Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Why DC v Heller (and McDonald v Chicago) is wrong

OK, I would shut up about this if my only complaint was related to the ability to regulate firearms. I have pointed out that these decisions do not act as a block to regulating firearms. In fact, they are highly regulation friendly. That is something I have talked about ad nauseum in the past.

Since that has been previously addressed, I will deal with the actual reasons these decisions were bad law.

First, they are historically inaccurate. I am not really going to cover this here since that would be a whole post in and of itself. The bottom line of that one is that the Amendment relates to the distrust for a standing army and bloated military establishment.  More than enough evidence for that in Anglo-American political history which is something that would have shown up if Scalia and Alito had bothered to have done their research.

Second, it removes the Second Amendment from the Constitutional Context and make it a non-sequitur.  Not enough attention is paid to the preamble of the US Constitution here. That is important since it gives a hint what the intent of the founders happened to be when they drafted the Constitution.

The founders make it clear that the Constitution is supposed to address matters of the common defence. Nowhere in the constitution is the concept of self-defence or personal defence addressed.

Furthermore, Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 gives Congress, and Congress alone, the power to:
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
It was the power to arm the militia that concerned the founders given the distrust of standing armies. Again, there is Constitutional history here in that the Federal Government had a professional army, while the states had their militias.  It was a fear that the militias would be frustrated by Congress not funding them.

Instead, the militias died from lack of interest.

Since the Second Amendment relates to Federal power under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16, it cannot apply to the States. That makes the McDonald decision a legal absurdity.

Third, The Heller decision acted as if it was a case of first impression, which it was not. That means the Heller and McDonald decisions were a violation of stare decisis.

While, Marbury v Madison did not relate to the Second Amendment, it did address Constitutional language and said that no clause in the Constitution was without meaning.  Of course, given Marbury's significance, perhaps we can ignore these examples of poor judicial decisions.

Which gets to the two 19th Century Second Amendment decisions: US v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1876) and Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886).

Cruikshank is short, but not really helpful because of that:
The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendments means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government.
It shows that the 19th Century lawyers were more aware of the relationship of the Second Amendment to Article I, Section 8, Clause 16. Which takes us to Presser. That is a decision I've mentioned before. It is one which is probably the best for deciphering US v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). Presser addresses he "unorganised militia" argument, but it made clear that the Second Amendment related to the Organised militias.

Miller is problematic in that its style runs counter to how most people read judicial decisions. Its holding was most likely this paragraph:
In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a "shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length" at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense. Aymette v. State, 2 Humphreys (Tenn.) 154, 158.[1]
However it is unclear without the words "we hold" that this would be the holding, but it would logically be the holding. Secondly, the decision goes through the reasoning it came to this conclusion. The Miller decision then goes on to discuss Congress power to arm the militia. it then states that:
With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces, the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view[2]
That sentence directly contradicts the Heller and McDonald cases.

Finally, since these decision would amend the constitution by neglecting the text, that would make them ultra vires, or outside the power of the court. Unfortunately, the US Constitution does not provide for a cure for one of the branches acting outside their powers or failing to act.

So, that leaves us with bad law on the books. Fortunately, one doesn't have a problem with regulating firearms. In fact, I would suggest ignoring the two risible decisions and going toward strict regulation of firearms. After all, the two unconstitutional decisions only apply to a ban on handguns in the home.  That means firearms regulation is wide open otherwise.

Which is why there hasn't been too much complaint about these decisions from the "anti-gunners".

[1] Aymette said: " To make this view of the case still more clear, we may remark, that the phrase, "bear arms," is used in the Kentucky constitution as well as in our own, and implies, as has already been suggested, their military use. The 28th section of our bill of rights provides, "that no citizen of this State shall be compelled to bear arms, provided he will pay in equivalent, to be ascertained by law." Here we know that the phrase has a military sense, and no other; and we must infer that it is used in the same sense in the 26th section, which secures to the citizen the right to bear arms. A man in the pursuit of deer, elk and buffaloes, might carry his rifle every day, for forty years, and, yet, it would never be said of him, that he had borne arms, much less could it be said, that a private citizen bears arms, because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane. So that, with deference, we think the argument of the court in the case referred to, even upon the question it has debated, is defective and inconclusive."

[2] See Justice William O. Douglas’s dissent in Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S 143, 150 -51 (1972). Douglas was a member of the US Supreme Court when Miller was decided and glosses that case in the dissent.

See also:

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Handguns v. Assault Rifles

This is a biggie if we are going to propose arming teachers with handguns to combat mass shooters: especially if the teacher has a handgun and the shooter has a rifle.

Let's get some bullshit out of the conversation here since the term assault rifle was a creation of the gun manufacturers. There's more than enough documentation for this with things like this copy of Guns & Ammo. Toss in that the StG-44 is the accepted grandadddy of these guns. StG-44 means Sturmgewehr 44, or Assault Rifle 44.

But, I don't need to go too far to see the pro-gun side shoot themselves in the foot, literally, in this argument. Since they will try to show these weapons are "hunting" rifles, or "modern sporting weapons". Take this comment from Gun Control Myth: The AR-15 is Not Actually a Hunting Rifle:

The AR-15 platform is known for its accuracy, especially over longer distances. For some types of hunting, this characteristic is particularly useful for successful hunts. Each bullet type has varying effective ranges. The .223 is effective from 400-600 meters. An AR-15 chambered in .308 has an effective range to about 800 meters; .338 Lapua's effective range is about 1500 meters; and .50 BMG has the range of about one mile..
While the author is trying to show the round is effective at long ranges, making it a good gun for hunting. He is actually shooting down the argument for arming teachers. Now, this is where gun crazies get a little outrageous and try and argue that a bullet can kill at a range up to two miles.

But effective range to me means can you accurately hit a target, which takes the range way down. This comment from a gun forum is pretty typical for what effective range is like:
Fifty yards sounds about right. Unless they have good training, most people can't shoot a 4" barrel accurately enough to target a dump truck beyond about 50 yards.
Yards and metres are about 3 inches in similarity, with metres being about 39 inches. Giving the 50 yard accuracy as being the max for a handgun, that would mean the person armed with the assault rifle would have the advantage by more than 350 metres.

