Who Killed Ashli Babbitt?

On November 19, 2019, Nathaniel Pinnock was shot and killed by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. Pinnock, 22, had robbed an auto parts store in Hollywood while armed with a machete and was walking from the scene when officers arrived and confronted him. Despite the presence of several officers, Pinnock refused orders to stop and drop the machete. Instead he ran to the drive-through lane of a nearby Chick-fil-A restaurant where he carjacked a Lexus and sped off. He made it only as far as the adjacent street where, after colliding with police cars, he got out and ran down Sunset Boulevard.

Officers pursued on foot, and after running some distance Pinnock turned and charged at one of them while wielding the machete. The officer retreated and fired his pistol at Pinnock, who despite being shot continued charging. The officer ran into the street where he stumbled and fell, and when it appeared Pinnock was about to deliver what surely would have been a devastating blow with the machete, the officer again fired his pistol. A second officer also fired. Pinnock fell to the ground mortally wounded.

That Pinnock’s death did not become a national news story is owing to the fact that the shooting was so manifestly justified, as can be determined even from the cursory presentation of facts above. But such is the transparency now attendant to officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles that anyone questioning the propriety of the officers’ actions can find the LAPD’s video summary of the incident and the involved officers’ body camera footage here, the civilian police commission’s 37-page report here, and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s 12-page legal assessment here. All officer-involved shootings in the city of Los Angeles are similarly investigated and documented, and while one may argue with the conclusions reached by the police commission or district attorney in any given case, no one can claim the relevant facts have been concealed.

This level of transparency regarding the use of deadly force by police has come to be expected and is now common (though not yet ubiquitous) across the country, which makes it all the more curious that what rightly should be regarded as one of the most controversial police shootings to have occurred recently has gone all but unexamined in the press. The case of Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by a U.S Capitol Police officer during the so-called insurrection of Jan. 6, has gone largely unexamined, either in the media or among the self-professed experts who find fault in even the most clearly justifiable police shootings.

Ashli Babbitt’s shooting was not clearly justifiable, far from it in fact, yet the U.S. Department of Justice, in a memo just over a page in length, explains it away by saying their “investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.”

And that, peasants, is that. Your rulers have made their decision, do not dare question it.

How the other half thinks.

Within a day of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, the entire country came to know the name of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who ultimately was convicted of murdering him. (Chauvin was sentenced on Friday to 22 and a half years in prison for second-degree murder.)

Similarly the name of every officer involved in a shooting that has tickled the antennae of the Black Lives Matter movement and its fellow travelers has been made public, in some cases forcing the officers and their families to flee their homes so as to avoid hostile protesters. Yet the officer who shot Babbitt remains unidentified and, as far as we know, employed by the Capitol Police.

More disturbingly, the officer’s rationale for shooting Babbitt remains a mystery beyond the perfunctory language in the DOJ memo. Compare this to the LAPD shooting of Nathaniel Pinnock, or to any LAPD shooting in which the officers’ actions are scrutinized and publicly judged by the district attorney in light of the applicable California law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent, specifically the case of Graham v. Connor (1989). In Graham, the Court held that an officer’s use of force must be “objectively reasonable” under the circumstances. In the case of Ashli Babbitt, how can the public be reassured the officer’s actions were in fact reasonable when his explanation for firing remains cloaked in secrecy?

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The Washington Post has produced a video of the Babbitt shooting, compiling two points of view from cameras carried by protesters in the crowd that included Babbitt. In the video, three uniformed police officers can be seen blocking the doorway to the Capitol’s Speaker’s Lobby, beyond which is the House Chamber. A man who appears to be a police officer dressed in a suit stands nearby. Just beyond the locked doors can be seen several men, one of whom is identified as a congressman. Inexplicably, none of the police officers appears to take any action to prevent the windows from being broken or otherwise interfere with the protesters. The officers look to be perplexed but not panicked, nor do they display any apparent concern at what might occur should the protesters breach the doorway.

Indeed, after some moments the officers abandon their position and allow the protesters to continue their efforts to break the windows. We then see, just beyond the doors, the extended arm of man in whose hand is a semi-automatic pistol, and when protesters at last succeed in breaking one of the windows, Babbitt is the first to attempt to climb through. While she is still in the window, the man with the gun fires a single shot, striking Babbitt and causing her to fall backward to the floor.

At the time the shot was fired, the Speaker’s Lobby appeared to be empty save for the shooter and two or three men walking casually at the far end. Babbitt, who was of slight build, carried neither a weapon nor anything that might reasonably be mistaken for one. The officer was about ten feet away from Babbitt when he shot her and cannot reasonably claim he was under an imminent deadly attack at the time, nor can he claim he was defending someone else from such an attack as no one else visible on the far side of the doorway appeared to be closer than fifty feet away. If it is true that the officer fired in self-defense or the defense of others, what was his explanation for doing so when no justification is evident in the video, the only publicly available evidence we have? The government will not say.

The Capitol Police and the Justice Department may be forced to produce whatever evidence they have in the course of a lawsuit expected to be filed by Babbitt’s family, though I expect the case to be settled prior to the discovery phase with the government, i.e. the taxpayers, paying a considerable sum to the plaintiffs. Their decision to clear the officer notwithstanding, the government’s position rests on such a feeble legal foundation as to make going to trial potentially expensive and embarrassing. When the facts are placed before a jury, the shooting simply cannot withstand the reasonableness test as outlined in Graham v. Connor, and no credible use-of-force expert would dare testify otherwise absent evidence not yet revealed.

"Insurrection" or provocation?

The Babbitt case is only the most fearsome example of what can plainly be seen as a dual system of justice as it relates to political protest. The FBI and DOJ have spared no effort in identifying, arresting, and prosecuting every last person who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, and even those accused of nothing more than trespassing have languished in jail for months without trial, often in solitary confinement.

