Elections have Consequences

“Elections have Consequences.”

This particular Obama-ism makes my skin crawl and my blood boil. While it is apparently true, it is also a tacit admission that, when in power, politicians have absolutely no intention of actually representing their constituents. Their agenda is prime, and everyone who differs in opinion can pound the proverbial sand. I’m pretty sure there’s a line in the Declaration condemning a lack of representation…

As a case in point, the alleged, “great unifier”, Joe Biden, has made the case that his gun control proposals have bipartisan support and are overwhelmingly popular. However, while watching the Rose Garden roll-out of said proposals on YouTube (the official broadcast of the WH) the ratio of likes to dislikes tells a different tale.

In the screenshot below, the YT feed identifies 4700 people viewing (indicative of the Administration’s popularity all by itself) and about 400 “likes” as compared to greater than 3000 “dislikes”.

Now… I’m no statistician… and allowing for the fact that maybe many more people watched the feed on a different “channel… shouldn’t any representative sampling generally mirror the same statistical sentiment on a given issue? Are we to believe that just anti-Biden, pro2A folks tuned into the official WH feed?

And, assuming that the various representative samples would conform, generally, to the same statistical sentiment… Why do we allow the Powers that Be to continue to lie to us to further their agenda?

“Elections have Consequences”, translated: “You little people sit down and shut-up. We won and we’ll do what ever we please. And, there’s not a damned thing you can or will do about it.”

Rise of the Absurd

Originally published by the Z Man at Taki’s Mag

Rise of the Absurd
photo credit: Nicolas de Largillière

The French Enlightenment philosopher known to us as Voltaire once said, “Whoever can make you accept absurdity can make you commit injustice.” This was in response to the persecution and execution of Jean Calas, the last man in France to be broken on the wheel. Calas was a Protestant living in a Catholic society, so critics of the Church used his case much in the same way moderns are using George Floyd.

Voltaire, like most men of the Enlightenment, had a simplistic understanding of human society. Through insouciance and critical humor, liberal thinkers dismantled the framework of society without regard to what would replace it. In the process, the modern fanatic, a novel form of barbarian, was unleashed. From the Reign of Terror until this point in time, the fanatic has been civilization’s greatest enemy.

We cannot know for sure, but it is reasonable to assume that Voltaire would have been a big fan of Madame Guillotine. He had this to say on the topic of punishment: “It hath long since been observed, that a man after he is hanged is good for nothing, and that punishments invented for the good of society, ought to be useful to society.” What could be more useful than the elimination of the enemies of the revolution? “The embrace of strange ideas is a way for those who enjoy human suffering to glory in it.”

Putting that aside, Voltaire’s observation that there is a correlation between the toleration of the absurd and the toleration of injustice is important. As the great Theodore Dalrymple observed, communist societies, the most absurd creations in human history, heavily relied upon the imposition of absurdity in order to maintain the authority of the party. Under communism, absurdity is the moral authority of injustice.

As Dalrymple noted, this is where we see how liberal democracy has taken on the trappings of communism. Political correctness is a way to maintain control. By forcing people to accept and repeat the most ridiculous things, the people in charge break the will of the people. By accepting the lie, they can no longer live in the truth. “A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”

This is the reason for these weird public confessionals from public figures accused of violating some part of the progressive catechism. It is not so much about breaking the spirit of the accused. That can be done in private. Doing it in public, forcing the rest of us to share in the man’s humiliation, compels the rest of us to quietly accept the authority of those forcing the accused to make his public confession.

The mistake here, though, is in assuming the causal relationship is one-way. That what comes first is the acceptance of the ridiculous, from which leads to cruelty and violence in order to defend the absurd. Instead, at least in many cases, the relationship works in the opposite direction. The desire to inflict harm, to exercise unjustified power over others, is what draws people to embrace the absurd.

The traveling partner with all of these bizarre social fads is a cadre of ideological enforcers who inflict torment on those not willing to embrace the absurd. More often than not, these are volunteers. Social media is teeming with people who imagine themselves as witch-hunters. They search the social media profiles of suspects, looking for blasphemy against whatever is popular at the moment.

Officially sanctioned sadism is now creeping into the ruling classes. The New York Times, the pinnacle of ruling-class media, employs young women whose only job is to hunt down heretics. With a straight face, the media claims to be the victim as they destroy the lives of nobodies, who they claim are a threat to the democracy. Wokeism is a help-wanted sign for every vindictive sadist of the age.

This is where we see the causal relationship turn the other way. The embrace of strange ideas is a way for those who enjoy human suffering to glory in it. This is why the modern right is powerless in these battles. Their bourgeois objectivism requires them to find a logical explanation for everything. Since there can be no rational answer for the burst of insanity we see at the top of society, the right must sit in stunned silence.

The bizarreness of this age cannot be overstated. We live in a time in which the makers of medicines claim in their ads that humans are assigned a sex at birth. These are people presumably operating at the very limits of the human science. They rely upon the best-trained men and women to create drugs to treat illness. Yet, they claim that humans are assigned a sex at birth. That is madness in service to absurdity.

The contemporary critics of the Enlightenment, like Joseph de Maistre, viewed the claims of Voltaire and Rousseau as an assault on man’s nature. Those institutions they criticized, like the Church, the aristocratic order, and the executioner, did not spring from nothing. They provided a necessary foundation for human society, one with a moral authority that framed man’s natural reason.

Freed from those moral constraints, reason quickly turns into superstition. Whether it is egalitarianism, the blank slate, or any of the shibboleths of liberal democracy, what passes for reason is in fact a war on nature. So much so that the mantle of reason is used to justify the mutilation of children by parents, convinced by their televisions that their male child was “misgendered” at birth. Is there any greater injustice than a mother harming her child in the name of absurdities like transgenderism?

We have arrived at the monstrous end of the liberal project. What started as a reasoned assault on superstition is now a collection of increasingly bizarre superstitions, in service to a war on observable reality. What Voltaire criticized as absurd superstition looks enlightened compared with what his ideological heirs are inflicting on us. It turns out Voltaire was right, however. He just picked the wrong target.

How Much Longer Will the United States Exist?

Originally published by Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org

As a geographical location, the US, not necessarily under that name, can exist for a long time.  But as a nation the US no longer exists.  A nation requires a homogeneous population, which the US does not have, and far more unity than exists today in the US.  Once past the colonial era when the immigration gates were opened, the English population was diluted with Irish, Italians, Poles, Jews, and a variety of other European peoples.  With sensible immigration policies and requirements, the US was able to assimilate diverse European ethnicities into an English rule of law, English civil liberties, and the English language.  These successful efforts of assimilation were abandoned decades ago and supplanted by “multiculturalism” and “diversity.”  Today the US is a Tower of Babel.

Today the US is too diverse to live under the same laws.  For example,Democrats have stated their intention of destroying the Second Amendment.  Moreover, some of them are prepared to do so not by legislative action but by presidential fiat, a power that the US Constitution does not permit.  For example, anti-constitutionalists US Representatives  Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) have asked election thief Joe Biden to “take executive action” against “assault weapons.”  

https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_breakingnews/house-democrats-ask-biden-to-take-executive-action-on-concealable-assault-style-firearms_3758815.html

To request a president to exercise a power he does not have is how tyranny begins, but the Democrat Representatives are so lacking in American enculturation that they ask Biden to pull non-existent powers out of the air and use them against the US Constitution.  This alone proves my point that there is no American nation.  The United States is the Constitution.  Devoid of the Constitution it is some other country.

Aware that the anti-American and illegitimate Biden regime intends to remove Americans’ constitutional right to defend their lives and property against criminals and their liberty against Washington’s tyranny, the Arkansas State Senate has passed in advance of federal action a bill banning the enforcement of Federal gun laws in Arkansas.  

https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_breakingnews/arkansas-state-senate-passes-bill-banning-enforcement-federal-gun-control-laws_3759960.html

In other words, Arkansas is not prepared to live under federal laws passed to please the effete and submissive Democrat voters who populate the northeast and West coasts.  This is not a white/black difference as this black American makes clear—https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2021/04/02/a-brilliant-defense-of-the-2nd-amendment-brilliant-telling-off-of-dumbshit-white-liberals/ .  This is a sectional difference akin to the sectional difference that resulted in secession and Union invasion of the Confederate States of America.  Tariffs suited the North but not the South which was being setup to pay for Northern industrialization.

Today in the US there are many more sectional disagreements than existed in 1860.  

In the US today traditional white Americans—not the woke Democrats—see themselves under threat. The officials of the ruling party and the media presstitutes have declared traditional white Americans to be “domestic extremists,” “domestic enemies,” “white supremacists,” and “Trump deplorables.”  The FBI is searching for and prosecuting those who exercised their First Amendment right to free speech and association by attending the Trump rally in Washington and are falsely accusing those who exercised Constitutional rights of attempting a “Trump insurrection.”  The crazed anti-American House Democrats actually tried to impeach former President Trump for a non-existent “insurrection against the US government.”

This shows that the US politically has degenerated into a backwoods third world country where the incoming regime arrests or executes the previous president.

Trump supporters are the patriots who historically have formed the backbone of the country’s armed forces.  It is these people in the armed forces who the Pentagon is presently purging.

While the idiot appointed Secretary of Defense eliminates the fighting capability of the US military, the illegimate president in the White House  calls the presidents of Russia and China names and issues threats.  Simultaneously, the idiot playing Secretary of Defense issues an American guarantee to Ukraine against Russia, while the Defense department announces a lipsticked, painted fingernail, ponytailed, transgendered army in the interest of diversity.  

The kinds of men who made the US Marines and paratroopers a fighting force are not going to join such an army or accept such creatures as officers.  The US military is history.  Ukraine should take this into account before they get themselves destroyed. The American guarantee is worth zero, and this worthless guarantee can start a world conflagration just like the worthless guarantee the idiot British government gave to Poland in March 1939.

Biden Administration Outlines Six Executive Actions They Will Initiate for Unilateral Gun Control Efforts Without Legislative Branch

Originally published by Sundance at The Last Refuge

The White House has released some details of the six executive actions the JoeBama team has put together for Joe Biden to sign.

(1)  The Justice Department, within 30 days, will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns.” We are experiencing a growing problem: criminals are buying kits containing nearly all of the components and directions for finishing a firearm within as little as 30 minutes and using these firearms to commit crimes. When these firearms turn up at crime scenes, they often cannot be traced by law enforcement due to the lack of a serial number. The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of these firearms.

(2) The Justice Department, within 60 days, will issue a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. The alleged shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.

(3) The Justice Department, within 60 days, will publish model “red flag” legislation for states. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. The President urges Congress to pass an appropriate national “red flag” law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass “red flag” laws of their own. In the interim, the Justice Department’s published model legislation will make it easier for states that want to adopt red flag laws to do so.

(4) The Administration is investing in evidence-based community violence interventions. Community violence interventions are proven strategies for reducing gun violence in urban communities through tools other than incarceration. Because cities across the country are experiencing a historic spike in homicides, the Biden-Harris Administration is taking a number of steps to prioritize investment in community violence interventions.

  • The American Jobs Plan proposes a $5 billion investment over eight years to support community violence intervention programs. A key part of community violence intervention strategies is to help connect individuals to job training and job opportunities.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is organizing a webinar and toolkit to educate states on how they can use Medicaid to reimburse certain community violence intervention programs, like Hospital-Based Violence Interventions.
  • Five federal agencies are making changes to 26 different programs to direct vital support to community violence intervention programs as quickly as possible. These changes mean we can start increasing investments in community violence interventions as we wait on Congress to appropriate additional funds. Read more about these agency actions here.

(5) The Justice Department will issue an annual report on firearms trafficking. In 2000, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) issued a report summarizing information regarding its investigations into firearms trafficking, which is one way firearms are diverted into the illegal market where they can easily end up in the hands of dangerous individuals. Since the report’s publication, states, local, and federal policymakers have relied on its data to better thwart the common channels of firearms trafficking. But there is good reason to believe that firearms trafficking channels have changed since 2000, for example due to the emergence of online sales and proliferation of “ghost guns.” The Justice Department will issue a new, comprehensive report on firearms trafficking and annual updates necessary to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking today.

(6) The President will nominate David Chipman to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. ATF is the key agency enforcing our gun laws, and it needs a confirmed director in order to do the job to the best of its ability. But ATF has not had a confirmed director since 2015. Chipman served at ATF for 25 years and now works to advance commonsense gun safety laws.  (White House Link)

Are Leftists Stupid Or Liars?

Originally published by Kurt Schlichter at Townhall

Are Leftists Stupid Or Liars?
Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

It’s a real headscratcher – are these people dumb, or do they think we’re dumb, or is it a little from Column A and a little from Column B?

