Donald Trump

How Citizens United Protects a Mezcal Company's Right to Critcize Donald Trump

Corporations, free speech, and why "Donald eres un pendejo."

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Ilegal Mezcal

Way back in July 2015—yes, the election really has been going on that long—thousands of posters bearing the likeness of Donald Trump and the words "Donald eres un pendejo" began appearing around New York City. (That's "Donald, you are an asshole" for those who don't speak Spanish or have never worked in a restaurant kitchen.)

The posters were the work of Ilegal Mezcal, a brand of agave spirit imported from Mexico. John Rexer, owner of the brand, was inspired to put up the posters after a conversation with a Mexican waiter who was dejected by Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric. The phrase has since become closely identified with Ilegal, which has printed it on posters and t-shirts and even projected the image onto Rockefeller Center. The brand has also put on events encouraging drinkers to "take a shot at Trump," donating $2 for every shot of mezcal sold to an educational charity in Guatemala.

Trump's anti-immigration stances have been so uniquely reprehensible that even larger brands such as Aeromexico, Tecate, and Corona have addressed them, though typically in a more oblique fashion than Ilegal. "It takes some degree of risk for a brand to take a political point of view but I think Mexican brands have a responsibility to their own people," Rexer told the Guardian. "They do business with the US, and they should be concerned with [Trump's] tone, that not only affects them business-wise but also affects the bigger picture."

Messaging like Ilegal's has struck a chord, but it's also in tension with the idea, popular on the political left, that corporations should not engage in political speech. Since the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010, it has become common for liberals to assert that corporations don't have free speech rights, that money is not speech, and that corporate expenditures intended to influence politics can be restricted unproblematically. A question worth asking then is: Would a hypothetical President Trump have constitutional authority to forbid mezcal companies from calling him a pendejo?

Nothing that Ilegal has done so far would have violated election laws as they stood before Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. At the time of the decision, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act applied only to broadcast, cable, and satellite communications that explicitly mentioned a candidate by name. But if that decision had gone differently, it's also easy to imagine election laws being extended in ways that would have a chilling effect on advocacy.

The issue was brought up in a memorable exchange with the Department of Justice's Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart during initial oral arguments before the Supreme Court. Justice David Souter asked whether there was any limiting principle that would exclude even books from being censored by the Federal Election Commission. If a labor union, for example, wanted to use its treasury funds to hire an author to write a book that explicitly argued for or against a candidate, could the government take action against it? "I think it would be constitutional to forbid the labor union to do that," Stewart conceded.

The complexity of the case prompted an unusual second round of oral arguments in which Elena Kagan, then solicitor general, stepped in to argue the government's case. Asked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg if it was still the government's position that the FEC's powers could extend to books, she reversed positions. "The government's answer has changed," she said to laughter in the Court. But pamphlets, which Kagan called "pretty classic electioneering," certainly could be covered.

Of relevance to Ilegal's posters insulting Donald Trump, the initial oral arguments made it clear that signs paid for by corporations could be banned as well. "I suppose a sign held up in Lafayette Park saying vote for so and so. Under your theory of the Constitution, the prohibition of that would be constitutional?" asked Chief Justice John Roberts. "[If] by prohibition you mean ban on the use of corporate treasury funds, then, yes, I think it's absolutely clear," answered Stewart.

Had the government's theories prevailed in Citizens United, there would be no constitutional barriers preventing Congress from banning speech exactly like Ilegal's poster campaign. "Let's be really clear: It is publicity and I did use company money for this," Rexer told Vice last year. The government would argue that such speech was protected only by the discretion of Congress and the FEC to focus on radio and TV. But if they wanted to go further? Under the federal government's theory in Citizens United, the First Amendment wouldn't stand in their way.

The current election has demonstrated that both major party candidates would very much like to go further in the restriction of political speech. Donald Trump wanted the Federal Communications Commission to levy fines against commentator Rich Lowry for criticizing him on TV; Trump threatens newspapers that report on his sexual assault allegations with lawsuits for libel; he suggested he would pay legal fees for supporters who rough up protestors at his rallies; and, of course, he says he wants to reform campaign finance.

The last of these is a desire he shares with Hillary Clinton. The original impetus for Citizens United was Hillary: The Movie, a conservative documentary that a court had ruled to be illegal political advocacy by a corporation if distributed by video-on-demand. "Citizens United, one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our country's history, was actually a case about a right-wing attack on me and my campaign," Clinton said during a speech conceding the New Hampshire primary to Bernie Sanders. "A right-wing organization took aim at me and ended up damaging our entire democracy. So, yes, you're not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me." That campaign finance laws allow politicians to silence their critics is a point usually brought up by opponents of reform, not by its supposedly nobly motivated advocates. Clinton has since pledged to introduce a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United within her first 30 days in office.

Calls for overturning Citizens United inevitably portray it as a means of restricting large corporations spending millions of dollars, but election laws apply to small companies too. If anything, small companies would bear the burden of compliance even more heavily; a large corporation can bear the risk and expense of maintaining a separately funded political action committee far more easily than, say, an artisanal spirits company. As the majority opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy rightly concluded, such regulations can have a chilling effect on speech, nudging potential speakers to stay silent rather than chance the fines and jail terms that can accompany violations of election law.

