15 Years on: Looking Back at NATO’s ‘Humanitarian’ Bombing of Yugoslavia

27 Apr

Exactly 15 years ago, on March 24, NATO began its 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia. The alliance bypassed the UN under a “humanitarian” pretext, launching aggression that claimed hundreds of civilian lives and caused a much larger catastrophe than it averted.

NATO bombings of Yugoslavia in 15 dramatic photos

Years on, Serbia still bears deep scars of the NATO bombings which, as the alliance put it, were aimed at “preventing instability spreading” in Kosovo. Questions remain on the very legality of the offense, which caused casualties and mass destruction in the Balkan republic.

Codenamed ‘Operation Allied Force,’ it was the largest attack ever undertaken by the alliance. It was also the first time that NATO used military force without the approval of the UN Security Council and against a sovereign nation that did not pose a real threat to any member of the alliance.

NATO demonstrated in 1999 that it can do whatever it wants under the guise of “humanitarian intervention,” “war on terror,” or “preventive war” – something that everyone has witnessed in subsequent years in different parts of the globe.

Nineteen NATO member states participated to some degree in the military campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), which lasted for 11 weeks until June 10, 1999.

More rubble, less trouble

In the course of the campaign, NATO launched 2,300 missiles at 990 targets and dropped 14,000 bombs, including depleted uranium bombs and cluster munitions (unexploded cluster bombs continued to pose a threat to people long after the campaign was over.) Over 2,000 civilians were killed, including 88 children, and thousands more were injured. Over 200,000 ethnic Serbs were forced to leave their homeland in Kosovo.

In what the alliance described as “collateral damage,” its airstrikes destroyed more than 300 schools, libraries, and over 20 hospitals. At least 40,000 homes were either completely eliminated or damaged and about 90 historic and architectural monuments were ruined. That is not to mention the long-term harm caused to the region’s ecology and, therefore, people’s health, as well as the billion-dollar economic damage.

News correspondents Anissa Naouai and Jelena Milincic, the authors of RT’s documentary ’Zashto?’ – which means “Why?” in English –traveled through former Yugoslavia to Belgrade, Kosovo, and Montenegro and spoke to people who endured the atrocities and horrors of the war and lost their friends and relatives.

There is a bridge near the city of Nis, which was bombed at the time when a passenger train was passing through it,” Milincic recalls.The tragedy on April 12, 1999 killed 15 people and wounded 44 others, while many passengers were never accounted for.

“We felt the blast and saw flames under the locomotive. The train was blown so powerfully, half a meter from the ground. I don’t know how we stayed on the rails,” recalled witness Boban Kostic.

Our colleague got off the train when I did,” he said. “He was really scared. But another rocket hit and blew him to pieces,” added another witness, Goran Mikic.

Why? Why civilians? Why a train?” said Dragan Ciric. “It still torments me, if the first rocket was a mistake, what were the next three for?” he told RT.

The Chinese embassy in the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade was also hit and set on fire by NATO airstrikes on May 7, 1999. Three citizens of the country were killed. The alliance called the attack “a mistake.” China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and, along with Russia, did not support a military solution for the Kosovo crisis.

Prior to the military assault, the Milosevic regime was accused of “excessive and disproportionate use of force in Kosovo.” But was the force that NATO used when bombing the sovereign state’s territory proportionate and restrained? Rights organization Amnesty International accused the allied forces of committing war crimes.

“Indications are that NATO did not always meet its legal obligations in selecting targets and in choosing means and methods of attack, On the basis of available evidence, including NATO’s own statements and accounts of specific incidents, Amnesty International believes that – whatever their intentions – NATO forces did commit serious violations of the laws of war leading in a number of cases to the unlawful killings of civilians,” the rights watchdog said in a report published in June 2000.

The alliance dismissed the accusations, saying that cases involving civilian deaths were due to technological failure or were simply “accidents of conflict.” NATO failed to say that they were due to the alliance’s own failure to take all necessary precautions.

We never said we would avoid casualties. It would be foolhardy to say that, as no military operation in history has been perfect,” said Jamie Shea, NATO’s chief spokesman, the Guardian reported at the time.

Bombing background

Former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana ordered military action against Yugoslavia following a failure in negotiations on the Kosovo crisis in France’s Rambouillet and Paris in February and March 1999.

NATO’s decision was officially announced after talks between international mediators – known as the Contact Group – the Yugoslav government, and the delegation of Kosovo Albanians ended in a deadlock. Belgrade refused to allow foreign military presence on its territory while Albanians accepted the proposal.

Back then, Slobodan Milosevic’s forces were engaged in armed conflict with an Albanian rebel group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which sought the province’s separation from Yugoslavia. Former US President Bill Clinton’s special envoy to the Balkans, Robert Gelbard, had earlier described the KLA as “without any questions, a terrorist group.” (The KLA was later repeatedly accused of being involved in the organ trafficking of Serbs in the late 1990s.)

However, despite not announcing the link officially, NATO entered the conflict on the side of the KLA, accusing Serbian security forces of atrocities and “ethnic cleansing” against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The main objective of the campaign was to make Milosevic’s forces pull out of the province. The fact that there was violence on both sides of the confrontation was ignored both by allied governments and Western media – which stirred up public anger by focusing only on Serbs’ atrocities and being far less vocal regarding abuses by Albanians.

All efforts to achieve a negotiated political solution to the Kosovo crisis having failed, no alternative is open but to take military action,” Solana said on March 23, 1999. “We must halt the violence and bring an end to the humanitarian catastrophe now unfolding in Kosovo.”

Racak massacre controversy

An incident involving the “mass killing” of Albanians in central Kosovo’s village of Racak – a KLA stronghold – became a major excuse and justification for NATO’s decision to start its operation. Serbs were blamed for the deaths of dozens of Albanian “civilians” on January 15, 1999. However, it was alleged that the accusations could have been false and the bodies actually belonged to KLA insurgents whose clothes had been changed.

A central role in labeling the events in Racak “a massacre” belonged to William Walker, who headed the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission. He visited the site shortly after the incident and made his judgment.

“[Walker] arrived there having no powers to make conclusions regarding what had happened,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazenta paper in November last year.

