Andrea Shea King will be interviewing Ann Barnhardt Monday night at 9 pm et.
Last week, Barnhardt stunned her clients when she advised them that she was ceasing operations at her firm, Barnhardt Capital Management. The reason was simple: Barnhardt didn’t feel her clients’ investments were safe in today’s markets.
Andrea posted Barnhardt’s letter, which garnered both Beck and Limbaugh’s attention, at her blog, The Radio Patriot. In part, here’s what Barnhardt had to say:
“The reason for my decision to pull the plug was excruciatingly simple: I could no longer tell my clients that their monies and positions were safe in the futures and options markets – because they are not. And this goes not just for my clients, but for every futures and options account in the United States. The entire system has been utterly destroyed by the MF Global collapse. Given this sad reality, I could not in good conscience take one more step as a commodity broker, soliciting trades that I knew were unsafe or holding funds that I knew to be in jeopardy.”
Tune in Monday night to hear Barnhardt as she explains in more detail her decision to cease operations at her brokerage firm, the state of markets, and where she thinks the markets are headed. It’s an interview you won’t want to miss.
The saddest thing about the UC Davis pepper spray incident is that the press is not reporting the incident in its entirety, nor is the press considering what other things may have occurred.
First, there’s the question of why the police were there. Presumably, they had been dispatched by some campus authority to disperse the demonstrators. This is evidently why they showed up in numbers and wearing what police call “riot gear.”
Second, nowhere in the accounts is there a description of what the police did to disperse the crowd before the pepper spray incident. Surely, they didn’t simply walk up and initiate the pepper spray action without first asking the protesters to disband and peacefully leave the area. But this is not recorded in the press accounts. It would be enlightening and perhaps even game changing if we knew exactly what happened in the minutes and hours before the pepper spray incident. But we don’t, thanks to incomplete, if not irresponsible reporting.
But in the absence of this information, let’s assume that the police made an effort to address the crowd and professionally and courteously asked them to disperse, or risk arrest. Any such effort clearly failed. This leaves the police with only a few options. They can retreat and leave the protesters alone, but that would be to deny their charged duty to clear the area. Alternately, they could forcibly attempt to arrest and remove the protesters. Many of the protesters were seated with arms interlocked. This means police would have had to physically engage them. The fact that the protesters were seated leaves police trying to disengage them from one another at a balance disadvantage. The cops have to bend over or crouch down to try to physically disengage any one individual, bring him or her to their feet and affect the arrest. The fact that the protesters had interlocked their arms was surely an effort to avoid any one individual being removed for arrest. There’s no way of knowing how strongly the protesters would have fought disengagement, but the fact is, they were inducing, baiting if you will, physical confrontation from the police. And this sort of situation doesn’t bode well for anyone. The risk of physical injury to both the individual protesters and the police is enormous. Further, in any physical contact there is likely to be a flare of temper and passion which only exacerbates the combat and the general situation.
So the police were stuck. Do they walk away, or do they physically try to arrest and remove the protesters. The decision apparently fell to the latter. However, aware of the risks involved in physically wrestling with the protesters, the police decided to first use a police tool designed to make non-compliant persons more manageable by putting them in a temporary state of discomfort: pepper spray.
Were the protesters warned in advance? Again, we don’t know, as the reports don’t tell us whether any formal announcement was made, but the presence of the officer seen in the video was a clear warning in and of itself. Any one of those protesters seated before him could see he was about to apply some sort of gas or spray, and the protesters, at least at that moment when the video starts to run, were well aware of what was about to occur. More importantly, at that moment any one of them could have stopped it. They could have said “Wait a minute—I’ll move!,” and with that started to comply with the police orders. But they didn’t. Rather, aware that some sort of spray was about to be dispensed, they hid their faces, another sign that they knew what was about to occur.
Did it have to come to that? The simple answer is no. The protesters deserve the bulk of the blame. They provoked it by not complying with the police, hence breaking the law. In retrospect, it is easy to see that the provocation by the protesters was intentional, possibly in hopes of inciting the police to escalated physical confrontation. Certainly the jeers from the crowd, “Shame on you,” were also designed to provoke the police.
Shame on all the protesters. They collectively provoked the incident and then continued to verbally provoke the officers on the scene. They knew exactly what they were doing.
Finally, the press finds some tremendous flaw in the dispassionate way in which the police officer dispensed the pepper spray. What, pray tell, would they have found preferable? An officer giving a stern warning: “If you people don’t move in the next ten seconds, I’m going to gas you!” Or perhaps some might prefer an officer who would taunt the protesters, saying something like, “Okay kids, playtime is over. No more Mr. Nice Guy…” The fact is, no matter what the officer might say, the protesters (and perhaps the press) would use it to their advantage.
No statement is required from the police once a situation has reached the point that this one did. The protesters knew what was about to happen, they could have changed it by complying, but didn’t. The officer’s dispassionate approach was the best possible approach to avoid escalating the situation while doing what he had to do. Unless someone believes that the officer should have been apologizing: “Gee, I’m sorry I have to do this, but it’s my job, y’know?” What else would be appropriate? No doubt that officer was given the order to dispense the pepper spray. He did so without any sign of either disgust or joy in doing it. He simply did what was seen as the next step necessary to affect the dispersal of the crowd. And the crowd, on the other hand, became more unruly and threatening to the police. Again, they, the crowd en masse, were the provocateurs, chanting and focusing on the police.