It's better for them to know that their independent expenditures on political speech are protected. It's looking increasingly unlikely that Donald Trump will win the presidency, but the fact that the thin-skinned demagogue is as close as he is should serve as a reminder that leaving First Amendment rights to the discretion of elected officials charts a perilous course.

Ilegal's example cuts against the view that corporations don't have First Amendment rights and that money is not speech. If you believe that those oversimplified slogans are true, it's hard to argue that Congress couldn't choose to limit the kind of activity Ilegal is engaged in.

On the other hand, if you believe that Ilegal's campaign is exactly the kind of speech the First Amendment was designed to protect, that it represents a sincere expression of belief by the owner and employees of Ilegal Mezcal, and that restricting their speech would violate their rights, you might have more in common with the conservative wing of the Supreme Court than you realize. So if you raise a glass of mezcal in protest against Donald Trump, consider also offering a toast to Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito for protecting all speakers' right to call Trump a pendejo.

Editor's Note: This article originally misidentified Solicitor General Elena Kagan's title during the Citizens United oral arguments.

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  1. “Trump’s anti-immigration stances have been so uniquely reprehensible…”

    Maybe in your isolated enclaves.
    Not a Trump fan, and find his rhetoric about ’rounding up the Beaners’ silly, impractical and a blatantly transparent ruse to expand the scope of federal power, but I’ve been hearing similar things since I was a kid. Tens of millions of people in this country are adherents to the notion, so why is it uniquely reprehensible?

    Why do nearly all Reason writers include a social signalling caveat into every fucking article? Just state your point. Enough with the hand-wringing over what outside observes may perceive as the purity of your soul.

    It just makes you look like a bunch of milquetoast pussies.

    1. And yes, I realize put a caveat into my rant about a caveat. Kind of the point. I’m feeling overly aggressive this morning and was trying to picking a fight.

      I should just smoke a bowl and fuck off.

      Apologies.

      1. Don’t bogart that comment, my friend.

        1. *facepalm*

          God, I really fucking hate myself right now.

          1. We feel you, man.

              1. I’m making over $12k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do… http://www.Trends88.Com

      2. I just smoked a bowl of Sour Kush. It’s super delicious.

    2. “Why do nearly all Reason writers include a social signalling caveat into every fucking article?”

      Ok, you’re not new here, you know about the cocktail parties, so no need to ask that question.

      1. Every libertarian dreams of being the quirky, egregiously wrong but for all their fault lovable kook on the fringe of a coastal progressive social circle, right?

  2. You know who else was a pendejo?

    1. Me?

    2. You know who else probably doesn’t know what ‘pendejo’ means?

      1. Native English-speaking Alzheimer’s patients?

      2. Eh, close enough. It literally translates as “pubic hair”, but is usually used to mean idiot, or stupid. In its Mexican flavor, “asshole” is a valid interpretation.

        1. Idiotic asshole hair!

    3. H&R commenters?

    4. Every colon sphincter ever.

    5. Walter Sobcek?

  3. Kagan was Attorney General?

    1. Nope, Solicitor General. 2009, AAMOF, nominated by Obumbles, according to The Almighty Wikipaedia

      But, this is a weekend post, so I doubt seriously anyone (like, say, Grier – and I don’t mean Rosey or Pam) will be arsed to correct the record.

    2. Kagan eres una co?o. (Kagan is a Pussy)

      1. Grab her by the co?o?

        1. Back up cabron, that pendajo’s cono is mine!

  4. “That’s “Donald, you are an asshole” for those who don’t speak Spanish or have never worked in a restaurant kitchen.”

    Although “asshole” is accurate, pendejo conveys the stupidity inherent in the word more than it refers to a particular part of the body.

    In American English, “stupid asshole” gets really close. As in, an asshole is someone who shits all over everybody and is either too stupid to realize it or too stupid to care.

    P.S. DiCanti’s in San Diego.

    1. Maricon would be more anatomically correct.

      P.S. mexican weed dealer

      1. Maricon is a word meaning ‘homosexual’ – ‘pendejo’ means ‘pubic hair’

    2. “Although “asshole” is accurate”

      I’m going to bloviate anyway, because long winded stupidity with little value is my schtick

      / Ken

      1. Hey look everybody, it’s Tulpa!

        Hi Tulpa!

        1. Awww look at how hard you tried you stupid uninteresting long winded fuck.

          Only to fail, like your parents did with you.

  5. So you link to an article in which Trump said his people were looking into paying for the defense of a single member of his audience at a rally who punched a protestor. So I guess Trumpkins don’t deserve legal defense when accused of a crime. You link to his spat with Rich Lowry. Which was merely a tweet and was obviously said in anger over a comment that was rather vulgar for a cable news show. (Obviously I don’t agree that the FCC should even exist). He threatened to sue the NYT over what he describes as baseless accusations. Maybe, maybe not. But every American has the right to sue. Don’t they? And then your last link to his “reform campaign finance” is broken.

    Meanwhile Clinton has specifically stated AS A POLICY POSITION, that Citizens United was wrongly decided, and that if necessary, she would propose an amendment to the Constitution to overturn it.

    FFS, the equivocating is ridiculous. Look, don’t vote. Vote for Gay Jay. Do whatever, but I have about had it with the idea that Trump is some fascist strong-man just waiting to grab power and execute all the (fill in your favorite oppressed class of the week). And, BTW, Hillary isn’t very good either.

