What Does “Peace” Mean to a Terrorist?

This is one of the fundamental asymmetries that have persisted for decades in the Middle East: to Israelis, “peace” means what it does here, in the U.S. A time to relax, to raise a family, to focus on one’s job; to take up a hobby or two. A time that one hopes will last forever. But for Islamic terrorists, “peace” means something quite different–more like a time out in a football game, if football were fatal. A time to prepare for war.

A Reuters reporter got a tour of a Hamas tunnel in Gaza. Hamas organized the tour in order to show that Israel hadn’t demolished all of its tunnels. The whole account is interesting, but what struck me forcibly was the conclusion:

In the tunnel, a Hamas fighter said the group would press on with restocking its arsenal or rockets and other weaponry and shoring up its underground network.

“In peace we make preparations, and in war we use what we have readied,” he said.

It is, of course, impossible to make peace with people for whom “peace” is merely an opportunity to get a jump on the next war.

Can a Liberal Learn to Shoot?

I would have said, sure. In fact, I have taught a couple of liberals to shoot firearms. But when Buzzfeed recruited five young lefties for the experiment, the odds didn’t look good:

Pretty entertaining. I would say that only one of the five shows any real promise, and she doesn’t look much like a liberal, either. Maybe we can sign her up for the NRA!

Report: More than a dozen witnesses say Brown attacked officer [UPDATED]

Yesterday, after reciting what appears to the Darren Wilson’s account of his shooting of Michael Brown, I wondered whether any witnesses would back Wilson’s version which, I imagined, would be contradicted by Brown’s friends. Now comes a tweet from Christine Byers of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that “more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version of events in shooting.”

I don’t know whether that’s true, but it would help explain why Wilson has not been charged, as the mob is demanding.

If Byers is correct, some interesting questions arise. Assuming that the “white cop killed innocent black for no reason” narrative implodes, will the angry mob go home? Or will it become even more incensed, as seemed to happen when the video of Brown’s robbery was released? Or will the facts make no difference at all, such that the protesting and looting continue until the mob gets tired or is forcibly halted.

I’m betting on choice number three.

Also, if more than a dozen witnesses back Wilson’s version, will Eric Holder and his team of federal investigators (more than 50 of them, according to Megyn Kelly) accept that version and conclude that Wilson committed no crime? Or will they try to hector witnesses into changing their story and/or try to find a way charge Wilson in spite of what these witnesses say?

I wouldn’t bet on choice number one.

UPDATE: From Gateway Pundit comes word that Wilson suffered facial fractures in the area of his eye socket as a result of his confrontation with Michael Brown (formerly known as the Gentle Giant).

Maybe tonight, instead of employing the “hands up” gesture, the Ferguson mob should shadow box.

FURTHER UPDATE: Christine Byers, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reporter, has removed her tweet. She says it “didn’t meet the standard for publication.”

Apparently, she has been on leave from the paper since March pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act, and thus has not participated in the coverage of the Ferguson shooting. Presumably, as a crime reporter she still has sources who prompted the tweet. But I take her at her word that her sourcing did not meet publication standards.

World of Payne

Erica Payne is one sick chick who perfectly represents the unloveliness of the contemporary left. Following up on her very personal message to me soliciting criminal abuse of Paul Ryan’s new book at bookstores near me (would that include Garrison Keillor’s, Erica?), she now writes:

Hi Scott,

Paul Ryan is the front-runner in Iowa, Christie is slipping, Perry may be out, and the consensus among Republican consultants is that Ryan is one of the strongest 2016 candidates. In a piece a couple of days ago, Ryan called Hillary “formidable – and beatable.” If the Republicans keep the House in November, Ryan will become the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee and he will be able to raise enormous sums from special interests.

In short, he will have money, power, and a platform. We can stop him. But we need your help.

I am writing to ask you to contribute to our campaign to make sure that Paul Ryan never becomes President of the United States. You can contribute HERE.

Three years ago in reaction to the enormous cuts he proposed to Medicare, we created a powerful and controversial ad that depicted Paul Ryan throwing Granny Off A Cliff. It became a media sensation. We brought Granny out again when Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012 and then again when he released his budget in 2013. Today we rolled out Granny again, populating book stores with a new and improved version of the Ryan book cover. Copies of the book with the fake cover have been sent to every major media outlet.

