Council Reviews Tax Resolution Language, Seeks More Clarity Before Vote

Montrose, CO During Monday’s City Council Work Session, councilors reviewed language for a proposed public safety sales tax increase to fund more police department resources. Council members expressed support in helping to raise police department revenues but said the proposed ballot language needed clarity before any possible vote that could send the ballot question before voters this fall.

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Ben Shapiro: The Suicide of Europe

On Friday, the British police arrested Tommy Robinson, founder and former leader of the English Defence League, a far-right anti-Islam group. Robinson is a controversial character, to be sure, a sort of Milo Yiannopoulos lite. His chief focus is on the threat of radical Islam, which he believes threatens the integrity of the British system.

You don’t have to like Robinson. But whatever you think of him, his arrest is absurd by any measure. You see, Robinson was arrested for standing outside a court building and reporting on a trial involving the alleged grooming of young girls for sexual assault by radical Muslims.

Now, what would be illegal about that, you ask? It turns out that Robinson was given a suspended sentence last year for filming outside another court building, where a trial for alleged gang rape by radical Muslims was taking place. He wasn’t inside the courtroom. Nonetheless, the judge believed he was somehow biasing the jurors. According to the judge, Robinson was sentenced thanks to “pejorative language which prejudges the case, and it is language and reporting … that could have had the effect of substantially derailing the trial.”

This time, Robinson was again arrested for prejudicing a case, only he wasn’t inside the court building. He was outside. And the media were originally banned from reporting on his arrest so that his trial wouldn’t be biased. In other words, Britain has now effectively banned reporting that actually mentions the Islamic nature of criminal defendants for fear of stirring up bigotry — and has banned reporting on reporting on such defendants. It’s an infinite regress of suicidal political correctness.

But at least the Europeans have their priorities straight: While it’s perfectly legal to lock up a provocateur covering a trial involving Muslims, the European Union is now considering a ban on products like cotton buds, straws and other plastics for fear of marine litter. And just as importantly, it’s now perfectly legal to kill unborn children again in Ireland, where voters — with the help of a cheering press — decided to lift the ban on abortions until the 20th week, condemning thousands of children to death.

This is how the West dies: with a tut-tut, not with a bang. The same civilization that sees it as a fundamental right to kill a child in the womb thinks it is utterly out of bounds to film outside a trial involving the abuse of children, so long as the defendants are radical Muslims. The Europeans have elevated the right to not be offended above the right to life; they’ve elevated the right to not be offended above the right to free speech, all in the name of some utopian vision of a society without standards.

Discarding those standards was supposed to make Europeans more free; it was supposed to allow Europeans to feel more comfortable. But the sad truth is that no society exists without certain standards and Europe has a new standard: enforcement of its “tolerance” via jail sentence, combined with tolerance of multiculturalism that sees tolerance itself as a Trojan horse. The notion of individual rights sprang from European soil. Now they’re beginning to die there.

PHOTO: Ben Shapiro speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Connecticut Bans ‘Rate Of Fire Enhancements’ On Firearms

Ways to shoot your gun faster have been around for ages now. They’re nothing new, and prior to Las Vegas, they were almost never used in a crime of any sort, so far as I’ve been able to tell. They were toys slapped onto guns to amuse people as they wasted ammo at a range day and not much else.

In Connecticut, though, they’re now history.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat with a long history of advocating gun control measures, signed a law on Thursday outlawing a variety of firearm accessories.

The proposal, HB 5542, creates a new felony for the sale and possession of a “rate of fire enhancement” as defined under the new law. It was approved last month in the state House 114-35 and the Senate 26-10, with Dems pushing hard for the bill.

“This should be the law throughout the entire country,” said Malloy during a press conference that included gun control advocates, high school students and lawmakers. “There is no reason why anyone needs to own a device that can fire 90 bullets every 10 seconds but for the mass killing of people.”

I’m going to interrupt here and mention that my initial reactions to Malloy’s comments are, well, unprintable. I’m a professional, and I try not to use that kind of language when I’m working. I’m sure you can imagine.

However, I will add that “need” is irrelevant when it comes to our rights. There’s no need for Malloy to pontificate on what he thinks the laws in the rest of the country should be, yet there he is anyway. See how that works?

The same is true with “rate of fire enhancements.” I shouldn’t have to illustrate a need to have something.

Schmuck.

Anyway, back to the story.

