Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. Kyle. The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse goes to jury this morning. While his engagement of four attackers, during the Kenosha riots left two of them alive, and one of those (who face stomped him) unharmed, the prosecution does not appear to have proven their case, at least to the satisfaction of the general public. The jury, which has been the target of massive intimidation since they were empaneled, will likely find otherwise. As of this writing, my guess is that the worst he and his defense team can hope for is a hung jury. They might even manage to get an acquittal, though I don’t expect it. Best coverage of the trial has been in Legal Insurrection, with PowerLine doing a decent second.
- This entire situation took place due to the abdication by local government in Kenosha, which refused to do anything about the rioters and looters. Rittenhouse was simply a kid who for whatever reason, chose to step up and do his civic duty. And for this, he has been targeted for destruction by both an embarrassed, unprofessional prosecutor and the usual suspects on the political left who weren’t able to crucify the policeman who shot the black guy starting the festivities. 17-year-olds ought not to have to cover for the cowardice and malfeasance of adults. But this kid did. He should be celebrated, as the public schools haven’t yet managed to crush the life out of all public-school students completely. Yet.
- Should there be a mistrial, expect the prosecutor to reprise the entire trial with all resources at his disposal, the goal being to run Rittenhouse and his defense out of money. Note that Big Tech effectively defunded the defense by taking down numerous Go Fund Me pages.
- It is important to review the two-tiered justice system on display here. The 17-year-old who was attacked, assaulted, physically beaten, and finally defended himself is being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Yet, the convicted felon who pulled a loaded weapon on him (all guns are always loaded, and this one actually had a round chambered), was not charged with anything. It is illegal for felons to have firearms in WI. It is also illegal for the same convicted felon to lie on the stand, which is called perjury in a lot of places. No charges filed against this guy for either crime. Likewise, nobody made any effort (local law enforcement, state law enforcement, or the FBI) to arrest the guy who delivered the boot to the head (Richard McGinnis) after knocking Rittenhouse down. He managed to get two rounds off aimed at the guy, but neither hit. One of the charges, First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, against him is associated with this response.
- And, as usual, our old friends, the corruptocrats infesting the increasingly useless and dangerous FBI did their level best to hamstring the defense and assist the prosecution. This time around, the managed to “lose” high-definition aerial drone footage of the events, so that both sides had to rely on low-definition drone footage. This feeds into the next section.
- The prosecution knowing it has a pitifully poor case, has resorted to the “Bang on the table” option in trying a case. Sadly, a last-minute change in their theory might allow the jury the latitude to convict. This change was based on provocation, which is behavior by the defendant that invites or triggers the attack that he defended himself from. Think of this as the Wisconsin firearms version of rapists blaming the victim for their actions. Last Friday, they introduced a grainy, highly enhanced low-definition video which they claimed proved Rittenhouse provoked the attack by the way he was carrying his weapon. Before Friday, they never mentioned this possibility at any point in the trial. The other thing they hoped to hang their hat on just to get a small, conviction was a violation of Wisconsin’s firearm law which basically says that a minor can’t own or carry a handgun. The problem is that it allows a minor to carry a rifle (likely written to allow kids to go hunting in the state). The problem is that the law was written so poorly that it was all but incomprehensible even to the judge. There are conflicting reports this morning that the judge refused to allow the charge to make its way to the jury. If the judge, who is supposed to be in charge of explaining the law can’t figure out what the law actually says, how can a jury?
- Finally, the prosecution is pursuing this case in order to make an example out of Rittenhouse, so that nobody will ever defend themselves or their property again. Sadly, I think this will backfire, with those threatened taking much the same tack as ranchers who run afoul of the Endangered Species Act – shoot, shovel and silence. Outcome from this approach? To turn the law abiding just as lawless as the mob, because the mob will not be allowed to run wild.
2. Pipeline. If you are the Harris – Xiden administration, starting to be faced with significant pushback over your energy policies, what do you do? Last week saw multiple approaches. Laughter and derision from Energy Secretary Granholm when asked what they were doing to control or decrease the price of gasoline. Harris also laughed, but she laughs at everything so that doesn’t count. Another would be to gaslight the general public like Spokesbabe Jen Psaki and WH Chief of Staff Klain did over the weekend. You can even whine to OPEC about needing them to raise their output. OPEC is playing this one really well, using the Reagan – Saudi approach of the 1980s to drive the shale fracking operation in the US out of business. But the WH decided to do something even worse, perhaps the stupidest choice of all approaches to energy independence. They want to shut down yet another pipeline, this one from Canada, across northern Wisconsin, across northern Michigan, and back into Canada. Line 5 carries crude to a number of refineries along its route. The refineries in turn provide locals with gasoline and most importantly propane to rural users primarily in WI and MI and in neighboring states. The WH confirmed they were studying revoking permits for the pipeline. The proposal was initially made by MI governor Gretchen Whitmer, who apparently is unable to torture MI residents to her satisfaction with COVID restrictions. So instead, she is going to torture them with high fuel prices. Fabulous. The excuse is environmental concerns about a 4-mil long section of pipeline that runs through the Mackinac strait between MI and northern MI. The pipeline owner is in the process of rebuilding the crossing to harden it a bit. Energy Secretary Granholm, former MI Governor and US Senator justified the closing because energy prices are more expensive than they were last year, something that appears to be an energy policy feature rather than a bug. As usual, the Canadians are livid.
3. OSHA. The rocket scientists at OSHA published their 490-page long vax mandate rule a week and a half ago. Lawsuits began almost immediately. It is timed to take effect on Jan 4, likely to keep the layoffs from taking place over Christmas. If you don’t vax, you have to test weekly and pay for the tests out of your own pocket. Most of the monstrosity is written in such a way as to limit the ability to grant religious and other exemptions from the vax. Reaction was swift and angry. Congress may be getting in gear by the use of the Congressional Review Act and simple defunding to stop enforcement. As of this writing, at least two federal circuits have issued injunctions aimed at the rule. Andrea Widburg writing in The Paradise called the Fifth Circuit a brilliant ruling for the following reasons:
- Dates on this are important. Jun 2020, OSHA “reasonably determined” that an emergency temporary standard (ETS – the vehicle for the mandate) was unnecessary. A year later, Sept 2021, Biden announced he was going to impose a national vax mandate. On the same day, WH CoS Klain retweeted a Stephanie Ruhle tweet stating that the rule was a workaround to allow the feds to mandate the vax. The Fifth Circuit opinion used that tweet as a footnote in their opinion.
- When congress created OSHA, they did not intend to authorize OSHA to make sweeping pronouncements on matters of public health. OSHA’s ETS authority is extremely narrow, requiring a grave nature from exposure to hazardous substances, toxic agents, or new hazards, all of which require urgent, unusual response. And this power must be delicately exercised in only limited situations.
- This action came almost two years after the virus showed up and two months after Biden announced it. It also does not make any attempt on varying degrees of susceptibility to so-called grave danger it is supposed to deal with.
- The mandate is both over and under inclusive. On one hand, it applies to all industries and workplaces in the US. OTOH, it is under inclusive as it does not address any business less than 100 employees who have to deal with the same threat.
- While the states have vast powers over public health, the feds do not. A person’s choice not to vax is noneconomic activity. And an Executive Agency cannot exceed the narrow mandate congress gave it.
- The court referred to the SCOTUS opinion earlier this year that the CDC may not make housing policy (the moratorium on evictions). Likewise, OSHA cannot make health policy.
- Reason has a really good analysis of the Fifth Circuit opinion. So does Legal Insurrection.
4. Database. Wash Free Beacon ran a piece last week that noted BATF is busily building a database of firearms owners, totaling over 54 million records added in 2021 alone. They are processing out of business records that they grab when a licensed gun store goes out of business. When one of these goes out of business, the records become BATF property and are stored at a federal site in WV. In 2021, the BATF grabbed nearly 54 million paper records and nearly 900,000 electronic records. Past rules allowed records over 20 years old to be destroyed. The Harris – Xiden BATF rewrote their rules to allow the registry to maintain every record in perpetuity. Apparently, there is so much paper that a floor physically collapsed sometime over the year. Good. The more mess, the better. Perhaps it is time for either a fire or a fault sprinkler system. The 1968 Gun Control Act processes the records into images. BATF claims that database is not searchable, likely a lie, for why build a database unless you CAN search it?
5. DUI. From the land of “we’re going to have to pass it to find out what’s in it” comes this little nugget buried in the infrastructure bill passed last week. There is a provision that mandates technology that will allow a vehicle to test whether or not the driver is impaired by alcohol before they can start the car. The new technology is supposed to be required in 2026 model year vehicles. As usual, the technology is not ready for prime time yet, though it is in some limited use in places. The legislation completely ignores the fact that not all DUI charges these days are from alcohol consumption. For instance, with the expanding legalization of marijuana, more pot smokers are getting tagged for driving under the influence. There is also the problem of drug use, both illicit and prescription, that shows up as driving under the influence busts. Finally, there is the expected workaround when the systems are deployed, not unlike the various devices used by NFL players to bypass their mandatory bottle filling tests for controlled substances (Whizzinator, anyone?). I don’t mind this sort of thing showing up as an option. Indeed, these devices show up in Costco from time to time. And if you think you need one, get one, and kindly leave the rest of us alone. OTOH, this is yet another little bit of liberty cut away from us just because it will show up in a campaign ad by someone who claims to care.
More later –