    1. On almost every issue of concern to libertarians, Trump is either no worse, or far better than Clinton. Is he still so bad that we shouldn’t vote for him? That is up to all of us to decide individually (putting aside the idea that our votes even matter). In addition, she is among the most corrupt people ever to legitimately have the chance of becoming POTUS. That, in and of itself, should be enough to at least put a thumb on the Trump side of the scale.

      1. In addition, she is among the most corrupt people ever to legitimately have the chance of becoming POTUS. That, in and of itself, should be enough to at least put a thumb on the Trump side of the scale.

        If not moreso. Pick virtually any other candidate or public figure at large, hang the same sort of known breaches of public trust and accusations of impropriety around their neck and they would be shamed out of politics or their respective industry. No matter how competent they were in their previous position, the number, type, and veracity of allegations would render them unfit for their current job, let alone a higher or the highest one.

  6. If they were going after Hillary, they’d probably call her “puta“, which is maybe close to “worthless whore”.

    I’d guess they contrast it with abuela, specifically, as a reaction to . . . was it just a year ago? . . . when the Hillary campaign put out a tweet, “7 Ways Hillary Clinton Is Just Like Your Abuela”.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/12/2…..pandering/

    en Espanol, they might say, “7 Ways Hillary Clinton is just like a puta“.

    I’m not Hispanic, but just for the record, Hillary Clinton isn’t anything like my abuela either. For instance, my abuela never accepted money from foreign governments while she was the Secretary of State.

    1. Just what did your abuela accept while Secretary of State?

      1. She never was the Secretary of State, but if she had been, it would have been well organized, honest, and every workday would have begun with thoughts on a particular Bible verse and prayer.

        1. scrumptious baked goods or I quit.

        2. Even though I’m an atheist, I’m OK with that.

          -jcr

    2. Just what did your abuela accept while Secretary of State?

      1. My diseased seed, m’friend.

    3. they’d probably call her “puta”, which is maybe close to “worthless whore”.

      How would you say “obscenely overpaid crook” in Spanish?

      -jcr

      1. I belive thats called a Politico, ie politician

    4. It’s sexist to insult women the way you would insult a man. Equality demand special treatment.

  7. OT: US secretly expanding its network of drone bases in Africa LINK

    The Pentagon has secretly expanded its global network of drone bases? to North Africa, deploying unmanned aircraft and U.S. military personnel to a facility in Tunisia to conduct spy missions in neighboring Libya.

    The Air Force Reaper drones began flying out of the Tunisian base in late June and have played a key role in an extended U.S. air offensive against an Islamic State stronghold in neighboring Libya.

    The Obama administration pressed for access to the Tunisian base as part of a security strategy for the broader Middle East that calls for placing drones and small Special Operations teams at a number of facilities within striking distance of militants who could pose a threat to the West.

    U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an operation that has not been acknowledged, said the drones being flown out of Tunisia were unarmed and were principally being used to collect intelligence on Islamic State targets in Sirte, Libya, where the United States has conducted more than 300 airstrikes since August.

    But Trump’s an asshole for bombing the shit out of them!

    1. No, Trump is an asshole for saying he will deliberately murder families of terrorists.

      I realize to many in libertarian land, there’s no difference between a drone strike aimed at someone and taking out some civilians along with him and deliberately targeting those civilians, but there is a difference.

  8. OT: Damn, Pam Bondi is smoking hot.

    1. As far as ugly lawyers go, yeah she’s hot.

    2. Only with a shovel.

      1. I’d put my shovel in her ditch, ifyaknowwhatimean.

  9. Huh. I always thought “pendejo” meant “commuter”. I guess Spanish doesn’t derive from German after all.

    1. Haha, yeah Mexicans hate commuters, nothing is more shameful than that. Any decent human being lived on campus.

  10. OT: Trail of Tears II. Poor girls. Hillsboro is basically the sticks.

    http://nbc4i.com/2016/10/29/gr…..ve-banner/

    1. What does it say about me that I laughed?

      1. Yeah, me too:)

      2. That it’s funny.

      3. I donno. I had no strong reaction whatsoever.

        Maybe I’m still asleep.

    2. “Tonight an event occurred that does not reflect the values or beliefs that we try to instill in the students of McClain High School. An immediate apology was issued to both the principal and athletic director of Hillsboro High School. We would also like to apologize to the citizens of Greenfield for the poor reflection on our community. This matter will be addressed internally.”

      I don’t know about a “poor reflection on our community” but it sure does seem like a poor reflection on your job as educators trying to instill values or beliefs in the students. Does “this matter will be addressed internally” mean somebody’s losing their job over this obvious failure in that department? Or are you just going to punish the kids for being stupid?

    3. Out of the mouths of babes..

  11. “Donald Trump wanted the Federal Communications Commission to levy fines against commentator Rich Lowry for criticizing him on TV; Trump threatens newspapers that report on his sexual assault allegations with lawsuits for libel; he suggested he would pay legal fees for supporters who rough up protestors at his rallies; and, of course, he says he wants to reform campaign finance.

    We could be a little more precise in these statements.

    1) I’m not sure it’s not the whole truth to say that Trump wanted Lowry fined by the FCC for criticizing him on TV.

    The whole truth is that Trump wanted Lowry fined for saying something obscene about him on TV. It was the obscenity. I.e., why is it okay to say obscene things when it’s about Trump?