I have no sympathy for those who violated the law at the Capitol on Jan. 6, least of all for those who assaulted police officers. Yet video recorded in and around the Capitol that day reveals varying levels of criminality on the part of protesters, from those who merely walked through the hallways as if on a lark, to those who vandalized or stole property, to those who, again, assaulted and even injured police officers. Let them all be punished, each according to the law and his own misdeeds.

Would that the authorities exhibited equal zeal in pursuing all lawbreakers, but in Portland, Ore., many people arrested in the nightly attacks on the federal courthouse, in which officers were injured and the building repeatedly set afire, have been released on bail or had their charges reduced or dismissed altogether. In Minneapolis, few have been held accountable for the destruction of a police station, and in New York City, charges have been dismissed for hundreds of people arrested for rioting and looting. Similar leniency for rioters has been displayed in cities across the country.

Justice is blind, goes the old maxim, but when it comes to political protests under the current administration, one must himself be blind to believe it.

Does Anthony Fauci Even Exist?

Dr. Anthony Fauci is likely the most celebrated, or most notorious, public figure currently claiming the lion’s share of national attention. He rose to the heights of prominence as President Trump’s ubiquitous medical advisor, preening for the camera during Trump’s press briefings detailing the progress of the COVID pandemic and the means to combat it. Fauci’s dictates and pronouncements were regarded as gospel and came to be a major determinant of the nation’s COVID preventive policies. He seemed infallible—until now.

Recently a tranche of Fauci’s emails as well as articles and letters were released via the FOIA and through open records requests calling his bona fides into question. We learn there, among other things, that masks are ineffective, that people should wear multiple masks, that the virus has a natural origin, that the virus may have come from a lab leak, that the NIH did not fund gain-of-function research, that the NIH funded through EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak a team of Chinese scientists who may have worked on gain-of-function experiments, and so on. (Chinese virologist Dr. Li Meng-Yan has added further weight to the lab-leak revelations.) 

The bordereau of planned evasions and collusive misdirections—as witness a “spectrum of correspondence” with such influential figures as Scripps Research professor Dr. Kristian Andersen (January 1, 2020), NIH Deputy Director Dr. Hugh Auchincloss (February 1, 2020), and others—is striking. The controversy is assuming epic proportions as Fauci’s presence and calendar of activities and decisions have polarized the country. 

Do I contradict myself?

In my opinion, all the fuss and bother about Anthony Fauci is nothing but a tempest in a beam-splitter. For Anthony Fauci does not exist. Rather, he is a gaseous exhalation of the Swamp, in effect a computer-generated hologram projected onto the public stage to advance the insidious project of the political left and the class of billionaire scavengers seeking to profit from the national malaise while advancing an agenda of oligarchic social control. 

Why this elaborate charade or pneumatic figment should have been created is another question and invites some speculation. Tom Woods asks: “Can it be that for some in the Establishment Fauci has finally worn out his welcome? Some 64 percent of independents say it's time to resume normal life. That's a big, big chunk of people for the Democrats to alienate. So are they pushing back on Fauci?”

Was the Fauci construct, then, a defensive artifice? If things went sideways and Fauci was exposed as a false prophet speaking from both sides of his mouth, he could be made to disappear, alleging fatigue, family responsibilities, or even COVID itself. Perhaps the virus will have taken its toll or the vaccine misfired, thus provoking a trickle of memorial sympathy among his detractors? Perhaps, weary of the fray and having done his duty, the apparition will have retired to the Pitcairn Islands—0 new cases, 0 confirmed cases, 0 deaths—never to be heard of again?

I think his credibility is entirely shot," Stanford professor Jay Bhattacharya told Fox News. “And I think it's really unfortunate that we have this person who just didn't really have the expertise to lead the response, and yet we somehow venerated him.” Bhattacharya cited Fauci for a rookie mistake, conflating “the case mortality rate with the infection mortality rate.” Fauci’s 2 percent fatality number should have been 0.2 percent, an order of magnitude lower. “It wasn't the science changing,” Bhattacharya said; rather, “Something else happened where he just changed.” 

I am large, I contain multitudes.

What might that “something else” have been? For all we know, it may be that the real Fauci, if he existed, was surreptitiously replaced by a chimerical substitute, a creature of light and air. Or, more likely, that the “program” was changed in medias res, once the hologram had inspired public confidence, and so could begin to implement the larger scheme of tactical disinformation. Holograms are easily manipulated and impervious to attack, at least for an interim period.

Commenting on the doctor’s woefully mediocre and indeed pernicious track record, which has resisted scrutiny up to the present, Stephen Kruiser at PJM believes that Fauci has “proven himself to be a petty, small, pathetic man,” but Kruiser seems not to understand that Fauci is not a “man,” as we commonly understand the term, but a kind of wraith, an illusion, a three-dimensional photonic transmission serving to distract attention from the ulterior purposes of the real plotters. Which is why it is irrelevant to fulminate against him. There’s nothing there. 

It is interesting to note that the compromising email dump came at the instigation of collaborating hard-left news organizations, BuzzFeed and The Washington Post. Tom Woods may have had a point. Once “Fauci” begins feeling the heat, he can made to simply vanish, as we have seen, on any of various excuses, including personal resentment at suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous slander. The possibility must be entertained. He was never a material Fauci but the Schwabian emanation of a shadowy cabal of political manipulators conspiring to impose a Great Reset upon an unsuspecting people. 

Very well then, I contradict myself.

As Steve Deace and Todd Erzen write in their definitive Faucian Bargain, Fauci’s “name may be on the marquee, but the truth is he’s not really the main villain. Fauci is not some sinister figure who cynically manipulated… events in order to rise to power… he contradicts himself way too much, and is too easily exposed… Fauci is not the disease but the symptom [of the] federal leviathan,” a mere figurehead. And we have fallen for this meretricious fiction. “Fauci has only sold much of America what it wanted to buy. Our fear has gifted such authority to Fauci.” And not only fear, but our passion for entertainment and the marvels of medical technology.

