Baited, Switched

A long time ago, in a beautiful but cold place far far away, a communist dictator built a colosseum.  Being committed to the populist flim-flam most totalitarians use to get help in seizing power, he named it “The People’s Stadium” – although “the people” only got to use it with the permission of the dictator’s cronies.

And the dictator built a train – “The Peoples’ Train” – to bring people from the miserable, decaying, crime-sodden cities to The People’s Stadium.

The dictator and his cronies planned a massive rally to celebrate their power and perspicacity; the entire world’s media would be there to see the dictator’s work.

And the dictator worried: while he put on a slick facade for the foreign press, some of the locals were unruly, and parts o the city were falling apart.

So the dictator took steps to make sure The People wouldn’t screw up The People’s  Event at the People’s Stadium before the eyes of the world.  First, he barred The Hoi Polloi from the Peoples’ Train, to make sure they’d never encounter foreign visitors.

And then, to take no chances, he deployed his Army in the People’s City, to make sure the locals stayed in line.

Minneapolis officials are calling on Gov. Mark Dayton to mobilize the state National Guard for the Super Bowl, amid questions about whether the city’s police force has enough officers to effectively patrol neighborhoods and handle other demands.

Even with dozens of departments across the state pledging to send officers to help with security, Mayor Betsy Hodges and mayor-elect Jacob Frey wrote in a letter on Tuesday that the city’s police “cannot by themselves meet of all the safety and security needs of the 10 days of Super Bowl LII while maintaining public-safety operations for the entire city.”

When I wrote my book Trulbert:  A Comic Novella ab out the End of the World as We Know It, I wrote the scene in which a thinly disguised Roger Goodell-type NFL commissioner exacted concessions out of Minneapolis’ dictator, Myron Ilktost, to be as over the top as I could imagine; a complete NFL takeover of all civic resources, free transportation, prostitutes, whatever the NFL wanted.  And when I went back and edited and re-wrote, I massaged it to make it even more over-the-top.   I was satisfied that real life could never imitate my fiction.

Kudos, Roger Gooddell and Mark Dayton.  You’ve proven me wrong.

In Which The LA Times Goes Long On Freedom

I can not be the only one to have noted the jarring irony of the LA Times’ piece, almost two weeks ago, warning against gutting freedom over ugly, but rare, outrages – can I?

The gruesome terror attack that left eight people dead on a New York City bicycle path Tuesday afternoon spotlighted a troubling reality: Society cannot safeguard itself against every dangerous eventuality.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of people who will pretend that it can — and who will tell you they know how to do it. Already, those who oppose immigration are making hay out of the fact that the attack’s perpetrator entered the country seven years ago through what’s known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. And President Trump pushed the discussion further into dangerous ground Wednesday when he seemed to urge that safeguards in the legal system be undercut in the name of swift vengeance. “We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now,” Trump said.

The president’s insistence that the justice system in this country is a “joke” and a “laughingstock” built on political correctness is worrisome, given his authoritarian tendencies. The idea that constitutional protections should be gutted because Trump is upset is both legally and morally absurd.

That’s when the weapon is a car.

I’m wondering if there isn’t something about leftism that makes it impossible for people to detect logical inconsistency or irony.

Well-Regulated

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The case for mandating gun ownership.   Why serving in the militia should be compulsory.
As a general rule, I react negatively to the suggestion that I should be required to do anything for the federal government.  But the point about civic virtue is important.  In a world where people think bacon comes from a store and cops shouldn’t be so mean when they arrest murderers, a little time spent patrolling the streets of your own town might open some eyes.
Joe Doakes

Until 1972, the Swiss directly tied serving in the militia to the right to vote.  There are times the idea resonates…

Progress

Utah cop who became internet-famous for dragging a nurse, kicking and screaming, from a hospital after she did precisely the job she was supposed to do, and was told to do by her chain of management, is now an ex-cop:

The officer, Detective Jeff Payne, was seen on film dragging a crying nurse out of the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City after she prevented law enforcement from taking blood from an unconscious patient.

The nurse, Alex Wubbels, told officers they needed a warrant, the patient’s consent or for police to arrest the patient in order to draw blood.

Payne told Wubbels he would “leave with blood in vials or body in tow” before placing her in handcuffs and dragging her out of the hospital.

So there’s the take-away:  if government oversteps its just authority and oppresses the living crap out of you, all you need is an epic tsunami of social-media revulsion to maybe, eventually, get some justice.

Feeling better?

People Addict People

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

There is a crisis.  People who are prescribed drugs containing opioids can become addicted to them.