    1. It should be OK to say obscene things about Hillary and Obama, too.

      1. I read them regularly in the comments here. I also regularly contribute my own.

        1. “Donald Trump wanted the Federal Communications Commission to levy fines against commentator Rich Lowry for criticizing him on TV”

          Point is, Grier’s statement is inaccurate.

          It doesn’t mention Trump’s objection being about obscenity at all, and that’s what Trump’s objection was about.

          Just because we don’t like somebody is no justification for saying things about him that aren’t . . . ahem . . . [accurate].

      2. Yeah, absolutely. And I’m not saying that Trump is right in his criticism.

        I’m just saying that he didn’t want the FCC to fine somebody just for criticizing him.

        He wanted the FCC to fine somebody for being obscene.

        Whether equal protection of the law is okay so long as everyone’s rights are being violated equally is something we’ve argued about around here for years under the guise of various issues.

        Regardless, Trump did not want the FCC to fine somebody just for criticizing him on TV.

        It was about the obscenity.

  12. 2) Is it the whole truth that Trump threatened newspapers–in that instance–that report on his sexual assault allegations with lawsuits for libel?

    What I read in the NYT article you linked was this:

    “Mr. Trump told The Times that the allegations of the two women were false and his lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, demanded that the newspaper retract the story and issue an apology.

    “Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se,” Mr. Kasowitz wrote.

    If I were the NYT, I’d want to know if something I printed was libelous. Certainly, if something the NYT prints about him is libelous, it’s within Trump’s rights to say so–regardless of whether he actually sues anybody. How do you ask the NYT to retract something libelous without mentioning that it’s libelous?

    3) Trump suggested he would pay legal fees for supporters who [were accused} of roughing up protestors at his rallies–and wasn’t he smart and righteous and correct for doing so?

    Or hasn’t Mr. Grier heard that the Hillary Clinton campaign was paying people to go to Trump rallies, instigate violence to frame Trump supporters, and outright fake being the victims of their violence? The Hillary campaign paid people to instigate violence at rallies–and succeeded in shutting them down. And all we’ve got to say it that is that Trump offered to defend innocent victims of this–as if that were wrong?

    1. The TDS epidemic isnt going away anytime soon.

      1. And accusing people of Trump Derangement Syndrome is giving them the benefit of the doubt.

        To me, TDS means that your best intentions have warped your perspective so thoroughly that your honest perspective is warped.

        People who don’t have Trump Derangement Syndrome are just being dishonest.

        1. They are dishonest. Reason has been pathetic this election.

    2. 2) If it turns out they were telling the truth that’s one thing. If it turns out they’re “Mattress Girl” going after a larger fish, they (the NYT) deserves the same label of “libelous cunts” that I hope that frat from UVA is giving Rolling Stone.

  13. The posters were the work of Ilegal Mezcal, a brand of agave spirit imported from Mexico.

    So this is a bunch of foreigners attempting to influence the election? Oh, that’s bad, very bad. And sad. All those Trumpalos buying those T-shirts and posters (and I’m sure they were all made in China, too) just don’t give a rat’s ass about foreigners attempting to influence the election the way Real Americans like us Hillary supporters do.

    1. Look it’s bad when some foreigners try to influence the election, and great when others do.

      Plus the article manages to avoid the main issue:

      Is Ilegal mezcal any good?

      1. Dunno, but I happened to run into a liquor rep who was pushing some other mezcal a couple of weeks ago. She kept correcting me when I called it tequila until I finally told her that while I appreciated her defense of the brand, I was going to keep referring to anything made of primarily agave as tequila, so just sell me my bottle. The brand was zignum and the reposado is cheaper than a comparable reposado tequila, smooth, and mixes well for margaritas and mules, which is about all I drink tequila mezcal in anymore.

  14. Creepy Clown K9 unit. What’s sad is that when I read the headline I did not know it was a joke. I was hoping it was.

    http://nbc4i.com/2016/10/28/ma…..wn-patrol/

    1. Nice to know they’ve asset forfeited enough shit to pay for things like this.

  15. The world worries for America:

    http://whowhatwhy.org/2016/07/…..-election/

    1. They should have worried about the possibility of Zoolander becoming PM.

      1. The only real damage Zoolander can do is to his own nation and its standing in the world.

    2. Another “International” organization that US taxpayers probably fully fund to give Europeon socialist cushy jobs.

    3. But the sheer amount of observers needed in the United States points to how much the supposed “land of the free” is lagging behind its peers in actually being free.

      Projection: it’s not just for American liberals.

      1. We need more European style freedom. Freedom of women to pay a fine if they wear burqas, of holocaust deniers to go to jail, and most importantly freedom of parents to have their kids taken away because of their political affiliation. So much freedom.

  16. HM, the MR SKELTAL link from last night was hilarious.

    1. Trying to sucker more people into watching that?

      1. More like trying to, erm, stroke their curiosity…

  17. “common for liberals to assert that corporations don’t have free speech rights, that money is not speech, and that corporate expenditures intended to influence politics can be restricted unproblematically. But what if Citizens United had gone the other way, Grier asks. Would a hypothetical President Trump have the constitutional authority to forbid mezcal companies from calling him a pendejo?”

    The answer is yes, of course.

