Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Red flag laws are generally a bad idea.  They are a symptom of a malady pols on both sides of the aisle are all too likely to indulge in nowadays – the pathological need to be seen as “doing something.”  In fact, these laws violate a number of Consitutionally-guaranteed rights.  Excerpt:

Under pressure to “do something” about mass killings, some Republican politicians have followed their Democrat counterparts by endorsing red flag laws. These laws authorize confiscation of firearms if a judge finds the owner poses a risk to himself or others.

But the history of red flag laws should make those politicians reconsider.

Modern red flag laws deny gun owners prior notice or a chance to defend themselves against an initial confiscation order. A judge may issue the order after an uncontested hearing. In some states, the person seeking the order is held to a relatively low burden of proof.

This disregard for due process would be wrong even if red flag laws were proven effective. But the few studies on the subject suggest they are not. One study even concludes that these measures may increase rape.

In politics, if we know a proposal doesn’t serve its advertised purpose, then the advertised purpose usually is not the real one. In this case, the dominant motive seems to be to take guns away from people, despite the undeniable role of firearms in self-defense and crime prevention.

Ironically, by adopting the term “red flag law,” promoters inadvertently admitted their real motive is not safety.  This is because the phrase “red flag law” has been proverbial for an enactment masquerading as a safety measure but really passed for more sinister reasons.

These laws violate our Bill of Rights guarantees in several ways:

  • 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures
  • 5th Amendment guarantees of due process
  • 6th Amendment right to confront an accuser.

But, at least, politicians can claim to have “done something.”

As we’ll examine in more depth on Friday, there is little or no impetus at any level of government to actually identify the underlying causes of things like mass shootings – and nobody in politics or media seems to give an ounce of crap about the death tolls in places like Baltimore or Chicago, which experience the equivalent of a highly-publicized mass shooting on any given weekend.

Instead, the media’s concern is ratings, and the pol’s concern is grandstanding.  Facts be damned.

It’s a fine damn pass we’ve come to.

Animal’s Daily 4th Amendment News

Before we proceed, go read my latest over at Glibertarians – this week I discuss the Gold Standard of pump shotguns, the Winchester Model 12.

On (heavily subsidized and losing money regardless) Amtrak, DEA agents are conducting searches, seemingly-but-not-really at random.  Excerpt:

Cops patrolling train stations are typically using a tactic that law enforcement calls the “cold consent encounter,” so named because they approach people cold, on thin evidence they are drug couriers, and passengers consent to the searches, at least according to the officers’ versions of events.

It’s a legal loophole of sorts, commonly used by DEA agents working mass transit to get around the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects people from unreasonable searches. (Travelers can’t decline a search once a drug dog makes a positive hit, however.)

The American Civil Liberties Union has described cold consent encounters as “definitely cold, not so consensual.” And the ACLU of New Mexico criticized Amtrak in particular for its “insidious alliance” with the DEA, after some information about the DEA’s monitoring of train travelers came out in a drug trafficking trial in 2001.

ACLU New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson said that travelers who are approached on the train or other mass transit often don’t know that they have the right to refuse police searches. Especially troubling to him is research showing that police, when acting on hunches rather than hard evidence, are more likely to let subconscious racial bias creep into their work.

I don’t often side with the ACLU, but they’re right in this case.  In part because of the utter failure of our education system to teach Civics, including such things as the Fourth Amendment, most travelers don’t realize that they have the option to say “no” when asked by a badge-bearing Fed if he can look in their luggage.

Of course, these days we put up with all sorts of invasions of our privacy.  If you go through security at an airport, you are effectively giving consent to have TSA agents paw through your luggage – and maybe your person.  But these Amtrak riders seem all too willing to meekly agree to searches.

I could tell you a story about when I was seventeen, and drove to a town in a neighboring county on a Saturday night to see if Howard County girls were any prettier than Allamakee and Winneshiek County girls.  (I didn’t notice much difference.)

