No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Civil Liberties

The fate the Left would love for all Trump supporters

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American investigative reporter Julie Kelly has done sterling work reporting on the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 “Insurrection” and the reaction of America’s security state to the rioters.

But even her reports of the lengths the US State has gone to in destroying these people has not been exceeded by this latest:

Matthew Perna did nothing wrong on January 6, 2021. The Pennsylvania man walked through an open door on the Senate side of the building shortly before 3 p.m. that afternoon. Capitol police, shown in surveillance video, stood by as hundreds of Americans entered the Capitol. Wearing a “Make America Great Again” sweatshirt, Perna, 37, left after about 20 minutes.

Less than two weeks later, Perna was ensnared in what the former top U.S. prosecutor called a “shock and awe” campaign to round up Trump supporters and deter them from demonstrating at Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021. After he discovered his image on the FBI’s most wanted list for January 6, Perna immediately contacted his local FBI office and voluntarily submitted to questioning; on January 18, six FBI agents arrested Perna at his home.

His life from that point turned into a nightmare. Perna was indicted by a grand jury in February 2021 on four counts including obstruction of an official proceeding and trespassing misdemeanors. Despite his nonviolent participation in the events of that day — he did not assault anyone, carry a weapon, or vandalize property — Biden’s Justice Department and local news media nonetheless made his life pure hell. Whenever his hometown paper, the Sharon Herald, published an article on its social media account about Perna, the majority of replies were “horrible and brutal,” his aunt, Geri Perna, told me on the phone Sunday. After more than a year of legal and public torture, Perna saw no way out.

On Friday night, Matthew Perna hung himself in his garage.

“They broke him, they mentally broke him,” Geri said through racking sobs as she explained why her loved one ended his life. “He had run out of hope. I know he couldn’t take it any more.”

Who needs Putin when you’ve got the FBI and the Department of “Justice” in your own country.

I’d forgotten this but here it is, courtesy of Liberal law professor Ann Althouse’s US blog post on the subject:

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’
When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

Abraham Lincoln

Written by Tom Hunter

March 2, 2022 at 6:00 am

Bryce Edwards visits the Anti-mandate protests

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Bryce has been quite the Leftie all his life, though rather an old-fashioned kind focused on economics even as he lectures in politics at Otago University.

Looks to be a bunch of fairly ordinary New Zealanders with a few nutters thrown into the mix, as is always the case with such protests.

Notably the NZ MSM ignored the the Antifa/Burn Loot Murder wannabes in the 2020 BLM protests here in NZ, plus some of the Extinction Rebellion folks, and going all the way back to that fabulous Communist Party banner unfurling at the Springbok Tour ground invasion at Hamilton’s Rugby Park in 1981.

All taken in stride by the MSM and those politicians who supported, and support those protests – of course.

The mandates, especially the vaccine mandates, were an “emergency measure” taken by the government in order to achieve their arbitary and world-beating goal of having 90% of the elligible population vaccinated.

“The traffic light system won’t help us very much because it was never designed to dampen down transmission, it was only designed to nudge people towards vaccination,” – Professor Baker

It would be interesting to know how many protestors are actually vaccinated. After all, we were repeatedly told that vaccination would set us free from all these controls. Even the vaccinated people I know (not one-eyed Labour fanatics of course) are now beginning to question this. It is therefore entirely appropriate for National and ACT to also begin questioning the usefulness of mandates now and asking when they will be eliminated, and to do so via Parliament and the MSM of which they are so frightened.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 13, 2022 at 11:02 am

As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.

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Freedom is slowly beginning to break out again in the Western democracies.

Not all of them of course, but let’s start with Britain from January 19th.

“Next week mandatory [vaccine] certification will end… We will end the compulsory use of Covid status certification in England… From now, the government is no longer asking people to work from home and people should now speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office… [T]he government will no longer mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere… we will trust the judgement of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one [mask]… There will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether – just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu… We will set out our long-term strategy for living with Covid-19, explaining how we hope and intend to protect our liberty and avoid restrictions in future by relying instead on medical advances…”

The thing is that Johnson made this seminal declaration at the height of the flu season during which Britain has been posting record numbers of Covid cases: 92,000 per day, with 266 deaths per day, the highest daily rate since March 2021. Yet he just up and cancelled the “pandemic”.

Forget his argument about the booster shot program; compared to the double-dose campaign we’re not going to see 90% rates of the eligible population (translating into 70-80% total population) or anything close to that.

Admittedly Boris is in deep shit over his 2020 parties, held when everybody else was locked down, so desperately seeking a circuit breaker that will get him onside with the public again. But Ireland is on the same path too:

Ireland is to scrap almost all its COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday after coming though the storm of the Omicron variant that led to a massive surge in infections, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a national address.

