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Dear Sirs & Mesdames: I write with regard to headlines of last week such as follows from the Los Angeles Times of July 20: “Trader Joe’s to eliminate product names criticized as being racist.” These reports move me to recommend a self-help title I have found useful: The Younger Next Year Back Book. Don’t let […]

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The Cease Fire That Won’t Be

 

What does it mean when a group of people, ages 20-50, swarm a federal courthouse and literally throw bombs at it? It means, much as it meant on April 12, 1861, when forces fired on Ft. Sumpter. It means a revolution is already underway. As the media continues to gaslight us with the “peaceful protester” narrative, video from folks on the ground like Andy Ngo show the real effects of this mayhem.

Now, with the governor of Oregon, a Democrat, agreeing to stop the violence, VP Pence has agreed to remove Customs and Border Protection from Portland. While that seems like a win for the bad guys, this is actually pretty brilliant strategy move by Republicans. It cuts sufficient rope from the spool to allow the governor, and the rioters, to hang themselves. Because, let’s be honest: the rioting won’t stop, it will intensify. There will be a full-scale frontal attack, likely with more than fireworks, on the federal courthouse and other federal buildings. The buildings will be seized. Lives – and justice – will be put at risk. Federal judges will get to see up close and in vivid color what injunctions protecting rioters from the full force of the law really accomplish. The nation will get to see that the word of a Democrat governor has all the worth of used toilet paper without any of its utility. The property will have to be retaken at a cost in lives and dollars that should be – but likely won’t be – borne by the state of Oregon.

For Democrats, this could be their time to shine. This could be their time to show they actually can accomplish something useful. Imagine if the riots stop, the courthouse gets left alone, and peace descends on Portland. It would prove the Democrats right, and President Trump wrong. But, it won’t.

Let me explain why.

I was ten years old when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a group of brave souls marched across a bridge in Selma. They did not carry guns. They did not riot. They were peaceful. They made speeches. Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech later on the Washington Mall is still regarded as one of the most masterful in history. His Letters from a Birmingham Jail (smuggled out in toilet paper) should be required reading for every law student. He led by example. He accomplished so much more than even he realized.

People of all races and religions saw that what Dr. King wanted was basic humanity and human dignity for a large swath of the country that could not obtain it. He pushed for change. Nonviolence won, in the end, because it worked through the democratic process. Although filibustered by Democrats for something like 65 days, the landmark Civil Rights Act brought thousands of young men who went to high school with me their first real experience with quality education. It brought them some pride in who they were. I remember, at the time, being offended by hearing “I’m black, I’m proud,” but today I understand it wasn’t meant as an attack on me, but as an affirmation that needed to be said. Many in that era had determined they had nothing to be proud of. How can you understand that if you’ve always been proud of who you are? But for them, it was a new and liberating experience.

While the Black Panthers, SDS, and the Weathermen took the violent route and claimed victory, it was Dr. King who won the day. Sadly, like Moses, he did not live to see his people reach the promised land. But the opportunities he created are still changing lives. And most importantly, the national consensus that the status quo was wrong came about by peaceful protest that showed how indifferent to human dignity and basic liberty certain Americans were in 1965. Now, 55 years later, those gains are about to be diminished, and if not diminished, certainly tarnished, by a bunch of young white people shouting “Black Lives Matter” when they do not, in fact, believe that. Rather, the entire organization is aimed at a Marxist revolution. And the first shots have already been fired. The first casualties have already been claimed.

Anyone with a little understanding of human psychology understands variable scale reinforcement. It’s why the slot machines near the entry have the most frequent (but lowest) payouts. If you occasionally give a gambler back a bit of what they lost, they will continue to lose money all night long. Because they get the rush from the occasional win. Very few gamblers play the slot machine for 30 minutes, hit a payout, and walk away. They go back looking for the next payout.

It’s the same thing with these Portland rioters. While there may be a temporary peace long enough to let the federal people depart, once they can reliably be thought to be gone, the full-scale assault will begin, and neither the mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, or the governor of Oregon will be able to stop it, or in truth, will want to stop it. They’ll declare, as Durkan did in Seattle, a “summer of love” and refuse to cooperate with retaking the courthouse. They will, instead, blame Trump. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I hear you asking “But if they got the feds out, why would they do this?” Because their goal was never to get the feds out of the courthouse. Their goal before, now and in the future will be to overthrow the duly elected government and impose a socialist order. If you think I’m making this up, look at some of the signs being carried in Portland that have nothing to do with black lives or police brutality. “Tax the Rich” “No Walls No Border” “Justice is Tyranny.” Oh, sure, there are a few token signs saying Black Lives Matter, but the majority are people in black clothing, black masks, with iron shields, clubs, frozen water bottles, and gas masks, are so lily-white they hurt your eyes and couldn’t give two cents about black lives.

These people do not swear off violence. They idolize it. They revel in it. They can’t wait to prevail over the feds and start ransacking the courthouse. Because their goal is not “peaceful protest” or even incremental change. It’s full-on revolution. Until you understand that, Portland makes no sense.

Anyone with eyes can see this is what is going to happen. As you read this, you know it’s true. So, surely you’re asking, why would Trump let that happen?

Because if that happens even CNN won’t be able to avoid covering it. And people all over the country will see two things: (1) Democrats can’t be trusted to keep their word; and (2) Democrats don’t care about the safety of their citizens or the continuation of the Republic. It will be a huge awakening moment, nationwide. It will have down-ballot consequences for Democrats in an order of magnitude that even they don’t understand at this point.

The television advertisements with footage practically write themselves.

Not a single Democrat in Congress condemned the violence in Portland when they had the chance. They pressed for a federal retreat. It’s clear they don’t care about you or your personal safety. If this level of violence comes to your town, who do you want representing you in Congress? Someone who couldn’t take the time to condemn anarchy and thereby supports it, or Ms. X, a Republican, who keeps her word?

I do hope that the violence ends. I would love for the Democrats to be right, and for the Republicans to be wrong here, because I am tired of seeing good men and women injured by fireworks and improvised explosives.

But I won’t be wrong.

Write this on your calendar. The cease-fire will be temporary, if it happens at all. You heard it here first.

Group Writing: Conduct for the Good Life

 

Before we start, I just want to say that this is not doggerel. There is no such thing as doggerel in Khmer poetry, unless you count imperfect or near-rhymes as such. This is about chbab, which is one genre in Khmer poetry. Chbab is the Khmer word for law, but in poetry, it means code of conduct; it is referred to a series of didactic poems mostly composed by Buddhist monks to teach reading, writing, and morality in the monastery schools between the 15th to 19th centuries. But the origin of chbab dated back long before the arrival of Buddhism in Cambodia in the 3rd century CE. The oldest of these poems were passed down orally. They were only put on paper, or rather palm leaves, by Buddist monks near the end of the Angkor Era in the 15th century, when Hinduism was in decline and Khmer started to replace Sanskrit as the language of literature proper.

Most poems from the chbab genre are short, the shortest is only 27 stanza long. They deal with all kinds of themes, from how to raise children to how to safe-keep cultural heritage to how to take pride and feel enthusiastic in one’s own work. And their subjects range from etiquette to finance, education to marital issues to religion. As stated above, most of these poems were transcripted/composed by Buddhist monks, and as such, elements of Buddhism presented prominently in them, the oldest ones included.

