Friday, February 5, 2016

Ho ho! They must go,
and the rest look like Pinocchio!

The time has come for the big field of Republicans to go away, according to this recent info from the Huff Po:
A majority of likely Republican voters think that every candidate save Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), businessman Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson should drop out. (The survey was conducted in part before Paul and Santorum's announcements, but finds ample support for the idea of them ending their respective campaigns.)
The other GOP candidates whom voters say they wouldn't miss much include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.
Even Carson is teetering on the bubble -- 43 percent say he should quit the race, compared to the 12 percent or fewer who say the same about Trump, Rubio or Cruz.

According to a poll by YouGov.com, this is what failure looks like:
But when asked who is most likely to win the primary overall, only 27% of Republicans cite Trump, down 30 points from a poll conducted just days before caucus night. 29% now expect Marco Rubio to be the nominee, following the Florida senator’s surprisingly strong finish in Iowa. Last week, only 9% thought Rubio was most likely to win. Expectations for Ted Cruz, at 24%, are slightly behind Cruz and Trump. No other candidate is higher than 2%.


I applaud Ben Carson for his polite skepticism regarding the apology from Ted Cruz, the one where he indicated he would wait to see what the actions of Cruz show about his sincerity.  The reality though is that Carson would likely come in third out of three among the candidates from Florida, Rubio, Bush and Carson.   It is not clear that any one of those three could win Florida in a national election, with Florida being an important swing state essential to achieving the presidency.  Carson is an idiot savant, brilliant in his profession, but clearly prone to weird and wandering statements that indicate he lacks the broad, well-rounded education and background necessary for the presidency.  He is unpopular outside of the other crazy evangelical extremists like himself, and losing ground fast.

Imho, the buck stops with Cruz for the actions of his campaign; his failure to fire anyone from his campaign, along with his defense of promoting a false narrative (Carson never indicated he would have a "big announcement" suggestive of quitting),  argues he had very little relative problem with the actions of his staff who represented him in Iowa.

At the same time we see the Trump classic conservative false claim of being victim, with the accompanying failure to own his part in his own loss in the state of Iowa.  Clearly his bad second place is more likely the result of his refusing to attend the candidates debate.  No individual responsibility there!  Indeed it appears that Trump might finally be offending the gullible with his bad loser antics.  Whining as he has been about losing, on top of his bitching about Megan Kelly, is showing him to be quite different than the tough guy image he was attempting to project.  Now he just looks like a loser with foolish excuses.

WHEN he fails to be the right wing nominee, it remains to be seen if Trump will pursue even greater hubris and folly by running as an independent, further fracturing the conservative vote, out of either spite or the mistaken notion that he could win.  Trump CANNOT win, except possibly in the alternate reality in his own egotistical mind.  Among other problems, no candidate for president has ever previously won after a single divorce, other than Reagan, never mind multiple divorces.  And there appears to be some inherent opposition to a foreigner in the White House as first lady, which would apply to Trump's latest wife, as well as to the wife of Jeb Bush, from Mexico.

A little history trivia, the only foreign born first lady was the wife of John Quincy Adams, Louisa Johnson, who was born in London, daughter of an Englishwoman and an American merchant (Joshua Johnson).  Her uncle Thomas Johnson later served as governor of Maryland and a Justice of the Supreme Court.  Some of the Johnson family had always remained in the colonial US, and were - unlike other potential first ladies who are immigrants or 1st generation Americans - always well accepted socially and politically.

We see Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and Mike Hucksterbee all dropping out of the race.

 It is unlikely Santorum could carry his home state of Pennsylvania if he were the candidate for the GOP; likewise it is unlikely Mike Huckabee could win his home state of Akransas. More aptly Huckster-bee, since he sold the remains of his tattered integrity pushing quack diabetes cures. The same could be said for remaining candidate Chris Christie, who is despised in his home state where he has been a very unsuccessful governor, and for the other departed governor candidates Jindal and Walker. This is similar to failed candidates in the prior election, like Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann, who did not have the support in their home state of Minnesota for higher office, and for Paul Ryan who failed to carry his home state of Wisconsin in the 2012 election cycle, and did not even carry the vote in his own hometown of Jaynesville. Likewise, the other candidates who have left the race really never had a prayer of becoming the GOP candidate; rather, they either ran on delusionally inflated ego, or in the hopes of the exercise in futility having some other form of payout.  I would argue that most of the candidates from the right in the 2016 election cycle never seriously believed they were viable candidates.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jebus must be angry with the evangelical right wingers...

