There’s a Denver Public Schools institution a few blocks from my house. On the fence around its playground, there’s a big colorful banner that proudly proclaims:
Posted by Richard on December 3, 2013
Posted by Richard on November 28, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving! It’s been a couple of years since I posted anything on Thanksgiving Day (last year, I was still in a deep funk after the election; I don’t recall why I posted nothing in 2011). The last time was in 2010, when I linked to my previous Thanksgiving posts and cited John Stossel’s and Fouad Ajami’s thoughts on the holiday. Please check it out. You might enjoy Ajami’s thoughts on our Thanksgiving cuisine and my rejoinder.
Way back in 2006, I posted “The real Thanksgiving story.” Back then, I was posting at Blog City, which seemed to have some kind of SEO magic. For a long time, my post came up at the top of Google searches for the title phrase, and it got a fair amount of traffic every Thanksgiving for the next several years. Ah, those were the days. This year, I’m going to reprise that post instead of just providing a link. Here it is, with subsequent updates at the top (I’ve also provided a new link to the Bradford book; the old one no longer worked). I hope you like it.
UPDATE (Thanksgiving, 2007): Welcome to all of you who found this post via Google, Ask.com, etc. I hope you appreciate the true story of Thanksgiving and the important lesson it teaches us. I’ve provided plenty of links if you want to follow up further. Please check out my new Thanksgiving post, which features Debi Ghates’ wonderful explanation of what you should be thankful for and who you should thank.
UPDATE (Thanksgiving, 2008): Welcome again, “real Thanksgiving story” searchers. After you read this post and last year’s, check out this year’s funny/sad Thanksgiving story! It’s about kindergarten kids celebrating Thanksgiving. And it features cops and accusations of genocide.
UPDATE (Thanksgiving, 2009): This year, with lots of help from Jim Woods, I again thanked the producers. And remembered the anniversary of the Jihadist attacks on Mumbai. Please check it out.
Happy Thanksgiving! May you enjoy lots of food, lots of football, and lots of fun with family and friends on this day. But before you push away from the PC and belly up to the banquet table, please take a few minutes to read this story about the Pilgrims — it’s probably not the one you’ve heard.
Two competing Thanksgiving stories are commonly told these days. The first is the traditional one I was taught as a child: The Pilgrims suffered through a terrible first winter at Plymouth, but with hard work and the help of the friendly Massasoit Indians, they had a bountiful harvest in 1621 and held a thanksgiving celebration with their Indian friends. Happy celebrations of sharing and giving thanks for God’s bounty came to be repeated every year and throughout the colonies.
The second version, apparently widely taught for the past 30 years or so, differs a bit. In it, the wisdom, kindness, and generosity of the Indigenous Peoples is the only reason that any of the stupid white Europeans survived and had food with which to celebrate. The Pilgrims soon repaid their benefactors by slaughtering them. Barbarous treatment of gentle natives and gleeful celebrations of their genocide came to be repeated frequently and throughout the colonies.
Both versions are false, of course. The real story is available straight from the horse’s mouth. Colony Governor William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation provides a complete history. You can download it in several ebook formats from Project Gutenberg. The Mises Institute’s Gary Galles used quotes from Bradford to put together a good summary. The first two Thanksgivings were rather grim, and for two and a half years, the colony endured not only hardship and hunger, but also conflict and strife:
The Pilgrims’ unhappiness was caused by their system of common property (not adopted, as often asserted, from their religious convictions, but required against their will by the colony’s sponsors). The fruits of each person’s efforts went to the community, and each received a share from the common wealth. This caused severe strains among the members, as Colony Governor William Bradford recorded:
” . . . the young men . . . did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong . . . had not more in division . . . than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes, etc . . . thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And the men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it.”
Bradford summarized the effects of their common property system:
“For this community of property (so far as it went) was found to breed much confusion and discontentment and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort . . . all being to have alike, and all to do alike . . . if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them.”
How did the Pilgrims move from this dysfunctional system to the situation we try to emulate in our family gatherings? In the spring of 1623, they decided to let people produce for their own benefit:
“All their victuals were spent . . . no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length . . . the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. . . . And so assigned to every family a parcel of land . . . “
The results were dramatic:
“This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness and inability, whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”
That was quite a change from their previous situation, where severe whippings had been resorted to as an inducement to more labor effort, with little success other than in creating discontent.
