LAS VEGAS (AP) — A judge’s decision not to let federal prosecutors reopen the criminal case against Cliven Bundy, his sons and supporters in a 2014 armed standoff with government agents could amount to the final act in the case, a lawyer for the Nevada rancher and states’ rights activist said Friday.
“It’s the final nail in the coffin, and completely expected,” attorney Bret Whipple said of the ruling in the criminal case that was filed in 2016 against 19 defendants and collapsed last December in a mistrial due to “flagrant misconduct” by prosecutors.
Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro said again in a filing Tuesday that prosecutors “willfully” failed to disclose to defense lawyers evidence that government agents provoked the Bundy family into calling supporters to their defense by acts “such as the insertion and positioning of snipers and cameras surveilling the Bundy home.” Navarro said she found no reason to reconsider her dismissal of charges in January against Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.
Whipple characterized Bundy, now 72, as relieved that the judge rejected Acting U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson’s argument that individual counts could have been dismissed rather than the entire case, and that scuttling the case set a dangerous precedent by encouraging the public to disrespect public lands law enforcement officers. “On the contrary,” the judge wrote, “a universal sense of justice was violated by the government’s failure to provide evidence that is potentially exculpatory.”
It was not immediately clear if Elieson would appeal Navarro’s decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Trisha Young, spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, declined Friday to comment.
Whipple called Navarro’s 11-page order, issued Tuesday, “a direct rebuke to the federal government, the Bureau of Land Management and the different prosecuting agencies.” “I see a message and irony that it was released near Independence Day about freedom from federal overreach,” the attorney said.
The criminal case stemmed from a standoff in April 2014 involving hundreds of protesters and armed Bundy family supporters facing off against federal Bureau of Land Management agents and contract cowboys enforcing court orders to round up Bundy cattle.
The Bunkerville rancher refused for decades to pay government grazing fees for his cows on federal land in what is now Gold Butte National Monument, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas. He maintains that the federal government has no authority over state lands.
Commerce City,CO – Teachers in Colorado are taking action to carry concealed guns to school. The non-profit group FASTER, set up after 20 small children were killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has trained more than 1,300 US school staff, mostly in Ohio, on how to use a handgun in the event of a school shooting.
Sixty-three of them have been trained in Colorado, home to the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. The swing state has a Democratic governor and both a Democrat and a Republican in the US Senate.
“They just see the bad side, not the positive side of how guns can save people,” the 27-year-old told AFP.
She was a student this week at the three-day, $1,000 course in Commerce City outside Denver.
** More armed teachers coverage at Liberty Headlines **
As shootings multiply and Congress remains paralyzed, FASTER saw an uptick in business, even before President Donald Trump supported arming teachers in the wake of a Valentine’s Day massacre in Florida.
“I had to add four additional classes to our schedule to meet demand this year, but I don’t think it was related to Trump,” Ohio director Joe Eaton said.
This week, 24 Colorado school staff, including principals, teachers and pastors, attended a three-day training led by four active duty law enforcement officers. Colorado law prevents anyone from carrying weapons onto school grounds with the exception of school resource officers — law enforcement responsible for safety in schools — and security guards. Many on the course are prohibited from being armed at school, but hope their training will help their districts change their minds.
The curriculum includes handgun basics, range shooting, casualty care tactics and roleplaying with an active shooter and simulated fire.
Two recent nonfiction books highlight the bravery of the previous generations. These adventure stories bring to the forefront those who seemingly have been erased from history. Thanks to Corey Mead, who wrote The Lost Pilots, and Carole Avriett, the author of Coffin Corner Boys, people will know about these heroes.
Coffin Corner Boys is a compelling read about a B-17 crew who escaped from Nazi-occupied France after their plane was shot down. This book is a reminder of the Greatest Generation's spirit, valor, and patriotism. The Coffin Corner is a particular position in the flying configuration where they flew "low squadron, low group, flying #6 in the bomber box formation [while] they were exposed to hostile fire."
On March 16, 1944, the ten-member crew had to bail out of their plane after it was shot down by the Germans. Each crewmember had to endure severe cold, wetness, hunger, and exhaustion. Irv Baum and Ted Badder had the misfortune of landing by two Frenchmen who turned them in to the Nazis for two thousand francs.