However, we appear to have created a class of people who wish to live with lockdowns, restrictions and endless boosters forever. The following is from the USA but I see no reason why it would not equally be the case in most other Western democracies.

In the USA it’s causing a fight on the Left, with Bill Maher and guest Bari Weiss – no friends of the Right who have been scathing about those fighting against lockdowns, masks and the General Tso Sickness vaccines – starting to get red-pilled on the issues. Maher even compares Florida to New Jersey / New York, asking why the former has done so much better than the latter despite having a huge population of elderly people and not following the Blue State path of restrictions.

Two years late but I’ll take it

This did not sit well with the ladies of The View. Now normally I wouldn’t reference this show because it’s one of the lowest IQ things on TV and has been for two decades: dumb does not even begin to describe it. Yet a few months ago I found out that a person I know, a woman who has always seemed fairly intelligent, gets all her information about the US from the show. Check it out for yourself.

FFS. These woman actually think it will be a repeat of what happened post-9/11 world (which brought us the kabuki theatre of TSA checks in airports among other things), and they want these new restrictions to be permanent.

One last example of such people. Some Canadian reporter from Quebec – where they’re using security guards to escort the unvaxxed into stores for food and pharma only – decided to escape for a holiday. He went to Florida and reports back that, Florida feels like another planet compared with Quebec.

Except he doesn’t mean that as a compliment! It’s incredible, but having soaked up the freedom and the sun he does nothing but bitch about it.

While Quebec is in full confinement mode, Florida is Cowboyland, where you barely know COVID is happening, despite much higher new case and hospitalization rates than ours .

It’s lunacy by Canadian standards, but an eye-opening experience. For starters, everyone’s out and about, filling bars, restaurants, movies, gyms, and jam-packed sports arenas.

Stores and supermarkets don’t require masks but some cashiers and customers wear them, though often under their nose or chin — Florida-style. It seems a way of announcing: “Look — I’m masked!” when they’re not.

The Horror. The Horror.

You can see the difference in the media, too. In Quebec, COVID totally dominates the news, because there’s almost nothing else happening. In Florida, it’s the reverse.

Oh Noes! There are many LOL moments in the piece but I’ll leave you with this:

It’s easy to spot Canadians at restaurants, as we’re the ones properly masked and nervously sitting on the terrace, even in the rain.

We Montrealers live in a tense, depressing pandemic bubble — all-COVID, all the time — which is why many people avoid following the news.

MUHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH.

Though perhaps I should give him credit for going to Florida. Most of New Zealand would be too terrified to do so.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 28, 2022 at 8:09 am

A glimmer of daylight on Radio New Zealand

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They’ve marketed themselves as RNZ in recent years because long names confuse people nowadays, punchy marketing soundbites are needed, and Radio Aotearoa is likely not to go over well with their largely older audience.

Having ignored them for the last five years I found myself checking their website each day to find out the Great Chinese Lung Pox Case count, so have had the ‘opportunity” to scan through their other stories. As was entirely predictable they, like all the rest of the NZ MSM, are fully onboard with government policies, actions and measures, although sometimes it comes in the form of attacking the critics, presumably when Labour has produced results or done something so useless or awful that RNZ can’t bring itself to directly defend them.

It’s a version of the play that old hard-line Lefties pulled in the 1980’s re the USSR: they couldn’t defend that crap any more, so they just attacked those attacked the Soviet system; anti-anti-Communists as it were.

So I was pleased and surprised to see this article in the RNZ a few days ago, Prior’s warning:

The writer Bill Pearson’s essay, Fretful Sleepers, written in the wake of the 1951 waterside dispute, famously depicted his fellow citizens as what some might now call “sheeple”.

He warned there “is no one more docile in the face of authority than the New Zealander”, a condition he said arose from “a docile sleepy electorate, veneration of war heroes, willingness to persecute those who don’t conform, gullibility in the face of headlines and radio pep talks”.

Heh. That must have got up the nose of more than a few members RNZ’s Leftie luvvies, who have feasted for years on the martyrdom of 1951 and the terrible things it said about their Right-wing fellow citizens.