There is a problem.  People who receive medical treatment have privacy rights.  We don’t know who’s doing the prescribing, who’s doctor-shopping, who’s obtaining prescriptions only to sell them.

There are proposed solutions, but they’re mostly paperwork regulations that have no more effect on real-world issues than putting up a Drug Free Zone sign on a schoolhouse door.  More warning labels won’t help: people take the medicine doctors prescribe because we trust doctors.  Restricting prescriptions won’t solve the end problem: no doctor prescribes heroin and people who self-medicate their personal problems with drugs will obtain them illegally, as they always have.  Adding a new federal registry of sensitive information on individuals – does the word “Equifax” ring any bells?

“Opioid” is simply the new word for “narcotic” which has been a staple in the War on Drugs since Coke took cocaine out of its soft-drink 100 years ago.  The problem isn’t the tool, the problem is the tool user.

Joe Doakes

As with any plan, philosophy, worldview or kind of government – the problem is people.

Have Some More Disease

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor’s law enforcement committee asks the age-old question: Who watches the watchers?

The call for a special prosecutor sends up red flags for me.  Removing police prosecutions from local control adds a layer of insulation shields the special prosecutor from local oversight.  We already have a system of locally elected County Attorneys that has withstood the test of time.  Hennepin and Ramsey counties are politically deep blue so anybody elected County Attorney basically will be elected by Democrats, the party of the people, defenders of the downtrodden.  If local prosecutors are racist, it’s because the Democrats who elected them are racist in which case your problem is not with the local prosecutors, it’s with the DFL party and its voters.  Appoint more apparatchiks won’t change the racist attitudes of the appointers.

Joe Doakes

But it will add another office full of bureaucrats with AFSCME and MAPE memberships donating dues to the DFL.

If the DFL could find a way to sell the pelts of police abuse victims for political donations, they’d do it.

Big Words

A friend of the blog writes:

Citizen Trump can criticize NFL players all he wants. But, I am a little upset that he is using his Presidential podium to suggest speech is a reason to be fired. (Leave that to the private employers and private customers to decide). But, as this is Trump, I am sure the issue is not the NFL. It seems there is the most hype when something else is going on. Our “wonderful” media, however, chooses to focus on hype rather than news, and Trump understands this more than most.

Then, I read this in the MinnPost.

And, it reminded me that this writer is on to something. When the government begins to threaten our Constitutional rights, it is important to stand up for those rights, no matter how out of place one feels. There may be public harassment, but that’s part of standing up for your rights. Gun owners have been doing it for years at open carry events.

Trump is playing to his audience – and it’s not a good thing in this case.

“The Government Is Not Coming For Your Guns”

Unless they want to.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed an emergency order allowing the seizure of private guns, ammunition, explosives and property the National Guard may need to respond to Hurricane Irma.
Do You Think This Emergency Order Is Unconstitutional?
Mapp signed the order Monday in preparation for Hurricane Irma. The order allows the Adjutant General of the Virgin Islands to seize private property they believe necessary to protect the islands, subject to approval by the territory’s Justice Department.

I’m feeling pretty good about supporting the 2015 bill that bars the Minnesota state government from doing any such thing.

Want To Make A Nation Of Fundamentally Law-Abiding, Pro-Police People Trust Cops Less Than Journalists Or Used Car Dealers?

To:  Salt Lake City PD
From:  Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant
Re:  Officer Himmler

Dear SLCPD,

If this piece of walking garbage with a badge…:

…is still working for the SLCPD, you are flirting with forfeiting any legitimacy as a “law enforcement” organization.

And don’t respond with “do you think you could do his job?”   I, the law-abiding citizen, hire him to do a job, and part of the job is not violating the civil rights of my fellow citizens!

This is not a feudal kingdom, and police aren’t knights to whom citizens must bow and scrape like peasants.  Some cops seem to have a hard time with that.   It’s gotta stop.

Nice Try, Snowflake

A guy named Richard Lindsay, a professed Christian writing on “Patheos” – a “progressive” Christian megablog – “renounces” his right to keep and bear arms:

I hereby renounce my right to bear arms.I will not keep guns in my house, in my car, or on my person. I will not rely on guns for self-protection. I do not believe owning a gun is a fundamental human right like freedom of speech or freedom of religion. I do not believe owning a gun is the responsibility of a citizen in a democracy. I am capable of functioning in society without resorting to the threat or use of lethal force.

Isn’t that special?

Sorry, Rich.  Your rights are endowed to you by your creator.  You can choose not to exercise them.  You can even choose not to value them, or fight to allow government to illegitimately strip them away from us if you’d like.