Let's toss in the training needed so that people don't get killed in the cross-fire: especially if the teacher is firing off wildly inaccurate rounds while the shooter is laying down effective fire at a high rate of accuracy.

Again, this is another issue where accurate information would be needed, but the information is solidly "anti-gun" from what little is out there. The fact that the Columbine Shooters were engaged by a Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy seems to be lost in the debate.  Toss in the times that armed people, whether civilian or professional, failed to stop, let alone ameliorate the situation is next to non-existent.

it's pretty easy to see the fallacy of someone armed with a handgun stopping someone with a rifle by just looking at the difference in effective range between those two weapons. The problem is that this argument is being pushed by people who should know better, but think "anti-gunners" don't know anything about firearms.

Some of us know quite a bit about guns, which is why we believe they should be regulated.

Anyway, this is the final argument to the people who want to call these things "hunting rifles" or "modern sporting rifles":
"Nothing like a good clean kill."

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Crisis Actors and gun violence

Not sure why this one needs to be debunked, but it does.

Crisis Actors are people who are somehow hired to "fake" shooting incidents for those who are even more removed from reality than the people who push this theory.

Like any good lie, there is a bit of truth here. The first thing to understand is that the “crisis actor” conspiracy theory has a slender tie to reality. Crisis actors do exist, though there is nothing underhanded about them: they are simply performers hired to play disaster victims in emergency drills or wounded combatants in military exercises. They provide a degree of realism for people practising for real emergencies further down the line.

This term has been hijacked where the gun plague is concerned to somehow say these incidents "didn't happen".  Despite there being obvious victims and proof of the shootings having happened. That is what makes this bullshit so hard to fight.

I used to agree with Michael Moore that the crime scene photos would stop this shit from being mentioned. I even had an online argument with Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung's daughter about this. I used to believe that facts could be used to counter bullshit, yet this crisis actor shit still keeps coming up.

Now, I have to agree with the daughter: no amount of sanity can fight this insanity.

We can provide documentation, but that is all "faked" by an all powerful "deep state".  Hell, we could exhume the graves and show these people the bodies, yet the deniers would say that was somehow "faked".

There are a lot of problems with denying mass shootings and gun violence: one of which is that it re-traumatises the victims and their families.

The other one is the biggie: if the whole point of these false flags is to bring about gun confiscation, then why the fuck hasn't it happened?

The US has had mass shootings at least since Howard Unruh went crazy and killed 13 people in Camden, NJ. Probably even before that happened. There was the 1966 University of Texas mass shooting where you can still see the bullet holes. While there was a trend to "strengthen" gun laws in the 60s-70s, that has been weakened from the 80s on.

Instead of confiscating guns, the US is awash with guns in the hands of who knows since there is no registry. Short of the authorities going after the rabid people who post on the Internet (which happens to be a USDoD creation). I would even bet that a "deep state" capable of creating realistic "mass shootings" can probably even read your minds.

Problem number two with this theory is why don't people like Alex Jones meet fatal "accidents" perpetrated by a "deep state" which has these capabilities?  Or are these people just useful idiots?

Anyway, the signs are pretty obvious that the "crisis actor" thing is bullshit as is the likelihood of any "mass confiscation" of guns. To be honest, a mass confiscation would cost far more than an Aussie style gun buyback ever would.

Toss in an all powerful, deep state capable of doing such a convincing job in producing these "mass shootings" could probably also take your guns without anyone knowing about it.  For all we know, the mass confiscations are occurring right now and the "truth" is being silenced. So beware of the shadows in your bedroom at night: they are probably agents of the New World Order.

See also:

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Does the United States Have a Lower Death Rate From Mass Shootings Than European Countries?

Wow, what a stupid question.

But ask a stupid question and get a stupid answer: especially from right wing media and Fox News.
Seriously?
The source of all this is John Lott.

Again, Seriously? I can't believe that the right still trots this dude out after what they did to Michael Bellesiles. I guess John Lott is OK since his bullshit is what backs up the "pro-gun" arguments, but you might want to read this before citing  Lott.

Can you say Mary Rosh?

As per usual, Mary's, Er, John Lott's statistical method leaves a lot to be desired, but the pro-gun side has never been one to let facts get in the way of their arguments. And like pretty much ever one of the pro-gun arguments, this doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

After all, the last mass shooting in Norway was in 2011.  I was SOL when I tried to find a mass shooting in Belgium, and Belgium is pretty gun crazy. I did: there was one in 2011 where three (3) people were killed in Liege. That shooting doesn't count as a mass shooting under some of the US definitions for them (some require 4 dead to be a mass shooting). So, talk about being desperate to make the US situation look somewhat acceptable.

The last one in the US? Oh, About a minute or so ago.

Really now. Please don't try to say other countries have the US problem of mass shootings: that one just does not stand up.

Seriously!  The US has a problem with mass shootings, but like any addicted person refuses to face the facts until it's one of their family members who is a victim of gun violence.

And sometimes not even then.

So, the gun nuts work on the popular ignorance of other cultures, but the US is the only country not at war that has regular mass shootings (any one where there are 3 more more victims).

So, try not to be silly and get some REAL facts into this debate. Remember the pro-gun side banned gun research because it tended to be "anti-gun".

That's the only reason somebody like John Lott is called to be an "expert" since most people who know his reputation don't take him too seriously.

See also:

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Just thinking

One of the 1 Aug 1966 University of Texas victims was an unborn child. 

How many more Gun Violence victims have been unborn children? By the pro-life way of thinking, these "unborn children" are innocent no matter what their parents are like.

Usual question: where are the pro-lifers on this one?

Sorry, but you can't say you are pro-life and go with the gun lobby's pushing the envelope on self-defence to make it easier to kill people. Traditional common law makes self-defence (1) a mitigation, not a complete defence, (2) places the decision on whether force was necessary to the finder of fact (usually the jury), and (3) makes excessive force, even deadly force, a hard hurdle to get past.