Take Heidi Heitkamp – and you can take her since she’s not busy, the people of one of the Dakotas having fired her for being a crappy senator. This has-been was on with Bill Maher – his show is where C-list pols go to die – and they were talking about cancel culture and what happened next was illustrative. See, Heitkamp was supposed to be one of those moderate Dems from the Midwest, not some strange-o channeling the table talk in the faculty lounge at Gumbo State. And this alleged moderate then announced that Gina Carano is a Nazi.

Carano’s the MMA lady who was on that stupid kid’s space show playing a character named Puun Xeeeblefrok or some dumb thing. She got kicked off it by Disney because she would not genuflect to the various demigods of the pinko pantheon and probably fails to accept that men can menstruate. Now she’s working with Ben Shapiro’s outfit. I’m sure Ben will be shocked to know that he’s working with a Nazi; frankly, it seems off brand for both of them, but leftists are smart, right?

No. They are dumb, or they are liars who imagine we might fall for it. There’s not another option except some combo of the two. Just look at the Politico guy working hard to get us to buy, right before ignoring the latest leftist cop killer completely, the notion that Farrakhan is a Trump guy.

Is he stupid, or does he think we are?

Let’s explore the slander part further, but first let me explain why you can’t sue over this. Actually, you can – anyone can sue for anything with a printer and a filing fee – but you won’t win. To defame someone, you essentially have to assert factual allegations as opposed to mere opinion (let’s not even go down the New York Times v. Sullivan rathole of “actual malice” and “public figures”), and claims like “She’s a Nazi!” have been so degraded they are essentially meaningless. No one sane actually that Gina Carano is a member of the National Socialist Worker’s Party, or that she bears a swastika tramp stamp, or that she has the remotest shred of sympathy for actual Nazis. So, no one, at least no one reasonable (which is the operative word), thinks it’s a factual statement. The same with Heitkamp’s backtrack – even Maher thought she was being ridiculous – to accusing Carano of merely cavorting with “white supremacists.” No one thinks that’s a statement of fact either – the left had defined these deviancies down into essential meaninglessness. When videos of black thugs beating up Asians get chalked up by SJWs to “white supremacy,” the term has lost all meaning.

And Heitkamp clearly knows it too, putting her in the “liar” camp. Watch her as she labels Carano a Nazi, then starts giggling like the world’s crustiest schoolgirl. She knows it’s all crap, but she gets off on the trained seals in the audience slapping their fins for her so she tosses them a fish.

But this phenomenon of labeling opponents with vile smears either because the smearers are stupid, or think we are, is more sinister than just another aging political bit player looking for props to remind her of what it was like back when she sort of mattered. This is a symptom of our gooey establishment totally rejecting the notion of reason and argument – because they can’t prevail using them – in favor of crude lies about the opposition. Unless they are stupid – which some are – they know it’s a lie, and some of their audience does too, and neither care. The act of lying becomes a shared ritual of solidarity between them, substituting a perverted faith in their socialist dogma for facts and evidence. It’s a relief for them to abandon reason – after all, it’s hard work defending an ideology that butchered 100 million people over the last century.

But then there are the stupid people, the unreasonable ones who actually believe this bullSchiff. Some of the idiots are the tellers, other idiots are the told. Out there, somewhere, are people nodding their empty heads thinking, “Yes, Gina Carano is a Nazi because the cackling crone on the TV said so.” They believe it, because they are stupid. The law discounts that they believe it since believing it is so transcendently stupid – the law is always focused on what a “reasonable man” would think or do – so these mouth-breathers’ delusions do not render silly claims like this actionable under law.

Unfortunately, the stupid people who believe garbage like the trash talked by Heitkamp take action out on baseball diamonds. If you keep calling people who disagree with you politically “Nazis,” even if it’s with a wink, nod, and titter, to the good seats that it’s all performative baloney, some of the dullards in the cheap seats are going to buy it. And even the ones who know it’s crap are going to get dragged along with the twisted logic of it.

If your political opponents are not merely wrong but evil, and not merely evil but literally Hitler, then that sort of compels drastic measures. When your catspaws like Antifa or BLM attacks them and hurts them, well, they’re Nazis, right? And when they kill your opponents, well, too bad for the Nazis who are nothing of the sort.

But the problem is that the status quo cannot remain static – the idea that the victims of this gross slander and the resulting hatred, oppression, and violence will not react is absurd. And the thing is, the pampered clowns like Heitkamp are the least prepared to deal with a paradigm where violence supplants reason. It’s probably a bad idea to normalize hate when your forces consist of gender studies students, diversity consultants, and failed senators, plus maybe some blue falcon cops and soldiers who put pensions first. Meanwhile, the fuse the morons/liars lit burns down toward the powder.

But they keep it up anyway. This makes them both stupid and liars.

New York’s Vaccine Passport Program Is Already Failing

Originally published by Jordan Schachtel at The Dossier

Liberty advocates, rejoice! The idiocracy is going to save us from another form of COVID tyranny. Thanks to a combination of bungling authoritarians and decaying legacy corporations, these entities are simply too incompetent to pull off a functioning vaccine passport program.

New York’s rollout of its vaccine passport already has the markings of a five alarm dumpster fire. The New York State “Excelsior Pass” vaccine passport system, which was created by IBM, has so many issues that I wouldn’t be surprised if the program was scrapped altogether before the end of the calendar year. It has massive security flaws, a shrinking customer base by design, it remains incredibly impractical, and it’s incredibly easy to manipulate. Excelsior Pass sucks, thanks to the idiocracy that was responsible for its design and implementation.

A rigid system

Say you want to attend a Knicks game this evening at Madison Square Garden, a partner to the Excelsior Pass program. It’s 9 a.m. and your event is at 7:30 p.m. If you don’t have the vaccine yet, that means you will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test to receive your pass. Want to take that test this morning? Not so fast! The antigen test needs to have been administered within the last 6 hours, so you better plan your entire day around navigating that short window between your COVID test and the event this evening.

Just received your second dose and you’re ready to hit the town? Not so fast! You must wait at least two weeks before your green check mark appears on your vaccine passport. 

Has it been more than 90 days since your last dose? Rejected! You only have a 76 day window (more than 14 days, under 90 days) to acquire a vax pass, which has to be renewed every 30 days.

Received a vaccine or COVID test from out of state? Took a private at home test kit or a test from a provider that is not registered in the New York State central database? Looks like you’re out of luck. You will not be able to receive your prized Excelsior Pass, because your information never made it into the system.

Are you an out of state resident looking to attend an event or enter an Excelsior Pass participating store? You’re out of luck! The New York system does not communicate with other databases, and other states plan on rewarding vaccine passport contracts to other companies.

Junk application

In order to download Excelsior Pass on your phone, you need the latest version of Android or iOS. For users of phones that are more than 4-5 years, this means you will not be able to access the application. If you have an iPhone 6 or earlier, you can’t download Excelsior Pass because it only runs on the latest operating system, which doesn’t work on these older phones.

Users of the app are absolutely hammering it for its dysfunction. Of the 240 reviews for the application on iOS, over 100 reviews received 1 star out of 5.

Here’s a small sample size of user complaints from the last week:

IBM Sucks

New York’s Excelsior Pass was constructed on IBM’s Digital Health Pass platform. IBM claims that it keeps your data secure on its “blockchain technology” platform, which is a corporate buzzword excuse for a total lack of transparency about how it hosts your sensitive health records. In fact, a devastating February report on IBM’s Blockchain program showed it failed to produce anything meaningful, and the company has cut its staff by a reported 90 percent.

Overpromising and under delivering is nothing new for IBM. Before the blockchain hype, IBM promised it would help treat and cure cancer through its Watson artificial intelligence platform. Watson AI has been marketed for a decade, and it has produced almost nothing of substance. Both IBM Blockchain and IBM’s Watson AI has been catered specifically to health care applications, and neither has developed any substantial real world uses. Don’t be surprised if IBM’s vaccine passport program, which is part of its IBM Blockchain skeleton crew, meets the same fate.

Anyone can steal your information and take your Vax Pass

The IBM-New York vaccine passport system has incredibly lax security protocols, making it easy for a random individual to steal your identity and obtain Gov. Cuomo’s vaunted Excelsior Pass.

In order to see if someone is eligible for an Excelsior Pass (and acquire their COVID-19 health records), all you need is a first and last name, a date of birth, and a zip code (yes, not even their address, just their zip code). If you’re eligible for the pass, you then get taken to a second screen where you have to enter more relatively easily obtained information to “verify your identity.” Even if you get some questions wrong, it appears that you can go back in and answer an unlimited amount of times until you get the right combination. 

Failure imminent

Vaccine passports are inhumane, discriminatory, and will lead America on a direct path to a China-like social credit score system that restricts our unalienable rights. The good news for you New Yorkers is that the Cuomo Administration and IBM are the dream team of incompetence. Excelsior Pass will almost certainly fail, because a legacy governor and a legacy tech outfit are not sophisticated enough to produce a working totalitarian product for their COVID Safety Regime.

Report: Black Americans’ Gun Ownership up Nearly 60 Percent

Originally published by AWR Hawkins at Breitbart

Gun ownership among black Americans is up nearly 60 percent following the record gun sales of 2020.

The Guardian reports, “gun ownership among Black Americans is up 58.2 percent.”

The paper cites National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) figures showing “Americans bought a record number of firearms last year,” including an “estimated 5 million people [who] bought their first ever gun between March and August.”

Black Americans witnessed the greatest increase among all first-time gun buyers.

Gun rights groups like the National African American Gun Association have subsequently seen giant leaps in membership.

Anubis Heru owns the 1770 Armory and Gun Club in Denver, the first firearm store and simulator range in Colorado to be owned by a black American.

Heru commented on the existence of gun rights groups focused on black Americans, “The value of these groups is learning with people who know your struggle and understand what’s happening and has been happening with this country. Black people and women of color like to come to our facility because we’re not the typical redneck with a tattoo of the Three Percenters.”

On March 2, 2o21, Breitbart News reported black Chicagoans were flooding into concealed carry courses seeking to defend themselves against the crime in the Windy City.

The Chicago Tribune reports that when one considers new customers nationally in the gun community in 2020, “black customers accounted for the largest increase of any racial group.” In Chicago specifically, black residents are pouring into gun courses and concealed carry courses, seeking a way to protect themselves from the violence that is all around.

Where America’s Bridges Are Crumbling

Originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge

Back in August 2007, the dangerous and decaying state of America’s infrastructure became a shocking reality when the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, sending vehicles crashing into the river below. 13 people were killed while another 145 were injured. In August 2018, a bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy, shocked the world with 43 people losing their lives. After that catastrophe, many countries, including the United States, started to seriously look at the state of their deteriorating infrastructure.

Last week, as Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, President Biden unveiled his plans for a $2 trillion investment in American infrastructure, describing it as “a once-in-a-generation effort”. It would involve replacing lead piping, rebuilding 20,000 miles of roads and repairing the country’s 10 most economically important bridges. Biden described the program as “unlike anything we have seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago”. He added that it would be “the largest American jobs investment since World War II”.

After the announcement, a report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) illustrated the scale of the challenge in overhauling and repairing U.S. infrastructure by finding that more than 220,000 American bridges need repair work. 45,000 of them were deemed structurally deficient and Americans cross them 171.5 million times daily. At the current rate, it would take more than 40 years to fix all of them and cost an estimated $41.8 billion.

The good news is that the number of structurally deficient bridges has declined for the past five years but that trend has been tempered by more bridges being downgraded from good to fair condition.

Infographic: Where America's Bridges Are Crumbling | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Out of all U.S. states, Iowa has the most structurally deficient bridges, 4,571 or 19.1 percent of its total bridges. Pennsylvania comes second on the list with 3,353 of its bridges falling into the same category, along with 2,374 in Illinois.

West Virginia has the highest share of bridges classified as structurally deficient at 21 percent while Nevada has the lowest at just 1.4 percent.

Dr. Fauci Can’t Explain Why Texas COVID Cases Keep Dropping Despite Reopening

Originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge

More than a month has passed since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shocked the Faucis of the world by scrapping COVID-inspired restrictions on businesses and individuals, including removing the mask mandate. The decisions prompted Dr. Anthony Fauci and legions of public health “experts” to warn about the devastating consequences – thousands of unnecessary deaths would result, they said – however, as the data show, practically every metric has shown that the Lone Star State’s outbreak has continued to recede, even as blue states like Michigan are seeing a new surge in infections (believed to be driven by “mutant” strains).

As epidemiologists everywhere have struggled to come up with an explanation, it’s worth noting that Texans are dining out more, according to Opentable seatings, which have become a closely watched proxy for post-quarantine economic activity.

As experts have struggled to come up with a satisfying answer, Dr. Fauci was asked about the phenomenon during an interview on MSNBC Tuesday morning as the senior advisor to President Biden made the rounds. As MSNBC noted, “if you go to Texas…it looks like 2019… the restaurants are full…the ballparks are full…” and yet, cases have continued to tick downward.