Baum, who was Jewish, tried denying that he was "[a] Hebrew. I was told, 'You're lying' and at the same moment was backhanded across the face hard enough to break open the corner of my left eye. We were sent to a processing camp near Frankfurt, where they questioned us about the names of our crew. I kept saying it was a crew I didn't usually fly with, so I didn't know any of them. About midnight, about five of us were taken outside. Then six or seven guards came out with rifles, lined us up and the officer, yelled, 'Ready. Aim. Fire.' But nothing happened. They put us back into our cells, and I spent a sleepless night."
Many people know of the Japanese Bataan Death March of Filipinos and American POWS, but the Germans also had one: the Black Death March. In February 1945, crew member Dick Morse told how the Germans starved the 6,000 POWS and marched them in the cold winter weather. Those lagging behind would be "gun-butted" by the guards, and sometimes a German would drop back and take one of them into the bushes or woods. "We would hear a shot – then the guard would return alone." They were provided little food and had to drink from streams that gave them dysentery. They suffered pneumonia, diphtheria, typhus, trench foot, tuberculosis, blisters, abscesses, and frostbite. The march lasted for three months, the men traveling six hundred miles until rescued on May 2, 1945, with only 20% surviving.
On Monday, a school district in Northern Texas approved a safety measure that actually will provide safety for students in their district by including a concealed carry program for its staff.
The Weatherford Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved the measure on June 11, 2018 in addition to other safety measures.
According to the Weatherford ISD website, the concealed carry program will include the following specifics:
Details of the program will not be disclosed to "ensure the confidentiality" of the safety measure. Good thinking! However, the school district will create a timeline for when they expect to implement the measure.
I'm sure Colorado congressional candidate Levi Tillemann will be happy to know that the schools will have pepper spray in their classroom safes.
Tim Brown is an author and editor at FreedomOutpost.com, SonsOfLibertyMedia.com, GunsInTheNews.com & TheWashingtonStandard.com. He is husband to his "more precious than rubies" wife, father of 10 "mighty arrows", jack of all trades, Christian and lover of liberty. He resides in the U.S. occupied Great State of South Carolina. . Follow Tim on Twitter. Also check him out on Gab and Steemit
Last week, the official NBA account tweeted out a photo of Santa Fe high school shooting survivors holding hands during a moment of silence before a basketball game. After Twitter users accused the white students of racism for not holding a black student's hand — one tweet in particular going viral — the alleged victim's mother stepped in to shut down the race baiters.
Here's the original tweet from the NBA that sparked the racially-charged outrage:#SantaFeStrong pic.twitter.com/j5ALaQ8N4L — NBA (@NBA) May 25, 2018
"But why is Nobody holding the black girls hand...." wrote one Twitter user, gaining over 100,000 "likes."
The student is a senior from Santa Fe High School named Nicole Janice. Her classmates weren't snubbing her because of her race, explained the girl's mother, but didn't hold her hand because Nicole would get too emotional before belting out the national anthem.
"The 'black girl' is my daughter. It's people like you that keep the race crap stirred up," wrote the girl's mother, Lynda. "You just look for ways to make things about race. These girls are her friends. You have no idea what you are talking about so you just need to shut up."
Whenever we hear the term “sanctuary,” it typically has a negative connotation.
But one county in southern Illinois has put the idea to use in a way that I think we can all get on board with.
In an 8-to-1 vote on Monday, the Effingham County Board voted not to enforce any new Illinois laws that would “unconstitutionally restrict the Second Amendment,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Chicago Tribune also reported:
Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler tells the Effingham Daily News that the action is largely symbolic. He says the resolution won't control decision-making at the sheriff's office.
Sheriff Dave Mahon said if the state were to pass such a law he would consult with the state's attorney and the Illinois Sheriff's Association before deciding what to do.
“So we thought ... why don't we just make this a sanctuary county like they would for undocumented immigrants?” Kibler told “Fox & Friends First” on Thursday. “So we did flip the script on it.”
The decision by Effingham County to make their area a “sanctuary” for legal gun owners came less than two weeks after the north suburban Chicago village of Deerfield decided to ban “certain semi-automatic weapons,” along with “high-capacity magazines.”
It seems like the opposite of being a safe and secure town, but the closer you get to Chicago the more restrictions there are for legal gun owners. Targeting legal gun owners does nothing to deter criminals that don’t give one damn about whether their firearms are legal or not.
It would be a miracle if the powers-that-be in the Chicagoland-area reflected the rest of the state’s rational gun practices.
