The savage beating of journalist Andy Ngo in Portland by far-left antifa rioters last Saturday shocked everyone. Well, conservatives anyway, plus a few honorable liberals. As the police stood by watching at a distance, masked thugs hit him, stole his camera and threw milkshake, rocks and eggs at him. He ended up in the hospital with a brain hemorrhage.
Criminal laws are supposed to deter criminal behavior. But that only works when the criminal gets caught and punished, and when people are permitted to hide their identities behind a mask, as antifa thugs are, no one gets caught.
Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, has vowed to hold the offenders accountable. Let us know who the perpetrators are, he asked, and the city would hold them accountable — a supremely useless plea when dealing with a largely masked and anonymous group.
The antifa slogan in Portland is “we own the streets.” And they do. The city has let it happen. Last October, they blocked a street and threatened drivers and passers-by who wanted to get through. A few months before that, they beat up a Bernie Sanders supporter who was carrying an American flag.
And it isn’t just Portland. We saw similar brutality in Washington, during President Trump’s Inauguration. Hundreds of rioting antifa members took over downtown DC. They marched in black bloc fashion, five abreast, their faces wholly covered, smashing windows and pushing people off the sidewalk. The police arrested 234 people, but not one of them was found guilty.
It’s the masks that save them. They’re a get-out-of-jail-free card. Deterrence doesn’t work when you can hide your identity. That’s a lesson we should have learned from the Ku Klux Klan.
Thanks to the masks, antifa won’t pay a cost. Instead, they will luxuriate in their sense of justified political hatred. They will also have the backing of prominent apologists in the liberal establishment, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who endorsed the antifa handbook, and CNN’s Don Lemon, who said in defense of the group that “no organization is perfect.”
Best of all for antifa, their actions have an effect. They are letting conservatives and even dissident liberals like Ngo know that they aren’t safe in Portland.
Mind you, that only works if the state is complicit. And when the city abandons its duty to protect its citizens, its inaction amounts to permission.
Mayor Wheeler is picky about the people he will protect. When a federal immigration building was surrounded by protesters last summer, its workers feared for their safety. But the mayor supported the protesters, and, following his orders, the local police refused to take sides.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement workers were effectively imprisoned in their building until federal forces from Homeland Security arrived to rescue them. When it was over, Homeland Security installed a “no-climb” fence to protect the ICE workers, to which the city objected because it was too high.
Wheeler says he is against violence. But the hooded antifa riots are still tolerated. The Portland police chief wants to ban masks, but fat chance the state will pass such a law, against protests by civil libertarians. And an anti-mask law isn’t necessary. The state already has a perfectly suitable remedy, in its anti-riot law. A person commits the crime of riot if, while participating with at least five other people, he engages in tumultuous and violent conduct and thereby intentionally or recklessly creates a grave risk of causing public alarm.
I can’t think of a better definition of the antifa method of operation.
After Ngo was beaten, the police declared a riot. Next time, the riot should be declared the moment hooded antifa protesters show up. But Wheeler won’t let that happen. That would get in the way of antifa’s free-speech rights, he thinks.
Evidently, it’s time for the federal government to step in — and crack down. It has had to do so in the past, especially during the civil rights era in the South.
There’s a federal law against conspiring to injure or intimidate a person in the free exercise of enjoyment of his rights or privileges, and I should think the elements of the offense are complete the moment the antifa goons show up in Portland.
What’s missing is the will to protect ordinary citizens, and since the city of Portland won’t do so, it’s time for federal marshals or the FBI to step in.
By Wayne Winegarden • Investor’s Business Daily
Gov. Jerry Brown and some California lawmakers are pushing Golden State drivers to the fast lane of an all-electric car future.
For example, San Francisco Democrat Phil Ting has introduced legislation to outlaw the sale of traditional gas-powered cars by the year 2040. My colleague Kerry Jackson has called this idea “a farce worthy of The Onion.”
