Friday, February 22, 2019

Reasonable Doubt

Ok, the presupposition is that Russians somehow interfered in the US election. Question would be how?
Were they responsible for Hillary Clinton being the Democratic Party Nominee?
Were they responsible for Trump being the Republican one?
Were they responsible for Bernie Sanders?
Given the Democrats made it clear that the e-mails weren't an issue during the election: why would their revealing them have rigged the election?
Since I mentioned "attempt", there is another legal issue here called "reasonable doubt", which is the standard in a criminal prosecution. The evidence must be so convincing that no reasonable person would ever question the defendant’s guilt. The standard requires that the evidence offer no logical explanation or conclusion other than that the defendant committed the crime. The doubt doesn't need to be absolute, only reasonable.
“Beyond a reasonable doubt” doesn’t mean, however, that the prosecution must eliminate all unreasonable doubts a jury could possibly have. Nor must the prosecution prove the case beyond a shadow of a doubt or to an absolute certainty. These would be impossible burdens because only witnesses to an alleged crime can be certain—and even then, not all witnesses can be certain. Rather, this highest of standards requires—after consideration of all facts—only one logical conclusion: that the defendant is indeed guilty.
So, if there is another explanation, which is far more plausible, then we have reasonable doubt. Anyone pushing Russiagate has to address the fact that Hillary Clinton was an unpopular candidate who ran a poor campaign that lost in the electoral college.

That means we can have something which is a far more obvious and better explanation, then we have reasonable doubt. Anything that makes the allegations questionable is reasonable doubt.

In my case, I have yet to see how the Russians did anything beyond point out the flaws in the system. What happened was more like someone witnessing a crime and then reporting it.

See also:

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Heckler & Koch ceases US sales

Heckler & Koch announced today that it has adopted a more ethical export control policy than the German government's. H&K announced that will no longer to sell arms into warzones or to countries that violate corruption and democracy standards.
Heckler & Koch – sometimes called Germany’s deadliest company by activists – said it would now sell only to “green countries,” which it defined according to three criteria: membership of Nato or “Nato-equivalent” (Japan, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand); Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index; and the Economist Intelligence Unit’s democracy index.
 The US fails in two categories and Trump is talking about removing the US from NATO.

I applaud Heckler & Koch for being a corporate good citizen and realising that the US is one place where arms do not belong.

If the US isn't a "crisis region", I don't know what is!

See also:

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Why isn't stuff like this being discussed in USMSM when they mention Russiagate?

More evidence that any rigging or corruption in the 2016 Presidential Election was home grown.

I'm sorry, but you have a fuck of a lot of explaining about the suppression of Bernie Sanders and his supporters during the primary to address before anyone even thinks of mentioning Russians.

Let's toss this in for good measure.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Attempt in law.

Now people are telling me that the Russians attempted to rig the US election.

OK, Black letter: Attempt is comprised of three elements: (1) intent to commit a crime; (2) conduct that constitutes a substantial step toward completing the crime and (3) a failure to complete the crime.

The question is were elements (1) and (2) present?

Now, maybe the Russians DID intend to rig the election, did they do anything substantial to complete that crime?

On the other hand, we have internal DNC memos where they talk about having Trump be the "Pied Piper Candidate"?

Now, it's a totally different kettle of fish if the people who actually DID the crime were US citizens and the Russians were the ones who reported it.

There is a difference between and attempt and reporting a crime. I think the Russians reported what was going on.

The Russians didn't instigate it. The DNC did.

See also:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The proper Originalist interpretation of the Second Amendment

I can go into a long analysis of why the Heller and McDonald decisions are bullshit, but here is the simple take down using the Originalists' own description of their school of interpretation. That is:
"Constitutional interpretation should remain anchored in the original meaning of the Constitution’s text, which is the source of the Court’s authority and legitimacy."
 OK, it's not popular to use the preamble. Most people miss that it says more than just "We the people". Instead it says:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Let's take these words as the original intent of the founders for what the Constitution is supposed to be about. How do the Heller and McDonald decisions address these issues? They don't: they expand the Constitution to include matters of self-defence.