The cabal knows this. And it knows that should the operation grow counterproductive, it could then insist it had been misled by Fauci’s ostensible credentials and suave persona, proceed to diffuse public indignation, and devise other means to carry out its intentions. Meanwhile, an “exit strategy” would be put in place, the hologram would evaporate and Fauci would just fade away, exempt from interrogation and exposure. No one would really know what happened to him or where he is. Eventually he would be forgotten. After all, the virtue of non-existence is immunity. 

Caveat profluvium.

Russian Pipelines, Da, American Pipelines, Nyet

Let me get this straight. Recently, Russian hackers shutdown North America's largest pipeline for days, massively disrupting the supply chain on the eastern seaboard and leading to shortages and price spikes. Eventually Colonial, Inc, the line's owner, paid a $5 million ransom to get it up and running again, a decision about which the Biden administration officially had no opinion. Of course, anyone with half a brain knows that's a lie, that they must have been working both sides, pushing Colonial to towards a course of action (presumably the one they took) on the one hand, and engaging their Russian counterparts about it on the other.

Well, the cyberterrorists got what they asked for, and now the Putin regime have gotten their dearest wish as well: the Biden Administration will allow construction of the Nord 2 pipeline project which will enable Russia to satisfy Germany's appetite for oil and gas (which has become more voracious since Germany embarked on its foolhardy Energiewende policy) without passing through Ukraine, a country where anti-Russian sentiment is rife. Moreover, Biden is waiving existing sanctions on the company building the pipeline and its president, Putin ally and former Stasi officer Matthias Warnig, to get the project done.

This is surprising, as Team Biden have been very open about their opposition to Nord Stream 2, fearing it would shift the balance of power in the region by getting Germany addicted to cheap Russian energy, boosting Russia's economy, and further subordinating the smaller countries in the region to the larger. Just this February, Jen Psaki was uncompromising when she articulated the administration's view on the matter:

Our position on Nord Stream 2 has been very clear, and it remains unchanged. President Biden has made clear that Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal. It’s a bad deal because it divides Europe, it exposes Ukraine and Central Europe to... Russian manipulation, and because it goes against Europe’s own stated energy and security goals.

And then suddenly Bidenettes backed down. Something strange is going on here. Foreign policy analyst Rebeccah Heinrichs tweeted sarcastically, "How absolutely wild is it that Russians attacked a US pipeline while gas prices were already high and like two days after the US company pays the relatively small ransom Biden lifts sanctions on Nord Stream 2." It's definitely suspicious.

Then again, the two events might be unrelated. What is indisputable, however, is that this move looks  ridiculous in light of Biden's anti-pipeline domestic policy. As Dan Foster put it, "Killing energy jobs in Oklahoma and creating them in St. Petersburg is so comically inept and villainous you could never even try it without the entire press in your back pocket."

It isn't hyperbole to say Donald Trump (alleged Putin patsy, who was actually tougher on Russia than any president since the fall of the Berlin Wall) would have been impeached for this. After all, he was impeached for less.

Delusions More Toxic than Covid

It's now just a few days before Joe Biden, the aged, doddering former U.S. Senator and two term vice president, is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. Donald J. Trump was impeached Tuesday, if that is the word for the truncated, evidence-free series of rants by Democratic congressmen on the floor of the House. No facts in were evidence. But a fountain of emotion far more toxic than Covid-19, spewed forth.

Rule of law has disintegrated into some mockery of group therapy in the American capital. One knows better than to ask if this is a function of female leadership. Perhaps it is. But many male Democrats appear to suffer from the uncontrollable rage common to PMS sufferers.  And Trump Derangement Syndrome has gripped them all. 

There's a silver lining to this appalling political theater.  Now, two months after our Third World style election marked by serious claims of massive ballot fraud, including voting by the ineligible and the dead, the inescapable reality has finally arrived. The millions of Trump voter who have entertained the charming but childish notion that an election victory stolen in broad daylight will be restored by some process, before the inauguration -- finally see that it is not going to happen.

Millions of Trump voters have been living with a mental process something like this: ‘You did this horrible thing to us. Everyone saw. The neighbors! The whole world. Surely you are going to admit it and give me back what is rightly mine?’

What -- no Krakens?

But when the entire establishment colludes to remove a president who threatens the profitable operations of the American political and corporate classes, the possibility of a fix in real time is a fantasy.  For most of us, as with any deception and loss, the longer one maintains a dream of justice and happily ever after, the greater the pain and suffering. 

Of course it is very hard to walk away from what we all grew up believing about "the will of the people," and the virtues of democratic representation itself, on which we base our understanding the social compact.  A "Great Reset" to Biden and socialism is bleak, so fantasies persist.

A stolen election leading to the destruction of half the country’s faith in our entire system of governance remains hard to process and accept.  For many it leads to talk of secession, and civil war -- which are not unreasonable if you believe you and your communities have been permanently disenfranchised, and the Constitution shredded.

Consider, however, the possibility that we have already lost that war.  That every institution with power or influence in our nation, is in the hands of the left.  That is the case, even apart from the question of ballot fraud, committed by software or local party hacks. 

Nor is it easier when our tech overlords decree that anyone who dares discuss the deliberately unresolved, barely investigated mounds of evidence that suggest a fraudulent election, is, per the Great (Social) Reset, going to have his social media accounts stripped, insurance policies cancelled, job offers nullified, academic posts and legal partnerships taken away, and a host of other acts of corporate and government destruction of life, liberty, and property.