A popular way to begin the first day of class in constitutional law in many American law schools is to ask the students what sets the U.S. Constitution apart from all others. Usually, they answer that it’s the clauses that guarantee the freedom of speech, privacy and due process.
Yes, each of those guarantees — if upheld — is vital to restraining government, but the overarching and most important unique aspect of the Constitution is the separation of powers. The constitutions of many totalitarian countries pay lip service to free speech, privacy and due process, but none has the strict separation of powers that the U.S. does.
Under our Constitution, the Congress writes the laws, the president enforces them and the courts interpret them; and those powers and functions may not constitutionally be mixed or exchanged. The Congress also declares war. The president also wages war. The courts also invalidate the acts of the other two branches when they exceed their constitutional powers.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the separation of powers is integral to the Constitution not to preserve the prerogatives of each branch of government but to divide governmental powers among the branches so as to keep power diffused — and thereby limited and protective of personal freedom.
James Madison wanted not only this diffusion by separation but also tension — even jealousy — among the branches so as to keep each in check.
Thus, even if one branch of government consented to ceding an essential power to another branch, such a giveaway would be unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has ruled, because the core functions of each branch of the federal government may not be delegated away to either of the other two without violating the separation of powers.
I am writing about this not as a history or constitutional law mini-lesson but rather because it’s necessary background information to address a real and contemporary problem. Two weeks ago, on the basis of evidence so flimsy that his own secretary of defense rejected it — and without any legal or constitutional authority — President Donald Trump dispatched 110 missiles to bomb certain military and civilian targets in Syria, where the president argued the Syrian government manufactured, stored or used chemical weapons.
Trump did not seek a congressional declaration of war, nor did he comply with the U.N. Charter, a treaty to which both the U.S. and Syria are signatories. Though Trump did not articulate any statutory basis for his use of the military, his predecessors often cited as legal support for their unconstitutional uses of military force two statutes — one enacted in 2001 and the other in 2002, each known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF.
The AUMFs refer to either the Taliban or al-Qaida or their affiliated forces in Afghanistan or Iraq as targets or to pursuing those who caused the attacks in America on 9/11 or those who harbor weapons of mass destruction.
Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.
It’s a horror scenario that will make any parent’s heart skip more than a few beats.
Rodney Cole told KNSD-TV he was making only a quick stop to buy some hair ties for his daughter.
So he left 8-year-old Malaiha and her 3-year-old brother Jackson in the back seat of his car while he entered a beauty supply store, the station said. But given the hot San Diego weather Monday afternoon, Cole left the car and air conditioning running, KABC-TV reported.
That’s when a nearby woman who was bouncing a basketball dropped it suddenly and looked into Cole’s car, presumably to determine if the keys were still inside, a witness told KNSD — and she jumped in.
The witness told KNSD he started honking his horn to alert Cole of what was unfolding.
“He saw me honking, and I pointed at his car, and he just started running to chase his car,” the witness noted to KNSD, adding that he wanted to do more but was feeding his own child in his passenger seat.
Cole chased after his car as the woman drove it from the strip mall onto a street, KNSD said — but as you might expect, he couldn’t keep up on foot.
“I saw my dad coming out of the store, and I saw him banging on the window, but she rolled the window up,” Malaiha told KABC.
“I almost caught the car, but she started driving erratically,” Cole told KNSD. “She got to the light and ran the light and made a left, and I was just stuck in the middle of the street crying and bawling. I didn’t know what to do — these are my babies.”
Cole called 911, KNSD reported — and then minutes later his daughter did the same thing from her own cellphone. Cole gave it to Malaiha in case of an emergency, KABC reported. She’s had it since she was 5, KNSD said.
Surprise: People in power on both the left and right are lying to you.
When Obama was in office, people like Rachel Maddow or Ian Millhiser (of ThinkProgress) attacked every effort to withdraw support and resources to things like gun control, NSA spying or Obamacare as being dangerous nullification like John Calhoun or the confederacy.
These days, the same talking points using John C. Calhoun are coming from the right. We’ve heard this from Jeff Sessions, Tom McClintock, John Bolton and others.
But anyone who actually knows what Calhoun and South Carolina proposed in the 19th century would never make this comparison to any action today. Period.
These people are either ignorant or lying. Probably both.