But even more importantly if you are going to be against "killing babies", then you should be firmly against guns.

Sorry, but you can't be pro-life and pro-gun without being in serious denial.

Footnote: the University of Texas shooting pretty much put the pro-gun arguments to rest: especially armed civilians stopping the incident. According to people who were there, there were armed civilians, but they made the situation much worse.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gun Control isn't a "liberal" or "conservative" issue it's one of public safety.

I am really sick of people who try to make this into anything other than the public safety issue that it actually is. Worse, they twist the Second Amendment to try and create a "right" which didn't exist until fairly recently.

Fortunately, even though Heller and McDonald removed the Second Amendment from its relationship to Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 of the US Constitution: it made it clear that any "gun right" was subject to regulation.

In case you missed it all. From Heller.
Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152–153; Abbott 333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489–490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2 Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students’ Blackstone 84, n. 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Heller at 54-5
Which has as a footnote (26):
We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.
Better yet:
But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Heller at 64
From McDonald:
It is important to keep in mind that Heller, while striking down a law that prohibited the possession of handguns in the home, recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is not “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” 554 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 54). We made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” Id., at ___–___ (slip op., at 54–55). We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents’ doomsday proclamations, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms. McDonald at 39-40

So, let's forget the Second Amendment shit since even those "gun friendly" cases aren't on your side. Toss in how you harmonise them with the prior case law which made it clear the Second Amendment only applied to the Active (Organised) Militia (Presser and Miller).

You should feel really stupid if you find your Conservative cred is somehow tied to support for repealing the gun laws. You have been played since it was once a bi-partisan issue, but the powers that be figured out it was a good way to get you to vote against your interest (and sell some guns).

Richard Nixon is on record as saying:

     “I don’t know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house, The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth....why “can’t we go after handguns, period?”
    “I know the rifle association will be against it, the gun makers will be against it.” But “people should not have handguns.”
That's not the only anti-gun statement Nixon made.

Next, let's go to Conservative icon Ronald Reagan. Despite how he has been reformed, Reagan was a strong gun control advocate.
“Reagan last week declared his support for a bill requiring a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases. He did so at a George Washington University ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the shooting that almost killed him and permanently disabled his press secretary, James S. Brady.

“It is called the Brady Bill, and Reagan said Congress should enact it without delay. ‘It's just plain common sense that there be a waiting period to allow local law enforcement officials to conduct background checks on those who wish to buy a handgun,’ the former president said.’”

“It was Governor Ronald Reagan of California who signed the Mulford Act in 1967, ‘prohibiting the carrying of firearms on one's person or in a vehicle, in any public place or on any public street.’ The law was aimed at stopping the Black Panthers, but affected all gun owners.

“Twenty-four years later, Reagan was still pushing gun control. ‘I support the Brady Bill,’ he said in a March 28, 1991 speech, ‘and I urge the Congress to enact it without further delay.’" SOURCE
Brady, as in "Brady Bill" and"the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence", is a reference to James Brady. James Brady was a victim of the 1981 attempt on Reagan's life.

Paul Helmke who was the head of the Brady Campaign, was mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana and a Goldwater Republican. In fact, a lot of the Brady people would call themselves conservative (that is a whole other post there).

Chief Justice Warren Burger, another Conservative, said this about the Second Amendment "scholarship" which is polluting this issue. In case the above clip gets yanked:

JUSTICE BURGER: That says a well regulated militia being necessary for the defense of the state, people's rights to bear arms. This has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word "fraud," on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime. Now just look at those words. There are only three lines to that amendment. A well regulated militia -- if the militia, which was going to be the state army, was going to be well regulated, why shouldn't 16 and 17 and 18 or any other age persons be regulated in the use of arms the way an automobile is regulated? It's got to be registered, that you can't just deal with it at will. Someone asked me recently if I was for or against a bill that was pending in Congress calling for five days' waiting period. And I said, yes, I'm very much against it, it should be thirty days' waiting period so they find out why this person needs a handgun or a machine gun.

Next, the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994 that expired in 2004 started out as an executive order by President George H.W. Bush. Somehow that got lost in all the polemic of this being a conservative v. liberal issue amongst all the other conservatives who backed gun control.

Let's put it this way, there is a reason that Gun Violence research has been banned: it's that it kills the "conservative" talking points on this issue.

Personally, you aren't conservative by any stretch if you can be conned into somehow supporting an issue which is harmful to yourself. 

Nor are you intelligent.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Being "pro-gun" isn't really pro-gun

What would you say if you saw a bunch of people being really irresponsible? Not only were they irresponsible, but they were giving YOU a bad reputation.

Those people are the gun nuts, or gun loons.

No, not all gun owners fall into that category.

But when someone goes so far off the deep end that they fail to understand that they are not being careful with something that is intended to kill or cause serious bodily injury when used properly.  Even target practise is training to be able to kill.

Now, before you say "it's just an inanimate object that isn't harmful": would you put a loaded one in your mouth and pull the trigger?

I hope you answered that question "no", otherwise stop reading NOW! I say that because there is nothing I will be able to say that will make you see sense.

You are one of those fuckwits who is so entrenched in having a gun as your identity that you will not see sense.

If you happen to be a sensible gun owner, then you understand that having guns everywhere makes no sense.  You wonder why anyone would want a weapon capable of firing hundreds of rounds in a matter of seconds: especially when these weapons cause more harm than good.

But it goes beyond just weapons with a high rate of fire. It goes to idiots who shoot in built up areas because they have a "right" to do so. More people carrying guns in public makes no sense as well.

Unless you are a shareholder in a weapons manufacturer.

I have no problem with legitimate gun ownership, but if you have one to wage war on the US Government (which happens treason under Article III, iii of the US Constitution, so drop the "Constitutionalist" Bullshit--the document is against your position) or to fight the zombie apocalypse.

Deadly weapons are not toys. You have no "right" to one if that is your attitude.