In Chbab Kun Cau (Children and Grandchildren), which is among the oldest, the poet lauded the Buddha as follows:

The sage says that fire is bright.
Is that not so?
But it is not equal to the sun.
He says the sun’s rays
Are resplendent in the heavens
But are not equal to
The dharma of the Lord Buddha.
The fire blazes with all its might
But at the end of its time it is gone,
Used up, extinguished.
The sun is brilliant,
Magnificent, it is true
But, when it sets, it is dimmed.
You can not see its light.

Sri Dharmaraja II (reign 1628-1630) was even more explicit in his opening of Chbab Rajaneti (The King’s Neither This nor That)

O, you good people
This work is composed according to the Pali text.
A treatise on the principle of dharma,
It is imperative that you take it as your duty
To be bound and to conform.
This dharma offers rules
To guide all living beings,
To ensure their success here and in the afterlife.
It is alive, it is immortal,
This dharma constitutes a code
By laying bare the aspects of success.

In Chbab Kerti Kal (Hereafter), sensible advice is offered as follows:

Let your house be spick and span
With no dust rising.
Clean, rake, and sweep the ground
So that its neatness will cause content.
Put your needles away safely
And keep carefully the money in your purse.
When you give orders to your servants, look at their faces
To see whether they are good or ill-natured.

The oldest poem in the genre, Chbab Peak Chasa (Old Words), has some weighty subjects to impart:

Stanzas 1-7

Old words from ancient times
Tell us
You could not see your own faults,
The faults of others,
No matter how small they were,
They were as big as a mountain.
In the forest full of wild beasts
You implored others to join you,
Had sugar and honey
You hid in your home and ate alone.
You kept wanting,
Wanting this, wanting that without forethought,
It is all about you
Never a second thought of others.
You ate just to eat
But too lazy to chew properly,
You thought a fishing rod for a fishing net
You took a hook for a bait.
You assumed grandpas for grandmas
You mistook a son for a nephew,
You misread two for one
You misunderstood restlessness for contentment.
You assumed offense for gratitude
You thought compassion for apathy,
You mistook goodness for wickedness
You assumed excrement for flowers.
You donned the monk robe
But declined to shave your head,
You looked into a mirror with your eyes closed,
You thought a horse for a donkey
You assumed a lion for a mouse.

In Cambodia, chbab poetry is part of secondary school curriculum with Chbab Srey and Chbab Pross (female and male) being the most popular ones among students. Chbab Srey deals with how a proper woman should behave, especially toward her husband. By the early 2000s, however, it had attracted a lot of attention from NGOs and activists who thought that the poem taught young girls to feel worthless, essentially a slave to her husband. There are many versions of the female and male poems. From the late 1700s onward, it seemed many poets wrote a pair of these gendered poems, including Sri Hariraksha Surya Adipati (reign 1841-1860) to Krom Ngoy (the Father of modern Khmer poetry), from famous to non-famous. But the most popular and well-known version came from Mern Mai, written in the late 1800s. And it was his version that was at the center of the controversy. Under a lot of pressure, in 2007 the Ministry of Education finally yanked Chbab Srey, all versions of Chbab Srey, from the curriculum.

Stanzas 14-16, 39-41 of Chbab Srey by Dr. Mern Mai

As a woman
Be mindful of your speech.
Do not giggle like a simple girl.
Nor flirt without a care.
Like a loose girl
Who prefers the company of young men.
Respect your husband.
Keep the flame of your marriage alive.
Otherwise, it will burn you.
Do not bring outside problems into your home
Nor should you take family problems out of the home.

Khmer poetry is at its deathbed at this moment, but the chbab genre remains a popular one among the people, young and old alike. Practically anyone in Cambodia can recite some bits and pieces from the repertoire.
I leave you with the closing stanzas from Chbab Kun Cau

O, my children! Listen carefully!
These words form a code,
A discourse on education;
These words form a path of passage
That must be kept piously.
O, my children!
Together, listen carefully!
O, all children!
In the future generations
Of your family,
Learn to care for one another,
And to stay together.
Whether false or righteous, wicked or good,
Know how to endure and forgive.
O, my children!
Your father being well aged
Will not be long among you.
Who will stay
To guide you, my children?
Who then will be able
To replace your father?
But your father once gone
Leaves behind a word
To guide and inform you.
This word, your father
Will make a bridge
To allow you all
To reach the other Shore.
That word in question, then,
Should you reject it,
You will likely face hard time ahead
But, if your boat breaks,
If your junk rips apart,
Even in the distant Lanka,
You can always come home.

Vernon Harmelink: Writer, Editor, Teacher, Friend

 

I want to take a moment to move away from my usual topics to speak about the passing of a really great man. You’ve probably never heard of him unless you were a military brat who went to school in the Philippines or Japan.

Vernon Harmelink was a great teacher, editor, and friend.

You see that sentence, above? I could have started it with “the great teacher Vernon Harmelink” or “A fine teacher, Vernon Harmelink,” but I didn’t. There’s a reason for that. Mr. Harmelink, my high school Journalism teacher, taught us never to start a paragraph or a lead with the words “a, an, the, or on.” Vernon Harmelink was a genius. “It’s lazy,” he said. He ensured that people used active voice, and didn’t use stilted language, by forcing them to think about saying things without using unnecessary words. I learned today that the man who taught me so much about the craft of writing — things that I still use every day — passed away a few days ago. It brought back some great memories, and at the same time, I know his wife, also one of my teachers, is hurting.

Vernon Harmelink was an English teacher at the Department of Defense Dependent School at Clark Air Base, Philippines, when I was in high school. Wagner High had the children of sergeants and generals all in the same place. It had its problems, but it also had a cadre of exceptional teachers. Mr. Harmelink made me an alternating editor of the Falcon Crier newspaper in my junior year – duties I shared with a senior – in the hopes that I would take over as the permanent editor in my senior year. For reasons both good and tragic, that didn’t happen. But what he taught me about the craft of writing and the ethics of journalism remain today. I can’t help thinking that this past year must have been physically painful for him, seeing the people who purport to be journalists breaking every ethical rule of the profession.

Dary Matera, another Harmelink student and published author, and I both have published books on the market. Matera’s tribute to Wagner High School and coming of age in the Philippines called MacArthur’s Children, is available on Kindle and is a great read. It gives you the flavor of how good Mr. Harmelink was at spotting good writers and molding that raw talent into greatness.

Until I read his obituary today, I had no idea that he was in the Navy, or that he served in the Korean War. I had no idea that he was a reservist even while serving in the DOD Schools. He was a quiet, private man, except when it came to one thing. He loved his wife Sondra.

Often calling her Sandy, he frequently told the story of how the two of them, both teachers, met. They found each other in front of the Taj Mahal. How perfectly poetic that a structure built as a testament to love would be the foundation upon which those two special people met and married.

Mrs. Harmelink (we never called her by her first name) was a good teacher that I recall being a bit strict. I’m sure if she recalls me at all she recalls a smart alec who could not keep his mouth shut. She must have wondered what her husband saw in me.

“The secret of writing,” Vernon Harmelink said, “is to write down what people need to know. Just write. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, or any of that. Just write. Tell the story.” Mouths dropped open when he said that. Then he added: “then edit that work mercilessly until it’s perfect.”