The new law, now Public Act No. 18-29, defines a “rate of fire enhancement” as any bump stock, binary trigger, trigger crank or similar device and makes it a Class D felony under Connecticut law to manufacture, own, possess, sell or transfer one. Violators could face five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. There is no route to legal ownership or grandfathering of devices already in circulation in the state, leaving those with one on their hands until October to comply with the law.

It doesn’t appear that shoelaces or rubber bands, both of which can be used for bump fire, are covered under this bill.

Or do those not count because people “need” those?

The truth is, Connecticut and most other states have no issue with these devices. They’ve never seen a problem with them within their borders. The nation has seen precisely one. It was horrific, but these aren’t commonly used for crime, and it’s beyond time to stop pretending anyone is safer from a law like this.

It should be noted that despite the availability of such devices since Las Vegas, not a single other mass shooter using an AR-15 style rifle has used bump fire.

In other words, Malloy and his ilk are doing nothing but waving the flag to their fellow travelers, signaling how they care so hard.

In the meantime, work that went into this could have been devoted to doing something that might actually make life better for Connecticut’s citizens.

The post Connecticut Bans ‘Rate Of Fire Enhancements’ On Firearms appeared first on Bearing Arms.

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Cleveland family suing on claims CBP seized life-savings at airport

There is a new lawsuit in Ohio – spearheaded by Institute for Justice – claiming Customs and Border Protection seized the life-savings of an immigrant family at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport without charging anyone with a crime. The suit says Rustem Kazazi was headed to Albania to do work on a home when he was accosted by CBP for the $58K in his carry-on. Via IJ:

While going through security, Rustem was detained by a group of CBP agents, who took him to a small room. The agents questioned Rustem in English—a language he only partially understands—and refused his requests for a translator. They stripped him naked and searched him from head to toe, but found nothing illegal. As if these indignities were not enough, the agents then took every penny of the Kazazis’ savings and gave Rustem a receipt for “U.S. Currency” that did not state the amount seized. Rustem was not arrested—he had not broken any law. The CBP agents simply took his money and sent him on his way.

There are plenty of pejoratives to describe this situation: baseless, authoritarian, police state, and un-American. The fact Rustem, who is an American citizen, had his money stolen by the government for the simple reason he had it in his carry-one is asinine. It’s a clear violation of the 4th Amendment because CBP seized the cash without bothering to make a reasonable effort to find an interpreter to establish whether probable cause existed. It’s a major failure on the government’s part, which shouldn’t be surprising because it’s government.

A little background on Rustem Kazazi. He’s a former Albanian police officer who immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 2005. IJ notes he became a citizen in 2010. Why was he carrying $58K on his person? The suit says Kazazi and his family didn’t want to deal with banking fees and figured it was easier to just have cash on hand. You or I might find it a little weird to carry that much money in a carry-on (or anywhere else) but it was his choice.

The suit itself has more details on the bureaucratic idiocy Kazazi and his family are going through. It doesn’t paint the government in a good light. Remember…Kazazi was never charged with a crime or arrested. Via the suit:

While Rustem was still away in Albania, CBP sent him a Notice of Seizure on December 1, 2017 claiming that the amount taken from him had been $57, 330 ($770 less than the amount the agents had seized in October). This document also announced, for the first time, that the agents had seized the money for being “involved in a smuggling/drug trafficking/money laundering operation.” The notice informed Rustem that CBP intended to seek civil forfeiture of his money using an internal administrative process. And it appraised Rustem of his right to submit a claim to the money and request, instead, that civil forfeiture proceedings be referred to federal court. However, this initial seizure noticed included conflicting deadlines for responding. With [his son]’s help, the family contacted CPB about the conflicting dates, which the agency eventually corrected by sending an amended seizure notice, which set Saturday, January 13, 2018 as the deadline for receiving claims and any demand for federal court action.

So far, the Kazazis are following the process by which people can dispute any civil asset forfeiture seizures. Here’s where things get more fun – if by more fun you mean completely stupid. Court documents say the family didn’t want to go through the administrative process because they wanted a judge to decide on the cash. CBP didn’t want to play ball (which makes sense because better to trust bureaucrats than judges) and the suit claims things went further downhill (emphasis mine).