A local cop, seeing a kid and a car he didn’t recognize, pulled me over on the pretext that the fog lamps on my car may have been too close to the ground and he wanted to measure them.  When that was done, and when he not-too-subtly played his flashlight beam around the inside of my car, he asked if he could look in the trunk.

“No,” I told him.

“Why not?” the cop asked.

“Because I don’t have to let you,” I replied.

Even then, in the late Seventies, I don’t think he expected that answer from a teenage boy.  But I maintain to this day it was the right answer.  It’s too bad more of these Amtrak riders don’t realize that.

Goodbye, Blue (Labor Day) Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!  Thanks also to our blogger pals Doug and Ed over at The Daley Gator for the linkback.  If The Daley Gator isn’t on your blogroll, it should be.

On Saturday last I took my new (old, made in 1942) Winchester Model 12 Black Diamond to the trap range.  I shot two rounds of 12-yard singles, hitting 23 and 23.  Not too bad, considering it’s the first time I fired the gun.  A couple of things  stood out:

  1. In those years, when Winchester said “Full choke,” they meant full-damn-choke.  The choke on that gun is as tight as a bull’s ass in fly season.  On a lot of my hits I was just ticking the edge of the bird.  You have to be right on the bird to dust it.
  2. The straight-grip stock will take some getting used to.  I’ve only owned shotguns with what we think of as standard pistol-grip stocks.
  3. The big wide rib and contrasting beads make picking up the birds quickly almost ridiculously easy.

I’m going to like this gun a lot, even if it is, as a dedicated trap gun, kind of a one-trick pony.

Model 12 Black Diamond

It’s Labor Day, so before we get on with all the nothing we’re planning to spend today doing, here are a few links.

Why do people believe in curses?  Well, I can think of two reasons:  Ignorance and stupidity.  Pretty much the same reasons people think of socialism as an effective economic system.

What it feels like to eject from a plane.  Not something I’ve ever been tempted to try, personally.

Amazon lists unauthorized cell phone signal boosters.  Unauthorized?   OMG UNAUTHORIZED!  We need more government over here STAT!

And on that note, we wish you a safe, happy and restful Labor Day.

Rule Five Cato’s Letters Friday

I’ve been re-reading Cato’s Letters, or Essays on Liberty Civil and Religious and Other Important Subjects (Complete), a series of essays  published by “The Library of Alexandria” and compiled by two characters using the nom de plumes John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon.  The essays were first published from 1720 to 1723 and formed a strong influence on the thinking of many of our Founding Fathers.

Named for the famous Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato, he of the staunch republican opinions, the notorious Stoic who opposed the tyranny of Caesar unto his last breath, the Letters are a pioneering set of statements in favor of the principles of liberty, and of limits on and accountability of government.

From Wikipedia:  The Letters are considered a seminal work in the tradition of the Commonwealth men. The 144 essays were published originally in the London Journal, later in the British Journal, condemning corruption and lack of morality within the British political system and warning against tyranny.

I can’t recommend this work strongly enough.  A statement you’ll see just over to the right, one of the two founding sentiments of this blog, is from the Letters:  Nisi forte non de serveitute, sed de conditione serviendi, recusandum est a nobis or, in English, “We do not dispute about the qualifications of a master, for we will have no master.”

Damn right.

A few interesting excerpts follow.

From No. 11, The Justice and Necessity of punishing great Crimes, though committed against no subsisting Law of the State. 

Laws, for the most part, do not make crimes, but suit and adapt punishments to such actions as all mankind knew to be crimes before. And though national governments should never enact any positive laws, never annex particular penalties to known offences; yet they would have a right, and it would be their duty to punish those offences according to their best discretion; much more so, if the crimes committed are so great, that no human wisdom could foresee that any man could be wicked and desperate enough to commit them.

In other words, one of the few legitimate roles of government is protecting citizens from being deprived of their property by force or by fraud; but, should government fail in that task, the citizen has a moral right to redress by other means.