When we put out the Falcon Crier in the perpetual summer that was the Philippines, we went to a place called Mepa Press. Mepa Press had an honest-to-goodness Linotype machine, the kind of thing that produced lead slugs of type that were then run off to make the newspaper. We often would edit a page of the paper six or seven times trying to correct the errors on a page. Every time we fixed one thing, the dyslexic Filipinos operating the Linotype would inject another, different one. Sometimes it would take ten different edits to get a page right. We went to Mepa Press at 4 p.m. and the six or seven students who went with Mr. Harmelink would often stay up well past 4 a.m. trying to get the paper perfect. Then Mr. Harmelink would drive us back to the airbase and see that we got to our houses. No one ever felt anything but love for Mr. Harmelink.

Mr. Harmelink liked what I wrote for the most part, and did little editing on it. Then he taught me how to edit. “You have to be careful that you don’t make everything sound like you,” he said. “Just take out the bad parts.” I struggle with that even today. I’m happy to write a 50-page brief without any help, just don’t ask me to edit someone else’s work. My brain goes numb.

One of Mr. Harmelink’s greatest gifts to me, however, was simply making sure I understood how to write simple declarative sentences in active voice. Early in my career in the Army, I worked for a major who couldn’t write in active voice if he tried. Having been trained to fog, so as not to apportion or accept blame by an Army that lived for that very purpose, his writing was always longer than it needed to be. If he had to communicate “the enemy is attacking” he would write “an attack by the combatants against whom we are engaged appears to be commencing.” If four words were good, then fourteen were even better! Try as I might, I could never get that major to see the beauty in writing simple declarative sentences. And for a while, after I got out of the Army, I found myself doing it.

It saddens me beyond words that Mr. Harmelink has gone to his reward. But surely God needs a great editor, and there are very few of them these days. I will remember Vernon Harmelink as a man of conviction. He believed good writing could change minds, open doors, and improve society. He believed that accuracy was the most important part of any story, and that balance was best achieved by practicing the Golden Rule.

Hundreds of teachers touch lives every day. So many of them never know just how special they really were to their students. When I learned that Mr. Harmelink had moved from the Philippines to Japan, I sent him a letter and thanked him for all he taught me. I never heard back from him, but I do so hope he got it. He touched my life, and he changed it too. I hope God has a wonderful place set aside for him in Heaven. Rest in peace, sir.

If You Don’t Ask, You Must Not Want My Vote

 

Ballot box Dear (appointed) Senator Martha McSally,

If you do not ask, you must not want my vote. You were rejected by Arizona voters when you last ran for the U.S. Senate. Now, after being appointed to our other U.S. Senate seat by Governor Doug Ducey, you appear to be pretending that there is no primary election in this state. But, there is a primary election on August 4, 2020. I have my absentee ballot in hand. Clearly, Republicans and Arizonans who are registered Independent have a real choice. We can vote for you or for Daniel McCarthy. So, why are you hiding? Are you really running at all this year? Do you believe you are a real incumbent who can afford to play the old game of refusing to acknowledge an opponent? You are not.

Arizona Republican Senate BallotDaniel McCarthy has been serious about seeking my vote. His campaign is hitting my phone number almost daily with a short pitch by the candidate. He is asking for my vote and giving me reasons to fill in the bubble next to his name. You, on the other hand, have shown me and every other Arizona Republican and Independent voter complete contempt. How dare you presume on my support?

You want my money. That is perfectly clear from your constant fund-raising appeals. Yet, you fail to offer any reason for me to actually vote for you over Daniel McCarthy, who you apparently fear. You hide behind Kelli Ward, the two-time Senate loser who shed her Tea-Party disguise as soon as she was given the chair of the Arizona Republican Party. She has not demanded that you debate, providing you cover. So, her lack of integrity rubs off on your image.

Your A-10 pilot pitch becomes an irritant, as your claim of courage then has not translated into present political courage. I admired your fight for the Constitution and for women against the old boy club in the Air Force and Pentagon that used the pretext of Saudi men’s supposed religious and cultural sensitivities to subject American military women to degrading treatment. You have shown none of that integrity or courage in your campaign, if it is even a real campaign.

If you want my vote in November, you must first ask for it before the primary, and you must engage with Daniel McCarthy in a real debate, easily arranged over the internet and social media. In the alternative, you will be letting me know that your campaign is a sham, and that I should focus on helping real candidates pick up other states’ Senate seats. to make up for you throwing the general election to another Democrat.

McSally hides from voters

Show and Tell: Sheltering in Place with My 89-Year-Old Mother

 

I posted back on April 13 about sheltering in place with my 89-year-old mother.

I could not figure out how in the world to post the pictures from that experience. Max tried to help this baby boomer to no avail. Oh, well. Now that I have returned to Flagstaff and have access to my own computer, I have downloaded those pictures. When I was in elementary school, we would have “Show and Tell” in September about our summer vacations.

My mother and me shortly after I arrived. My beard had not yet started.

Food that was dropped off by beloved niece.

Our daily walk

Welcome to Elgin, the home of women stomping on grapes.

Welcome to Sonoita! Three great signs greeting people entering Sonoita.

Why waste money for a wider bridge when someone crosses it only a dozen times an hour?

“Tribute to Ranching” at the local fairgrounds.

What do you do if a cow and goat wander onto your land? You post a “Found” poster at the mailboxes.

Home to Flagstaff.

Member Post

 

I won’t claim to be an astute* student of politics, nor am I a fan of Amy Klobuchar.  It does seem to me, though, that she did a pretty smart thing by withdrawing her name from the VP consideration.  Assuming that Mumblin’ Joe wins in November, the 47th president is going to be facing a […]

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Member Post

 

In law we’re taught that correlation is not causation.  That simply because two things occur in the same period of time, they are not necessarily related.  It gets cold in the winter.  People develop more respiratory infections in the winter.  But the cold weather does not cause the respiratory infections.  It simply correlates with them.  […]

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Democrats No Longer See Republicans as Fellow Citizens

 

One difficulty that Abraham Lincoln had in fighting the Civil War was that he understood that if the Union won, they would then be fellow citizens with the newly defeated Confederates.  He was fighting a war against people with whom he had a great deal in common, and with whom he would have to cooperate to govern their unified country in the future.  This somewhat limited his ability to ruthlessly destroy his opponent, and made his battle planning more complex.

Yesterday’s hearings with Attorney General Barr looked to me like the Democrats don’t feel similarly constrained.  In fact, the last few decades of leftist behavior suggests that American leftists no longer feel that they have enough in common with American conservatives to make an effort to cooperate with them on, well, on nearly anything.  I find this extremely concerning.

Many Democrats openly disdain Republicans and avoid associating with them.  If a college student is outed as a closet conservative, even if it’s not true, the social stigmatizing of that student is absolutely vicious.  A girl who is set to start as a freshman at Marquette this fall nearly lost her admission to Marquette because she openly admitted that she was a Republican.  These are not isolated incidents, and they are no longer limited to academia.  Cancel culture is now mainstream.

When you add the vicious social stigma to the literally vicious new militant wings of the Democrat party, like Black Lives Matter, Antifa, NFA, and so on, you end up with an extremely hostile environment for Republicans.  Republicans no longer feel welcome in their own country.

In yesterday’s hearing, Attorney General Barr asked the assembled Democrats,

“This is the first time in my memory that the leaders of one of our two great political parties, the Democratic Party, are not coming out and condemning mob violence,” he said. “Can’t we just say the violence against the federal courts has to stop? Could we hear something like that?”

The room was silent. The attorney general challenged their loyalty, and not a single Democrat objected. For them, it was just another day at the office.