The Mises Institute also has a Richard Maybury version of the story that’s worth reading. Maybury quoted Bradford acknowledging another terrible consequence of the communal system — it encouraged dishonesty as well as indolence:
In his ‘History of Plymouth Plantation,’ the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with “corruption,” and with “confusion and discontent.” The crops were small because “much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable.”
The Hoover Institution has a much longer account (with more of an economic historian’s perspective) by Tom Bethell, with details of how “the communal experiment” came to be and how it worked (or didn’t). And the Independent Institute’s Ben Powell wrote a good short article that nicely summarized the lesson of Plymouth Plantation:
We are direct beneficiaries of the economics lesson the pilgrims learned in 1623. Today we have a much better developed and well-defined set of property rights. Our economic system offers incentives for us—in the form of prices and profits—to coordinate our individual behavior for the mutual benefit of all; even those we may not personally know.
It is customary in many families to “give thanks to the hands that prepared this feast” during the Thanksgiving dinner blessing. Perhaps we should also be thankful for the millions of other hands that helped get the dinner to the table: the grocer who sold us the turkey, the truck driver who delivered it to the store, and the farmer who raised it all contributed to our Thanksgiving dinner because our economic system rewards them. That’s the real lesson of Thanksgiving. The economic incentives provided by private competitive markets where people are left free to make their own choices make bountiful feasts possible.
And for that, I’m extremely thankful. Now, when’s that turkey going to be ready?
Posted by Richard on November 27, 2013
In September, grassroots gun-rights defenders in El Paso and Pueblo counties made history by successfully recalling two state senators, John Morse (the senate president) and Angela Giron. Morse and Giron were puppets of Michael Bloomberg and instrumental in ramming gun control legislation through the Colorado legislature.
In the wake of that tremendous success (truly a political “shot heard ’round the world”), gun-rights defenders in Arvada (Jefferson County) decided that State Sen. Evie Hudak also had to go. See Recall Hudak Too for the long list of reasons.
The Hudak recall movement made Colorado’s Socialist Democrats nervous. After the Morse and Giron recalls, they held only a one-seat majority in the state senate; a successful recall of Hudak would cost them that. Some people started hinting that Hudak could (should) resign so that the Socialist Democrat vacancy committee could appoint her replacement. Hudak dismissed the idea, vowing to fight the recall and win.
But with a week to go in the recall petitioning effort, it looked like the required number of signatures were a near-certainty. So either Hudak had a change of heart (perhaps wanting to spend more time with her family?) or the Socialist Democrat leadership, not feeling good about her chances with the voters, put the screws to her. Today, she resigned her seat effective immediately.
Good. I wonder who the vacancy committee will appoint in her place. That interim appointment is good only until the 2014 general election. Think it will be someone who’s an outspoken anti-gun zealot like Hudak? I suspect not. I’m guessing it will be someone with no public record on the issue. Not someone who actually supports our right to armed self-defense (the Socialist Democrat leadership wouldn’t have that) — just a stealth gun-banner.
Posted by Richard on November 11, 2013
On Veterans Day, as on Memorial Day, I remember my dad, Col. Samuel R. Combs. In the memorable words of Robert Denerstein, “He answered his country’s call even before the phone rang, volunteering for the Army after Pearl Harbor.” He went on to make the Army his career. My dad died in 2006 just weeks before his 90th birthday. Honestly, he wasn’t the best father in the world. But he was a fine soldier.
To those who have served, and to those who serve today:
It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army
Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005
Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.
On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel.
The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Worth a visit.
Posted by Richard on September 19, 2013
Shiver me timbers! I almost forgot that today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. It’s not too late to hit that link, sing along with “Drunken Sailor,” and check out all the pirate humor, pirate lingo, and other pirate stuff.
Q: Why do pirates like Walmart so much?
A: It’s headquartered in Aarrkansas and it rrrolls back prices.
