First, let me thank everyone who commented on my two columns last week. I’ve been busy with annoying real-world time-sucks, but I read all the comments, and appreciate the shared thoughts (and the compliments, of course!), and am really grateful for every reader of the CO site.
Second, Christopher Silber is an economic genius, and CO did a great thing by getting him to write here. He explains financial and economic issues understandably and clearly, and if any of you have missed some of his pieces, you can find his compilation at http://www.cautiouseconomics.com/p/articles-by-subject.html?fbclid=IwAR0sS4yxwa–WIOjEpPzMYMsZBWxDUEV40lSZ4IlMme7_v5Fy4NNvZF6VRc
I met Christopher several summers ago, when CO and the COSE got a group of the CO site readers and contributors together in Denver, and we all had a great time. I’m hoping that we can do that again sometime soon!
Third, I wanted to dive right in on the Rittenhouse trial, but Obama gave a speech in Europe that reminded me what an obnoxious creep he is, and how glad I am that he’s gone. That guy has gotten more mileage out of a preferred racial background, a fawning media, superficial glibness and a grotesquely high self-estimation of his own intelligence than anyone in the last century, at least.
So I thought I’d throw a few verbal rib kicks in on him.
He was giving a speech in Scotland, and he glibly said that since he was in the Emerald Isle, he wanted to quote the Bard, William Shakespeare.
Except that the Emerald Isle is Ireland. And Shakespeare is English. And the Scots have their own bard, and his name is Robert Burns. Other than that, he nailed it! (I’m guessing that all white folks look alike to Barry O, so he can’t be expected to keep them straight.)
Not content with having demonstrated his ignorance of where he was and whom he was addressing, Obama went on to demonstrate his ignorance of the subject he was discussing, by whining about how Trump “unilaterally left the Paris Accord,” an action that will obviously destroy our planet by carbon-icide.
Never mind that Obama flew to give his lecture on a carbon-spewing private jet. (He probably thought he landed at Heathrow, which as far as he knows is in Scotland.)
And overlook the fact that the Paris Accord is as phony as Lizzie Warren’s Cherokee backstory (#wemustneverstopmockingher). It’s an agreement with arbitrarily decided carbon output goals, signed onto by a bunch of countries that have all failed to meet those goals, with no enforcement mechanism, and no authentic buy-in from the nations that put out the most carbon per capita.
It’s a pledge with the reliability of Bill Clinton’s wedding vows.
And hey, Barry? You know why Trump was able to “unilaterally” pull us out of the Paris accord? Because you “unilaterally” forced us into it.
Rather than following our constitutional system and getting the legislative branch to put forward and vote on a legislation for us to join Paris – after first consulting and persuading the American people on that, the way our representatives are supposed to do – you took an arrogant short cut. You knew that the American people wouldn’t support signing on to a meaningless, virtue-signaling international gesture like this, and therefore congress wouldn’t pass it.
So you said, “screw them. I know best!” And you acted on your own.
In other words, you unilaterally stuck us with a meaningless accord, and Trump unilaterally got us out of it.
Okay, the Rittenhouse trial:
Rarely do you ever get such a black-and-white example of good versus evil in a public trial, and with total video coverage to boot. If you haven’t been living in a cave, you already know the general outline.
But I don’t think enough attention has been paid to one obvious fact: none of this wouldn’t have happened if the police had been allowed to do their job, and put down the riots and jail the rioters the moment they started rioting! If they had, the reaction of many – “People shouldn’t be out there with guns; they should let the police handle it.” – might actually carry some weight.
Instead, the terrible leftist local and state government abandoned Kenosha to peacefully violent leftist rioters, looters and arsonists. They prevented the cops from distributing well-deserved servings of rubber bullets, tear gas and mass arrests and prosecutions to the thugs.
Sidebar: In a hypothetical Edenic world in which I were King of Kenosha, I would have had the cops fire volleys of grapeshot into the rioters, followed immediately by a cavalry charge of mounted border patrol – who might as well be in WI, since they are being prevented from doing their job along the border – using their reins as whips.