Yugoslav authorities accused Walker of going beyond his mission and proclaimed him persona non grata, while Western leaders were infuriated over the Racak incident.

And some time later the bombing started,” Lavrov recalled, adding that the situation in Racak became the “trigger point.” Moscow insisted that an investigation should be carried out. The EU commissioned a group of Finnish forensic experts to prepare a report on the incident. Later, the European Union handed it over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Lavrov said. The full version of the document has never been made public, said the minister, who was Moscow’s permanent representative to the UN between 1994 and 2004.

But parts of the report leaked and were quoted in the media saying that [the victims] were not civilians and that all the bodies found in Racak were in disguise and that bullet holes on clothes and bodies did not match. There was also no one who was killed at short range,” Lavrov said. “Even though I’ve repeatedly raised this issue, the report itself still has not been shown.”

NATO halted its air campaign with the signing of the Military Technical Agreement in Kumanovo on June 9, 1999, with the Yugoslav government agreeing to withdraw its forces from Kosovo. On June 10, 1999, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1244 to establish the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

In August 2013, Amnesty International accused the UNMIK of failing to properly investigate the abductions and murders of Kosovo Serbs in the aftermath of the 1998-1999 war.

“Years have passed and the fate of the majority of the missing on both sides of the conflict is still unresolved, with their families still waiting for justice,” the organization said.

Moscow’s former envoy to NATO (1997-2002), Viktor Zavarzin, believes the military alliance’s aggression was “a crime against humanity” and a “violation of international laws and norms.” The event that unfolded 15 years ago laid ground to a new era of the development of international relations – the era of “chaosization of international law and its arbitrary manipulation,” Zavarzin, an MP for the United Russia party said at the State Duma plenary session on Friday.

Michael McFaul, who recently quit the post of the US Ambassador to Russia, tweeted his reaction to RT’s NATO bombing anniversary coverage, pointing to dramatic growth in Serbia after Milosovic was ousted.

Capture 1

However, the cost of NATO’s bombardment was estimated at billions of US dollars.

Capture 12

Former countries of Yugoslavia did see a growth of their GDP in the beginning of the 21st century, reflecting global growth, but like almost all emerging economies, suffered a drastic fall in 2008.

Image from www.google.com/publicdata

Reprinted with permission from Russia Today.



What’s Ahead in Russia-Ukraine?

27 Apr

So far, it looks like some of the EU members are secretly refusing to go along with the U.S. plan to vastly build up the coup-state of The New Ukraine.

Some, like Greece, apparently feel it would be better for the E.U. to send money to E.U. debtors than Ukrainian ones preparing for war with Russia. [The E.U. needs all 28 members on board for major movies like serious sanctions, so it looks impossible, in spite of the muttering and sputtering.]

Even the U.S. so far has done nothing to protect its “sacred line drawn in the sand” against Putin than steal some assets and visas from a few Russian officials.

The only official aid the U.S. has given the coup masters so far is about a billion dollars in more loans to pay the thirty billion or so they cannot pay now–and that new billion in loans may go to Russia to pay the unpaid gas bills.

The E.U. drag on the U.S. may save us from another insane invasion and ghastly lost war after ten or fifteen years of horrific casualties and costs for everyone but profiteers.

Of course, the Crimean epiphany exploding among Russians everywhere is leading to far more demand and actions to “free” Donetsk and all of the Russian Ukraine.

And RT News is showing over and over again the Ukrainian extremists calling for nuclear war against Russia, blowing up the gas lines to the E.U., etc., which are obviously potential rallying cries for more “Saving Mother Russia.”

I do think this is only the first act in a much bigger historic drama, but Putin has always been a very cautious strategist except when the situation is so extreme that he has to act very forcefully and quickly. He has been allowing this counter-revolution against the Ukrainian revolutionaries to develop for many weeks. He is still waiting, secretly encouraging the counter-revolution, and assessing the situation that is emerging faster and faster.

IF the U.S. and E.U. cannot reign in the extremists among the coup masters, Russia will feel it has no choice but to reabsorb its old state of the Ukraine entirely, which would pose the danger of guerrilla wars in the Western half, though they would not be bad like that in the mountains of Muslim Chechnya. The extremists would likely be allowed freely to flee to the E.U., which would desperately try to duck the honor.






The Second Amendment: A Symbol of Freedom or An Invitation to Violence?

27 Apr

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” – The Second Amendment to the US Constitution

You can largely determine where a person will fall in the debate over gun control and the Second Amendment based on their view of government and the role it should play in our lives.

Those who want to see government as a benevolent parent looking out for our best interests tend to interpret the Second Amendment’s “militia” reference as applying only to the military.

To those who see the government as inherently corrupt, the Second Amendment is a means of ensuring that the populace will always have a way of defending themselves against threats to their freedoms.

And then there are those who view the government as neither good nor evil, but merely a powerful entity that, as Thomas Jefferson recognized, must be bound “down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” To this group, the right to bear arms is no different from any other right enshrined in the Constitution, to be safeguarded, exercised prudently and maintained.

Unfortunately, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, while these three divergent viewpoints continue to jockey for supremacy, the U.S. government has adopted a “do what I say, not what I do” mindset when it comes to Americans’ rights overall. Nowhere is this double standard more evident than in the government’s attempts to arm itself to the teeth, all the while viewing as suspect anyone who dares to legally own a gun, let alone use one.

Indeed, while it still technically remains legal to own a firearm in America, possessing one can now get you pulled over, searched, arrested, subjected to all manner of surveillance, treated as a suspect without ever having committed a crime, shot at and killed. (This same rule does not apply to law enforcement officials, however, who are armed to the hilt and rarely given more than a slap on the wrists for using their weapons against unarmed individuals.)

Just recently, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a Texas man whose home was subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. Making matters worse, police panicked and opened fire through a solid wood door on the homeowner, who had already gone to bed.

Earlier in the year, a Florida man traveling through Maryland with his wife and kids was stopped by a police officer and interrogated about the whereabouts of his registered handgun. Despite the man’s insistence that the handgun had been left at home, the officer spent nearly two hours searching through the couple’s car, patting them down along with their children, and having them sit in the back of a patrol car. No weapon was found.

