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.

Continue reading

Minnesota’s Bornholmer Strasse

In East Germany in 1991, all it took was one border guard commander to jump the queue and completely short-circuit his communist leaders’ plans to keep communism alive.

Just one cop, opening one gate, and half a century of oppression deflated like a Vikings winning streak.

In Minnesota, we’re not nearly that dramatic.

Jim Surdyk, owner of Surdyk’s Liquor in Minneapolis, decided to open yesterday – four months before Minnesota’s Blue Laws are formally repealed.


The city of Minneapolis will do its darnedest to show them who’s boss, of course.

Get The Sad Trombone

Gun-control melodrama Miss Sloane has bombed at the box office.

Well, no.  That understates it.  Howard the Duck and Ishtar bombed.  Miss Sloane was dropped from a single B-29, and like that iconic single bomb, has a decent shot at helping to bring a war to an end.

After lavish television advertising – Miss Sloane had a bigger TV budget than the inescapable Rogue One – and fawning reviews from liberal critics and media, the movie earned $3.2 million dollars.  Which, divided by the number of screens and a $10 ticket price, meant an average of around ten people attending each showing.

And it wasn’t for lack of trying to get people to show up. Out of the 200 highest-grossing movies of 2016, only ten exceeded the $15.9 million television advertising budget of Miss Sloane, and seven of those did so by very small amounts. Miss Sloane spent more than the Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, Star Trek, Pete’s Dragon, Arrival, Doctor Strange, and Hacksaw Ridge. It had twice the advertising budget of such hits as Sully, The Girl on the Train, and The Secret Life of Pets. For every dollar spent on advertising, Miss Sloane brought in just 21 cents in ticket sales. By this measure, it came in dead last out of the 200 top-grossing movies in 2016. No one else was even close. Coming in second-to-last was Collateral Beauty, which made 53 cents per advertising dollar. The average movie made almost $2 for each dollar spent on advertising.

Of course, the movie’s core conceit – that gun grabbers are a bunch of plucky, underfunded underdogs, duking it out with a “gun lobby” that is floating in money – is a preposterous fiction.  Michael Bloomberg and other anti-gun plutocrats fund the “safe criminal” movement lavishly.

For example, here in Minnesota during the 2016 campaign, groups affiliated with the safe criminal lobby spent well over a million dollars – easily ten times as much as the Human Rights movement did – and employed at least four full-time paid staffers.   Not a single person in Minnesota is paid to lobby the legislature or organize the community; the movement is entirely volunteers, working on their own time out of pure devotion to the Bill of Rights.   In other states – Nevada, Washington, Maine – the spending ratio was closer to 30 to 1.

I suspect most Americans can tell the movie doesn’t pass the stink test;  Sloane’s premise reeks like a full pea-soup diaper on a dog day in the bayou.

And its failure is of a piece with the collapse, over the past fifteen years, of nearly every single Hollywood anti-war movie.

When I saw the trailer – during one of my ever-so-brief episodes of watching broadcast TV – I heard the trailer in the background.  I think it was the normally-excellent Sam Waterson, playing one of the “gun lobby” bad guys.  I think I envisioned a character wearing a black cape and top hat, twisting a painstakingly-maintained handlebar mustache as he tied Ms. Chastain…er, Sloane to the tracks.  I actually laughed out loud.

But hey, Hollywood; keep ’em coming.

Faster!

The progressive chattering classes are all in a tizzy because many of Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees are long-time opponents of the departments they’ve been chosen to lead:

  • Rick Perry at Energy – who has advocated disbanding the entire department and reducing a cabinet seat
  • Ben Carson at HUD, who has criticized federal housing
  • Betsy DeVos at Education – a major proponent of school choice and degrading the government monopoly on education
  • Scott Pruitt at the EPA, an agency against whom he’s spent years litigating
  • Andy Puzder at Labor, who would oppose most “progressive” labor regulations
  • Tom Price at HHS, who advocates rolling back Obamacare.

The chattering classes are all aflutter.  Perhaps because most of these departments are nothing but make-work programs for worthless Ivy Leaguer poli sci grads like, well, themselves.

Or perhaps because the American people might just support it:

And that leads us to the really burning question: Will anyone miss those departments if they go away?

