Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Empire Strikes Back: Inky Columnists Attack Columbus Lawsuit

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

With the city of Philadelphia facing a $450 million budget shortfall this year, officials have said that all options are on the table for cutting city expenses.

So I've got a helpful suggestion. Why not go through every department at City Hall and eliminate every PR spokesperson/flack that the city employs. 

We can start in the mayor's office, where Deana Gamble as of 2018, according to the latest figures available online, was earning $118,450 as director of communications. No doubt she's been given a raise since then for outstanding propagandizing on behalf of the mayor.

Next, we can go to the District Attorney's office, where Jane Roh as of 2017 was earning $105,000 as director of communications, and whack that position as well.

Why? Because their services are redundant. Philadelphia already has The Philadelphia Inquirer, which publishes 365 days of the year. And rather than report the news, the "paper of record" takes on as its official daily function, the duty of not only defending Mayor Kenney and D.A. Krasner, but every other Democratic official out there, from the president on down. 

The Inquirer's intrepid editors and reporters can also be counted on to ceaselessly trumpet every progressive Democratic talking point. But woe to any heretic who dares to advocate a contrary view. 

Take, for example, last week's filing of a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the city and Mayor Kenney on behalf of City Councilman Mark Squilla and 47 national, state and local Italian-American organizations. 

The lawsuit, written by Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto, had the audacity to charge discrimination over Mayor Kenney's executive order that canceled Columbus Day as a city holiday, and replaced it with the more woke Indigenous Peoples' Day. 

Whenever a progressive belief is challenged, the Inquirer can be counted on to marshal all its forces to maintain order in a city that's been controlled by Democrats for the past 69 consecutive years. 

Think of The Simpsons, and what used to happen at Springfield Elementary School whenever a teacher set off the "Independent Thought Alarm."

First, the paper of record responded with an alleged news story about the filing of the lawsuit that ran under this dispassionate subhead: "Dozens of cities across the country have changed the holiday’s official name to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, citing Columbus’ racist views and the genocide against Native Americans." 

Next, the Inquirer's columnists of color went to work. 

First up was Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong, who gave Columbus Day a thrashing under this headline: "The Columbus Day holiday is based on a lie. Yet, some people don’t want to let it go."

The subhead: "Columbus Day is no longer an official city holiday. The sooner people accept that, the better."

Well, ok then, I guess the rest of us have no choice but to salute Fuhrer Kenney and mindlessly follow the dictates of the Inky thought police.

In her column, Armstrong declared that she was "pleased" with the mayor's decision to dump Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples' Day.

"When you know better you do better," Armstrong wrote about the mayor. Ah, the collective wisdom of the enlightened. 

Armstrong further opined that she was happy that Kenney had decreed that Juneteenth was another new official city holiday, which Armstrong said was a "small but symbolic step toward righting past historical wrongs."

Ok great, Jenice, I'm glad African-Americans are happy that they got Juneteenth as another holiday and hooray for indigenous peoples for getting a holiday of their own. But the Italians just got their only holiday whacked by edict, and I'm sorry that it didn't bother you in the least. 

As far as the constitutional issues raised by the lawsuit, well, Armstrong dismissed all that in three words by saying let the lawyers "duke it out."

Next up was Inquirer columnist Helen Ubinas, who wrote off the Columbus Day lawsuit as a joke and political theater. Ubinas, yet another official Inquirer oracle on what constitutes real racism, dismissed Columbus as a "poor genocidal colonizer." Then she described the toppled statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo as the "city's perennial racist lighting rod."

Christine Flowers, a former Inquirer & Daily News columnist of 17 years who was purged because of her conservative views, described the Ubinas column in a Facebook post as a "mocking piece, not a critique" that "dripped with Fierce Brown Girl attitude, daring the white readers to speak out, talk back."

"It was cruel, tone deaf," Flowers wrote. "It was bigotry, writ in Times New Roman."

The point everybody at the Inquirer seems to be missing is about due process.

In issuing Executive Order 2-21 on Jan. 27th that canceled Columbus Day as a city holiday, and replaced it with Indigenous Peoples' Day, Mayor Kenney apparently forgot that he was a democratically elected mayor of a city of 1.6 million people of all ethnicities and races, governed by a city charter. And that he's not the dictator of a banana republic. 

Kenney also seemingly forgot that Columbus Day was a federal and state holiday, in addition to being a  city holiday. 