In recent years, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) has experienced a number of setbacks. Since 2001, the union has lost over 100,000 members. In addition to declining membership, the union has experienced unwanted press attention over the past few years. For example, after a 2015 indictment, UFCW’s organizing coordinator for the marijuana industry was sentenced to prison for fraud and other crimes late last year. Another UFCW boss, Mickey Kasparian, has been mired in a scandal involving sexual harassment and discrimination for over a year. In January, two officials at two different UFCW locals were indicted for crimes, including racketeering; both men are alleged to have had ties to the Mafia.
On February 7th, the UFCW suffered another setback. On that day, there was an ambush unionization election at a co-op grocery store in Northfield, Minnesota, a Democrat-leaning city about 40 miles south of Minneapolis. While the workers who supported unionization had the backing of UFCW Local 1189, the workers who opposed the union were on their own. The co-op’s management remained neutral; and no third-party organization intervened. In the end, however, the union’s opponents didn’t need help; they were able to defeat the UFCW — one of the largest and wealthiest unions in the country — with over 55% of the vote.
The secretive unionization effort began last summer, but it took until last month for the union to finally collect the 12 signatures that it needed for an election. Pathetically, the unionization campaign still resorted to using dishonest tactics to gather these few signatures. For example, some co-op employees were told that signing a union authorization card only meant that they wanted more information. (In actuality, signing such a card gives a union the right to represent an employee.) Co-op workers were also falsely told that over two-thirds of the staff had already signed the cards.
Many co-op employees were unaware of the UFCW’s campaign until the posting of the Notice of Petition for Election in January. There was no agreement among union supporters as to why exactly the store needed a union. Some workers wanted higher pay, while others claimed the co-op had engaged in unspecified unfair labor practices. The union organizer claimed the co-op was hiding money from its workers and could afford to pay them more. It’s unclear how she would know this.
Several co-op employees decided to fight the union. One of the union’s opponents, Bob N., managed to get a copy of the contract that the UFCW negotiated with a Minneapolis co-op grocery store. Bob posted this contract in his store’s break room. It turns out that the Northfield co-op’s wages and benefits were as good as — and in some ways better than — the compensation package that the UFCW had negotiated with the co-op in the much larger city. Of course, unlike the employees of the Minneapolis store, the workers at the Northfield store don’t have to pay union dues. Bob also wrote several newsletters and put up a number of posts from the UFCWMonitor.com, a blog that chronicles the activities of the union, for his co-workers to read.
Immigrants being held for deportation don’t have an automatic right under the law to post bond and be set free, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a decision that could give the Trump administration more freedom to pursue stiff detention policies for illegal immigrants who show up at the border claiming asylum.
In the 5-3 ruling, the justices also took a dim view of the kinds of class-action lawsuits on behalf of immigrants that have become a key tool for anti-Trump immigrant rights activists, leaving the activists worried about the fates of other cases winding their way through the lower courts challenging President Trump on issues such as illegal immigrant Dreamers and Iraqi deportees.
The ruling was also a rebuke by the high court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which had its decision overturned.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. chided the 9th Circuit for ignoring the text of immigration laws and creating a legal standard for bail hearings “out of thin air” by requiring that immigrants be given periodic bail hearings.
“Spotting a constitutional issue does not give a court the authority to rewrite a statute as it pleases,” Justice Alito wrote for the majority.
The complex case has been percolating through the courts for years, based on a challenge first brought by Alejandro Rodriguez, a Mexican national who has been in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident since 1987.
The government tried to deport him in 2004 after several criminal convictions. Mr. Rodriguez fought deportation, but the government detained him during that time. He sued, arguing that under the detention law he was entitled to a bond hearing that could result in his release.
The lower courts established a class action for Mr. Rodriguez and other immigrants being similarly detained, and ruled that they were entitled to bond hearings after six months and periodically after that. The lower courts said the law could be unconstitutional otherwise, based on a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that mandated release of immigrants whose home countries refused to take them back.
Justice Alito, joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Neil Gorsuch — and to an extent, Clarence Thomas — said that amounted to a wholesale “rewrite” of the law.
They sent the case back to the 9th Circuit for another review consistent with their ruling that the law doesn’t require bond hearings for all immigrants in detention.
Immigrant rights groups said they will continue to fight as the case goes back to the lower courts and will argue that the law is unconstitutional if it doesn’t allow for bond hearings.
