We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Windy City

“An explosion of drive-by shootings erupted on Chicago’s South and West sides this weekend. At least 74 people were shot, and 11 killed, between 3 p.m. on Friday and 6 a.m. on Monday. In one seven-hour stretch, starting around midnight on Saturday, at least 40 people were shot, four fatally, as gunmen targeted a block party, the aftermath of a funeral, and a front porch, reports the Chicago Tribune. Over two and a half hours that morning, 25 people were shot in five multiple-injury shootings, including a 17-year-old who died after being shot in the face. An 11-year-old boy, a 13-year-old boy, and a 14-year-old girl were also hit over the course of the weekend’s bloodbath. Mt. Sinai’s emergency room shut down for several hours due to the overload of bodies; in May, the entire hospital went into lockdown following a virtual riot in its lobby among gangbangers, reported Tribune columnist John Kass.”

Heather MacDonald.

Here is a link to the status of gun laws in Illinois.

This article says gun laws in the state of Illinois are “relatively strict” compared with those in other states of the US.

As far as I can see, the level of shootings in Chicago is driven by drug gangs that thrive in one of the most corrupt, welfare-screwed cultures in North America. The level of violence in that city (Chicago has always been a rough town) is of a level that stands comparison with the grimier parts of Iraq during the post-invasion phase of 2003. Things are reaching the point where President Trump could, with some justification, send in US military forces and put that city under external control. Of course, with my classical liberal hat on, that would probably cause more harm than good in some ways, perhaps. I’d imagine that more law-abiding people are leaving the city, creating a vicious circle where the middle class has gone, and there’s a sort of mix of gangs, welfare dependents and political hucksters running the show, rather like the favelas of Brazil but without the entrepreneurial energy. And bear in mind that this is going on while the US is, at least according to official statistics, enjoying decent economic growth and low unemployment. But in such wrecked towns, I’d wager that labour force participation rates are weak and business dynamism isn’t all that evident.

A final thought: in the UK the media reports, often to the maximum, on spree shootings (although as I noted before, things went weirdly quiet after a short while after the Vegas mass shooting). But the remorseless killing counts in Chicago, Baltimore or other cities barely registers a flicker. It’s as if it is seen as normal, or, to coin a phrase from London’s unpleasant and useless mayor, part and parcel of living in a big city.

More sage advice…

Dear “Shrill Voice,”

This is difficult. Normally I tell has-beens and never-has-beens (and you seem to be both) to rake in the loot and live comfortably. But you’ve already done that. Clearly domestic political office is out because nobody likes losers. And you couldn’t win international office because all the countries you bombed would vote against you. Clearly, you have to make some Hard Choices.

Why not trade on the fact that you are not the most loved and respected person in the world? License virtual reality game arenas named after you in which contestants would face 100 avatars of you in various settings and have to kill as many as possible. This would be incredibly popular, and players would readily pay $100 a game, with the money going, of course, to the “charity” of your choice.

Hmmm, I wonder who Aunt Agatha is referring to? 😉

Elon Musk just made a lot of enemies in Britain

There is a lot to admire about Elon Musk. I thought the space car was glorious. The whimsicality of it, which so many objected to, delighted me.

It is sad that Mr Musk has now shown that his whims can take a nastier turn.

British cave diver considering legal action over Elon Musk’s ‘pedo’ attack

A British cave diver who was instrumental in the rescue of 12 children trapped in a northern Thailand cave says he is considering legal action after the inventor Elon Musk called him a “pedo” on Twitter.

Vernon Unsworth told the Guardian on Monday he was “astonished and very angry” at the attack, for which Musk offered no evidence or basis. The billionaire initially doubled down on the comments made on social media, but has since deleted them.

Apparently it started when Mr Unsworth was rude about Mr Musk’s offer of his mini-submarine to help in the rescue:

Previously, Unsworth had described Musk’s offer to help the rescue effort as a “PR stunt”, and had told CNN Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts”.

If nothing else had been said, my sympathies would have been with Mr Musk. Even if it was something of PR stunt, I am sure Musk did genuinely want to help save lives. Still, I dare say tempers often flare in these high pressure situations. One man’s praiseworthy offer of aid can be another’s dangerous distraction from an urgent task.

