Violence is Anti-hate and Peaceful is Far Right–The Washington Post Gets in Touch With Its Inner Orwell.

There was more Leftist violence in Berkeley yesterday. But the media is doing its best to blur and control the narrative. According to the Washington Post, black-clad Antifa members, armed with sticks and shields are really “anti-hate” protesters, who jumped barriers and attacked a “peaceful” “far right” rally while Berkeley police largely stood aside. 
 
Read the article and see if you can figure out how Antifa earns the moniker “anti-hate” or what makes the admittedly peaceful marchers who got attacked “far right.” Maybe it’s that their march was to say “No to Marxism.” Shriek. Apparently, in Berkeley and the editorial offices of the Washington Post, that position makes them Aryan skinheads. But, at least the Post admitted they were peaceful and the violence started when the Antifa “anti-hate” protesters went on the attack.
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Other media joined in the obfuscation, calling Antifa–which rejects capitalism and advocates communism–an “anarchist” group. It’s not clear how activists who want the government to control property, production, and distribution can be considered anarchists, unless all anarchist means these days is people who want to blow up American constitutional government and replace it with their utopian vision of government. Orwell should charge posthumous royalties.

 

Trump’s Arpaio Pardon–the Right Call; Here’s Why.

President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was reasonable and appropriate. In short, it was a political resolution to a political standoff. It was the last card in a clash instigated by the political policies of the prior US Administration, the political policies of an Arizona Sheriff, the political overreach of federal trial judges, and the trump card of a new president whose policies aligned with the sheriff rather than the prior administration.
 
Before I try to break all that down, let me acknowledge that the instant eruption of hot argument over the pardon is mostly detached from the facts that make up the story. Rather, it simply reflects a clash of two narratives. A) Vigorous border enforcement good; Obama administration weak; Arpaio a brave soldier; Presidential pardon good. vs. B) Vigorous border enforcement racist and xenophobic; Arpaio racist; Disobeys lawful court order; Lock him up.
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First, and to be revisited later, Arpaio was not convicted by a jury of violating any law. He was sanctioned by a judge for disobeying the judge’s order. Those circumstances dispose of much normal due process, and essentially make the judge, judge, jury, and executioner. The bigger issue is that Trump critics believe this action just confirms his alleged racism and lawlessness, and are rushing to make it the next impeachment level frenzy. Let me also disclaim that I am writing this on the fly, working from recollection, and will need to go back to document and substantiate with links and possibly submit for outside publishing.
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The merits here are more nuanced than the clashing narratives admit. Arpaio went out of retirement from law enforcement in 1992 to run for sheriff precisely to address what Maricopa perceived as a problem of rampant crime and lax border enforcement. President Obama’s record on immigration is complex and debated. Some, including Obama and his defenders when it’s convenient, cite a high level of deportations. However, if accurate, those numbers reflect not border security, but a focus on illegal immigrants who have violated criminal laws. The border itself, critics charge, became increasingly porous and in places in Texas and Arizona, a virtual lawless no man’s land and sometimes warzone.
 
The federal government has legal authority over immigration policy and enforcement. But, two complications come into play here. First, the policy and its enforcement should reflect the statutory law of the land, and not purely the whims of the current administration. Many in Arizona believed they were being neglected and sacrificed to the administration’s desire not to police and interdict border crossers.
 
Second, state and local law enforcement cannot establish or execute immigration policy, but, they have had the long recognized authority, when they come into contact with people illegally present in the US, to detain the people and hold them for apprehension by federal authorities. Arpaio was an enthusiast of this practice. The Obama administration was not an enthusiast of retrieving all the detainees Arpaio wanted it to claim. Among other related issues, it became something of a festering debate between Arizona and the United States, Arizona’s position being: “Enforce the damn law!” and the Administration’s position being: “We are the law.” Recall the spectacle of the faceoff between Obama and Governor Jan Brewer at the airport. Some of the coverage embarrassed the administration. Most of it was designed to embarrass Arizona and to demonize Arpaio.
 
In 2007, I believe, Arpaio had improperly detained for eight hours a Mexican immigrant who actually held a valid travel visa. The immigrant sued Arpaio for civil rights violations. The Obama administration intervened in the lawsuit and basically tried to tie Arpaio’s hands. Claiming absolute authority over immigration policy, the administration argued, and the judge bought, that Arizona had no authority detain people simply because of their illegal presence in Arizona. The administration asked for and the judge entered an order barring Arpaio from detaining illegal immigrants and trying to present them to ICE to take into custody.
 