Posted by Richard on September 11, 2013
Yesterday, Coloradans in El Paso and Pueblo counties won two tremendous victories over those who denied them their fundamental human rights (see previous post), an event worth celebrating. But today is not a day for celebrating. Today is a day for remembering that there are those in the world much more dangerous, and crazy, and committed to denying us our rights and freedoms than the wannabe petty tyrants in Denver or Washington, D.C. So, with an update to the first word, I’m reposting this from last year. Never forget.
Twelve years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.
We must not forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.
We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.
On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:
Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …
© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.
Posted by Richard on September 10, 2013
For the first time in history, a Colorado state legislator has been recalled from office, and it’s a terrific victory for Second Amendment supporters across the country. State Sen. John Morse, president of the Colorado Senate, has conceded defeat. With 93% of the votes counted, it’s “Yes” on the recall by 51%-49%. Morse has been Michael Bloomberg’s stooge in Colorado, and he shepherded Bloomberg’s gun control laws through the state senate. Bloomberg personally spent more than $300,000 fighting the recall of Morse and State Sen. Angela Giron.
In Pueblo County, the recall of Giron is still up in the air, with vote totals coming in very slowly and the county clerk blaming a crashed website. The Pueblo election has seen rampant irregularities, including the wholesale distribution of absentee ballots in heavily Democratic precincts under questionable circumstances. Absentee ballots were the first to be counted there, and about 70% of those went for Giron (voted “No” on the recall). But as the ballots of actual people who went to an actual polling place to vote were counted, the numbers started shifting dramatically. Right now (10 PM MDT), with 43% counted, “Yes” leads 57%-43%. So it’s starting to look good. As Hugh Hewitt said a few years ago, “If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat.”
UPDATE (11 PM): Giron recalled by a 56%-44% margin! Amazing — Giron was defeated by a much larger margin than Morse. According to the pundits, Giron had the advantage. Morse barely won re-election, and his district is pretty evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Giron’s district, on the other hand, is 47% Democratic, 29% unafilliated, and only 23% Republican. Lots of blue-collar pro-gun Democrats in Pueblo, I guess.
Message to Mike Bloomberg: New Yorkers may meekly accept your neo-fascist paternalism, but don’t try to export it out here. Message to all the other state legislators in fly-over country who’ve been courted by Bloomberg’s army of lobbyists: You carry their water at your own peril.
Democrats now have just a one-seat majority in the Colorado Senate, and they’ll have to choose a new Senate President. I suspect that he or she won’t be taking calls from Mike Bloomberg. Next question: Will the Colorado GOP have the cojones to push hard for repeal of the Bloomberg laws next year? I suspect they could get some Democrat votes.
UPDATE (11:50): I was vaguely aware that the recall supporters were outspent by all the money from Bloomberg and all the other liberal gun-control groups pouring money into these elections, but I had no idea the margin was this large:
Takes some real chutzpah to outspend the other side 6-1 in an election and still complain about NRA involvement. #CORecall
— AG (@AG_Conservative) September 11, 2013
That makes these victories that much sweeter — and that much more impactful.
Posted by Richard on August 19, 2013
From the transcript of Friday’s Rush Limbaugh show:
RUSH: I’ve got people e-mailing me about Punkin, my cat, and I would not have been able to describe this or tell you about this any earlier than today literally without losing it, but we had to put Punkin to sleep a week ago. She was 16 years old, and the first cat that I’d ever had, and ended up being the best pet that I’ve ever had. I’d always thought that cats were these aloof creatures that couldn’t care less if you were around or not.
And to strangers and so forth, they might be. But when a cat attaches to you, some might say when a cat loves you, it’s entirely different. This cat attached to me years ago and was everywhere I was. This cat followed me around and just had just a robust personality with me, but she had kidney failure. She’s actually had it for 10 years, and she had built up an immunity to every antibiotic. It had stopped working. (sigh)
I guess two weeks ago, whatever you call it, dramatic acute kidney failure set in and she stopped eating. Because when the kidneys fail, somehow the vet said the body tells them that food is poison because it can’t be dealt with by the kidney. They stop eating, and she was literally withering away before my eyes. But she was… I mean, these animals, you know, they never give up. Suicide is not in their makeup.