They got backing Tuesday from the dissenters, led by Justice Stephen G. Breyer. He wrote that the country’s core liberty rights have always included the chance to challenge detention by seeking bail.
“The bail questions before us are technical but at heart they are simple. We need only recall the words of the Declaration of Independence, in particular its insistence that all men and women have ‘certain unalienable Rights,’ and that among them is the right to ‘Liberty,’” he wrote.
The cold blast hitting the U.S. is exposing the absurdity of left-wing energy policies in New England. Natural gas prices are skyrocketing in the region as the gas demand for both heating and electricity exceeds supply.
ISO New England — the non-profit that runs the region’s power grid — issued a “cold weather watch” for January 5 to alert the wholesale power market to a surge in demand for the weekend, as temperatures are expected to plummet. The grid operator believes it has enough power, but the demand could exceed supply.
Don’t blame the weather for soaring energy prices and possible electricity shortages; blame the left-wing politicians and radical environmentalists for engineering a system certain to fail. Instead of promoting an energy policy focused on reliability with a diverse array of power sources for electricity generation, New England adopted a command-and-control energy policy built on feeling good, not reality.
Left-wing politicians concerned about global warming and an aggressive EPA regulatory agenda combined to reduce use of coal in New England from almost 20 percent in 2000 to about 2 percent in 2016. Natural gas is now the primary source of power, providing about 50 percent of electricity, up from about 15 percent in 2000. Burning natural gas emits about half the carbon dioxide emitted by coal.
The dependence on natural gas is a problem in New England because radical environmental activists are blocking construction of new natural gas pipelines needed to keep up with the increase in demand. Predictably, the law of supply and demand kicked in, resulting in an explosion of natural gas prices with plummeting temperatures.
During the first round of severe winter weather at the end of December, the surge in demand made New England “the world’s priciest” natural gas market, where the energy commodity jumped threefold on the spot market.
The so-called “bomb cyclone” storm that hit the East coast is pushing natural gas futures prices up significantly in New England. The Wall Street Journal reported the price for natural gas on January 3 rose almost 90 percent from the prior day and was about 1,200 percent higher than in early December.
The sharp rise in natural gas prices will eventually be passed on to consumers and businesses in New England, which already has the highest electricity prices in the nation. The problems in New England will get worse. Power companies switched to burning heating oil in order to keep the limited supply of natural gas for heating homes and businesses.
Dr. Tom Borelli is a contributor to Conservative Review and is an authority on energy policy and crony capitalism and frequently comments on political issues from a conservative grassroots perspective. As a columnist he has written for ConservativeReview.com, Townhall.com, The Washington Times, Newsmax magazine, and also hosts radio programs on SiriusXM Patriot with his wife Deneen Borelli.
AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 15, 2017) – The Texas Bullion Depository took a step closer becoming operational earlier this month when officials announced the location of the new facility. The creation of a state bullion depository in Texas represents a power shift away from the federal government to the state, and it provides a blueprint that could ultimately end the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money.
Gov. Greg Abbot signed legislation creating the state gold bullion and precious metal depository in June of 2015. The facility will not only provide a secure place for individuals, business, cities, counties, government agencies and even other countries to store gold and other precious metals, the law also creates a mechanism to facilitate the everyday use of gold and silver in business transactions. In short, a person will be able to deposit gold or silver in the depository and pay other people through electronic means or checks – in sound money.
Earlier this summer, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Austin-based Lone Star Tangible Assets will build and operate the Texas Bullion Depository. On Nov. 3, the company announced it will construct the facility in the city of Leander, located about 30 miles northwest of Austin. According to the Community Impact Newspaper, the Leander City Council has approved an economic development agreement with Lone Star. Construction of the depository is expected to begin in early 2018. Lone Star officials say it will take about a year to complete construction of the 60,000-square-foot secure facility located on a 10-acre campus.
The depository will operate out of Lone Star’s existing facilities during construction. It will provide services nationwide beginning in early 2018, with international services to be offered in the future phases, according to Community Impact.
“This state-of-the-art facility will provide tremendous benefits to the citizens of Leander and will give Texans a secure facility right here in the Lone Star State where their gold and precious metals will be kept safe and close at hand,” Hegar said in the press release.
The Texas Bullion Depository has already established an online presence. You can visit the depository website HERE.
