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The attacks on Paul Pelosi and Gabby Giffords: some parallels

There is no doubt that Paul Pelosi, husband of Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, has been the victim of a vicious assault. There is no doubt that the person who carried out this attack was David DePape. There is widespread doubt about many other aspects of the story. The most common theory is that far from breaking into to the Pelosi residence as an assassin, DePape was invited in as a male prostitute, only for the two men to quarrel over payment or drugs. I will not rehash the arguments put forward in support of this theory, which are available to be read all over the internet. I do wish to stress that if all or any of this is true, it in no way excuses the crime. It would, however, make it a different type of crime from the one the media say it is.

The media would have you believe that these doubts come only from mad conspiracy theorists. They are not helping their case by silently changing details of their own reporting.

Look at these screenshots of two Politico accounts of this story, presented side by side by Stephen L. Miller under the apt caption “Seriously WTF”.

The screenshot on the right takes you to a Politico story about the attack on Paul Pelosi written by Jeremy B. White and Nicholas Wu. I was familiar with this version because I had read it myself a few hours earlier. The title is “Police offer new details in Paul Pelosi assault” and the dateline (in American format) is given as 10/28/2022 09:46 PM EDT. The URL is https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/28/police-pelosi-attack-intentional-00064098. Do I labour the point? That’s because I think this version of the story will disappear soon. Read it while you can. It says:

David DePape forced his way into the home through a back entrance, Scott said. Officers arrived at the house, knocked on the front door and were let inside by an unknown person. They discovered DePape and Pelosi struggling for a hammer, and after they instructed them to drop the weapon, Scott said, DePape took the hammer and “violently attacked” Pelosi.

The screenshot on the left takes you to another Politico story about the attack, this time written by Adam Wren. The title is “Prominent conservatives share online disinformation about Paul Pelosi assault”, and the dateline is “10/31/2022 11:47 AM EDT Updated: 10/31/2022 12:44 PM EDT”. The URL is https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/31/conservatives-disinformation-paul-pelosi-assault-00064208. That version says,

Beyond Trump Jr. and Higgins, pro-Trump commentators from Charlie Kirk to former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. also weighed in online to raise questions about the investigation based on unfounded and false claims. Among those baseless claims: that a third person answered the door when police arrived at the Pelosi home, which San Francisco law enforcement has said is untrue; and that DePape was in his underwear when apprehended, a falsehood taken from a since-corrected local news report.

Politico does not allow comments, otherwise I would have signed up to say that they really ought to mention that the people believing and spreading these “baseless, false and unfounded claims” included Politico’s own reporters three days earlier. Odder yet, today’s story says at the bottom that “Jeremy B. White, Olivia Beavers and Jordain Carney contributed to this report.” Jeremy B. White is one of the two authors of the 28th October story. I wonder how Mr White felt about his colleague implicitly describing him as a propagator of disinformation. Note: I take no position on whether the earlier reporting (that a third person was present) or the later reporting (that no third person was present) was wrong. Nor am I criticising Politico for initially getting it wrong, if they did, and then correcting their earlier report. It is commonplace for first reports of a crime to be confused. My criticism is that Politico now pretend that the only people ever to have brought up this mysterious third person are pro-Trump partisans who made it up out of whole cloth, when that was exactly the impression gained by two of their own reporters, who got it at an official briefing by San Francisco police chief Bill Scott.

When I first heard about the attack on Mr Pelosi, I was instantly reminded of the 2011 attack on Representative Gabby Giffords carried out by Jared Lee Loughner. As described by Wikipedia,

On January 8, 2011, U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords and 18 others were shot during a constituent meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, in the Tucson metropolitan area. Six people were killed, including federal District Court Chief Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Giffords’s staffers; and a 9-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green.

The reason the attack on Paul Pelosi reminded me of the attack on Rep. Giffords is that the media blamed both on inflammatory Republican rhetoric. The same Wikipedia article also says,

Some commentators criticized the use of harsh political rhetoric in the United States, with a number blaming the political right wing for the shooting. In particular, Sarah Palin was criticized for a poster by her political action committee that featured stylized crosshairs on an electoral map which included Giffords.

The idea that Palin’s map incited Loughner’s crime has become an article of faith among Democrats. The New York Times Editorial Board unselfconsciously brought it up as a matter of settled fact six years later, in this June 2017 article about the attempted mass murder of Republican members of Congress at the Congressional Baseball game: “America’s Lethal Politics”. It said,

“Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, greviously wounded Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarh Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that puts Ms Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”

Despite the literally thousands of articles linking Loughner’s rampage to this obscure document, no shred of evidence has ever been presented that Loughner ever saw Palin’s map. I’ll say that again: No shred of evidence has ever been presented that Loughner ever saw Palin’s map.

I found that New York Times quote in this excellent 2017 article by Jessica McBride in Heavy.com with the title, “Jared Loughner’s Political Affiliation: Was He a Democrat or Republican?”

Jessica McBride also discusses the somewhat higher possibility of Loughner being inflamed by Republican rhetoric in a more general sense. According to his friends, he had started as a left winger, but as he sank deeper into drug-fuelled madness he latched onto extremist tropes taken indiscriminately from both left and right. Most of his beliefs defied normal categories: his specific grudge against Representative Giffords was that she had not answered to his satisfaction a bizarre question he had asked her at an earlier event, “What is government if words have no meaning?”

Like Loughner, David DePape was originally left wing, took a lot of drugs, and ended up in a different place. The evidence for DePape now being an actual right winger is somewhat stronger than it was for Loughner. Yes, he was living until three days ago in a stereotypical hippy commune, bedecked with Pride flags and Black Lives Matter posters. And he was a “body freedom activist”, which means nudist. Not your standard MAGA conservative. But his blog does seem to contain a fairly typical spread of right wing conspiracy theories. But the media’s antics regarding the Giffords case, alongside many other examples, have made it hard to take them seriously. Damned if I’ll be bounced into feeling guilty for distrusting the people who told me without evidence that Palin’s clip art incited Loughner, who said that only a racist would doubt that the Duke Lacrosse team gang-raped one woman and only a misogynist would doubt that a fraternity at the University of Virginia raped another, who said “#BelieveAllWomen” about Christine Blasey Ford but wouldn’t even say the name of Tara Reade, who told me that Trump had colluded with Russia, that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation, that the idea that Covid-19 might have come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was a racist conspiracy theory, and that the murderous BLM riots were “mostly peaceful”.

68 comments to The attacks on Paul Pelosi and Gabby Giffords: some parallels

  • bobby b

    Trust the authorities on this. They wouldn’t lie.

  • Snorri Godhi

    My initial reaction is that Niall takes much more trouble in making the case against American reportage than i should think necessary.

    Apart from that, i was struck by this:

    The most common theory is that far from breaking into to the Pelosi residence as an assassin, DePape was invited in as a male prostitute, only for the two men to quarrel over payment or drugs.

    How do you measure ‘commonality’?
    By what measure is this ‘the most common theory’?

    — Incidentally, i read Niall’s latest comment in another thread. Niall makes a cogent argument wrt a particular issue in an article (linked to by J. Pearce). I am writing this to inform him that the entire article strikes me as bizarre, but won’t go into details because it would be too far off topic, even by my own standards.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Snorri Godhi, this post isn’t by Niall Kilmartin, it’s by me, Natalie Solent.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    By “most common theory” I just meant that it’s what the great majority of those who doubt the official explanation of events at the Pelosi house in the early hours of October 28th seem to think actually happened, judging from their Twitter comments and blog posts.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Oh, you fooled me, Natalie: it seemed (to me) written in Niall style.

    I SHOULD have read the author’s name; and maybe i did, but i forgot it by the time i finished reading. Apologies.

    Anyway, by substituting the first “Niall” with “Natalie”, my comment still stands.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    I have known Niall since the early 1980s (AAAGH, how did I get so OLD?), so it’s very likely he has influenced the way I write and vice versa 🙂

  • “unfounded”, “false” and “baseless” – all within 7 words. Where the argument is weak, shout loudest.

    And yes, Snorri, I confirm the above post was in fact written by Natalie while wholly uninfluenced (save possibly by our decades of discussion) by me. Any claims to the contrary are incorrect (I do not feel the need to add that they’re also unfounded, false and baseless).

  • Steven R

    The only commonality is that the attackers were both nuttier than squirrel turds.

  • tr

    Suddenly, I am reminded of Nately’s Whore. I haven’t thought of Catch-22 in years.

  • bobby b

    The commonness of this version of the story comes from the fact that it is the most deliciously schadenfreude-ic version out there.

    We’d all simply love for it to be true!

    (And it retains every bit of the same level of believe-ability as does the official version. Wigged-out druggie can wander unnoticed at 2:30 a.m. into the supremely-well-guarded-and-videoed mansion of the person who is third in the US succession line to president? This is the best that the whores-peeing-in-Trump’s-bed people can come up with?)

    If they had simply let it go without trying to blame Republicans, we probably would have let it go, too. Too late for that.

  • Exasperated

    Agree, if the media hadn’t tried to spin it, the story wouldn’t have had legs. Now, I read everywhere that it was a date gone bad. The authorities undermined their own credibility with the strange news conference, and the media, by trying to game the story. Apparently, they are walking many of the details back. I don’t know how they can regain control of the narrative without releasing the security tapes.
    For my part, I think David dePape is a nutter and I don’t see any connection to MAGA or Republicans, lest we forget Populists can be left wing too.

  • Kirk

    Given that the left decided to immediately use this as an excuse to go after Republicans, the event has left the building of “personal business” and entered public politics. I’d be all for respecting the Pelosi’s privacy, but when they use something like this as an immediate point of attack, before even the initial investigation is done?

    Yeah. Sorry, you don’t get to make it a “private matter” once you’ve done that. The innuendo was made that this was some sort of Republican Ultra-MAGA attack on the saintly Pelosi family, smearing each and every Republican out there as a member of a lunatic extremist political party hell-bent on brutalizing the nation into a fascist dictatorship.

    You don’t get to walk that back and term it a “non-political matter”, once you’ve politicized it by smearing your opponent with responsibility for it.