It was one of the hardest things that I’ve had to do. Last weekend was really sad and lonely, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell you about this on Monday without breaking up. But a lot of people have been asking because I had mentioned that she was not well, so I wanted to mention it to you and thank all of you for asking. I appreciate it. You all know. Those of you who have animals and lose them, you know what it’s like.
I understand completely how he feels and share his sadness. I’ve heard him talk about Punkin often over the years. She sounded like a wonderful cat, and his deep affection for her was always evident.
I’ve always said that I prefer cats to dogs because a dog will love anyone, but a cat’s love must be earned. Rush is a good man, and Punkin proved it.
Posted by Richard on July 18, 2013
Wow. Phillip Steel has certainly gotten a lot of media attention with the petition he’s circulated in tiny Deer Trail, CO (population 546). He already has enough signatures to put it on the ballot. The town council will consider his proposed ordinance at their Aug. 6 meeting. The ordinance would allow people to buy a drone hunting license for $25. It would pay a bounty of $25 to $100 for the downing of a US government drone over the sovereign air space of Deer Trail.
I love the idea! It’s fun and a nice fundraising vehicle for Deer Trail, but it also makes an important point.
7NEWS Reporter Amanda Kost asked Steel, “Have you ever seen a drone flying over your town?”
“No,” Steel responded. “This is a very symbolic ordinance. Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way.”
I hope they come up with a nice looking, real official drone hunting license certificate. Because I’ll buy one.
Posted by Richard on July 14, 2013
Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism reports that:
After George Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges on Saturday evening, an Associated Press reporter, Cristina Silva, tweeted this out from her verified twitter account: “So we can all kill teenagers now? Just checking.”
And the Huffington Post reported the George Zimmerman verdict like this:
Yesterday, John Nolte posted a roundup of the “malicious fraud and lies” propagated by the media regarding George Zimmerman — certainly incomplete, but sufficiently extensive to prove the point — entitled “Guilty Until Proven Innocent: How the Press Prosecuted Zimmerman While Stoking Racial Tensions.” Regarding this item in Nolte’s roundup, I’d like to add a bit more information:
March 19, 2012 – CBS News Falsely Claims Zimmerman Is White
A small detail that the Obama administration and the media apparently missed was that the white versus black racial narrative they were preparing to invest so much into was missing just one thing: a white person.
Proof of this is that CBS News falsely claimed Zimmerman was white about a week before the story exploded.
In their venomous zeal, the media and Democrats likely assumed that someone with the last name Zimmerman had to be white. But they were wrong, as Zimmerman is Hispanic.
Never ones to back off a good narrative, rather than use this revelation to tamp down tensions or correct their reporting, the media simply made up out of whole cloth a new racial category: the “white Hispanic.”
It’s even more contemptible than that. Zimmerman isn’t just Hispanic, he’s part black. Did you ever see an MSM report identifying him as a “black and white Hispanic”? Of course not.
They aren’t journalists. They’re propagandists.
Posted by Richard on July 13, 2013
I used to visit Spaceweather.com fairly often. I liked checking out the cool photos, keeping track of the sunspot (in)activity during the recent solar minimum, and checking for good flybys of the International Space Station (ISS) on the Satellite Flybys page. That’s how I was able to watch the spectacular flyby of the ISS being chased across the sky by the shuttle Atlantis. But I got out of the habit of visiting that site.
I was reminded of it today when I saw the /. post When Space Weather Attacks Earth, which points to an interesting Washington Post science article by Brad Plumer. It discusses how vulnerable our modern electrical and electronic systems are to a solar event like the one that happened 154 years ago:
The auroras of 1859, known as the “Carrington Event,” came after the sun unleashed a large coronal mass ejection, a burst of charged plasma aimed directly at the Earth. When the particles hit our magnetosphere, they triggered an especially fierce geomagnetic storm that lit up the sky and frazzled communication wires around the world. Telegraphs in Philadelphia were spitting out “fantastical and unreadable messages,” one paper reported, with some systems unusable for hours.
Today, electric utilities and the insurance industry are grappling with a scary possibility. A solar storm on the scale of that in 1859 would wreak havoc on power grids, pipelines and satellites. In the worst case, it could leave 20 million to 40 million people in the Northeast without power — possibly for years — as utilities struggled to replace thousands of fried transformers stretching from Washington to Boston. Chaos and riots might ensue.