This was essentially a lawless order constituting an “Arpaio Exception.” Any other police or sheriff department in the land could, when contacting an illegal immigrant in the course of ordinary law enforcement, whether traffic, domestic, or criminal, hold that person and notify the feds. But now, not Joe.
 
Arpaio’s Department said: “That’s nuts. We’re going to keep doing it.” And announced to the public they were going to keep doing it. And so, the clash between the sheriff and the feds continued for a number of years. Obama’s DOJ sought and obtained a finding of civil contempt against Arpaio. Arpio pressed on. Obama’s DOJ sought a criminal contempt citation. The first judge referred the matter for hearing to a different judge. In typically slimy political mode, DOJ brought the criminal complaint weeks before Arpaio’s run for reelection in 2016. Trial to a judge, not a jury, was in late October. Arpaio was convicted and lost reelection in early November. Trump won election the same day, in part running for strong border enforcement and against Obama’s immigration policies. The proceedings continued till the present and the 85 year old Arpaio was about to be sentenced, until Trump yesterday pardoned him.
 
People can and will think what they want about Arpaio and about Trump. As for the disposition of this case, I believe it was the right political outcome of a thoroughly political clash and that Arpaio does not belong in jail.

The Great Monument Purge of 2017. What’s the Endgame?

As activists gain momentum in their drive to remove monuments related to the Confederacy from public places, people from the President to pundits to interested citizens are wondering where the movement leads, and whether there is a logical end point. Keith the other day observed that if the intent is to repudiate defenders of slavery as well as historic figures with offensive ideas about race, then it unavoidably swallows all of the American founding. The United States was tainted in the beginning. Many of the framers owned slaves Those who didn’t entered into a compact that acknowledged and maintained slavery. The logic is inexorable.
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If, in the 21st century, society means to purge and remove from honor all who condoned slavery, we will inevitably pull up by the roots the men and texts of the American founding, sparing not even Jefferson the author of the Declaration and Washington the preeminent founder. The United States would, in this view, be disqualified as a viable, worthy political entity. You might start with the Confederacy, but the reasoning doesn’t stop until Philadelphia.
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Is that, Keith wonders, where the Left wants to go?
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I thought the question was puzzling, because I believe it has been evident for some time that many on the Left are in fact eager to erase and rewrite our founding precepts. They have no use for a limited federal government, for cumbersome checks and balances, for an expansive First Amendment that protects speech and associational choices they disapprove. It would serve their purposes well to disqualify the United States as a legitimate political entity, the better to usher in their desired revolution.
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Still, I believe the slope, perhaps more of a whirling vortex, that Keith identifies should give the Left pause if they consider its implications that reach beyond the United States. Slavery has been a part of the heritage of almost every nation. Moreover, the United States and England were global leaders in the fight to eradicate slavery, which exists to this day, especially in some of the nations the left likes to champion as oppressed by the west.
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So, if the presence of slavery in history or even more so in the present day, is a disqualifier from legitimacy, then the Left has to denounce and repudiate a large chunk of the world: Most societies in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and elsewhere. In other words, to sincerely reject the roots of slavery in any nation, the Left has to reject the human condition, denounce all of history, and hope for some nuclear or biological cleansing event that can wipe earth clean until some Leftist Noah can pick up the pieces and start over.

The Trump Storm, Establishment Elites, and America’s Attention Deficit Disorder—What is Going On?

The inescapable conclusion from watching America’s political and media class shift from one flailing attack on Donald Trump to another to the next, is they believe in their souls that grossness is an impeachable offense. They will keep flinging monkey poo until something sticks.
 
Now, don’t get me wrong. Trump turns my stomach and I did not vote for him. Some friends insist I have to abandon that disclaimer and just full throatedly defend the man and his agenda. I disagree. The utility of reciting that I believe Trump is a cretin who treats personal and political adversaries in a brutish, vulgar, and intolerable way is to buttress the sincerity of the defense that follows: America elected him. They knew he was a smarmy, intemperate SOB when they gave him 304 electoral votes. And Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and the New York Times just don’t get to reverse that because the guy is unsavory.
 
Let me interject here that I don’t trust Trump to have any fixed stars or guiding principles, other than what he thinks is in America’s interest. But, I’m satisfied that he’s at least aiming for America’s interest, not the global anti-West dreams from his communist father or his terrorist mentor. I like a number of his appointments. I like his emphasis on rolling back intrusive, heavy handed, regulations. I like his much more realistic approach to international policy and foreign relations.
 
 
Where was I? So far, Congressional Democrats and their loyal PR firm consisting of the major media have manufactured a series of disorienting frenzies, but, they have not laid a finger on a high crime or misdemeanor. The day after the election, speculation raged about hacked voting machines in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Nothing. Then, there was a supposed groundswell of faithless electors who would change the outcome. No, there wasn’t. Next, collusion became the new favorite three-syllable word of every writing and talking head with an audience. For a stretch of many weeks, it was not possible to attempt to deflect the completely weightless accusations without being accused of being a treasonous toady for Vladimir Putin.
 