From No. 15, Of Freedom of Speech:  That the same is inseparable from publick Liberty.

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as publick liberty, without freedom of speech: Which is the right of every man, as far as by it he does not hurt and control the right of another; and this is the only check which it ought to suffer, the only bounds which it ought to know.

The only limits to freedom of speech, then, are that one may not cause physical or financial harm to another.  Thus incitements to violence are not protected, nor is slander or libel.  But “hate speech,” by which term many today choose to define as “speech I don’t agree with” not only is protected, but must be protected, else the very concept of freedom of speech is meaningless.

From No. 33, Cautions against the natural Encroachments of Power.

It is nothing strange, that men, who think themselves unaccountable, should act unaccountably, and that all men would be unaccountable if they could: Even those who have done nothing to displease, do not know but some time or other they may; and no man cares to be at the entire mercy of another. Hence it is, that if every man had his will, all men would exercise dominion, and no man would suffer it. It is therefore owing more to the necessities of men, than to their inclinations, that they have put themselves at last that he might do what he would, he let loose his appetite for blood, and committed such mighty, such monstrous, such unnatural slaughters and outrages, as none but a heart bent on the study of cruelty could have devised.

To simplify:  Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It’s important to remember the context of the times in which these essays were written.  The early 18th century was a time when slavery was broadly accepted, when pirates were hanged without trials, when women were excluded from government altogether.  But the Letters are nonetheless an opening shot in the battle which continues today, here in the United States, where encroachments on liberty are daily proposed.

Go, then, and read these works.  You can get a free Kindle app for a PC and the Kindle version (linked above) is only four bucks.  You could hardly find a better way to spend four bucks.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

We had an evening flight last night and I have an early morning teleconference in an hour or so, so today it’s random notes and links.

Upside:  Mrs. A and yr. obdt. are home in Colorado for the long weekend.  I have a new shootin’ iron, a 1942 Winchester Model 12 Black Diamond trap gun, so I’ll be going out to the club to shoot a few rounds of trap; watch these virtual pages for a report.

Now, on to the links:

Our species, it has long been known, once went through a pretty tight genetic bottleneck.  Now there are some more details about what may have caused that bottleneck.

Crows are getting high cholesterol.  From cheeseburgers.  Yes, really.

Elsewhere, feral hogs are, well, making pigs of themselves.  As a public service, I offer aid to any landowners with feral hog problems; I have a good rifle and am willing to arrange a time to come remove some of the beasts in question.

Taxes are going up in many states, but the roads still suck.

From one of my fellow Glibertarians, some thoughts on competition and the public sector.

Also, if you aren’t reading the morning and evening links over at Glibertarians, you ought to be.  There’s a wealth of other good content as well, plus you can read the comments without losing IQ points, which is more than I can say for most poltical/social commentary sites.

Today’s purely gratuitous totty is for blogger pal and long-time reader Andrew Pearce; Andrew, I believe you spotted the young lady in the center here in Tuesday’s post:

And on that note, we return you to  your Thursday, already in progress.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

If there’s even a hint of truth to this, the schadenfreude will flow like the sweetest of sweet wines.  Excerpt:

A Washington, DC, mom says her political-consultant husband left her for Rep. Ilhan Omar, according to a bombshell divorce filing obtained by The Post.

Dr. Beth Mynett says her cheating spouse, Tim Mynett, told her in April that he was having an affair with the Somali-born US representative — and that he even made a “shocking declaration of love” for the Minnesota congresswoman before he ditched his wife, alleges the filing, submitted in DC Superior Court on Tuesday.

The physician, 55, and her 38-year-old husband — who has worked for left-wing Democrats such as Omar and her Minnesota predecessor, Keith Ellison — have a 13-year-old son together.

“The parties physically separated on or about April 7, 2019, when Defendant told Plaintiff that he was romantically involved with and in love with another woman, Ilhan Omar,” the court papers say.