This trend did not start with President Trump.  This sort of thing was starting when I was in college in the late ’80s; it’s much, much worse now.  Democrats and Republicans used to be friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens, but over the past few decades, Democrats appear to have reached the conclusion that they don’t have enough in common with Republicans to make any effort to cooperate with them in any way.

The Civil War appears almost civil by comparison.  That’s an exaggeration, but not by as much as I’d like.

So imagine what happens if the Democrats win this next election.  Heck, imagine what happens if they lose.

I don’t see how this can end well.

The Existential Election

 

Events have been accelerating. We saw the warning signs and now we are in the maelstrom. Two posts from earlier in the Member Feed highlight the latest warnings: Barr vs Nadler Live (as well as @ susanquinn’s The Hearing of Attorney General Barr Is an Abomination) and The Video That YouTube, Facebook and Twitter Have Censored. The former is the outrageous conduct of the Democrat jackals with AG Barr. As many on Ricochet have remarked, if anything Barr has been so neutral and even-handed in the administration of justice that one worries that he is not aggressive enough to save the nation. But, no, the Democrats have to demonize anyone who is not firmly committed to their vision of chaos.

As John Hinderaker at Powerline blog posts:

We are approaching a very weird election in which one of our major parties is taking a stand in favor of rioting, looting, arson, destruction of federal property, and violent attacks on law enforcement. The Democrats seem to think that this is a winning formula. If it is, our republic is doomed.

And yet, many Republicans seem far too complacent about what is going on. Why? The second post involves tech giants taking maximum advantage of their Congressionally granted exemption from publication liability to censor speech. The Republicans (or at least those that support President Trump) are the target and yet too few of our politicians are sounding the alarm.

Can we avoid Heinlein’s famous formulation:

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Are we in for an extended run of “bad luck”?

Sudden Death Overtime

 

I’ve never signed up for the ‘quote of the day’ because I’m averse to making commitments. I spent the last two months in Utah and just returned to Arizona. I used the above title because I got motivated to write a post today as we enter the last 100 days of suspense waiting to know who will lead America in the next four years. I wanted to write a post detailing how much living through this period of the Donald Trump presidency has meant to me personally. The title is from a quote from a speech I once heard by a former cabinet secretary, but I cannot remember who he was. But he was in his early eighties as I am and he viewed that as being in ‘sudden death overtime’ based on his view that an average life was composed of four twenty year quarters and anything more was a bonus period. He was comparing this to how the professional football league handled games when the score was tied after four quarters.

When I got back to Arizona I went to my bookshelf for some entertaining reading. I have many Agatha Christie paperbacks (46, I just counted them), most of which I haven’t read, so I decided I should and I picked out one. I picked one written in 1954, originally titled “So Many Steps to Death” and republished as “Destination Unknown” and began reading it last night.

I spent some of the early parts of the day watching parts of Attorney General Barr’s testimony before Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee and reading and commenting on today’s posts by @eherring and @susanquinn on that hearing. I went back to read my Christie novel for a while. Then I closed my eyes for a few minutes. When I opened them and thought for a few minutes for some unknown reason I related the two titles of the novel to my life today in the Trump era. Stay with me now and I will try to make sense of this.

Here I have made it to overtime, have no idea how many steps to death or whether that event will be sudden. The Trump-era has reached a stage where the destination is unknown, certainly to me. But I can tell you one thing for certain: Donald Trump as President has revealed information to me that I would never have known without him in that position; the disgusting behavior of the House Democrats in today’s hearing is just the latest example. I also never had an awareness of the level of deceitful behavior within the establishment Republicans that has been revealed by Trump as President. I left federal government employment in 1994 after 23 years, the last 17 at the Treasury Department, all related to the payment and collection of money. I was a manager of financial operations, but nothing political in my bureau, not even a political appointee. I had a sense that federal government bureaucracy was not something I admired and figured out it was high on the list of desirables for Democrats. I never did figure out that it was also high on the list of desirables for political Republicans, until Trump.

In the 2016 campaign, I was originally a supporter of Ted Cruz. I remember in the 2016 Utah Republican Caucus, when it was looking like a contest between Cruz and Trump, I, and others in the caucus asked Senator Mike Lee, who is in that precinct so was in the caucus with us about Trump. Mike didn’t know much either. But, of course, there was much negative going around. You may recall much of the media was enjoying this at the time and giving Donald Trump plenty of positive reviews and lots of attention. Once Trump was clearly set to get the nomination, we had lots of interaction on this topic here at Ricochet. I was reluctant to support Trump and was totally in a learning mode regarding who he was and what policies he advocated. It didn’t take long to realize most of the Washington establishment did not like Trump as the Republican nominee for POTUS. And there was some effort to figure out a way to deny him that role but to no avail. After observing Trump and Clinton through the campaign and their debates and knowing some of Clinton’s political history, I decided on Trump.

As the campaign unfolded, I learned a lot about Donald Trump but what was amazing was what I learned about others. There was a real sense of shared ownership of the federal government by the establishment Democrats and Republicans and to the exclusion of others. They were joined in this by most of the media, television, radio, and press. Following his election, there were several ineffective efforts to undo the election itself through state vote recounts and attempts to persuade electoral college electors to change their votes. We have now found out that there were efforts within the Obama Administration to deny Trump the presidency and then, as an insurance policy, to have a plan to disrupt a Trump Administration to make it ineffective and to impeach him, if possible. These are all things that should never happen and Donald Trump has revealed that such was very possible.

Throughout the Trump presidency then he has had to contend with an established bureaucracy and Congress and Judiciary operating as what we choose to call the ‘swamp’ to make the Executive Branch ineffective. The Mainstream Media has largely joined in this. Many influential ‘Republicans’ have joined as well. And the technological giants of social media have more recently shown how they can work against the sitting President and his supporters, as well.

So I decided to write this post today, while I still have a chance,  to thank President Trump for the enlightenment I have received because he is President and to wish him the very best outcome in the coming election. I also want to thank Ricochet and its members for this platform that has been a major piece of the process of learning all these things that I never knew before.

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

 

Very few people would have anticipated the level and duration of violence and destruction in the cities of America that have been displayed over the last two months. Even our Republican Senators seem to be throwing up their hands in frustration and complaining at the feckless Democrat mayors and governors in our states.

But that seems to be all that our Senators are doing.

And this country needs to see earth-shaking changes in Congress or we will watch our country go down in flames.

So, I’m speaking to the Republicans in the Senate: Please take my suggestions seriously, as painful as it will be for you to follow through.

Senators, you should immediately stop business as usual. Decrying the disruptions, quoting the Constitution and blaming the Democrats are fruitless actions.

No one is listening to you. No one cares.

Stop attending rubber chicken dinners or giving campaign speeches in order to be re-elected. If you don’t immediately change direction, there will be no Senate seat for you to fill.

