitrius Jacksons born in the 80s. One of them recently died though.

Rick, are you thinking of doing any reflection on the kind of denial/ignorance in this city about what lies beneath pretty much any government and society? Why are people surprised? Are they really surprised? Have we gotten so soft it is beyond the horizons of the thinkable that the McGee world is all petty criminal corruption and thuggery? Doesn't history teach us anything?

People behave badly if they think they can get away with it. There is not much legal or extra-legal constraint on characters like the McGees. The system has given them the pass, and the central city neighborhoods have been vacated by the people who seem most interested in opposing the corruption and thuggery touted by the McGees as a war of liberation against "white supremacy."

What do you think of the idea that your "garden variety corruption" label goes for the state charges on McGee too? This is garden variety street justice.

The root problem as I see it is not that McGee is corrupt, but that he is pointlessly, ineffectively corrupt. The central city would be immensely helped by the introduction of effective, organized crime. It suffers because it lacks any source of dominant authority to enforce and instill any code, set of values, or collective self-interest.

It's not like McGee was contracting to take out serious criminal predators the law couldn't touch, or that he was extorting "outsiders" while helping black businesses get special advantages. He was probably *trying* some of this and rationalizing his actions according to this kind of code, but he can't hold a candle to how the old neighborhood systems of semi-licit and illicit self-government worked through union halls, party ward leaders, and churches. (Milwaukee Socialism was organized in the churches.)

A mere 30 years passes, and it seems mainstream culture really thinks all this stuff is gone, only to be enjoyed in aestheticized form in The Godfather, etc.

Scarface, the Godfather--these are topical, political science texts in the inner city.