The fact that the crowd became more threatening and unruly led the police to withdraw, a prudent step at that point, as it was clear the situation had hit a plateau and could only get more heated or less, but could not sustain itself at that level of emotion. Again, this was not owing to the police actions, for they clearly only intended to keep on doing what they had already started to do, that is, physically remove the protesters. But the crowd was becoming more vocal and threatening. So to avoid more physical confrontation, the police withdrew.
In the end, this incident was an unfortunate one for all involved. But the way the press has treated this is a travesty. They have tried and convicted the police of some sort of brutality, which is fictional. Furthermore, they fail to provide all the facts necessary to fairly judge exactly what happened in this incident. For my part, until all the facts are in, I’ll reserve any judgment about the police. As for the protesters, in my view they clearly provoked this situation. What’s not clear is how fast it escalated and what efforts to defuse the situation were made before the spray was dispensed. These may be mitigating factors, but only to a degree. The fact is, the protesters resisted the police, and that is a violation of law. We live in a land ruled by law, not mobs. Consequently, in the end the responsibility for this incident rests with the protesters, not the police.
You can send a message of support for the police to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi at [email protected]
The right to free speech is protected in the First Amendment to our Constitution, but there are times when what is said taxes the limits of one’s patience. Such is the case with Suffolk University Law Professor Michael Avery, who recently sent an email to his colleagues saying, “It is shameful to send care packages to U.S. troops who have gone overseas to kill other human beings.”
According to FOX affiliate WFXT-TV in Massachusetts, the comments were made after Suffolk University issued a school wide appeal for care packages to be sent to U.S. military deployed overseas. Clearly, Professor Avery had a constitutional right to say it, but the real question is, was it right to say it?
I found out about these remarks in an email sent to me by a disabled Vietnam combat veteran who was shocked and dismayed like most of us. To protect his privacy I will not name the veteran, but he sums it up with three words, “reprehensible, irresponsible and unacceptable.” Paul Spera, a past Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars called the remarks “despicable” adding for emphasis, “that the shameful thing is that Avery is teaching our young people.” He took the words right out of my mouth!
As if those words were not hurtful enough, Avery had to make sure he made his point by adding, “Sympathy for American troops in harm’s way is not particularly rational in today’s world.” Suffolk to its credit does not have a history of being anti-military like many other universities. They sanctioned the effort to collect and send the packages and they even have a large American flag displayed in the school’s atrium. Professor Avery objected to that too, saying that displaying the flag is “not a politically neutral act” and represents “excessive patriotic zeal.”
It is outrageous that people like Avery get positions teaching our young people in universities around the country. Although Avery made his comments in an email to colleagues, and has every right to express his personal views, publicly or privately, “teaching” is not just what occurs in the classroom. A professor has a position of authority and respect within the university. His comments and demeanor outside the classroom cannot be isolated from the “education” of his students inside the college class. Don’t believe for one minute that the good professor is not aware of the impact he can have on his students in this manner. Mark Twain realized that there is much to learn outside the formal structure of schools when he joked, “I never let my schoolin’ interfere with my education.”
When are alumni going to have the courage to stop financing this kind of anti-American venom? If endowments and fundraising dropped off the radar screen, people like this would soon be out of work. It is bad enough that parents and students have to pile up huge debt to pay this guy, let alone subject our young people to his views. When are we all going to wise up? Somewhere out there is a patriotic, well qualified teacher who would like to come to Suffolk and teach constitutional law and who understands that the reason we have this Constitution is due to the sacrifice of others. Surely, if Suffolk looked hard enough, it could find that person. It would be fun to hear the two debate in the faculty lounge and just “teach” in the classroom!
I would like to remind the good professor that if U.S. troops had not gone overseas to defeat the Japanese and the Nazis, and yes, to “kill other human beings” in WWII, his free speech could have been eliminated permanently. It was also the willingness of the Founders to place their lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line to win a war and write a constitution that gives him the right to be unpatriotic. To put it more succinctly, professor, how do you think you got the right of free speech? The blood of thousands of patriots, like my dad, died to give it to you. That is how you got it!
Perhaps the disabled Vietnam veteran who called this to my attention said it best: “I feel sorry for him [Avery]. He has no idea why our young men and women freely risk their lives and volunteer to protect our freedoms from those who would take them away from us.” They have even died for you Professor Avery, so that you can speak. It would have been nice if you had walked down to the drop off location and left your own care package with a small thank you. The really pathetic thing is that somewhere out there a Suffolk-bound student is borrowing money to go to college and study constitutional law and they will be stuck in Avery’s class. Only in America! Freedom of speech lives on, but it isn’t always pretty.
Former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH), known as “Senator Bob,” is a Special Contributor to Accuracy in Media. His columns and commentaries on media and politics are available on the AIM website at www.aim.org. He can be contacted at [email protected].