    One objection Mr. Grier: They are not liberals. They are illiberals.

    Anytime I see someone attempting to separate speech according to the media in which it is expressed I know I am dealing with someone who hates the 1A. The same is true for those who want to separate out individuals from groups of individuals or types of groups of individuals. I have an inalienable right to express myself in whatever medium I choose. Performance art, sign waiving, books, movies, youtube video, handbills, email, bat signal, H&R blog, radio, talking, television etc etc etc, as long as I don’t infringe on anyone else’s rights. Individuals and groups of individuals have that same right. Period.

    Restricting what medium can be used for expression, any medium at all, or which groups or individuals may express themselves is a 1A violation.

    1. Every single person I have met who criticizes Citizens United has turned out to be a self-important nitwit who thinks that freedom of speech only applies to speech they like.

      Sadly, this includes my sister-in-law, who I thought was more intelligent than that.

      1. You have my sympathies. My brother liked a anti-“rape culture in the workplace” post. And it wasn’t about a war zone.

      2. It’s always really amusing to hear League of Women Voters call for overturning Citizen’s United to keep corporations from speaking about political candidates before an election.

        I’ve had members assure me that LWV is not either a corporation.

    2. As I tell my students, anyone who starts a sentence with: “I believe in free speech but…” doesn’t believe in free speech.

      1. I think it could be generalized to “Anyone who says ‘I believe in X, but..’ doesn’t believe in X.”

      2. A friend says, “disregard everything to the left of the ‘but’.”

      3. You should add that the appropriate response is, “Get your ‘but’ off my Bill of Rights.”

  18. In all seriousness, reporting that Trump objected to the FCC bending obscenity standards only when it’s against him, Trump complaining about libelous statements being made against him, and Trump offering to pay for the legal defense of people who were being falsely accused of instigating violence at his rallies . . .

    None of that makes him a pendejo.

    There are a plethora of legitimate things we libertarians could go after Trump for–why not pick one of them?!

    Here’s an example:

    One of the differences between Hillary and Trump is that Trump wants to build a fortress like wall on our southern border, and I think that would just be a big waste of money. It wouldn’t actually accomplish anything unless you think burning money and making the anti-immigration lobby happy for a while is an accomplishment.

    See? It is entirely possible to criticize Trump without discrediting ourselves.

    There are anti-immigration, pro-Trump supporters in this thread who will take issue with my criticism of Trump, and some of them may even accuse me of being dishonest. But you know what? It isn’t dishonest, so when they accuse me of that, it doesn’t end up working in Trump’s favor.

    1. Personally, I think the solution to the “Immigration Problem’ is painfully obvious; since what it really is is a ‘living next door to a borderline failed State’ problem, we should annex Mexico, and set the morons who misgovern places like Detroit and Jersey City to running the country, thereby improving the governance in both Mexico and whatever American Cities they came from.

      Then if we still wanted to build a dramatic border wall we would only have to build one 541 miles long, instead of three to four times that length.

      1. Well, we did annex northern Mexico and a lot of the assholes moved to Texas and southern California so you might be on to something there.

        1. Mexico has, for as long as I’ve been alive (and probably longer), been a source of unending nuisance and aggravation. It’s government, while never as spectacularly inept as that of current day Venezuela, has been consistently a ‘Kleptocratic South/Central American Government, one-each, Socialist flavor’ until not too long ago, and now even if the current government wants to be better they have to work through the rubbish of decades. In a more rational age we would have annexed Mexico sometime around 1920. In a more rational age, Africa would be run by a patchwork of moderately corrupt Colonial governments instead of a patchwork of spectacularly corrupt post-Colonial governments.

          Of course, if we annexed Mexico, if the Colonial Powers still held Africa, the opportunities for the Progressive vermin who want to run our lives to patronize the poor might be seriously curtailed.

          1. if the Colonial Powers still held Africa, the opportunities for the Progressive vermin who want to run our lives to patronize the poor might be seriously curtailed.

            No, they’d have more to justifiably complain about.

            1. Ah, but they don’t complain justifiably. They bitch bitterly about things that their solutions will clearly make worse. They were totally rabid on the subject of Apartheid at a time when South Africa had a serious problem with illegal black immigrants who felt that Apartheid represented an improvement on how they were treated in their (black run) home countries.

              I’m not saying that Colonialism was never-ending party. I’m saying that it doesn’t really take too many decades of inter-tribal beastliness, mass murder, full-bore kleptocracy, and famine as a tool of statecraft to make Colonial Paternalism look pretty goddamned good.

              1. Well my point was more that they’d really be able to feed the ‘racist imperialist whites destroying the world’s black communities’ narrative when you actually have racist imperialist whites destroying the world’s black communities.

                1. While the Intellectual Left has done its very best (or worst) to muddy the waters, the historical facts appear to be that, with some notable exceptions, post colonial governments have been worse for the average citizen than Colonial Rule. This isn’t nice, nor does it mean that the Colonial period was some lost golden age. However the cold facts are that, with occasional exceptions, the Colonial governments in Africa merely held the population in some contempt because of Racism, whereas post Colonial states have frequently actively hated large segments of theor own population because of tribalism … and acted on that hate in murderous ways. The Belgian Congo mess was a horrible exception, not the rule.