    This whole thing is just another in a long line of attempts, so far fairly effective, to “other” the opponents of the Democrats, while painting them as violent radicals. Which is extremely provocative, and in dire need of stamping down, before they manage to spin this whole thing into an actual violent revolution because of their rhetoric.

    If you remember your history, this is pretty much exactly what the pro-slavery types did before the Civil War. Same parties, same playbook. Likely the same end-state, only with a lot more widespread violence because of the interlacing of all the various factions throughout the country.

    Supposedly, there were 81 million Biden voters. I find that hard to believe, given how little enthusiasm there was for him at the various rallies I witnessed, and how very few of his partisans seemed to bother with the sort of ground game that Obama had to play in order to get his electoral victory. There were no Biden crowds with signs out, anywhere near where I was, as there were for Obama. I don’t think it’s at all credible that he could have won the numbers he did with the utter lack of enthusiasm that his supposed adherents demonstrated.

    My suspicion is that there’s going to be a bunch of whackadoodle types playing Antifa revolutionary who’re going to wind up provoking a huge and very ugly counterreaction, which will then likely descend into chaos depending on how the Feds play it. Won’t be pretty, at all.

    I kinda hope that all of you folks out there in the rest of the world are mentally and physically prepared to go it alone for a few decades while the US sorts itself out. We’re way overdue for a reckoning with the idjit class, over here, and the way they’re moving? They’re going to provoke some very hard times coming down.

  • bobby b

    “We’re way overdue for a reckoning with the idjit class, over here, and the way they’re moving? They’re going to provoke some very hard times coming down.”

    I’m convinced that conservatives will hardly ever, if ever, go into reckoning mode. Some outlier types will – not all of the right are conservatives – but we’re not like the progressives who can riot and destroy and attack with cold abandon when they feel self-righteous. We just don’t do that. I still think that’s a good thing.

    But instead we’ll just spend the next two years acting victorious over how we’re being a sea anchor for the progressives’ larger movements and ideas, over how we’ve lowered the yearly spending rate of rise and slowed the social-transforming agenda.

    The progs won’t need to go for all-out reckoning, either. They can just sit back and encourage antifa-types and blm-types to wreak havoc, and then tsk-tsk about how we shouldn’t have provoked them.

    And I bet our R leaders can manage to screw up their coming two years of Congressional majorities enough so that electing a conservative president in 2024 is problematic.

  • Kirk

    @bobby b,

    You’re assuming that I’m talking about this from a Republican standpoint. I’m not; when the time comes, the Mitch McConnell types are going to be going up against the wall right next to the Nancy Pelosi ones.

    What is coming isn’t another factional swap that really isn’t a swap at all, because they’re all the same, in it together up at the national level. What is coming is a systemic deluge with all the idjit types being replaced, including the Republicans.

    It makes no damn difference who we elect on either side of the ticket. People are catching on to that crap, just like with good old McCain, who campaigned on doing away with Obamacare, but when he actually got re-elected and had a congressional majority plus the executive? What did he do? He voted against doing what he promised to.

    People are noticing that sort of thing, and one of the Republicans out canvassing around here even admits it. He’s gotten more anger thrown at him by the voters out here than the Democrat did, mostly because everyone expects the Democrat to be a crooked bastard. The Republican has had the fear of God put in him this election period because of what he’s heard from the voters, which scared the shit out of him. Apparently, someone he thought of as a staunch backer threw him off their property and offered to hang him for his trouble after some of the things that got through the legislature.

    I think that the status quo you’re laying out as the likely outcome of all this is a bit optimistic. I can feel an inflection point coming on, and I don’t think any of the current lot of idjits are going to do well in the aftermath. It will be ugly, and on a scale completely unforeseen. People are getting tired of being gaslit by both sides. The Democrats are idiots, and the Republicans are complicit lying bastards who promise to do something to stop the stupid, but actually don’t. Both parties are discrediting themselves, and when they’ve reached that saturation level, the solution is going to crystallize fast and hard around whatever catalyst shows up. Which way it goes, I have no idea. But it will go, and likely before too much longer.

    If the stupids dialed their stupid back a few notches, we might muddle through. But, they’re doubling down on it all, and the outcome is going to be epic.

  • bobby b

    I should have made this clear (and I didn’t): When I say Republicans above, I mean the new R’s – us – the real ones, not the Lincoln Project/GOPe types.

    The GOPe are really now just a spent force, at best throwing a vote or two, mostly just providing entertainment for all. Nobody respects them, from either direction, and this election cycle is not going to be kind to them.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    I think Michael Shellenberger’s recent book San Fransicko, and its explanation of the drug and mental illness policies that have fueled much of the mayhem in the Bay Area, and in places such as Oregon and Seattle, is worth reading. Here’s a video about him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKe_JnKa8E8

    Surely it must cross the minds (not a long journey) of even more “liberal” (translation, Leftist) voters in the West Coast that things are totally out of control and law enforcement needs to improve?

    From a libertarian point of view, much can be done to remove victimless crimes, but freedom has to come with responsibility: criminals who inflict actual harm against persons/their property must be made to restitute their victims in full, and put to work to do so. It’s not as if there is a shortage of things to do, such as cleaning up the mess and dirt in such cities, for instance.

    Looking beyond the immediate political dramas of the moment (the Mid-Terms, etc), surely it must occur to the vast majority of Americans that this wonderful country of their is losing its bearings? And I write that from the UK, where we cannot seem to control our own coastal borders and where a UK minister was this morning subjected to a hectoring interview with a BBC “journalist” for daring to suggest that what is going on is close to an invasion.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    FYI, my comment at 8:21 am is more aimed at the general awfulness of SF and the surrounding area, and the policies that have led to it for many years, rather than the immediate issues raised by Natalie. That said, I think her final paragraph is absolutely spot on. I am long gone in wanting to take lectures from people on such subjects unless they are willing to engage in honest and fair debate.

    I used to be a crime reporter in my cub journalist days, and it is true that accounts vary as cases progress. One difference is that in the UK, reporting on crimes appears to be a lot more restricted by things such as contempt of court law than is the case, as far as I can see, in the US. The way that active crime stories are politicized and turned into a circus in the US amazes me, although it is getting that way over this side of the Pond.

  • rhoda klapp

    Those who are inclined to question whether Depane really was in the least right-wing should be aware that the purported blogs were sites created on the day of the attacks and removed after a couple of days. The claim is that the state, probably in the shape of the FBI, has a number of these fake sites ready to call off when required.

    Obviously I have no idea whether somebody is lying, or everybody is. The chances of it all being true are vanishingly small.

  • llamas

    Just an old ex-copper’s observation on the issue of ‘how is it possible that a witless dope-fiend could have got past the inevitable security?’. It happens I was in UK last week, and this question was asked in the pub one night, and the location plus recent history caused me to remark that it’s not so very long ago that another witless idiot made his way into Buckingham Palace and was only apprehended after he had reached the bedroom of your late sovereign lady and was actually talking to her in her bed. Fancy security systems often seem to fail to detect the mildly-insane, who do things in unpredictable and irrational ways.

    And – riffing on another post – last day of October and I was not once accosted on the main street of a prosperous market town with ‘Pennyfortheguy?’. What the hell has become of the youth of Albion?



  • criminals who inflict actual harm against persons/their property must be made to restitute their victims in full, and put to work to do so.(Johnathan Pearce (London), November 1, 2022 at 8:21 am)

    It takes a lot of effort and ruthlessness to make criminals work, Johnathan. The mere effort tends to overcome any profit from not paying said criminals. Our current society is especially poor at being ruthlessness to those the left dubs ‘victims’, though good at being mean to the honest.

    1) ‘Effort’: work that could be done by paid unskilled honest people is instead to be done by criminals, overseen by people who must be paid to prevent them from committing more crimes while on-site, or from just escaping, or from making the job an endless tea-break. This costs. For example, the NKVD never managed to make their huge slave-labour empire actually pay for itself with the possible partial exceptions of (a) the slave-labour coal mines (a mine is a natural prison) which at times outperformed ‘free’ soviet mines (for what that is worth), and (b) setting up facilities in arctic conditions, where relative labour costs were much less than equivalent US ones. (Even here, the opportunity-cost to the soviet economy of converting highly-trained engineers into white-sea canal diggers must be ignored, but that’s off-point for this comment.) And of course (interacting with the ‘ruthlessness’ issue), Soviets use of punishment battalions for mine-clearing (by driving them in a crowd over the area to be cleared) and similar was undoubtedly viable.

    2) ‘Ruthlessness’: your picture of those tasked with making criminals work either includes whips (or similar) or, I suggest, risks becoming fanciful. The social evolution of whoever you recruit to do the enforcing should also be considered. Socialists (when stupid enough to be in some sense sincere) are always seeking to recruit the highmindedly-ruthless and ending up with the NKVD or similar – at once casually brutal, eagerly corrupt and very indifferent to the nominal moral end being pursued.

    Summary: I’m ready – a bleeding-heart liberal would say “eager” – to punish the guilty, but warn against thinking it easy to combine punishment with the competing ends of either profit or financial-cost-measured restitution. The more evil the criminal, the less this is practicable. You should decide what you want of a justice system and focus on that.

  • Martin

    Some things do seem to stink here about this, like the supposed lack of security, which seems implausible given the wife’s position in politics and the fact that they’re stinking rich.

    Anyway, if the official story is legitimate, it’s worth pointing out the Pelosis have helped to create the crime ridden cesspit much of urban California is today, and given their complete lack of sympathy for the working and lower middle class victims of such crime, they don’t deserve much sympathy. They broke the state, they bought it.

    If there is some kinky weird stuff going on, the media will release it only once Nancy is no longer useful to the Dems anymore.

  • Exasperated

    The attacker was being identified as a Right Wing, white supremacist and fascist before anyone knew his name or had attempted to check the backstory.

  • ” ‘forced to bear ridicule and slander’ – I notice they don’t say it was them doing all the ridiculing and slandering”, said Hermione. (‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’)

    At the risk of merely repeating Natalie, I remark that it does seem peculiarly crude of Politico to blame Trump Jr et al. for the crime of reading and repeating Politico’s two-and-half-days-earlier version of events, and peculiarly odd that the column is written in part by the same people.