Next up, the Chief Executive deciding to fire the head of one of the executive branch agencies was furiously ginned up as obstruction of justice. It took the talents of Andrew McCarthy on the right and Alan Dershowitz and Jonathon Turley on the left to expose such nonsense as frantic hyperventilation.
 
Then, storm clouds gathered over East Asia, and the dynastic fat boy tried his family’s old shakedown routine. Rattle some nuclear sabers and extract ransom from the West. Trump answered with a typically jarring tweet that set all respectable America abuzz in fear of pointless nuclear annihilation. For a week or two, it was impossible to discuss Trump without being accused of supporting a nuclear warmonger. And then a miracle happened. The Jong regime backed down without a bribe for the first time in modern history. No president from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama ever achieved that.
 
About 30 minutes after Trump did just that, the whole issue disappeared from the radar, falling into the Bermuda Triangle of any good news about Trump. I joked at the time that it would be only days until the chattering class seized on its next “impeachable” offense. Sure enough, when Nazis clashed with Antifa commies, and Trump criticized bigotry and hatred, and had the ecumenical good sense to criticize both factions, the monkey poo hit the fan again.
 
Apparently, it is some kind of reverse-Godwin’s law sin to mention Leftist violence when you should focus pure and undiluted condemnation on fascist violence (which is also Leftist violence).
 
The bottom line, the wearying, disgusting offensive conclusion is that there will never be a normal, because the media will pick a theme du jour or du week, and pound the drums for impeachment. America will bounce from crisis to crisis. From. Now. Until. November. 2020.
 
Because the Deep State and its media megaphone are going to nail their target or tear America apart trying. Interestingly, they aren’t lowering Trump’s dismal approval rating, they are just further alienating themselves from their audience. Also interestingly, Trump won the presidency with his dismal approval rating. Americans just aren’t buying what its tired, corrupt, scared elites are selling. So they took a gamble on Trump.
 
Meanwhile, the media does its best to become some kind of hybrid mix of Days of Our Lives, As the World Turns, and Mother Jones magazine.

I Watched the Great 93% Eclipse of 2017 and All I Got Was This Lousy Collection of Jokes and Quips

6 a.m.
CDOT engineers are reporting a rare incident of road eclipse. Slow moving bodies of steel on I-25 north of Denver have rendered the highway 92% obscured and invisible. It’s projected to last about five hours. Hurry out to see this amazing phenomenon.
7 a.m.
Look at that proud yellow orb, rising like it was any other day. Sucker doesn’t know what’s going to hit it.
 
8 a.m.
Sad story. My in-laws booked a room in Alliance, NE over a year ago. My wife Yvette and a couple sisters joined them for their excellent adventure. Alas today, Alliance is solid overcast. But now they’re on the road west, sun-chasing like pagans. So, it might work out.
 
10 a.m.
Stop! Thief! Some guy just ran off with my eclipse glasses! He robbed me blind!
 
11 a.m.
No way! I thought this was like global warming and Russian hacking and nuclear war with North Korea and most any story on CNN…hype for ratings.
But this eclipse thing is really happening!
1 p.m.
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Well, this is the best I could get with a phone and a couple tricks. It’s a delicate grab. It was cool to see it get darker and watch the temperature drop from 90 to 79. But, I guess totality would be a qualitatively different experience.
Yvette’s text– “So totally awesome!!!!!!!!!!!” makes me think so, anyway.
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1:30 p.m.
Fun fact. Just for today, Facebook’s blocking function is called “eclipsing.”
 
2 p.m.
Epidemiologists, oncologists,and dermatologists now wait expectantly, hoping to chart a fleetingly brief 93% drop in new melanoma cases.
 
3 p.m.
BREAKING NEWS: Large animal veterinarians are rushing to farms across America as cows, horses, and sheep stumble blindly all over the place.
 
4 p.m.
“Hey, Ed?”
“Yeah, Gus.”
“Does it seem a little dark to you?”
“Yeah, Gus. Curious, isn’t it?”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Yes!”
“LET’S STARE AT THE SUN!!!”

A friend posted to ask if Ed and Gus are transgender cows, because they sure look like girls. Damn experts.
 
5 p.m.
Eclipse humor is something the previous administration would count as a new job for the next monthly report.
 
6 p.m.
Life Lesson: Anything less than totality is cool, but, meh. Totality, though, is worth traveling.