                  There’s no going back, however. The mindset of ‘the white man’s burden’ is gone, and the powers that were not-too-awful Colonial rulers a century ago would be much worse today.

                  The White Man’s Burden was racist and patronising but where it was genuinely felt, it was also to some degree to the advantage of the ‘little brown brothers’. The equally patronising idiocy of the Western Intellectuals is not.

                  1. There’s a lot more nuance to the situation than that, but you seem to be aware of that. The Belgian Congo is the extremist expression of it, but colonial rule was not kind to those that did not submit.It’s less an exception and more the most horrific event of a series of horrific events. And the tribal conflicts of later periods held influence in the colonial era as well. It wasn’t just whites cutting off black arms, but their local allies as well.

                    I will say that the former colonial powers are also indirectly responsible for many of Africa’s long-term problems: shortly before decolonization, their academic institutions infested foreign elites with Marxist ideals that they carried home. The tribal divisions of the continents were not furthered by a obsession with an ideology that leads to long-term poverty and stagnation.

        2. Speaking of foreigners… yesterday in S?o Paulo, Brazil a bunch of Antichoice fanatics put on a demonstration for The Orange Orangutan. Upside is that enough of them got their asses kicked and hauled off to hoosegow and hospital to add some zeroes to the check The Don promised violent supporters to cover their legal bills. The downside is that now that the CIA is again running Brazil through surrogates, some are looking into applying for US Statehood.

    2. Thank you Ken. My pet peeve is his stance on eminent domain. Anything less than a full throated defense of private property rights I find very troubling.

      How many articles have I seen regarding this?

      1. Two? I remember one kelo article recently.

        1. I didn’t mean regarding the issue in general, I meant specifically Trump’s stand on eminent domain. He thinks Kelo is just peachy, and he thinks that because he expects to always be on the receiving end, not the taking.

  19. “Asshole” doesn’t even rate as a criticism by this election’s standards. That’s a freaking defense for Trump. He’s not the next genocidal racist supervillian, he’s just an asshole.

    1. Charming the way teevee gets people all worked up over two old buddies–a playboy ex-Dem republican and a former Goldwater republican hired as actors in the latest Kleptocracy rigged election play.

  20. Via the Drudge headlines is this hilarious New Yorker article: James Comey Broke with Loretta Lynch and Justice Department Tradition

    Comey’s decision to make public new evidence that may raise additional legal questions about Clinton was contrary to the views of the Attorney General, according to a well-informed Administration official. Lynch expressed her preference that Comey follow the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise.

    Comey’s decision is a striking break with the policies of the Department of Justice, according to current and former federal legal officials. Comey, who is a Republican appointee of President Obama, has a reputation for integrity and independence, but his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections.

    1. the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations

      begging the question. the point of notifying congress was to make them aware it was still ongoing. and he didn’t comment on it beyond that.

      his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities

      top people are saying top things. why, just look at paul krugman’s twitter feed.

    2. I like how the one specific example they could give with names was Janet Reno snuffing out an investigation of an unnamed political important individual prior to an election. Like, who the hell is that supposed to convince outside the true believers of the left?

    3. It is the policy of the Justice Department for the Attorney General to meet with the influential husband of a person who is under investigation for a quick, unrelated chat on an airport tarmac.

      1. No, that is the first time it has taken place on an airport tarmac.

        1. Smoke filled rooms are too 19th century.

    4. “…his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections.”

      Well, see, it’s “his actions” that matter, not whether that hag handed over her entire email tfc as S/S to any kid bright enough to hack her (Bestbuy, on sale today only!) server.

    5. …[H]is latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections.

      But his previous actions, applying a mens rea standard where none is prescribed, has had absolutely no bearing on the campaign thus far, are totally irrelevant, and have no potential affect on the election’s outcome, no? NO?!

      1. ^This +1000

      2. Strict liability is for the little people.

    6. So it is ok to tout ongoing investigations that will show an AG or President as tough on crime and thus boost re-election prospects, but not so ok to do so if the subject of the investigation is the anointed successor of the emperor.

      I have developed a pretty solid policy of assuming any argument or claim made by a democrat is designed to deceive.

  21. John Rexer, owner of the brand,

    Obviously the scion of a centuries-old Mexican family. Only the hipster gringo can truly appreciate Mexican authenticity

    Fun Fact = the very-top-shelf Patr?n Tequila was a brand designed and launched in the 1980s by the guy who used to flog Paul Mitchell hair products

    1. Jacob Grier is a writer and bartender based in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of Cocktails on Tap: The Art of Mixing Spirits and Beer.

      Ahh. a scientistic cocktologist.

      1. Better than a cocktistic scientologist, eh?

  22. Just felt like posting this, as its been memory holed:

    FBI investigation into the Clintons/DNC taking Chinese money, 1996: FBI agent Ivian Smith wrote a letter to FBI Director Freeh that expressed “a lack of confidence” in the Justice Department’s attorneys regarding the fund-raising investigation. He wrote: “I am convinced the team at… [the Department of Justice] leading this investigation is, at best, simply not up to the task… The impression left is the emphasis on how not to prosecute matters, not how to aggressively conduct investigations leading to prosecutions.” Smith and three other FBI agents later testified before Congress in late 1999 that Justice Department prosecutors impeded their inquiry. FBI agent Daniel Wehr told Congress that the first head U.S. attorney in the investigation, Laura Ingersoll, told the agents they should “not pursue any matter related to solicitation of funds for access to the president. The reason given was, ‘That’s the way the American political process works.’ I was scandalized by that,” Wehr said. The four FBI agents also said that Ingersoll prevented them from executing search warrants to stop destruction of evidence and micromanaged the case beyond all reason.[55]

    1. FBI agents were also denied the opportunity to ask President Clinton and Vice President Gore questions during Justice Department interviews in 1997 and 1998 and were only allowed to take notes. During the interviews, neither Clinton nor Gore were asked any questions about fund-raisers John Huang, James Riady, nor the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple fund-raising event led by Maria Hsia and attended by John Huang and Ted Sioeng.