What a shame that there is another round of bad weather that seems to be targeting certain sections of the Bible Belt as well as the early voters of Iowa. We have seen how evangelicals like to point to events like this as divine wrath. Following their magical thinking, then it would seem that Jesus is unhappy with Trump and all the rest on the right, and doesn't want the good religious bigots and fools on the right in Iowa to get out to vote. Otherwise HE wouldn't be making it so very difficult, right? Tsk tsk tsk. That the caucus voting got in at all before the bad weather hit must be the result of the good members of the Iowa Supreme Court who ensured that gay people could marry. No doubt that is why the storm held off as long as it did -- to let Bernie and Hillary tie, more or less, since both supported gay marriage and for all intents and purposes they both won. But that bad weather is still smighting those evil evangelicals.......following their own reasoning (or lack of it). Storms hit Tennessee and Kentucky as well, no doubt leaving a Jebus message for those evangelicals who support Kim Davis style sexual orientation bigotry, sending a message to his own, like Jesus likes to do.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Why does the US have a problem with insurrectionism?

This is something I have been pondering for a while since the US Constitution and its history make it clear that it does not condone rebellion.  Indeed the document is intended on establishing the rule of law, which runs contrary to the insurrectionist doctrine.

Recap: Shays' Rebellion was the event which led to the attempt to rework the Articles of Confederation.  Instead the Constitution came out of that movement with its specific intent of "insuring domestic tranquility".  The militia is supposed to "to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions":  Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance of the US Constitution.

The Constitution only mentions one crime: Treason. This is found in Article III, Section 3.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
Levying war is defined as:
The assembling of a body of men for the purpose of effecting by force a treasonable object; and all who perform any part however minute, or however remote from the scene of action, and who are leagued in the general conspiracy, are considered as engaged in levying war, within the meaning of the constitution. 4 Cranch R. 473-4; Const. art. 3, s. 3. Vide Treason; Fries' Trial; Pamphl. This is a technical term, borrowed from the English law, and its meaning is the same as it is when used in stat. 25 Ed. III.; 4 Cranch's R. 471; U. S. v. Fries, Pamphl. 167; Hall's Am. Law Jo. 351; Burr's Trial; 1 East, P. C. 62 to 77; Alis. Cr. Law of Scotl. 606; 9 C. & P. 129.
The Constitution does not itself create the offence; it only restricts the definition (the first paragraph), permits Congress to create the offence, and restricts any punishment for treason to only the convicted (the second paragraph). The crime is prohibited by legislation passed by Congress: 18 U.S. Code § 2381 - Treason. Congress has passed laws creating other related offences that punish conduct that undermines the government or the national security (See 18 U.S. Code Chapter 115).
In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aiding or involved by such an endeavour.
it should also be noted that the Declaration of Independence is a historic document with no legal authority under the US Constitution (Article VI).

Which take us back to the quote from Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951):
“The obvious purpose of the statute is to protect existing Government, not from change by peaceable, lawful and constitutional means, but from change by violence, revolution and terrorism. That it is within the power of the Congress to protect the Government of the United States from armed rebellion is a proposition which requires little discussion. Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a “right” to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change.”
I would hold that the Bundy family and anyone else who would attempt to recruit for the purpose of starting a civil war has engaged in the act of Treason in accordance with this definition.  18 U.S. Code Chapter 115 - TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTS has  variety of options if you are not willing to call incitements to rebellion treason.
Additionally Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment states:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Very few people are willing to do anything about the promotion of the belief that people are somehow being patriotic and somehow following the constitution when the insurrectionists act in their seditious manner to the point of actual rebellion. There have been fewer than 40 federal prosecutions for treason and even fewer convictions since the Constitution was ratified. Several men were convicted of treason in connection with the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion but were pardoned by President George Washington.

Which is where the US differs from other countries with a Common Law heritage.  Yes, there have been rebellions in England, Canada, and Australia, yet they do not have the belief that there is somehow a "right" to rebellion (as they do not have a concept of a "right to arms/guns").  Unlike the US, where the largest rebellion, the Civil War/War Between the States, went without too many of the instigators being hanged, rebellion has been punished severely in other nations with a British heritage.  Only recently has the death penalty been abolished for treason in most Common law countries.

What I find even more bizarre are the people who somehow claim to be "conservative" while spouting seditious nonsense. Especially since the term "conservative" is defined as:
a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity.
By that definition, insurrectionism and supporting sedition are hardly conservative qualities, but this gets into the bizarre notion of what is "conservative" in the United States.  If anything, true conservatism believes in the rule of law: not the rule of the gun.

The problem is that like the Second Amendment revisionism, there has been a neglect of the concept of the rule of law in US society. The rule of law is that a nation is ruled by laws rather than the capricious whims of individuals.  It is part of the Constitutional Structure under Article VI.