    Glen Greenwald offers the career insecurity of today’s journalists to explain their readiness to unblushingly deny their own so-recent words. I suggest that journalists in journolist and its later variants have become accustomed to public self-criticism of their ideological errors along with the (Mao or Frankfurt-School or however derived) ideology itself. Cancel-culture is snitch culture: living in a hotbed of it teaches fear and ideology almost simultaneously, by experience even more than precept.

    Above all however, I wonder about whoever is curating the narrative. How are things operating that it seemed like a good idea to some Politco editor(s) (or persons above them) to run these two pieces so close together with such total absence of self-awareness? Do we assume it simply did not occur to the self-reversing journolist that reporting the changes as a correction to their own earlier story would retain more credibility? Or did it indeed occur, but such initiative had to be sacrificed to obedience to orders from some high-placed curator, or to the need to redeem their ‘error’?

    Common sense reacts to such an oddity by saying it must suddenly have been realised by someone that the true story was both a serious embarrassment at this time and dangerously deducible from the mundane facts their earlier reporting had not foreseen the need to exclude. And while such common sense could be wrong, or could be more right than my “over-thinking it” ideological speculations above, it still begs the question of why that common sense interpretation either did not occur to the self-reversing reporter, or did but could not affect their actions.

  • Paul Marks

    Why has the police bodycam film not been released?

    If Mr Pelosi and Mr DePape (a drug addicted illegal immigrant) were struggling over a hammer – who let the police into the house?

    If Mr DePape was a conservative, as the media claim, why was he living in a leftist commune?

  • Paul Marks

    In the case of Gabby Giffords, the media lies were extreme – for example the media (New York Times and so on) claimed that the shooter was anti-abortion – he turned out to be pro-abortion.

    The media have a record of politically motivated lying (to help the left – the “Progressive” cause of totalitarian collectivism) – that does NOT mean they lie all the time about everything, but it does mean one cannot take anything they say on trust.

  • Paul Marks

    The lies are not confined to the media – the go into the education system. For example, Americans are not taught by the schools and universities (as they should be) that President Kennedy was murdered by a Marxist – and was murdered because of acts that were considered anti-Marxist.

    Indeed, the long record of terrorism (reaching back into the 19th century) by Marxist and communal “anarchist” groups in the United States (the very many bombings, shootings and murderous acts of arson) are almost totally ignored by the schools and universities – as the education system is sympathetic to the anti-private property in the means of production agenda of the Marxists and communal “anarchists”.

    Indeed, even some rich “capitalists” are sympathetic to the collectivist totalitarian agenda – hence their backing of the election of pro crime (yes – pro crime) District Attorneys in American cities.

    The idea being that crime is “Social Justice” “Equity”.

    The chaos that one sees in such cities as San Francsico is the direct result of the policies backed by rich Democrats – somehow, they believe that everyone else can be robbed and violently attacked, but not themselves.

  • Kirk

    @Jonathan Pierce (London),

    “From a libertarian point of view, much can be done to remove victimless crimes, but freedom has to come with responsibility: criminals who inflict actual harm against persons/their property must be made to restitute their victims in full, and put to work to do so.”

    This is one case where I have a lot of problems with big-L “Libertarianism”. Shall we parse that, just a bit? “Victimless crimes”, they say: What, pray tell, are those?

    I’ll happily agree that there are a lot of things that ought not be criminalized, at all. Paint your house an electric shade of hot pink? Who cares? Shoot up drugs in a public place, leaving behind needles and other drug-taking detritus? Yeah; now I care.

    Certainly, it could be argued that the only person harmed by the drug-taking is the addict, but let us consider the “rest of the package” that goes with that public drug use. For one thing, it becomes “my business” as a citizen when I have to deal with discarded needles and so forth; for another, the drugged-out dipshit in the public spaces that the system taxes the crap out of me to pay for…? Yeah; emphatic “no” to that being a “victimless” situation. If I can’t go to the park that they extort from me to pay for at any time of the day or night and have the use of it, then they damn sure shouldn’t be taking my money in the first place, since they’re so cavalier about people abusing the locale.

    The other thing that the typical big-L Libertarian leaves out in their construction of “victimless crimes” is that there really are no such things. Bernard Kerik had his “broken windows” theory of crime, and that theory was fairly effectively proven by his tenure under Rudy Guilani as Mayor of New York. It’s the little things that matter; whether you like it or not, the whole “permissiveness” concept about public order and criminality is actually observably true. If you are a business owner and you have vagrants using your property as an open-air toilet, you call the police. Something gets done, the vagrants are properly and effectively dissuaded from doing that, and you’re happy; public order has been upheld. If you call the police to have them show up and ticket you for having human excrement on your loading dock, while doing nothing about the vagrants camping in clear view of your property, well… Yeah. What happens, then?

    You don’t enforce the little things, then they turn into big ones. If the average Joe thinks that calling the cops to deal with someone crapping on their sidewalk is an effective option, then they’ll do that. If not, then other alternatives become more attractive, ranging from “doing nothing at all while working towards moving away from the city” to “hiring local gang-banger to murder said defecating vagrant and dispose of the body”. None of which accrues to the positive in terms of that ephemeral notion of “public order”.

    That said, you do have to exercise caution about what you decide is criminal. If everyone gets their way when they say “There ought to be a law…”, then you’re rapidly going to reach a point where the lab animals are going to go catatonic, because they’re getting the electric shock of an aversive conditioning event for everything and anything they might do. People aren’t much different; the outcome for making everything criminal is not that people stop doing what you don’t want, which apparently is everything they could do, but that they start ignoring the law, period. Any law. Every law. All the damn time.

    You have to gauge these things carefully. Are you going to criminalize the things that really matter, nothing, or everything that you arbitrarily “don’t like”? I’d say that the critical point is to determine that central balance point, that of “does it really matter?”, and then work to rigorously enforce that, while ignoring the extraneous rest, despite the protestations of the local Karen community.

    If it’s been criminalized in the first place, then the construct “victimless crime” is a complete and utter oxymoron. Even a suicide has a victim; granted, a self-inflicted one, but a victim nonetheless. If you want to suggest that things shouldn’t be criminal in the first damn place, then one ought to say so, up front, instead of using that term “victimless” as a qualifier. If it’s a crime, then there are victims, even if those victims are the perpetrators themselves or the general public. What ought to be questioned here isn’t the existence of a victim, but whether or not that act ought to be criminalized in the first damn place.

    One of the hardest damn things for a young military leader of any persuasion, commissioned or non-commissioned, is that you have to learn that there are finite limits on your power and authority. Those limits are elastic; if you’ve got great gobs of credibility with the troops, you can issue the most insane commands and expect immediate enthusiastic obedience, even if you’re telling them to fall out wearing nothing but jockstraps and tennis shoes in sub-zero weather. You can probably get away with that a lot longer than any of us would prefer, being sane, but it is possible.

    The limit thing, though? That’s a real deal; you cannot constantly go to the bank of your “leadership credibility” and make continual withdrawals from it, willy-nilly. There are limits, hard ones: Never, they tell you, give an order you know will not be obeyed. Why? Because doing so makes it that much less likely that the next thing you command will be obeyed. Once the habit of obedience goes, so too goes the likelihood that they’ll listen to you, at all. About anything. Even threats to their own survival.

    So, you have to learn to husband your authority. Spend it wisely. Enhance it, and your credibility with the troops, because following someone into fire ain’t a natural act, and if you screw around with their perception that you’re acting in their ultimate interests, despite current conditions, they’ll quit following you. Followership is as important as leadership; one has to study that as carefully as one studies leadership. You go screwing around with the fundamentals, what you’re going to find out the day you stand up in front of the enemy and say “follow me!!!” is that there ain’t nobody standing up with you. The whole thing is an exercise in the willing suspension of disbelief, an act contrary to one’s prospects of personal survival.

    In the final analysis, “the Law” isn’t all that different.

    It’s the little things that get you. Public order is very similar; you have to persuade people to participate, to play the game. The construct of “victimless crime” turns that on its head. If it’s not got a “victim”, why then is it a crime in the first place? The root problem isn’t the victim or lack thereof, but your construction that something is a criminal act in the first place. You have to pick and choose what is important to enforce, properly prioritizing it all; if it isn’t important enough to enforce, then it shouldn’t be a crime in the first place.

    This goes back to my favorite analect of Confucius, the 13th. The Rectification of Names is vitally important, because when we adopt half-ass convoluted linguistic nonentities like “victimless crimes” to talk about these issues, what we’re really doing is ceding territory to the idiot class which has decided to criminalize everything, making enforcement effectively a valueless proposition. When the cops show up because you painted your house purple, what does that do to your perception of their import when they show up because you’ve had a weekend-long row with your family going that has kept the entire neighborhood awake?

    Criminalize the trivial, and you trivialize the law for everything. Sad fact of human nature, but there it is.

  • Paul Marks

    I do not regard stealing and attacking people as victimless crimes.

    And people who steal or attack people are normally released (without bail) by “Progressive” District Attorneys.

    Say Mr DePape had hit ME, Paul Marks, with a hammer – not Paul Pelosi.

    Mr DePape, if he had hit me with a hammer (say I was a tourist) would now be free – free to attack someone else.

    So, it is nothing really to do with “victimless crimes” – it is a matter of WHO is the victim.

    The Democrat Progressive Elite do not give a toss if ordinary people are robbed and attacked – but they care very much if they personally are attacked.

    That is what stinks.

  • Paul from Canada

    “…Criminalize the trivial, and you trivialize the law for everything….”

    The reason civilization exists at all, is because the vast majority of the people, the vast majority of the time, obey the law (and the other unwritten social rules), without thought and without having to be coerced.

    There are extremes of this, for example, I am reminded of an episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson asked a German guest what the penalty for driving without a valid license was in Germany. The startled man replied , “but you can’t!”. Or watching a German (or Canadian!), dutifully waiting for the light to turn green at two o’clock in the morning, without any other traffic in sight.