But you can’t “renounce” your actual human rights any more than you can renounce the species you were born as.  You can tell everyone you want that you’re a dog; you can even lobby to have the law classify you, and all humans, as dogs if you’d like.  It doesn’t make you a dog.

You’re a human.  With a miserably subservient view of human rights.

I’m a Christian too – rather militantly so, actually – and there are few things in this world that nauseate me more than “Christian” gun control activists.

Unclear On The Concept

If “Freedom of Speech” were about protecting things everyone agrees about, there’d be no need for a law.

For those in any doubt, here’s my point of view on Free Speech vis a vis the thugs and cretins (and the Nazis and White Supremacists that they attack):

  1. If the “Nazis” are out demonstrating, I’ll join you in demonstrating (peacefully) against them. 
  2. If you want to shut down the Nazis right to express their noxious ideas, exempting their (or anybody’s) *civil speech* from the First Amendment , I’ll be protesting against you – exactly as civilly as you do it.
  3. If the “Nazis” make a tangible threat of real violence against anyone, I’ll join you on the barricades. 
  4. If you threaten violence against them? I’ll be behind my own barricade, watching you beat the snot out of each other, hoping you both get hurt really bad, glad to be rid of you both.

And if you say “I support free speech, but…” and spell out exceptions for people who aren’t actively inciting real violence (as opposed to displaying charged symbols), then you don’t support free speech.  Go away.

Dhim And Dhimmer

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is pumping gas at the corner Superamerica when Polly LITTELL – proprietor of the Facebook page “Makeng Minnessota GRAET AGEN” page, pulls up to the next pump. 

LITTELL:  Merg!

BERG:  Oh, hey, Pollly.  (Eyes the meter on the pump, shakes the handle in a futile effort to get it to pump faster).

LITTELL:  So a MUSLIN cop, Mohammed NOOR, murdered a white woman in South MInneapolis!   It’s terrorism!

BERG:  Er, OK – why do you say that?

LITTELL:  Because it’s in the Koran that THEY are supposed TO attack us when THEY CAN.

BERG:  OK, Polly.  So it was terrorism.

LITTELL:  Yes.  Just like they are told to do IN THE Koran.

BERG:  So this “act of terrorism” involved shooting one woman.  Not his partner.  Not every other bystander, and every cop that responded.  And then, surrendering and apparently following the standard post-shooting process that a non-Muslim, non-terrorist cop would follow.

LITTELL:   Why do you hate America?

BERG:  Naturally

(And SCENE)

Fizz

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Independence Day, the national anthem, patriotism: fireworks are a national symbol.

Except in Minnesota where the governor believes Minnesotans are so much stupider than our neighbors in South Dakota and Wisconsin, we cannot be trusted to read and follow simple instructions: “Lay on ground.  Light fuse.  Get away.”

I suppose Wednesday, I’ll be reading news accounts about all the blind and fingerless Cheeseheads swamping the refugee camps in Stillwater after they accidentally burned down their own houses with bottle rockets.  At least they had fun doing it.  Me, I’m looking forward to lighting those little black ‘snake’ pellets to watch them writhe.  Whoopee,

Joe Doakes

To be fair, they just legalized Sunday liquor sales.  They probably figure too much freedom (also booze) will be too intoxicating.

The Sum Of All Fears

“What about our lives? Who protects us from the people who are supposed to protect us?”

The question is from Tonya Jameson, a black kid who was held at gunpoint by an off-duty cop when he was changing a license plate on a car that he’d bought from the cop’s mother in law.

And he asks a very legitimate question:   why should we, the citizens, have to de-escalate our police?

Jameson expresses polite disagreement with the police chief, who explained to him why the officer’s actions were, inevitably, found to be perfectly lawful:

Chief Rausch said that when investigating complaints, it is essential to understand an officer’s mindset to determine the facts. A mindset is not a fact.

Here are the facts that Janish appeared to focus on – the unmarked cab, a black person, the duffel bag and the license plate.

Then here are other facts that he ignored – he knew his mother-in-law was selling the car, it was broad daylight, and I knew her first name, but not her last name. I offered to show him the keys, registration and bill of sale signed by his mother-in-law.

Those are the actual facts. Officer Janish’s mindset was the scenario he created in his head. His fears weren’t facts.

The law cuts a very wide swathe of tolerance for cops’ “mindsets”.   Technically, so does all “use of force” law.

But part of cops’ “Mindsets” these days is constant exposure to the idea that violent death awaits around every corner; that every stop could be their last; that their first, last or next contact with the public could end up like this:

Sobering – and dangerous.