In 2011, a 25-year-old Philadelphia man was confronted by police, verbally threatened and arrested for carrying a gun in public, which is legal within the city. When Mark Fiorino attempted to explain his rights under the law to police, police ordered him to get on his knees or else “I am gonna shoot ya.” Fiorino was later released without charges.

A provision in a Washington State bill would have authorized police to search and inspect gun owners’ homes yearly. Connecticut has adopted a law banning the sale of large-capacity magazines and assault weapons. And a bill moving through the New Jersey legislature would reduce the number of bullets an ammunition magazine could hold from 15 to 10.

Under a proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services, anyone seeking mental health treatment—no matter how benign—could find themselves entered into the FBI’s criminal background check system and have their Second Amendment rights in jeopardy. They would join the ranks of some 175,000 veterans who have been barred from possessing firearms based solely on the fact that they received psychiatric treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Meanwhile, the government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions, with federal agencies as varied as the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration placing orders for hundreds of millions of rounds of hollow point bullets. Moreover, under the auspices of a military “recycling” program, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990. Included among these “gifts” are tank-like 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, tactical gear, and assault rifles.

Ironically, while the Obama administration continues its efforts to “pass the broadest gun control legislation in a generation,” which would include bans on military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets, expanded background checks, and tougher gun-trafficking laws, the U.S. military boasts some weapons the rest of the world doesn’t have. Included in its arsenal are armed, surveillance Reaper drones capable of reading a license plate from over two miles away; an AA12 Atchisson Assault Shotgun that can shoot five 12-gauge shells per second and “can fire up to 9,000 rounds without being cleaned or jamming”; an ADAPTIV invisibility cloak that can make a tank disappear or seemingly reshape it to look like a car; a PHASR rifle capable of blinding and disorienting anyone caught in its sights; a Taser shockwave that can electrocute a crowd of people at the touch of a button; an XM2010 enhanced sniper rifle with built-in sound and flash suppressors that can hit a man-sized target nine out of ten times from over a third of a mile away; and an XM25 “Punisher” grenade launcher that can be programmed to accurately shoot grenades at a target up to 500 meters away.

Talk about a double standard. The government’s arsenal of weapons makes the average American’s handgun look like a Tinker Toy.

It’s no laughing matter, and yet the joke is on us. “We the people” have been so focused on debating who or what is responsible for gun violence—the guns, the gun owners, or our violent culture—and whether the Second Amendment “allows” us to own guns that we’ve overlooked the most important and most consistent theme throughout the Constitution: the fact that it is not merely an enumeration of our rights but was intended to be a clear shackle on the government’s powers.

When considered in the context of prohibitions against the government, the Second Amendment reads as a clear rebuke against any attempt to restrict the citizenry’s gun ownership. As such, it is as necessary an ingredient for maintaining that tenuous balance between the citizenry and their republic as any of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights, especially the right to freedom of speech, assembly, press, petition, security, and due process.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas understood this tension well. “The Constitution is not neutral,” he remarked, “It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.” In this way, the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rightsin their entirety stand as a bulwark against a police state. To our detriment, these rights have been steadily weakened, eroded and undermined in recent years. Yet without any one of them, including the Second Amendment right to own and bear arms, we are that much more vulnerable to the vagaries of out-of-control policemen, benevolent dictators, genuflecting politicians, and overly ambitious bureaucrats.

When all is said and done, the debate over gun ownership really has little to do with gun violence in America. Eliminating guns will not necessarily eliminate violence. Those same individuals sick enough to walk into an elementary school or a movie theater and open fire using a gun can and do wreak just as much havoc with homemade bombs made out of pressure cookers and a handful of knives.

It’s also not even a question of whether Americans need weapons to defend themselves against any overt threats to our safety or wellbeing, although a recent study by a Quinnipiac University economist indicates that less restrictive concealed carry laws save lives, while gun control can endanger them. In fact, journalist Kevin Carson, writing for Counter Punch, suggests that prohibiting Americans from owning weapons would be as dangerously ineffective as Prohibition and the War on the Drugs:

“[W]hat strict gun laws will do is take the level of police statism, lawlessness and general social pathology up a notch in the same way Prohibition and the Drug War have done. I’d expect a War on Guns to expand the volume of organized crime, and to empower criminal gangs fighting over control over the black market, in exactly the same way Prohibition did in the 1920s and strict drug laws have done since the 1980s. I’d expect it to lead to further erosion of Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure, further militarization of local police via SWAT teams, and further expansion of the squalid empire of civil forfeiture, perjured jailhouse snitch testimony, entrapment, planted evidence, and plea deal blackmail.”

Truly, the debate over gun ownership in America is really a debate over who gets to call the shots and control the game. In other words, it’s that same tug-of-war that keeps getting played out in every confrontation between the government and the citizenry over who gets to be the master and who is relegated to the part of the servant.

The Constitution is clear on this particular point, with its multitude of prohibitions on government overreach. As 20thcentury libertarian Edmund A. Opitz observed in 1964, “No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words ‘no’ and ‘not’ employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights.”

In a nutshell, then, the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms reflects not only a concern for one’s personal defense, but serves as a check on the political power of the ruling authorities. It represents an implicit warning against governmental encroachments on one’s freedoms, the warning shot over the bow to discourage any unlawful violations of our persons or property. As such, it reinforces that necessary balance in the citizen-state relationship. As George Orwell noted, “That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

Certainly, dictators in past regimes have understood this principle only too well. As Adolf Hitler noted, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.” It should come as no surprise, then, that starting in December 1935, Jews in Germany were prevented from obtaining shooting licenses, because authorities believed that to allow them to do so would “endanger the German population.” In late 1938, special orders were delivered barring Jews from owning firearms, with the punishment for arms possession being 20 years in a concentration camp.

The rest, as they say, is history. Yet it is a history that we should be wary of repeating.


Crimea? No, Venice! Independence Referendum in EU goes Almost Unnoticed

27 Apr

While the Crimean referendum tops world media headlines, an attempt at secession is going on in Veneto, Italy, with its major city Venice. But as it is being virtually ignored by media, people in Europe are hardly aware of what’s happening next door.