    Most people are not that extreme, but for the most part, obey, no matter how grudgingly. The more people do, the more successful the society. If everyone cheated on their taxes, that would be the end, as there are not nearly enough tax inspectors. There are enough to catch a number of blatent cheats, but not nearly enough to enforce the rules on everyone. Same with traffic rules. Where I live, most people speed, but only a bit, perhaps 10-20 kmh, beacause the cops can’t be everywhere, but the actual speed af traffic is only that 10-20 kmh higher. In other words, there is a consensus that a particular speed is acceptable, even if it is higher than the official one.

    Civilization is a thin veneer, a situation where we all agree (for the most part), to accept authority because the alternative is worse. However, like Kirk’s analogy of military authority, civil authority works the same way. Military obediance is a willing submission to the authority of the leadership, provided the leadership IS worthy of that trust and obedience. Once lost, it can’t be restored. Once the emperor is seen to have no clothes, that is it…..

  • Lee Moore

    As Niall says, finding a Jackson Pollock of “unfounded”s, “false”s and “baseless”s all over the place is a bit of a hint that we’re not looking at sober reportin’.

    But while we’re on the subject, when it comes to debunking right wing “myths”, the media seems to have decided that “false” is now a synonym for “unproven.” As in for example the ubiquitous use of “false” to describe Trumpy claims of 2020 election fiddling, or Covid lab leaks.

    Reporters who use “false” when they mean “unproven” are outing themselves as a “reporters.”

  • John

    With the midterms imminent can any of the US commenters explain why the Democrats, in control of Congress, Senate and White House, did not press for DC and Puerto Rico to be admitted as states 51 & 52 with the resultant certainty of 4 more Democrat senators in perpetuity.

    I have always grudgingly respected leftists for at least attempting to advance their agenda when in power so what stopped them this time? Would it have required a 2/3rds majority?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Say Mr DePape had hit ME, Paul Marks, with a hammer – not Paul Pelosi.

    Mr DePape, if he had hit me with a hammer (say I was a tourist) would now be free – free to attack someone else.

    So, it is nothing really to do with “victimless crimes” – it is a matter of WHO is the victim.

    The Democrat Progressive Elite do not give a toss if ordinary people are robbed and attacked – but they care very much if they personally are attacked.

    That is what stinks.

    This is also the message of this article (h/t Instapundit).
    Key quote:

    Democrat politicians and their legacy media praetorian guard are perfectly happy to run on policies that harm you and I, but that they assume won’t impact them.

    But when it does — when an illegal felon with a history of insanity living in a known drug den decides to strike an elite with a hammer, or when beleaguered border towns in Texas send illegal crossers to NY or DC — the policy changes, but only on a per case basis.

    This is the very essence of a two-tiered system of Justice.

    But Paul, and the article at the link, put too much emphasis on the Democrat-Media complex in my opinion. The fact is that ALL establishments, in every country, try to run a two-tiered system of justice.

    The only question is: do the people let the establishment get away with it?

    My guess is that Switzerland and the Nordic countries are the parts of Europe where the answer is most emphatically NO.

    The US does not do as well as some American exceptionalists delude themselves into thinking, but some States do better than others.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . can any of the US commenters explain why the Democrats, in control of Congress, Senate and White House, did not press for DC and Puerto Rico to be admitted as states 51 & 52 with the resultant certainty of 4 more Democrat senators in perpetuity.”

    They’ve been pushing this for decades. They simply don’t have the votes – not even the Democrats are monolithic on this issue. PR statehood would take a majority House and Senate vote, and a presidential signature – like any legislation. DC (being named in our Constitution in one specific role) would need a constitutional amendment – so, basically, a supermajority.

    If they try too hard, then we start looking at breaking Texas up into several conservative states, with additional Senators. It’s a one-up game. If we all play it, we end up with 153 states and 1277 Supreme Court Justices.

  • bobby b

    Paul Marks
    November 1, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    “And people who steal or attack people are normally released (without bail) by “Progressive” District Attorneys.”

    This strikes me as funny in some respects.

    This system of catch-and-release is a natural winner for U.S. libertarian thought. Our Constitution is clear that the state ought not be removing our liberty without a finding of guilty in a trial, or a plea. Someone merely arrested – accused – has not been found guilty, and so “preventative imprisonment” ought not be an option. (Exceptions for when the possible penalty for your crime is years and years in prison, of course. No one would come back for that.)

    The point of bail is simply to make sure someone comes back for their court experience. Expecting broke people to be able to come up with bail money seems a stretch – so what else works?

    We obviously don’t know the answer to that yet, but we shouldn’t simply decide to keep you in jail for a year so that you will show up for your misdemeanor trial where you might be sentenced to 90 days in jail.

    So the Dems here are pushing for the libertarian view, and the Republicans (and libertarians) are pushing for more state power in pretrial detention. Seems backwards.

  • I beg to suggest that bobby b (November 1, 2022 at 9:24 pm) – if not just playing Devil’s advocate 🙂 – is getting it backwards (or rather, omitting the key point of caprice). If DePape and the Jan 6th arrestees had the same experience of swift release as the Dem proteges, you could discuss whether it were libertarian. But when the state can hold you without trial for a long time or else revolving-door release you without bail, entirely on the political prejudices towards you of the party in power, then you are ruled by arbitrary power. English history demonstrates that harsh, honestly-enforced law is safer for liberty than capricious power.

  • Snorri Godhi

    PR statehood would take a majority House and Senate vote, and a presidential signature – like any legislation. DC (being named in our Constitution in one specific role) would need a constitutional amendment – so, basically, a supermajority.

    Good to know. I thought it would take more than simple majorities in the House & Senate to admit a new State to the Union.

    Just brainstorming here, but what about a deal? ‘We’ admit Puerto Rico as a State if New York or California is broken up into 2 States (one of them conservative).

    As for DC, i think that statehood should be out of the question. In fact, DC should lose its electoral votes. Out of principle: people dependent on government should not be able to vote for or against government. But i am not against its sending a few representatives to the House.

  • Subotai Bahadur

    If I may toss out a couple of thoughts about the press reaction to L’Affaire Pelosi, the press coverage reflects the differences in the medias of our two countries. On American media, all you see are talking heads, each giving their version of things with no evidence to back it up.

    Now British media are as beholden to the powerful interests in Britain as American media are to the American State. But, and it is a really big but, if the subject is something American they will actually commit an act called “journalism”. One of the key points involves the point and means of entry into the Pelosi house. Supposedly it involved breaking a window in the back of the house as an entry point. Something I have to bring up. I am a long retired Commissioned Peace Officer of the State of Colorado. I wore a badge for 28 years. I know a little something.

    American officials and commentators do not want to answer any questions about the window. I encountered a British paper (Daily Mail?) that had a picture of the window taken from the air. The window was broken, yes. But it was broken from the inside out, with the glass and part of the frame on the ground outside. You do not get that breaking in. And it is visibly heavyweight barrier glass if not bulletproof, which would make sense there. It is not going to get broken in any reasonable time with a simple carpenter’s hammer which is the only one produced in evidence. And breaking it, from the in-freaking-side is not going to be done either quietly or without setting off alarms. This is forensics that will catch the attention of any cop. Which may be why it is not being run in this country.

    The Daily Mail did today [11-1-22] run online a piece, with pictures, involving an interview with a woman who was the Pelosi’s next door neighbor for 10 years. There were more pictures of the layout of the Pelosi’s house, and her statement that the residence was always surrounded by SUV’s and uniformed and plainclothes Federal agents, whose communications regularly interfered with her own electronics next door. Simple question, where were they?

    It has also been noted that unusually for San Franciso proper, the Pelosi house is in a walled, restricted access, gated compound with security and cameras. And that all the neighbors have their own security systems and cameras. With the interviewed neighbor noting that the sound of a window being broken next door would set off her system, if not the Pelosi’s.

    Under American law, the Capitol Police, believe it or not, are responsible for protecting the residences of the top 6 people in Congress, which includes Speaker of the House Pelosi. And they work with the FBI and I believe the Secret Service [Pelosi as Speaker is third in line of succession if something happens to the President.] That is a lot of high powered security, and apparently not one of them was there. That just ain’t right. We are being lied to, crudely, with other changes in the stories being pulled out on a daily basis.

    Something more philosophical, if I may. I am quite taken with Thomas Hobbes, a British political scientist who inspired our own Founding Fathers. Every country, culture, and people have their own Social and Political Contract, and that Contract is what people use to judge the legitimacy of a ruling government and elites. Here, consent of the governed is key, and the will of the governed is measured by election results and the following of our Constitution and the law. Last election was such that between 1/4 and 1/3 of the people believe that the integrity of the vote count was deliberately compromised. And to be honest, in less than a week we face another national election and it is expected that the integrity of the count is being compromised with fake registrations and votes already. If the percentage of the people believing the elections are faked grows much more, our Contract is at deep risk of being voided, with all that implies.

    Now comes L’Affaire Pelosi, where it is obvious that the highest levels of our government are lying to us, blatantly and with contempt. And that the laws everybody else has to obey, do not count for the American Nomenklatura. Which is another serious attack on the Contract.

    Let me be clear. Despite the implications of the event, I do not care who or what Mr. Pelosi sleeps with as long as a) it is within the law and nobody is hurt, b) it does not open his Federal official wife to blackmail by a foreign power, and c) they don’t do it in the streets and scare the horses.

    It is the damage to our Social and Political Contract that concerns me. If they collapse, it will be a time of great danger for the foreseeable future. While I don’t have that much longer to live, I have children and grandchildren and I want them and their descendants to come out of this safe and free.

    Subotai Bahadur

  • bobby b

    Niall Kilmartin
    November 1, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    “I beg to suggest that bobby b . . . is getting it backwards (or rather, omitting the key point of caprice).”

    I understand, and agree with, what you wrote. “As applied”, the system of individual discretion allows for . . . individual discretion, which is the bane of all blind justice.

    But you’re a bridge further out than I went. I was only speaking of the current “no cash bail” movement spearheaded by the “Soros prosecutors”. I find it amusing that what I see as the clearly Constitutionally-friendly view is championed by the Constitutionally-suspect people.