We could try to answer that question by diving into the bitterly partisan political and economic debate over the size of government that’s been dividing people in this country since the days of Jefferson and Hamilton. Or we could wisely dump that academic argument and realize that the answer lies in how well the Trump team manages to make sure the changes get noticed by normal voters in a positive way. In politics, perception truly is reality.

And Trump, for all his faults, gets that better than most other Republicans.  For worse or, when it comes to slashing the size and power of the Federal Government ,much much better.

Change In The Weather

This past three weeks has been fascinating; I’ve watched a whole lot of people I’d considered fairly rational, sensible people completely losing their grip on reality. I could talk – “joke”, sure, what the heck – about how people on the political left frequently seem groaningly ignorant about history, but that’s a separate subject for another time.

I’ve seen some of them writing or sharing *precisely* the sort of end-of-the-world apocalyptic gloom and doom that they were mocking *some* Republicans for writing eight years ago – advice about surviving the end of civilization, the fall of civil society, barbarians at the gates, pretty much the whole “Walking Dead” bit.

The part that has me the most interested, though, is the dark, furtive references some of them are making to “resisting”…whatever it is they’re worried about. Some are even taking measures they’d considered downright unholy – indeed, measures that a month ago most of them were working to foreclose.

And while I detest schadenfreud, I just have to ask those liberals; are you finally starting to understand (however irrationally and mistakenly) why some of us bitter, gun-clinging deplorables fought to hard to protect the *originalist* interpretation of the Second Amendment?

Maybe just a little?

I’ve seen more than a few liberal writers claim that black people arming themselves is how we’ll “finally” get gun control.  Only at the hands of Democrats.  The NRA has been arming minorities since 1866.

False Equivalence

I was listening to some archival coverage from NPR over the weekend, from May of 1945, about the death of Adolf Hitler.  I was kind of surprised:

“On the one hand, he directly ordered the death of 11 million Jewish, gay, Roma, Sinti and Slavic civilians in a campaign of ethnic cleansing, and launched a war that led to the deaths of between 50 and 70 million people.

On the other hand, he was a committed vegetarian and dedicated to animal rights, and his death by gun suicide highlights attention on the epidemic of gun violence, in which guns killed millions of Europeans.

So the truth is somewhere in between.”

Well, no.  I made the whole thing up.  Well, not the whole thing; Hitler could in fact not bear the though of animals coming to harm.  He was a very forthright vegetarian, and had no tolerance for any sort of cruelty to animals.  But nobody in history has suggested that those facts even nudge the scale in comparison to his crimes against humanity and morality.

That would be just stupid.

I thought about this as I was listening to NPR talking about the death of Fidel Castro.

It was a series of “Journalists” bending over backwards to ensure the world knows that there were two sides to Fidel Castro; the one who “stood up for the little guy” (using funds taken from Russian and Eastern-European “little guys”, but that’s getting too detailed, right?), who was a huge patron of Cuban arts and sports, and public health on the one hand…

…and who may have been a bit of a totalitarian tyrant on the other. The truth, an NPR reporter sonorously reminded us, was “somewhere between the two”.

And it made me wonder – how many people WOULD he have had to murder to push the needle?

A visitor to this planet might wonder who’s being more satirical, NPR or me.

 However, one can forgive NPR for being at least a little less detached from reality than five notable world leaders in their statements about Castro’s expiry.   If you happen to be a citizen Canada, have a word with Prime Minister McDreamy, eh?   Likewise, if you’re from Ireland or the EU, you need to see about changing leaders.  (If you are an Iranian citizen, you don’t have much more choice than the Cubans did; if you are a member of Britian’s Labour Party, you probably don’t know any better.
Fortunately, the WSJ has some moral sense, and has written about the effort to count Castro’s victims (from a conservative 9,000 to an all-too-plausible 90,000).

 

Cuba Libre – Someday

Fidel Castro is dead – but the dictatorship lives on.

For now.

Over at Bablublog – the foremost Cubablog for the past 13 years, now – Humberto Fontova notes a couple of the facts that the worst of our repulsive media, especially NPR, can’t quite:

In the above process he converted a highly-civilized nation with a higher standard of living than much of Europe and swamped with immigrants into a slum/sewer ravaged by tropical diseases and with the highest suicide rate in the Western hemisphere.Over TWENTY TIMES as many people (and counting) have died trying to escape Castro’s Cuba as died trying to escape East Germany. Yet prior to Castroism Cuba received more immigrants per-capita than almost any nation on earth—more than the U.S. did including during the Ellis Island years.