Dr. Fauci seemed dumbfounded. He first suggested that the surge in cases simply hadn’t manifested yet because of a “lag”. That might have made sense if the trend had only been in place for a week or two. But a month has passed, and Texas’ positivity rate – the share of new tests that yield positive results, seen as a more accurate representation of community spread – has continued to fall.

“It can be confusing because you may see a lag or a delay, because often you have to wait a few weeks…there’s a lot of things that go into that,” Dr. Fauci said.

“I’m not really sure, it could be because they’re doing things outdoors, you know it’s very difficult to just one-on-one compare that…I hope they continue to tick down, if they do that would be great. But there’s always the concern that when you pull back on methods, particularly things like indoor dining, or bars that are crowded…you could see a delay, then all of a sudden cases tick back up.”

“We’ve been fooled before with places opening up, then nothing happens, but all of a sudden a few weeks later cases explode on you.”

He concluded by saying “we’ve got to be careful we don’t prematurely judge” the situation in Texas.

For those who haven’t been closely following the situation in Texas, 26 days have passed since the state “reopened 100%” with no mask mandate, and 34 days have passed since Gov. Abbott announced the reopening. The number of new cases, deaths, hospitalizations ICU occupancy and positivity rate have all fallen.

Source: NYT

The doctor then speculated that last night’s packed Texas Rangers game might be a “super-spreader event” (like Sturgis? … or The Super Bowl party in Miami?).

Dr. Fauci has already rejected the CDC Director Walensky’s “impending doom” rhetoric, and on Tuesday, he told CNBC that “as long as we keep vaccinating people efficiently and effectively, I don’t think [a fourth wave] is gonna happen.”

However, “that doesn’t mean we’re not going to still see an increase in cases.”

Meanwhile, the White House announced Tuesday that it’s moving up its target date for all American adults to be eligible to receive a vaccine to April 19, two weeks earlier than its prior stated goal. Already, the government has doled out nearly 150M doses.

Officer Chauvin’s Show Trial Will Bring the End of Law and Order

Originally published by Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org

The United States now has attributes of the 20th century totalitarian regimes that it opposed.  The New York governor is implementing the hated Soviet internal passport that prevents freedom of movement, and the illegitimate Biden regime is working with private firms to create a nationwide internal passport.

American elections mean no more than Soviet ones. As Stalin said, it is who counts the votes that matters.

Washington’s foreign policy is more aggressive and bloody than the Third Reich’s.

Soviet show trials are now the new normal for American “justice.”

As an example, consider the highly orchestrated show trial of Officer Chauvin accused of George Floyd’s death currently underway.  Yesterday, the second day of Officer Chauvin’s trial was “eye-witness day.”  Eye-witness Donald Williams told the prosecutor, Steve Schleicher, that “I believe I witnessed a murder.”  Eye-witness Alyssa Funari said, “I was upset because there was nothing that we could do as bystanders except watch them take this man’s life in front of our eyes.”  Eye-witness Darnella Frazier said, “When I look at George Floyd I look at, look at my dad. I look at my brothers, cousins, uncles, because they are all Black. I have a Black father, I have a Black brother, I have Black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them.”

I believe these witnesses are describing what it seemed like to them.  Donald Williams believes that he witnessed a murder.  It certainly can look like that to everyone who does not have all the information.  Thanks to the media, all the information is missing.

Among the missing information is the medical examiner’s report that finds three times the fatal dose of fentanyl in George Floyd’s blood.  The medical examiner reports “No life-threatening injuries identified. No injuries of anterior muscles of neck or laryngeal structures.” The medical examiner reports extensive heart disease:  Arteriosclerotic heart disease, multifocal, severe; Hypertensive heart disease.

Fentanyl causes breathing problems and death when overdosed.  

As police audio/video show, Floyd complained to police of breathing problems prior to being restrained on the ground. He complained of breathing problems while sitting in the police car.

When Officer Chauvin arrived, he recognized a drug overdose problem and called for medics, an inexplicable decision if he intended murder.

Officer Chauvin restrained Floyd using a police-approved technique that has been used many times without killing anyone.  Chavin restrained Floyd in order to prevent Floyd from agitated behavior that would exhaust the little oxygen able to get into his system.  The knee-hold does not prevent the flow of oxygen.

Practically alone among the print, TV, radio, and Internet media, I reported the facts of the situation.  See:

In contrast, the visual “evidence” was constantly hyped all over the media.  What people thought they saw was not the explanation.

The public was primed to misunderstand George Floyd’s death by previous instances of police brutality against blacks. The presstitutes only report police brutality against blacks, not the more numerous instances against whites, so the public sees it as a racist response to blacks.  Officer Chauvin is partly a victim of the one-sided reported incidents against blacks. 

As my readers know, I am a long-standing critic of police brutality against the public.  I forecast that the police brutality together with the one-sided reporting was brewing racial problems by being misrepresented as racism.  When I reported the medical examiner’s report, some readers wanted to know why I had changed from being a police critic to being a police apologist. I am not for or against the police.  I am for truth and against lies and misrepresentation.

The truth is Officer Chauvin’s true defense, but it is unlikely to play a role.  The presstitutes have presented the prosecutor with the case of his career. He is not going to let facts get in the way of Chauvin’s conviction.  Neither does the judge want the vilification that a fair trial would bring. The jurors all understand that if they let Officer Chavin off they will be outcasts and suffer violence to themselves and their property.  The entire community knows that unless Chauvin is convicted, their city will again be looted and burned.  Indeed, the many cities that experienced the George Floyd protests feel the same way.  A person already convicted by the media cannot be let off even if innocent. What is the purpose of the eye-witnesses when all have already seen many times the scenario they describe and have their minds made up?

In former times when America had a justice system and a responsible media, media was careful not to convict a suspect or defendant prior to the jury doing so.  To be convicted by the media was reason for dismissing the charges on the grounds that there was no prospect of an objective jury.  But in America today, it is conviction that is the focus, not innocence or guilt.  

Eye-witness Donald Williams feels that he witnessed a murder.  No doubt every juror feels the same way prior to the trial. Evidence, even if presented, is unlikely to get anywhere with people already convinced by the constantly replayed video of Officer Chauvin with his knee-hold on George Floyd.

What I have noticed over the years, especially recent ones, is that facts have lost their importance.  Facts have given way to emotional responses based on feelings.  It is how Americans feel about whatever, not the facts, that determines the response. 

It would take a heroic jury to find Chauvin innocent.  His conviction will constitute another blow to law and order. White and Asian police officers will protect themselves by avoiding interaction with black criminals.  I suspect that black officers will also.  Otherwise, their kids will be beat up and their homes firebombed.  The emboldened criminal population that is being created will be hard to contain.

Passivity Is a Choice, and We Made It

Originally published by Kurt Schlichter at Townhall

Passivity Is a Choice, and We Made It
Source: AP Photo/Richard Vogel

There’s always an uproar when we see Asian-Americans being beaten to a pulp or murdered on video and the people around them just stare instead of intervene. But why are we surprised? They are just doing exactly what society has told them to do. It’s not necessarily cowardice. They are making an entirely rational choice based on our society’s unequivocal message that we should stand back and watch.

If we, as a society, want to have people leap into the fray, and I would like that, then we need to do the things that make it a rational choice to do so instead of one that might very well bring ruin, imprisonment, injury, or death.

But we do the opposite, then act stunned when people conform to the reality we create. Let’s look at the logistics. The people pummeling others are usually pretty big, and they’re criminals for whom violence is a way of life. Most normal people are not streetfighters, and taking on the criminals is extremely dangerous and can easily get you hurt or killed. Now, a civilized society would want to encourage people to intervene, and that means not interfering with normal citizens’ right to bear arms. Many states do not, but the Ninth Circuit just informed us that the right to “bear” arms doesn’t actually mean you have a right to bear arms. So, in many places, society has deprived you of the ability to intervene with some measure of safety and effectiveness.

But if you do intervene, your trouble just begins. Even if you are in the right does not mean an intervention will go your way. If you are in the wrong jurisdiction, with one of those leftist-bought district attorneys, then you run the risk of being prosecuted even if you did everything right. Take it from a lawyer – innocent people get shafted all the time by the system, especially when the system wants them shafted. Maybe you eventually get acquitted, after a couple years of hell, some time in jail, and financial ruin – congratulations!

Or, if someone videotapes the encounter, maybe your life gets ruined because the thug you shot is of an SJW-favored group. Do you think the facts matter? Do you think the crook’s criminal record, actions before bystanders started filming, or anything else is going to get in the way of the narrative? Come on. 

You cannot rely on objective truth to protect you in a world of subjectivity and lies.

Maybe you just get sued for hurting the poor, misunderstood degenerate – do not for a second think that there is some magic legal defense in most places that is going to keep you from getting dragged into court if you actually hurt the attacker. Oh, and your insurance might not even cover your defense if it’s characterized as an intentional act. You get the privilege of paying to defend a frivolous lawsuit too! 

I bet you’re just chomping at the bit to help your fellow citizen right about now.

So, a couple strangers get into a conflict in front of you and you have no weapon and absolutely no assurance that you will not, at a minimum, be dragged through hell if you get involved. What do you do? 

Well, as we have seen, people conform to what we ask for as a society, and we could not more clearly be asking folks to just stand there and watch. When we choose, as a society, to punish those who intervene, it’s hard to be shocked when people don’t. People can rationally calculate risk and reward – “Okay, that nice Asian grandma is going to have a black eye, and that’s bad, but I’m going to go home in one piece tonight and not be bankrupted or tossed in jail forever, so I can live with it.

And this is not merely the rational choice citizens are making. Cops make it too, as we have seen in the last year. They let criminals run rampant, especially in Democrat cities, because to stop the punks puts themselves at an unreasonable risk – not the reasonable risk they signed up for, but the risk of getting stabbed in the spine by the people they protect and serve. The use of force has risks for regular Joes, but they’re exponentially greater for a cop. A routine encounter with a guy selling single cigs – which our reps made illegal for some reason – or one with a guy passing counterfeit bills can escalate into violence and maybe death, and where does the cop end up then? With the brass and politicians backing them, or in the defendant’s chair in a murder trial? When’s the last time you saw a blue city mayor stand by his, her, or xir cops?  All other facts aside, Derek Chauvin was using the tactics and techniques he was trained in and now he’s looking at the rest of his life in jail. His trial is a joke, with no change of venue and biased jurors and an establishment that desperately wants him convicted irrespective of justice because they fear riots. Don’t think every cop in America isn’t seeing that, and many will hit the gas to get out of the bad neighborhood and home to mama – leaving the citizens who elected the people who created these incentives to deal with the carnage.

I guess elections do have consequences. 

If you are a cop, why would you go out of your way to risk your future for people who hate you and will not stand behind you? You won’t. And is that a moral failing? This is not mere cowardice like that beta who refused to rush into Parkland and put a slug in that scumbag’s brainpan or die trying. This is about the routine betrayal of America’s janitors in blue. Voters let this happen and they were free to do so. After all, your city has a right to set the parameters of its policing, and their Democrat electorates have made it quite clear that they do not want to accept the risk of ugly incidents where civilians get hurt. That is unequivocal, and that is the priority. Fine. That means that staying in your patrol car and driving on by as chaos reigns is simply following your instructions – implied instructions to be sure, but crystal clear instructions nonetheless.

And if robberies, rape, and murders skyrocket, well, the cities prefer that to videos of petty criminals colliding with the cops, so that’s what they get. Enjoy!

We could do it another way as a society. We could encourage, instead of discourage, heroism. Some parts of America, primarily the ones the Establishment hates, do. And, weirdly, you don’t see chaos there. We could choose to let citizens be armed everywhere to neutralize the criminals’ advantage. We could institute extremely strict laws barring prosecution for interventions at the outset so commie DAs can’t victimize heroes. We could do the same for civil liability. And we could bar employers from jettisoning internet-famous employees who do act to protect others. We could treat these citizens – and cops – as heroes instead of trashing them as racists. 

That is, if we wanted interventions. But apparently, many of us don’t.

This abdication is democracy. It’s simply what some voters asked for. Just stop pretending to be surprised that people are doing what they are told to do – nothing.

President in Name Only

Originally published by the Z Man at Taki’s Magazine

In AD 65, unrest spread throughout the Roman Empire, in response to the increasingly despotic rule of Nero. It started with the Pisonian conspiracy, which was an attempt to restore the Republic. Nero’s suppression of it reduced his support in the Senate, which led to further instability. In AD 68, Gaius Julius Vindex rebelled against Nero’s tax policy in Gaul. His plan was to replace Nero with a provincial governor named Galba.