[O]n March 30, a CBP attorney in Chicago called [Rustem’s son] and left a voicemail, saying she wanted to discuss, “whether you want [the case] to go to court or if we could handle this administratively.” The attorney urged [Rustem’s son] to call back quickly because the agency’s deadline to begin the court process would expire “within the next week”- that is, no later than April 6, 2018. Three weeks later, when still no forfeiture complaint had been filed, [Rustem’s son] wrote to his contact at CBP to ask why the family’s money had not been returned. The response was distressingly bureaucratic: CBP had no idea. For the first, CBP told the Kazazis that it had no control over the case; instead, the U.S. Attorney’s Office was in control. When [the son] asked whom he could contract at the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, the agency claimed that it had no contact there and would not know who was handling the case until “a decision is made.”

Today, more than seven months since CBP agents unconstitutionally seized the Kazazis’ money and upended their lives, the government still has not begun civil forfeiture proceedings. It cannot do so now, as the deadline to seek forfeiture of the money expired no later than April 17. For the reasons explained below, the Court should order CBP to return the money.

This is why civil asset forfeiture has to be reformed on a federal level. I’ve written on the awfulness of civil asset forfeiture before and believe the Justice Department’s 2017 guidelines on the issue are obscene. I think it should be made illegal and the only asset forfeiture allowed is criminal asset forfeiture i.e. after a conviction.

Policing for profit needs to stop. Hopefully this case will force Congress to act on reform legislation.

The post Cleveland family suing on claims CBP seized life-savings at airport appeared first on Hot Air.

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How to Communicate with Aliens

At a recent “Language in the Cosmos” workshop organized by San Francisco-based METI as part of this year’s International Space Development Conference , participants tackled a big subject: how to communicate with intelligent aliens, and whether “we” would be able to understand “their” language. Several speakers were optimistic that we might.

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Spanish has never been a foreign language in the United States

Video recordings in very different settings caught two incidents of Spanish speakers being harassed or detained as perceived undocumented immigrants this month. In midtown Manhattan, an attorney, Aaron Schlossberg, berated a restaurant owner after he heard …

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The Open Era

You see where the line is between a good tennis player and an Immortal in the first round match between former No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Rogerio Dutra-Silva on the Philippe-Chatrier Stade at Paris’s Roland Garros the other day.

The Brazilian, a veteran player ranked in the top 100 won some excellent points and broke the 2016 champion to even the score at 4-4 in the third set, his last chance to make a serious stand in the first round of this year’s Internationaux de France, aka French Open. Djokovic broke right back, then held serve at 15 and that was that, three sets to nought.

It was a fine match, even as seen on TV, but nothing to write home about. Anyway we would not be writing home because due to certain circumstances involving the law firm of Jauvert & Jauvert, TAS can only provide some long-distance analysis this year, but never mind the details. The question here is: is the great Serb ace back?

The question is pertinent because every tennis commentator queried by Tennis, the voice of the American tennis establishment, says defending champion Rafael Nadal will repeat, on the rational theory no one can beat him. A non-scientific survey of the international sporting press offers the same consensus. Djokovic, one of the few able to beat Nadal, has been in a prolonged slump worsened by an elbow injury requiring surgery as the season began.

With the loss in five sets by 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka to a stubborn and solid Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Nadal has last year’s finalist out of the way. He is leading a tough and able Simone Bolelli by two sets when play is adjourned on Chatrier due to rain. The Italian is up 3-0 in the third, but these rain delays usually favor the champ, who uses them to recharge is fierce competitive drive.

And with the defection due to injury of Australia’s bad boy tennis genius Nick Kyrgios, he has one less of the up-and-coming young men to worry over. He has been in fantastic form, taking titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome to prepare his title defense. Like LeBron James on the basketball court, like Mike Trout (Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, you know what I mean) on the mound, Rafa Nadal is the King. At least on clay. In tennis, surfaces matter; the maestro, Roger Federer, has only one Coupe des Mousquetaires among his 20 Slam trophies.

Moreover, Federer, the Stan-da-Man of tennis in our era, is following last year’s strategy of sitting out the clay season the fresher to be on grass and during the North American summer hard-courts. (He won at Wimbledon, not at Flushing Meadows.) And Andy Murray is out, recovering from injuries that he hopes will be gone in time for the All-England in early July.

Injuries, age; recovery, youth. The beauty of this sport derives from the way it brings out the basics of life in stark simplicity. An individual sport, in which you are upfront and alone: you step up or you do not and there is no team to back you up — or a single star like LeBron James to bail out the team. It is, pace Andre Agassi’s famous quip, not like boxing; you do have to run and you cannot hide.