Here are my three suggestions if you really care about the future of this country:

  1. Act as a unified body of Republicans. Drop the petty fights. Stop negotiating with the Democrats, which is akin to negotiating with terrorists. Focus on the most important issues: the rule of law, the power of the federal government, and the power of the people. When you see foolish issues come up like another $600 per month for the unemployed and worry about your choices because you want to be re-elected, stop arguing. All of you need to be on the same page (which means denying the $600), which also requires you to be forthright about backing the President. I don’t care if you don’t like him if he offends your sensibilities. You must demonstrate—which means voting for his policies—that you want to preserve this country. That goal should be your primary concern. That unity also should be demonstrated by making a powerful statement to the people.
  2. Speak to the people directly. Film commercials that show all of the Republican Senators with Trump standing with you. Each commercial can focus on an interview with different Senators—attacking the violence that is happening; pointing out the betrayals of the Democrats; of support for sending in Federal law enforcement to protect federal property. I expect the commercials will go viral on YouTube. Have the Republican National Convention buy one-page ads in all the major newspapers except the NY Times and the Washington Post. Send the same message of unifying the country, re-establishing the rule of law, and supporting the Constitution. Use these efforts to educate the public that the Constitution is not an archaic document, but the foundations of a lawful existence, and will be the basis for re-establishing peace and order in this nation.
  3. Appeal to the American people. Remind them that you serve them, that you need not only their support but their participation in this effort. Tell the people you trust them to find jobs just like they did before the coronavirus struck the country; tell them you want to empower them to take back their country by honoring and celebrating the Constitution; tell them you don’t want to dictate what they should do, but serve them in the most productive way possible to put the country back on the right track; tell them you want them not to be oppressed by Marxist tyranny, but free to practice the Bill of Rights. List the first ten amendments of the Constitution every chance you get and apply them to everyday life: free speech means that no one has the right to demand political correctness in your words or demand that you close your churches or synagogues; right to bear arms means that you have a right to protect yourself, your family and community from those who wish to enslave you under a Marxist/socialist regime. Let them know that you will be right there with them to ensure that not only will their rights be protected, but you will work together to save the nation from tyranny, so that everyone can exist in peace and safety in the United States of America.

* * * * *

If you truly care about the future of this country, for the freedom and prosperity of its people, please take action now.

Prove to the world that we are still that City on the Hill.

Inconvenient Truths

 

As George Will points out in his book, The Conservative Sensibility:

America’s poverty problem is not one of material scarcities but of abundant bad behavior. Data demonstrate that there are three simple behavioral rules for avoiding poverty: finish high school, produce no child before marrying or before age twenty. Only 8 percent of families who conform to all three rules are poor; 79 percent of those who do not conform are poor.

None of this is particularly new; we’ve all heard and read the numbers before. Yet, in today’s world, to breathe these empirical truths is “racist”; it’s “blaming the victims.” Victims of what? Of failed progressive policies that dumb down education at the behest of teachers’ unions that send huge donations to progressive politicians? Of failed progressive welfare policies that reward young women for producing babies outside of marriage? Of failed progressive employment policies that penalize companies for hiring low-skilled workers? Of failed progressive housing policies that make low-income housing scarce?

No, of course not. Again, to even suggest such truths is racist. The only politically correct “truth” is that “systemic racism,” not behavior, causes poverty and inequality. The only politically correct solution, then, is to spend scarce resources that have alternative uses to fight systemic racism while continuing to spend scarce resources on progressive policies that create and sustain poverty; that is, on policies that create the inequality progressives claim is the result of systemic racism.

What Is Justice?

 

I don’t think there is a civilization on earth that does not at least pay lip service to the ideal of a just society. I think this is in part because even despotic rulers know that in order to keep their reign intact, their people need to somehow feel that justice has been done.

And while definitions of what constitutes Justice differ radically between different ancient and modern laws, there actually is not that much of a distinction between humanists and Catholics, atheists or Jews.  This is because, as far as I can tell, the Torah requirements for justice have been widely adopted and even taken for granted.

For example, the ancient principle of “Might Makes Right,” while dominant wherever tyranny holds sway, is not considered legitimate or even acceptable in the civilized world.

Also swept away is the ancient idea of Greece and Rome that there are (at least) two bodies of law: one for the native and one for the “other,” the barbarian or heathen. Instead, the modern world assumes that everyone should receive justice under the same body of laws. “Decide justly between any man and his fellow and a stranger.” (Deut. 1:15) Similarly,  though capricious and “might makes right” despotic regimes certainly exist – and I count “cancel culture” among those – reasonable people the world over share the ideal that justice should be blind to the status of the petitioner: “You must not pervert justice; you must not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the rich; you are to judge your neighbor fairly.” (Lev. 19:15), and “You shall not be partial in judgement: hear out low and high alike.” (Deut. 1:17).

But what IS the foundation of justice? I’d like to make a radical argument: in the Torah, justice is not necessarily underpinned by a code of law, not even a Torah one. Sure, there are the principles we have already repeated: justice (as opposed to tyranny) is a critical building block for any righteous society, and it requires equality under the law.

But when you look at the use of the word “Tz-D-K”, the Hebrew for justice in the Torah, you discover something quite surprising. The first time it is used is to describe Noah, a “just man in his generation,” and the second refers to a king-priest who greets Abram after his victorious battle. His name was Malchi-Tzedek (the second half of the name forming the root word for “justice”.) And although Abram’s allies don’t perceive a divine hand in the victory (we see, after all, what we choose to see), Malchi-Tzedek immediately credits G-d: “Blessed be the most high G-d who has delivered thy enemies into thy hand.”

What do these two people have to do with Justice? Why is Noah called just and Malchi-Tzedek has the word for justice in his name?

I think the answer is clear in the text: Malchi-tzedek was able to see things from Abram’s perspective. He could see things from the point of view of the other person.

And Noah? The very first thing we know about Noah through his actions was that Noah was able to hear G-d. THIS is what made him “righteous in his generation.” Noah heard G-d’s voice.

Which beautifully explains to us for both within the Torah and for all time immemorial what “justice” actually means: it means hearing each person, making them feel valued and appreciated. A good judge is someone who cares about people, who is sensitive to their feelings and need for respect. That is the single biggest prerequisite for justice to be done.

I am not saying that a justice and a society do not also need laws (the Torah certainly gives us the principles for a detailed set of laws), but I am saying that the laws are ultimately only worthwhile if justice is seen to be done, if petitioners feel that they have been heard fairly.

That is why “justice” in the Torah is not given to us in the name of a Torah scholar. Instead, the two people associated with justice, Noah and Malchi-Tzedek were not even Jewish. The lesson in this is incredible to me: the Torah is not only telling us that we have to treat fellow-Jews and non-Jews the same under the law. It is also telling us that the torch-bearers of the concept of justice were indeed themselves not Jewish.  This is a shockingly egalitarian revelation to me, both for the ancient world and for the modern one. The Torah credits not G-d and not the forefathers for inventing justice, but two outsiders, thoughtful and empathic men, men who could hear a non-corporeal voice and who could see a situation through the eyes of other people.

Justice may (and should) be codified in a body of law, but that body of law is worthless unless people validate it and feel valued within it. This is why Moses commands that his justices “hear out your fellow men and decide justly… hear out low and high alike…. And any matter that is too difficult for you, you shall bring it to me, and I will hear it.” It is the hearing

Within the Torah, judges were hierarchically assigned, with the first tier judge hearing all cases within his local cohort; just ten men formed that unit. That judge was not a legal giant; he was instead a man who wanted and needed to peaceably coexist with his cohort. So his first goal would have always been to try to find a compromise, a settlement that minimized resentment. Doing his job well meant taking the time and energy to truly listen to the petitioners, hear them out, see their point of view, and even (as Noah did) to hear what may not be spoken out loud. Only after someone feels they have had their day in court can a just decision be reached.

Listening is the foundational aspect of justice: being able to hear G-d and man alike, being able to truly see things from the perspective of the other person. The Torah tells us that this is a critical virtue, one that we learned from non-Jews and in turn must apply it zealously within our own society as well as seeking to make it a universal virtue across all the lands and peoples of the world.