Do you mean the independence of Crimea?” says a Berlin resident when RT’s Irina Galushko asks him of what he thinks of the current referendum in Veneto, Italy, where people are voting on whether to break away from Rome.

No, I haven’t heard of it” was the most common answer Galushko received.

The online referendum in the northern Italian province was launched on Sunday, the same day the majority of people in Crimea voted yes to seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia. But unlike the Crimean referendum, the Veneto one has not quite found itself in the media spotlight.

Nevertheless, about 3.8 million eligible Veneto resident voters will now be able, until Friday, to say if they would like to see the region an independent, sovereign and federative Republic of Veneto.

Veneto is one of the biggest and wealthiest provinces in Italy with a population of more than 5 million people. One of the main reasons for the vote is that the region is tired of the backbreaking burden of taxes imposed by Rome.

We would like to continue the economic ties with Italy,” Lodovico Pizzati, the spokesman for the independence movement, told RT. “But from a fiscal standpoint there’s a huge gap between what we pay in taxes and what we receive as public service. We are talking about a difference of 20 billion euro.”

The latest polls, suggesting that about 65 percent of the population is in favor of becoming independent, have encouraged the independence movement leaders finally to have the region’s fate decided.

We have to fight for it [independence],” Giovanni Dalla Valle, head of the Veneto independence movement, told RT. “We will do it in a peaceful, diplomatic way. We do strongly believe that when the majority wants to be independent there is nothing they [the Italian government] can do.

Veneto independence activists say they have been inspired by secession movements in Scotland and Catalonia.

Reprinted with permission from Russia Today.





Do You Hate the State?

27 Apr

Originally published in The Libertarian Forum, Vol. 10, No. 7, July 1977.

I have been ruminating recently on what are the crucial questions that divide libertarians. Some that have received a lot of attention in the last few years are: anarcho-capitalism vs. limited government, abolitionism vs. gradualism, natural rights vs. utilitarianism, and war vs. peace. But I have concluded that as important as these questions are, they don’t really cut to the nub of the issue, of the crucial dividing line between us.

Let us take, for example, two of the leading anarcho-capitalist works of the last few years: my own For a New Liberty and David Friedman’s Machinery of Freedom. Superficially, the major differences between them are my own stand for natural rights and for a rational libertarian law code, in contrast to Friedman’s amoralist utilitarianism and call for logrolling and trade-offs between non-libertarian private police agencies. But the difference really cuts far deeper. There runs through For a New Liberty (and most of the rest of my work as well) a deep and pervasive hatred of the State and all of its works, based on the conviction that the State is the enemy of mankind. In contrast, it is evident that David does not hate the State at all; that he has merely arrived at the conviction that anarchism and competing private police forces are a better social and economic system than any other alternative. Or, more fully, that anarchism would be better than laissez-faire which in turn is better than the current system. Amidst the entire spectrum of political alternatives, David Friedman has decided that anarcho-capitalism is superior. But superior to an existing political structure which is pretty good too. In short, there is no sign that David Friedman in any sense hates the existing American State or the State per se, hates it deep in his belly as a predatory gang of robbers, enslavers, and murderers. No, there is simply the cool conviction that anarchism would be the best of all possible worlds, but that our current set-up is pretty far up with it in desirability. For there is no sense in Friedman that the State – any State – is a predatory gang of criminals.

The same impression shines through the writing, say, of political philosopher Eric Mack. Mack is an anarcho-capitalist who believes in individual rights; but there is no sense in his writings of any passionate hatred of the State, or, a fortiori, of any sense that the State is a plundering and bestial enemy.

Perhaps the word that best defines our distinction is “radical.” Radical in the sense of being in total, root-and-branch opposition to the existing political system and to the State itself. Radical in the sense of having integrated intellectual opposition to the State with a gut hatred of its pervasive and organized system of crime and injustice. Radical in the sense of a deep commitment to the spirit of liberty and anti-statism that integrates reason and emotion, heart and soul.

Furthermore, in contrast to what seems to be true nowadays, you don’t have to be an anarchist to be radical in our sense, just as you can be an anarchist while missing the radical spark. I can think of hardly a single limited governmentalist of the present day who is radical – a truly amazing phenomenon, when we think of our classical liberal forbears who were genuinely radical, who hated statism and the States of their day with a beautifully integrated passion: the Levellers, Patrick Henry, Tom Paine, Joseph Priestley, the Jacksonians, Richard Cobden, and on and on, a veritable roll call of the greats of the past. Tom Paine’s radical hatred of the State and statism was and is far more important to the cause of liberty than the fact that he never crossed the divide between laissez-faire and anarchism.

And closer to our own day, such early influences on me as Albert Jay Nock, H. L. Mencken, and Frank Chodorov were magnificently and superbly radical. Hatred of “Our Enemy, the State” (Nock’s title) and all of its works shone through all of their writings like a beacon star. So what if they never quite made it all the way to explicit anarchism? Far better one Albert Nock than a hundred anarcho-capitalists who are all too comfortable with the existing status quo.

Where are the Paines and Cobdens and Nocks of today? Why are almost all of our laissez-faire limited governmentalists plonky conservatives and patriots? If the opposite of “radical” is “conservative,” where are our radical laissez-fairists? If our limited statists were truly radical, there would be virtually no splits between us. What divides the movement now, the true division, is not anarchist vs. minarchist, but radical vs. conservative. Lord, give us radicals, be they anarchists or no.

To carry our analysis further, radical anti-statists are extremely valuable even if they could scarcely be considered libertarians in any comprehensive sense. Thus, many people admire the work of columnists Mike Royko and Nick von Hoffman because they consider these men libertarian sympathizers and fellow-travelers. That they are, but this does not begin to comprehend their true importance. For throughout the writings of Royko and von Hoffman, as inconsistent as they undoubtedly are, there runs an all-pervasive hatred of the State, of all politicians, bureaucrats, and their clients which, in its genuine radicalism, is far truer to the underlying spirit of liberty than someone who will coolly go along with the letter of every syllogism and every lemma down to the “model” of competing courts.