    Every time we fudge on constitutional guarantees for practical reasons, we make it easier to fudge on constitutional guarantees.

  • Paul Marks

    No Snorri – neither the United States or most other Western nations used to be like this. The idea that robbing and attacking people is, de facto, O.K. (“Social Justice”, “Equity”) used to be confined to a few lunatics – now it is the system in many American cities.

    I do not like this “first they smash your face in, then they say you were always ugly” tactic – American cities did not use to be like this, and they do not need to be like this. By the way – that is also true of cities in the Netherlands.

    This idea that “all countries” only protect the elite from being robbed and attacked is false. It did not use to be like this.

    No bobby b – as you know these people are, mostly, never really punished. It is not a matter of a delay to their punishment – the people who steal from shops, and so on, are mostly now not punished at all (it would be “racist” to punish them – even if they are white).

    Back when America was a more libertarian country, robbers and attackers would indeed normally not have been sent to prison – but that is because they would have been flogged or (for more serious offences) hanged. Governor John Jay of New York brought in prison as a normal punishment in the early 19th century – on the false theory that prison “reformed” people, he also believed in government schools – it would be interesting to show John Jay a typical government school in New York now.

    If the “justice” system continues to fail – then people will either “take the law in their own hands” – or leave the cities. Indeed, productive tax paying citizens are already leaving American Democrat rules cities – in very large numbers. The Democrat ruled cities will collapse – regardless of how much money the Federal Reserve creates from nothing and throws at the banks and other corporations.

    As for the issue of vagrancy – partly it is caused by government policies, such as the destruction of “skid row” (“slums”) and the destruction of jobs by taxes and regulations – but there are also cultural factors.

    There is no “right” to live on the streets (people who think there is, are wrong) – and those who constantly use drugs must get the money by crime (they are NOT, mostly, eccentric millionaires who choose to live on the streets and fund their drug use from their own funds).

    Before the 1960s vagrants were cleared from American streets (court judgements preventing vagrants being cleared from the streets were nothing to do with “libertarianism” – the deviant judges were leftists)- and the more conservative culture meant there were far fewer vagrants in the first place, as there was much less drug use and family breakdown. Indeed, vast numbers of people now have never known stable family life – they are left mentally ill.

    The evil desire to “achieve” this result goes back long before the 1960s – to such people as (in Britain) the Fabians and the Bloomsbury set (looking back more to Rousseau than to Karl Marx) – but before the 1960s such movements were of little importance for ordinary people.

    Things happen gradually at first – and then in a sudden rush.

    From the 1960s there was the gradual decay of society – now there is the sudden rush as society starts to collapse.

    It is nothing to do with libertarianism – libertarians do not believe that thieves and attackers should be unpunished, and libertarians do not believe that the streets are “public property” where any one can bed down supported by welfare money (no matter how much welfare money they are given it can never pay for the drugs).

    Rousseau and the rest of the thinkers who hated and despised Civil Society (the family and so on) were not libertarians – they were Collectivists who believed that the “Law Giver” (themselves – or someone like them) should have absolute-unlimited power. Rousseau and the others had nothing but hatred for ordinary farmers, craftsmen and traders – they were the despised “will of all”, not the “General Will” (which was him – and people like him). And the left is the same today – they HATE ordinary productive Americans (and ordinary productive people of any nationality).

    Mr Soros and the other billionaires (Mr Soros is not the only one – there are many, created by the evil of fiat money produced by the Central Banks and the Credit Bubble commercial banks) who are pushing this evil are not libertarians – indeed they have a fanatical hatred of “market fundamentalism” as they call opposing ever greater and more despicable “Social Justice” “Equity” collectivism.

    The corruption of a society starts with its money (which ceases to be a commodity – such as gold or silver) and its finance (which ceases to be about Real Savings), but gradually the corruption spreads to everything else – including basic order on the streets.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the Netherlands – the idea that things have always been like this is false.

    In the past Dutch governments did not wage war on Dutch farmers, nor did they demand that every transaction over a 100 Euros be reported to the bankers and the state.

    The Netherlands has changed greatly – and much for the worse. And people who tried to warn against some of the “changes”, some of the undermining of Dutch society by “multiculturalism”, and so on, were murdered.

    “It was always like this – there was always a two-tier justice system with only the elite protected from being robbed and attacked”.

    No – just not true.

    And the same is true of the United Kingdom and the United States.

    It is not acceptable for only the powerful to be protected from being robbed and attacked – such a society, far from “it has always been like this”, cannot last.

  • Mr Ed

    There is a movement in Puerto Rico for it to become a part of Spain at the 18th ‘Autonomous Community’ (not that the autonomy is real, it is more like an extra layer of government). Still it might be an improvement on living with the Federal government of the United States as your overlord.

    Bear in mind that in today’s Spain, there is a saying to give grim consolation to someone to the effect that they say ‘At least we haven’t lost Cuba’, i.e. the loss of Cuba after war with the US was a great calamity, so Puerto Rico rejoining would at least be some consolation.

  • Paul Marks

    It used to be considered a “Conspiracy Theory” that the World Economic Forum was helping destroy liberty in the West – but the statements and actions of Prime Minister Rutte and the Finance Minister (who actually holds a WEF position) make it obvious that they are part of this evil (not too strong a word) international movement – and have nothing but hatred and contempt for the liberty of ordinary people. “And is not the United Kingdom the same?” – no comment.

    Mr Ed – you have a point. As bad though Spain may be – it has no FBI sticking rifles in the faces of people in their own homes for the “crime” of peacefully opposing the regime. And there is something like the rule of law in Spain – can that be said, anymore, of the United States?

    Only a couple of months ago the bank of Peter Schiff was closed down in Puerto Rico – it was presented as a financial move, but it was clearly a political move as he is a known critic of the Federal regime in Washington D.C.

    The Federal bureaucracy in the United States, and its “Justice” system, is beyond reform – it is rotten the core, its political corruption is systematic.

    It needs to be closed down – cleared out.

  • Snorri Godhi

    No Snorri – neither the United States or most other Western nations used to be like this.
    This idea that “all countries” only protect the elite from being robbed and attacked is false. It did not use to be like this.

    I never said anything that can reasonably be interpreted as “it used to be like this”.
    Once again, Paul Marks does not reply to my comments, but to comments of his own imagination. But i am resigned to it, by now.

  • Kirk

    @Jonathan Pierce (London)

    “Looking beyond the immediate political dramas of the moment (the Mid-Terms, etc), surely it must occur to the vast majority of Americans that this wonderful country of their is losing its bearings?”

    Most of the country hasn’t “lost its bearings”. The people who’ve put themselves in charge through chicanery and fraud never had bearings to begin with, and what’s happening now is the ugly process of people recognizing that what the “odd lot” of idjits gets up to in politics actually does impact them. The idjit class ain’t going to like what comes, now that they’ve managed to get the attention of the vast unwashed majority.

    Most of the people running the US are the same sort of halfwit dweebs that infest most highschool debating societies: Annoying busybodies that the vast majority of students pay no attention to, yet who have inordinate and unjustifiable credibility with the teaching staff, who’re similarly afflicted with the dweebishness they recognize and reward. These people are very flawed, and incapable of functioning out in the real world, which is why they’re high school teachers and administrator–Without the supposed authority of their adulthood, they’d have zero ability to lord it over the students they claim to be “there for”. It’s all about power; they’re unable to get it in the real adult world, so where do they go? The schools. Most of them should be identified and culled.

    @bobby b,

    “The point of bail is simply to make sure someone comes back for their court experience. Expecting broke people to be able to come up with bail money seems a stretch – so what else works?”

    Yeah… No. That’s not the point of bail. Maybe to a lawyer or other officer of the court, by textbook definition? Maybe. However… Lemme tell you what the rest of us think bail is for: To keep scum off the streets while the courts grind away. The reason we demand that there be cash bail is because that’s a useful proxy for whether or not someone has the trust of people in his community not to commit another crime while we wait for the courts to do their jobs on this one. If a guy can’t get bail? Hmmm… Could that be a sign he shouldn’t be released, because no bail bondsman will take the bet, without someone putting up their house to serve as guarantor?

    It’s unfair, it’s entirely arbitrary. But, it has the slight feature going for it that it does serve to keep the criminal off the streets while the courts do their job. And, if the criminal doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, and show up for court? Well, someone who bet on them doing that is gonna lose their house. Which tends to guarantee that that “someone” is going to make sure that Skell-boy shows up for adjudication.

    Imperfect system, granted. The alternatives don’t seem to be working out so well, so it’s an observable fact that it does have some value.

    And, cordially? Y’all in the business of legal theorizing can take your “fairness”, fold it up into a nice, pointy ball, and shove it somewhere painful. I don’t care about “fair”; I care about that criminal not predating upon others. I don’t even really care about his “punishment”, which is an ideal that is entirely abstract. Like “justice”, “punishment” is something that only exists as an intellectual concept. We are merely human; only God can provide that which is defined as true “justice”, as with “punisment”.

    What I care about is one thing, and one thing only: That the criminal stops his criminal behavior. That’s what you in the legal profession are paid for; if you’re not doing the job, then guess what? There’s no point to me participating in it, and I’ll find other means to get what I want, which is an end to the criminal’s transgressions against me and others. If that means taking up a collection for the local mob don, and telling him “Hey, this is all yours, if you put an end to this BS…”, well…

    I think you’re going to be out of a job, with all your friends. And, if you decide to suborn the power of the state to go after your newly-competing alternative “criminal behavior modification” regime, I suggest that that collection for the local mob boss could well be re-directed, slightly.

    You don’t fulfill the task and purpose that you’re supposed to, don’t expect to hold the position for very long. That’s as true for institutions and customs as much as it is for employees. What don’t work, gets replaced. Sometimes quite brutally.

  • bobby b

    ” Lemme tell you what the rest of us think bail is for: To keep scum off the streets while the courts grind away.”

    Like the Jan 6th people?

  • Kirk

    Like the Antifa and BLM that the authorities supported.

    When the saturation point is reached, they’ll all go into the ditch together, at the same time, wondering why the people lining them up and shooting them in the base of the skull are so enthused at the prospect.