But is there really a sufficient demand and marketplace to make an all-electric car future on the horizon a realistic possibility? Not if you look at sales trends. According to the most recent figures, non-hybrid electric cars are just 0.5% of the car market.
To artificially stimulate demand, lawmakers in Washington D.C., California, and many states are trying to play car salesman. They have offered lavish subsidies — paid for by Continue reading
The defects of the Obamacare website have become well known. But the problems with the law go further than the website. These problems are not incidental, but central to its design and the intentions of its architects.
Many Obamacare backers, including Barack Obama, would prefer “single-payer” health insurance. The government would pay for everything and you would get health care for free.
There is an inconsistency here with the way we treat other things regarded as the basics of life — food, shelter, clothing. Government subsidizes food purchases only for some — though a sharply increasing number in the Obama years — through food stamps. Continue reading
The Continued Blame Game: Everybody who dislikes ObamaCare is being duped by GOP propaganda, says President Obama. That must include all those unions calling it a disaster, and all those who’ve lost jobs and pay because of the law.
Telemundo, the only news outlet that appears willing to ask Obama a tough question, pressed him this week about polls showing most Americans oppose ObamaCare. “Is everybody wrong?” the host asked.
“Yes, they are,” Obama responded. The problem, he said, isn’t his law. It’s those evil Republicans who’ve spent “billions of dollars … misinforming people.”
Let’s leave aside the fact that the Obama administration has spent a king’s ransom promoting ObamaCare, Continue reading
by Mark Steyn
On his radio show the other day, Hugh Hewitt caught me by surprise and asked me about running for the United States Senate from New Hampshire. My various consultants, pollsters, PACs, and exploratory committees haven’t fine-tuned every detail of my platform just yet, but I can say this without a doubt: I will not vote for any “comprehensive” bill, whether on immigration, health care, or anything else. “Comprehensive” today is a euphemism for interminably long, poorly drafted, and entirely unread — not just by the people’s representatives but by our robed rulers, too (how many of those Supreme Court justices actually plowed through every page of Obamacare when its “constitutionality” came before them?). The 1862 Homestead Act, which is genuinely comprehensive, is two handwritten pages in clear English. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” is 500 times as long, is not about patients or care, and neither protects the former nor makes the latter affordable.
So what is it about? Continue reading
It is hard to read a newspaper, or watch a television newscast, without encountering someone who has come up with a new “solution” to society’s “problems.” Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than there are problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today’s problems are a result of yesterday’s solutions.
San Francisco and New York are both plagued with large “homeless” populations today, largely as a result of previous housing “reforms” that made housing more expensive, and severely limited how much housing, and of what kind, could be built.
The solution? Spend more of the taxpayers’ money making homelessness a viable lifestyle for more people.
Education is a field with endless reforms, creating endless problems, requiring endless solutions. Continue reading
To adapt H.L. Mencken, nobody ever went broke underestimating the cynicism and self-dealing of the American political class. Witness their ad-libbed decision, at the 11th hour and on the basis of no legal authority, to create a special exemption for themselves from the ObamaCare health coverage that everybody else is mandated to buy.
The Affordable Care Act requires Members of Congress and their staffs to participate in its insurance exchanges, in order to gain first-hand experience with what they’re about to impose on their constituents. Harry Truman enrolled as the first Medicare beneficiary in 1965, and why shouldn’t the Members live under the same laws they pass for the rest of the country? Continue reading
This is precisely why everyone hates Washington
At virtually the same time the House of Representatives was voting to defund the Internal Revenue Service’s piece of Obamacare, the U.S. Office of Personal Management – an executive branch agency – was setting forth a new policy that at the 11th hour changed the rules under which the same law would be applied to lawmakers and congressional staff.
Thanks to the efforts of Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley during the legislative debate, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act included a provision that ensured Congress would be covered by the same rules and requirements for Obamacare as everyone else. Continue reading