By unilaterally acting to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day, the lawsuit states, "Mayor Kenney and the City are thus explicitly choosing which ethnicities should be credited, supported, and approved by the City government, and which ethnicities should be shamed, disdained and canceled."

"The United States Constitution [under the Equal Protection clause] forbids such governmental behavior."

That's the principle that the lawsuit is based on. The lawsuit also notes that by toppling the Rizzo statue in the middle of the night, and attempting to do the same with the Columbus statue, Kenney dispensed with the city charter, and an entire due process that involves deciding the fate of a historical monument, such as public hearings, and deliberations. Instead, once again, he acted like a dictator, and pandered to mob rule, and the prevailing political winds of the moment.

Of course, the Inquirer's columnists are perfectly OK with Kenney toppling Italian-American statues and canceling Columbus Day, because they share his woke beliefs and values. Who needs a democratic process?

Thus the newspaper proved in triplicate a David Horowitz maxim: "Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out."

But as George Bochetto explained, Kenney, who publicly refers to Italians as "Cousin Guido" and "vigilantes," has "completely lost his way and is bent on humiliating and disgracing the Italian-American culture in Philadelphia, and we're not going to put up with it."

Bochetto made another point with reporters. What if the next mayor decides by fiat that he wants to cancel the St. Patrick's Day Parade, or the Martin Luther King holiday? Will everybody be all right with that?

As far as the city's PR flacks go, if we got rid of all of them, they wouldn't be missed. At least not by me. 

For the past 20 months, Jane Roh has stonewalled every inquiry I've sent her so she's worthless.

And Deana Gamble, Kenney's flack, refused to respond to my questions about the Columbus Day lawsuit because she was offended that I had encouraged other media outlets to cover that story. 

Hey Deana, let me explain something about your boss that offends me -- he's a hypocrite. 

Thirty years ago when Rizzo died, Kenney, then a city councilman at large, was one of the original proponents for building a monument to Rizzo. And Kenney was also a co-sponsor of a bill to rename the Municipal Services Building in Rizzo's honor.

But the Inquirer, of course, and every other progressive media outlet in town, including Philly mag, gave Kenney a pass on that.

Hey Deana, as far as I'm concerned, I'd encourage every reporter in North America to write about your boss and expose him for being a hypocrite. 

So in praise of independent thought, I've published on the blog today an essay by Robert Petrone, a  lawyer, assistant district attorney and Columbus scholar who was commissioned by the City Council to research original Spanish manuscripts from the 15th and 16th centuries and report back on the true history of Columbus.

Apparently, Mayor Kenney never bothered to read that report. Instead, he pandered to the mob that came for the Columbus statue. After they came for the Rizzo statue. 

Today, Petrone is writing to refute the Inquirer's attacks on Columbus, Columbus Day, and the Columbus Day lawsuit. In his piece, Petrone provided links to all eight chapters of his report on Columbus.

So I'd encourage everybody to give it a read.

Another voice: A podcast by Christine Flowers on Spotify, "How Italians Are Saving Philadelphia."


  1. Good work again, Ralph. Fight for the American people, Italians included !!

    1. Kenney moved from working class, multi culture, mutli race, multi ethnic South Philadelphia to rich, prominently white Old City.
      How many Blacks live in his building? Block?? Zipcode??? Very few, i suspect.

  2. Great, great piece here, Ralph. Thanks a bunch. Read the entire Petrone piece, as well. Fantastic. Even clicked on his link for 'The Advocates' by Dan Cirucci. That was very absorbing. Amazing thing, that there's so much to discover about Columbus other than what the Nuns taught way, way back in the early '60's. Apparently, a great man. Thanks again, Ralph. You are the bomb.

  3. The Philadelphia Inquirer: funded by billionaires to serve oligarchs.

    Who needs truth, objectivity, or integrity when you are funded by billionaires and do not need to rely on talent or service.

    We deserve a better newspaper.

    1. Agreed. Especially talent or service. Seems to me every single being employed by that propaganda rag/tabloid has an axe to grind, which should have no part, whatsoever, in journalism.

    2. Recently cancelled my Inky digital subscription, and almost felt bad for the customer service rep as they tried valiantly to keep me as a paying customer. Bottom line is the paper had strayed so far from balanced reporting, it’s not recognizable. Getting rid of the comments so they have their safe space echo chamber was the final move for me. Good riddance.

  4. See "Courage and Conviction" https://youtube.com/watch?v=zl3aDan7BBA


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