But the article mentions another person, one Arthur Prior, “the greatest New Zealand philosopher of the 20th century” (sadly we can’t claim Karl Popper, even though he wrote his famous essay The Open Society and Its Enemies, while teaching here)

In Prior’s speech to the Civil Liberties Council in 1955, titled The Threat to Civil Liberties in New Zealand, Today and Tomorrow, Prior identified three “rather deep-seated national habits and weaknesses … in our national temperament”. These were:

  1. Careless Legislation
    “what might be called our habit of lazy and careless legislation” – laws that enter the statue books not because of any conspiracy but because “of a lack of concern and watchfulness”

    He called this “oppression on paper with liberty in fact” – that is, daily life continues unaffected until a government threatens to enact the dormant legislation.
  2. Political tribalism
    “unscrupulous party spirit” – what today we might call political tribalism – whereby “we cannot admit that sometimes our own bunch are wrong and the other bunch is right”.
  3. Blanket of silence
    “a certain excessive readiness to take offence which we New Zealanders exhibit”.

    “For some reason, it is only too easy for a person or organisation to go to the powers that be and say, ‘Look here, it hurts us to hear somebody saying so-and-so’, and the powers that be will reply, ‘Goodness me, I’m sorry to hear that – we’ll just stop them saying it then’.”

As the RNZ writer points out that last sounds an awful lot like “cancel culture”, and in case you’ve forgotten:

… its application sometimes requires the government to protect you from being censored by other citizens. For example, the government has a duty to protect you from being attacked by a hostile mob that doesn’t like your ideas or having your public speech disrupted by a heckler’s veto.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 28, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Baptists and Bootleggers, Bishops and Biker Gangs

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Baptists and Bootleggers is a well known phrase created by an economist some decades ago that describes how two groups of people seemingly opposed to each other can actually end up supporting common goals.

For much of the 20th century, Baptists and other evangelical Christians were prominent in political activism for Sunday closing laws restricting the sale of alcohol. Bootleggers sold alcohol illegally, and got more business if legal sales were restricted

I think we’ve reached this stage with the Auckland (and now Waikato) lockdowns, following recent events with mass attendances at two funerals for Maori gang members, plus “Bishop” Brian Tamaki’s little protest at The Domain.

In both cases the Police did not make any arrests. The Vet has already had a post on how one gang member was allowed to self-isolate at home. Cactus Kate draws a broader conclusion in Covid Zero is Dead:

The Cops did absolutely NOTHING today. NOTHING. What does that tell you? Who runs the country? 

We do. The people.  

I’m picking the cops don’t think they joined the force to enforce Covid regulations.

They chatted to Brian pre protest, they knew he was doing this =  no arrests. None. They never stopped him leaving his home to break the law.

It’s like they are afraid of anyone Maori or from the Pacific Islands. But I think it’s broader than that. They don’t agree that they actually have to enforce this Covid rubbish now vaccinations are available to all.

The weekend saw an internal revolt. The Cops went to that protest, stood there and did nothing.  White middle class Karen’s were horrified.  What does that tell you?

Like Cactus I am not at all horrified by what the gangs and Tamaki have pulled off. Shoving your fingers up the noses of our stuffed-shirt politicians and bureaucrats should actually be a time-honoured activity, given what arrogant, entitled, amoral, ignorant, dumb and sometimes outright evil bastards they are.

I also liked her suggestion, although I don’t think the gangs are short of a bob or two:

Our new mates in the gangs are holding tangi and holding their middle finger to Ardern and her mates. They are the pioneers of showing this situation to be a sick joke. 

You cannot suspend rights and freedoms in the New Zealand Bill of Rights for an indefinite period. That’s never reasonable. No plan.  When is this ending? Ardern has said “the start of 2022”. That’s not fooling anyone. 

At this point I am quite happy to contribute to a gofundme for gangs that break these utterly stupid rules. Every single day.

Reminds me of a post I wrote in 2019, looking back at the GFC, The Penny Begins To Drop:

Brian and Ilsa — the nice upper-middle-class retired couple, who always follow the rules, and never ever break the law — who don’t even cheat on their golf scores — even when they’re playing alone (“Because if you cheat at golf, you’re only cheating yourself”) — have decided to give their bank the middle finger. They have essentially said, Fuckit.

“We follow the rules, and look where that’s gotten us?” she says, furious and depressed. “Nowhere. They run us around, like lab rats in a cage.”

But Ilsa is quietly, constantly insisting that they stop paying the mortgage altogether: “Everybody else is doing it—so why shouldn’t we?”

A terrible sentence, when a law-abiding citizen speaks it: Everybody else is doing it — so why don’t we?

Of course the alternative path is one laid out by Chris Trotter in his latest outburst about how yet another Giant Central Control and Command experiment has fucked up and the search is about to start for the Wreckers and Traitors who will stand before the Peoples Revolutionary Court:

… those The Daily Blog Editor Martyn Bradbury colourfully calls “Death-Cult Capitalists”.