However then Mr Musk went on to call Mr Unsworth a “pedo”, not just once – in which case it might have been written off as a random zero-content insult like calling someone a “bastard” when you neither know nor care whether their parents were legally married – but repeatedly. Mr Musk’s “evidence” for this allegation out a blue sky was that Mr Unsworth is a white guy living in Thailand. Musk said that that in itself was “sus”, meaning suspicious.

Angry comments are coming thick and fast to the Times article “Thai boys’ rescuer Vern Unsworth could sue Elon Musk over paedophile smear”. If even a fraction of those commenting on the Times website and those of other British newspapers who have said that they are about to cancel their Tesla order follow through with it, Musk’s UK operation could be in real trouble. That comes on top of the doubts already raised about the company by Tesla’s failure to live up to some of Musk’s earlier extravagant promises. For all the fame of the brand, the number of Tesla electric cars in the UK is still only in the low thousands, and Times subscribers are exactly the sort of people who would be most likely to buy them.

Charismatic individuals can push forward scientific innovation. They can also screw up big time.

Me, too?

Canada’s second generation Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a spot of bother.

The Guardian reports, “Justin Trudeau ‘does not remember’ groping reporter at festival”.

Justin Trudeau has publicly addressed allegations that he groped a reporter at an event 18 years ago, saying he does not recall any “negative interactions” taking place that day.

Which is only to be expected, given it was eighteen years ago. After such a long time it is surely unfair to drag up an unproven accusation from way back to blacken a man’s name now… Except that is exactly what the tousle-headed heartthrob of 24 Sussex Drive did to others.

The Canadian National Post has two good articles on the subject. Firstly,

Andrew Coyne: Trudeau has to say something about groping accusation. Yet what can he say?

If he confessed “I did it. It was a fleeting moment of madness for which I apologized at the time, and which I regret today,” that would not be the worst thing in the world, assuming no other cases emerged. Except that, having famously established, with great fanfare, a zero tolerance policy for his party and himself in such matters, with no statute of limitations, he would then have to explain why he should not have to pay the same price that others have had to pay for similar offences.

But what if he did not do it? Well, judging from the way Trudeau has treated others, that should make no difference. According to a second article in the National Post:

Joe Oliver: Groping allegations snare Justin Trudeau in a trap he created himself

As a self-proclaimed feminist, Justin Trudeau mandated a gender-equal cabinet and repeatedly proclaimed his devotion to women’s rights. He dealt ruthlessly with two Liberal members of Parliament who were accused of inappropriate behaviour by unnamed members of the NDP caucus. Without warning, the accused were booted from the Liberal caucus at an open meeting. They were not provided any information about the allegations against them, any chance to defend themselves or even to inform their spouses before their simultaneous show trial and sentence went public. In an instant, political careers were eviscerated and reputations in tatters.

The price of the presumption of guilt can be heavier even than that. In not unrelated news, remember “Nick”, the man whose accusations of every crime from sexual abuse to murder against the former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor among many others were infamously described as “credible and true” by Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald without the formality of a trial?

Man who said he was victim of VIP child sexual abuse ring charged

The man who claimed to have been the victim of a VIP child sexual abuse and murder ring has been charged with 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud.

The claims from “Nick” led to Scotland Yard’s disastrous Operation Midland investigation. He is charged over false claims of child sexual abuse and child killings.

The Crown Prosecution Service said on Tuesday it had authorised the series of criminal charges against the 50-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The claims led to the Met investigating public figures including the former military chief Lord Bramall, the former home secretary Leon Brittan and the former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor.

One charge against Nick relates to Proctor and accuses him of “doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice, in that he made a false allegation of witnessing the child homicide of an unnamed boy committed by Mr Harvey Proctor”.

Those awful Americans and their guns. Not like civilised New Zealanders.

The Times reports:

Online stalker who flew round the world shot by girl’s mother

A 25-year-old man who flew 9,000 miles from New Zealand to see an American teenager he had met online was shot by her mother as he was breaking into their house.

Troy Skinner was armed with a pocket knife, pepper spray and duct tape when he began battering doors and smashed a window at the family’s home, detectives in Virginia said. He was taken by air ambulance to hospital in a critical condition after being shot twice, once in the neck, but was expected to survive.