The ‘social credit’ system, newly imported from Communist China, is coming down hard on anyone who questions the actions of our political overseers -- as has been amply demonstrated, to their shame, by the tech industry's "cancel culture," which has now spread to much of corporate America. Indeed, this has been the case for years for thought crimes in social matters, such as using pronouns associated with biological sex, not chosen "identity," or insufficient enthusiasm for the expansion of "marriage" to any two, or three, or more people. 

O Brave New World!

It sure was neat how last week’s conveniently timed violence at the Capitol, the origins and perpetrators of which are only now being investigated, and perhaps arrested, after a rush to pin it on the President's followers, pushed remaining serious questions about the election's integrity off the table? How the well-timed violence caused Republican senators and congressmen to decide on the spot not to question clearly illegitimate votes in their own states?  Another small reality reset: planned violence helped the narrative crowd out of having to explain away any contradictory facts.

This owes much to our nation’s current lack of a free and honest media, without which a free society can not trust information.  Instead, we are stuffed to the gills with propaganda factories working with partisan politicians. Which is why narratives – big lies -- of the sort that undergird totalitarian societies, have crowded out reality. Especially in a year when everyone was forced to stay at home, watching screens.

For conservatives, the worst narrative of all was Q-Anon, that great psyops that sucked the fight out of millions of patriots, who came to believe that Trump was playing and winning "three dimensional chess" against a gang  of pedophiles, and deep state holders of power. It will take a serious investigative reporter to unearth where the Q cult came from. Considering how the Q fantasy lulls patriots into complacence about "winning," I presume it was perpetrated by Trump's enemies.

So patriotic Americans can be forgiven for believing in the triumph of honesty and justice; that Trump would seize upon a weapon like the Insurrection Act, or martial law; that he would finally get an honest hearing for the suspicious vote tallies, and would serve the second term that he may well have earned -- as Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and other spokesmen encouraged supporters to believe.  (A question remains as to whether use of the Insurrection Act, to smash  BLM/Antifa during their looting and rioting last summer, would have led to a different outcome now.)

The beast that never came.

But the magic fix fantasy went on way too long. Late last week I watched a rational Trump supporter explain what actions need to happen to preclude the worst of coming Biden Administration policies. An ardent Trumper accused him of weakness for not believing that Trump would pull it all out and take a second oath of office. Just last weekend, I got an email from a Nevada GOP club insisting that Trump would triumph.

In life you should always fight to preclude a bad outcome. Hire lawyers. Spend what it takes. Preach. Trump did some of that. Not enough. Arguably he was blocked. You saw what happened to first-rate lawyers who worked with the Trump campaign. Some careers ended, others were merely threatened.

But when all avenues of victory are closed – accept reality. Retreat. Devise a new strategy. Change plans, tactics, strategy. (Not principles!) Be flexible. But always acknowledge reality. Being an adult means knowing when to fold ‘em, and find a different path.

Actually, it is a relief to dump the dual track planning, and the "hope against hope" that we will not be forced to again tolerate the odious, racialist, radical identity-driven politics of the Obama era. Get rid of the stupid foreign policy of losing purposeless wars of choice, genuflecting to Islamist dictators of impoverished nations, and kowtowing to the Chinese, who are our economic and political enemies. The Green New Deal, tool of economic control, hovers. The Biden/Harris/Obamaites are ready to bring it all back, this time full strength. They are radicals who aspire to soft totalitarianism, with no regard for liberty or the rule of law. Their “Great Reset” will make you poorer, colder and less able to support your family.

The virtue of accepting reality – even a bad reality in which illegal aliens flood our borders and get stimulus checks, and teachers unions destroy school choice, while social credit schemes limit individual liberty --- is that you can mobilize to fight it only when you acknowledge what is really happening. Blinders off, comrades. Clarity or death.

A Second, Unaccountable EPA for Biden?

Liberals continue to fret about how the Biden Administration will enact Joe's climate agenda without complete Democratic control of Congress. For the latest example of this genre, here's Derek Brower writing in the Financial Times:

More than 81 million Americans and a majority of electors backed a candidate who said he hoped to “transition from the oil industry” and put clean energy at the centre of a US$2 trillion green plan to decarbonize American electricity in 15 years and create a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050....

Yet as the dust settles on Biden’s victory, the political realities are starting to set in too. Despite retaining a majority, Democrats lost seats in the House of Representatives and at best can hope to split the Senate 50:50 by winning two run-off elections in Georgia in January. For all the enthusiasm of his supporters — and despite the mandate from the popular vote — the full gamut of Biden’s transformative US$2 trillion energy plan has little chance of progressing through such a divided chamber.

Brower goes on to lament "an increasingly conservative judiciary will be an obstacle to federal bodies acting expansively" (translation: Trump-appointed judges will make it difficult for Biden's White House to work around the Constitution), and consequently it will likely take a few years to fully undo Trump's efforts at rolling back onerous regulations on the resource sector.

He is hopeful, however, that a few key administrative actions will have big impact nationwide. These include toughening up fuel economy standards and granting California a new Clean Air Act waiver (Trump revoked the previous one) which will allow the state to impose significantly stricter emissions standards than the federal government, an act which (because of the Golden State's size) could have a ripple effect on the entire auto industry.

Brower is also encouraged by Biden’s announced appointments of "several heavyweights to key energy positions" which he feels denote a "bold climate agenda," the lack of Congressional support notwithstanding. He mentions a few of these appointments, including new international climate envoy John Kerry and domestic "climate czar" Gina McCarthy. These names are, in fact, pretty striking, especially considering the roles they've accepted. Kerry, former Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state, and McCarthy, a former EPA chief, have both been cabinet members and now they're content with newly created positions which sound pretty meaningless. What gives?

The Daily Caller's Larry Behrens thinks he's figured it out. His contention is that Biden's object is to create what is effectively a second EPA within the White House, one whose officials aren't confirmed by the Senate and whose actions won't require congressional oversight.