So, Representative Omar committed adultery?  That’s worse than marrying her brother to aid him in committing immigration and student loan fraud, I think, and would get her stoned to death in the Third World shithole she left behind when she came here to begin her career of bad-mouthing her adopted homeland.

But here’s the onion:

The 37-year-old congresswoman and mom of three paid Tim Mynett and his E. Street Group approximately $230,000 through her campaign since 2018 for fundraising consulting, digital communications, internet advertising and travel expenses.

Omar was spotted enjoying time with Tim Mynett at a California restaurant in March.

So not only is Rep. Omar an adultress, she is arguably guilty of fraud in what has to be an instance of her feathering her love nest.

Really, folks, if the Nut Squad didn’t exist, one would hope someone in the GOP would have had enough wit to invent them.  (That probably assumes facts not in evidence.)  President Trump should, in the course of his campaign, be slapping his opponent with the Nut Squad at every turn; campaigns on both sides have always used painting with a broad brush as a tactic, and it’s a tactic at which the President excels.

The silly season hasn’t even really started yet, and already, things are getting pretty entertaining.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

Be sure to check out my latest at Glibertarians, Profiles in Toxic Masculinity IV: Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis.

Some random notes from this (early) morning’s news crawl:

This just in from the New York Times – bedbugs.  It would be funny if it wasn’t so ironic.

There’s a new Star Wars Episode something-or-other trailer.  I’m not sure what to think.  Check it out for yourself:

Robert Stacy McCain’s linkage compiler and our good friend Wombat-socho has some thoughts on protecting the conservative and libertarian blogosphere.

Duck.

Duck.

Goose.

Crazy Eyes opines on the Electoral College, once more proving Abraham Lincoln’s thesis that “…it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

Remind me again, who is the party of peace and tolerance?

Not my monkey, not my zoo.

Not my pig, not my farm.

America’s poor:  Some of the richest people in human history.

The two young ladies pictured below have nothing to do with any of the stories above.  Their appearance here is purely gratuitous.

On that watery note, we return you to your Tuesday, already in progress.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, The Other McCain and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!

Justice Ginsburg is having more health issues; if she dies or is forced to resign, David Axelrod is claiming that the next Trump appointee will face a battle that makes the Kavanaugh hearings look like a schoolyard scrap.   Uh huh. Excerpt:

A former Obama adviser set the stage for a potentially nasty confirmation fight in the Senate next year within an hour of the Supreme Court announcing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently completed three weeks of radiation treatment after doctors found a localized cancerous tumor on her pancreas.

“If there is a SCOTUS vacancy next year and @senatemajldr carries through on his extraordinary promise to fill it-despite his own previous precedent in blocking Garland-it will tear this country apart,” David Axelrod said in a tweet Friday afternoon.

He was referring to how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this year that the Senate would consider a presidential nominee to fill a vacancy on the court if one occurred in 2020.

“Oh, we’d fill it,” the Kentucky Republican said at an event in May.

That upset Democrats who remember the role McConnell played in blocking consideration of then-President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. At the time, he defended Republicans’ decision not to hold a confirmation hearing for Garland because it was a presidential election year.

To the paragraph immediately above I can only say this:  Politics is a nasty business, and were positions reversed, I’m abso-damn-lutely certain Chuck Schumer would have done the same thing.  When worn on the other foot, the shoe pinches.

But, yes, should President Trump get another appointment, which he almost certainly will, watch – the long knives will indeed come out.  It won’t matter who he nominates; the Democrats will dig into every possible aspect of the nominee’s background, down to and including his/her kindergarten teacher:  “Judge (Name), I have hear a sworn deposition from Mrs. Karen McGillicuddy, your Goforth Elementary school kindergarten teacer, that you once refused to help clean the chalkboard erasers alongside a student of color.  Now we demand a response to these allegations!”

It’s going to be epic.  And it’s going to be silly.  And, barring some sort of upset in the Senate in November 2020, which doesn’t look likely, Trump will eventually win, and his nominee will be seated on the Court.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.