If we’re to the point that we The People need to deal with cops more carefully than we do criminals, we’ve got a big problem, here.

We Tried It The Easy Way

I posted this link last week – Glenn Reynolds in USAToday on how David Brooks and establishment-y pundits like him led to Donald Trump.

This passage caught my attention; the Tea Party preceded  Trump by a good 6-7 years.  We were civil, orderly, and we left the world a much better place than we found it, even in little ways, as shown in this story from a San Francisco counterprotest:

In San Francisco, too, tea party protesters met pro-Obama activists and picked up their trash. “John,” author of The City Square blog wrote: “As Obama supporters moved along in the line to get into the fundraiser, they left behind an impressive amount of trash … Tea Partiers shouted ‘pick up your garbage’ and ‘this is San Francisco, what about recycling?’ There was no response. They chanted ‘Obama leaves a mess.’ Still no response. Eventually, a tea partier (wearing the black cowboy hat) crosses over and starts to pick up the trash on his own. Other tea partiers join him. Another manages to find a trash bag. Soon the trash is being collected.”

It’s true. I was there.  It was an amazing outpouring of motivation, passion, and equanimity.

But it was spontaneous and from the right, so it had to be destroyed.  And between the media and the establishment GOP, it was.

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So when you shut down peoples’ peaceful, reasonable assembly for redress of grievances, what do you expect is going to happen?

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Before It Was Cool – Redux

Kevin Williamson:

Americans can be — and often are — everything our critics say we are: impulsive, vulgar, oafish, clumsy, greedy, vain, belligerent, sanctimonious, hypocritical. But we are something else: a catalyst.

We’ve had 241 years of hit-and-miss government, but imagine going back to 1776 with a prophecy that one day, in the not-too-distant future, the English, French, Germans, Spanish, and Italians — to say nothing of the Israelis and the Japanese and the Indians — would form a restive and sometimes turbulent but enduring alliance against tyranny and oppression, and that this alliance would be loosely and imperfectly organized around something like the ideals ratified on July 4, 1776.

We have our political, economic, and religious disagreements with our friends and allies, but everywhere in the world where people fight against tyranny, we hear an echo of 1776. Everywhere in the world where people risk everything they have to tell the king, führer, caudillo, secretary general of the central committee, dear leader, ayatollah, or president for life to kiss their asses, we see something of ourselves. When things get bad enough, we join in, and have spent untold blood and treasure in the pursuit of other people’s liberty. Why? What’s in it for us? It is in our nature. We aren’t our politics. We aren’t our government or our president or even our Constitution, which is subject to revision from time to time. We are the people who decided that rather than just change kings, we’d do away with kings altogether under the radical theological premise that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, irrespective of the king’s good opinion.

Read the whole thing when you get a moment.

The New Brahmins

Democrat congresswoman tells commoner that her First Amendment rights are “Different” than his:

A bit of background:  when Rep. Demings was a police chief, her gun was stolen from her car; it’s tautological that her gun fell into the hands of a criminal.

Demings is, naturally, a gun grabber:

So that’s two “rights of the people” where this Demcorat rep thinks some people are more people than others.

Fair For The Gander

Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama has just been granted authority by the Alabama legislature to form its own police department.

The church says it needs its own police officers to keep its school as well as its more than 4,000 person congregation safe.

Not sure how this differs from “hiring private security”, which plenty of churches do, or having church members train to provide security (as others do, sometimes with great and immediate effect).   Does a church feel it needs search and arrest powers?  I dunno.

Here’s the part that I think is interesting (emphasis added):

Critics of the bill argue that a police department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes.

A church, with its own cop shop, could cover up crimes.

Hmmm.

Could be.  It’s an astute observation.

Doesn’t that also mean that any other body that has a police force could do the same?  Cities?  Counties?  States?  Universities?  The Feds?

The Devils And Angels In My Nature…

…got into an argument over this past weekend’s festivities in Berkeley, where Real American pro-free-speech activists banded together to deter, and occasionally, where necessary, necessary meet, “anti-fascist” fascist violence at a pro-Trump rally.

Devil (on Mitch’s left shoulder):  Oh, God, I am so freaking happy to see that the good guys – any good guys, people who try to express their views peacefully, fought back against the Blackshirts and other neo-fascist thugs.    Those little upper-middle-class fops are bullies, every one of them.  They sucker-punch, they gang up on lone people, they use weapons like sticks and pepper spray against the unarmed and unsuspecting, they throw smoke bombs at old ladies and punch out teenage girls – but I’m gonna guess every one of them crapped their pants when they saw Real Americans lined up to stare their snowflake asses down.