Kerry and McCarthy are perfect choices for that type of role. They're big names who will get the liberal media excited, but who might be shy of Senate confirmation hearings. According to Behrens, McCarthy would be especially reluctant to answer questions about her most recent job as head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, "an environmental organization that faced scrutiny for their relationship to Chinese entities." Of course, as Behrens points out, this is an appropriate background for her new job, which is to undermine America's resource industry while pushing solar panels that are manufactured in China.

Framed that way -- a president creating powerful executive branch positions for people who are unlikely to get through a senate confirmation to enact a policy agenda that he didn't campaign on for the benefit of a foreign power -- this all is a perfect encapsulation of modern American governance.

'A Republic, If You Can Keep It'

Friday’s announcement that the Supreme Court would not hear the case brought by Texas and other states and parties challenging the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and  Pennsylvania  is a sad blow for those counting on the Court to resolve the issue of  a stolen election of a manifestly incapable candidate. The court ruled that the parties lacked standing to prosecute the case under Article III of the Constitution -- that is to say, they lacked a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which other states conducted their elections. 

Justices Alito and Thomas indicated in the short order that they would have heard the case  because they believe that when one state sues another, a matter in which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction, the court lacks discretion to refuse to hear it. But both men opined they “should not grant other relief” and expressed “no view on any other issue.” They had earlier dissented in a case on the very point of the Court’s obligation to hear cases brought  by one state against another, the cases in which it has original jurisdiction and no other court may hear such matters.

Or not, as the case may be.

The complainants argued that the states  whose results they wanted overturned did violate the Constitutional provision  that state legislatures set the time, place and manner of elections -- not judges or other state officials. Even aside from fraud -- as to which numerous affidavits were attached to the complaint -- they charged this conduct was unconstitutional.

Pennsylvania 

  • The Secretary of State unilaterally abrogated signature verification requirements for mail-in ballots.
  • Pennsylvania supreme court changed existing deadline for receiving mail-in ballots from 8 p.m. on the day of election to three days after the election and adopted a presumption that non-postmarked ballots be considered as valid.
  • Election officials in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties did not follow state law permitting poll-watchers to be present for the opening, counting, and recording of mail-in ballots.
  • The Secretary of State directed election officials to remove ballots before 7 a.m. on the day of election in order to “cure” defective mail-in ballots.  This was done only in Democrat majority counties.
  • Election officials did not segregate ballots received after 8 p.m. on election day breaking the promise made to the U.S. Supreme Court thus making it impossible to identify or remove those ballots.

Georgia

  • The Secretary of State unilaterally abrogated signature verification requirements for mail-in ballots.
  • The Secretary of State authorized opening and processing mail-in ballots up to three weeks before election day when the law prohibits that until after the polls open on election day.
  • The Secretary of State materially weakened the security requirements for ballot rejection based on signature verification or other missing information.

First the Declaration, then the Constitution: what could go wrong?

Michigan

  • The Secretary of State unilaterally abrogated signature verification requirements for mail-in ballots.
  • The Secretary of State sent out unsolicited ballots to all 7.7 million registered voters contrary to election law which requires a voter to request a mail-in ballot through a process that includes a signature to be matched with the voter registration.
  • The Secretary of State also allowed absentee ballots to be requested online without signature verification.
  • Local election officials in Wayne County -- containing 322,925 more ballots for Biden than for Trump -- opened and processed mail-in ballots without poll-watchers present.
  • Local election officials in Wayne County also ignored the strict election law requirements of placing a written statement or stamp on each ballot envelope indicating that the voter signature was in fact checked and verified with the signature on file with the state.

Wisconsin

  • The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) positioned hundreds of unmanned illegal drop boxes to collect absentee ballots.  (The use of any drop box, manned or unmanned, is directly prohibited by Wisconsin statute.  Any alternate mail-in ballot site “shall be staffed by the municipal clerk or the executive director of the board of election commissioners…” and “Ballots cast in contravention of the procedures specified in those provisions may not be included in the certified result of any election.”)
  • The WEC encouraged voters to unlawfully declare themselves “indefinitely confined” in order to avoid security measures like signature verification and photo ID requirements.  Nearly 216,000 voters said they were indefinitely confined in the 2020 election, nearly four times as many as in 2016.
  • Strict laws requiring mail-in voters to certify by signature including the signature of an adult witness were ignored or circumvented by election officials.

If you believe, as I and millions of voters do, that the election was stolen from President Trump, it is disappointing that there was no opportunity to have these legal issues resolved. On the other hand, I believed if the Court had decided to take it, it would not have decided who won these states. Instead, it would have remanded the complainants to the legislatures of these states, which have the responsibility to fashion a remedy.

They can do this by decertifying the results and either refusing to offer up a new slate or by picking a new slate on their own and submitting it to Congress at the appropriate time. In fact there was no small amount of evidence of corruption in other states as well -- Arizona comes to mind, and the same option remains for them as well. Prominent conservatives are in fact urging them to do just that.

There are other proceedings concerning individual states wending their way up to the Supreme Court, but I don’t see how any would significantly change the outcome. By my count even if the complainants in the case brought by Texas had been successful , the results would not have been dispositive. Count the electoral votes to see what I mean. Michigan has 16, Wisconsin 10, Pennsylvania 20, Georgia 16. (A total of 62 votes.) If you subtract those from the 306 electoral votes presumptively registered now for Biden and do not award them to President Trump -- which was always the most  optimistic outcome -- Biden would still have 234 votes to Trump’s 232--a majority of the remaining 466 electoral votes.

"Well done is better than well said."

I only see two ways to reverse the outcome. First, the legislatures in these four states and at least one other could refuse to advance their state's electoral votes to Congress, either leaving the state with none or picking an alternate slate. Second, Congress can refuse to certify those states where fraud marked the balloting. Under the 12th Amendment, the House votes January 6 on certification by state delegation (and the Republican delegations have more votes) . All it takes is an objection by one House member and one Senator to force a vote on such objections.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, we have “a, republic if you can keep it.” Whether we can depends on what is a predictably weak link, the legislatures of the very states where fraud marked the presidential election this year.