And also using their whips as whips.
Then, I would have the cops deploy a fleet of paddy wagons, into which the hateful miscreants could be tossed, and taken straight to prison.
And no, I wouldn’t call them, “Irish-American wagons.” Because the kind of weirdos who are driven to substance abuse by hearing “paddy wagon” would be banned from my realm.
Anyway, one startling revelation to come out of this trial is that you can apparently get a law degree out of a box of Cracker Jacks in this country. Otherwise, what could possibly explain the abysmal performance of prosecutor Thomas Binger?
To be fair to him, he had a tough job: he was prosecuting a case that never should have been brought, and he’s got no convincing evidence on his side. But that’s where the positives have to stop.
This guy is the Joe Biden of prosecutors. He bumbles. He stumbles. He’s the slowest wit in the room. So far he’s managed not to poop in the courtroom, but the trial isn’t over yet.
It’s hard to pick his dumbest moment, but I have a few contenders.
1.With eyewitness Richie McGinniss, Binger adopted the kind of disingenuous and sarcastic line of questioning that gives lawyers everywhere a bad name. He snidely insisted that McGinniss and Rittenhouse could not possibly have guessed what was in the mind of Joseph Rosenbaum right before he got shot. “You have no idea what Mr. Rosenbaum was ever thinking… You have never been inside his head, you never met him before… so your interpretation is completely guesswork.”
And then, in a surpassingly beautiful moment, the witness delivered a deadpan equivalent of a marital aid wrapped in barbed wire and manually inserted in the prosecutor’s Schumer. Then turned sideways.
Quoth the Eastwoodian witness: “Well he said f*ck you and grabbed for the gun.”
2. With another witness, Binger waded into yet another rhetorical roundhouse punch flat-footed. The witness testified that earlier in the evening, Rosenbaum told several people that, “If I catch you alone tonight, I’ll kill you.”
Binger said, “He said that to you?” When the witness said, “Yes,” Binger said, “But did he say it to the defendant?”
At this point every sentient bi-ped in Christendom had to believe that the answer was going to be, “no,” because if Rosenbaum had directly threatened Rittenhouse, self-defense is pretty much a lock. And no minimally competent lawyer would ask a question he didn’t know the answer to, let alone one that he knew the answer would torpedo his case!
But the witness said, “Well, [Rittenhouse] was right there. So, yes.”
D’oh! If Binger takes too many more rakes to the forehead, he’s going to end up with a AOC-ian level of cognitive impairment.
3.Binger might have sounded even dumber – if that’s possible – when he questioned Rittenhouse. The kid testified that earlier in the evening, he ran toward a fire to put it out, and there’s video of him carrying a fire extinguisher at one point.
Binger: You decided you needed to run because of the fire?
Binger: Why? What was so urgent?
Rittenhouse: Uh, it was a fire?
Binger: There’s fires all over the place. So?
That’s an actual exchange, from an actual trial. The best argument the prosecutor can make about his leftist-run city relies on the fact that it is so horribly governed that there’s no reason to even try to fix things: “Lawless mobs are destroying the city, and there are fires everywhere. So?”
Great job, WI Democrats!
Things didn’t get better for Binger. On Friday, he cross-examined journalist Drew Hernandez (don’t let his Hispanic-ness fool you – he’s a white supremacist!) who recorded much of the riot in Kenosha, including many scenes involving Rittenhouse.
Sidebar: I know that in most trials, a lawyer will try to call witness testimony into doubt. “When you say you saw the defendant clearly on the day in question, isn’t it true that the man you saw was 30 yards away from you, and it was foggy, and you wear thick glasses and think Maxine Waters is attractive?”
But you know what is not available in most trials?
(Cueing Sam Kinison for the defense): “VIDEO EVIDENCE OF THE ENTIRE EVENT!! OH! OHHHHHH!”