Tomorrow, we are arming protestors with posters of the GRANNY COVER. We’ve already contacted local activists who are ready and willing to go. Those protestors are going to show up at every stop on the Paul Ryan book tour.

In 2012 Granny became synonymous with Ryan’s healthcare plan. Our goal with this work and other Ryan efforts is to create a permanent connection between Paul Ryan and Granny. If we do that successfully we will create enough doubt in the minds of seniors that it will be impossible for him to win a general election. Seniors are a major voting block and in 2012 they broke 56/44 for Mitt Romney.

Guerrilla Granny has already been covered in the DAILY CALLER, the WEEKLY STANDARD and the WASHINGTON POST. [Ed.: What are we? Chopped liver?] It’s clear that Republicans understand the threat that Granny poses to Ryan. [Ed.: Speaking for myself, I'd say we understand that Erica Payne and her organization are a menace to decency.]

I’ve enclosed the book tour schedule below [Ed.: I'm omitting it]. I am writing to see if you will contribute to our Granny campaign to make sure that we can stop Paul Ryan. You can contribute to the Agenda Project Action Fund HERE.

Thanks so much. Together we can do this.

Erica

(Links, emphases, and italics omitted.) Payne lists Ryan’s upcoming in-store appearances at the bottom of her message. Her message reeks of the contempt she and her ilk have for the intelligence of voters. You can reach Payne by email at erica@agendaproject.org or via Twitter @EricaPayneAP.

A window opens onto the left-wing mind

Erica Payne is the founder of the Agenda Project and cofounder of the Democracy Alliance. John wrote about the Democracy Alliance in “A window opens onto the left-wing conspiracy.” Payne is an integral part of the left-wing machine.

I’m not sure how I worked my way onto her email list, but this morning she wrote me an unusual message. I’m in good company, though. The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper received the same message and explains what Payne has in mind in “Activist encourages defacement of cover of Paul Ryan’s book.” Come to think of it, if you didn’t receive Payne’s message this morning, your pride should probably be wounded.

In his post Halper includes the image that Payne links to in her message, which she wants recipients to use to deface Ryan’s book. Here is Payne’s message:

Hi Scott,

Just a heads up, Paul Ryan’s new book comes out today and his publisher is furious! It turns out that they accidentally shipped it with the wrong cover, and they need your help to make things right.

We have the correct cover and it’s up to us to get it on as many of his books as possible, as soon as possible. The real cover is right here. Just print it out, take it to your nearest bookstore, and place it over the book jacket. Rep. Ryan is counting on us, let’s not let him down!

Remember to email us at Erica@agendaproject.org with any pictures you take of the corrected covers, and share them on social media with the tag #SaveGranny. We’ll let the publisher know you helped them out!

-ep

Erica Payne
Agenda Project Action Fund

Payne is about as funny as cancer. I wrote her back:

Hi Erica: I appreciate your including me on your email distribution, but I think you are encouraging the criminal abuse of property. Are you so desperate to discourage Ryan’s ideas from seeing the light of day?

Scott

I’ll post an update if I hear back from her.

Study: Excessive use of force by police is “very rare”

Events in Ferguson, Missouri prompted Rand Paul to denounce the “militarization” of local American police forces. In the context of Ferguson, Paul’s complaint makes little sense. However, it echoed a theme that more thoughtful libertarians have been presenting for some time.

Part of that theme is the idea that a heavily armed police force will tend to be a more aggressive police force. “Production for use,” as Hildy Johnson would say.

But have modern-day police departments come to rely on the excessive use of force? The question has been studied in detail by William Terrill, an associate professor at Michigan State’s School of Criminal Justice and a former military policeman.

Terrill has studied dozens of law enforcement agencies. His focus has been on police use of force and culture.

Here, in summary form, is what Terrill found about police use of force:

[E]xcessive force is very rare in most police agencies. In fact, police officers often use less (not more) force within the framework of a force continuum structure (i.e., a policy framework used by 80% of the police departments in the United States).