But for those who see human existence as a pitiless struggle to determine the survival of the fittest; for those who see human-beings as means to an end, never as ends in themselves; for those who would let thousands die rather than see the strong restrained in any way; for these people there is only one word: Evil.

Chris is never the most coherent or consistent of commentators. Just a few days earlier he was looking across the Tasman at Melbourne in horror and saying this:

Stamping out Covid-19 by stomping on the heads of our fellow citizens? Is that really what New Zealand wants?

I made the point to him that:

I’m sure it will be what quite a few New Zealanders will want if they see case numbers (and perhaps even deaths) rise, despite vaccinations, as the country opens up. An Untermenchen will be required for such a failure.

The joke is that just a week later, Chris has now arrived at this point with his two most recent articles (Introducing Mr Stick.and Why Is Labour So Frightened Of “Mr Stick”? (plus his commentators)

Luckily for him “stomping” with “Mr Stick” won’t be needed to destroy people.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 10, 2021 at 9:40 am

You have 24 hours to handover the Batman

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This is what it’s beginning to feel like with news like this.

Were I an anarchist I’d be loving this. Online – not just via FaceTwit but the community groups like Neighbourly and others – Aucklanders are doing the whole passive aggressive thing, turning on each other and bullying each other to be vaccinated.

So cool.

That’s 90% first jab, which, as we have been reliably informed, is not enough to count as “fully vaccinated”.

Mind you, at the rate we’re going, six months from now, you won’t be counted as fully vaccinated until you’ve had your second booster shot.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 4, 2021 at 6:00 am

When the ACLU has lost itself

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The ACLU is the American Civil Liberties Union, and the first I’d heard about them was a reference in the 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers. It’s the scene where the American Nazi party is allowed to do a march in Skokie, Illinois (then with a large Jewish population, including many survivors of the Holocaust) and Jake and Ellwood charge their car at the protestors, forcing many to jump off a low bridge into a stream.

The real life event came as a result of the ACLU actually fighting in court for the right of the Nazi party to hold the march. It is considered to be a landmark US case on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

Sadly, the ACLU is not that organisation any longer. There have been internal documents in recent years where they have hedged on defending the US Bill of Rights first amendment, not to mention the 2nd amendment. Clearly, even they’re feeling the pressure of our modern society of Woke.

This was never more obvious than the other day when they decided to “celebrate” former SCOTUS Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s comment on abortion during her 1993 confirmation to the US Supreme Court.

Hmmm…. A “person’s” life”? “Their”?

Here’s the original:

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

Maybe they should have just said “chest feeders” or some of the other trans bullshit terminology that’s currently making its way into government department publications and websites across the Western world.

Funnily enough there was a backlash, as there has been to the equally fucked-in-the-head article in the Lancet.

In both cases apologetics (not really apologies) have been issued but at least in the case of the ACLU you know it’s not serious when its executive director, Anthony Romero said this to the NYT:

“[My] colleagues do a fantastic job of trying to understand a reality that people who seek abortions are not only women. That reality exists.”

Then why apologise? Clearly, if you think that, then the logical next step is to be forced to discuss those other people who get abortions. You know the ones: the bodies with vaginas.

A society that has no grip on reality is in for a hell of a shock sooner or later, likely multiple shocks.

Here’s the good news. It was the Lefty side that pushed back on this bullshit as well as conservatives. This may seem like an inconsequential victory in the “gender identity” and “transgender rights” battles, but it’s not. This walk back by the ACLU and the Lancet Medical Journa are strong signals that the tide is changing ever so slowly, and that we shouldn’t give up this fight, despite whatever you might hear from squishy, useless “moderate” Right WIngers about how “culture wars” should be ignored.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 29, 2021 at 5:41 pm

Double Standards & Changing Narratives

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Just another in an endless list of examples of how the narratives change depending on who is in power and what objectives they’re pursuing.

The focus here being on Australia, which continues its descent into Stasi-world.

Let’s start with stuff in New South Wales, whose State government I have been assured is a “Liberal” one with more of a “hands-off” policy than all those nasty socialists…

… followed by the real McCoy in Socialist Victoria.

Plus a bit of phone app tracking of you in South Australia where you get 15 minutes to prove to the government that you are where you say you are.

Culminating in scenes like this – because even after two burly cops have smashed a 70 year old woman to the ground and broken her hip you still need to pepper spray the fuck out of her. Just to be safe. She might have Covid-19.

It’s entirely predictable where the MSM will sit on this issue. As this compare and contrast does of the Guardian’s approach to two similar events with different bad guys.

Flashback: how “Public Health advocates” felt about protests during lockdowns in 2020 America (same here in NZ incidentally)

Thus, you can guarantee which photo the likes of The Guardian would support below.