The Real Oldest Profession

 

The world’s oldest profession is giving bad advice to women.  The serpent in the Garden of Eden invented it and found an easy mark in our First Mama, Eve.  Being a biblical scholar and expert on myth and culture, I suspect it went something like this:

Serpent:   Look at you collecting all those wonderful herbs and berries. Does Adam appreciate all you do for him?

Eve:  Of course he does.  He says I am the best part of all creation.

Serpent:  But he is off all day naming animals, plants and even stars, obsessively getting to know things.  He spent most of yesterday afternoon walking with God and watching bees.  Bees!  Seriously, shouldn’t he be spending that time with you?

Eve:  Learning and affirming all of nature is his job, silly.

Serpent:  But why not learn it all in one fell swoop.  Isn’t that what the fruit of that one tree is for?

Eve:  We are forbidden. It would be wrong and selfish to try to gain such power.

Serpent:  But you would not be doing it for yourself but for Adam.  You are the least selfish creature in the whole garden.

Eve:  Oh, Stop it. You’re embarrassing me.

Serpent:  You know Adam is obviously too hung up on his big-deal mission to properly think about you or what is best for both of you.  Maybe you need to be the one to do it for the both of you.  What could be more loving, especially if done by someone like you who never wants anything for herself and only thinks of him and of the power you both deserve? Together, of course.

Cue the angelic flaming sword SWAT team to stand by because that apple is coming down…

Why do young women accept the sheer barbarism of hook-up culture?  Or the post-Roe world where a baby is just her body/her problem rather than a miraculous moral and personal connection to a father, families, and community?  Our sexual mores and culture seem as if they were imposed for the convenience of Harvey Weinstein, Bills Clinton and Cosby, and lounge lizards everywhere.

And the scope of American female suckerhood is widening. Boys who “identify” as girls are winning track meets while feminists still don’t seem to get that the identity politics they promoted eventually comes for us all.  Victimhood celebrations in the wake of #MeToo also mean that male CEOs will have nothing to do with, much less mentor young women for fear of accusations.  The decision by women to privilege the rantings of male-hating harridans in academia and literature poisons possibilities of intimacy, commitment, and sanity.

Women also appear to be more suspectable to the political rhetoric of fear and protection.  Political operatives study and scheme about whether “soccer moms” can be made more afraid of terrorism, economic collapse, crime, or catastrophic climate change but the choice to deploy a fear/protection pitch is the constant.  Young single women, trained to be terrified of commitment, trained to crave ‘safe spaces’ and feeling pressured to delay reproduction indefinitely out of fear of financial stress over and above tuition load debt are being groomed for fear/protection politics for life.

We have dystopian anti-communities in the inner cities largely because the federal government aggressively and successfully sought to outbid poor working men for possession of women and children.  Upscale white women now increasingly vote for the same deal: guarantees of income and health care, guarantees of job security, and assistance of all kinds in lieu of the more uncertain adventure of building a life and family with a man.

The fruit on that tree now claims to be security, safety, job satisfaction, and the promise of uninterrupted material well-being.  An awful lot of women don’t seem to have learned much since that first bogus sales pitch that got us all into the current mess. Thank God, for the spectacular exceptions to that tendency and if there was ever a time for them to rise to the forefront, it’s now.

The Hearing of Attorney General Barr Is an Abomination

 

I can’t take it anymore. Watching the attack by Democrats on AG Barr at his hearing is a demonstration of the worst kind of politics imaginable. The House Judiciary Committee is not interested in receiving any kind of information. They are only interested in insulting, attacking, and silencing the Attorney General. I’ve seen my share of hearings, but this one was beyond the pale.

Grandstanding and false statements by the Democrats are very familiar. But they clearly coordinated their strategy with each other. First, they would insult him, state hyperbole, and eventually they would ask him a question, demanding a yes or no answer. They repeatedly cut him off when he tried to explain his response, or when he asked for clarification of what was supposed to be a question, and they continued to interrupt him. It’s clear they were trying to establish a basis for impeaching him, but every one of them should be removed from office.

I called out loud when one Representative said she was disappointed at how he had treated her so disrespectfully. Good grief.

I’m ashamed to think that these people are supposed to represent this country. As we say in Yiddish, it’s a schande (shame).

Life Without Consequences

 

I had a good friend in college (we’ll call him “Trey”) who was one of the best natural athletes I’ve ever seen, and he was absolutely brilliant. He didn’t do sports, and he was a fifth year senior with a ‘C’ average. His Dad owned some type of factory in New York State, and Trey knew exactly where he was going when he graduated. He knew his Dad would hire him regardless of his grades, so why study? And he liked college (mainly, he liked girls), so every time he got close to graduating, he’d change his major so he could stay longer. He was an alcoholic, drinking heavily several times per week. Trey invited me to a party one night, and I said I couldn’t go. He said, “C’mon, man! It’s Friday night!” I told him I had to study. He asked why I had to study on Friday night, and I informed him that I didn’t have a guaranteed management job lined up for me, and I knew that I had one chance at a better life by going to college, and I was not about to screw it up, thank you very much. He said he didn’t understand. And he probably didn’t.

I saw a news story this morning about a group of protestors who were blocking traffic on an interstate in some city. A commuter drove his pickup through the crowd and hit one of the protestors. I watched the video. The other protestors were horrified that one of them had been seriously hurt. So here we have a group of people who stand around on the interstate and are genuinely surprised when they get hit by a car. These are people who are not accustomed to experiencing the consequences of their actions. They have a lot in common with Trey, come to think of it. They have little hope for a better tomorrow, they sense a lack of control over their future, they sink into nihilism and despair and begin to see the world as a strange, depressing place. People in this situation sometimes do things that look stupid to the rest of us. Like drinking themselves into oblivion six nights a week. Or standing around on interstates.

I was fascinated by the video, because most of the “protesters” on the interstate were wearing surgical masks, to protect against Coronavirus. They were being very conscientious of safety precautions against a virus which poses little to no threat to young people like them, while they stand around on an interstate, which most certainly DOES pose a threat to young people like them. When they carried the young lady off the interstate, after she’d been hit by the pickup truck, I saw someone pull her mask back up over her bloody nose.

Safety first, right?

And then many of them returned to standing around on the interstate. Remember that these people are not clinically insane. These are just people.

People are strange. I love them, but they’re strange. Of course, so am I. I cast no stones here.

But my point is that people get much more strange when they start to lose the connection between their actions and the consequences of those actions. Once someone loses that connection, it’s just hard to say what crazy stuff that person might do.

My Uncle Fred often spoke of the seen vs the unseen. Some consequences of government actions are seen (like a new bridge being built), and some are unseen (like a new business not opening, because too much money was taken out of the local economy).

People losing the connection between their actions and their consequences is an unseen consequence of too much government. A safety net that is too robust leads to erratic, self-destructive behavior. Like not studying hard in school. Or standing around on interstates.

And like Trey and the protestors, as we lose the connection between increasing the influence of government, and the many unseen consequences thereof, then we start to do stupid things with that government.

One reason to spend less money on, say, The War on Poverty, is that it doesn’t work. But I would argue that a better reason is that as we further insulate poor people from the consequences of their actions, then their actions will predictably become more erratic and self-destructive. Like Trey, who for all I know is still drunk today. Although if he’s running a factory now, as I suspect he is, then he might be sober now, which I suspect he is. The chains of responsibility that he spent his life fleeing may end up saving him.