In a related manner, police officers actually appreciate and value the use of administrative force policy. They do not want carte blanche to engage in coercive acts as they see fit, but rather organizational policy guidance and direction as to when and when not to use varying types of forceful tactics.

Was this true in the good old days before the police had fancy weaponry? I don’t know.

Many of Terrill’s other findings are of interest too. He found, for example, that officers who are the subject of frequent complaints over use of force tend to be officers who are more likely to engage and question law breakers. They are often labeled “problem officers,” but, says Terrill, might more appropriately be called “productive” ones.

Some of Terrill’s findings support a libertarian critique of policing to some degree. He found, for example, that officers are more likely to use forceful means in areas characterized by high levels of socioeconomic disadvantage and crime, irrespective of suspect behavior at the police-suspect encounter level. Thus, some officers may be prejudging the amount of resistance they expect to receive.

In addition, Terrill raises questions about heavy reliance on Tasars. He notes that although the use of such a weapon (as opposed to more traditional options such as the baton, chemical spray, or physical hands on force) reduces the odds of injury to police officers, it increases the odds of injury to citizens. As a result, he says, “police managers must grapple with the trade-off of balancing citizen injuries with officer injuries.”

It’s easy to believe that officers will tend to err on the side of injuring suspects they feel the need to subdue, rather than on the side of injury to themselves.

Overall, however, Terrill’s work should give pause to those who suggest that modern police departments have been seduced by heavy armaments into using excessive force.

An embarrassment of Democrats: Grimes edition

I know Democrats can’t be embarrassed. When I refer to “an embarrassment of Democrats,” I am trying to capture the natural reaction of average Americans to the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the embarrassment of Democrats (as I call them) seeking higher office this November. Among them is one Alison Lundergran Grimes.

Grimes seeks to knock off Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from reelection to the seat he holds representing the great state of Kentucky. When it comes to public policy, McConnell is a serious guy. He is a long-time defender of the speech rights of citizens that are assaulted in the name of campaign finance reform and regulation.

Grimes is something of a numbnuts. She thinks that Israel’s Iron Dome protects it from Hamas’s terror tunnels. Really. That ought to suggest that she’s not ready for prime time. She’s secretive about her views on important issues such as Obamacare and illegal immigration. What’s she hiding? I think she might be a liberal.

My daughter Eliana took a look at the contending campaigns in “Kicking off the Kentucky Senate race.” Eliana observed how Grimes is working the Democrats’ appeal to low-information voters. Grimes touts the usual crock, portraying McConnell as an opponent of gender equality. According to Grimes: “[O]nly one of us believes women deserve equal pay for equal work.”

Renowned feminist Bill Clinton has already made an appearance on behalf of Grimes and I’m sure he’ll be back for more, so to speak. As a big feminist, of course, Grimes includes her dad among her principal assets. He’s got a good name in Kentucky politics and he has become a wealthy man along the way. He has gone to great, perhaps even illegal, lengths to help his daughter in the race. Manu Raju reports at Politico Pro (behind Pro’s subscription paywall) that Grimes may be the beneficiary of an illegal in-kind contribution from her father:

Alison Lundergan Grimes has barnstormed Kentucky in her 45-foot-long campaign bus, rolling up to raucous campaign events and posing for photos next to the vehicle bearing an oversize image of the Democratic Senate hopeful.

Left unmentioned amid the hubbub is this: Her father’s company acquired the bus just as the campaign got under way last year — and is renting it to his daughter for a fraction of what other companies would typically charge, according to a POLITICO analysis. Federal campaign finance law bars a campaign from receiving goods and services below the fair market value from a corporation, regardless of whether it is owned by a family member.

A review of Federal Election Commission records shows Grimes paid less than $11,000 through June to rent the bus for at least 24 days, amounting to about $456 per day. Officials at four bus companies said they typically charge $1,500 to $2,000 a day to rent a similarly sized bus, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign said it spent at least $2,200 per day to rent essentially the same bus during a swing earlier this month. That would amount to a savings of tens of thousands of dollars for the Democrat’s campaign.

The Grimes campaign denies wronging, but Raju appears to have the goods in a detailed and well-researched story.