In my opinion, the fact that Maxine Waters supporters stole an American flag is far more significant than the fact that they burned it

This article from the Washington Times includes the following photograph of Maxine Waters supporters burning an American flag:




As a libertarian who believes in free speech and property rights, I think it should be legal to burn the American flag as long as both of the following conditions are met:

1) The flag being burned is the property of the person (or people) who is (or are) burning it, i.e., the flag is not stolen.

and

2) The flag is burned in a manner that is in accordance with all of the fire and safety laws, i.e., the flag burning doesn’t pose a physical threat or fire hazard to the lives or property of other people.

Well, the particular incident in the above photograph fails this test, because, according to the same article from the Washington Times:

A small crowd that gathered Thursday outside the Los Angeles office of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters to counter an expected protest by a self-styled militia group burned an American flag taken from the back of a pickup truck.

The vehicle, occupied by two men who appeared to be white, was stopped by the crowd. Some marchers opened the doors and one grabbed the flag flying on a pole in the bed of the truck, which sped off.

In other words, they stole the flag.

In my opinion, the fact that these Maxine Waters supporters stole an American flag is far more significant than the fact that they burned it.

I hope the person who stole the flag is prosecuted for robbery.

And I hope the people who blocked the vehicle and opened its doors are charged as accessories to robbery.

There is no excuse for committing robbery. Shame on them.

July 20, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Flag burning, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Woman who is allergic to grass could get 20 years in prison for not having grass in her yard

Janice Duffner lives in St. Peters, Missouri, where she owns a house. Because she is allergic to grass, she does not have any in her yard. She does have other plants, which she is not allergic to. The Kansas City Star published this photograph of her yard:




Six years after Ms. Duffner bought her house, the city passed a law that requires all houses to have grass in their yard. After Ms. Duffner told the city that she was allergic to grass, the city threatened her with 20 years in prison and fines totaling $180,000 if she does not comply.

U.S. District Judge John A. Ross recently ruled against Ms. Duffner. Ms. Duffner plans to appeal this ruling. I hope she wins.

 

April 2, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Police state. Leave a comment.

Federal jury rules that you’re not allowed to remove graffiti from your own building

In New York City, the owner of a building gave graffiti artists permission to put graffiti on his building, with the understanding that the owner would eventually tear the building down.

However, after the owner did tear the building down, the artists filed a lawsuit, and a jury actually agreed with the artists.

A judge will be ruling on this in the future. But as it stands right now, the concept of private property has just been eroded by a huge amount.

And this is a federal ruling, so it applies to the entire country.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/nyregion/5pointz-graffiti-jury.html

Brooklyn Jury Finds 5Pointz Developer Illegally Destroyed Graffiti

November 7, 2017

Ending a trial that explored the question of whether graffiti, despite its transient nature, should be recognized as art, a jury found on Tuesday that a New York City real estate developer broke the law when he tore down the so-called 5Pointz complex in Queens three years ago. Along with the buildings nearly 50 swirling, colorful murals that had been spray-painted on its walls were lost.

The finding by the jury, in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, will serve as a recommendation to the judge who presided over the case and who will render a final verdict.

For the better part of 20 years, 5Pointz, a complex of buildings in Long Island City, was a New York rarity: an aesthetic collaboration between the developer, Jerry Wolkoff, and a scrappy crew of graffiti artists that not only became an offbeat tourist destination, but also helped transform the neighborhood into a thriving residential enclave. Though it eventually became what a lawyer for the artists called the “world’s largest open-air aerosol museum,” its existence was always predicated on Mr. Wolkoff tearing it down and turning the buildings into luxury apartments, which he ultimately did in 2014.

When the artists learned about the demolition, they filed suit against Mr. Wolkoff in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, accusing him of violating the Visual Artists Rights Act, which has been used to protect public art of “recognized stature” created on someone else’s property. During the trial, the artists’ lawyer, Eric Baum, claimed that Mr. Wolkoff had failed to give his clients the proper 90-day notice before he destroyed their work by sending in a team of workers one night to cover it in a coat of white paint.

Mr. Wolkoff’s lawyer, David Ebert, had argued at the trial that V.A.R.A. was irrelevant in the case because it was intended to protect art, not his client’s building. Mr. Ebert also maintained that the 21 artists who had joined the suit had known for years that 5Pointz would eventually come down and contended that they had destroyed more graffiti themselves by constantly changing their paintings than Mr. Wolkoff had in demolishing the structures. In the last decade or so, Mr. Ebert said, about 11,000 murals had come and gone on the walls of the complex.

Even though the jury rendered its decision after hearing three weeks of testimony, near the end of the trial both Mr. Baum and Mr. Ebert agreed that Judge Frederic Block, who presided over the case, should take its verdict only as a recommendation. Judge Block has asked both sides to submit court papers in the coming weeks about the validity of the verdict, at which point he will issue a final decision and, if warranted, force Mr. Wolkoff to pay the artists damages.

Despite this legal quirk, Mr. Baum claimed victory on Tuesday night. “The jury sided strongly with the rights of the artists,” he said. “This is a clear message from the people that the whitewashing of the buildings by its owner was a clear and willful act.”

Mr. Ebert declined to comment on the case.

November 13, 2017. Tags: , , , , , . Art and sculpture, Dumb lawsuits, Politics. 4 comments.

Totalitarian fascist Donald Trump wants flag burners to be jailed or stripped of U.S. citizenship

Donald Trump just said:

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

This is another reason why I’m glad I voted for Gary Johnson in this month’s election.

As long as a person who burns the flag is burning their own flag (i.e., not one that they stole from someone else), and is obeying the fire and safety laws, then I fully support their right to burn it.

November 29, 2016. Tags: , , , , . Donald Trump. 6 comments.

Why trophy hunting can be good for animals

A trophy hunter pays $350,000 to legally kill a specific male rhinoceros which is old and has stopped breeding, and which has been harassing the younger males and preventing them from breeding. The money is used to pay to care for the living rhinos. Under this kind of policy, one population of rhinos increased from 100 to 18,000.

I myself am a vegetarian, but I have to admit that the logic in this video is quite sound. This is a good lesson in economics and the benefits of property rights.

I do understand why some people might have emotional objections to this, but even they can’t argue against the real world results of this kind of policy.

If the opponents of trophy hunting wanted to bring an end to it, all they would have to do would be to outbid the trophy hunters. As of yet, I don’t see any examples of them having done so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUA8i5S0YMU

 

October 14, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Animals, Economics. 2 comments.