Promoting unfettered gun ownership is plain off wrong.

It's time to stop fighting the change that is way overdue or you may be looking at the gun ban you dread. Instead you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by having been irresponsible with your "right".

Bottom line, start being responsible and get used to there are limits on gun ownership.

Or just shut the fuck up because we are tired of hearing from you because the tide has turned against you.

And the responsible gun owners want to be able to hunt or target practise, which they may end up not being able to do if we don't show some responsibility and sanity in all this.

If people want to call themselves conservative then they had better start with personal responsibility.  In this case the responsibility is to stop promoting gun ownership amongst people who shouldn't even dream of owning a firearm.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Think about it:

The Russians did not tell Hillary Clinton to send surrogates to Arizona shortly before the election, when they would have been far more helpful in Michigan or Wisconsin. They didn’t tell her to give a speech at Goldman Sachs for $225,000 in the wake of a huge bank bailout or call half Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables”. Facebook hadn’t been invented when she was for the Iraq war before she was against it, or when she was against gay marriage before she was for it.
Social media platforms, nefarious bots and dodgy data companies can amplify views that are already out there and distort perspectives that already exist – but they cannot invent them. In short they can manipulate the supply of ideas, but they cannot create the demand for those ideas from thin air. (source)
The problem is that people are too busy blaming the Russians for problems which existed without them.

While Hillary Clinton may have played a part in my voting Green: her being the Democratic candidate was not the main factor. I've gone through the series of events which made me not want to vote for "the lesser of two evils", but vote for someone who represents my political leanings in quite a few posts (especially this one).

Seriously, if the Russians were indeed responsible, then they have infiltrated the US political system to a level where only a serious purge could remove them.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

RUSSIANS!

Is that like saying "squirrel" to my dogs?

Ever notice that the conversation turns to Russia when any scrutiny is placed on the US factors in the 2016 Election? Especially in the US media, which happens to be fairly incestuous due to media consolidation.

OK, there were some Russians working for Cambridge Analytica, but it is beginning to look like Facebook may be more at issue here. The Guardian has been doing a series on Cambridge Analytica and the Facebook "hack". This is turning out to be like the Democratic e-mail "hack" which was probably more of a leak than a hack.

The real culpability here is with Facebook rather than the Russians, which is pretty much the case with any Russian involvement I've seen.  Unless Russians have managed to infiltrate the US to an extent that would make Ol' Joe McCarthy look askance at the numbers.

Anyway, I turn off when people try to blame the Russians for a situation which is obviously home grown. It's a waste of time to fixate on them when there are easy fixes to the system, but they won't be addressed since the people who run the system are benefiting by this.

As the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, said:“It sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true as long as they’re believed.”


Let's start with the electoral college, but that is only one a a few problems that need fixing here.
See also:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A gift for the Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Diane Wolk-Rogers

Diane Wolk-Rogers was the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School history teacher who questioned Dana Loesch at the CNN town meeting. Here is my response to Ms. Wolk-Rogers' question:

The constitution was written partially as a reaction to Shays' Rebellion in Massachusetts, which was a revolt by former members of the continental army who had served in the War for American Independence. Someone  like Ms. Loesch would like us to believe that these people would have fallen into the category of a well-regulated militia since they were well-trained having served in the Continental forces. However, the reaction to this rebellion was far from one of approbation, but was one of shock (see http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu/shaysapp/people/home.do).

The words "to ensure domestic tranquility" were placed in the preamble of the US Constitution in regard to Shays' Rebellion.  Additionally, the preamble mentions the common defence as one of the reasons for adopting the constitution. I should add that the text of the US Constitution can be scrutinised and no mention will be found for the concept of self-defence [1]. Two articles address the militia in the US Constitution, Articles I, Section 8, Clauses 15 & 16, which are called the militia clauses in Constitutional law. Clause 16 is the most important for this discussion as it gives Congress the power.

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
The fact that only congress has the power to arm the militia was what concerned the founders, not private guns. A search of the primary sources will show that the "pro-gun" side has a nasty habit of misquoting and taking the debate out of context. As one scholar said "wielding the scholar’s power of the ellipse several partisans of gun ownership have edited Henry’s remarks about how best to regulate the militia into an inflammatory half-truth “The great object is that every man be armed….Every one who is able may have a gun.” The NRA has blown this up into a poster-sized blurb embossed with Patrick Henry’s image." (Henry Meyer,  A PATRICK HENRY ESSAY (No. 5-98) THE POLITICAL LEGACY OF PATRICK HENRY).

Ms. Loesch misquoted George Mason. The entire quote concerns itself with the nature of the militia in the future when read in context (see this post for a discussion of this topic)  That is a highly important point since the concept of a universal militia died a quick death, if it ever really existed. This takes us to an important point, the founders envisioned a system similar to that of Switzerland where the bulk of the military is not professional, but part time. The only "professional" military in this system would be those in positions of administration and training. This comes from a long tradition of distrust of standing armies and professional militaries, which is something else that shows up when one reads the primary source material.(see also Schwoerer, Lois G. “No Standing Armies!” The Antiarmy Ideology in Seventeenth-Century England).

The bottom line and short form of this  is that a well-regulated militia is the one created in accordance with Articles I, Section 8, Clauses 16 of the US Constitution, not a private army [2]. Likewise, the US Constitution makes it clear that waging war against the US is treason (Article III, Section iii).

As for the current trend in ignoring the first clause in the Second Amendment, U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), stated that:
With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces, the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.
Such forces being those created under the militia clauses. The Case of Marbury v Madison 5 U.S. 137 (1803), makes it clear that "It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect", which runs contrary to the current Jusrisprudence of DC v Heller and McDonald v Chicago. I suggest that your students read Justice William O Douglas, dissent in Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S 143, 150 -51 (1972).  Justice Douglas was on the court when Miller was decided and gives a gloss of that case.