According to an article in the Star-Telegram, state officials want a facility ‘with an e-commerce component that also provides for secure physical storage for Bullion.’ Officials say plans for a depository should include online services that would let customers accept, transfer and withdraw bullion deposits and related fees.
By making gold and silver available for regular, daily transactions by the general public, the new law has the potential for wide-reaching effect. Professor William Greene is an expert on constitutional tender and said in a paper for the Mises Institute that when people in multiple states actually start using gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve notes, it would effectively nullify the Federal Reserve and end the federal government’s monopoly on money.
“Over time, as residents of the state use both Federal Reserve notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve notes do will lead to a ‘reverse Gresham’s Law’ effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve notes).
“As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the state’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the state – as people in other states carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve notes for any transactions.”
University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus called the development of a state gold depository a step toward independence.
“This is another in a long line of ways to make Texas more self-reliant and less tethered to the federal government. The financial impact is small but the political impact is telling, Many conservatives are interested in returning to the gold standard and circumvent the Federal reserve in whatever small way they can.”
The Texas gold depository will create a mechanism to challenge the federal government’s monopoly on money and provides a blueprint for other states to follow. If the majority of states controlled their own supply of gold, it could conceivably make the Federal Reserve completely irrelevant.
State bullion depositories are one of four steps states can take to help bring down the Fed.
A professor of law at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, has had enough of millennial students who rely on trendy terms so they can deride the wisdom of the ages. Adam MacLeod, associate professor of law at Jones School of Law, wrote an article for The New Boston Post in which he published a speech that warned his first-year law students he would not accept any words ending in “ism.”
MacLeod’s preamble to his speech stated, “For several years now my students have been mostly Millennials. Contrary to stereotype, I have found that the vast majority of them want to learn. But true to stereotype, I increasingly find that most of them cannot think, don’t know very much, and are enslaved to their appetites and feelings. Their minds are held hostage in a prison fashioned by elite culture and their undergraduate professors. They cannot learn until their minds are freed from that prison.”
Then, the terrific speech. It commenced like this:
Before I can teach you how to reason, I must first teach you how to rid yourself of unreason. For many of you have not yet been educated. You have been dis-educated. To put it bluntly, you have been indoctrinated. Before you learn how to think you must first learn how to stop unthinking. Reasoning requires you to understand truth claims, even truth claims that you think are false or bad or just icky. Most of you have been taught to label things with various “isms” which prevent you from understanding claims you find uncomfortable or difficult. Reasoning requires correct judgment. Judgment involves making distinctions, discriminating. Most of you have been taught how to avoid critical, evaluative judgments by appealing to simplistic terms such as “diversity” and “equality.”
Reasoning requires you to understand the difference between true and false. And reasoning requires coherence and logic. Most of you have been taught to embrace incoherence and illogic. You have learned to associate truth with your subjective feelings, which are neither true nor false but only yours, and which are constantly changeful.
Noting that the students had “weeds” in their minds, MacLeod asserted:
Each of you has different weeds, and so we will need to take this on the case-by-case basis. But there are a few weeds that infect nearly all of your brains. So I am going to pull them out now.
First, except when describing an ideology, you are not to use a word that ends in “ism.” Communism, socialism, Nazism, and capitalism are established concepts in history and the social sciences, and those terms can often be used fruitfully to gain knowledge and promote understanding. “Classism,” “sexism,” “materialism,” “cisgenderism,” and (yes) even racism are generally not used as meaningful or productive terms, at least as you have been taught to use them. Most of the time, they do not promote understanding.
MacLeod succinctly stated, “In fact, ‘isms’ prevent you from learning.”
MacLeod tore into the idea of what he called “chronological snobbery,” the idea that “moral knowledge progresses inevitably, such that later generations are morally and intellectually superior to earlier generations, and that the older the source the more morally suspect that source is.”
[He] ripped into the importance placed by students on diversity and equality, pointing out, “Some diversity is bad. For example, if slavery is inherently wrong, as I suspect we all think it is, then a diversity of views about the morality of slavery is worse than complete agreement that slavery is wrong. Similarly, equality is not to be desired for its own sake. Nobody is equal in all respects. We are all different, which is to say that we are all not the same, which is to say that we are unequal in many ways.”
Then, the crux of the matter: “You should not bother to tell us how you feel about a topic. Tell us what you think about it. If you can’t think yet, that’s O.K.. Tell us what Aristotle thinks, or Hammurabi thinks, or H.L.A. Hart thinks. Borrow opinions from those whose opinions are worth considering.”