Thanks Again, Fracking!

In a recent article in the Toronto Sun, Lorrie Goldstein comments on a surprising fact: that Justin Trudeau, the dream political leader of the environmental lobby, is going to have to concede that Canada has missed the emissions reduction target it agreed to in 2009, while America -- after four years under Donald J. Trump -- will actually exceed that target. Says Goldstein:

This despite the fact Trump, unlike Trudeau, never imposed a national carbon tax on the U.S. Nor has any American president done so. Also, despite the fact Trump, unlike Trudeau, announced he was withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement in 2017, saying it was contrary to the economic interests of the U.S.

The 2009 targets, negotiated by the prime minister and the president's respective predecessors as part of the Copenhagen Accord, informally committed both nations to reduce emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. While America's emissions projections for 2020 are about 20 percent below 2005 levels, Canada's projections are down only 0.14 percent. For Canada to meet its commitments for 2020, Goldstein points out, "we would have to cut our current emissions by 123 million tonnes — the equivalent of the annual emissions from our entire agriculture sector and most of our electricity sector — in less than a month."

How could this be? Well, part of the story of America's success (if you could call it that) is the government imposed Covid-19 lockdowns. Goldstein mentions that U. S. emissions for 2020 are down roughly 10 percent from where they otherwise would have been without the lockdowns, which sounds great until you consider the economic devastation they also wrought. The cure in this case was far worse than the disease.

Of course, Canada also locked down and had an equivalent emissions drop. Which is to say, the pandemic doesn't even begin to tell the full story.

What actually happened is that, while the Trudeau government dove deep into virtue signaling environmentalist rhetoric, the U. S. allowed "market forces, innovation and [smart] energy policy" to do their work. Among other things, the U. S. leaned in hard to hydraulic fracturing, allowing us to gradually transition away from our reliance on coal towards natural gas, which "burns at half the carbon dioxide intensity of coal."

Meanwhile in Canada, Goldstein points out, "several provinces have banned fracking," bowing to anti-fracking sentiment in the green movement, while the Trudeau government has imposed a national carbon tax (and doubled it mid-way through a global pandemic), and put real political capital into transitioning away from oil and natural gas, which accounts for roughly 10 percent of the nation's GDP.

It'd be nice if more environmentalists started recognizing (as Michael Schellenberger has) that their preferred methods of addressing these issues are mostly hokum and started advocating for policies which actually work. Both don't hold your breath. Most of them are just hypocrites who mindlessly condemn President Trump as a Captain Planet-style villain, while lauding all of the Trudeaupian fluff.

If the Police Won't Defend You, Defend Yourself

There is a natural tendency in some people to search for the silver lining in every cloud, no matter how ominous that cloud may appear. Americans, it seems to me, are especially prone to this brand of sunny optimism, though perhaps not to the degree of past generations.

So it’s unsurprising that many of President Trump’s supporters, in assessing the odds against his success in challenging the election results, would be casting about in search of an upside to a Biden win should it come to pass. “Well,” such a person might say, “at least all those leftist mobs will be appeased now. At least we won’t have to deal with them anymore.” Alas . . .

And yours does not.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that anarchists in the capital of the movement, Portland, Oregon, have declared they have no intention of standing down, even with Biden’s apparent election. “F— Joe Biden!” a group of them chanted on the night of Nov. 8 as they set out on a march to the office of the Multnomah Democrats, which they proceeded to vandalize.

A photograph accompanying the story shows the mob evincing no worry of police response or of any potential consequences for their actions. (Remarkably, they stopped short of setting the building on fire, which the optimists among us may see as a hopeful sign. My prediction is that the building is torched before the year is out.)

Another photograph accompanying the story is more chilling. Anarchists are shown holding a banner which reads, “WE DON’T WANT BIDEN—WE WANT REVENGE!” with the lettering done in black with the exception of the word “REVENGE,” which is printed in blood red. Below the lettering are examples of Antifa symbology, including an AK-47 rifle, the Soviet Union's weapon of choice for Marxist revolutionaries around the world.

Well, some might say, that’s just Portland, which everyone knows is a wacky town. True enough, but look at what happened in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Many thousands of Trump supporters gathered and marched to encourage the president and express their skepticism of the officially announced election returns. Whatever one may think about these opinions, it is indisputable that these people had the right to peaceably assemble and express themselves in this fashion, regardless of how that expression may run counter to that of our political and media elites.

And it must be noted that the march was not just “mostly peaceful,” as those same political and media elites describe so many leftist protests that result in looting, vandalism, and arson. It was entirely peaceful, that is until the marchers were set upon by roving bands of BLM and Antifa thugs who, like packs of hyenas, attacked unfortunate Trump supporters who had straggled from the safety of the larger group, stealing their hats, flags, and in some cases committing felony assaults against them.

Can you hear the people sing?

As is their wont, mainstream media outlets called these incidents “clashes” between opposing groups, as though there were some doubt as to which side instigated the violence. Typical was CNN, whose report begins thus: “Anti-Trump protesters clashed with supporters of the President and law enforcement Saturday evening in the nation’s capital as they tried to make their way to a hotel where Trump supporters were staying.”

One can well imagine how CNN and their ilk would report matters if there had been even the slightest evidence that Trump loyalists had been the aggressors in these “clashes.” Indeed, though CNN was meticulous in naming the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters among the Trump supporters, implying without actually stating that these groups were the source of the troubles, nowhere in their report will you find any reference to Antifa or Black Lives Matter.