In addition, Miller mentions Aymette v. State, 2 Humphreys (Tenn.) 154, 158. Aymette says the following:

To make this view of the case still more clear, we may remark, that the phrase, "bear arms," is used in the Kentucky constitution as well as in our own, and implies, as has already been suggested, their military use. The 28th section of our bill of rights provides, "that no citizen of this State shall be compelled to bear arms, provided he will pay in equivalent, to be ascertained by law." Here we know that the phrase has a military sense, and no other; and we must infer that it is used in the same sense in the 26th section, which secures to the citizen the right to bear arms. A man in the pursuit of deer, elk and buffaloes, might carry his rifle every day, for forty years, and, yet, it would never be said of him, that he had borne arms, much less could it be said, that a private citizen bears arms, because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane. So that, with deference, we think the argument of the court in the case referred to, even upon the question it has debated, is defective and inconclusive.
While there is quite a bit of pseudohistory and poor law clogging up the atmosphere  which has prevented enacting sensible gun legislation, but I have much hope for your students working to change that.

Notes:
[1] There is a rule of interpretation in law that if a statute is silent on a subject, one cannot assume that subject is addressed. So, a failure to specifically mention self-defence in the US Constitution leads to the presumption that the Second Amendment does not apply to that. I would also add that the doctrine of self-defence in common law is not a complete defence, but is a mitigation to the offence. Common law does not see deadly force as being a first option. See Richard Maxwell Brown's No Duty to Retreat: Violence and Values in American History and Society for a history of deadly force in US jurisprudence.

[2] Basic info on unorganised militia being:
The Sedentary, reserve, inactive, unorganised, general (or other term indicating INACTIVITY) Militia, has always been unorganized and untrained
Active Militias, that is THE organised, enrolled, embodied, active (or other term signifying active) Militia, can be supplemented if necessary by the ballot (selection by lot)–in other words drafted from the Unorganised militia draft pool.
The term “unorganized” did not begin to emerge until the 1830s and 1840s, when a massive wave of opposition destroyed the compulsory militia system. Nobody wanted to serve in the militia. State governors and legislators wanted to be able to accommodate this desire, but they were bound by the 1792 Uniform Militia Act, which stated that every white male aged 18-45 would be in the militia.
Militia service was so unpopular that Delaware abolished its militia system altogether in 1831. Massachusetts eliminated compulsory service in 1840, followed by Maine, Ohio, Vermont in 1844, Connecticut and New York in 1846, Missouri in 1847, and New Hampshire in 1851. Indiana classified its militia according to age in 1840, and exempted all but the young men from service. New Jersey withdrew the right to imprison a man for failure to pay a militia fine in 1844; Iowa did the same in 1846, Michigan in 1850, and California in 1856.” – Mahon, John K, The History of the Militia and the National Guard, p. 83
The term “unorganized militia” was kept in use in subsequent decades as a statutory “reminder” that the state could still obligate its citizens to perform military duty, should it ever want them to. Eventually, U.S. law in the early twentieth century picked up this same usage for the same reason: by creating the “unorganized militia,” the United States could guarantee usage of this manpower for military purposes, should the (remote) need ever arise.
The unorganised militia is addressed in the State Call up provisions for the militia (current national guard), not 10 USC 311.

BTW, look up the case of  Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886). US v Miller was not the first Second Amendment case heard by the US Supreme Court, although Heller and McDonald would have liked that to have been the case. Presser addresses the reserve militia in relationship to the Second Amendment.

There is also United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 92 U. S. 553, which is another relevant case that demonstrated that the Heller and McDonald decisions were ultra vires in that they amended the Constitution and disregarded precedent.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bump Stocks and the Florida Shooting

17

Seventeen

Ten and then, seven more.

Seventeen.

That's the number of people killed in the most recent horrific, obscene shooting in our nation.  Horrific and obscene evidence of our national blood-pact with the National Rifle Association and the arms manufacturers for which the NRA is simply a sock-puppet.  No longer does the NRA actually represent hunters as it's primary demographic, but instead their primary demographic is an industry desperate to make more and more sales, desperate because manufacturers have seen flagging sales after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.  Those sales have flagged because the NRA spent 8 years telling the nation, especially the rabid gun nuts, that President Obama was just about to unleash the ATF and FBI to come take their guns.

So, the NRA is seeking to prevent legal activity which closes loop-holes which would curtail straw-buying.  They may say otherwise, but make no mistake, the NRA is aware that the guns in Chicago, the most awful example of gang-related gun violence in the US, are bought outside the Chicago city limits by straw-buyers and transported into Chicago (a drive of a couple of miles) and sold.  They are aware that the best self-defense weapons aren't assault rifles, but instead shotguns (for power) or small(ish) handguns (for ease of carry).  Yet, the adamantly oppose any limitations on assault rifles, weapons designed to allow soldiers to assault enemy held positions by allowing for maximum sustained firepower for the longest period of time (outside carrying a light machine gun - an impracticality for soldiers rushing into an enemy held building).  They are aware these weapons are a mediocre choice for self-defense and a worse choice for hunting, but they are also aware that gun "lovers" want, even lust, for guns which look like military hardware.  They long for firearms which give them maximum firepower (available under current law), seemingly because those weapons help them feel tougher.  It helps them feel like we all often do walking out of a martial arts movie, that we can take on the world, like we're somehow that military-minded expert who can shoot down aircraft and black hat bad guys with our bad-ass weaponry.

And so, after seventeen more people died, our President, beholden to this same NRA and the gun manufacturers (who spent 20 million on his election), after an AR15 was again used to slaughter innocent people, 14 of them children, has advocated for....

banning bump stocks...a device used in the Las Vegas shooting, not the Florida shooting

Yep, our glorious leader, in reaction to yet more slaughter has advocated doing something about the shooting before the last shooting.  Something he could have advocated for months ago, in fact many people did advocate for months ago.  Interestingly, the NRA is fairly neutral on bump-stocks, perhaps because the gun manufacturers by and large aren't the manufacturers of bump-stocks?  Nah, couldn't be that.  Regardless, despite only moderate opposition from the NRA to regulation of bump-stocks, nothing was done by Congress or the President after the worst mass-shooting in US history.  They did nothing, nothing until yet another mass-shooting killed more children and then..