Sheriff James Agnew, of Goochland County, said: “The manner in which he attempted to enter that home in the face of a firearm pointed at him and the implements we recovered from him, the only inference is that he had very bad intent. He was not invited here, he was not expected here. He had been told the daughter no longer wished to communicate with him.”

Mr Skinner had struck up a relationship with the 14-year-old girl on a video gamers’ chat app called Discord about four months ago, the sheriff said. The app says that it is a place for people who “love playing games” to share “relationships, memories, and laughs”.

Mr Skinner decided to travel halfway across the world to see her when she tried to break things off. He had taken three flights and a long interstate bus trip to get to her house. “This was not random. This was not spontaneous. This was something very planned,” the sheriff said.

And

The mother told police that she was at home painting with her two teenage daughters when Mr Skinner came to the door. She refused to open it, but he then went around the back and tried to break down a rear door with a concrete block from their garden.

The girl’s mother warned him several times that she was armed with a handgun and she opened fire when he smashed a glass panel and started reaching inside to try to open it by the latch.

My apologies to readers from New Zealand. The sarcasm of my title was just a rhetorical device to make a particular point. Of course I am aware that this type of madman can arise in any country. The roles could easily be reversed, with an American obsessive armed with knife, pepper spray and duct tape trying to break into the house of a fourteen year old New Zealand girl.

Of course given that in New Zealand, as in the UK,

Gun licenses are issued at the discretion of the police in New Zealand provided the police consider the person to be of good standing and without criminal, psychiatric or drug issues as well as meeting other conditions such as having suitable storage facilities. To be issued, they must be issued for a valid reason, which may not include self defense.

…if this had taken place in New Zealand or the UK the mother would have had no gun and the girl would have been raped and murdered.

Ejecting people from restaurants

The Whitehouse press secretary was required to leave a restaurant because the restaurant owner did not like her views. This seems like a perfectly civilised and non-violent way of objecting to views or actions. A restaurant owner should be free to require people to leave for any reason; the restaurant is private property.

The Guardian article quotes Walter Shaub‘s tweet:

There’s no ethics rule against Sarah Sanders fans being cartoonish hypocrites in defending merchants discriminating against gay people but howling when a merchant rejects a human rights violator based on her involvement in harming babies & children. Ridicule will have to suffice.

The Guardian article does not mention the obvious response:

Conservatives aren’t arguing the restaurant didn’t have the right. Not asking for the government to step in and force the restaurant to serve her. Not going to the Supreme Court either. Let the free market decide.

It is surprising how often it is necessary to spell out the difference between not liking something and wanting the state to intervene to stop it.

Roseanne Barr denounces the regressive media

Quite a few days ago now, Roseanne Barr tweeted this:

The liberal media is an absolute joke – they no longer provide real news or information. They have made it their ultimate goal to undermine our dually elected president everyday. I encourage real Americans to find other reliable sources for their news and share their information.

It seems that Roseanne is copying the technique pioneered by her “dually” elected President of the USA, by including grammatical and spelling mistakes in her tweets, thereby getting these tweets noticed and written about by pedants like me, who would probably have had nothing to say about them had they been more properly phrased.

Even better would be if she had misspelt duly as “duelly”. Imagine POTUS being chosen by literal single combat. Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have won that either. (By the way, how do you not misspell “misspell”? Misspell doesn’t seem right. But miss-spell doesn’t seem right either.)

See also: The liberal media “is” an absolute joke. Should be “are”, surely.

On a more serious verbal point, I personally don’t like the way Roseanne Barr calls them the “liberal” media. I don’t like either “liberal” or “progressive” to describe people who seem to have no sane idea of what liberty or progress actually are.

But at least Roseanne Barr refrains from calling these media the “mainstream” media. This is a usage I am starting seriously to dislike. It attributes to these very particular media a cultural dominance that they did once possess, but no longer do. “Mainstream” says to me that any other media only have significance if they are tributaries of this main stream. But now, other streams can find their own way directly to the great sea that is public opinion, with no help from that still supposedly “main” stream at all.

I will now elaborate on what I mean.