He helped train and fund practically every terror group on earth, from the Weathermen to Puerto Rico’s Macheteros, from Argentina’s Montoneros, to Colombia’s FARC, from the Black Panthers to the IRA and from the PLO to AL Fatah.

Would anyone guess any of this from reading the media today? Or from reading President Obama’s message of condolences to the terror-sponsoring Castro family?

Every item above thoroughly documented here.

More tomorrow on the American media and left’s repulsive performance over the weekend.

Oh, yeah – and Canadian Prime Minister McDreamy.

UPDATE:  Or Green Party Prez candidate “Dr.” Jill Stein:

Please, “Doctor” Stein, I beg of you – run for president again.

Fringe-y

SCENE: Mitch BERG is shoveling his sidewalk. As he’s shoveling to the east, Avery LIBRELLE, out for a walk, comes up from the west and catches BERG by surprise.

LIBRELLE: Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Uh…hi, Avery.  What’s…

LIBRELLE:   Drumpf is appointing racist white supremacists from the Alt-Right to his cabinet!

BERG:  Avery, I have a question for you.  One of the reasons I support the Second Amendment is that I believe it’s possible – not “highly likely”, but possible – that despite all the safeguards built into the Federalist system, our government could one day be take over by people who actively trample the peoples’ freedom.

LIBRELLE:  That’s paranoia, treason, and an ammosexual gun fondler fantasy.

BERG:  Huh.  But Donald Trump is now president, and you’re worried…

LIBRELLE:  …that government is actively going to stifle and quash peoples’ freedom.

BERG:  Gotcha.  So when a Second Amendment supporter says that they’re acting in defense of liberty, they are…

LIBRELLE:  Fat bald white gun fondlers who’ve watched Rambo too many times and are probably terrorists waiting to happen.

BERG:   And when Hillary Clinton supporters say it about Trump, they are…

LIBRELLE:  Guarding freedom against a fascist tyrant.

BERG:   Gun owners…

LIBRELLE:  Fat angry stupid traitors.

BERG:  People attacking Trump…

LIBRELLE:  The highest expression of democratic ideals.

BERG:  Conservative…

LIBRELLE:  Evil.  Hate.  Death.

BERG:  “Progressive”

LIBRELLE:  Love.

BERG:  Naturally.

And SCENE

Nullified (Not!)

We don’t know what happened in the jury room in Oregon yesterday – but as we noted last night, a jury acquitted all of Ammon Bundy’s group of all charges.

The decision smells like jury nullification – the notion that a jury can invalidate bad law by not finding people guilty of it.

Say what you will about the Bundy clan and their methods, but the original charge that led to the fracas – the “setting a fire in federal property” rap that arose from a controlled blaze that became not-so-controlled and overlapped federal property in the trackless waste of eastern Oregon – was a crock and needed to be nullified.

And, as a lot of libertarian Westerners (or as the Southern Poverty Law Center would refer to them, “terrorists”) have been talking about for a long time, the jury would have none of it.

The feds don’t like being denied:

Ammon Bundy’s lawyer Marcus Mumford argued that his client, dressed in a gray suit and white dress shirt, should be allowed to walk out of the court, a free man.

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown told him that there was a U.S. Marshal’s hold on him from a pending federal indictment in Nevada.

“If there’s a detainer, show me,” Mumford stood, arguing before the judge.

Suddenly, a group of about six U.S. Marshals surrounded Mumford at his defense table. The judge directed them to move back but moments later, the marshals  grabbed on to him.

“What are you doing?” Mumford yelled, as he struggled and was taken down to the floor.

As deputy marshals yelled, “Stop resisting,” the judge demanded, “Everybody out of the courtroom now!”

Mumford was taken into custody, a member of his legal team confirmed.

Ammon Bundy’s lawyer J. Morgan Philpot, said afterwards on the courthouse steps that Mumford had been arrested and marshals had used a stun gun, or Taser, on his back.

Jurors (apparently) nullified the charges because, one suspects, they believe the feds have become an authoritarian bureaucracy.  The feds then give them evidence to support the thesis.

It’s going to be an interesting four years.

UPDATE:  Not nullification?  No problem.  Good guys win either way.

Skål!

The “Pirate” party is poised to take power in Iceland..