Taking the concept of radical vs. conservative in our new sense, let us analyze the now famous “abolitionism” vs. “gradualism” debate. The latter jab comes in the August issue of Reason (a magazine every fiber of whose being exudes “conservatism”), in which editor Bob Poole asks Milton Friedman where he stands on this debate. Freidman takes the opportunity of denouncing the “intellectual cowardice” of failing to set forth “feasible” methods of getting “from here to there.” Poole and Friedman have between them managed to obfuscate the true issues. There is not a single abolitionist who would not grab a feasible method, or a gradual gain, if it came his way. The difference is that the abolitionist always holds high the banner of his ultimate goal, never hides his basic principles, and wishes to get to his goal as fast as humanly possible. Hence, while the abolitionist will accept a gradual step in the right direction if that is all that he can achieve, he always accepts it grudgingly, as merely a first step toward a goal which he always keeps blazingly clear. The abolitionist is a “button pusher” who would blister his thumb pushing a button that would abolish the State immediately, if such a button existed. But the abolitionist also knows that alas, such a button does not exist, and that he will take a bit of the loaf if necessary – while always preferring the whole loaf if he can achieve it.

It should be noted here that many of Milton’s most famous “gradual” programs such as the voucher plan, the negative income tax, the withholding tax, fiat paper money – are gradual (or even not so gradual) steps in the wrong direction, away from liberty, and hence the militance of much libertarian opposition to these schemes.

His button-pushing position stems from the abolitionist’s deep and abiding hatred of the State and its vast engine of crime and oppression. With such an integrated world-view, the radical libertarian could never dream of confronting either a magic button or any real-life problem with some arid cost-benefit calculation. He knows that the State must be diminished as fast and as completely as possible. Period.

And that is why the radical libertarian is not only an abolitionist, but also refuses to think in such terms as a Four Year Plan for some sort of stately and measured procedure for reducing the State. The radical – whether he be anarchist or laissez-faire – cannot think in such terms as, e.g.: Well, the first year, we’ll cut the income tax by 2%, abolish the ICC, and cut the minimum wage; the second year we’ll abolish the minimum wage, cut the income tax by another 2%, and reduce welfare payments by 3%, etc. The radical cannot think in such terms, because the radical regards the State as our mortal enemy, which must be hacked away at wherever and whenever we can. To the radical libertarian, we must take any and every opportunity to chop away at the State, whether it’s to reduce or abolish a tax, a budget appropriation, or a regulatory power. And the radical libertarian is insatiable in this appetite until the State has been abolished, or – for minarchists – dwindled down to a tiny, laissez-faire role.

Many people have wondered: Why should there be any important political disputes between anarcho-capitalists and minarchists now? In this world of statism, where there is so much common ground, why can’t the two groups work in complete harmony until we shall have reached a Cobdenite world, after which we can air our disagreements? Why quarrel over courts, etc. now? The answer to this excellent question is that we could and would march hand-in-hand in this way if the minarchists were radicals, as they were from the birth of classical liberalism down to the 1940s. Give us back the antistatist radicals, and harmony would indeed reign triumphant within the movement.


Cohan the Barbarian Assaults the Truth (Again and Again)

27 Apr

When I picked up my new copy of William D. Cohan’s new book on the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities, I discovered that the book was very light, despite its large size. Indeed, if there is anything symbolic about that moment, it is that Cohan has written a very large book that is empty of substance.

(I will point out that he quotes an LRC blog post that I wrote on pages 409-410, and he quotes it in the right context. Unfortunately, he then draws conclusions that conflict with everything that I and other bloggers had been pointing out.)

For all of the praise this book receives from The Usual Suspects in publishing, i.e., the New York Times, Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal, it is a book that defies logic, and takes known facts and either ignores them or tries to change them on the fly. While I already have reviewed this book, the fact that Cohan has about 700 pages of material means there is a lot of stuff I could not cover in one article, and as I go through material again and read articles countering Cohan’s claims, it becomes obvious that he has no intention of being reasonable or telling the truth, or at least a truth that might disagree with Michael Nifong’s version of “truth.”

Second, Cohan has been on a big publicity book tour, making the rounds on talk shows, and I had the “pleasure” of hearing him on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show. (I say “pleasure” in the way that hemorrhoid surgery would be pleasant or having a dentist remove my wisdom teeth without using anesthesia.) Knowing this case as I do, I truly was stunned at what he said, not because he was sharing “new information,” but rather was taking established facts and twisting them in order to try to make the accused players seem to be guilty.

Before, I take on some of the most egregious errors that Cohan has made in both the book and on his recent book tour, let me urge readers to visit K.C. Johnson’s blog, Durham-in-Wonderland. K.C. and co-author Stuart Taylor wrote Until Proven Innocent, a detailed account of the case that is not filled with innuendo, half-truths, and interviews with disgraced and disbarred prosecutor Michael Nifong that try to make the man look to be credible. The popular blog daily skewers Cohan’s book and his talk-show comments, and K.C. pulls no punches, although his language always is restrained.

The fact that Cohan goes on talk show after talk show and makes unfounded declarations that Nifong is credible and “something happened in that bathroom” where the alleged rape supposedly took place invites a response from people who actually know a few things about the Duke Lacrosse Case. I’d like to think I am not beating a dead horse when I take on someone trying to resurrect every false notion about this case that supposedly was debunked when North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper declared Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans to be “innocent” on April 11, 2007.

However, the truth of the case has come into direct conflict with the American Left, which never can accept the truth about anything should the truth go against their dearest beliefs and narratives. As I see it, Cohan is trying to rewrite the case’s history, and because he already is a darling of the set of New York literary folk that believe The New York Review of (Each Other’s) Books is a stronghold of truth and reasonable thinking, he is getting a near-free ride.

From what I can see, Cohan seems to be motivated by both leftist principles and by his disgust at the kind of behavior he sees from students at his alma mater Duke University. Indeed, I do share his disdain for the decadence that rules the modern campus of our citadels of higher learning, although I must admit that I am not shocked, SHOCKED at the logical results when the modern university makes promoting and enforcing the tenets of the Sexual Revolution front-and-center in its educational “mission.” We should expect decadence at places like Duke University when university officials openly hand out condoms, celebrate the utterly-decadent event called “Sex Week,” openly welcome the Sex Workers Show onto campus, and encourage students to be sexually active.