They took the safest, easiest action, to advocate for some sort of restriction on a device that modifies assault rifles so they can fire in a very nearly fully automatic mode (like many military assault rifles are able to do).  AND, they again called for arming teachers, and for investigating the mentally-ill.  As if the US has cornered the market on mental illness or the violently mentally-ill?   Is that yet more American Exceptionalism?  And if arming teachers is the answer, why do other countries not arm their teachers?  Why do they not need to do so?  These are two old saws from the NRA, say nothing can be done because it's just the mentally-ill, and say that more guns will solve things.  We have more guns here in the US than in any other country in the world, yet, somehow, we are not safer so it boggles the mind how even more guns wielded publicly will make us safer. 

A conservative friend of mine recently wrote that taking away weapons from terrorists will only cause them to find other and even worse, weapons.  Well, if true, then the argument to arm teachers is a terrible one, because and in fact as we have seen, if we arm teachers, those who would engage in mass shootings will only start wearing ballistic vests as the shooter in Texas did, or start bringing to bear ever more powerful assault weapons from vantage points difficult to stop (as the shooter in Las Vegas did), in order to avoid or mitigate the risk from "the good guy with the gun."  So NO, more guns will solve nothing at all.  It's ironic to hear this argument from a gun nut (as is my friend) considering it's the argument we have made about increasing the firepower of police as being no real solution to gun violence either.

No, the President again (and the GOP again), shows it cannot lead, will not lead, and in fact will oppose any leadership which addresses the underlying issues of gun violence in the US, especially some of the most easily constrained, mass shootings.  Nearly every mass shooting in the US has been perpetrated with either assault rifles and/or with weapons using very high capacity magazines (the Gabby Giffords shooting was done by a man using a pistol with a 30 round magazine, imagine a magazine which extends about a foot below the shooter's hands).  They nearly all also stopped either when their weapon ran out of ammunition causing them to reload, or their weapon jammed, read that again, when they needed to reload or could not keep firing - so they kept shooting until they immediately ran out of firepower.  These aren't facts in dispute.  The Sandy Hook shooter's weapon apparently jammed, Gabby Gifford's shooter's magazine ran dry, the shooter in Aurora Colorado either ran out or his weapon jammed (it's not clear).  We don't yet know what happened in Florida.  In Las Vegas the shooter brought dozens of weapons just to make sure he could keep shooting.  In NONE of these cases were the shooter's "stopped" in anything like a timely manner by "a good guy with a gun."  So, what does the President do in reaction to the Florida shooting, he doesn't advocate for limitations on these types of weapons, instead he advocated for strengthening laws which he criticized and set aside, in his 2nd act as President.

This is not leadership.  Addressing the current issue with a modest and obvious step from the last crisis isn't leadership,  it's cowardice, it's corruption and it is disgusting, and it is obscene and in the most powerful nation in the world, it is a national embarrassment.   It is a broken record to say it, and that's perhaps the saddest thing of all, but it is far beyond time for real leadership in the US on limiting firepower for civilians to what they actually need for self-defense, not in some fevered-dream of being attacked by Ali Baba and his 40 thieves, but in the 99.999999% of cases and what they need to hunt (assault weapons are terrible hunting weapons).  They do not need assault weapons and we do not need to keep watching the parade of hearses bearing the innocent young victims of our needless national obsession.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Is it true what they say about Catherine the Great?

From the BBC:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said there was no allegation that any American was "a knowing participant in this illegal activity" nor was it alleged that the meddling altered the election outcome.

Three of the people named have also been accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five have been accused of aggravated identity theft. Three companies have also been charged.
Amusingly, one of the allegations is "Promoted information that disparaged Hillary Clinton".

As if anyone needed the Russians for that one! The next quote sounds like duopoly sour grapes:
"They engaged in operations primarily to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump."
Bernie was supported by small donors: shitloads of them. He was pretty much outraising her until HER campaign pulled the dirty tricks. Remember how the primaries were called for Clinton before they had been held?

Who said "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS"? (Hint: not the Russians).

Somebody get these people a copy of the Class Action Lawsuit against the DNC and point them to democraticautopsy.org.

The Russians didn't have as much influence on the whole mess as did internal forces who are enjoying having everyone look everywhere besides where the real problems lie.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Marinus van der Lubbe is long dead.

It had to happen.
I have to point out there are things on my blog like:
Green Parties World Wide: Hey, it's nice to finally know what I am politically!
Sorry, but it wasn't the Russians that influenced my vote: look at the Duopoly for the real culprits.

Not to mention the Electoral College. Or is it true what they say about Catherine the Great?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

America Deserves Donald trump

Don't let the title cause you to think that I approve of the current US president. No, this is an affirmation that a nation gets the government it deserves.

And the US deserves Donald Trump for all its failing to properly address the issues that it faces. In particular, the failings of its rigged political system. But that is a symptom of something much larger. I would say that the anti-intellectualism which is a feature of US society is another contributing factor.

What really pissed me off isn't the election of Donald Trump and the failure to properly address the cause, but an ignorant statement made by someone in authority about US immigration. Although, not sure how much “authority" can be given to someone who is director of the US tenement museum. The comment was along the lines of people whose ancestors came here and became citizens somehow are similar to the "dreamers" of today.

Part of this was based on the fact that immigration laws weren't that strict up until the late 19th-early 20th Century; however there were still immigration laws.  That is a flawed argument for a myriad of reasons: the basic one being that laws change.  You can't legally try a case which happened in the past using current law or judge a modern case by outdated law.

Another issue at work here is the national myth that people came here for a better life, which wasn't always true.  The US needs to get in touch with its convict immigrant heritage since, besides slaves, not everyone came here for a better life.