It is Nadal’s to lose this year, making it likely he will get an unprecedented 11th trophy in a single major tournament. His lean and hungry challengers have fallen short in the endurance tests that are unique to the Slam circuit, or succumbed under Nadal’s clay power game, designed, and perfected for the conditions produced by this surface (limestone and crushed brick, if you ever wondered).

So, not too much suspense here, though y’never know. American men have not done very well on clay in recent years, but Jared Donaldson won his first round match in five sets, showing good form, while Frances Tiafoe and Sam Querrey both have shots at reaching the second week; unfortunately they square off in the first round so only one will (maybe) do it. (Update: it goes to Querrey in three sets; Isner, before the rain, was up two against Tiafoe’s contemporary, Noah Rubin.)

On the women’s side, Venus Williams went down in the first round and her sister goes into action on Tuesday. They have two doubles titles here, Venus has never won the Coupe Lenglen, but Serena has done it three times. The defending champ, Jelena Ostapenko, lost her first round match on an injured foot. Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys easily got through to round two. They are best friends, there was a touching scene when Miss S. beat Miss K. at the final of the U.S. Open last September, real friendship. But still it is a lonely sport.

Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver returned to Roland-Garros 50 years ago, in the inaugural major of the Open era; “Muscles” prevailed over “Rocket” in the finals. He also took the doubles with his compatriot Fred Stolle. Outside the tournament, France was in some turmoil as the cultural revolt known as the May Events continued.

These have been the subject of rather dull retrospectives and remembrances for the past months; for all their charm, you have to admit the French have a predilection for editing their own history rather in the direction of fashion, which is annoying. The fashion is that in the grand scheme of things, the May Events were a Good Thing. As far as I can tell, their main effect was that the French stopped saying “vous” and also gave up on wearing ties and hats. For the past few years, they have been destroying their own grammar, abolishing the gender declensions that charmed (and tortured) students of their language.

The remembrance that came to my mind, perhaps by unconscious association with our Memorial Day weekend when we honor those who gave all for our freedom, was one that no one, to my knowledge, mentions in all the yak-yak. I had in mind a man named Maurice Grimaud. He was the police prefect of Paris, in effect the man responsible for security, and he was heavily handicapped by the fact that his forces were overwhelmingly outnumbered by the thousands of kids who had nothing better to do than skip class, block the entrances to the university so those who wanted to learn could not get in, and instead tear up the cobble stones of the old streets of the Latin Quarter and throw them at the cops, who exercised admirable restraint.

Grimaud, who died ten years ago after a long and distinguished career as a high civil servant, had put out the word that there was to be as little rough stuff as possible, which is why the “revolutionaries” had a field day and for the next half century have been able to compare themselves to the men women and children whom you see in Les Misérables, and who were mowed down by cannon and musket when protesting for actual real reasons, such as having nought to eat. In 1968, the enactors were bourgeois kids, playing at historical drama.

Detachments of CRS and gendarmes (police under military discipline but in this case under Grimaud’s authority) reinforced the Paris uniforms. These were for the most part working class and farm-region boys, young men who had served their country in the last years of the colonial wars and were not exactly impressed with tweed-wearing students who had avoided those bitter wars and had not grown up in the poverty that was still common in those years, yet had the gall to claim they spoke for the wretched of the earth. The young men working overtime to keep the city safe while others spouted verses from Mao and Trotsky must have wondered what future elites the country was going to have, but they kept their cool and, no doubt, had a sense of humor sorely lacking in the feverish brains of bourgeois Stalinists.

In one of the “iconic” photos of the time, the student leader Dany Cohn-Bendit is seen offering a mischievous grin to a stern looking gendarme (who on closer inspection is repressing a sly smile); this has gone down in history as a symbol of the “whole” “liberation” “movement” of the ’60s.

Cohn-Bendit was, in fact, one of the less ridiculous soixante-huitards (in English: hippies, or San Francisco Democrats). He was ferociously anti-communist; the Stalinists and Trotskyists hated him. They piggy-backed the protests he and his anarchist pals started against dorm restrictions on the university campus. But he himself knew he was using sex stuff to kick start the reverse potty training he gleefully wanted to spread all over society. This is why Charles de Gaulle, who was president at the time, referred to the events aschien-lit, dog s….