Furthermore, why should anyone be surprised that high-prices “elite” private universities like Duke are going to be populated mostly by the children of wealthy whites, since middle-class students and most minorities cannot afford to go there unless they receive vast amounts of financial aid? In our increasingly bureaucratized and stratified society, going to “the right school” is more significant to a student’s future than ever before, and the people with the wealth and best connections are going to be standing at the head of the line.

(The supreme irony is that American Progressives claim they hate stratification, yet they are the most responsible for the current situation because they have used their political power and their places in the “commanding heights” of civil society to impose a state of affairs that brings about the very social structures they claim to despise. The one thing that would do more to change this current stratified status quo would be to liberalize the economy so that entrepreneurs can transform the economy, but Progressives despise entrepreneurship and they despise a free-market economy even more.)

As noted before, Cohan has written a long book and K.C. Johnson is devoting himself to chronicling the errors. I’ll just deal with a couple of the most egregious claims, the first being Cohan’s claim that the DNA results in the lacrosse case were irrelevant, and the second being his attempt to infer that David Evans and Reade Seligmann actually may have raped Crystal Mangum after all.


Cohan in both his book and also in many of his radio and TV talks show interviews has stated that the DNA results – finding no DNA of any lacrosse player (not just the three accused) and the discovery of DNA of at least four other men on her body and in her “body cavities” – was a “red herring.” In other words, the DNA results were irrelevant.

Why? According to Cohan, since there were rape prosecutions (and acquittals of and convictions for) before DNA results became part of forensic science, DNA results then should have no bearing, at least in the rape accusations against Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans. To bolster his claim, Cohan quotes Nifong, who declares, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Forget that the “fishing expedition” non-testimonial order that came from Nifong’s office (he claims he had nothing to do with its creation) declared that the DNA results (which were then taken from each white lacrosse player) would both determine who was guilty and who was innocent. Only after Nifong had committed himself to prosecuting this case at all costs, and after he got the word from North Carolina’s crime lab that there were no DNA matches to be found in contact with Crystal Mangum, did Nifong then decide that DNA should not matter, anyway.

Thus, Cohan (and Nifong) have constructed a most interesting syllogism which goes as such:

  • No DNA from any lacrosse player, including the three accused, was found on or in the body of Crystal Mangum, despite her account to police and to the medical staff at Duke University Medical Center that the three players had beaten her, forced her into oral sex, and ejaculated on her body, in her body, and in her mouth;
  • Before DNA testing was developed for forensic purposes, rape cases were pursued, with the evidence being other factors, including physical trauma, personal testimony, and the like;
  • Therefore, DNA results should have no bearing on the outcome of the Duke lacrosse phony rape case.

Tell that to prosecutors who regularly get convictions because of DNA results; tell that to people associated with the Innocence Project that DNA can never be exculpatory because testimony from alleged victims always trumps DNA. Tell that to all of the people who have been released from prison and their convictions for rape, murder, and assault.

At the same time, Cohan tries to convince readers that while the absence of DNA means nothing – even though the three lacrosse players were indicted because police told grand jurors that the young men carried out a rape in a manner that certainly would have left a massive DNA print – he then insists that David Evans must have done something awful to Crystal Mangum because his DNA profile was found on one of Mangum’s fake nails that was put into the trash can in the bathroom in the house on Buchanan Street.

Numerous times throughout his book and also during the talk shows (I heard him make the claim on the Dianne Rehm Show), Cohan asks the question: “How did David Evans’s DNA get onto Mangum’s fake fingernail?” For example, on page 562, speaking of the testimony that David Evans, Sr., gave to the North Carolina State Bar during Nifong’s June 2007 trial (in which Nifong was disbarred), Cohan declares:

Not surprisingly, Evans’s father made no mention of the evidence regarding the possibility that his son’s DNA was on Mangum’s fake fingernail when he took the stand. In an interview, Nifong explained why he thought neither the defense nor the media made more of the fingernail evidence.

Nifong goes on to claim that this “evidence” almost was completely ignored. Not true. Nifong based much of his indictment of Evans on the so-called evidence, and journalists and talk show hosts like Nancy Grace declared at the time that it was something of a “magic bullet” for the prosecution. Once again, we see both Nifong and Cohan trying to rewrite history.

The prosecution’s story was that in the assault of Crystal Mangum, Evans ripped off her fake fingernail, hence his DNA on it. There is a huge problem with that account, however, one that apparently Cohan either does not understand or, more likely, does not want to understand.

There was no singular DNA profile of David Evans or anyone else on that fingernail. Instead, it was part of a DNA mixture that featured very slight (for DNA purposes) traces of approximately 15 people, all members of the lacrosse team. If the Cohan version were true – that Evans got his DNA onto the fingernail as a result of assaulting Mangum – then it would be necessary for there to have been 15 assailants.

The much more likely explanation is that Evans lived in the house, and a lot of other players also had thrown something into the can. Their DNA was on whatever they put into the can, and the DNA then transferred to the fingernail and other objects into which the material came into contact. Scientists call it DNA transfer, and because there were slight profiles of so many others, the only sensible explanation is that the transfer occurred in the trash can.

However, Cohan wants to the readers to believe Nifong’s account, which is that the profiles of all of the players except Evans came through DNA transfer, but Evans had his profile on the nail because he attacked Crystal. That might seem logical to Cohan, Nifong, and their supporters, but scientifically speaking (and we all know how Progressives worship “science”) it is an absurdity.

To put things into perspective, when Brian Meehan, the DNA specialist who did a private examination of the rape kit and the fingernails for Nifong, he was wearing near-space suit protective clothing, yet his DNA profile – a profile stronger than that of Evans or the other players – appeared in the DNA results of Mangum’s rape kit and fingernail. If we were to apply Cohan’s “logic,” at least the “logic” he uses when discussion David Evans, Brian Meehan would have to be a rape suspect.

So this is what Cohan wants us to believe: three young men can beat a woman for a half-hour, ejaculate in her mouth, ejaculate in her vagina and on her body, crawl naked over her, and not leave one speck of DNA. (She did have DNA of at least four unidentified men – none lacrosse players – in her vagina, her anus, and in her underwear.) The DNA testing was so sensitive that even Meehan while wearing protective clothing left a full DNA profile in her rape kit, but Cohan claims that not leaving DNA somehow is “proof” of a rape, while the fact that others left DNA on her is a “red herring.”