This revolt was put down by the legions stationed at the border with Germania. Vindex committed suicide and Galba was declared an enemy of the state. The instability opened the door for an ambitious Praetorian Guard prefect to launch a plot whereby the guard would shift their loyalty from Nero to Galba. Not long after, Nero committed suicide and what followed was the Year of the Four Emperors.

The relevance to this age is that what followed was a long period in which the real power in the Roman Empire had no official role. The Praetorian Guard could make or break an emperor, so they had real power, but they existed outside the rest of the political structure. The American Empire appears to have entered a similar period, in which it is not entirely clear who is in charge of the state.“Why have elections if the whole thing is nothing but a show?”

This was made clear last week when Joe Biden held his first official press conference of his administration. Biden was disoriented and slow in his responses, even though the questions were submitted in advance and he had prepared answers. At one point he stopped pretending and just read a statement about North Korea off his sheet. His struggle to do that underscored the fact that he is president in name only.

Now, this is not a revelation. During the campaign it was clear that Biden was a shambling husk of a man. The internet was full of hackneyed jokes about his campaign being “Weekend at Biden’s” or operating out of a nursing home. It was clear that while Biden was the candidate, he had no role in his campaign, other than to shuffle out on stage when told to by his handlers. He was just a figurehead.

To be fair, few politicians in the modern age have control of their lives. They are more like prizefighters than political leaders. An organization exists around them that is composed of the interests financing their campaigns. The job of the politician is to perform when needed, but the day-to-day running of his office and political life is left to the professionals who manage him, just like a prizefighter.

Even so, it is assumed that the organization that forms around a politician is an organic thing, arising from his popular appeal and stated positions. Rand Paul Inc. is the result of Rand Paul being a goofy libertarian. Chuck Schumer Inc. is the result of his crisp understanding of whose interests he serves. Wall Street did not hire Chuck Schumer as their senator. They were drawn to him by his willingness to serve their interests.

With Joe Biden, we have something different. An existing organization, most likely the remnants of the Obama administration augmented by units from the semipermanent ruling class, has installed Biden as the titular head of the cabal. Most likely, they auctioned off the VP slot. Kamala Harris proved to be as popular as rectal cancer in the primaries, but she somehow ended up as VP.

The result is we have the first purely theatrical presidency. Biden-Harris are just actors playing a role. Neither of them has any say in policy. Biden is unable to form enough sentences to articulate anything more than a lunch order. Harris is just a marionette that no one would bother asking for an opinion. Biden’s struggles with dementia underscore the absurdity of her placement on the ticket.

All of this makes for some amusing commentary, but running the empire is serious business and it has an impact on our lives. The whole point of popular government is the people have some say in who is in charge and hold them accountable. If who is in charge is a secret, then the whole reason for popular government goes out the window. Why have elections if the whole thing is nothing but a show?

The Praetorian Guard problem for Rome lasted until 312 AD when Constantine defeated them at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Things move faster in this age, so it will not take 300 years for the problem of a shadow government to be resolved. It will not take a few emperors before people figure out we have a shadow government that is beyond the reach of the official political system.

The question for now is who is really in charge? The Praetorian Guard were visible for all to see, even if their role was not always clear. Our shadow government operates outside public view. Wall Street and Silicon Valley provide the money, for sure, but who is the hub of this wheel of intrigue? Who is running this conspiracy of shadows? Biden’s sad performance is putting that question in everyone’s mind now.

Liberal Majoritarianism

Originally published by the Z Man at the Z Blog

The truth is like a body. No matter how clever you are in trying to conceal it from view, it eventually turns up. One truth that keeps turning up despite great efforts to bury it is that humans are naturally hierarchical. Another is that in any human organization, someone has to be in charge. This is the body that liberal democracy desperately tries to conceal, but it keeps popping into public view. The result is the people in charge spend an enormous amount of their time trying to rebury the body.

Democracy, of course, is majority rule. Liberal democracy, in theory, is majority rule within a framework of principles, like equality before the law, separation of powers and human rights. A proposition is put forward and it carries the day if fifty percent plus one supports it. Its rightness is therefore determined by the majority, not by some intrinsic quality it possesses. The majority is the legitimizing authority in a democracy of any sort, including a liberal democracy.

This is an important defect. Since it is universally true that humans are naturally hierarchical and every society has someone in charge, it means the ruling class is the result of natural factors. In other words, the most important part of a human society exists outside the legitimizing power of majority rule. Instead of invalidating the idea of truth being the result of popularity, liberal democracy flips things around and demands that the majority, real or imagined, grants legitimacy to the rulers.

It is a good example of the immutability of belief. When a person or a society comes to believe something about itself, reality is willed in support of that belief. That which confirms the belief is held up as proof, while that which contradicts the belief is ignored or disputed. It is why a disbeliever is always the prey for believers. The destruction of the disbeliever not only validates the belief. It validates the believer. This is why democracy breed fanatics operating in the name of the public.

This great conflict in liberal democracy spins up over time into the frenzy we are seeing unfold in front us. The people in charge need the validation of the majority to bestow legitimacy on their position. It is why they go berserk whenever they lose an election or fail to get their way in a public policy fight. On the one hand, it is a threat to their image as the will of the people. On the other hand, it means there are enemies of democracy that must be hunted down and defeated.

The logical end point for one man rule is that the king, the pharaoh, or the emperor eventually comes to think of himself as the embodiment of the people. He is the physical manifestation of the people, but also their moral purpose. The king becomes a god and is therefore self-validating. In liberal democracy, the ruling class comes to think of themselves as the embodiment of the public will. They exist because the majority created them, and their existence is validation of the public will.

This was clear after the last two elections. When Trump won, the ruling elite was compelled, it was their moral duty, to get rid of him at any cost. He was a threat to “our democracy” because he was viewed as a repudiation of the elite. They had a moral duty to defend democracy from him. On the other hand, the manufactured majority for Joe Biden, with all of its absurdity, quickly became a point of public morality. The elite demanded their opponents publicly admit it was a legitimate election.

This is why people are sent by their employers to reeducation camps to learn the latest social fads. It is not enough to comply with these edicts. People silently tolerating in public the edicts of the rulers could be privately rejecting them. Since those edicts are by default the will of the people, it means there could be millions of silent enemies lurking in their homes and offices. The only way to make democracy safe from these silent enemies is to root out dissent.

It also seems that the hunt for dissenters provides a useful distraction for the people in charge, allowing them to pose as part of the mob. Note how the most powerful people in our liberal democracy carry on as victims. By playing the role of David, while being Goliath, they hide from themselves the realty of their position. Instead of being at the top of the social hierarchy, with all it entails, they see themselves as the guys at the front of the mob, chasing off the enemies.

As with communism, the civic religion that evolves to perpetuate the falsehoods of the system quickly becomes a delusion the ruling elite needs to perpetuate among themselves in order to carry out their role. The rulers of a liberal democracy come to see a natural majority for everything they do. Whether that majority exists or is the product of imagination is immaterial. They believe it does exist or that it would exist if the enemies of democracy were not preventing it.

We are at the point in liberal democracy where the majority is the source of all truth and the arbiter of morality. When no majority exists, one is manufactured through propaganda or coercion. If that fails, then one is simply invented. Since no source of legitimacy exists outside the majority, liberal democracy starts to look a lot like every other totalitarian system. Everything in the public will, nothing outside the public will and nothing against the public will.

Which US States Have Lifted COVID-19 Restrictions?

Originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge

“Impending Doom”The words the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chose Monday to describe where the U.S. was headed with the current opening strategy have been repeated countless times.

Here is the ‘surge’ Walensky is freaking out about.

As Statista’s Katharina Buchholz notes14 U.S. states have already lifted almost all coronavirus restrictions, according to information published by The New York Times and Kayak. No mask mandates, no stay-at-home orders or interstate travel quarantines were in place in Florida, Texas and Georgia as well as in parts of the Midwest and South, while businesses in the states were again almost fully opened.

Infographic: Which U.S. States Have Lifted COVID-19 Restrictions? | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

According to Johns Hopkins Universitysix out of these 14 opened-up states are currently experiencing rising case numbers again.

In mid-March, only one of them had been recording more new cases. These new outbreaks in opened-up states are currently underway in the Deep North and Midwest Plains as well as in Florida.

Opened-up states which are reporting stagnating case numbers include Texas, Georgia and Mississippi.

The state that remained under most coronavirus restriction was California, where L.A. county as well as San Diego and San Francisco are still seeing many new cases.

Alaska was also mostly opened up, but still enforces an interstate travel quarantine.

All opened-up states have Republican governors.

Interestingly, after President Biden leveraged the CDC Director’s emotional outburst to urge all states to reverse their lifting of COVID restrictions, Walensky said today that:

“Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus.”

Which would appear to imply that vaccinated people therefore cannot spread the virus (you can’t spread what you can’t carry) and thus, vaccinated people have no need to wear a mask or adhere to draconian distancing rules.

Negative COVID Tests For Sale Are Flooding The Dark Web

Originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge

With Covid test results now becoming the key to people doing the once basic things they used to be able to do without turning over personal health records (i.e. go to the store and buy a sandwich, or do their laundry) it should come as no surprise that dark web searches for Covid test results are skyrocketing.

In fact, Uswitch recently analyzed Google searches and found that the number of people who were searching for “buy covid test results” in January 2021 had doubled since August 2020. 

Other media outlets are also starting to pick up on the trend. “At the moment we are scanning more than 200 million dark web pages per week. We do see an increase in Covid-19 vaccine proof or Covid-19 test result but also there were some tests results on offer in certain marketplaces,” a cybersecurity expert in New Zealand told NZHerald this week. 

“Fake vaccination certificates are also being sold, as well as fake negative tests, aimed at those traveling abroad,” HealthCareITNews reported on Monday. 

Additionally, Google searches for “dark web covid” peaked on May 17, 2020, Uswitch says, “shortly after it was reported that more than 600 Covid-19 related medical products, supplies and fake vaccines had been found for sale on the dark web.”

Uswitch found that people in the U.S. are the most curious about the dark web, and that most access it using the Tor browser:

The flooding of the dark web with fake test results, of course, highlights one of the largest fallacies of the idea of vaccine passports or needing to prove vaccinations: ensuring the integrity of tests and test results. It could also indicate the large number of people who aren’t interested in getting the vaccine, but obviously are interested in getting back to reality. 

Liberal Author Naomi Wolf Warns ‘Vaccine Passports’ Are the ‘End of Human Liberty in the West’

Originally published by Victoria Taft at pjmedia.com

AP Photo/Jessica Hill

The Left would like to dismiss Naomi Wolf as a heretic and conspiracy theorist now that she disagrees with their anti-liberty responses to coronavirus, but her warning about President Biden’s threatened “vaccine passports” should be heeded.

Wolf, who started a tech site that she says is meant to bring the right and left together, says the passport would divide people between haves and have nots: those who have had the COVID shot and those who have not. In her words, it “is literally the end of human liberty in the West if this plan unfolds as planned.”

Here’s what she means, in case you haven’t figure it out yourself.

Vaccine passports sound like a fine thing if you don’t know what those platforms can do. I’m CEO of a tech company, I understand what this platform does. It’s not about the vaccine, it’s not about the virus, it’s about data. And once this rolls out you don’t have a choice about being part of the system. What people have to understand is that any other functionality can be loaded onto that platform with no problem at all.

Wolf told Fox News host Steve Hilton that Big Tech companies will oversee all of your personal information and intermingle it with information that government will use to determine if you’re eligible to be able to travel and do anything else in polite society. President Biden signed an executive order in January to coordinate with other countries to track people to stop the spread of COVID.

Wolf says the move is nothing short of “catastrophic.”

They’re trying to roll it out around the world. It is so much more than a vaccine pass. I can’t stress this enough. It has the power to turn off your life. Or turn on your life. To let you engage in civil society or be marginalized. It’s catastrophic. It cannot be allowed to continue.

Wolf predicts that the vaccine passport would eventually track every aspect of your life.

And what that means is it can be merged with your PayPal account, with your digital currency. Microsoft is already talking about merging it with payment plans. Your networks can be sucked up. It geo locates you everywhere you go. Your credit history can be included. All of your medical history can be included.

In short, it’s not hard to imagine this passport turning into a version of China’s social credit scoring.

In China, if you do what the regime wants you to do, you are accorded points to allow more freedom of movement and other perks. In 2018 Vox reported on the expected rollout of the social credit system in 2020.

Under the system, both financial behaviors like “frivolous spending” and bad behaviors like lighting up in smoke-free zones can result in stiff consequences. Penalties include loss of employment and educational opportunities, as well as transportation restrictions. Those with high scores get perks, like discounts on utility bills and faster application processes to travel abroad.

Mask scolds and Karens in charge of the country’s COVID response wouldn’t dare cut you off from something you love … or would they?

Such a passport would seem to finish the job that ObamaCare started.

Wolf says it would violate the U.S. Constitution, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and HIPAA.

