The Oval: The Court of Public Opinion

Hello America

We have just spent time talking with Geert Wilders.

A man of strong views. A man of controversial views.

A man who is strongly disliked.

But Geert Wilders was never convicted of any crime. He didn’t break any law.

He was, however, convicted in the court of public opinion. His life was - and is - under constant threat.

And because his views are not popular with the elite, the elite have left him exposed to the threats and the hatred. They have not defended his right to free speech.

So he is a prisoner in his own home. A man who can never be truly free because of the threat of mob justice.

It is an instructive story. And we have much to learn from it.

We find this story shocking. And yet, the story of mob justice is not so distant.

Mob justice is alive and well in America.

Today, a man stands charged with murder.

It is a case many of us have read about.

The case of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

We know very little about the night George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

We can guess. We can opine. We can believe.

But we don’t know.

Not yet.

We can’t know until we have the process of a trial. The process of justice. Evidence collected. Witnesses called. A jury of peers passing judgment.

And so I believe that right now, anyone who does anything to exact justice is committing an act of injustice.

We have seen examples of people intimidating key figures in the case. Lawyers. Officers of the court. Witnesses. And of course, the accused.

These people are in danger because they are connected to the process of justice.

This intimidation is unjust. And if we allow it to continue, we participate in that injustice.

Some politicians have spoken about the case. They have made their views known.

But these same politicians are like everyone else. They don’t know what happened that night in Sanford, Florida.

They don’t know.

And so by voicing their opinion, they are just guessing. Just giving their opinion.

But political leaders must know that they stand astride a system of justice. Where the accused are innocent until proven guilty.

They are the custodians of this system. A system of laws. A system of justice. When they stand astride this system, but then undermine it, they are no longer leaders worthy of the name.

It is one bad thing when they judge a defendant guilty before a trial is even held. That’s bad.

It is even worse when we see them silent in the face of mob justice. The justice of the lynch party.

We are hearing of attacks… where the victims are told: “This is for Trayvon.” The victims, in this case, are white. The attackers, black. The attacks are vicious. Some fatal.

This is not justice for Trayvon. It’s bloodlust. It’s violence for the sake of hatred. And it is wrong in any circumstance.

We have had lynch parties in America. We have seen them before. And we have seen as well the cowards who stood by, and let it happen.

We know that history judges the lynch mobs forcefully. But history also judges the silent. The complicit.

Those in the mob are criminals. Those who don’t stop the mob are cowards. Democracy and justice cannot coexist with criminals and cowards.

Today, a man stands accused. The crime is murder. And the trial that awaits him will determine whether he is to remain a free man.

But because of the gasoline poured on this case by outside agitators. By ill-informed commentators, by opportunistic politicians.

Because of that, George Zimmerman is not the only figure on trial today. Our system of justice is also on trial. It is also being tested.

And my question is this: Who will defend the system of justice against the mob? Who will defend the rule of law… the privileges of the accused… the protections of witnesses… the responsibilities to evidence and precedent?

Who will do this work?

I remind all Americans, of all backgrounds, that justice is blind.

Justice seeks truth. And those who claim to be our leaders must stand on the side of justice. Must stand for restraint. For calm.

And most significantly, our leaders must stand against those who would take the law into their own hands.

God Bless the Republic

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?

There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…

But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…

John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...

Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…

A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...

Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…

And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…

When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…

"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…

At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…

Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…

This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…

It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.