That’s not a lurid sci-fi fantasy. It’s a sober new assessment by Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market. The report notes that even a much smaller solar-induced geomagnetic storm in 1989 left 6 million people in Quebec without power for nine hours.
A coronal mass ejection, if it hits the earth, amounts to a naturally-occurring electromagnetic pulse (EMP). While the consequences wouldn’t be as bad as what’s portrayed in the J.J. Abrams series, Revolution, they could be pretty grim.
Plumer focuses almost entirely on the consequences for the Northeast United States. I guess that’s partly because the region is especially vulnerable, but I suspect it’s also because for Washington Post writers, nothing outside of the Northeast and California really matters. Still, it’s an interesting article about a frightening possibility. Read the whole thing. You may decide to price generators and look into stockpiling food, water, gas, …
Posted by Richard on July 12, 2013
In the last few years, a lot of people have been expressing concern and/or making urgent recommendations about the rearing of children in general and boys in particular. See, for example, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this. The statistics regarding boys and young men that some of these sources cite are disturbing. And the problem is more wide-ranging and fundamental than the growing educational achievement gap (boys receive three-quarters of all Ds and Fs and are barely over 40% of college graduates).
For real human examples of the consequences of not properly rearing boys, Daniel J. Flynn says to look no further than the Zimmerman trial. As everyone awaits the jury’s verdict, Flynn has already reached his (emphasis added):
They don’t make men like they used to. One can consult a Danish study that shows plummeting testosterone levels for scientific confirmation of this. Or, one could more easily turn on any cable news network’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Zimmerman-Martin case, a tragedy involving two males fumbling in the dark on how to be men.
Whatever the protagonists may be guilty of they are surely innocent of being men. …
Zimmerman’s screams and Trayvon slamming Zimmerman’s head into the concrete weren’t the acts of men. A man is neither a woman nor an animal. The proper response to an assault by a 158-pound teenager isn’t to scream for help or grab for a gun. It is to punch back or better yet subdue and issue a spanking. And a sucker punch, the repeated hitting of a downed opponent, and the bashing of a skull against the concrete doesn’t pass muster with the Marquess of Queensberry. Perhaps the “No Holds Barred Fighting” dojo that Zimmerman had signed up for would approve.
Their households lacked strong male role models; their society, even more so. Four in ten American kids enter the world without their father married to their mother. When schoolboys begin to exhibit traits natural to their sex, the energetic fellows earn the wrath of detention and Ritalin. Any game that highlights contact — from dodgeball to football — comes under attack. Primetime television celebrates the fop and makes a buffoon out of fathers (see Simpson, Homer; Everybody Loves, Raymond). Jobs relying on the physical characteristics favored in males have been outsourced to robots and foreigners. When a pundit asked “Are Men Necessary?” a few years back it reflected the scarcity rather than the superfluity of the genuine article.
Civilizing men out of existence has come at great cost to civilization. Instead of men, we get feminine imitations lacking beauty. We get lost boys compensating by becoming barbarians. We get Sanford, Florida, February 26, 2012.
Posted by Richard on July 11, 2013
Back during the Colorado legislative session, when the Socialist Democrats were ramming through a series of gun control measures, a KDVR-TV Fox 31 reporter asked Gov. Hickenlooper about allegations that New York Mayor Michael “let’s hear it for the nanny state” Bloomberg was involved. Hickenlooper pooh-poohed the notion, and that was the end of the story.
A while ago (and I just noticed), the Independence Institute’s Todd Shepherd did the investigative work that KDVR and other Denver news outlets couldn’t be bothered to do (or chose not to do for reasons best explained by them). It turns out that (1) Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (which should be more honestly named Mayors Against All Guns Except Those Carried by Our Bodyguards) had several registered lobbyists at the Colorado State Capitol pushing those bills, and (2) Mayor Bloomberg called Gov. Hickenlooper at least twice during that time.
I like the comment posted at the Watchdog.org story about this by Lemur!:
In other news, local man actually surprised by this information…….