She says opponents need to fund a phalanx of lawyers to litigate every aspect of such a thing because if we don’t, it would be the “end of civil society” in the West – unless you like a caste system, that is.

Morally Bankrupt Left Wants You To Forget About The Summer Of Antifa, BLM Riots

Originally published by Gabe Kaminsky at the Federalist

CNN article titled “What Jim Crow looks like in 2021” by columnist Nicole Hemmer last Friday perfectly encapsulates the left’s tactical lawlessness and disorder gaslighting. “And while it may still wear a suit and tie,” Hemmer wrote, claiming Jim Crow is alive and well, “it also still marches hand in hand with both state violence and mob violence, as we were once again reminded during the insurrection at the Capitol.”

Aside from making the astounding and flat-out false claim that Republicans are similar to segregationists for opposing a bill that would eliminate election security, Hemmer’s piece reiterates one of the Democratic Party’s favorite talking points: that the GOP is supposedly composed of white supremacists broadly committing violence, while the virtuous left peacefully protests in the name of social justice. This is an evil lie.

Anyone with two eyes knows what went down last summer in response to the death of George Floyd. Data sets first reported by Axios in September estimated that the Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioting and looting carried a price tag of as much as $2 billion. This effectively makes the 20 states where it occurred the carriers for the most expensive manmade insurance damage in U.S. history, ahead of the Los Angeles riots of 1992 after the acquittal of four officers for beating Rodney King.

On June 1 alone, the Washington, D.C. police arrested more than 300 BLM and Antifa activists. According to Metropolitan Police Department data, D.C. police arrested more than five times as many protesters compared to the 61 arrests for the Capitol riot on the day it occurred, which corporate media insisted was the result of law enforcement actively encouraging “white supremacy,” a charge not grounded in reality.

Nevertheless, the media side-stepped per usual to construct a baseless plot that fit its preferred narrative that any social justice demonstration, regardless of the outcome, is a moral one. Hemmer and her morally bankrupt allies are under the impression that the Capitol breach was an “insurrection,” whereas the modest estimate of $1 to 2 billion in property damage due to BLM and Antifa riots can best be described as “mostly peaceful” or “non-violent.”

report from Politico on Tuesday said what right-leaning media knew for months — but what all of America needs to hear. The supposed insurrectionists who participated in the unruly Capitol breach have overwhelmingly been charged with trespassing.

“The prospect of dozens of Jan. 6 rioters cutting deals for minor sentences could be hard to explain for the Biden administration, which has characterized the Capitol Hill mob as a uniquely dangerous threat,” writes Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney.

“That reckoning is coming sooner rather than later, lawyers say, putting prosecutors in the position of wrist-slapping many participants in the riot despite framing the crimes as part of an insurrection that presented a grave threat to American democracy,” the reporters add.

The corporate media has overwhelmingly pushed the opposite narrative, in addition to its trivializing of the clear facts that leftist activists committed far worse acts for far longer — such as burning down police stations, using $35 million to bail out sex offenders and other criminals, and killing innocent children.

“Activists in DC said they were shocked that a deadly assault on the heart of American democracy led to far fewer people in police custody than the clashes that erupted during protests over law enforcement brutality,” said one CNN article. “The Capitol attack was also deadlier than the summer protests.”

“For months, Republicans have used last summer’s protests as a political catchall, highlighting isolated instances of property destruction and calls to defund the police to motivate their base in November,” the New York Times said.

“The vast majority of demonstrations were peaceful and leading BLM activists repeatedly distanced themselves from agent provocateurs and instigators,” ABC claimed. “Non-violent protesters during the summer faced brute force from federal officers, but rioters were met with minimal federal response.”

“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC mostly reiterated this doublespeak in February, claiming the billion-dollar BLM vandalizing is not equatable in magnitude to the one-day Capitol breach. “I know there are idiots on other cable news channels that will say, ‘Well, this mom-and-pop store was vandalized during the summer riots and that’s just as bad as the United States Capitol being vandalized.’ No. No, actually no, jack-sses, it’s not,” Scarborough said. “I’m not going to confuse a taco stand with the United States Capitol.”

Scarborough is contrarily spot-on about the fact that what happened at the Capitol cannot be equated to the summer of BLM and Antifa rioting and looting. The latter was significantly worse. Five people died at the Capitol, of which at least two died from natural causes. According to a running list, there have been 32 BLM and Antifa riot-associated deaths, meaning CNN’s claim that the “Capitol attack was also deadlier than the summer protests” is a bald-faced lie.

Victims of the deadly summer riots include David Dorn, a black retired police officer who was shot and killed when he tried to protect a pawnshop during a break-in, 8-year-old Secoriea Turner killed in Atlanta by armed rioters, and 24-year-old mother Jessica Doty-Whitaker murdered while walking by an armed group of BLM rioters who yelled at her to join in their chanting. They also include 38-year-old Christopher Beaty, a black male in Indianapolis trying to stop a group of militant teenagers from looting, and 50-year-old Marvin Francois, who was shot when two rioters jumped on his Jeep out of nowhere. This only touches the surface of the tragedies.

There is no competition between what happened in D.C. versus what happened across the country for months on end. All violence ought to be denounced, but the left has operated in an eerie vacuum since the beginning of the BLM riots — attempting to claim a moral high ground and telling the American people that their actions were for a noble cause.

Standing before a building on fire in Minneapolis in May, for instance, MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi committed a brazen act of journalistic malfeasance.

“I want to be clear in how I characterize this,” Velshi said, as the flames stoked behind him and the mob responsible watched. “This is mostly a protest. It is not generally speaking unruly.”

The left’s immorality continued to be on full display. CNN national correspondent Omar Jimenez stood before the enflamed streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August after the shooting of Jacob Blake while the chyron read, “Fiery But Mostly Peaceful Protests After Police Shooting.”

The reality is that all of the lies, the gaslighting, the manipulation of truth — it all boils down to the left’s quest for total control over the information you take in and your resulting worldview. To our ruling class, BLM and Antifa are just an “idea” and not composed of domestic terrorists working to unravel our social fabric (which they are).

“They will come into our schools, they come into our churches, they will come into our social media, our place of employment, our private company, our home, and our family,” Federalist Senior Editor Chris Bedford writes of the left. “The real question is: How far will we let them come? Because no one else is going to stand up for us.”

The corporate media thinks you are stupid. They think you will roll over and play nice and sing hallelujah because Joe Biden is president and he is promising “unity.” After all, isn’t it a “time to heal?” Since elites in the morally bankrupt Zoom cubicles of corporate America will not stand for truth, it is up to you to do so.

Shays’s Rebellion: Catalyst for the Counterrevolution

Originally published on mises.org

[Chapter 11 of Rothbard’s newly edited and released Conceived in Liberty, vol. 5, The New Republic: 1784–1791.]

Massachusetts suffered particularly from the economic aftermath of the Revolutionary War as its fisheries trade was cut off and its exports to the West Indies were sharply curtailed. Furthermore, the grandiose postwar funding of the wartime Massachusetts debt, which ballooned from £100,000 to £1.5 million after the war, placed a particularly heavy tax burden on its citizenry. While Congress was reevaluating its currency at a depreciation of forty to one, and other states were depreciating at higher rates, Massachusetts stubbornly and absurdly insisted on redeeming its notes at their full value when they were issued. Interest, furthermore, was paid in specie. In addition, reliance on poll and special excise taxes placed an enormously heavy burden on the poorer farmers of western Massachusetts. The courts of the western counties not only exacted high fees, but were also the hated instrument of the enforcement of the tax burden, which included imprisonment of public and private debtors as well as the selling of many debtors into servitude to pay off the debt; some were imprisoned for owing only six shillings! All the debtors’ property except clothing was subject to court seizure. We have already noted the swarm of petitions and the more insurrectionary anti-tax, anti-court movement in the west before the end of the war, headed by the Reverend Samuel Ely and propelled by these distressed circumstances.

The nationwide depression that struck in 1784 hit the already depressed Massachusetts particularly hard. In 1784 alone there were over 2,000 suits for recovery of taxes and other debts in Worchester County alone, and over ninety insolvent debtors were sent to jail in Worchester in the following year. Hampshire County saw its common pleas courts crowded with over 800 debt cases in 1785 alone. Lands in the western counties dropped precipitously in value, and numerous distressed citizens of Massachusetts packed up and emigrated westward.

Yet western Massachusetts did not erupt immediately as might have been expected. The reason was probably that the Massachusetts General Court cut taxes in the towns enormously during 1784 and 1785, assessing only 140 towns in the prior year and none at all in the latter. The taxes were replaced by a stamp tax, which fell on the press, and transfer of documents had to be modified quickly. Furthermore, the plight of debtors was slightly eased in 1784 by increasing the maximum amount of debt suits which could be handled by local justices of the peace, who charged far lower fees than did the courts of common pleas. However, the backcountry attorneys who earned far more from the more expensive common pleas litigation insisted still on taking these small debt cases there, much to the anger of the western farmers and debtors. Many of these attorneys, furthermore, were government officials interconnected with the county judges, an interconnection that angered the citizens of the country even more.

Finally, in early 1786, the masses of western Massachusetts began to erupt once again. From their state government they demanded a lowering of taxes, especially poll taxes, which now accounted for an enormous 40 percent of the state’s revenue, a lowering of judicial fees and increased simplification and greater efficiency in the judicial system, and the lowering of government salaries and expenses. The protestors also opposed the acceleration of Massachusetts’ assumption of public debt, the payment of 6 percent interest in specie annually, and the redemption of the notes at their full face value. In short, they objected to excessive burdens on the taxpayer for the benefit of the cliques of public creditors, mainly eastern merchant-speculators who had purchased the debt at a great discount. Western Massachusetts soberly asked for redemption of the securities at their market value and not their face value.

Overall, the basic program of the people of western Massachusetts was eminently libertarian. They also asked for emission of state paper money and a law that would exempt personal property of debtors from executions. Yet, in the spring of 1786, the General Court brusquely dismissed the western pleas and piled insult upon injury by raising taxes on polls and estates. Indeed, to make up for the tax moratorium in 1785, the General Court in the following year raised the assessed tax burden on the towns to over £300,000—the highest in a five-year period. Of this amount, nearly £130,000 was for payment to public creditors on their securities, going mainly into the hands of speculators. This tax burden was even greater in real terms since prices and property values had declined in the depression, thus making given nominal taxes a heavier burden in real purchasing power and in relation to the incomes of the people. To this oppression was added an expanded work of legal fees for lawyers, judges, and court clerks—fees for less efficient judicial service in the courts.

Apparently it took a lawyer to know a lawyer, for one of the leaders of the western anti-attorney campaign was the lawyer Thomas Gold, a relative of the highly conservative congressional delegate from the West, Theodore Sedgwick. Gold denounced the “Oppression, Extortion & Malpractices of the Attorneys” and introduced a bill abolishing the common pleas court in favor of justices of the peace, as well as opening up the legal profession to freedom of entry for every man. The bill was killed in the Massachusetts Senate.

Thus, none of the westerners’ grievances were met by the General Court in the spring of 1786; instead their demands of protest were brusquely dismissed. And not only in the West: no sooner did the legislature disperse on July 8 when the eight towns of Bristol County in southeastern Massachusetts met and called for a new constitutional convention for Massachusetts. The Bristol towns demanded the suspension of suits for debt and tax collection for nine months and an emission of paper money largely to pay the public debt. As an ultimate demand the Bristol towns asked for abolition of the Massachusetts Senate as an economical move, and significantly urged—as in the case of the battle against the Crown—that government officials be made dependent on the annual vote of their salaries by the House. In short, these liberals acted against the postwar buildup throughout Massachusetts of a state bureaucracy bent on continuing their permanent salary.

Further conventions were soon held in Worchester, Berkshire, Hampshire, and Middlesex counties. The Hampshire convention began with an advanced meeting of a few towns at Pelham, which then circulated to the entire county. The convention met in Hatfield on August 22 and represented no less than fifty towns, the largest convention yet held in Hampshire County. The delegates were elected and paid by the towns and included some of the most prominent citizens of the county: e.g., the great family scion William Pynchon of Springfield, John Hastings of Hatfield, and the merchant Benjamin Ely of West Springfield. The Hatfield convention drew up a comprehensive list of twenty-five grievances that summed up the libertarian program of the Massachusetts radicals. Grievances included the exactions of state government; the stamp tax on newspapers; excessive poll, post and other taxations; high judicial and lawyers’ practice fees; and “the existence of” the common pleas (civil) and general session (criminal) courts. Hampshire also followed Bristol in calling for a constitutional convention and urged reapportionment, abolition of the Senate, and making appointed government officials subject to annual vote of their salaries. The Senate was not only criticized as expensive, it had also blocked freedom of entry to the legal profession as well as instituted the tax on polls and estates. Furthermore, its membership was legally confined to the highly propertied class, and the senators were also elected by large districts, and not individual towns, which made them remote from the people.