    You’ll note that all of the vaunted “no cash bail” BS isn’t applied to the January 6th folks. Which sort of indicates just how sincere the people behind it are; if they truly believed in such things, they’d apply them evenly and broadly. Because they don’t, you know whose side they’re on. And, it ain’t the side of the “common man”.

    The coming backswing of the social pendulum is going to be very painful for a lot of people. Who will all voice surprise at their sudden descent into a hellscape of accountability and responsibility for their actions being imposed on them.

  • bobby b

    And this is why I want to remove power from government, and from groups of people so driven by idealistic zeal that they’re willing to do inhuman things in the name of “their people.”

    You want power – either in a government controlled by you, or by means of your own hand on the tiller of an armed group.

    I want that power removed from concentration, spread out to every person running their own life.

  • Fraser Orr

    FWIW, I think that the real story here is buried in all the noise. If Paul Pelosi was having a massive orgy, snorting cocaine and doing whatever else his fantasy might have is really between him, his wife and, should he have one, his God. And if he was doing none of those things, then that is none of my business either. There is no justification for a vicious attack with a hammer on an old dude.

    But the real story here is a completely different one — the police responded to his house in two minutes because he lived in a ritzy neighborhood. Here from the husband of the leader of the party that has advocated defunding “reimagining” the police all over the country, who have demonized the police all over the country, who have undermined the criminal justice system so that the streets are littered with homeless, violent drug addicts, crazy people are let loose on an unsuspecting public, and violent career criminals are arraigned and released without bail. All actions that have lead to the greatest spike in criminal activity since Al Capone. Such hypocrisy where the rich and powerful have fantastic police protected while at the same time demanding that the rest of us have it stripped away.

    Apparently the police response time to 911 in New Orleans is on average 2 hours rather than lucky Pelosi’s two minutes. I understand how the game is played for sure. But we have wall to wall press coverage about this undoubtedly dreadful attack, while here in Chicago the shootings go on and on. Last weekend a bunch of people were shot and killed. One little girl was shot through the knee but the ambulances refused to take her to hospital because they were all full and her injury wasn’t severe enough.

    TBH, Paul Pelosi doesn’t seem like a very nice man, but it is certainly terrible what happened to him and I wish him well. But had he not had his two minute police response time he’d probably be dead, much like the pile of bodies in downtown Chicago. No doubt he is in a very nice hospital, and you can sure his assailant didn’t get released on cashless bail. The criminal justice system and the sympathies of the nation are apparently only available to the rich and powerful, while Chicago mamas wail over their dead children, and a little girl spends the rest of her life limping because of the policies of these same awful people.

    That fat, feckless bastard Pritzker, governor of Illinois who, unbelievably, is about to be re-elected, governor of a state suffering spiraling out of control crime, decided that now was the time to sign a law demanding cashless bail here in this state, while blood runs up to our eyeballs among the very communities he claims to be protecting.

  • you’re a bridge further out than I went. (bobby b, November 2, 2022 at 3:31 am)

    To me it seems I’m the one behind and you are the cartoon character standing not on the next bridge but in the air, not yet having looked down. This is not to debate who is right but simply to note that communication is not happening here (between you and me, nor I suspect between you and Kirk either).

    I recall raising to you bobby, about a year ago now, the oddity of the constitution having guarantees of trial within a reasonable time, yet the Jan 6th defendants looking like that constitutional guarantee was indeed being ‘fudged’ (a most gentle word) for them. In this thread, that idea runs alongside it’s having an equally absurd living-constitution-style over-reading applied to woke favourites, but not to e.g. the bodega worker (Jose Alba IIRC) who dared to defend himself from one of them.

    I’m guessing your recent comments are related to this, and alert you that your meaning is really not coming over clearly (or else is coming over as really strange).

    (But, as it’s tangential verging towards OT for this thread, feel free to defer attempting clarity to another time if you’d rather.)

  • Steven R

    The other piece of the PR statehood puzzle that needs mentioned is that PR has to actually WANT to be a state and go their end. e.g. come up with a state constitution that passes both their own internal happiness and is acceptable to the current states. Thus far, the locals in PR don’t seem to want it that badly and are content with the current arrangement. Referendums have been close, but not enough to push the issue into motion.

  • Fraser Orr (November 3, 2022 at 5:22 am), your point is extremely valid. In mere order of logical applicability on this event particularly, I’d state it third.

    1) The narrative’s mere story of what happened is so obviously strange that we know we’re being lied to in some way.

    2) Even if we could believe the narrative of events, and thus accept the narrative claim of MAGA-motivated attack now instead of cautiously waiting for more information, the woke double-standard on politically-motivated violence would be gross.

    3) BTW, this event reminds us that “defund the police” doesn’t seem to apply to those politicians who advocated it.

    As regards

    That fat, feckless bastard Pritzker, governor of Illinois who, unbelievably, is about to be re-elected,

    surely it would be the absence of as-much-vote-fraud-as-required in a Chicago election that would be ‘unbelievable’ – or at least highly unusual? IIUC, the old Mayor Daley system (that stole the 1960 presidential election, and many a more local one) relied heavily on direct vote-early, vote-often fraud by city-admin-employed goons. For a while, under Reagan in the early 80’s, the Feds investigated vote fraud there, which prompted (an improvement, I hope, alas only temporary, and) a long-term change to reliance on the gangs – the same system the New York City Dems used a century ago, save for exploiting modern voting methods. I expect gang members find Pritzker’s cashless bail law very motivating.

  • Paul Marks

    Snorri “The fact is that the establishments in ALL countries try and run a two-tier justice system”.

    Of course, you can present “try” as a get-out clause – but clearly you were implying that America had always been like this. HOWEVER, you do go on to say that in other countries the establishment does not get away this – I did not read that before and I agree with you on that point. Although sadly more and more countries are going down the leftist road of allowing ordinary people to be robbed and attacked.

    It is not true that one could always rob and attack ordinary people with impunity in American cities – even a few years ago this was not so. The Democrats have changed things – and they need to be changed back. Robbers and attackers must be punished. The robbers and attackers of ordinary people must be punished – as used to be the case.

    I am reminded of our discussions about past philosophers (such as Hobbes, Hume and Rousseau) where you would accuse me of the very mistake you yourself were making – assuming they said X when they actually said something very different. It is true that such writers as Hobbes and Rousseau redefined words, but they were fairly clear about what their new definitions were – for example when Rousseau writes of freedom he means being under the rule of the Lawgiver (himself – or someone like him) who is to have absolute, unlimited, power – this, the power of the Lawgiver, being the “General Will”, rather than the despised “Will of All” which is what ordinary people believe. And when Thomas Hobbes writes of freedom or liberty, he does not mean moral choice – as Mr Hobbes did not believe there was any capacity for moral choice (as he did not believe that humans were beings – he did not believe that humans were persons), to Mr Hobbes there was no difference between human freedom and the “freedom” of water after a dam has been blown up.

    But Mr Hobbes was open about all this – so the fault is not his, the fault is with the teachers and academics who pretend that Mr Hobbes was not what he was. The same is true with Rousseau, Hume and others.

    As for your point that I am over stressing the role of the Democrats and the media – it is true that the education system (the schools and the universities) is where the evil starts, it is the education system that puts this poison in the minds of the people who go on to become Democrat politicians or “mainstream” media types.

    I failed to make that point (I admit that I failed to make that point) and I apologise for failing to make the matter clear.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    DC (being named in our Constitution in one specific role) would need a constitutional amendment – so, basically, a supermajority.

    Politicians never let a little thing like “the constitution” get in the way of their plans. The Constitution doesn’t actually give any definition of what this federal district is:

    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of Government of the United States,

    So the plan is to redefine this “federal district” to include just the core government buildings, and then create a state out of the rest of DC. However, it falls into the same situation as PR. It hangs by a thread on the approval of a few blue dog democrats.

    FWIW, there is no reason to stop at PR and DC. Why not have the four or five other territories become states too: US Virgin Islands, and various Pacific territories? One could easily imagine “The Cherokee Nation” becoming a state too. I think if they keep trying hard enough they could work up a super majority.

  • Steven R

    The DC issue is easy enough to fix by simply saying the residents of DC are citizens of Maryland. They get to vote, they get representation in Congress, they get to pay MD taxes and have MD laws.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Niall Kilmartin
    surely it would be the absence of as-much-vote-fraud-as-required in a Chicago election that would be ‘unbelievable’

    LOL, you may be right. For those who doubt the push for vote by mail is fraught with the potential for fraud, let me share my experience. I bought a new house last year, and a few months ago I got four letters from the state offering to allow me to register to vote by mail. One letter addressed to me, and three others to previous residents of my house. I could definitely vote four times this election cycle and nobody would be the wiser. Of course I didn’t, and won’t. I’ll be hauling my butt down the the polling station like some lumbering old electoral dinosaur and casting my one, pointless, vote.

  • Paul Marks

    In the cities in the United States where crime is out of control, so out of control that much of it is no longer reported (because there would be no point in reporting it), the reason is that the Democrat rulers of these cities are pro crime – they really are pro crime.

    They consider crime (at least crime against ordinary people) as “Social Justice” or “Equity” – and this world view is not confined to the United States, modern Progressives around the Western World hold this view.

    To defeat crime, one must first (first) drive out those who hold the pro crime world view from positions of power in the institutions – or deprive those institutions of power, get rid of these institutions.

    For example, a police force that believes in “social justice” (the ENEMY of justice – justice being to each their own) or “equity” (in the modern sense) is not just useless – it is actively dangerous, a danger to honest people.

    This is especially true of the Federal forces – for example any aware person, if they are being honest with themselves, would hear the words “we are the FBI” with some dread – as this Federal agency, like others, is now very much on the “Social Justice” side – i.e. against justice.

  • Paul Marks

    It is not that the Progressive authorities are “leaving people to fend for themselves” – far from it, they are not anarcho-capitalists or other such.