On the other hand, the Constitution makes it clear that it addresses matters of the common defence. One can look at the transcripts of the debates relating to the adoption of the Constitution to see that the intent of the founders was to address the common defence. While the people who try to promote a concept of gun rights use the Patrick Henry's "The great object is, that every man be armed" to support that, the actual quotation was made in relationship to Article I, Section 8, Clause 16.

Henry makes that clear in the paragraph before the above misquotation comes from. In fact the complete paragraph takes a different meaning when it is read in its complete form:
May we not discipline and arm them, as well as Congress, if the power be concurrent? so that our militia shall have two sets of arms, double sets of regimentals, &c.; and thus, at a very great cost, we shall be doubly armed. The great object is, that every man be armed. But can the people afford to pay for double sets of arms, &c.? Every one who is able may have a gun. But we have learned, by experience, that, necessary as it is to have arms, and though our Assembly has, by a succession of laws for many years, endeavored to have the militia completely armed, it is still far from being the case. When this power is given up to Congress without limitation or bounds, how will your militia be armed? You trust to chance; for sure I am that that nation which shall trust its liberties in other hands cannot long exist. If gentlemen are serious when they suppose a concurrent power, where can be the impolicy to amend it? Or, in other words, to say that Congress shall not arm or discipline them, till the states shall have refused or neglected to do it? This is my object. I only wish to bring it to what they themselves say is implied. Implication is to be the foundation of our civil liberties; and when you speak of arming the militia by a concurrence of power, you use implication. But implication will not save you, when a strong army of veterans comes upon you. You would be laughed at by the whole world, for trusting your safety implicitly to implication.
That takes us to the real concern of the founders, which wasn't private guns. The concern was the militia. It was that Congress would indeed arm the militia as required by Article I, Section 8, Clause 16.

Had the authors of Heller and McDonald done some source checking, they would have seen the quotations used were taken out of context. Toss in that their cases were not cases of first impression: although US v Miller, is indeed not helpful since it contradicts the assertions made in the later cases.

This is a topic I've gone over before, but one doesn't need to go beyond the four corners of the US Constitution to see that Heller and McDonald are bullshit.

The authors were bound by precedent: even if they disagreed with that precedent.

Likewise, they were bound by their own claimed theory of interpretation to stick to the text and not engage in mental masturbation. And here is the text of the Second Amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The text explicitly says militia. It also says "provide for the common defence."

There is no mention of self-defence in the US Constitution. Even more importantly: there is no mention of keeping handguns in the home for defence.

If one wants to go to basic statutory interpretation as used by the founders: "expressio unius est exclusio alterius."  That is when one or more things of a class are expressly mentioned others of the same class are excluded. In other words, you can't read shit into the text which isn't there.

That is called legislation, which is a no no for judges.

Judges interpret the law as written, they don't make it. And they sure as fuck don't amend the constitution if they believe that is the source of their authority.

It says fuck all about self-defence. As Presser v. Illinois said:
The Constitution and laws of the United States will be searched in vain for any support to the view that these rights are privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States independent of some specific legislation on the subject.
And while Presser was more along the lines of the "unorganised militia" argument. I would say that its holding would be even stronger had the issue been solely the possession of arms by civilians. That's because promoting the general welfare makes regulation of firearms a no brainer.

And the Second Amendment only relates to Congress' power under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 to arm the militia.

So, let's cut the silly buggers. US v Miller said:
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.
And Aymette said:
Suppose it were to suit the whim of a set of ruffians to enter the theatre in the midst of the performance, with drawn swords, guns and fixed bayonets, or to enter the church in the same manner, during service, to the terror of the audience; and this were to become habitual; can it be, that it would be beyond the power of the legislature to pass laws to remedy such an evil? Surely not. If the use of arms in this way cannot be prohibited, it is in the power of fifty armed ruffians to break up the churches, and all other public assemblages, where they might lawfully come, and there would be no remedy. But we are perfectly satisfied that a remedy might be applied.
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.
Sorry, but the Second Amendment relates to the military, not private arms.