Angel (on Mitch’s right shoulder):  Yeah, it’s tempting to cheer.   But remember – if 200 Republicans, conservatives, Tea Partiers or Trumpkins go to the hospital, it’ll warrant not a single headline – but the moment Joshua Micah Gildersleeve from Oberlin gets his face scuffed up, it’ll headlines across the entire mainstream media, and the left will make “right wing thuggery” a chanting point forevermore.

Because you know it as well as I do, Mitch’s-inner-devil; the only damage the media and the people who set our society’s opinions care about is damage to the kids who look like their kids.

Devil (on Mitch’s left shoulder):  So we should sit still and be placid, passive victims and punching bags for those worthless bullies?

Angel (on Mitch’s right shoulder):  That’s not what I’m saying.  But let’s be realistic; if a couple black guys punched out a Klansman in self-defense in 1920, it was a tree falling in the forest that was used by the bullies to justify even more violence.  Hell – they’re trying to provoke violence, so they and their patsies and enablers in the MSM can tell the gullible general public “Look at what these big bag righties did to our best and brightest!”

Devil (on Mitch’s left shoulder):  Bu you know as well as I do they don’t even need any kind of resistance to their “resistance” to “Justify” any of that.   And..

(Devil notices Angel removing halo, donning a Gadsden Flag t-shirt, and picking up what looks like a stuffed sweat sock).

Er, Angel?  What is that?

Angel (on Mitch’s right shoulder):  It’s a sweat sock with a big russet potato in it.

Devil (on Mitch’s left shoulder):  Er…what the…why?

Angel (on Mitch’s right shoulder):  Hits like a truck full of bricks, doesn’t leave a mark.

Devil (on Mitch’s left shoulder):  Um…again, why?

Angel (on Mitch’s right shoulder):  (pulls stocking cap low over head).  I’m heading down planetside.  I’m gonna find the next snowflake anti-Free-Speech rally.  If they try to bully anyone else into silence, I’m gonna go all Old Testament Angel on them.

Devil (on Mitch’s left shoulder):  But…you’re the angel of Mitch’s better nature…

Angel (on Mitch’s right shoulder):  I’m an angel.  I’m not an idiot.

(And SCENE).

The Last Real Liberal

Nat Hentoff passed away over the weekend.  He was 91.  

After getting his start as a jazz critic with the Village Voice, Hentoff swerved into a career as a civil liberties activist.  Probably 25 years ago, I read Free Speech For Me, But Not For Thee – a book about free speech, but even moreso a treatise on how protecting freedom for the unpopular and unsavory was as important, or more important, than protecting it for “the good guys”.  It also warned of today’s campus totalitarianism.  Hentoff, a longtime ACLU activist, lived out what the organization was back before it turned into the “Manhattan Civil Liberties Union.

It’s become a traffic-worn cliche to say an old-time conservative, a Ronald Reagan or a Jack Kemp, “..couldn’t get elected in today’s GOP” – but it’s actually true that Nat Hentoff couldn’t get arrested in today’s power-mad hard left.  We know this because today’s left literally did, in fact, reject him:

In 2009, after 50 years, Hentoff lost his job at the Village Voice. He was told it was due to “budget” concerns, but most believe he had been fired because his libertarianism was increasingly controversial on the left. In the years that followed, he wrote for numerous publications, including The Washington Times, and worked with the Cato Institute. He was honored by and spoke on free speech and privacy at a Conservative Political Action Conference and served on the advisory board of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which fights for free speech on our campuses.
When the Village Voice cast him adrift, he observed that he would just have to put on his “skunk suit” and saunter off to someone else’s “garden party.” And he did just that. He supported the Iraq war, but was a dogged critic of the Bush administration’s assault on privacy rights in the name of the “War on Terror.” He said he was going to support Barack Obama in 2008, but couldn’t because of the man’s views on partial-birth abortion. Last year he was to be found in the camp of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. He had not become a conservative, but remained Nat Hentoff. He was a man who could get up in the morning, look himself in the mirror and see the face of one who had, regardless of what others might say, remained true to his convictions.

He may have been the last liberal who actually was a liberal.

Life Imitates Blog

Ten years or so ago, during the heyday of the political blog, some of us – conservatives with fond memories of the punk era in music – quipped “conservatism is the new punk”.

In places like Minneapolis and Saint Paul, it’s still pretty true; conservatives and conservatism are the counterculture, the disruption, the sound of the gleeful underdog that makes the establishment froth with rage.

And life today is imitating us.

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