Prior to the US War for Independence, the US was the dumping ground for England's convicts:
As the 17th century drew to a close, lawmakers sought a less harsh punishment that might still deter potential offenders; penal transportation with a term of indentured servitude became the more common punishment. This trend was continued by the Transportation Act 1717 (16 Geo. 3 c.43), which regulated and subsidized the practice, until its use was suspended by the Criminal Law Act 1776. With the American Colonies already in active rebellion, parliament claimed its continuance "is found to be attended with various inconveniences, particularly by depriving this kingdom of many subjects whose labour might be useful to the community, and who, by proper care and correction, might be reclaimed from their evil course". This law would become known as the Hard Labour act and the Hulks act for both its purpose and its result. With the removal of the important transportation alternative to the death penalty, it would in part prompt the use of prisons for punishment and the start of prison building programs. (source)
Of course, the situation here was solved by Australia, but that is an aside. The term "indentured servant" sounds a lot better than convict. it also plays into the aspirational aspect of the US myth: "your ancestors came to America as a Servant in hopes of a better life."

That plays out a lot better than your ancestors were shipped to the colonies to escape the noose.

Of course, it also puts a different light on early American immigration in that blacks weren't the only people shipped to the Colonies against their will.  And do some research into indentured servitude in the Early North American Colonies if you are going to try and argue that it wasn't as bad as being a slave.

Of course, trying to draw a distinction between slavery and indentured servitude is useful if you want to divide people up by race. Add "Bacons Rebellion" in Virginia to the reading list.

But the real issue here isn't slavery or race as much as it is the aspirational aspect of immigration. As long as the myth is that people came here for a better life, one might "forgive" a person for breaking the law because they want a better life for their family.  On the other hand, Australia used to have cheap fares for immigrants up until recently, but now has incredibly strict immigration laws. Is there a lesson to be learned here?

Personally, I don't think an unlawfully present person's life happens to be better since they know they can be deported. The "dream" if there really is one is that people will someone ignore that the unlawfully present person is violating immigration law: even if it doesn't come with strong penalties.

But the real upshot here is that the US deserves a president who gives the appearance of possibly being much more affluent than he really is (isn't that the real issue with his tax returns?).  One doesn't need tax returns since there are multiple bankruptcies and other evidence his "wealth" has not been beneficial to those around him.

But the bottom line is all about the dream.  Maybe it's time for a strong dose of reality.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Poor deluded racists

Just think of people who believe Europeans were white skinned, blue eyes, and blonde haired.

Too bad that isn't true.

Scientists have reconstructed his appearance based on 3D scans of the skull and information from the man's DNA and came up with the above image.

This changes this beliefs about Early Europeans:
It was initially assumed that Cheddar Man had pale skin and fair hair, but his DNA paints a different picture, strongly suggesting he had blue eyes, a very dark brown to black complexion and dark curly hair.

The discovery shows that the genes for lighter skin became widespread in European populations far later than originally thought – and that skin colour was not always a proxy for geographic origin in the way it is often seen to be today.
The Money Shot here:
Tom Booth, an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum who worked on the project, said: “It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions, that really are not applicable to the past at all.”
Yoan Diekmann, a computational biologist at University College London and another member of the project’s team, agreed, saying the connection often drawn between Britishness and whiteness was “not an immutable truth. It has always changed and will change”.

I really wish Pioneer Little Britain Europe hadn't banned me from their face book pages because I would post this every place I could.

See also:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Look not at Russia, but look at internal US problems

I wish that everyone who complains about Donald Trump being president would STFU and start working on repealing the electoral college: especially if they are rabbiting on about Russia.  Time would be much better spent working on reforming the US political system than trying to blame others for internal problems.

Anyway, the real suspects in how this mess happened are:

1) the electoral college 

Seriously, I've posted enough material about how this doesn't do anything it is claimed to do and needs to go.

2) the Diebold Voting Machine

I don't know about the other two states that went for Trump, but I do know Pennsylvania uses the things. Lots of talk about how these things are dodgy and not verifiable.  Yet more talk about Russians than that these things are still being used in US elections.

3) The Duopoly itself

Again, another thing I have been talking about a lot and won't go into again.  Look at the previous posts.

4) The media

 This is a seriously incestuous problem since even "lefty/liberal" and non-US source were demonstrating unreliability here. For example, The BBC was neglecting Bernie Sanders. Another example is that the Guardian spends a lot of time on the Russian BS.  Not much really worth reading out there.  But the news sources tend to be thing like AP. The Media built up Trump since he was good for ratings!

5) The Money in US Politics

Ever wonder how Bernie could out fund raise Hillary, yet Hillary gets the nomination? There's your answer: it's all documented in the Democratic Autopsy.


Anyway, that's the short list. There are a lot better suspects than the Russians out there for who to blame for the US's political problems.  Things won't get any better as long as people aren't examining the system itself.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I bet most of the critics can't read French.

I woke up to some interesting news this morning: the French Actress, Catherine Deneuve, and 99 other women, wrote a piece condemning the blanket #metoo. Catherine Deneuve is probably one of the few of these women most Anglophones are familiar with as an international film star. On the other hand, there are another 99 other women who signed this piece who come from varying points of view.

They also aren't as well known outside France.

First off, the article makes it clear that there is a difference between rape and sexual harassment with maladroit flirtation and gallantry. Maybe non-Gallic women don't like having the door held for them, but French women tend to expect it.

Secondly, most of the English language coverage I have seen of this tends to focus on the most well known signer of this letter, but 99 other women also signed this critique of the #metoo phenomenon.

The most important part is that the writers try to distinguish between sexual violence and men being awkward. The difference between a grope and an accident. The gist of the argument here seems to be:
 In the same way, we defend a freedom to annoy, indispensable to the sexual freedom. We are now sufficiently warned to declare that the sexual drive is by nature offensive and savage, but we are also sufficiently clairvoyant not to confuse clumsy flirtation with sexual assault.
I'm not sure this can be seen as "mansplaining" as much as it is translation and cultural interpretation.  Especially since I see most of the critics probably haven't read the letter in its original French, or they don't understand the cultural under currents of this letter. Catherine Deneuve, star of Belle de Jour which is about sexual fantasy, as the face of this argument.