1. The only “ism” I ever want to come out your mouth is a syllogism. If I catch you using an “ism” or its analogous “ist” — racist, classist, etc. — then you will not be permitted to continue speaking until you have first identified which “ism” you are guilty of at that very moment. You are not allowed to fault others for being biased or privileged until you have first identified and examined your own biases and privileges.
2. If I catch you this semester using the words “fair,” “diversity,” or “equality,” or a variation on those terms, and you do not stop immediately to explain what you mean, you will lose your privilege to express any further opinions in class until you first demonstrate that you understand three things about the view that you are criticizing.
3. If you ever begin a statement with the words “I feel,” before continuing you must cluck like a chicken or make some other suitable animal sound.
After nearly forty ;years of ugly mismanagement and carelessly ignoring of basic needs of a normally run sovereign state, the military has placed the crusty despot, Robert Mugabe, under house arrest. His wife of many years, Grace, has fled, it is said, to neighboring Namibia, to the west.
One cannot rue this turn of events, as a worse situation can scarcely be envisioned than has been the case for decades.
It is barely useful to speculate on the reaction of the U.S. to these developments, since President Obama paid little attention to the country for eight years. It does not seem likely that President Trump will see much benefit to jumping in, since we have few trade arrangements with the country. Their product lines are marginal at best. The better part of valor, it would seem, might be remaining observational, hands off.
Since 1980, Robert Mugabe has run Zimbabwe with an eye to enriching himself – and making life for his citizenry, including his European-backgrounded farmers, businessmen, and landowners, unnervingly uncomfortable. And enduringly poor.
When Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia, now a dirty word not ever mentioned in the once bountiful country in southern Africa, it was the breadbasket of that continent. But Rhodesia stopped existing in 1976, replaced by Zimbabwe, run by the egotistical Robert Mugabe. When Mugabe took over, his initial intentions sounded beneficent. He was at that time just ascended to the newly renamed country, something of an idealist. That ebbed rather soon. As the years passed, he reverted to perhaps the unhappy African ruler stereotype: greed, avarice, obliviousness to the needs of his people, and his one-time good intentions were extinguished in a rush of takeovers of land and property. Shortages soon eventuated; inflation ballooned.
Cattle belonging to others now became his, to use or hand out to favored underlings. Food became scarce, as the economy no longer worked, out of balance by decrees that placed price controls unrealistically set and impossible to observe.
My own experience in Zimbabwe, with Canadian friends living in Namibia and Lesotho at the time, was one of sorrow, as we had difficulty obtaining food, bakeries functioned once a week or less, mail was spotty and unreliable, and services were shabby, even in upscale establishments. Cafés and restaurants were amusing, as the term "waiter" meant a shoeless skinny person without the barest knowledge of where the cutlery went and how to serve water, let alone wine.
One bargained with urchins on the streets for fruit, gasoline, household necessities.
The roads were in poor repair. The fantastic riches of the country were in its exotic topography, which resembles the rocky likes of the painted desert, but with colossal rock formations that resemble a giant's playroom, boulders perched precariously and impossibly on each other in random and bizarre formations. And the wildlife, phenomenal clutches of biodiversity and biomass – elephants, zebra, gazelles, dik-dik, antelopes, lions and cougars, and others fleet of foot and hungry of eye. Water is not plentiful, and many of the herds are skinny, their ribs showing from lack of forage and hydration.
White property owners who have resided in the country for many decades have long been disenfranchised and have seen their property stripped, their livestock stolen, depredated by Mugabe's pets, wholesale squatting becoming the norm.
Former owners have salvaged what they could, sealing their few assets inside their clothing hems, as diamonds, or buying multiple air tickets they will convert back to cash once they have landed elsewhere. The country has little it can sell. Industry has languished, unsupported by the rule of dependable law.
Exit restrictions confine the outgoing Zimbabwean emigrant to a paltry few dollars, making selling one's possessions something of a joke. Smuggling jewelry out is a career endeavor in order to leave with something with which to start afresh elsewhere on the continent. Inflation long ago ruined the economy, in a bid to outrace the rocket inflation of Germany in pre-WWII Deutschland. Beer at one point was several million units of local currency.
It remains to be seen what the army can do to correct the misery that has been Zimbabwe for so long.