…and then give it back:

Although the Pirate Party formed just four years ago, its popularity has skyrocketed — most likely for unconventional tactics aligning loosely with libertarianism — the promotion of privacy rights and personal freedoms, and simultaneous shrinking of Big Government.

Edward Snowden has been offered the safe haven of Icelandic citizenship should the Pirates likely victory come to fruition — which makes sense, given the party’s anti-establishment roots.

In fact, the Pirates have experienced astonishing success in a short time — taking the nation’s longstanding political traditionalists off-guard in the process — even the group’s founder, a programmer and former Wikileaks activist, is stunned.

The GOP needs to learn a few lessons from the Pirates.

I’ll  be here to teach ’em.

Spanish Bonds On The Costa Brava

Once upon a time, when I worked at a radio station whose initial rhymed with “Ay Ess Tee Pee”, we went without a general manager for six months.

In that time the station’s ratings doubled.

Eventually, in their good time, Hubbard Broadcasting sent us a GM.  Who promptly screwed everything up, where it stayed until the dawn of Limbaugh.

I’m not saying that kind of thing happens all the time with businesses.

But it certainly is associated with civilized people who observe the law, in regard to “government”.

Spain, after the better part of a decade of stagnancy in squalor under a socialist government, is bouncing back strongly:

The eurozone’s fourth-largest economy is on track to expand around 3% this year, outpacing the International Monetary Fund’s projections for France, Germany and the U.S.

The landed punditry believes that is inconsistent with the fact  Spain hasn’t had a functioning  government in nearly a year:

Spain has been without a full-fledged government since December. Doubts about who will form the next one have persisted since the divided parliament elected that month failed to install a prime minister and was dissolved. A new parliament, elected in June, is also deadlocked among four major parties, none close to a majority.

It is – to borrow a phrase that the Obama administration has turned into a national punchline it – “unexpected”.

But only if you’re the kind of person that believes “Brexit” is going to send the UK back to the Stone Age, and that raising taxes fight recessions.

Keeping The Peace

As very few of you know, I was on the road a good chunk of this past two weeks; in Hartford the last week of September, and I just got back from Jacksonville late yesterday.

Naturally, I was keeping a close eye on Hurricane Matthew, which I beat out of Jax by about 12 hours.

The most vulnerable time for people and communities during these sorts of disasters is when the population is dislocated; evacuated, out of power, or bludgeoned with massive damage.  If worse comes to worst, coastal Florida and South Carolina might be all three of the above.

Just a reminder to potential looters; last year, Governor Scott signed a law allowing law-abiding gun owners to carry their firearms while complying with evacuation orders without need for a permit (emphasis added).

“As Hurricane Season approaches it’s critical that our rights are protected during natural disasters,” advised Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-Petersburg, in a statement. “With the signing of SB 290, all lawful gun owners will be permitted to carry a concealed weapon if they are complying with a mandatory evacuation during a state of emergency. I’m proud to have sponsored this bipartisan bill ensuring that we have the right to protect our families during these sometimes chaotic times.”

Brandes bill, SB 290, creates an exception to Florida’s prohibition against concealed carry of a weapon without a permit by allowing adults not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm to temporally do so while evacuating. The law allows for a 48-hour window that this would be allowed after the evacuation has been ordered. However, the governor can authorize an extension as needed.

Compare this to the arm-twisting that needed to happen with the metro DFL to ban the governor from confiscating firearms during emergencies, and you can see who actually supports freedom, to say nothing of public order.

 

A Matter Of Trust

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This guy was sitting in the car reading a book, Tasered four times, then shot.

 Or he got out of the car with a gun and threatened the officers.

 Depends on who you believe.

 On the one hand, a certain group of people Whose Lives Matter have a history of making up facts to support their story.  The “Hands Up” thing comes to mind.

 On the other hand, a certain group of people Who Are Above The Law have a history of making up facts to support their story, too.  The cop who dropped the Taser next to his shooting victim comes to mind.

 I honestly can’t decide which group is less trustworthy and that terrifies me.  It means the main source of social cohesion is failing.  Every time that’s happened throughout history, it’s been a pre-cursor to societal upheaval, often leading to collapse, chaos, anarchy, dictatorship, riot, plague and death.

 It doesn’t matter who we elect as President, if there’s no nation to govern. 

 Joe Doakes

This is the elephant in the room; if we can’t trust our government and our fellow citizen, then freedom is really just a slogan.