What is the point of trying to suggest that something might have happened in some other way, when multiple video angles show that it happened THIS way?
And yet Binger kept stepping in it. He took an justifiably grating, condescending tone while asking Hernandez this question, which I swear I am not making up:
“Your videos that you have captured of these incidents that you call riots. They’re very slanted against… the people who are rioting – you characterize them as Antifa, Black Lives Matter rioters, correct?”
Hernandez: “Because they are rioting in the footage. Yes, absolutely.”
Good lord. The answer was obvious, but Binger walked into it anyway. And his question might make sense if there were no video record: “These events that you call riots?!”
As if many people might call them Gandhi-esque peaceful protests. Or square dancing, or origami class, or Bible study.
That might work if you didn’t have video. But you do! And they clearly show rioting! Hours and hours of rioting!!
And “your video is slanted against the rioters??” The video captured what actually happened. There were no special effects. It wasn’t edited. It depicts reality. How on earth could unedited video be slanted, you buffoon?
So Binger obviously doesn’t understand people, or questioning, or logic. But it turns out he doesn’t understand the law, either, because he actually tried to make Rittenhouse’s silence after the crime seem sinister, and indicative of his guilt. The judge jumped in and reamed him on this very basic element of American and constitutional law.
This isn’t just something a first-semester law student should know. This is something that anyone who has watched 2 or more cop shows in her life should know!
When the cop confronts the suspect and starts putting on the cuffs, he reads the most famous warning in the West. It starts out with, “You have the right to…”
If you guessed that what comes next is, “… be considered guilty until proven innocent,” You are probably Thomas Binger.
If you guessed, “…to poop on the Pope,” you’re probably Joe Biden.
If you are literally anyone else, you correctly said, “…to remain silent.”
And yet Binger tried to smear Rittenhouse because he waited to have a lawyer present before he answered questions.
The last thing that strikes me is the stark contrast between Rittenhouse and the creeps who got shot.
Rittenhouse has no criminal record. He’s been a lifeguard, he’s taken some EMT training, and he was caught on camera cleaning graffiti off a building and giving some basic medical help to someone earlier that night. It might not have been wise to go to that lawless city, but he went there to help protect property, and the only people he shot that night were people who were attacking him.
Compare him to his assailants.
The best thing about the three guys who got shot is that two of them are dead, and so can’t be questioned in court, and make Rittenhouse’s case for him, the way that the survivor did.
But all three had criminal records. Rosenbaum had convictions for 5 cases of child rape among his other crimes, and while Rittenhouse was putting out fires, Rosenbaum was starting them. Anthony Huber had multiple violent and weapons felony convictions; you can find a lineup of 10 mug shots of him over the years, and he looks like someone who might likely get shot in all of them.
By the way, he’s the one who chased Rittenhouse, and bashed him with a skateboard when he was down.
Yes: he brought a skateboard to a rifle fight. And as everyone knows who has played rock, paper, skateboard, rifle… rifle always beats skateboard.
That leaves Gaige Grosskreutz. My German is a little rusty, but I’m pretty sure that “gross” means big. I’m going to guess, based on nothing but my usually peerless instincts, that “Kreutz” is German for “douche.”
It turns out Big Douche also has a long criminal record, including everything from theft to assaults against his grandma and a girlfriend, and driving drunk with an illegally possessed gun. He was not legally entitled to carry the gun he threatened Rittenhouse with, and Rittenhouse didn’t shoot him until el Grande Douche-o pointed the gun at him.
All of which Grosskreutz testified to. Not for the defense – he was Binger’s star prosecution witness!
The case is supposed to go to the jury this week. The dullard politicians in Kenosha have positioned 500 National Guard troops nearby, proving that they might be capable of learning.
If justice is done and Rittenhouse is exonerated, and leftist thugs begin to riot, the WI National Guard can reach me via the CO website for some sage advice about how to proceed.
Spoiler alert: aim small, miss small. And fix bayonets.