The rule of law is expressed in these four principles:
  1. The government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law.
  2. The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property.
  3. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
  4. Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.
This is also summed up in Article VI of The Declaration of the rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789:
The law is the expression of the general will. All the citizens have the right of contributing personally or through their representatives to its formation. It must be the same for all, either that it protects, or that it punishes.
The bottom line is that the US has moved from the concept of the rule of law and somehow allowed the absurdity that individuals can decide which laws they can follow.  But the reality is as I pointed out in my post Sic semper proditores (Thus always to traitors):

 Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it is unconstitutional.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Delusions of the MN GOP

gold-plated clown car
This morning I heard an interview on MPR with MN GOP chair Keith Downey waxing rhapsodic over the glorious candidates available to conservative voters, including Donald Trump.  Downey was enthused with the diverse attention that candidates like Trump have brought to the 2016 race, viewing it as favorable to his party.

I think Mr. Downey needs to have his head examined for his apparently deliberate confusing of the gawker attention given to train wrecks as distinct from genuine admiration and support.  While it is the lunatic fringe most frequently turning out for caucuses and primaries, it is NOT the lunatic fringe on the right who most often turns out for the general election - as demonstrated in this Pew analysis of the 2012 election voters.

This analysis is based on 1,575 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters who are part of Pew Research Center’s nationally-representative American Trends Panel, and who could be matched to the national voter file. 1
The GOP primary electorate represented a relatively small share of those who went on to vote in the general election. Of Republicans who were verified to have voted in the general election, only 25% are verified as having voted in Republican primaries or caucuses in 2012; while 75% do not have a record of having voted in the primaries or caucuses that year. 2


No one in their right mind would find anything wonderful in the 2016 cast of characters on the right, stuffed into what is now, at best, a gold-plated clown car (classy!)  I'm sure Mr. Downey is well aware, for example, of the recent Pew Poll from a week ago which examined how the candidates are regarded.

Hillary Clinton had the best result among those polled to be a great president, followed by Donald Trump; however Turmp far and away had the highest percentage of poll respondents who thought he would be a TERRIBLE president.

Fellow extremist Ted Cruz got far fewer views as a great president, but also fewer negatives, while Bernie Sanders came in ahead of Cruz (barely) as a great president.  Cruz, Sanders and Ben Carson all faced problems with respondents even knowing who they were, compared to either Trump or Clinton. 

Looking at the same time frame,  Pew Polling indicates Democrats hate Trump more than Republicans hate Clinton.

So while Clinton approval ratings may be declining, it is arguable that opposition to Trump is increasing far faster.  And even among Republicans, the opposition to the extremist crazies, like Trump, Cruz, and/or Carson is high.  Additionally, it's a pretty safe bet that Jeb hasn't a prayer of being the presidential candidate (now or ever, I would hazard).

From a Pew Poll the first week of January 2016:


1-20-2016_05

While I expect Keith Downey to try to spin how crazy bad the candidates are on the right, the numbers are pretty clear.  Donald Trump is not electable, and I would argue neither is Ted Cruz, or Ben Carson who has largely disappeared from popular radar; while the enthusiasm is far lower for any of the other more sane establishment candidates, it is also less likely that any of them would bring out the voters either -- perhaps even less so than with the lack of enthusiasm for Mitt Romney last time around.

Perhaps it is unkind of me to be so skeptical of Downey and the conservative candidates - never more so than when the straw poll this time around will be for real.  Let me point out that the winner of the last presidential election straw poll was Santorum (who also won in the Iowa primary....eventually), while the convention winner for candidate later in the summer was Ron Paul.  Somehow all of that irrelevance escaped comment from Mr. Downey, at least in what I heard of his interview.

Given their past track record, I would NOT expect much of what passes for the MN GOP caucus to have any relationship to the actual election in November.

gold plated clown charm
Trump

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sic semper proditores (Thus always to traitors)


OK, all you supposed "Constitutionalists" out there:
  1. The Constitution makes it clear that waging war on the US is treason (Article III, Section iii--it's the only crime mentioned in the Constitution!). 18 USC Chapter 115 tells you what laws you are violating and it was passed in accordance with US Constitution Article VI.
  2. The Second Amendment does not explicitly repeal any of the main Constitutional provisions relating to treason and insurrection.
  3. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is unconstitutional.
Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951) puts paid to the insurrectionist theory:
"The obvious purpose of the statute is to protect existing Government, not from change by peaceable, lawful and constitutional means, but from change by violence, revolution and terrorism. That it is within the power of the Congress to protect the Government of the United States from armed rebellion is a proposition which requires little discussion. Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a “right” to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change."
Verb sap.