Life is funny that way.

It’s not just the government that causes such problems. Suppose you train someone from kindergarten that the biggest threat to the world is global warming, and that they should recycle their cans. Ok, suppose one day, that person just tosses a can in the regular trash somewhere. What is the impact of that? Nothing, really.

But suppose you take a kid who just lost their farm, like me, and you give them a scholarship to college. You don’t have to tell that kid to study. Believe me, he will achieve whatever he is capable of. Because the connection between his actions and their consequences is a lot less abstract to him.

Life is not a game, to kids like that.

Trey’s Dad had protected him from the consequences of his actions for his entire life. And did Trey love him for that? No, he resented his father. I never understood why, but he hated his father. That made no sense to me at the time.

But now, watching these people with surgical masks protest against the government of the country that has given them such security that they don’t understand the danger of standing around on an interstate, I think I’m starting to understand Trey.

I hope he found his way. I really do.

Maybe all the wealthy kids that were sent to study with him taught Aristotle about the importance of virtue and responsibility. Aristotle felt that happiness was impossible without fulfilling one’s responsibility to others.

So Marx was half right. But the half that he missed is really important. Marx never supported himself. Never. So rather than making his world a better place, he stood around on interstates. And thus, it became impossible for his fertile mind to make the world a better place. It’s tragic, really.

By compassionately sheltering Americans from the consequences of their actions, we are making it impossible for them to make the world a better place. Quite the contrary, in fact.

It’s tragic.

Time to Decide

 

We are now past the 100-days-to-election mark and, while I think most minds have been made up, there is still a matter to be settled. I do not think that anything I can say at this point will change the way any of you will vote. I know how I will vote and there is not likely anything that will come along to change that.

What really needs to be settled is the matter of the Never Trump crowd. It has been both amusing and dismaying these past four years to watch the conservative movement try to deal with the reality of Donald Trump. There are the irredeemables, led by Bill Kristol and Charlie Sykes, who have removed themselves from serious consideration as they created The Bulwark after the fall of The Weekly Standard. But then others, such as Jonah Goldberg and David French stayed in place through most of it but ultimately separated themselves to found The Dispatch.

Years ago, in the time before Trump, when I started reading National Review to supplement my other dabbling in the conservative world, I happened to mention that fact to a friend of a more liberal frame of mind. “Oh, those snobs” was his pithy reply. I did not give the remark much thought then but perhaps I should have paid more attention, for that is what is at the heart of the opposition to Trump. These people simply don’t like him. I am reminded of the Dr. Fell story.

I do not like thee Dr. Fell.
The reason why I cannot tell.
But this I know and know full well,
I do not like thee Dr. Fell.

A day or so after the election, I listened to the podcast by Jay Nordlinger and Mona Charen as they expressed what could only be described as shock and horror at the election result. How could those evangelicals vote for such a lowlife. If the recording is still accessible, it is worth a listen. Charen has essentially vanished from the NR pages, while Nordlinger seems to steer away from anything to do with the president.

George F. Will has also essentially vanished from the NR pages. After the election, he was so offended by the outcome that he renounced his Republican affiliation and declared himself an independent. While he is still a regular in The Washington Post, he mostly rummages around in his file cabinet for horror stories that illustrate his evident antipathy for the American political system.

So now we are a bare three months away from election day and we are lacking the explanations that should have been forthcoming shortly after November 2016 and are especially due now. That is, all these pundits really should explain just what they think a Biden victory in November will mean. Moreover, they really need to discuss how the country might recover from what will likely be put in place in the four years or more of a Biden administration, especially in light of the AOC/Sanders faction. If these writers think it will be just a short term detour, they should consider the detour we have been on ever since the Roosevelt presidency.

In the course of their explanations, they will have to contend with the arguments made by Victor Davis Hanson. He has been the most clear-eyed regarding Trump and is certainly no starry-eyed Trump groupie.  The Never Trumpers have been trying to have it both ways, tut-tutting about his Twitter postings and at the same time predicting the apocalypse should Biden be elected. I say, they should choose one or the other. If they cannot support Trump they should admit it and there really should be an explanation as to why Biden will be so much better. We deserve that at least.

 

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I suppose it’s because of my time spent as a “groundpounder” but the A-10 Warthog is probably my favorite aircraft in the entire U.S. Air Force arsenal. It’s probably the only weapon that truly tightens up the sphincters of North Korean, Chinese, Russian and Iranian tank crews. Many of the “perfumed princes” on the Air […]

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Prosecutorial Misconduct Is a Democrat Staple

 

You may have heard that St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner played a dirty trick on the McCloskeys. It has been covered in some depth by KSDK in St. Louis (link below). But I thought I’d offer up a few things most people may not know about lawyers and legal ethics so that you can decide for yourself whether and to what extent the McCloskey’s rights have been violated.

Missouri Rule 4-3.3 states in relevant part:

(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:

(1) make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer;

***

(3) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. …

(c) The duties stated in Rule 4-3.3(a) and (b) continue to the conclusion of the proceeding and apply even if compliance requires disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 4-1.6.

In addition to the rule, the comments state:

[2] Rule 4-3.3 sets forth the special duties of lawyers as officers of the court to avoid conduct that undermines the integrity of the adjudicative process. A …lawyer must not allow the tribunal to be misled by false statements of law or fact or evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.

[3] …There are circumstances where failure to make a disclosure is the equivalent of an affirmative misrepresentation. The obligation prescribed in Rule 4-1.2(d) not to counsel a client to commit or assist the client in committing a fraud applies in litigation.

Although written to cover both the civil and criminal lawyer, and not specifically aimed at prosecutors, the rules apply with equal force to prosecutors. These rules make what prosecutor Kim Gardner and Chris Hinkley did in the McCloskey case more than just a dirty trick. They make it the kind of dirty trick that could, and honestly should result in bar sanctions.

When a prosecutor files an information in a case he has a duty to present the facts that establish the elements of the crime. In the complaint filed Christopher Hinckley, the attorney acting on behalf of Gardner, stated:

The defendant, in violation of Section 571.030, RSMo, committed the class E felony of unlawful use of a weapon, punishable upon conviction under Sections 558.002 and 558.011, RSMo, in that on or about June 28, 2020, in the City of St. Louis, State of Missouri, the defendant knowingly exhibited, in the presence of one or more persons a semi-automatic handgun, a weapon readily capable of lethal use, in an angry or threatening manner.

But when Hinckley filed that complaint, he knew that the last sentence was false because the weapon was not readily capable of lethal use. From KSDK in St. Louis:

In Missouri, police and prosecutors must prove that a weapon is “readily” capable of lethal use when it is used in the type of crime with which the McCloskeys have been charged.

Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley ordered crime lab staff members to field strip the handgun and found it had been assembled incorrectly. Specifically, the firing pin spring was put in front of the firing pin, which was backward, and made the gun incapable of firing, according to documents obtained by 5 On Your Side.

Crime lab documents reveal “the firearm could not be tested as submitted. At the request of ACA Chris Hinckley the firearm was stripped and found to be assembled incorrectly.” In other words, Hinckley knew, at the time he filed the complaint, that the weapon was not capable of lethal use, and thus was not candid with the tribunal.

While Hinckley made the false statement, and has yet to correct the false statement with the Court, Gardner is on the hook as well. Missouri Rule 4-5.1(b) states:

(b) A lawyer having direct supervisory authority over another lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the other lawyer conforms to the Rules of Professional Conduct.”