But there is much more to this letter than the Anglophone media lets on which needs to be addressed in this debate without resorting to an ad hominem toward one of the signers. People need to get the whole story before they comment since this letter addresses an important part of the debate.

The actual letter is here:
www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/01/09/nous-defendons-une-liberte-d-importuner-indispensable-a-la-liberte-sexuelle_5239134_3232.html

I'm not sure if the commenters will bother reading it since that seems to be the case with most of the people I hear discussing the letter.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fire and Fury or Smoke and Mirrors

Part of the reason I don't pay too much attention to the US media is that there aren't too many viewpoints truly represented.  That's because the media in in the hands of the few. Even "public media" tends to  be under the control of the corporations (i.e., Underwriting or commercials by any other name).

Whatever "Russian" interference in the US political system is negligible compared to the internal problems of the system. Most of the things they were saying about Hillary weren't anything that wasn't already out there.

We can start with the Class Action lawsuit against the Democratic Party for its failing to follow its own by laws, which is sort of another post. On the other hand, it gets us to one of the failings of the primary system: they are pretty much for show.

The report,Autopsy: the Democratic Party in Crisis, gets into the failings of the machine system. You can read that for how the Democratic party basically screwed itself.  I have problems with saying that Clinton lost the election since she won the popular vote, but that doesn't determine the real outcome of the election. The real result comes from the electoral college, which really doesn't do what it is supposed to do.

That is something I've gone into depth on, but read this post for the "executive summary" of why the Electoral College needs to go.

But the blame doesn't just go to the Democratic Party since the duopoly really screwed the American public in 2016.  There is another report that show the duopoly is failing the public, "Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America" by Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. Porter. I don't totally agree with their premise since real competition in the form of viable "third parties" might help get rid of the stagnation in the US political system.

The problem is that the US political system is rigged for the two parties and it's hard for alternative parties to run on the state and federal level. The truly conservative need to step up to the plate and follow their talk about competition since consolidation IS NOT competition: it is monopoly. And monopolies are as anti-competitive as you can get.

Friday, January 5, 2018

More "Fire and Fury"

From Ted Rall:
If Wolff and Bannon are to be believed — and so far, there is no reason not to — Trump didn’t want the job. His team wanted him to lose. “Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary,” Wolff writes. “His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable-news star. Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn’t become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning.”
            Wanting to lose explains Trump’s refusal to contribute to his own run. It explains his barebones campaign, with its weird lack of field offices, his sleepy national HQ and his cheapskate approach to TV ads. The dude ran for president yet refused to spend the night in a hotel room.

I have been wondering if the game plan was that Clinton would lose the popular vote, yet win in the electoral college.  That would have led to an uproar from the right.

Unfortunately, people are talking about everything except for what really went wrong in the last election.

The real issue here is that the US needs to take a time out to seriously examine its political climate.

Another thing from Ted:
The second takeaway here is that Hillary was an even worse candidate than her biggest detractors (cough cough) believed. Ruminate on this: she lost to a man who tried to lose...So think on that a while. Hillary Clinton was so sucky that she lost to the suckiest, stupidest, losingest candidate anyone ever dreamed of.
That's bad if someone who intended to lose actually won against someone who thought she had the game sewn up to win.

Lost in the "Fire and Fury"

Michael Wolff's explosive book, "Fire and Fury" has about 1000 damning and alarming revelations.  To some on the left, it's more "Yep, that's exactly how it appeared, funny to see it confirmed," but most, including me are in utter disbelief that Trump is in fact even MORE impotent, petulant, and mean than his outward, odious persona gives off.

But I noted one point Bannon made, one which many seemed to have overlooked.  Bannon said that if Kushner, Mannafort and Trump Jr. were going to "treasonously (Bannon's word)" meet with Russians, they should have been smart enough to do so at a Motel 6 in New Hampshire or some other innocuous place because then they could have denied it more easily.

Think about that for a moment.  Bannon is saying "you guys are so stupid, why didn't you at least be smart enough to give yourself a way to cover it up?"  Now, to be fair to Bannon, he said HE would have called the FBI, he didn't say he wouldn't have taken the meeting, he just would have taken it in some out of the way place.  Bannon called the meeting treasonous and dumb as s***, but he also gave us an insight into how the Republican "Alt-Right" and for that matter, leadership, thinks.  Go get dirt if you can, but find a way to cover it up.  He SAYS he'd have gone to the FBI, sure he would have... does anyone really believe Bannon didn't hear about this afterward?  Why didn't Bannon go to the FBI?  He gave himself and the Republican party's attitude away.  Using a foreign adversary to stick a dagger in a Democrat is perfectly fine, doesn't matter if it's illegal, after all THEY would do it to you (no evidence of that of course), but make sure you can lie about it.

Bannon is more like Trump than he thinks and Trump is a child full of angry fire and petty fury.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Trump a mistake

Seriously,  I have to wonder about whether this picture accurately describes the game plan for the 2016 election.

The reason for my saying this is that Trump's campaign has been described as a clown car in quite a few places (e.g. the Economist).

Now, there is a book out that pretty much cements all the rumours about the Trump campaign. Michael Wolff's, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, claims that Trump was horribly unprepared for the challenge he took on. It seems to me that Trump wasn't supposed to be the winner in the election.

According to this book:
"Shortly after 8pm on Election Night, when the unexpected trend - Trump might actually win - seemed confirmed, Don Jr told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears - and not of joy. There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon's not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump. But still to come was the final transformation: Suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be, and was wholly capable of being, the president of the United States."

On the other hand, Tony Blair commented  about the claims made about him in the book that “This story is a complete fabrication, literally from beginning to end. I’ve never had such conversation in the White House, outside of the White House, with Jared Kushner, with anybody else.”

I have to admit that if Trump's election was a monumental fuck up in that Clinton was supposed to have won, that his election makes serious scrutiny of the Electoral College a must: far more than silly allegations of Russian Interference in the election. 

Any screw ups in the US electoral system are purely home grown: they don't need anyone else to make the system worse.

After all, the Election was framed as a choice between two of the worst possible candidates imaginable.