Not all from the West favored the Hatfield resolution. Hatfield itself objected to the paper-money clause. More serious were the defections of the towns of Springfield and Northampton. The conventions of Berkshire, Worchester, and Middlesex counties were also rather milder than that of Hampshire. All the county conventions, however, caused a wave of hysteria by Massachusetts conservatives who ranted about treason and even sinister British influences. The towns of Cambridge and Medford, annually rejecting an invitation to take part in the Middlesex convention, opined that annual elections of House representatives were enough of a means of exerting the public will and gaining redress of grievances. The radicals rebutted by pointing to the obstructive Senate. The city of Boston, conveniently forgetting its own “illegal” and revolutionary past, saw only subversion and British machinations in the protest movement. And the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared that all conventions, especially Hampshire’s presumption of criticizing the Massachusetts constitution, were to be illegal and dangerous.

The Hampshire convention, along with all the others, had carefully insisted that all protests be peaceful, but the protesting masses realized that only by direct action—only by taking responsibility for their own lives and fortunes—could any substantial gains be made. A few days after the Hatfield convention, an armed mob of about 1,500 assembled in Northampton and seized the county courthouse to block any sessions of the courts. The insurgents appointed a committee to “request” adjournment of the courts, to which the judges hastened to reply. The idea was to close the courts until redress of the people’s grievances were achieved; the rebels surely compared the “great scarcity of cash” among the people to the handsome salaries of the appointed government officials. The leader of the successful Northampton mob was Captain Luke Day of West Springfield, a landowner who raised his own insurgents and drilled them. Assisting Day in the court seizure were Captain Joseph Hinds of Greenwich and Lieutenant Joel Billings of Amherst.

The Northampton uprising set the spark for armed mobs in the other protesting counties, and courts were forcibly closed in the counties of Worchester, Middlesex, and Bristol. When Governor James Bowdoin called out the Worchester County militia against the rebels, the militia, in a classical revolutionary mood, refused to turn their guns against their friends and neighbors. A mob of rebels were thus able to close the Worchester courthouse. When the town of Concord went against the tide to vote condemnation of the Hampshire and Worcester uprisings, Job Shattuck marched into Concord with one hundred supporters and picked up another one hundred within the town. Ignoring the numerous pleas of the Middlesex convention, Shattuck and his mob seized the courthouse at Concord and closed the court of common pleas. In Bristol County the rebels were also able to overrule the militia and force the closing of the courts.

On September 13 the courts of Berkshire County, scheduled to sit at Great Barrington, were seized by an armed mob of 800 men coming from twenty-three towns in the county. When the militia was called to march against the rebels, the bulk of it actually deserted to the enemy. After the judges prudently decided to close the courts, the mob forced the common pleas judges to sign a declaration that they would not open the courts until the Massachusetts constitution had been revised. The triumphant mob released all the debtors from the Great Barrington jail. One observer marveled that “not one act of private outrage was committed during the whole transaction. … Does history exhibit such another transaction as this, yet every citizen secure in his person and property?” The observer noted that the Hampshire and Worcester court closings had been similarly scrupulous and orderly.

Deeply involved in the Berkshire rebellion was the formerly conservative William Whiting, a prominent physician and chief justice of the Berkshire court of common pleas. Whiting had collaborated in the insurgents’ plans and had published his support for the rebellion and his condemnation of the legislature for conspiring against the liberties of the people. Whiting particularly attacked the speculators benefiting from the state’s redemption of any notes at face, rather than market, value.

The Berkshire closing stirred Governor Bowdoin the next day to call an emergency session of the Massachusetts General Court for September 27. But on the twenty-sixth, the Supreme Court was scheduled to sit in Springfield in Hampshire County, and there was grave danger that the grand jury might indict the Northampton rebels. To prevent any coerced closing of the courts, General William Shepard of the county militia occupied the courthouse himself with 800 men, 200 of whom consisted of “the most respectable and opulent gentlemen” of Hampshire County. The general also illegally helped his men to arms from the federal arsenal in Springfield.1

Against this formidable force marched approximately 1,100 rebels who sent a committee headed by a young former debtor from Pelham, Captain Daniel Shays, to make their demands of the Supreme Court: to dismiss the militia, to hear no suit for debt until grievances were redressed, and to take no action on grand jury indictments. The court refused the demands but found it could not round up enough people for a grand jury. Meanwhile, as the opposing forces watched each other warily, the rebels put a sprig of hemlock in their hats, while the government forces countered with slips of white paper. Finally, the court agreed to close, and General Shepard surrendered the courthouse; the rebels had won a significant victory.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court was also scheduled to hold a session in Great Barrington, Berkshire County, in mid-October, but again a mob of several hundred angry men gathered to block it, and the conservative leader Theodore Sedgwick only saved himself by fleeing to Stockbridge. The Supreme Court canceled its session; the courts in five Massachusetts counties had now been forcibly closed by the armed people.

One striking feature of the Shaysite rebellion was the defection of the leaders of the old Constitutionalist movement: a defection of older militants that has been a common feature of all radical revolutionary movements in history. The Reverend Thomas Allen and Berkshire sheriff Caleb Hyde, old Constitutionalist leaders, were violently opposed to the Shaysites—a movement that formed the logical continuation of the Constitutionalists, albeit more daring and revolutionary.

While many were harassed debtors, the rebels, or “Regulators” as they called themselves, were by no means rabble. In addition to Chief Justice Whiting, two Berkshire justices of the peace and a Bristol justice of the peace openly supported the rebellion, as did many gentry and professional people. Many leading property owners headed the insurrection, attacking especially the idea of redeeming the public debt at face value and in specie. Leading supporters of the rebellion were former House members from Berkshire, Benjamin Ely of West Springfield and Leicester Grosvenor of Windsor. Particularly strong in the rebellion were former soldiers and officers of the Revolutionary Army—men who were understandably bitter at seeing the army notes which they had sold to eastern speculators at depreciated rates now being redeemed at full face value in interest and principal by the eastern-dominated state government. Redemption, furthermore, was paid in specie and secured by high taxation.

The conservatives demagogically raised the nationalist hue and cry that the insurrection was secretly a British plot to subvert the government, but there is no evidence of British incitement, and the insurgents angrily denied the charge. Indeed, many of the western Massachusetts Tories were opposed to the rebellion.

The Massachusetts General Court met on September 27, 1786, to confront the crisis. The reactionary Governor Bowdoin naturally advocated the use of force, and the conservative-run Massachusetts Senate urged the coercion and the suspension of the basic individual right of habeas corpus. However, the less conservative Massachusetts House decided first to hear the numerous grievances of the rebels. But angered by a letter of defiance from the insurgents, the House agreed to suspend habeas corpus; moreover, the General Court passed repressive anti-riot acts and gave the governor and council the right to imprison without bail anyone they chose to hold inimical to the safety of the state. Furthermore, the Supreme Court was given the power to try the supposedly dangerous folk in any county it wished, rather than before a jury of their peers in their home districts.

To balance this repression, the General Court decided to make a few halting concessions to the protestors. Specifically, it permitted the payment of taxes in commodities as well as specie, permitted for eight months the payment of debts in appraised real estate instead of specie, exempted clothing and needed instruments from execution, and made all suits for debt (except real estate) arguable before justices of the peace. Furthermore, the legislature sweetened the pill of repression further by granting an indemnity to all rebels who had ceased their activity and taken an oath of allegiance before January 1, 1787, and it prudently postponed the reopening of the Hampshire and Berkshire courts.

By November 18 the General Court adjourned, confident that its blend of big stick and small, but widely trumpeted, carrot would quell the insurrection. And it is true that a disorganized Hampshire convention, held untimely in November during the legislative session, secured little support. The General Court, however, had not postponed the reopening of the courts in the counties of Bristol, Middlesex, and Worcester. On November 21 the armed rebel forces of Shays, Day, and Thomas Grover, 200 strong, seized possession of the Worcester courthouse and forced the judges to withdraw. Job Shattuck and Oliver Parker of the gentry of Groton organized a concerted county-wide attack on the Middlesex courthouse. But the Worcester rebels failed to arrive, and the Bristol movement reneged at the last moment and surrendered to the allegedly good deals of the General Court. Betrayed, the Shattuck forces fought bitterly but were finally defeated, and Shattuck, Parker and several other revolutionary leaders from Groton and Shirley were imprisoned under the new repressive legislation. From that point on the insurrectionary movement was confined to the western counties of Worchester, Hampshire, and Berkshire. The Worcester courts were again closed on December 5 as the rebels marched against the courthouse.

There had never been an overall organization to the Regulator rebellion, but now in December the insurgents began to organize more formally on military lines. The Hampshire insurgents formed a “Committee of Seventeen” as captains and six organized county regiments. Chairman of the committee was John Powers of Shutesbury. It is clear that the name Shays’ Rebellion is a misnomer because Shays was never any more than one of the leading military captains of the insurrection. In fact, there is evidence that Shays was one of the most reluctant of the rebel leadership. At the end of December, 300 organized rebels headed by Shays, Day, and Grover marched into Springfield and easily forced the closing of the new session of the Hampshire court.

Thus, by the end of 1786, it was clear to the conservative rulers of Massachusetts that the Regulator rebellion in the West could not be crushed by the county militias. Actually, they could have simply allowed the western courts to remain closed, as had held true during and after the Revolutionary War. But the forces of conservatism could not leave the people of the interior alone, and instead they felt the rebellion to be a threat to their mystical sovereign power. Hence, Massachusetts prepared to escalate the violence and proposed to raise an army against its own citizens, and it appealed to Congress for aid.

Congress was indeed worried at this libertarian upsurge, for those oppressed by taxes and imprisonment to pay for the public debt began to be inspired by the Massachusetts example. As early as July 1786, conventions were held in New Hampshire to protest taxes needed to pay the public debt. In September, a mob demanding paper-money relief for debt suits and court fees laid siege to the New Hampshire legislature at Exeter and threatened the lives of the recalcitrant legislators. The New Hampshire rebels, too, were wildly attacked as levelers of property and condemned as opponents of “law and government.” And former rebels from Massachusetts were soon causing trouble in Litchfield County, Connecticut. In the South, too, radical uprisings were erupting. As early as 1785 South Carolina insurgents were stirred by heavy taxes to pay public debts at face value and had closed many courts in the state; in Maryland, mobs closed many courts and rioted during 1786 and 1787.

The new revolution was clearly spreading. Congress was also worried about the federal arsenal, an enclave of federal power in Springfield. The arch-reactionary Secretary of War, General Henry Knox, had investigated the scene in the autumn of 1786 and now warned hysterically of the danger of social revolution, while Congressman Henry Lee of Virginia ranted of the “dreadful work” that was leading inexorably to “anarchy.”

Congress unanimously decided on October 20, 1786, to raise a special body of continental troops to crush Shays’ Rebellion and called upon New England to raise the men. However, it secretly and fraudulently concealed its purposes by pretending that the troops were for crushing the Northwest Indians. Congress, however, kept from its eagerly sought taxing power, had to raise the money for the troops by borrowing and requisition, and neither source could raise the funds in time. Knox managed to send troops to Springfield by February 1787, but by that time the insurrection was nearly over.

The Massachusetts General Court had even less money to organize a state army of counterrevolution; but a hundred odd “public spirited” wealthy men contributed over £5,000 to finance the huge 4,400 man army formed out of the militia of five counties. The new army was put under the command of General Benjamin Lincoln. Triumphant within their home territory, the rebels could not be expected to vanquish such a formidable force gathered from outside counties. Marching westward, Lincoln’s army permitted the Worcester courts to open on January 23, and the insurgents retreated westward to Palmer in Hampshire County. The desperate rebels seized supplies from conservative opponents, burned their buildings, and looked longingly at the federal arsenal in Springfield, manned by 1,100 militia under General Shepard. Moving on Springfield were Luke Day in West Springfield with 400 men, Eli Parsons of Adams with 400 Berkshire Regulators, stationed to the north at Chicopee, and Daniel Shays with 1,200 men east of Springfield at Wilbraham. Meanwhile, under the pressure of Lincoln’s advancing army, the insurgents had radically scaled down their demands to complete indemnity, the release of Shattuck and the other Middlesex prisoners, and a provision of the settlement of grievances at the next legislative session.

Shays now organized a joint Shays-Day attack on Springfield and moved himself to the attack on January 25. However, Day could not join Shays until the twenty-sixth, and the government forces intercepted Day’s message to Shays to that effect. As Shays besieged the fort, one volley into the ranks unaccountably scattered the rebels, who retreated to Ludlow without firing a single shot. This ignominious defeat caused dozens to desert the rebel ranks.

Marching northward, Shays joined Parsons and retreated further to South Hadley, while Day’s forces were dispersed by the combined governmental forces of Lincoln and Shepard. Confronting each other at Hadley, Shays and a committee of rebel officers headed by Francis Stone asked the General Court for a general pardon as the terms for laying down their arms—a petition backed by ten Massachusetts towns. Thwarted by the legislature, Shays retreated northeastward to Petersham. In a forced march at night through a snowstorm, General Lincoln reached Petersham, and the rebels surrendered en masse. The main leaders, however, did not surrender and fled to surrounding states.

In the meanwhile the Berkshire rebels became restive, resisted attempted arrest, and tried to open a second front against Lincoln. However, the county militia under General Patterson defeated the Berkshire rebels in a series of skirmishes, and Lincoln’s arrival in Pittsfield on February 10 spurred a rash of surrenders under Lincoln’s terms of pardoning all arrested men who would take an oath of allegiance. The determined hardcore of Berkshire, however, escaped westward to New York from where they were led by Captain Perez Hamlin to conduct guerrilla raids against Massachusetts.

By the end of February 1787, the Massachusetts Regulator rebellion had been crushed; Massachusetts asked the neighboring states to cooperate in stamping out the remaining guerrilla forces. Only Connecticut responded readily, while in independent Vermont the people welcomed the fleeing rebels with Shays himself at their head. In fact, Vermont itself had its own Regulator rebellion at the same time as in Massachusetts, and was directed similarly against the courts. On October 31, 1786, thirty armed Regulators of eastside Vermont led by Robert Morrison, a blacksmith, and Benjamin Stebbins, a farmer, had marched to Windsor to close the courts. The stern line of the sheriff and state’s attorney, however, was able to disperse the rioters, and Morrison and others were arrested; after this the sheriff fell upon a group of rebel followers who were planning to rescue their colleagues and arrested them as well. Still, the remaining band of eastside Regulators were considering another rescue attempt but were dissuaded by a force of 600 militia assembling at Windsor. The westside Regulator rebellion in Vermont was more short-lived; a mob attempt to break up the Rutland County court led by Assemblyman Jonathan Fassett was foiled by the militia. The militia surrounded the rebels, who quickly surrendered. Fassett was fined and unanimously expelled permanently from his seat in the Vermont Assembly.

Hence, when Shays’ Rebellion reached its climax in January 1787, the Vermont rebellion had already fizzled out and could not be revived. The people of Vermont, however, were still sympathetic, and Governor Thomas Chittenden delayed moving against the Shaysites. Soon, however, Chittenden did move. First, he warned the Vermonters not to aid the Massachusetts rebels, and then he proceeded to raise troops to round them up.

The Massachusetts General Court, meeting after the crisis in mid-February 1787, quickly proceeded to a nakedly vindictive attack on the former rebels with the Disqualifying Act; no amnesties were allowed to any former rebel that was an important officer, to citizens of other states, to any former member of the legislature, to anyone ever a delegate to any state or county convention, or to anyone holding a civil or military office. Even the supposedly “amnestied” rank and file of the Regulators were forbidden to vote, hold office, serve on a jury, teach school, operate an inn, or sell liquor for three full years. This bitterly harsh reprisal defeated its own purpose because even conservatives and moderates, such as George Washington and General Lincoln, attacked the punishment as overly severe. Lincoln declared in a cold and calculated analysis that to deprive the rebels of their full rights would rejuvenate the movement. Full amnesty, on the other hand, would “be the only way … to make them good members of society and to reconcile them to that government under which we wish them to live.”2 A commission of three, including General Lincoln, extended pardons to nearly 800 Shaysite sympathizers. But fourteen of them, of whom five were from Hampshire and six from Berkshire, were indicted for “treason” to Massachusetts, convicted, and sentenced to death by the Supreme Court. Many others were fined and imprisoned.

By the late 1780s, the old Massachusetts Left had become so conservatized that Sam Adams’ reaction to the rebels was as bigoted and uncomprehending as any conservative’s. Like the city of Boston, Adams simply painted the Regulators as disorderly guerrillas and attacked them as greedy men and subversive British agents. In fact, it was precisely the ex-radical Adams who, as an appointee of the vigilant Governor Bowdoin on the Massachusetts Council, pushed through the Senate the suspension of habeas corpus and led in urging the maximum force against the Regulator movement. It was also Adams who led the fight for a maximum policy of revenge and the execution of the Shaysite leaders.

At this point, however, buoyed by his great popularity and the harsh repression of the Shaysites, the moderate John Hancock swept back into the governor’s seat and crushed Bowdoin in the 1787 elections. Hancock also brought with him a liberal General Court. The turnover was enormous: nearly three-fourths of the House representatives were new, as well as over half of the Senate. The new legislature promptly repealed the harsh Disqualifying Act, and Governor Hancock pardoned with full amnesty for anyone who would take an oath of allegiance to the state. Only nine leaders were exempted from the amnesty, but soon all of them under the death penalty were pardoned by Hancock. Day was captured by New Hampshire in January 1788 and was pardoned. The following month, Shays and Parsons recanted their evils, promised good behavior, and soon received pardons, with the provision that neither could ever hold civil or military office in Massachusetts.

The newly liberal legislature passed reforms to address some of the grievances of the interior: the tender law was extended, clothing and various goods were exempted from execution, the imprisonment for debt was virtually abolished for debtors who could not pay for their room and board, and poll and state taxes were dramatically lowered. Moreover, court fees were sharply reduced, and Hancock voluntarily lowered his salary by nearly one-third. However, the General Court refused to issue future paper money, scale down the debt, refine the appropriation of excise revenues, or crack down on the practices of the legal profession. Nevertheless, in the final result, after peaceful protest had failed, the Regulator rebels, by taking to arms and engaging in illegal acts, were able to push through substantial liberal reforms. Thus, direct armed insurgency came to provide the necessary impetus to enact liberal parliamentary reforms.3

The reform policies and their drastic lowering of direct taxes weakened the grandiose Massachusetts debt-funding program. As a result, the public creditors in Massachusetts came to support a strong central government with taxing power to assume their claims as they were now doubtful of Massachusetts ever being able to pay its debts. The propertied men of Massachusetts shifted en masse into the nationalist camp, and Shays’ Rebellion conservatized many of the state’s leaders who now felt that the state government and the Confederation were too weak to prevent such tax uprisings from occurring.

Shays’ Rebellion served as a spur to nationalist sentiment in other states by providing fuel for demagogic attacks about dangers of weak government under the Confederation. General Knox lost no opportunity in whipping up a scare campaign about the rebellion and damning the system of “vile state governments” as “sources of pollution” and were therefore directly responsible. George Washington was apparently frightened enough by the Shays episode to return to politics to push the nationalist cause; the young Connecticut-born lecturer and textbook writer Noah Webster denounced the rebellious state, urged national government, and even called for a “limited monarchy” to block the “ignorance and passions of the multitude.” Above all, perhaps, Alexander Hamilton raised the charge of anti-Shayism hysteria. Brusquely dismissing the real and intense grievances of the people of western Massachusetts, Hamilton thought that the intention of the rebels was to abolish all debts, abrogate contracts, and generally to establish some vague kind of subversive and egalitarian government. Only a strong national government, opined Hamilton, could save America from the army of future and greater Shayses and their “spirit of licentiousness.” And, in a sense, the liberal reformist Regulators who followed after the rebellion were, to Hamilton, as dangerous and subversive as the insurrection itself. George Washington and James Madison also dismissed Shaysite grievances and wanted to confiscate the arms of the rebels. Both Madison and Washington believed the rebellion was designed to abolish all debts and redistribute property. 

Outside the ardent nationalist camp, opposition to the Shaysites was far more sober and subdued. Benjamin Franklin refused to get excited about the rebellion. More interesting was the reaction of Thomas Jefferson, minister to France. Until now a political moderate, Jefferson was still opposed to any modification of the debt process or to popular acts against the courts. But, it was remarkable that while all the other major leaders of America were being pushed rightward by the Shaysite turmoil, Thomas Jefferson, in contrast, moved sharply leftward. Jefferson began to realize that repression was far worse than rebellion and that in the non-governmental body of the people was to be found far more wisdom and justice than in the government. Rebellion is a voluntary education, he began to conclude, and he also reflected on the whole of government: “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Here was a decidedly anarchistic statement, and this sentiment was refined by a critically important letter that he wrote at the time to his old friend James Madison, who was worried about the Shaysite troubles in Massachusetts. There were three types of societies, wrote Jefferson: “1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England to a slight degree, and in our states, in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics.” Jefferson went on to declare that the first anarchistic form was probably the best, “but I believe it to be inconsistent with any degree of population.” Next best was democracy, under which “the mass of mankind … enjoys a precious degree of liberty & happiness.” True, democracy may be turbulent, as presumably in the Shay episode, “But weigh this against the oppression of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. … [and] even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. … It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.”

4Author:

Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard made major contributions to economics, history, political philosophy, and legal theory. He combined Austrian economics with a fervent commitment to individual liberty.

Populism Isn’t Dead, It’s Stunned

Originally published at GOLD GOATS N’ GUNS

Today’s political landscape is looking more and more like the classic Monty Python ‘Dead Parrot’ sketch.

You know the one, John Cleese walks into the shop to complain about the parrot he’d just been sold was dead and he wants his money back.  The shopkeeper, Michael Palin, insists it isn’t.

Hilarity ensues.

The Dead Parrot sketch is one of the high points of Python’s particular blend of absurdism and social commentary that transcends its time. 

Everywhere I look I see Michael Palins doing their best to convince us of the most absurd lies to hide the rank incompetence at every level of our society’s power structure.

And it doesn’t matter what issue we’re discussing: masks, vaccines, election fraud, racism, Joe Biden’s health, climate change, the sovereign bond markets, lockdowns.

No matter the issue or the question Biden’s Press Secretary, the uniquely incompetent Jenn Psaki, will be happy to ‘circle back to that later’ but never doing so hoping to just get through the next news cycle without a revolt.

Everyone’s doing the ‘believe me’ look that body language experts talk about all the time.  It’s all so tiresome and exhausting.  And you can feel the level of frustration building like John Cleese’s anger in the sketch.

It even looks to me like the people in the media are getting fed up with having to disseminate the lies.  But, since their access to power and livelihoods depend on playing along with the charade even the best ones act out on the stage prepared for them.

We all know they are lying.  They know we know they are lying.  We know they know that we know they are lying.

And yet the lying continues. 

Worse than that, the dying continues. 

Because that is the net outcome of all this lying, the wasted time and energy billions of people who eventually are asked to fight wars on behalf of these venal liars desperate to retain power and privilege.

The endless lying comes from the need to sell us on a future we don’t want for a price we can’t afford to pay.  That the pols in D.C. think they can bribe us with a couple thousand bucks of stimmy money after they’ve destroyed our quality of life is the clearest sign ever that they are completely out of touch.

But what is clear as well is that they do not care.  They don’t have to care because our government has openly morphed into the phone company from the old Lily Tomlin sketch of a few years after the Pythons’ heyday.

This absurd level of lying betrays the elites’ utter contempt for us.  They’re obsessed with squashing all traces of the only truly four-letter word in Brussels and D.C. “populism.’

Populism is the bane of tyrants and comedy like the Dead Parrot sketch can no longer be tolerated in the coming brave new world where you’ll own nothing and like it… or else.

I can’t stress enough that this obsession with narrative control is equal parts terrifying and hilarious at the same time.

Terrifying because the real world consequences are destroyed businesses, suicidal children, bombed cities, starved local populations, sanctions, threats, embargoes and migrations.

Hilarious because these people are patently absurd.  And we all know that comedy is, unfortunately, tragedy plus time. 

Because if we don’t laugh at this just a little bit the only recourse is insanity and violence.

Who takes Dr. Anthony Fauci seriously anymore other than those putting on the mask of corporate shill to interview him?

When more than one-third of the people you interact with on social media are literal bots the level of surreality we deal with daily approaches that of the most incoherent Philip K. Dick novel of the 1960’s.

[leans into the camera, extreme close-up] “Believe me, I’ve read them all.” [end scene]  

It all is a full-frontal assault on our senses, gluing us to tiny screens in a constant state of anxiety, noradrenaline-addicted doom-porn junkies begging for someone to just once, for pity’s sake, tell the freakin’ truth.

But it’s impossible to do so now without the entire operation collapsing into a chaotic mess.  The financial system is rightly described by its free market critics as a Ponzi Scheme.  But the real Ponzi Scheme is our faith in the efficacy of our elected officials and their handlers to keep all the lies spinning and the dying off the screens.

Those telling these lies are doing to out of fear.

They fear losing potency and power, the only thing psychopaths truly care about. 

Worse, many of us still go along with the lies.  We’ve believed them enough to have bought the dead parrot in the first place. 

But once we get out from underneath the spell of the shopkeeper and see the parrot for what it is, that’s when things have to change.  Because lies are expensive.  The truth sells itself. 

To date, we’ve tried bargaining with these liars’ humanity to just admit the parrot’s dead and give us a refund.

But they won’t do that.  Their contempt for us knows no limits.

Theirs is a system of pelf and privilege the benefits of which accrue to them while sucking our time and energy from us daily, driving us to distraction at best and fits of unconstrained rage at worst.

Our frustration is rising.  Protests against lockdowns in Europe are rising.  Revolts against their vaccines are real.  Now they’re trying to bribe us with Krispy Kreme donuts to take the jab while in Germany, the epicenter for the Great Reset, an even more brutal lockdown was just ordered and rescinded by the politically dead Angela Merkel.

French farmers are dumping cow manure on the steps of government.

And that’s all they can do, keep raising the stakes of their lies, keep denying reality while trading on their command of the police hoping that making an example of some will keep the rising anger at bay.

They do this because like the shopkeeper they have nothing of value to offer us.  Dead Parrots not live ones.  They are incompetent, having managed society to the brink of collapse. When faced with that incompetence they deny it, suppress the truth and meet our decency with bullying while mistaking our passivity for compliance.

And while they may think we’ll just give up and start pining for the fjords, their lies will be the ones pushing up the daisies. 

This piece is original for Daily Liberty Newsand is reprinted with permission

Many Capitol rioters unlikely to serve jail time

Originally published in Politico

Supporters of Donald Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol.

Americans outraged by the storming of Capitol Hill are in for a jarring reality check: Many of those who invaded the halls of Congress on Jan. 6 are likely to get little or no jail time.

While public and media attention in recent weeks has been focused on high-profile conspiracy cases against right-wing, paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, the most urgent decisions for prosecutors involve resolving scores of lower-level cases that have clogged D.C.’s federal district court.

A POLITICO analysis of the Capitol riot-related cases shows that almost a quarter of the more than 230 defendants formally and publicly charged so far face only misdemeanors. Dozens of those arrested are awaiting formal charges, even as new cases are being unsealed nearly every day.

In recent days, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys have all indicated that they expect few of these “MAGA tourists” to face harsh sentences.

There are two main reasons: Although prosecutors have loaded up their charging documents with language about the existential threat of the insurrection to the republic, the actions of many of the individual rioters often boiled down to trespassing. And judges have wrestled with how aggressively to lump those cases in with those of the more sinister suspects.

“My bet is a lot of these cases will get resolved and probably without prison time or jail time,” said Erica Hashimoto, a former federal public defender who is now a law professor at Georgetown. “One of the core values of this country is that we can protest if we disagree with our government. Of course, some protests involve criminal acts, but as long as the people who are trying to express their view do not engage in violence, misdemeanors may be more appropriate than felonies.”

The prospect of dozens of Jan. 6 rioters cutting deals for minor sentences could be hard to explain for the Biden administration, which has characterized the Capitol Hill mob as a uniquely dangerous threat. Before assuming office, Biden said the rioters’ attempt to overturn the election results by force “borders on sedition”; Attorney General Merrick Garland has called the prosecutions his top early priority, describing the storming of Congress as “a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

Justice Department prosecutors sent expectations sky-high in early statements and court filings, describing elaborate plots to murder lawmakers — descriptions prosecutors have tempered as new details emerged.

The resolution of the more mundane cases also presents acute questions about equity, since most of the Capitol riot defendants are white, while misdemeanor charges are often a vexing problem for minority defendants in other cases.

There are also sensitive issues about precedent for the future, given the frequency of politically inspired demonstrations on Capitol Hill that run afoul of the law.

While violent assaults in the Capitol are rare, protests and acts of civil disobedience — such as disrupting congressional hearings or even House and Senate floor sessions, are more common. That means prosecutors and judges will have to weigh how much more punishment a Trump supporter who invaded the Capitol during the Electoral College count deserves than, say, an anti-war protester chanting at a CIA confirmation hearing or a gun-control advocate shouting in the middle of the State of the Union address.

Judges are also attempting to reckon with separating the individual actions of rioters from the collective threat of the mob, which they have noted helped inspire and provide cover for violent assaults, property destruction and increased the overall terror and danger of the assorted crimes committed.

That reckoning is coming sooner rather than later, lawyers say, putting prosecutors in the position of wrist-slapping many participants in the riot despite framing the crimes as part of an insurrection that presented a grave threat to American democracy.

Prosecutors have signaled that plea offers for some defendants will be coming within days and have readily acknowledged that some of the cases are less complicated to resolve than others.

“I think we can work out a non-trial disposition in this case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Cole told Judge Dabney Friedrich last week in the case of Kevin Loftus, who was charged with unlawful presence and disrupting official business at the Capitol, among other offenses that have become the boilerplate set lodged against anyone who walked into the building that day without authorization.

The Justice Department will soon be in the awkward position of having to defend such deals, even as trials and lengthy sentences for those facing more serious charges could be a year or more away.

Adding to the political awkwardness: The expected wave of plea offers comes as former President Donald Trump seems intent on falsely rewriting the history of the Jan. 6 assault. In an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News Thursday night, Trump suggested that prosecutors and the FBI are making too much of the Capitol takeover, which left five people dead and dozens of police officers injured.

“It was zero threat. Right from the start, it was zero threat,” Trump declared. “Look, they went in — they shouldn’t have done it — some of them went in, and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know? They had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in, and they walked out.”

Many of the rioters charged with the most serious offenses that day have cited Trump’s own words as the inspiration they took for storming the Capitol. The House also impeached Trump for inciting the insurrection in January, before the Senate acquitted him despite a 57-vote majority in favor of conviction.

This photo shows supporters of former President Donald Trump, with a Confederate-themed flag among others, listening to him speak as they rally in Washington before the deadly attack on the Capitol.
Supporters of President Donald Trump, with a Confederate-themed flag among others, listening to him speak as they rally in Washington before the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6., 2021. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

And prosecutors are facing pressure from judges to either back up their tough talk about sedition or put a lid on it. Michael Sherwin, the former lead Jan. 6 prosecutor, found himself rebuked by other senior prosecutors and Judge Amit Mehta last week for publicly flirting with the possibility of sedition charges when none had actually been leveled.

Former federal prosecutor Paul Butler said he hopes that those most troubled by the Capitol riot won’t recoil at the looming deals for many participants.

“The punishment has to be proportional to the harm, but I think for many of us, we’ll never forget watching TV Jan. 6 and seeing people wilding out in the Capitol,” said Butler, now a law professor at Georgetown. “Everybody who was there was complicit, but they’re not all complicit to the same degree for the same harm.”

A standard set of four misdemeanor charges prosecutors have been filed in dozens of the Capitol cases carries a maximum possible punishment of three years in prison. But that sentence or anything close to it is virtually unheard of in misdemeanor cases, lawyers said.

“Nobody goes to jail for a first or second misdemeanor,” Butler said flatly.

One defense lawyer working on Capitol cases also said what many in the court system are referring to as “MAGA tourists” are almost certain to escape prison time.

“What about somebody who has no criminal record who got jazzed up by the president, walked in, spends 15 minutes in Statuary Hall and leaves? What happens to that person? They’re not going to get a jail sentence for that,” said the defense attorney, who asked not to be named.

“There is a natural cycle to an event like this,” the lawyer added. “People will say it was the end of the world, then things will calm down, and they’ll begin looking at cases back on what people actually did.”

Nearly every day, federal judges are also prodding prosecutors to offer plea deals to defendants facing lower-level charges.

During a hearing Friday for Leo Brent “Zeeker” Bozell IV, son of prominent conservative activist Brent Bozell, U.S. District Court Judge John Bates told a prosecutor to “move expeditiously” to get the case resolved or headed to trial.

The younger Bozell faces a mixture of felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly forcing his way into the Capitol and, eventually, onto the Senate floor. He pleaded not guilty to all charges Friday.

“These cases are going to move forward,” said Bates, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “The government needs to produce discovery. It needs to come up with a plea policy and implement that policy in particular cases.”

Lower-level Capitol riot defendants scored a significant victory Friday when a federal appeals court said judges need to sort out the most serious, violent offenders from those who simply walked in amidst the chaos.

“Two individuals who did not engage in any violence and who were not involved in planning or coordinating the activities — seemingly would have posed little threat,” D.C. Circuit Judge Robert Wilkins wrote.

Within hours of the ruling, judges and defense lawyers were repeatedly citing it as clarifying who should and should not be detained, while prosecutors were trying to argue that some defendants were more dangerous than the mother-and-son team who won the favorable decision Friday.Jan. 6 in 180 secondsSharePlay Video

The appeals court ruling came amid increasing signs of judges’ impatience: at least five Jan. 6 defendants were released in recent days over prosecutors’ objections.

“The judges are going to start to have had enough of this. At a certain point, they’re going to start making them do deals in these cases,” the defense attorney said.

Some of those tensions over the pace of the hundreds of cases were evident at a hearing last week for Eduardo Nicolas Alvear Gonzalez, 32, known for his prolific pot use on social media during the Capitol riot. He was arrested in southern Virginia on Feb. 9 and a magistrate judge there ordered him detained due to his efforts to evade police. It took marshals more than a month to move Alvear Gonzales to Washington.

At last week’s hearing, a federal judge in Washington freed Alvear Gonzalez into the custody of a friend in California. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg said he was concerned that Alvear Gonzalez had already spent as much, and perhaps more, time in jail as he was likely to get for his actions on Jan. 6.

“He’s done pretty close to two months on misdemeanors,” said Boasberg, an appointee of President Barack Obama. The judge went on to say he expected plea deals in similar cases would involve “no-jail allocutions or 30-days allocutions,” meaning the sentences prosecutors would agree to propose to judges if the defendant pleaded guilty.

While most of the defendants facing only misdemeanor charges are not in jail, Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Edwards said prosecutors understand the urgency to get the more minor cases resolved.

“I’m very aware of that,” Edwards said. “That is a prime consideration.”

Prosecutors have sought to delay all the cases on the ground that tens of thousands of hours of social media, surveillance and body-worn camera video the FBI has assembled from the Capitol riot needs to be posted on a platform where defense lawyers in all the cases can have access to it. But defense lawyers for many so-called MAGA tourists say the attorneys don’t want to see the full collection, that it is too much for them to watch in any event and that the lower-level cases should not be put off for months over that issue.

On Monday, Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui said the prosecution needs to pick up the pace.

“Let’s get it going,” Faruqui said during back-to-back hearings on Capitol cases. “There is, continues to percolate here in the courthouse, concerns about things moving.”

In virtually all the non-felony cases, the charges are likely to be grouped together as trespassing under federal sentencing guidelines. While those guidelines contain a small enhancement for entering a “restricted” building or grounds, defendants with no significant criminal history are looking at the lowest possible range: zero to six months. “Zero” months means no jail at all.

“Trespass is as mild as we get….There’s really no way in which you can cook the books, or the guidelines, to do above zero to six,” said Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman, a leading authority on criminal sentencing. “This is a case where the aggravating factors are not built into the book.”


“They’re going to have political pressure not to agree to probation,” Berman said.

Some defendants appear to have had a felony obstruction-of-Congress charge added to their misdemeanor charges due to social media comments or videos from the Capitol that allegedly show intent to disrupt the electoral count.

That means a defendant who shouted “Stop the steal” in the Capitol or posted QAnon speculation about the Insurrection Act on social media may face far more serious charges than one who did the exact same thing on Jan. 6, but has no public record of such statements. The obstruction charge, which is essentially the same as obstruction of justice in a court case, carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison.

“If they’re basically saying what they heard the president say a half and hour earlier, it raises a question about how the First Amendment is going to apply in all these cases,” one defense lawyer said.

Another factor prosecutors and judges may weigh is that the treatment of misdemeanors by the justice system is currently the subject of intense attention in criminal justice reform circles. Reformers say such minor charges often cause major complications in the lives of the minority defendants who typically face them.

“A lot of Black or brown people, they don’t get the benefit of individual judgment or breaks,” said Butler. “I think this will be a record number of white people who appear in federal criminal court in D.C….If they’re receiving mercy, the prosecutor’s office should make sure that same mercy will be applied to all the other people who they prosecute, who are mainly people of color and low-income people.”

The former prosecutor said he hopes the high-profile Capitol prosecutions call attention to the underlying equity issues and to the fact that the vast majority of federal cases are resolved not through trials but the plea negotiations that are about to begin.

“This could be a teachable moment here for the public,” Butler said.

Hashimoto said she recognizes light sentences may be unsatisfying to those outraged by the events on Jan. 6, but jailing the lower-level offenders really won’t help. “I don’t think that will heal any of the hurt and trauma this country has felt,” she said. “They should be focusing on the people who are most culpable.”

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