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.

Last Gleaming

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is shopping for chainsaw chains at MENARDS.  He sees Garth MULLER, a professional golf pro and Vice Chair for Ideological Purity at the Minnesota 5th CD Libertarian Party.  He is dressed head to toe in Minnesota Vikings wear.  

MULLER:  Hey, Merg!  People who pledge allegiance to Skycloth before football games are no better than Nazis who sieg-heiled along with Hitler.

BERG:  “Pledge allegiance to Skycloth?  What are you talking about?”

MULLER:  The American flag, and the miltaristic ritual of standing for the national anthem before NFL games.

BERG:  Before what?

MULLER:  NFL games.

BERG:  That’s what I thought you said.  I don’t stand to pledge allegiance to the government.  I do it out of respect for what this nation is supposed to be about.  And other than some community opprobium, there’s really no consequence for not standing for the anthem.

MULLER:  But all the fuss about Kapernick and the other people taking a knee…

BERG:  I don’t really care.  Let ’em.  It costs nobody anything.

But – that team you support?

MULLER:  Go Vikes!

BERG:  Yeah – if I decide not to pay my part of the taxes for “The People’s Stadium”, and carry the protest on long enough, men with guns will beat down my door and take the money.  To pay for your recreation, sixteen Sundays a year.

So – “Skycloth”, consequence-free observance of an ideal.

Your NFL game?  My money being taken from me by force.  Which is either theft or slavery.

MULLER:  But…

BERG:  I know.  Principle.

And SCENE.

Lie First, Lie Always: Authoritarians For “Liberty”

One of the things that always annoyed me about the Libertarian Party was its’ members predilection for purity-testing each other to a fine sheen, to the point where nobody could ever really get supported for anything.

The good news?  Apparently they’re not doing that anymore.

The bad news?  We know this because they’ve apparently endorsed a non-Libertarian for office.

Democrat “Libertarian” Veep nominee Bill Weld is as clueless about firearms as any NPR reporter.

The “clueless” is so strong, I won’t bother fisking it.  I’ll just let the statement sit in its full glory, and wait ’til the footnotes:

“The five-shot rifle, that’s a standard military rifle; 1 the problem is if you attach a clip to it so it can fire more shells and if you remove the pin so that it becomes an automatic weapon, 2 and those are independent criminal offenses, 3” Weld said. “That is when they become, essentially a weapon of mass destruction. 4 The problem with handguns probably is even worse than the problem of the AR15.” 5

Weld also said he believed no one on a terrorist watch list should be allowed to purchase guns, even though, as the Huffington Post pointed out, it isn’t too hard for an innocent person to end up on the list.

Indeed, that’s the point – which Weld would know, if he were a Libertarian.

Footnotes:

1:  The “standard military rifle” hasn’t been “five shots” since about 1942.

2: If you “remove the pin”, it becomes a club.

3: No, it becomes zero offenses; adding a larger magazine isn’t a crime (except in places like DC, Chicago, California and Massachusetts (unless you’re Brian Gregory)), and “taking out the pin” is called “Field stripping and cleaning”.  Converting a gun to full automatic is a federal felony – but Weld is not curious enough to know that’s practically impossible with a garden-variety AR15.  Not that I’d know, because guns scare me.

4:  No, they do not become nuclear, biological, chemical or high-explosive weapons.  They become rifles that are easy to use, don’t jam, and don’t run out of bullets before the bad guy runs out of attack.

5:  Well, duh.  Handguns kill two orders of magnitude more people than “assault weapons”.  Or, put correctly, criminals use handguns to murder two orders of magnitude more people – disproportionally brown or black, most of them in Democrat cities.

Keystoned

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Neither the Castile shooting nor the Miami shooting seem like racial incidents.  They seem like Keystone Kops incidents: running in circles, nobody in charge, contradictory commands, misinterpreted actions, improper over-reaction.  

When a mass of cops arrive at the scene, who’s in charge?  Who gives the orders?  Who decides when to shoot?  Doesn’t seem to be a consistent policy and as a result, people are getting shot.

 I can forgive an honest error in judgment.  I can’t overlook incompetence. 

 Joe Doakes

A few years (OK – a few decades) back, I read about the training involved in a hostage rescue team, including the danger involved with lots of men running around in a cramped space, high on adrenaline and guns.  The training to develop the teamwork necessary to make the team more dangerous to “the enemy” than to themselves alone was a long, drawn-out process.

Do local SWAT teams, much less patrol cops, get this?

I don’t think so, but I’m genuinely curious.

Impropriety

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Suppose someone dropped off their real estate documents and I said “I’m very busy right now, I won’t be able to get to them for a couple of weeks.  Unless you wanted to paperclip $100 bill to the documents, then I’d be willing to stay late to get them done today.”  Would there be howls of protest over me abusing my government position to put money in my pocket?