Bottom line: the US Constitution addresses matters of the common defence, not self-defence. A judge cannot change that by fiat.

Especially if they believe in the Constitution as written.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Voting for something, rather than against something

OK, one of the Main Stream Media narratives is that people who voted for third parties were doing it as a protest vote. But that couldn't be more inaccurate.

I was voting for things I believed in when I voted Green. Toss in a vote for Clinton would have been truly a waste of a vote since she won the popular vote, yet still lost the election. My one vote wouldn't have changed that, and I doubt the votes of others who also voted for third parties would have changed the election either. But I've gone on about how the Electoral College distorts the vote ad nauseum.

There were two issues which were conspicuously absent for me in the 2016 presidential election: the environment and the political process. The Green Party addressed both of those issues. Toss in that the Green Party was pretty much where my politics lay.

Number on in the Green Party's Ten key Values are "Grassroots Democracy", which is something that starts with political reform. The points listed there are pretty much something which needs to be brought into the public forum. Yet they are neglected in the media discussion of how the 2016 election went wrong.

The bottom line in the "Russian interference" narrative is that the Russians used the US political system against itself.  Election security depends on ridding the system of the flaws that enabled an election like that in 2016.

The reality is that I was disillusioned with the two party system and wanted an alternative. I was voting for that alternative in the hope that it would gain enough support to be noticed by the media and the political parties.

I wasn't voting for an evil. I was voting for a better future.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Who needs Russians when you have Hillary?

Take a candidate with a reputation for saying anything and doing nothing. Toss in her credibility problem. Then let her go out without handlers and unscripted...

As I have said, the standard for a criminal conviction is beyond a reasonable doubt. You can provide reasonable doubt by providing evidence that there might be another, more plausible, reason for something.

Toss in that the only thing the Russians are supposed to have done was use internal Democratic National Committee documents to throw the election.

Maybe the Russians are responsible for Hillary Clinton being the candidate as well.

See also:

Close election, or bad campaign?

OK, I strongly believe that Sanders would have won the 2016 Election had he been allowed to run. He was the people's candidate in that he ran on small donations. He also got people energised.

Whatever the case, that is moot since the Democrats made it clear they preferred to lose with Clinton than Win with Sanders.

I don't need anyone to tell me what I saw was due to Russian Influence: there is more than enough documentation of how the Democrats tried to silence dissent throughout the election.

Anyway, I make it obvious I like to play with the interactive maps at 270towin because one of the underlying assumptions of the "Russian Influence" argument is that the popular vote mattered (it didn't).

Take the actual results of the Electoral votes:

Now superimpose this map of where the results were considered close:

it puts paid to the argument that Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were the three states that somehow "mattered" in the election. It also shows why the pundits were saying that Clinton would win in a landslide in the electoral college (remember, most states are winner take all no matter what the actual result would be).

On the other hand, it show how silly the "Russian Influence" and "Third Party voter" arguments are to the actual results in the Electoral College. Clinton could have won with a couple of the close states.

Yet she didn't.

Also, this shows that the Electoral College leads to a national race and protects smaller states arguments are wrong.

Fair Vote pointed out that two-thirds (273 of 399) of the general-election
campaign events in the 2016 presidential race were in just 6 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan).

94% of the 2016 events (375 of the 399) were in 12 states (the 11 states identified in early 2016 as "battleground" states by Politico and The Hill plus Arizona). This fact validates the statement by former presidential candidate and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin on September 2, 2015, that “The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president.

BTW, Clinton could have won the election if she had Electoral College wins in North Carolina and Florida, the two states with the most campaign events.

Any attempts at influencing the elections by a foreign power would be difficult given the distortions of popular vote by the Electoral College.