As one easily can see, Cohan is being utterly dishonest, but in that regard, he simply is channeling Nifong, a person Cohan claimed on the Dianne Rehm Show as being “an honorable man trying to get to the bottom of what happened.” (Emphasis mine) When those efforts to “get to the bottom” of the accusations veered into outright dishonesty, Cohan ignores that point. Like Nifong, Cohan presents a “head I win, tails you lose” version of the case.


Cohan does not slander only David Evans. Instead, he stoops even lower to try to implicate Reade Seligmann in the alleged rape, and he lies in the process of smearing this highly-regarded young man. (Seligmann recently was graduated from Emory Law School and now is clerking for a federal judge in Camden, New Jersey. He also is involved with the Innocence Project.)

Mangum “identified” Seligmann during a so-called photo lineup in which Mangum was shown only photos of the Duke lacrosse team and told to pick out three of them. (The process, which was run by Nifong and a rogue Durham cop named Mark Gottlieb, clearly violated all state and federal standards for photo lineups and almost certainly was illegal. Of course, Cohan defends that action, too.)

There was a major problem, however, and that was that the timeline that the police and Mangum constructed for the alleged rape was such that Reade Seligmann was more than a mile away when the alleged rape was supposed to have occurred. He had proof.

About midnight on March 14, Seligmann decided he did not like the tone of the party, and he had not suggested bringing strippers, anyway. (Two of the captains had made that decision on their own.) He called a cab company and asked for the cab to meet him at a house around the corner, thus avoiding the congestion of cars at the Buchanan Avenue house.

Moez Elmostafa, an African immigrant, picked up Seligmann, drove him to a bank teller, where Reade took out some money, and then took him to a restaurant where he got takeout food. Elmostafa then drove Seligmann to his Duke dormitory, and Reade gave him a $7 tip before going into his dorm, swiping his dorm key card.

This was significant because Seligmann was with Elmostafa when the supposed rape was occurring. After Elmostafa was interviewed on TV news as backing Seligmann’s story, Nifong had him picked up on a bogus shoplifting warrant. Before arresting Elmostafa, however, a Durham police officer asked him if he wanted to change his story; when Elmostafa refused to lie, the officer – and Nifong’s directive – slapped handcuffs on him.

(Elmostafa faced a trial later in the summer of 2006. With police officers literally leering and trying to intimidate him, Nifong’s office presented what amounted to non-evidence and Elmostafa was easily acquitted. This was after the Durham County DA’s office had promised it had “convincing” material that would become obvious when the public viewed the tape from a store camera. In other words, it was clear that the prosecution was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate a vulnerable immigrant into lying to support Nifong’s dishonest case.)

I bring up this account because Cohan in his interview on the Dianne Rehm show claimed that there was no intimidation at all, and that the action against Elmostafa was perfectly legitimate. (Cohan, unfortunately, cannot get the man’s name correct in the book, calling him “Mostafa.”)

Likewise, the Seligmann’s actions that I have described above are “evidence” to Cohan that Seligmann did “something” to Mangum. Why? He went to a bank teller, and Nifong told Cohan that he must have done it because he knew he would be recorded, and then he went to a restaurant because he knew there would be electronic evidence that would prove his whereabouts. But it gets better. Nifong also claims that Reade gave Elmostafa a $25 tip, ostensibly to bribe him to…tell the truth.

One has to understand the depths of the depravity in which Cohan and Nifong have descended here. Nifong had Reade Seligmann indicted for rape according to a timeline that directly contrasted with all of the cellphone records, a bank camera recording, and a visit to a restaurant, and that is supposed to mean that Seligmann raped Crystal Mangum. You see, Reade planned all of this as an alibi, according to Nifong, and Nifong and Cohan are having none of it.

Seligmann’s then-attorney, the late Kirk Osborne, tried to give Nifong the alibi evidence in April 2006, but Nifong refused to accept it, telling Osborne that “I don’t read fiction.” After Osborne put the information on the Internet for the world to see, Nifong then told his assistant DAs that none of Osborne’s criminal defendants would be permitted to plead out, which essentially ended Osborne’s business in Durham.

To counter Seligmann’s alibi, Nifong changed the timeline in December. This ran into problems, however, as a number of phone records, gas card records, and time-stamped photographs counter Nifong’s it-happened-an-hour-earlier-than-we-thought thesis.

But Cohan isn’t through digging up bogus “evidence” against Seligmann. During one of her conversations with police, Mangum said that one of the rapists said he could not go through with it because he was getting married the next day. During his testimony to the State Bar, Seligmann said that he was known to be a “nervous Nelly” of his team because he got flustered a lot.

Thus, reason Nifong and Cohan, that must be proof that Seligmann raped Mangum because Mangum described someone who was too embarrassed to actually complete a sex act with her. I am not kidding. (Cohan includes that one on page 554.

And there is one more thing; Cohan quotes Nifong, also on page 554, claiming that Seligmann committed perjury in his State Bar testimony: “Not everything he said was true, but he did come off well,” said Nifong.


On his tour, Cohan claimed to have been the first person to make Tara Levicy’s SANE report “public.” That was untrue, as a number of sources, including Until Proven Innocent, had put the report into public view. Cohan then claims that “something happened” in the bathroom during the party, but he does not specify what the “something” might be.

The fact that Cohan does sloppy research and fails to interview people directly involved in the investigation after making false claims about what they did speaks much about his integrity and competence as a writer and researcher. By uncritically repeating Nifong’s claim that special prosecutors Mary Winstead and James Coman were “sandbagged” and “shocked” at Cooper’s declaration of “innocent,” Cohan conveniently fails to tell the readers that Coman and Winstead wrote the report that Cooper used to base his claims of “innocent,” and was following the directive of the two prosecutors.

This is dishonesty at its worst, and it happens in broad daylight. But there is another thing that points to the craven character of William Cohan, and that appears in the book’s acknowledgements. At the end, he thanks a number of people for giving him guidance. One is an HBO producer who was going to take Until Proven Innocent and change to plot to have Mangum actually raped. (That project fell through, although one cannot help but wonder if Cohan’s book will have its own HBO movie to follow.)