This is the type of willful blindness that arouses suspicion and contempt of the mainstream media among conservatives, even those who under ordinary circumstances would be disdainful of groups like the Proud Boys but nonetheless would stand with them if forced to choose between them and the Marxist attack squads seen terrorizing senior citizens, women, and children on Saturday.

All of which raises the question: Now what? Will the 73 million Americans who voted for Trump, even those who never considered attending a rally or sporting a MAGA hat, will they allow themselves to be abused in public by these self-appointed monitors of public discourse? If we assume Joe Biden is sworn in as president on January 20, dare we also assume he will make any effort to tame these violent fringes of the far left?

How many more times will we see people accosted on restaurant patios and bullied into repeating some favored phrase or raising a fist in feigned solidarity with those who would upend the tables (or worse) if the diners fail to comply? There is little in Biden’s lengthy career to suggest he would so much as utter a mild condemnation of these tactics, much less lift a finger to stop them. Never a man of any discernible principles or convictions, Biden has become even more of a political windsock in his old age, and within his party the wind is blowing hard leftward.

Outside his party, not so much. But sadly those 73 million Trump voters are coming to realize that America’s police, at least those in major cities, are being rendered powerless to stand in the way of this thuggery. Our large cities are governed by people whose sympathies are aligned with those of the thugs, and cops are finding that even when they are allowed to make arrests in cases of political violence, the perpetrators are released without bail and prosecutors decline to file charges. Unsurprisingly, police officers are asking themselves, “Why bother?”

BLM down: is turnabout fair play?

With the collapse of these traditional safeguards, Americans find themselves increasingly on their own in matters of self-defense. Fortunately, at least until the leftists can devise a way around it, the Second Amendment still stands.

I don’t intend anyone to take this as an endorsement of vigilantism or of disproportionate response to being hectored on the street, but we have seen, most recently in Washington, D.C., but also in many other cities during these months of protests, incidents in which innocent people have been knocked unconscious, menaced with weapons, or forced to flee for their lives under a hail of potentially deadly fireworks and other explosives.

Any American has the right to use reasonable force to defend himself against such attacks. It’s time we saw more of them do so.

À la lanterne!

Maybe I’ve got the date wrong, but although the Biden presidency doesn’t actually start for another ten weeks on Inauguration Day, January the 20th, its more progressive supporters are already ordering guillotines and tumbrils for the following day. That’s a metaphor, of course, even though the noisy Portland wing of the quiet revolution did erect a guillotine in the suburbs and even guillotined a teddy bear (“Teddy” being the Mayor’s name) on it while in Seattle the social justice warrior crowd wrote “Guillotine Jenny” on the walls (Jenny being the name of Seattle’s Mayor.)

If that were the extent of the outrages, we might put it down to high spirits (though the Seattle and Portland mobs never seemed especially jolly, and they left real victims of their street theater injured and hospitalized after the curtain fell). But the theme of purging and punishing the pre-November criminals of “the Trump regime” (the Trump administration to the rest of us) is being taken up by outwardly more respectable people.

On the way to meet Le Rasoir National.

And it can’t be explained solely by the joy of “liberation” that has seemingly gripped the mass media and the political class since the networks proclaimed Biden president. It started well before the election campaign. Back in the summer a group of about 100 Democrats and Republican Never-Trumpers from politics, the media, and academia met over several days “to conduct simulations of the 2020 presidential election . . . out of concern that the Trump administration may seek to manipulate the results.” As I argued in National Review, it was largely an exercise in promoting the fear that Trump would unconstitutionally seize power while actually laying out a scenario as to how the Democrats could do so. So it was both an exercise in Freudian projection and a leftist wet dream.

But it became more sinister in an appendix when it discussed how a victorious Left in a Biden administration would deal with the remnants of the Trump administration after taking power. The gathering didn’t reach a decision on which actions to take against Trump family members or senior administration officials—understandably so since many of those sitting around the table might themselves be vulnerable to similar political reprisals one day.

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What, though, about the broader Trump movement and the Republican party? Here the Transition Integrity Project was shockingly candid in that oddly impersonal language the Left likes to use when proposing its own crimes:

More broadly, there needs to be a robust, intentional, and specific strategy to challenge the white supremacist and extremist networks that enabled Trump’s rise to power and were in turn enabled by Trump’s administration. This base will not automatically demobilize if and when Trump leaves office, and it is inimical to the kind of pluralist democracy the founders intended.

“ . . .will not automatically demobilize.” So if the Trump movement won’t automatically demobilize, what then? Isn’t that obvious? It will have to be demobilized by a “robust, intentional, and specific strategy to challenge” what the Left has declared are its “white supremacist and extremist networks.” After all, it’s what “the founders intended.”

That was before the election, and it was written in the appendix to a document that few people were likely to see and which was designed to attack an administration rather than to urge it on to greater efforts. Since the election the sound has been turned up, and the message is clearer and less subtle. Here are a couple of examples in recent days:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, re-elected as a Congresswoman, urges people to start preparing briefs for the prosecution right away:

There’s even now a new website, titled the Trump Accountability Project, which has issued a statement of principles for holding Trump veterans to account as follows:

Those who took a paycheck from the Trump Administration should not profit from their efforts to tear our democracy apart. The world should never forget those who, when faced with a decision, chose to put their money, their time, and their reputations behind separating children from their families, encouraging racism and anti-Semitism, and negligently causing the unnecessary loss of life and economic devastation from our country's failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's slightly embarrassing, I suppose, that the very first example of Trump perfidy that the statement selects—putting children in cages—has already been exposed on Twitter (with the evidence of photographs) as a program launched and implemented by the Obama administration. And the group’s website suggests that it’s little more as yet than a bright idea. But it’s already spreading across the internet like Covid-19; it’s guaranteed to get generous funding via all the groups advertising it; and to judge from the Twitter responses to Rubin,  Ocasio-Cortez, and others, there’s a large audience of Robespierres and Madame Defarges out there at the foot of the guillotine.