    If someone, for example, defended their store by shooting “Social Justice” looters, the invisible authorities would suddenly become very visible indeed – “murderer” they would scream, as they dragged off the store owner or worker to prison. It is not that the Progressive authorities in some American cities are walking away and letting people fight it out – no, certainly not. What the Progressive authorities are doing is actively putting their thumb on the scales of “justice” to help the criminals against honest people.

    And people who do such things, who de facto assist in the robbing and burning of stores and homes, would certainly have no moral problem with rigging elections to support the leftist cause. And they would also have no moral problem in destroying Freedom of Speech by forbidding “election denial” – i.e. people pointing out that obviously rigged elections (in places where election results still matter) were rigged.

    A free enterprise society cannot survive if private property (farms, stores and so on) is not defended – but the Progressive authorities do NOT want free enterprise society to survive.

    What is to replace a free enterprise society (or what little is left of it) is NOT Marxism in the classical sense – it is more like the Corporate State (“Stakeholder Capitalism” “public-private partnership”) of Mussolini or the WEF – which harks all the way back to some of the ideas of Saint-Simon some two centuries ago. Such things as Credit Bubble banks would not be exterminated by the new Collectivist system – they would be in charge of the new Collectivist system, and all in the name of “science”.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Paul: as you should know by now, i assume that everybody (including yours truly) is delusional unless one can show cogent evidence for one’s beliefs. (One can be non-delusional, but still wrong; or one can be delusional, but still accidentally have correct beliefs: that is a different issue.)

    My point is: if you insist that you know better than me what my comments mean, then you are giving me comfort: you are providing cogent evidence that i am not delusional in thinking that you are.

    Nor is your reading comprehension impaired only when you disagree with me: when you addressed a question that i addressed to Niall, you tried to reply, but ended up replying to a different question, which nobody had asked.

    The fact that you think that i am not aware that Hobbes re-defined liberty (or ‘freedome’) just goes to show that you fantasize about what i wrote.

    —- As for Hume, your interpretation of the is/ought dichotomy is clearly delusional. You ought (heh) to study carefully Huemer’s comments on this issue, before uttering insanities.

    As for Hume’s views of agency, i already told you, but you did not understand: i am not interested in them, i am interested in his criticism of the insane ideas of Augustine, Samuel Clarke*, Thomas Reid … and Paul Marks. I am interested in the critical, not the positive, aspects of Hume’s theory of agency. The fact that you do not address Hume’s critical arguments, just goes to show how poor is your reading comprehension.

    * in Clarke’s debates with A. Collins and Leibniz: he was more sensible in his earlier writings.

    —- But it is not only when you read me, or people i agree with, that you show poor reading comprehension. Don’t think that i have forgotten your contributions to this debate in 2013 (Good Heavens!) in which you claimed that saying “people make wrong choices” is the same as saying “people do not make choices, and anyway there are no such things as wrong choices”.

  • Kirk

    @bobby b,

    And this is why I want to remove power from government, and from groups of people so driven by idealistic zeal that they’re willing to do inhuman things in the name of “their people.”

    You want power – either in a government controlled by you, or by means of your own hand on the tiller of an armed group.

    I want that power removed from concentration, spread out to every person running their own life.

    If you’re directing this at me, your alma mater obviously did not emphasize reading comprehension. There ain’t nowhere that I’ve ever demanded power or authority over anyone, anywhere. My beef is that things are very obviously “not working”, and I’m predicting the all-too-likely consequences. Working those out seems to be a bit of problem for most people who express opinions similar to the ones I’ve read coming from you.

    Society can be conceived of as a great mechanism; you do something over here, and then something else happens over there, without fail. There is no feature of any real permanence in any society that doesn’t have some function, some purpose, once you examine what it really fulfills. The problem we have is that all too many of the bright lights of our times (and, several generations back) failed to bother looking deeply enough for those functions or to consider the potential for second- and third-order effects of their “reforms”.

    Strikes me as very odd how the idealists only see one (typically tiny…) ill effect of some social policy or tradition, and ignore the rest of what that policy or tradition addresses on their way towards doing away with it. Your apparent approval of the “no bail” philosophy is typical; you want the odd innocent entangled in the system to be able to get out while waiting for their trial; well enough. But, you fail to consider that there are a hell of a lot more “outright bastards” that are similarly entangled in the system, who would not be getting out to commit more crime and depredation under the old “unfair” system because ain’t nobody they know stupid enough to put up their house as a guarantee they’d be there in court on the day of.

    From the evidence now before us, I’d say that the second sort of unfortunate is far more prevalent than that first one that the bleeding hearts are looking out for.

    The other thing I typically hear from people of your apparent ilk (going by reading your recent posts…) is that it is “better that ten criminals go free than one innocent suffer…”.

    Yeah? Really? First off, let’s make this much clear: Prison or other forms of incarceration are not supposed to be the hellholes that we’ve turned them into, mostly because we refuse to deal with the really deranged and criminal appropriately. An innocent imprisoned should not have to deal with the usual run of things we casually ascribe to prison, like man-rape. Fix that, first, and then get back to me about how we daren’t hold people while determining their guilt and potential for doing further harm.

    I will concede that current incarceration conditions are intolerable; that does not, in my mind, thus imply that we must release every potential and probable threat to the public while we spend years determining their culpability for previous crimes. Someone who commits an act of violence once is an excellent prospect for committing further such acts; I would submit that preventing those further acts is something I’d prefer we erred on the side of, rather than playing emotional games meant to signal our moral superiority.

    The point that I think breezes by most stereotypical liberals is the one about the entire purpose of the exercise: Why do we have that thing termed a “justice system” in the first damn place? Apparently, most of the liberal ilk have conflated it all with playing god-like arbiter of fates, meting out justice and punishment.

    That’s not what it’s for, I’m afraid.

    The reality is that mechanism of society fills a purpose more than slightly off-kilter from the conceptions of such idealists; it isn’t there to mete out ideal perfect “justice”, but to prevent the mob from going overboard with personal vengeance, while providing behavioral corrections to those who transgress against public order.

    Society-as-a-machine doesn’t care about abstracts; it cares about effects. If your man-made system of “justice” doesn’t work to fill that purely mechanistic function of dissuading the criminally inclined from committing crimes, then what the hell good is it? If, instead, it punishes those who are transgressed against rather more than the transgressors, where do you suppose that ends? D’ya think the victims of transgressors are up for playing permanent patsies for your favored scum?

    News flash for ya: Humans are really lousy prey animals. They’ll eventually turn on your ass, and you won’t find the excesses they get up to at all easier to bear than what you sought to “reform”.

    I think that the majority of the people involved in running these aspects of our society have gotten so wrapped up in the procedures and the ideals that they’ve utterly forgotten what the hell they’re supposed to actually be doing; that which society actually expects them to be doing. There is a huge mis-match that has developed between the two, and it is only growing worse.

    Fundamentally, people really do not care about abstracts like “justice” and “punishment”. What they want is to be secure in their persons and property; they want the criminal to cease their criminal behavior. How that gets done is immaterial to them; all that they care about is that it gets done.

    News story from this morning:


    What I want you to note from that story is that this rapist isn’t unknown; he’s currently known to have perpetrated multiple crimes of a similar nature, two this year so far. He’s got the usual criminal record “as long as your arm”, and yet… He’s out in public. Why? What possible societal good is represented by giving this POS “the benefit of the doubt”?

    Quick answer? There is no “good” accrued here. Instead, it’s another weight on the scale wherein the rest of society decides they’d rather see a thousand innocents burn than one potential criminal go free. That’s where we’re headed, likely after a healthy spate of mob violence that results in a lot of actual innocents having their blood spilt.

    These are the wages of touchy-feely liberal ideas; the destruction of social order and the inevitable counter-reaction that will wind up killing and maiming far more people in the long run than the relatively minuscule number of real innocents they save today through their initiatives like this “no cash bail” highly questionable reform.

    All of which is in service of stroking the egos of these dolts, as they ape being “true humanitarians, concerned with the welfare of all…” I want to ask, what do you think you’ll be saying in the future, when nobody bothers calling the cops, and just casually sets suspected criminals on fire in the streets? Is that gonna stroke your ego, make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, while you watch someone burn?

    All I’m doing is pointing out the inevitable, which apparently makes me some power-hungry statist. Which I am not; were you to hand me power and control over others, I’d hand it right back to them. I want nothing to do with running other people’s lives, ever. All I want is for the rest of you monkeys to LEAVE ME ALONE. Go f*ck up your own lives, thankyouverymuch, and leave the public commons to their default state of “what worked in the past”.

    I find it notable that all of the efforts of all of these bright-eyed reformists only seem to have handed us a situation wherein nothing is really improved, in any way. All they’ve managed to do is free the criminal to despoil the commons, and I am beginning to think a couple of things: One, that the criminals are their natural constituencies, and two, that they really have no problem with “screwing over the normies” that pay for everything nice, like public parks. The average stereotypical liberal would rather have drug-addled vagrants roaming free in public spaces than allow the normies to have their public playgrounds for their children. At the root, most of these “liberals” are disgustingly amoral cretins who actually loathe anyone who is “normal” and gets up to go to work every morning, doing “the right thing” throughout their day. Everything the modern liberal does is effectively out of hatred of the “normal”, so I have to reach that conclusion, based on the performative evidence before us.

    Which ought to tell us an awful lot about their actual morals, intents, and the proclivities behind all their pretensions. It’s no wonder Paul Pelosi was in that situation; he likely placed himself in it through a call to Grindr, or something similar. What’s the phrase from Tolkien? “Oft evil will shall evil mar…”

  • Steven R

    The sad thing is both that jogger and that rapist are both expendable pawns to politicians with agendas and don’t even realize it. Want to secure the black vote? Say the system is rigged against them because of RACISM!!! and “vote for me and I’ll eliminate a clearly racism bail system” and “they just need room to riot.” Meanwhile “criminals [read: blacks] have guns, so we’ll disarm you for your own protection” and “it’s your fault you’re a victim” and “vote for me and I’ll shovel money into the inner city to make up for your racism”.

    And while civilization goes to Hell in a handbasket, that politician is making money hand over fist through graft and insider trading AND passing laws they want.

    And all at the expense of normal people who just want to live their little lives in peace and quiet.