        1. True enough. Wonder if something like this isn’t what motivates Comey here. I’m not the first to speculate on that, but nothing really stops agents from speaking out.

    2. I forgot about that.

      Remember, the Clinton team destroyed all communiques and machines in the WH when Slick Willy left the office.

      1. Wait, really?! I thought they just took all the w keys

  23. So, Mr. Grier, do you care to explain how a ruling that explicitly did not address the question of whether foreign companies could engage in electioneering protects the right of a Guatemalan company that was co-founded by an Australian (at least according to their marketing) to engage in electioneering?

  24. Here’s your Deep South GOP political message for October 2016:

    No baby killin’. No homo. No immmugrants.

    Trump 2016.

    1. its actually the utter absence of any SoCon issues in this election that’s most notable.

      the old GOP of the 1990s which made Jesus and Fetuses the centerpiece of their identity is mostly dead, imo

      No one cares about the homo. And the main thing about immigrants isn’t (imo) so much that anyone believes that Trump is going to deliver on some of his rhetoric, and implement some anti-immigrant system more draconian than even Shikha’s worst fever-dreams…. but actually simply that he talks about it differently than anyone else. That he distinguishes that there’s an “Us” and a “Them” and that “we come first”.

      I think Trump’s Wall – even if by some long-shot chance he’s elected – would never actually come to be. But as a political metaphor? was hugely effective stuff.

      1. It’s not just SoCon issues that have been absent — issues of any type are absent from this presidential election. I couldn’t even tell you what issues this election is turning on, for either side really.

        While recent elections have all been Giant Douche-Turd Sandwich contests to some extent, this one takes the gay wedding cake for being completely dominated by accusations of scandals and criticism of personality traits.

        1. issues of any type are absent from this presidential election

          Sorta.
          The issues certainly haven’t been pushed by the two “mainstream” parties, and the MSM has been focused on what The Donald said decades ago.
          But independent issue organizations have been beating their respective drums. For example, the NRA on Clinton’s RKBA plans.

        2. So you have no idea what the election is about, but you know for certain who’s going to win it?

          Seems legit.

      2. I think Trump’s Wall – even if by some long-shot chance he’s elected – would never actually come to be.

        “I pledge to build a wall around Guantanamo within my first 30 minutes in office.”

    2. Slate talks a bit about the absence of SoCon stuff in the GOP this cycle here.

  25. OT: So I did early voting in Chicago yesterday and told a friend about the experience and how the lines weren’t that bad. She asked who I voted for and like an idiot told her that wrote in Rand Paul. She went off her fucking rocker and said that this election was too important for me to write in a candidate….because Donald Trump is evil and if he wins, it will be because of people like myself.

    After she got done with her mini-rant, I told that almost five years ago, she said the same thing about Romney, so how is Trump different? She changed the conversation. I can’t make this shit up.

    1. .because Donald Trump is evil

      religious people are tedious

      1. He’s an asshole but I don’t he’s evil. That’s a very strong word.

        1. That’s a very strong word.

          Or a meaningless one. In this case its just some sort of Tribal projection, where anyone Team Blue is on the side of the Rebels and the Light Side of the Force… and anyone on Team Red is for the Empire and the Sith and the Dark Side of the Force. It really makes no difference who the fuck is running, the team-red dude is always going to be seen as the leader of the army of Yokel Redneck Gay-Hating Racist Gun-Toting Warmongering Fast-Food-Eating Soda-Swilling Truck-Driving Other

          I mean, tolerant people can tolerate lots of things and are very open-minded… but god, no one should be expected to tolerate *that*

          1. It’s also funny how the Left loves Mitt Romney for “standing up” to Donald Trump, but five years ago he was friggin’ devil.

            1. And his opinions of russia were laughable!

          2. the reality is of course that if you go to the trailer parks of Arkansas, you will find that a substantial chunk of the Jeannie-Mae’s and Billy-Bob’s actually voted for Bernie. And that 40% are probably in the tank for Hillary. The idea that the cultural “other” is made up entirely of their imagined enemies is just fantasy that helps motivate them.

            I don’t know if the truth that “there are just as many yokels on *your team*” would be more or less disturbing to them than the fact that there are plenty of Trump voters in the gated communities & posh suburbs of America

        2. Evil is just code for “what I really, really don’t like.”

      2. And none are more tedious than those that do not believe they are religious.

        1. The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.’
          Eric Hoffer ?

    2. She went off her fucking rocker and said that this election was too important for me to write in a candidate….because Donald Trump is evil and if he wins, it will be because of people like myself.

      Wow, she might have had an aneurysm if you’d said you were voting for Trump.