 Suppose an off-duty cop gets pulled over for speeding, shows the on-duty officer his driver’s license and oh, just incidentally flashes his badge.  The obvious intention is that the on-duty cop will not write the off-duty cop a ticket, to save the driver embarrassment and also $100 fine.

 Putting $100 in my pocket or keeping $100 in his – they’re both corruption, using an official position for personal enrichment.

 Of course, not all cops are corrupt just as not all Muslims are terrorists and not all Blacks are criminals and not all . . . yes, yes, we know that.  But we also know for certain that some cops are corrupt except – and here’s the really important point – we can’t tell who they are.  A few known bad apples make us suspect the entire bunch may be rotten so the rational conclusion is to treat all of them as if they are rotten.

 Lawyers talk about avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, so as not to cast suspicion on the entire legal profession.  Cops don’t seem to understand the concept. The instinct is for cops to band together, to circle the wagon to protect the Thin Blue Line, to denounce their critics as ignorant, to absolve themselves of technical wrongdoing despite what appears on the video.  That does nothing to solve the problem that cops appear to be corrupt, appear to be using their positions to put themselves above the law.

 The Black community already hates cops.  Politicians no longer reflexively support cops.  Middle class mainstream America sees video of cops beating or shooting people and are beginning to lose confidence. What happens when the bulk of society no longer believes cops are trustworthy but instead begin to view them as armed gangs, not much different from the Crips, just different gang colors?

 A professional public police force is relatively recent, invented by Robert Peel in London in 1829.  What did society use to keep law-and-order before the Bobbies?  And if the public decides the police are now hopelessly corrupt, what will replace them after they’re disbanded? Vigilance Committees made up of ordinary citizens, armed as necessary to protect their families, homes and neighborhoods? 

 Behold the wisdom of Federalist 29.

 Joe Doakes

There’s a reason you can’t find a Federalist Paper in a public school anymore.

Policies Matter

Not so long ago, a not overly bright person on a community forum called me a “racist” for asking “what does Black Life Matter” actually want?”

One might wonder if BLM is “racist” for finally answering my question.

Thing is, their ideas aren’t entirely wrong:

1. End “broken windows” policing, which aggressively polices minor crimes in an attempt to stop larger ones.

Broken windows policing has always been controversial.  But it’s worked; it was a key element in turning New York from a crime-sodden wasteland in 1975 to one of the safer cities in America in 2005.

It did lean hard on “communities of color” – because some of those communities have had all sorts of problems, both “broken windows” and crime.  We can debate the reasons for that – and a lot of African-Americans disagree with BLM on that; it’s usually they who are asking for more, and more integrated, police presence in their communities.

Is it possible to get good policing in a trouble community without impacting those, in the community, who are trouble?

2. Use community oversight for misconduct rather than having the police department decide what consequences officers should face.

I don’t disagree in principle:  groups investigating themselves never works.

But community review boards, especially in Democrat-run cities where most police problems are, inevitably turn into political footballs.

Better idea?  Make police carry individual liability insurance.  It’ll have the same effect it has on drivers; it’ll show us who the “bad” ones are, and fast.

3. Make standards for reporting police use of deadly force.

Excellent idea.

4. Independently investigate and prosecute police misconduct.

This would seem to make good common sense.

5. Have the racial makeup of police departments reflect the communities they serve.

A passable-sounding idea in principle; very hard to carry out in practice; if applicants for police service reflect the larger American community – 12% Latino, 11% black, 2% Asian, 75% white – what is “the community” supposed to do?  Assign cops to precincts on the basis of race?

Is it a good idea, though?  If our idea of “justice” is “bean-counting based on skin color”, then haven’t we really lost?

6. Require officers to wear body cameras.

Fine idea in practice, and I support it in principle.

The devil is in the details.  Can we allow officers to turn off their cameras?  Do you want officers stopping at Superamerica to take a dump preserved on the public record?

I’m not asking to be funny or gross.  If you allow officers to turn off the camera for purposes of bodily functions, then you create an opportunity – several, in fact.  Unethical officers will use that facility.   Bureaucrats will create more rules and procedures around cameras, which’ll take more time away from policing.

I’m in favor, but with questions.

7. Provide more training for police officers.

Not a bad idea, provided the “training” is useful.

8. End for-profit policing practices.

We’re talking about civil forfeiture, and even if the other nine proposals had been complete hogwash, this alone would be worth it.  Using funds from “crimes” that haven’t even gone to trial should be stopped, now.

9. End the police use of military equipment.

I’ll meet ’em halfway on this.   The hero gear gets way too much of a workout.  When you have armored cars and police in full battle rattle knocking down doors to serve warrants for non-violent crimes – pot dealers, people who owe the city money, that kind of thing – that does kinda send a message about what you think about “a community”.

10. Implement police union contracts that hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Now that is going to be interesting to see out in practice.

BLM’s got a few useful ideas.  Where they go wrong is in relying on politics and politicians to do the reforming for them.