Posted by Richard on July 10, 2013
Wow. Just wow. Venezuela ain’t got nothin’ on us. We’ve truly become a banana republic (emphasis in original):
Document: DOJ Community Relations Service was deployed to Sanford, FL, “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old African American male.”
Washington, D.C. – Judicial Watch announced today that has obtained documents in response to local, state, and federal records requests revealing that a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.
JW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested with the DOJ on April 24, 2012; 125 pages were received on May 30, 2012. JW administratively appealed the request on June 5, 2012, and received 222 pages more on March 6, 2013. According to the documents:
- March 25 – 27, 2012, CRS spent $674.14 upon being “deployed to Sanford, FL, to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
- March 25 – 28, 2012, CRS spent $1,142.84 “in Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.
- March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford, FL “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”
- March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent an additional $751.60 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.”
- April 3 – 12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”
- April 11-12, 2012, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17 year old African American male.” – expenses for employees to travel, eat, sleep?
No, the documents reveal that the employees were “Thomas Battles, Regional Director, and Mildred De Robles, Miami-Dade Coordinator and their co-workers at the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service,” so they were already stationed in the area, not “deployed” from Washington. The expenses (admittedly small potatoes as far as government expenditures go; but still …) were probably for things like meeting rooms, “working lunches,” and maybe sign printing.
Set up under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the DOJ’s CRS, the employees of which are required by law to “conduct their activities in confidence,” reportedly has greatly expanded its role under President Barack Obama. Though the agency claims to use “impartial mediation practices and conflict resolution procedures,” press reports along with the documents obtained by Judicial Watch suggest that the unit deployed to Sanford, FL, took an active role in working with those demanding the prosecution of Zimmerman.
On April 15, 2012, during the height of the protests, the Orlando Sentinel reported, “They [the CRS] helped set up a meeting between the local NAACP and elected officials that led to the temporary resignation of police Chief Bill Lee according to Turner Clayton, Seminole County chapter president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” The paper quoted the Rev. Valarie Houston, pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church, a focal point for protestors, as saying “They were there for us,” after a March 20 meeting with CRS agents.
Separately, in response to a Florida Sunshine Law request to the City of Sanford, Judicial Watch also obtained an audio recording of a “community meeting” held at Second Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford on April 19, 2012. The meeting, which led to the ouster of Sanford’s Police Chief Bill Lee, was scheduled after a group of college students calling themselves the “Dream Defenders” barricaded the entrance to the police department demanding Lee be fired. According to the Orlando Sentinel, DOJ employees with the CRS had arranged a 40-mile police escort for the students from Daytona Beach to Sanford.
“These documents detail the extraordinary intervention by the Justice Department in the pressure campaign leading to the prosecution of George Zimmerman,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “My guess is that most Americans would rightly object to taxpayers paying government employees to help organize racially-charged demonstrations.”
I wonder if Department of Justice Community Relations Service employees will be “providing support” for the riots that many in the media are expecting when George is Zimmerman is (quite properly) acquitted.
Posted by Richard on July 4, 2013
Reposting this again.
Perhaps the finest words ever penned by man, from the document that changed the world for the better like no other before or since:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Go read “The Americans Who Risked Everything,” a wonderful speech by Rush Limbaugh, Jr. (father of talkmeister Rush Limbaugh III) about the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Here’s an excerpt:
Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40; three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half – 24 – were judges and lawyers. Eleven were merchants, nine were landowners and farmers, and the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians.
With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th Century.
Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward. Ben Franklin wryly noted: “Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately.”
Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: “With me it will all be over in a minute, but you, you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.”
These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember, a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.
They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics yammering for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.
It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828 founded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers. (It was he, Francis Hopkinson not Betsy Ross who designed the United States flag.)
Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, had introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks: “Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law.
“The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever-increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost.
“If we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens.”
Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to actually put their names to the Declaration.
If you don’t have a copy of the Declaration handy, you can find the entire text here. Take the time this Independence Day to read it. Then raise a glass in a toast to Liberty!
John Trumbull’s “Declaration of Independence”
The painting features the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence — John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson (presenting the document), and Benjamin Franklin — standing before John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress. The painting includes portraits of 42 of the 56 signers and 5 other patriots. The artist sketched the individuals and the room from life.