Gardner is no stranger to ethical lapses. She has been investigated for false statements she made during her office’s botched handling of the Greitens investigation.

While there is no doubt that the McCloskeys will file an ethical charge against the prosecutors involved here, it shines a bright light on prosecutorial misconduct, and provides an even better reason for the State Attorney General to take over and dismiss the case.

As you might guess, Gardner can’t have that. She’s filed a motion asking the court to strike the pleading saying, in part:

On its substance , the Attorney General, not fewer than ten times, makes the outrageous claim that the Circuit Attorney has initiated the instant criminal prosecution to penalize the defendants for exercising their fundamental rights to keep and bear arms. …. Significantly , the AG offers no proof that the instant prosecution is brought “solely,” Br. at 11, to burden defendants’ constitutional rights. Instead, the AG offers wild speculation and inflammatory prose, rather than reasoned argument and proof. …

The instant matter, however, is not a Second Amendment case. If any part of our Constitution is implicated, it is the Fir st Amendment– which guarantees the rights of speech and assembly that cannot be said to be freely exercised when those who disagree with us resort to brandishing lethal weapons rather than engaging in civic [sic] discourse.

It amazes me that she doesn’t even attempt to hide her contempt for law-abiding gun owners by saying the case isn’t about the Second Amendment when in fact, that is exactly what it’s about. I love her use of the pronoun “us” in the last sentence. Peaceful assembly, by the way, doesn’t apply when people are trespassing. One of the rights every property owner has is the right to exclude others. Gardner knows this, but she ignores it. If she were capable of shame, and admitting error, she would apologize and dismiss the complaint.

She won’t.

The sooner the voters either get rid of her, or the Supreme Court imposes some discipline for the multiple ethical violations in her office, the better St. Louis City residents will be served.

Wearing a Mask Is Not Normal

 

That’s all, really. I didn’t say it’s bad to wear a mask. But it’s not normal.

Go ahead and rant and rave about us normal people, if you like. We’re just being human. Humans have warm CO2 coming out of our mouths, and we like to breath in fresh air, instead of that warm CO2. So why are some people so surprised that humans don’t want to wear masks?

One thing I often hear is that wearing a mask is a minor inconvenience. Minor to whom? I find it to be a major inconvenience. And who are you to say otherwise? I don’t find it inconvenient to wear boots and long pants every day of the year. If it’s 105 or 25, I’m wearing boots and pants. A lot of people couldn’t take it. They tell me so. People are different.

So, for those who find it a minor inconvenience, I submit it is a minor inconvenience for you to either respect the rights of those who dare to have faces (and stay away from us), or just stay home, if faces bother you. Fair enough?

QotD: The Silent Parade

 

To the beat of muffled drums 8,000 negro men, women and children marched down Fifth Avenue yesterday in a parade of “silent protest against acts of discrimination and oppression” inflicted upon them in this country, and in other parts of the world. Without a shout or a cheer they made their cause known through many banners which they carried, calling attention to “Jim Crowism,” segregation, disenfranchisement, and the riots of Waco, Memphis, and East St. Louis.—The New York Times, (A Former Newspaper) 29 July 1917

We own 20,ooo farms with 20,000,000 acres of land worth $500,000,000—Sign carried in the Negro Silent Protest Parade, commonly known as the “Silent Parade.”

There was a time when protests by and on behalf of African Americans could be peaceful. On this day in 1917, they took it further with a silent protest parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City. There were no white Marxists there to turn it into a violent riot. There were not even cheers or shouts. Just a silent march with black boy scouts along the parade route handing out flyers to explain their complaints. The protests were against lynchings, especially what had been recent incidents in Waco and Memphis, and terrible riots in St. Louis where scores of African Americans were killed. The St. Louis riots were spurred when African Americans were brought in as strikebreakers against a unionization attempt.

As a risible footnote, some of the signs that the people carried in the parade appealed directly to the President of the United States, who happened to be Thomas Woodrow Wilson. Had he been there, I doubt he would have been moved to do anything other than to call in troops to break up the protest.

Member Post

 

Anyone watching? Comments?  My comments: 1. Nadler’s opening: was really just a personal attack on Barr. 2. Jordan’s opening: Explained why Dems are desperate to destroy Barr (his investigation of their corruption).  Then he showed a killer video, started with Dems all saying “peaceful” then followed by scenes of violence and tearjerker presser by Dorn’s […]

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Never Leave It to the Judges

 

Ballot box“Never leave it to the judges.” This admonition of every rule-based combat sport goes double for elections. John Roberts has already amply demonstrated that he is no William Rehnquist. If we leave the 2020 presidential and Congressional elections to the courts, John Roberts will deliver the result George Bush wants: a boot in the face of every voter who dared to vote for President Trump. There will be no repeat of the 9-0 Bush v. Gore opinion. We need far more than President Trump talking about the foreseeable disaster of mail-out vote fraud, which he keeps mislabeling as mail-in voting.

We need immediate administrative and litigation work that spells out the specific, historically documented threat of massive voter fraud and that seeks as a remedy a strict prohibition on issuing ballots to any person or address not validated this year as a live voter address. We simultaneously need to collectively get off our duffs and fight like we have a country to save.  I mean that we, you and I, have to be directly involved in getting every single possible real vote into the right box with the right candidates marked. Whatever the local rule, that is the game you and I must play or shut the federalism up!

As a casual fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), I have heard competent losers, after a bout went to the judges’ scorecard, say “I didn’t finish my opponent. You can never leave it in the judges’ hands.” Politics ain’t bean-ball, and there is no crying in presidential elections. Fight to win or don’t snivel about the results. It is not as if Democrats cheating is a new thing. As Salem Radio host Hugh Hewitt wrote in the summer of July 2004, the election after Al Gore and the Palm Beach Democrats tried to steal the 2000 election, If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat.” The rest of the title? “Crushing the Democrats in Every Election, and Why Your Life Depends on It.” Yes. When your opposition is the party of two steps forward and one step back, of Rules for Radicals and Das Kapital, it actually, no kidding, for real is a matter of physical life and death for many in our lifetimes and of liberty or reeducation camps for many more. Until we reconquer our own nation’s culture, them’s the rules.

The president should not be granting the left’s lie. There is no “mail-in” vote scheme. There is a “mail-out” vote scheme. The source of the obvious universally understood fraud is the Democrat-controlled governments mass-mailing ballots to every mailing address as if it were junk mail. Mailing in ballots is what every responsible absentee ballot voter does each election cycle. Mailing out ballots is the basis of massive, planned fraud, of election stealing.

So, Bill Barr needs to man up, putting out a legal barrage even more well developed than the four-part case against China unfolded over the past month by the National Security Advisor, the FBI Director, and Attorney General Barr, with Secretary of State Pompeo in clean-up position. That campaign was long-planned and carefully coordinated. This shows that if Attorney General Barr had the will, he and President Trump have the ability to roll out the same sort of cross-agency case against massive real electoral fraud. It is put-up or shut-up time. Now.

At the same time, each of us must take responsibility where we live to ensure that President Trump wins in our state past the margin of cheating while pounding away in Democrat strong-holds to tie down leftist resources there. We saw a Republican win back a House seat in California, this year, despite the Left’s worst efforts in a special election. We can and should win the presidency, the House, and the Senate. Do we want it more than the socialists?