Forget Hacking Russians, Menacing Koreans, and Clashing Fascists and Communists–Let’s Discuss How Colorado Robs Its Taxpayers

In today’s Denver Post, Statehouse reporter Brian Easdon provides an informative and  mostly balanced look at how Colorado government busts the taxing and spending limits that voters meant to impose when they adopted the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) in 1992. That loved and hated Constitutional amendment has three basic strictures: Government has to ask voters permission in order to a) raise taxes, b) borrow money; or c) increase real spending (any increase beyond inflation plus population growth). In a lengthy article, Easdon explains the critical piece: politicians have massively shifted the funding source for government programs and services from taxes—which are under TABOR’s limits, to the cash fees charged for individual transactions with government, which are not.

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Sound complicated? It’s simple. State and local governments cannot raise your tax rates without permission, but they can unilaterally decide to increase the price they charge you for a driver license, occupational license, CU football ticket, or building permit. Colorado’s politicians—with urging from some activists and corporations–have ridden and abused the latter category hard and put it up wet. Actually, that’s not accurate. They’re still whipping and spurring.
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The idea of requiring politicians to get permission to raise taxes has immense appeal to voters. Easdon doesn’t go into the background, but the rationale for separating fees out from taxes is simple enough. Opponents of fiscal restraints on government argued that a TABOR-like measure would require such absurdities as a public vote before universities could raise tuition or sporting ticket prices. TABOR author Douglas Bruce sensibly carved out fees from the measure he was drafting in order to eliminate opponents’ grasping argument. This approach also had the logic that fees are paid by the consumers of a particular service, so there was a fit between payers and beneficiaries.
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In a far ranging article, Easdon documents the ways that lawmakers spend money they don’t have without calling it borrowing, and the range of fees that lawmakers have jacked up, up, up, without enacting any “tax increases.” These range from auto registration fees to park entrance fees to court fees for litigation cases, to provider fees charged patients on admission to a hospital and much more. All of these shifts have hit Coloradans hard in the checkbook.
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While the article is more searching than most journalistic examinations of TABOR, it is missing several important pieces of context. First, lawmakers and the courts have gutted the line between fees and taxes, thus allowing government to call things “fees” that by any reasonable understanding are taxes. A critical and controversial example is the hospital provider fee, an exaction that hospitals charge each patient upon admission to the hospital. The fee is pooled in a state fund and used to attract federal matching funds that can then be applied to health services in the Medicaid and Children’s Health programs.
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But, however worthy those purposes are, they have absolutely nothing to do with charging a patient a fee for any service he is receiving from the government. Quite the opposite, they are a tax on private paid hospital care which then goes to fund government healthcare for the poor. They are not a cash user fee for a service to the user.
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Colorado played the same game in jacking up auto registration fees for a road and bridge improvement plan. There is no reasonable fit between the fact of owning a car or holding a license, and the specific roads to be improved. In contrast to a toll road, which is a quintessential user fee—use the road; pay for it—the license fees are a universal shakedown that goes wherever government wants them to go. Again, a tax, not a fee.
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Easdon says the “fees” are legal because Colorado courts have specifically upheld them. What he politely leaves out is that bureaucrats and judges are damn liars, especially since 1992. TABOR imposed certain limits and Colorado’s public class has gleefully trashed them.

.The other critical context Easdon leaves out is any skeptical scrutiny of the big government taxer/spenders basic demands and premises: Colorado is strapped for money. It has enormously growing needs. Public officials are forced to create these gimmicks and work-arounds because TABOR leaves them no choice. He quotes CSU political science professor John Strayer to the effect that we can never get a fair proposal for higher taxes and spending on the ballot because timid Republicans are wary of conservative primary challenges, so they’re too chicken to man up and join Democrats in doing the right thing.
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All of the above, to be blunt, needs to be spread around on the nearest farmer’s field in order to improve crop yields.

.Colorado government is not cash strapped, but spends per capita right just above the middle of the 50 state national pack, as Insurgent Tribe documented here. Further, state government’s maneuvers have mostly gutted the cap on spending growth. Colorado government spends a whopping real 40% more per capita today than in 1992, as Insurgent Tribe showed here. Government has grown 40% bigger relative to each resident of the state. We don’t have 40% better roads, better schools, or better anything. We have a 40% bigger budget, bureaucrats with an insatiable appetite for more, and a sob story to guilt Coloradans into submitting.
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The Tribe thanks Easdon for shining a light on the games politicians play. We wish he had been a bit more skeptical of the tales politicians tell. But we thank him for reminding this correspondent to get back in the hunt to explain more of the ways the politicians have busted TABOR to get deeper into your pockets. More to come.

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