He also thanks Bethany McLean, the same Bethany McLean who wrote dispatches from the criminal trial of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling that were nothing more than pro-prosecution propaganda. The reason McLean’s articles and commentary were suspicious was that at the time she was writing the material, she was in a “relationship” with the federal government’s lead prosecutor. (They married after the trial, but denied having any pre-trial relationship, even though people in Houston did see them together as a couple beforehand.)

But there also is one other person of questionable integrity who served as a friend and advisor to Cohan: the infamous “Client Number Nine,” who also is known as the disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Given all of the lies, innuendos, and smears that make up this disgrace example of New York publishing, I don’t think anyone should be surprised to know that Cohan believes that Mike Nifong and Eliot Spitzer are men of integrity.


For Progressives, “Thoughtcrime” is Worse than Mass Murder

27 Apr

As any reasonably well-informed attorney knows, if a police officer follows a driver long enough he will witness a violation that supposedly justifies a traffic stop. Once this happens, the officer will “build the stop” by seeking a pretext to search the vehicle for evidence of violations that can lead to an arrest of the driver, or seizure of the vehicle and its contents.

Cliven Bundy, among others, can testify that Regime-oriented journalism operates in a very similar fashion: Have a reporter from the New York Times shadow a 67-year-old Mormon rancher from southeastern Nevada long enough, and eventually the subject will say something that offends current sensibilities about race. To be specific, Bundy used retrograde racial terminology in musing aloud about the damage done to the black family by the Welfare State—which he suggested might be as evil, in some ways, as the odious institution of chattel slavery.

Mr. Bundy is unusually media-savvy for a rancher, but he doesn’t speak in sound-bites. He wasn’t lamenting the fact that black Americans are no longer required to pick cotton for other people who supposedly “own” them, but that the modern welfare state has cultivated dependency, undermined the family, and helped to bring about both the a stratospherically high incarceration rate for black men and a shockingly high abortion rate for black unborn children (a development he wouldn’t lament if he genuinely hated black people).

That perspective could have been tidily packaged for media consumption in the following phrase: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family.”

Those sentences were not uttered by a white rancher from Nevada, but by a black academic from Virginia – Dr. Walter Williams, to be specific. It takes a remarkable gift for dishonesty to accuse Dr. Williams of indulging in racism, but Ed Shultz – who serves as MSNBC’s left-wing analogue to Sean Hannity – was equal to that challenge. Shultz apparently doesn’t consider it to be an act of paternalistic racism for a white Progressive to tutor a black academic about matters of racial etiquette.

On April 11, the day before the “Battle of Bunkerville,” President Obama found time in a schedule cluttered with drone strikes against brown people overseas to address Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention. Sharpton is man of many parts, nearly all of them loathsome. He is a shake-down artist, a racial incendiary, and – as we were recently reminded – an asset of the secret police.

The least objectionable facet of Sharpton’s record is his tax “evasion,” given that protecting one’s assets from theft is not a crime. That being said, I find it fascinating that on April 11 Mr. Obama was embracing as a role model a public figure said to owe millions of dollars in taxes, and on the next day his administration was prepared to kill a Nevada rancher described as a “deadbeat” because he refuses to pay grazing fees to a branch of government that is not constitutionally permitted to collect them.

This disparate treatment could easily be explained as a question of identity politics. J.D. Tuccille points out, the Obama-era Progressive movement insists that all anti-government activism is reductively racist. This could be seen as part of a cynical, murderous political deal struck early in Obama’s reign.

Several months into his first term, Barack Obama signed into law a “hate crimes” measurethat enriched the federal government’s power to investigate and punish improper thinking. That measure likewise diverted plundered funds to fill the troughs of left-wing pressure groups that gather intelligence on “thought criminals” on behalf of the Feds.

In order to ensure passage of the Hate Crimes measure (which we should call the Thoughcrime Enforcement Act), the Obama administration attached it to a $680 billion military appropriation measure that included at least $120 billion to fund the the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The irreplaceable Chris Hedges, a relentlessly candid opponent of the Warfare State, describedhow this arrangement managed to unite advocates of tyrannical “tolerance” on the home front with those who promote the mass murder of harmless foreigners abroad:

“It was a clever piece of marketing. It blunted debate about new funding for war. And behind the closed doors of the caucus rooms, the Democratic leadership told Blue Dog Democrats, who are squeamish about defending gays or lesbians from hate crimes, that they could justify the vote as support for the war. They told liberal Democrats, who are squeamish about unlimited funding for war, that they could defend the vote as a step forward in the battle for civil rights. Gender equality groups, by selfishly narrowing their concern to themselves, participated in the dirty game.”

The same “Tolerance Industry” that treats every uncouth utterance by an aging “right-wing extremist” as matter of transcendent outrage was willing to abet the murder of innocent people abroad in order to expand the power of the Regime to punish their enemies at home. From their perspective, cops and drones may break people’s bones, but only “hateful” words can really hurt us.

Cliven Bundy is a robustly imperfect individual, something I suspect he would eagerly concede, even if he didn’t consider his racial views to be among those shortcomings. Unlike the rampaging federal regulatory agencies arrayed against him, Bundy is not in the business of picking pockets or breaking legs. As the photograph above demonstrates, he is not a reflexive bigot. Indeed, his first reflex upon spying a little brown boy – one who strikingly resembles the children being slaughtered by the Regime overseas — was to drop to a knee and offer him his cowboy hat.

Most importantly, it should be remembered that the same BLM that has targeted Cliven Bundy and other white ranchers in Nevada did not spare the Dann family, impoverished Shoshone Indians whose livestock was seized by the agency in order to clear “public” land for exploitation by a politically connected corporation.

Obama-aligned Progressives are too busy gleefully dilating on the wickedness of Cliven Bundy to condemn the BLM’s persecution of Carrie, Clifford, and the late Mary Dann. But then again, why should this be surprising? The Danns, after all, are just a few more brown people whose rights must be sacrificed in the cause of building the Almighty State.

And while we’re on the subject…

… guess what other Nevada Mormon of a certain age has used racially insensitive language?