It’s almost time to start playing that game Papers Please to get into shape for the questions.

Having had numerous people in the US talking about denying healthcare to unvaccinated folk, don’t be surprised if it also becomes more than talk.

Finally, a timetable for comparison. Readers can pick where New Zealand sits on this chart – and where we’re headed over time.

The Truth shall set you free

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One of the great things about our age is the tremendous amount of computer power available to ordinary people, enabling them to do the sort of work that even ten or twenty years ago would have required rooms full of servers costings millions of dollars.

Fifty years ago it would not have been possible to edit video without a building full of hard-wired machinery, plus a stack of experts.

But now, someone with a sense of fun and plenty of time on their hands can produce the following. Enjoy pricking the balloon of our pompous leading buffoons.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 2, 2021 at 5:18 pm

Answers to Bad Anti-Free Speech Arguments

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Aeromagazine has a superb article that deals with twelve such arguments that are commonly heard.

While the whole thing is worth your time to read I wanted to extract two in particular.

First up is the classic one about shouting fire! in a crowded theatre;

Answer: Anyone who says “you can’t shout fire! in a crowded theatre” is showing that they don’t know much about the principles of free speech, or free speech law—or history. 

This old canard, a favourite reference of censorship apologists, needs to be retired. It’s repeatedly and inappropriately used to justify speech limitations. People have been using this cliché as if it had some legal meaning, while First Amendment lawyers roll their eyes and point out that it is, in fact, as Alan Dershowitz puts it, “a caricature of logical argumentation.” Ken White has already penned a brilliant and thorough takedown of this misconception. Please read it before proclaiming that your least favourite language is analogous to shouting fire in a crowded theatre.

The phrase is a misquotation of an analogy made in 1919 Supreme Court opinion that upheld the imprisonment of three people—a newspaper editor, a pamphlet publisher and a public speaker—who argued that military conscription was wrong. The court said that anti-war speech in wartime is like “falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic,” and it justified the ban with a dubious analogy to the longstanding principle that the First Amendment doesn’t protect speech that incites people to physical violence. But the Supreme Court abandoned the logic of that case more than 50 years ago. That this trope originated as a justification for what has long since been deemed unconstitutional censorship reveals how useless it is as a measure of the limitations of rights. And yet, the crowded theatre cliché endures, as if it were some venerable legal principle.

Oh, and notice that the court’s objection was only to “falsely shouting fire!”: if there is, in fact, a fire in a crowded theatre, please let everyone know.

But I also appreciate the response to this more modern one that I often see on social media because it’s a cartoon.

Assertion: The right to free speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say; it still leaves other people free to kick you out.

Answer: No, the popular xkcd cartoon below is wrong. The First Amendment limits what the government can do, but freedom of speech is something much bigger than that.

This cartoon is often used to dismiss free speech arguments, but it is wrong: it not only confuses First Amendment law with freedom of speech, it doesn’t even get the First Amendment right.

The concept of freedom of speech is a bigger, older and more expansive idea than its particular application in the First Amendment. A belief in the importance of freedom of speech is what inspired the First Amendment; it’s what gave the First Amendment meaning, and what sustains it in the law. But a strong cultural commitment to freedom of speech is what maintains its practice in our institutions—from higher education, to reality TV, to pluralistic democracy itself. Freedom of speech includes small l liberal values that were once expressed in common American idioms like to each his owneveryone’s entitled to their opinion and it’s a free country. These cultural values appear in legal opinions too; as Justice Robert H. Jackson noted in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, “Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.”

While the United States Constitution limits only governmental behaviour on its face, its application sometimes requires the government to protect you from being censored by other citizens. For example, the government has a duty to protect you from being attacked by a hostile mob that doesn’t like your ideas or having your public speech disrupted by a heckler’s veto.

The First Amendment also bars government officials from punishing your speech in many ways that don’t rise to the level of arresting you. To give just one example, since administrators at state colleges are government actors, they can’t tear your flyer from a public message board because they don’t like what it says.

A belief in free speech means you should be slow to label someone as utterly dismissible for their opinions. Of course you can kick an asshole out of your own house, but that’s very different from kicking a person out of an open society or a public forum. The xkcd cartoon is often used to let people off the hook from practicing the small d democratic value of listening.

Related to this is an excellent article by the American essayist, Roger Kimball, which looks at what he calls “crybullies” and their lousy impact on education:

There are two central tenets of the woke philosophy. The first is feigned fragility. The second is angry intolerance. The union of fragility and intolerance has given us that curious and malevolent hybrid I have called the crybully, a delicate yet venomous species that thrives chiefly in lush, pampered environments.