Dany said they were in it to oppose “imperialism” as well as dorm restrictions, meaning the Vietnam war. What did he know about the Vietnam war? He knew enough to admit, 50 years later, that even then he knew that in Vietnam, he would have ended before a firing squad. Instead, he has a seat in the European Parliament at Strasbourg. It is not clear what they do there, but they get nice perks.

As we know, the year 1968 began with a communist rampage in Vietnam. Known as the Tet offensive, it had as its objectives to shock public opinion in the U.S. and convince our “elites” the war was unwinnable; to hold territory long enough, in such provincial capitals as Hue, to mass-murder civic and intellectual leaders, as well as policemen, who might form the backbone of resistance to their imperialism; and to destroy the Viet Cong cadres in the South, whom the Northern Stalinists did not trust. Although American and South Vietnamese forces, despite taking terrible casualties, threw back the onslaught, these objectives were achieved.

Some commemoration. Better to remember that first Open tournament on the far west side of Paris, on a street named for Gordon Bennett, an American newspaper tycoon and, no doubt, a Yankee imperialist!

The post The Open Era appeared first on The American Spectator.

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Leaked Documents Show Facebook’s Post-Charlottesville Reckoning with American Nazis

“James Fields did nothing wrong,” the post on Facebook read, referring to the man who drove a car through a crowd protesting against white supremacy in Charlottesville in August 2017, killing one. The post accompanied an article from Squawker.org, a conservative website. In training materials given to its army of moderators, Facebook says the post is an example of content “praising hate crime,” and it and others like it should be removed.

But after Charlottesville Facebook {snip} pushed to re-educate its moderators about American white supremacists in particular, according to a cache of Facebook documents obtained by Motherboard.

The documents provide more specific insights into how Facebook views and classifies white supremacy and neo-Nazis, and how those views have evolved {snip}.

“Recent incidents in the United States (i.e. Charlottesville) have shown that there is potentially confusion about our hate org policies and the specific hate orgs in specific markets,” a training document for moderators created shortly after the protest, and obtained by Motherboard, reads.

One of the training documents includes a log of when Facebook has modified the material, including adding new examples of hate speech as the network identifies them. {snip}

In January, 5 months after Charlottesville, Facebook added slides discussing the company’s position on white nationalism, supremacy, and separatism. While it says Facebook does not allow praise, support, or representation of white supremacy, it does allow the same sort of positions for white nationalism and separatism, according to one of the slides obtained by Motherboard.

Explaining its motivation, another section of the document reads that nationalism is an “extreme right movement and ideology, but it doesn’t seem to be always associated with racism (at least not explicitly).” Facebook then acknowledges that “In fact, some white nationalists carefully avoid the term supremacy because it has negative connotations.”

{snip}

Another slide asks “Can you say you’re a racist on Facebook?”.

“No,” is the response. “By definition, as a racist, you hate on at least one of our characteristics that are protected.”

Facebook classifies hate groups, individuals, and high profile figures based on “strong, medium, and weak signals,” according to one of the documents focused on hate speech in America. A strong signal would be if the individual is a founder or prominent member of a hate organization (or, “h8 org”, in Facebook parlance); medium would include the name or symbol of a banned hate group, or using dehumanizing language against certain groups of people. Partnership or some form of alliance with a banned hate organization—including participating in rallies together, of particular relevance to events like Charlottesville—Facebook sees as a weak signal, as well as an individual receiving a guilty verdict for distributing forbidden propaganda material.

{snip}

In its policy clarification document around hate groups in America, Facebook specifically points to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), United Klans of America, Aryan Nations, and several other groups that are either based in or are popular in the US. Another document, dated April of this year, includes many other white supremacist organizations from around the world, including Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group linked to several murders in the US. Another document explicitly says that Facebook does not consider every organization the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) flags a hate group as such. (In its statement Facebook said “Online extremism can only be tackled with strong partnerships which is why we continue to work closely with academics and organisations, including the Anti-Defamation League, to further develop and refine this process.”)

{snip}

In April, Facebook released a selection of rules for when it takes down content, including hate speech. {snip}

“Our policies against organised hate groups and individuals are longstanding and explicit—we don’t allow these groups to maintain a presence on Facebook because we don’t want to be a platform for hate. Using a combination of technology and people we work aggressively to root out extremist content and hate organisations from our platform,” Facebook added in its statement.

The post Leaked Documents Show Facebook’s Post-Charlottesville Reckoning with American Nazis appeared first on American Renaissance.

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