Le Glaive de la Liberté awaits.

My suspicion is that a new Southern Poverty Law Center has been launched with all that means for the criminalization of political differences, the destruction of innocent people’s reputations, the promotion of guilt by association . . . this time with the Republican party, and the making of large sums of money from the sins of calumny and detraction. All that’s in doubt is whether the Lincoln Project will be able to clamber aboard the bandwagon and, if it does, whether it will have to sit at the back of it.

Well, the Republican party can take good care of itself, and probably so can Donald Trump, though he won’t have the protective phalanx of media and Big Tech protesters that have surrounded Joe and Hunter Biden since their scandals broke. What should worry moderate liberals and Democrats, however, is that the crimes for which Trump veterans will be supposedly held accountable don’t seem to have been passed into law by Congress or state legislatures as yet. They cover a great many issues that until now have been treated as matters of legitimate political, scientific, and moral debate, including such rarefied offenses as being skeptical about climate change.

That’s a crime that would imprison a great many dedicated scientific researchers as well as destroying the big oil companies and maybe entire industries without any idea of how to keep the world warm or air-conditioned in the perhaps long interval before someone makes a series of vital technical breakthroughs. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has already notified Shell in a tweet that she will hold the oil company accountable for the  production and consumption of fossil fuels in the last few decades.

The awkward fact is that the oil companies were going about their business with the support and legal protection of both American political parties. Moreover, governments of both parties not only gave subsidies to fossil fuel companies but also lived on their immoral earnings through taxation. Any prosecution of members of these criminal governments would have to include people like President Obama and the Clinton family.

No legal system worth the name allows selective prosecution on political grounds, and that should protect the more obvious civil rights of former government officials such as not being fined or imprisoned for non-existent offences. But we have recently seen selective law enforcement in Seattle and Portland, and we can’t rule out that this might spread upwards from the police to the courts, especially since the Trump accountability vigilantes intend to go after federal judges appointed by the current President too.

Legal prosecutions may not be needed, however, if the sans culottes are content with punishing the Trump veterans—as some say they are—by dismissing them from jobs, removing their ability to use social media, preventing their access to college or scholarships, making the expression of their political opinions unlawful by expanding the range of the legally unsayable, removing certain scientific disciplines (e.g., biology, military research, police education) from the availability of government finance, and in general by creating a new “unprotected class” in law and bureaucratic practice.

The first amendment, if it survives, would prevent government doing many of these things, but again, as we have seen recently, corporations, colleges, the media and Big Tech have done them all the same. And the chances of expanding civil rights legislation to cover Trumpian political opinions doesn’t seem likely to be a high priority for the presumptive Biden-Harris administration.

Moi, aussi?

Yes, this is a worst case scenario, I concede. But the nature of revolutions is that they go faster and further than anyone expects at the start—and especially than the moderate revolutionaries and their “enablers” expect. Their revolutionary doctrines spread from the narrow field of politics to almost every category of work and social life. And the classes of those suspected of being enemies of the revolution spread too until they include more and more of the revolutionaries themselves -- shortly after which the revolution either collapses or becomes an undisguised despotism.

So spend a hour or two on Twitter and then tell me: where's the bright side?

Voting in a W.A.S.P. nest

I rolled out of bed before six this morning, threw on some clothes, and hopped into the car to go and vote. I was hoping to beat the lines and then get home quickly for my first cup of coffee.

Well, no such luck. Despite the near freezing weather, the line in my small New England town was around the block by the time I got there, Baby Boomers as far as the eye could see. I guess I should have waited for that coffee.

I shouldn't be surprised, of course. I hang my hat in W.A.S.P. country these days, and while the prevailing wisdom (and social science data) holds that Mainline Protestant affiliation is in steep decline, the truth of the matter is that the theological character of those once prominent sects has actually just shifted in a worldly direction, such that woke virtue signaling now occupies the space once held by creeds and confessions.

Cancelling and shame storming modern reprobates has replaced more traditional W.A.S.P. practices, but in the age of Donald Trump, voting has become the biggest virtue signal of all -- provided, of course, that you're voting that Orange Man Bad. Consequently, this line -- full of people in designer jeans, with the slightest hint of the dear old Ivy League in their accents, and air of never having a single thought that isn't preapproved by the New York Times editorial board -- had the atmosphere of a religious rite. The earliest protestants reduced the number of sacraments from seven to three, but it seems that their distant progeny have reduced them even further, to one: voting.

Game Day.

And it was livelier than a June wedding. People were taking selfies, wearing sweaters that said "Vote!" One (gray-haired) woman greeted some friends and, referring to the number of people, exclaimed, "This is the coolest thing I've ever seen!" This despite the fact that we don't live in a swing state, and the allocation of our seven electoral votes is a foregone conclusion.

As the line inched forward, I couldn't help but feel that this all reeked of privilege. Many conservatives, me included, guffawed at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's recent claim that long lines were a sign of voter suppression, even when they're "happening in a blue state." AOC's New York is, of course, just terribly governed, as the pandemic and this election season should make plain to everyone.

But there is a concern here. Before me were a bunch of affluent people who probably had no real work to do until their afternoon Zoom meeting. It costs them nothing to stand in line for hours to vote for the Wall Street candidate, more COVID hysteria, and the destruction of blue collar jobs. Then they can head home, park their electric cars in their heated driveways, and futz around until its time to watch election returns on MSNBC.

But how many regular working people -- plumbers, electricians, construction workers, even cops and firemen -- who have good reason to fear the further empowerment of the left in this country, looked at those lines and said to themselves "I don't have time for this"?

Well, hopefully they make it through in the end. If not in my neck of the woods, at least in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and everywhere else where their votes really count and their livelihoods are under assault. It'd be nice to see the smug liberals I saw this morning mugged by reality, just like four years ago.