Anyway, the bottom line is that Clinton was a poor candidate who ran a bad campaign.

You can't blame the Russians for that. Unless you want to tell me that the DNC is somehow part of the Russian Plot.

See also:
Two-thirds of Presidential Campaign Is in Just 6 States
FairVote: The Electoral College
Electoral College Distortions: "Winner" could lose popular vote by a landslide

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

What do I say to liberals to get them to understand we did not vote for Trump, we voted against Hillary and everything she represents?

Wow! what a loaded question from Quora. I would love to answer it there, but it seems a bit pointless for a few reasons.

The first is that the first answer is pretty good for someone unfamiliar with the US political process. The second is that any answer would be buried in the abusive answers he received.

Anyway, I'm guessing this person has voter's remorse, which happens in a system where someone has to pick a "lesser evil" (or a Scylla and Charybdis election).

First off, I would point out that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with one of the largest margins ever. Or conversely that Trump lost it with one of the largest margins ever. The US is unique in having something called the Electoral College, which means the popular vote is pretty much meaningless. Clinton would have had to win the popular vote in at least Florida and one of the following states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin (i.e., win the popular vote in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) to have won in the Electoral College.

The Electoral College is something that truly needs to be abolished.

But you can feel easy that your one vote isn't what cost Clinton the election. That's because unless your vote wouldn't have changed too much unless you  happened to live in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin. Even then, one vote seriously wouldn't have changed the outcome of the election. But that is an oversimplification based on possibilities of Clinton winning any of those States.

Also, how did the election turn out in your state in regard to the Electoral College votes? You are in the clear if you lived in one of the States where Clinton won the Electoral College votes ("Blue State") since your vote didn't count: Clinton won those anyway.

Likewise, your vote didn't really mean much if you were in a "Red State". It wouldn't matter who you voted for in that case: Clinton lost.

Still, your problem is an example of why it is wrong to vote against a candidate instead of for someone you believe in. But basing an election on lesser evils means you have to vote for evil.

Sure, you could do what I did and vote for a third party because that party held values you share (or was most representative of your beliefs). The Greens were pretty much what Bernie was promoting: and I had no idea what Clinton was actually for (other than herself).

Did you consider voting for Gary Johnson if you believe in libertarian values?

One nice thing about voting for third parties is that can automatically get on the ballot and in the debates if they get enough percentage of the vote.

Anyway, you should make it clear that the popular vote is meaningless for President in the United States. Also, you should point out that you voted for the candidate you considered the lesser evil. That means an evil candidate still wins.

I voted Green because I don't vote for evil: lesser or otherwise. I also voted for a candidate and party which represents the values I believe in.

So, maybe you might want to look into a third party candidate next time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Netherlandish Proverbs

I love Bernie Sanders: don't get me wrong.

I was one of his early supporters in 2016 since I couldn't see Hillary Clinton run unopposed for President.

I am firmly of the belief he would have won and been a much better president than anyone else if he had a chance to win.

Unfortunately, the "Democratic Party" has been biased against truly progressive candidates: as Henry Wallace and Bernie Sanders have shown. Those are the most obvious examples of the "Democratic Party" not being truly democratic.

Sanders was the people's candidate in that he ran his campaign on small donations. He was like "the people's millionaire" who had one million people send him a dollar each. Yet the "Democratic Party" chose to run Hillary Clinton with the obvious result that she lost.

And she lost in such a way that she should never think of running for office. Also that her supporters should accept that they are pretty much responsible for the Trump presidency. I say this because Clinton could not understand that the electoral college was where the election would really be won.

And while Clinton had one of the largest popular victories ever, that means fuck all.

The system is corrupt in that it is rigged against the popular candidate, whether in the primary process or the actual election being thwarted by the Electoral College.

There is an irony that someone who "won" the nomination (Clinton) did do in a way that a popular candidate (Sanders) would lose. But the system is rigged so that the popular vote is meaningless and her victory is without significance. Even more importantly her campaign was clueless to that aspect of the election.