  • Kirk

    Steven R, I completely agree with you.

    The thing that all these addled dipshits fail to comprehend is that there is only so much “going along to get along” in the general public. There will be a point reached wherein they’ll stop listening to the luvvies, and demand action. Said action ain’t taken by their betters? They’ll take it, themselves.

    You only govern or police with the consent of the governed and the policed. Lose that, and you’re going to suffer one hell of a shock to the system. Previous events like this took place in Romania. Ask the Ceaucescus how that felt, standing up there on the podium as everyone before them experienced that preference cascade, and realized that even the secret police weren’t enough “on side” with the existing regime to make a difference.

    The bright lights never seem to consider the full ramifications of their actions, or what’s going to happen when/if they lose the “Mandate of Heaven”. They think that everything will always be as it always was, unchanging… And, that nothing they do can possibly ever upset or change that status quo.

    I strongly suspect that we are all about to see a drastic refutation of that thesis over the next many years. The bright lights all think they’re on the side of history, that they and their ideas will go marching ever onward into the glorious future. I rather suspect, on the contrary, that they’ll wind up like the other varied and sundry discarded worldviews, such as the divine right of kings and the infallibility of the Pope.

    It will be a salutary shock to the system, and brutally ugly for an awful lot of people. End of the day, I don’t put my money on the wannabe control freaks and Karens of the world. I think that once they’ve garnered enough attention with regards the manifest failures of their ideas, the general public is going to repudiate everything they’ve done, and abandon the majority of their ideas wholesale. What don’t work, won’t last. And, as we can see before us, the bright lighted ones ideas aren’t actually working very well, are they?

  • Kirk

    As a moment of educational clarity for “the rest of us”, it will be… Interesting? Yes, that’s the word: Interesting, to observe the differences in how they deal with the illegal immigrant attacker on Paul Pelosi, and to look back at how they dealt with Kate Steinle’s killer.

    Lay you long, long odds that the guy who attacked Paul Pelosi is going to be punished a good deal harder and more effectively than the similarly illegal murderer of Kate Steinle.

    Note for the great and the good: If you don’t think people are watching, observing you and your acts? You would be entirely wrong. The end state for all of this is not what you think it will be, and the worse it gets for us, the great unwashed? I guarantee you that it will be far, far worse for you.

    There’s a point that I think a lot of the great and good fail to remember or comprehend: Most Americans aren’t here on this continent because we were happy being “good subjects” back home in the bad old days. We’re here mostly because the great and the good of those days were abusing the living hell out of us, and we pulled up stakes to leave for better lives. Nearly every American is here because somewhere along the line, their ancestors chose either outright rebellion or total disengagement with the powers-that-were in the old country.

    I remember hearing a German of somewhat National Socialist bent once decrying how the German military had been defeated by their own kind, all the American generals with good German names like Eisenhower. He was puzzled, he was… Didn’t get it: How could they betray the volk that way?

    Had to point out to him that most of those volk were ones that had been driven out of Germany by other Germans in the first place, and the ones that hadn’t, had left voluntarily rather than be conscripted to fight in endless wars of questionable Imperial glory.

    So, the whole thing was entirely self-inflicted; the Germans alienated their own, drove them out, and then got payback a few generations later.

    Though, one does wonder at what would have happened, had all those Germans not had the escape valve of North America waiting in the wings. I suspect that 20th Century history would have looked far different than it did.

  • Looking at the latest NBC retraction of its own reporting, I add to the list of possibilities the idea that Depape was indeed there by some mutual understanding (not by smashing a window such that the shards defied Newtonian physics and flew outwards) and it was the unexpected arrival of the police on a routine check of the Pelosi home that caused Mr Depape to leap to the conclusion that the understanding had been violated by Mr Pelosi. Events since have been a race between actual reporting of the original story and the narrative trying to come up with a story.

    This may be quite wrong, but I cannot be sure of that, whereas I can be quite sure the narrative’s (third? fourth?) version of its story is concealing something.

  • Kirk , one might see your discussion (November 3, 2022 at 8:03 pm) as saying the same as the Bacon quote I mentioned in a past thread, but with reverse time-direction (the tear-down, not the build-up, of civilisation). Bacon said that revenge was wild justice, and without that original wild stock the domesticated variety would not exist. Your comment could be summarised as saying that if the domesticated variety is killed or rendered weak by a plague (e.g. of wokeness) then the wild form will spread widely. The fact that, like most wild varieties, its fruits can be bitterer and less plentiful than the human-cultivated variety is as true as it is irrelevant to the inevitability of its spread.

    ASIDE: You always seem more focussed on the utilitarian, preventive aspect whereas I (like Bacon with his choice of the word ‘revenge’) believe strongly in the punitive aspect. I suggest normal human psychology contains both but demands the revenge part to justify the preventive part.

    IRRELEVANCE: your later quote mentions Eisenhower, the US general with the German ancestors. You probably know, but not all readers may, that (this is from immediate memory, so assuming I’m recalling correctly) there is also the German-descended Marshall, Pershing (Pfoershing, anglicised by an Ellis island recorder), John Christie the tank designer (he hadn’t the connections to get the US to take his superb design but the NKVD stole it which gave it clout in Russia and that is where the T34 came from). I’ve a strong notion there are others.

  • “We want to make sure that this individual is held accountable for these egregious acts,” she argued. “For us, we’re going to make sure that we limit the evidence as much as possible in order to get that done.” (San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkin, speaking to CNN on Wednesday)

    It seems to me to be an unfortunately-phrased way for DA Jenkin to explain why she’s arranged for the Pelosi family to hear the 911 call and see the police body cam footage recorded by officers responding to it, but not (apparently) any credibly-disinterested parties.

  • Kirk

    @Niall Kilmartin,

    I probably do come off as focused on the purely utilitarian mechanistic approach, mostly because that’s how I’ve come to understand the world around me. Push here, see reaction over there… I think it is inarguable that you have to do this, because the naive and simplistic view we’re taught in the schools and which permeates public discourse is mostly just plain wrong.

    Everybody pontificates on the need to follow these abstracts, but that which they actually do is based more on the underlying motivations they won’t talk about because they are coarse, ugly, and mostly selfish. As we say in self-defense, listen to what they say, but make damn sure you watch their hands.

    In reference to the “revenge” aspect of it all… I used to work with a guy who was easy enough to deal with when things went well. Things didn’t go well? Oi… You were going to witness horrors untold. I never saw him have to deal with actual violence against his person or his people, but… Man. I don’t think anyone who dealt with him ever wanted to see what he’d do in those circumstances, because his usual reaction to just routine daily problems was over-the-top madness. It wasn’t reaction so much as it was over-reaction; and, it was with everything he dealt with. There was a situation with an intersection being overgrown and which was never properly maintained; sight lines were obstructed and after there was an accident there, he basically said “Yeah. Right. I’m dealing with this now…” Result? Vegetation was cut back to the degree that he basically cleared a half-acre on either side of the intersection. Including the trees, which were massive ancient Douglas Firs three feet across the butt.

    This was on a military base, and the “authorities” who’d failed to address the issue found that ignoring a man with access to heavy earthmoving equipment and the manpower to use it wasn’t a wise idea. His response to them? “Well, hey… I told you about that problem for a year-and-a-half. You did nothing about it. You had your chance…”

    He approached everything like that. Working for him was… Interesting. I found that dealing with the bureaucrats that infested the place was easier, because whenever I ran into obstructionism, all I had to do was say something like “Hey, you know who I work for, right? And, you know I’m gonna have to go tell him that you said “No” to this very reasonable request that I’m making… And, that he’s going to be over here talking to you, your boss, and your bosses boss shortly thereafter…?”

    I never ran into anyone stupid enough to do that more than once. Generally, after the first time, that agency basically gave me whatever I asked for, rather than receive another “visitation”.

    I once worked up the balls to ask him why he always reacted like such an utter monster, and his essential response could be reduced to “I’m training the universe not to f*ck with me…”

    Sad to say, I have to say it mostly worked. He had that entire based terrified of him, civilian agencies and military commands alike. They all knew that if they crossed him, it was going to be fire and sword, totally extravagant and completely egregious.

    So, nobody crossed him. And, if someone was making noises like they were thinking about trying, their peers would usually drag them back, “have a chat”, and then someone else would come up to the counter to give me what we supposed to be getting.

    I keep remembering that line about “…teaching the universe not to f*ck with me…” whenever I contemplate the motivation for revenge. Sometimes, it really is that simple; if people know you are going to react with excessive and pointless violence to their transgressions against you? They generally don’t transgress in the first place.

    The corollary to this is that most of the really major arsehole transgressors I’ve run into? They’ve never, ever received the slightest push-back for their actions against others. When they do run into someone who responds by “burning their village to the ground”, they usually experience a moment of epiphany, and modify their conduct.

    Either that, or they get used to people combat-dropping bulldozers on their premises and flattening the place. I have to say that I suspect that the few times I had to get my former boss involved, it almost felt like the agencies and people involved had a bit of masochism going on, because they knew that he was going to do something completely pointless and totally out of proportion in response.

  • Kirk, your anecdote reminded me of two I’ll share with you.

    The first is from Thomas Sowell. He remarked once to a publisher he was dealing with that they had been unusually accepting of his refusal to go along with their copy-editor’s requested changes to his manuscript. They replied, “Your reputation has preceded you.” (The reputation was for letting a book wait years in limbo rather than give way.) “That”, commented Sowell in concluding the story, “is what a reputation is supposed to do (in the neighbourhood I grew up in, it was the reputation of my dog).”

    The other concerns the father of a friend whose business required visiting Greece and meeting Greeks. He taught the Greeks he dealt with to arrive punctually for these meetings by quite a number of occasions of arriving on time, waiting an hour or two with his eye on the window showing the approach and then, precisely as the Greek walked in through the door, passing him briskly with coat over arm and briefcase in hand, ‘noticing’ him, and saying, “I’m so sorry, I waited absolutely as long as I could, but now I must go.” It took a number of these tedious exercises but in the end his reputation communicated itself not just to the Greeks he treated to this but to their peers as well.