    3. How many things do hillary and rand agree on? Color of the sky?

    4. I see, so if she can’t tell you how to vote, that’s not democracy or something to that effect, right? Sounds reasonable.

    5. it will be because of people like myself.

      .. but the Democrats who were so fucking irresponsible that they nominated the only crook in the country who could possibly lose to him have nothing to do with it, of course.

      -jcr

  26. “Trump’s anti-immigration stances have been so uniquely reprehensible”

    its only reprehensible to those who don’t like playing by the rules. trump is only against illegal immigration. But you know that but want to continue with the PC diatribe.

    1. also couldn’t Trump sue them since they are making money by marketing his likeness?

  27. So rumor has it that our old nemisis Preet Bahara is the one who fired up the old woodchiper on the Weiner phone email gimmick going on. Does the commentariat forgive if he runs a RICO train on the mammal with the cankles?

    1. I’d be willing to sacrifice 75% of the commentariat to Preet to get what I want. Go get ’em, Preet!

      1. FU you, mfing sellout. I knew you didn’t care about us and now I’ve been proven right. Go die in a hail of bullets as you suck my cock.

        1. Gumption! I like it. You’re back on the “good” list. Leave this one alone, Preet, you studmuffin you.

          1. Oh, Crusty. You know I’d rather see you thrive in a shower of panties. 😉

        2. straffin, how do you know you aren’t in Crusty’s “Gold Tier” the upper 25% who will be spared?

    2. rumor has it that our old nemisis Preet Bahara is the one who fired up the old woodchiper on the Weiner phone email gimmick going on

      Any substance to this?

      I know that the Weiner investigation would have been in his baliwick. But how exactly would he engineer it such that the FBI had to expedite things and tell congress that “it aint over yet”?

      Its the latter part i don’t understand. Unless (*as i suggested yesterday) he was going to go to press and say, “I’ve uncovered huge troves of email that the FBI ignored” and make a stink about it? I don’t see why he’d do that. I know he’s already made himself into a pariah by going after every scumbag democrat of importance in NY state…. but i think sticking his toes in national politics would be upping the ante in a big way, with no apparent upside for himself.

      1. How would he engineer it? Easy.

        By threatening to go public himself. Comey has said he announced because he didn’t want it to leak. I take that as meaning somebody told him they would go public if he didn’t.

        Interesting, as well, that Lynch tried to keep it secret. I guess Comey got tired of having her shit in his mouth and tell him it’s ice cream.

        1. By threatening to go public himself.

          Yeah, that’s what i was suggesting, but it just seems implausible. It would be seen as extremely inappropriate for some other attorney (*not the FBI or DoJ) to make any statements about the Clinton investigation, and would be instantly perceived as some clear attempt to hurt Clinton. Even if it made press, it wouldn’t have much credibility. “Who are ‘these people’?” It would be seen as someone trying to make small-ball into a big-deal. It would backfire even if it made a little splash.

          But getting the FBI to write letters to congress? that has credibility that you can’t even question.

          The thing that i suspected initially was that there was some internal frustration in the FBI itself – that people involved in the investigation within the FBI were like, “We can’t NOT look at that stuff!” and that Comey was being pressured by people that they would complain to outside Federal Agencies that the FBI was “suppressing” evidence or that top officials like Lynch or Comey were impeding the investigation…

          …Which would have far more serious consequences for the agency than say, a NY Attorney with a rep for sensationalism going to the press with a few Blackberrys.

          1. I suspect it may have something to do with the actual content of the emails. Something too incriminating to be easily dismissed, and it forced Comey’s hand.

        2. I guess Comey got tired of having her shit in his mouth and tell him it’s ice cream.
          Could be simpler than that.
          Head-of-State Rule Number One: Never, ever piss off your praetorians.

    3. No comment.

      Aw fuckit, I’m hoping he takes down Deblasio and Cuomo.

    4. So rumor has it that our old nemisis Preet Bahara is the one who fired up the old woodchiper on the Weiner phone email gimmick going on.

      Only if he really hates his job and wants to be fired faster than Hillary can say “so help me God” next 1/20.

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  30. It was refreshing to see someone finally come up with a culturally workable translation for “pendejo.”

  31. I just think it’s funny that this is the equivalent of protesting “islamophobia” by standing in the street yelling “allahu ackbar!”…not exactly productive, and in fact likely to harden the counter position, even if it IS within your rights.

  32. Ha, I’d guess the proggies would declare “disparate impact” on this one. A film that describes dirt in Hillary’s past wouldn’t be news to us but may be news to some low-info voters. I don’t think anybody would be surprised by a Mexican calling Trump a pendejo.

  33. Free Speech means exactly that, we do not need the government’s permission to speak. The McCain-Feingold Bi-Partisan Campaign Finance Law, and similar laws enacted by many state legislatures, was all about restricting political free speech. McCain-Feingold was also know as the Incumbent Protection Act. In many instances spending as little as $20-25 on campaign materials advocating for or against a political candidate meant one also had to spend thousands of dollars on lawyers expert on campaign finance law to prepare and file voluminous Federal and or state election commission documents. Failure to dot i’s and cross t’s were felonies with heavy fines and lengthy prison terms. One could spend more time in prison for an error on a FEC report then one would spend for robbing a bank.
    Campaign Finance laws were designed to restrict free political speech.

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