→ Continue reading: Roseanne Barr denounces the regressive media

Samizdata quote of the day

Media breaths a sigh of relief that a raccoon climbing Union Bank of Switzerland building in Minnesota distracts public from Trump’s diplomatic success with North Korea. Next: IRS audits raccoon & announces he has a Swiss bank account & ties to Vladimir Putin #MPRaccoon

Perry de Havilland

You have to wonder when, not if, Obama is arrested

This story, via that well-known extreme rightwing news outlet, Associated Press (sarcasm alert) ought, given the enormity of what is stated, surely lead to former President Barack Obama having his collar felt by the Feds. But he won’t of course because he was “hope and change”:

WASHINGTON (AP) — After striking an elusive nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration found itself in a quandary in early 2016: Iran had been promised access to its long-frozen overseas reserves, including $5.7 billion stuck in an Omani bank.

To spend it, Iran wanted to convert the money into U.S. dollars and then euros, but top U.S. officials had repeatedly promised Congress that Iran would never gain access to America’s financial system.

Those assurances notwithstanding, the Obama administration secretly issued a license to let Iran sidestep U.S. sanctions for the brief moment required to convert the funds through an American bank, an investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday showed. The plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate.

Yet two years later, the revelation is re-igniting the bitter debate over the nuclear deal and whether former President Barack Obama was too eager to grant concessions to Tehran.

All those friends of mine on the libertarian side who rightly get annoyed by Donald Trump will, I trust, be equally oxidised about what the Obama administration has got up to. The situation is shocking because, in recent years, dozens of foreign banks have been punished by US authorities for breaching sanctions against countries including Iran. The most egregious breach was by French banking group BNP Paribas, paying a fine to the US totaling $8.9 billion. (One wonders if President Macron of France will lobby Donald Trump to refund some of this cash to France, if the previous administration was crapping on its own rules about sanctions.)

Here is Ben Shapiro going into the increasingly unhinged one-sided media coverage of US public affairs.

Back to the original article, it seems important to me that it is AP, not just a blog or some YouTube commentator, that has spelled out in devastating detail the dishonesty of the Obama administration over Iran. I recall (yes, I am that old), how White House shenanigans over Iran (the 1986 Iran-Contra scandal) nearly brought down Ronald Reagan and led to multiple hearings, firings and resignations. Obama may now hope that, as a former POTUS, he can relax, do his netflix thing, play golf, give socialist speeches for big bucks, and occasionally vent on how terrible it is that Biff is reversing some of his policies.

But I do wonder. What powers, exactly, exist to bring a former Prez. to book for what appear to be lies on an epic scale, on matters affecting national security? OK, I do doubt that it could happen against the first non-white man to be elected to the office, but if there is any justice in this world, Obama should be contemplating life behind bars or at least, being made to sweat under intense questioning. The man is a snake and yet far too many intelligent people treat him as a sort of secular saint. It is nauseating.

Samizdata quote of the day

A media that taught us to mock authority and culture was unprepared for the day when the audience would mock their authority and their culture.

wretchardthecat

Armed self-defence in the UK: apparently crossbows are OK

“Armed gang pick on the wrong gran as she fires CROSSBOW at masked men who kicked down her door”, reports the Daily Mirror.

A woman has told how she shot at a machete-wielding intruder with a CROSSBOW when a gang burst into her home and attacked her family.

Anji Rhys, 49, said she sprang into action when masked raiders kicked down her door in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, after apparently mistaking it for a drugs den.

Ex-Thai boxer Anji, who is reportedly a grandmother, grabbed her crossbow, which she dubs Manstopper, and shot one thug during the horrifying ordeal.

Anji keeps the bow on a wall inside the house to protect her family which include her partner Rebecca, son Dillon and elderly mum Lilian.

The so-called survivalist, who possesses an arsenal of weapons inside her home, was reportedly watching TV when the yobs entered her home and pinned down her son.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to read that this lady was able to protect herself and her family. But I am mystified by the supportive tone of the Mirror reporter, and of most of the comments, when exactly the same sequence of events but involving a gun-wielding grandma in the US instead of a crossbow-wielding one in the UK would have been dismissed as NRA propaganda and further evidence of the lunacy and barbarism of Americans in their “love affair with the gun”.

Bernie Sanders fails to compete with the AAPP

Bernie Sanders announces a plan to guarantee every American a job, but he fails, yet again, to come even close to the promises made by the And A Pony Party (“AAPP”).

We remind you, once again, not to be swayed by politicians hopping on to the bandwagon by cynically pushing inadequate substitutes for the program of the only political party that really cares.

Stay the course. Support the AAPP.