Where do Netherlandish Proverbs come into all of this? At the bottom of the painting is a man filling in a hole where the calf has drowned ("Als het kalf verdronken is, dempt men de put").  This is the Dutch equivalent of "shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted". This saying is quite widespread in the Dutch language. It is used in many occasions where something should have been done before, but nothing has been done.

The "Democratic Party" has already demonstrated that it isn't democratic in any way. Likewise, it will look for every excuse and issue except for what has actually led to this mess. That requires too much self-examination for the establishment parties.

So, while I was hopeful that a Sanders candidacy could have been meaningful in 2016: that election demonstrated that the popular vote is meaningless.  I have happily left the two party system to once again be an independent.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Oh, Dear! Puhhlleeezzee drop the Russian Troll Thing.

OK, the first question you need to get around is why did Hillary Clinton lose the election? She won the popular vote by one of the largest margins EVER in an election. That is nearly 3 million votes.

Where she lost the election was in the electoral college, which is an institution found in the US Constitution. You can find it in USC Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2-4 along with the 12th Amendment. The fact that this institution was changed early on in the republic (1803-1804) demonstrates its problematic nature.

Any Russian influence in creating the electoral college would have to date back to the founding of the US given that Electoral College was the body that actually made Trump President. You can read about how the electoral college works here.

I should add that the Electoral College's main purpose is to thwart the popular vote, which it actually has done in 5 elections. The elections of 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016 produced an Electoral College winner who did not receive at least a plurality of the nationwide popular vote. In 1824, there were six states in which electors were legislatively appointed, rather than popularly elected, so it is uncertain what the national popular vote would have been if all presidential electors had been popularly elected. There have been five United States presidential elections in which the winner lost the popular vote including the 1824 election, which was the first U.S. presidential election where the popular vote was recorded.

Toss in that Clinton could have gotten enough votes in the electoral college by:

1) Winning the popular vote in all three states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
2) Winning the popular vote in Florida and at least one of the following states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

The 2000 Election focused on Florida, but a popular vote win for Gore in Ohio could have also led to his victory (see The 2016 narrative focuses on Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, but is flawed since none of those states were solidly for Clinton. Michigan and Wisconsin went for Sanders in the primaries. I would toss in the result of the 2008 Michigan primary where:
"In Michigan, where Obama and other candidates removed their name from the ballot, Clinton won against "Uncommitted" (i.e., a vote for nobody) 55-40%. Exit poll respondents said that if all candidates had been on the ballot, they would have voted 46% Clinton, 35% Obama, 12% Edwards, 3% other."
I definitely would not call Michigan solid for Clinton in 2008 and 2016. But the Dems made it clear they preferred to lose with Clinton than possibly win with Sanders. But that's another post.

The bottom line here is that no one state's popular vote would have gotten Clinton the presidency. Additionally, it was a chance to expect Michigan and Wisconsin to vote for Clinton.

Next we get to the Clinton supporters who made it clear that Donald trump would not be President:

I would also add the Clinton Supporters who said things like:

Next we have allegations that the Democratic National Committee rigged the Election against Sanders. And from what I get, the e-mails which have been alleged to have been provided by Russia were internal Democratic Party messages. These messages were not new revelations, but pretty much a confirmation of what was being said about the DNC being biased for Clinton.

If anything, the "Russian Bots", or whatever the fuck you want to call them, were basically using the failings of the US system of elections against itself.

So, maybe there were Russian bots, but nothing a foreign power could do would have screwed up the 2016 elections worse than what internal US forces did. And the really sad thing is that a lot of these things could have been avoided have the election been run with fairness principles which have disappeared over the last 40 years.

So, the real joke is on the comedians who gave Trump far more publicity than he deserved because of ratings.  Are those people Russian bots?

Anyway, you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Russians did indeed cause a Trump win.  Using that standard, you've lost the game before you've even started.

See also: