Friday, September 22, 2017

Good resources on the electoral college and how it distorts the vote.

The first one is this report from the Pew Charitable trust on how the Electoral College distorts the vote.

The second is this map at 270towin.com which demonstrates that Green voters did not sway the election.  Yes, I could have wasted my vote on Clinton adding to her popular vote victory, but it would have done fuck all in the long run other than piss me off.

The lesson of Bernie Sanders was the US system of elections is anything but free and fair, which means the US is neither a democracy or a republic.

FairVote has a really good section on the Electoral College and how it does none of the things it is claimed to do.  It doesn't give the smaller states any equality and it doesn't create a national president. In fact, the 2016 campaign was pretty much in 4 states!

And let's not forget that the Electoral College was to prevent incompetents from being president as well as foreign powers somehow influencing the election.

Seriously, the Electoral College needs to go along with a lot of other electoral reforms before you can say this is a republic or a democracy.

Monday, September 18, 2017

MISOGYNISTS FOR JILL STEIN

That sounds pretty dumb doesn't it, but that is sort of what happened if you listen to the Clinton supporters.  They liked playing the woman card in both 2008 and 2016.

Remember "Obama Bros"?  And there is talk that the Barack Obama was a Kenyan Muslim began with somebody from Clinton's campaign back in 2008.

Given that the ad hominem attack is the sign somebody is losing the debate, we could indeed say Clinton lost before she even started running.

BUT

People need to ponder the significance of this picture since it pretty much sums up what is wrong with politics in the US.

While Hillary's running wasn't the main reason I voted Green, it was one small factor in that decision.

And it reflected that the current state of US politics is broken.  Hillary was the symptom, not the disease.

ANYONE who isn't aware of this and discussing what the real problem is can't really make an accurate statement about what went wrong.  So, they are going to say silly things like "misogyny caused Clinton the election", "Jill Stein and the Greens caused Hillary the election", or "Russians stole the election".

Even if all those reasons are total BULLSHIT.

The Fact is Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 65,853,516 (48.5% votes) to Trump's 62,984,825 (46.4% votes), but lost in the electoral college by receiving 232 (43.1%) of the electoral votes to Trump's 306 (56.8%) votes.

That means the only thing which made Donald Trump president was the electoral college, an institution created by the US Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2-4). 


I'm not sure who or where this was posted in a newsgroup, but it sums up the thinking of the Jill Stein voters:
So let play something out, if we vote for Jill Stein (which we will) and she gets enough electoral votes that it keeps either Hillary or Donald from receiving enough electoral votes to grab the nomination, then Congress will vote from the top three to be the next president. We all know how much both parties hate Donald and that they are to corrupt to vote for Jill. So who does that leave? So in all actuality a vote for Jill isn't a vote for trump. And if we get enough people to vote for her we will get a third party. If everyone voting fear because they are scared of Trump voted for Jill she would win hands down. Here is the true argument we should be telling the fear voters. And if no one gets enough electoral votes, we will then see in full view that it is rigged by the fact both parties will vote for her. So in the least a vote for Jill is a vote for Hillary, at most a vote for Jill is a vote for Jill. Either way we would at the least have a third party nationally recognized from now on. Lets push this talking point. I think it might sway the scared people into voting their conscience knowing Donald won't get the presidency.
I know that my reasons for voting for the Green Party relate to a broken system: and not anything else.

See also:
Why Electoral College wins are bigger than popular vote ones | Pew Research Center

Thursday, September 14, 2017

United States v. Cruikshank 92 U.S. 542 (1875), the "lost" Second Amendment case

The Second Amendment part is short, very short:
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.
One would have to say it is cryptic. At least on first glance.

But, it is quite pithy.  Why would the Second Amendment right only mean that the "right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution"?  Why is it that the right granted " shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government"?

Presser v Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 6 S.Ct. 580, 29 L.Ed. 615 (1886), discusses Cruikshank, but it doesn't really go beyond what was said above.  Like McDonald, Presser was looking into the application of the Second Amendment to state law, but it came up with different results altogether.

Maybe because the Second Amendment right only relates to Congress' power under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16:

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;
This would mean that the first three US Supreme Court cases ALL said that the right related to this power.  Or as US v Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), stated:
The Constitution as originally adopted granted to the Congress power- 'To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; 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.' U.S.C.A.Const. art. 1, 8. 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.

The Militia which the States were expected to maintain and train is set in contrast with Troops which they were forbidden to keep without the consent of Congress. The sentiment of the time strongly disfavored standing armies; the common view was that adequate defense of country and laws could be secured through the Militia- civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.
The emphasised portion demonstrates that Scalia was correct when he said that Miller was not helpful to his analysis. Prior Supreme Court cases found that the right related to militia efficacy, not private arms or self-defence. Scalia was correct, the case law and precedents of the Court as stated in Cruikshank, Presser, and Miller totally contradict the Heller and McDonald decisions.

By the way, Justice William O. Douglas, who was on the Supreme Court at the time Miller was decided, glossed Miller in his dissent to Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S 143, 150 -51 (1972).


McDonald was an absurdity which I am amazed four justices could tolerate, but it probably came about because the sentiments of the time are to rip the Second Amendment from the constitutional framework of providing for the common defence.

The US Constitution is silent on the topic of self-defence. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius.

Anyway, one of the many failings of the gun control side in the Heller debate was its failure to rely on stare decisis since SCOTUS's case law was on board and most of the primary sources support the "civic right" interpretation. Now, we are stuck with two bad legal decisions from a high court to cause mischief. Fortunately, Heller-McDonald was limited, but there is more than enough case law to show "well-regulated" means under strict control (including USC art I,sec. 8, clause 14).

Monday, September 11, 2017

What about the parents?

DACA is Deferred Action for CHILDHOOD Arrivals, which makes me wonder what about the parents?

Seriously.

First off, the parents of these kids are the ones responsible for the kids' lack of proper immigration status, but more importantly what is the status of the parents?  I think it might be safe to assume that the parents are also unlawfully present in the US.

Let's toss in that these caring parents have chosen a path which could lead to the children being deported and barred for anywhere from five, ten, or 20 years, and in some cases, ever being able to return to the U.S. at all. Not to mention that is could mean NEVER becoming a US citizen.

Why isn't that being discussed?

So, we are supposed to feel sorry for these poor children who came here unlawfully because mommy and daddy weren't willing to obey the rules.  The kiddies are being snatched from a nation where they don't have a legal right to be (immigration is a privilege, not a right).

And families are being broken apart.

What?????

But if the parents are being deported, shouldn't the children as well?

Anyway, I would rather have someone like Abdi Iftin or a few hundred thousand Rohinga Muslims who are willing to follow the rules enter the country than allow someone who should be barred from citizenship according to US law to be fast tracked into citizenship,

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Wasting votes

I find it odd that people who claim to be liberal and believe in democracy would demonise people who vote third parties.  Especially since that is pretty anti-democratic and authoritarian behaviour to persecute people based on their political leanings.

One of the allegations is that somehow I "wasted my vote". Now, let's look at the result of the 2016 election.

Not the big 306 "votes" for Trump or the 232 "votes" for Clinton, but the real numbers representing the popular vote.

The Fact is Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 65,853,516 (48.5% votes) to Trump's 62,984,825 (46.4% votes), but lost in the electoral college by receiving 232 (43.1%) of the electoral votes to Trump's 306 (56.8%) votes.


The fact is that the Electoral College is really where votes count, not the popular vote. But there is distortion even when the popular vote sort of aligns with the Electoral College results.

The problem is the anti-democratic Electoral College is not being discussed with all sorts of other silly theories being bandied about.

But, the bottom line is that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million.

Maybe my one vote might have changed the result, but the fact is that is not likely given the nature of the Electoral College.

I should have mentioned that one of the many attractive points about the Green Party is that it was talking about meaningful election reform.  They were also talking about how the duopoly has hijacked the elections. This hijacking is so bad tha the League of Women Voters withdrew its sponsorship of the presidential debates in 1988 because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.

But neither party is discussing the real result of the election, which is that Clinton won.

Personally, I know how I felt in 2000 when Gore won the popular vote only to be stripped of the victory by the US Supreme Court stopping the recounts

I don't regret the way I voted and would still do it again knowing the outcome.  In fact, I feel sorry for the people who appear to not realise that the loss was in the Electoral College, not the popular vote.

I think the people who voted for Clinton are the ones who wasted their votes this time.  And they will keep wasting them until real election reform becomes an issue. 

And one of the most important reforms is getting rid of the Electoral College.

So long, and thanks for all the money.

OK, I knew that one of the anti-DACA talking points was BS: that unlawfully present people do not pay taxes.

They do using something called an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). The ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure that people, including unauthorized immigrants, pay taxes even if they do not have a Social Security number and regardless of their immigration status.

The ITIN doesn't grant any sort of immigration status, but many immigrants have them. 

The ITIN is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, for example 9XX-7X-XXXX. It seems to be it would be obvious if someone is trying to work without proper authorisation to the immigration authorities doing a record check.

A lot of countries levy a fine against people who are unlawfully present.  Any funds paid should be considered a penalty for failing to properly comply with immigration status.

So long, and thanks for all the money.

 See also:
 The Facts About the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)

Friday, September 8, 2017

More DACA Bullshit.

As I said in my last post, I am not anti-Immigrant and I believe in free movement, but one needs to follow the rules. I don't give a shit where the unlawfully present immigrant comes from--they are not present with legal authorisation, they should expect the consequences.

Next. The rule of law means that the law applies to EVERYBODY EQUALLY.  Somebody breaks the law, they should expect the consequences.

Secondly, unless you are a citizen: entering and exiting a nation is not a right, it is a privilege.
The admission of aliens to this country is not a right, but a privilege, which is granted only upon such terms as the United States prescribes.  338 U. S. 542.
I don't get where the fuck people who are not US nationals (or the nationals of any other country) think they somehow they have a right to be in a country where they are not citizens.  The BREXIT thing is showing that the right to free movement can be lost by non-citizens who had a right to free movement.

So, I really don't get people who are unlawfully present somehow believing they have an entitlement to remain in a nation.  Pretty much all the nations in the world will deport: some impose criminal penalties before deportation.

And don't get me into the Palestinian situation (short form: I think people should STFU about supporting US illegals until they step up to the plate and support Palestinian right of return).

So, unless you are a citizen of a country--don't expect to have a right to reside in that country.

The US has been pretty nice to its unlawfully present aliens, but it looks as if the undocumented are now getting a nasty surprise. 

The dream was actually a nightmare.

I don't get DACA and its supporters.

OK, lets start with the silly "people can't be illegal" argument.

It's not the people who are "illegal"--it's their lack of proper immigration status (i.e., tourist, resident alien, or what I am going to call "citizen candidate") that is illegal.

Sorry, I am all for immigration and free movement, but fuck you if you aren't going to live by the rules.  You took your chances, you live with the consequences.

Some illegals pay people smugglers as much if not way more than they would pay a good immigration lawyer. Really fuck them. And I say that for a lot of reasons. The people smugglers are serious criminals.

There are more than enough people out there who are willing to follow the rules, no matter how difficult, to immigrate that I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who want to bypass the system.  As I said above, You took your chances, you live with the consequences.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) doesn't grant any real immigration status, it just defers the deportation status.  These people could be, and now are, being threatened with, or possibly, deported.

The worst part about DACA is that children are being used as pawn in the debate. One trick in propaganda is to use emotions. And what tugs on your heartstrings more than some poor little kiddie whose parents brought him to another country in violation of the law, but has somehow assimilated enough so that returning to their native land would be a "hardship".

They have gone on to:
"Did you know this about DACA recipients: 95% are working, in college or have joined our military, 48% got a job with better working conditions, 90% got a driver’s license or state ID and 12% were even able to buy a first home."
"Joined our military"--that sends bells ringing in my head since the US Military is SUPPOSED to check immigration status--and DACA recipients AREN'T US CITIZENS, they aren't even on a path to citizenship!

I know of at least one case where a woman "self-deported" because she couldn't get federal college funds.

Something stinks about all the pro-DACA reporting, but I can't really put my finger on it.  I think Breitbart did, but unfortunately they are considered unreliable.  I would need some sort of unbiased verification of that story to really cite to it.  My personal inclination is to think Breitbart is onto something.

The problem is that this seems to be a big smoke screen to me for a lot of other things related to immigration policy.  The usual hard questions where the debate is being done in the dark because people are being lied to.

See also
Open Borders: Human Smuggling Fees.
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) - Immigration Equality
Raised in America, now back in Mexico: 'The country I loved kicked me out'
Billionaires Petition for Cheaper Workers, DACA Amnesty - Breitbart

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The US is neither a republic nor a democracy

If free and fair elections on a secret ballot are one of the criteria for both systems.
Likewise, five million votes separated Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the popular vote during the 2012 election. It would be a stretch to call the 2012 presidential election a particularly close one with a margin that large. But because of the peculiarities of the Electoral College, a shift in just three hundred thousand votes in four states would have made Romney, rather than Obama, the president. Similarly John Kerry would have defeated George Bush in the Electoral College with a shift of fewer than a hundred thousand votes in Ohio.

I want to post these results since there are people who claim to be "constitutional conservatives" who like the electoral college. I wonder how they can tolerate it when results like the one above are the norm in this system?

The only real reason it continues to exist is that it allows the duopoly ("Republicans" and "Democrats") to control the system. In fact, most electoral reforms would cut into the duopoly's system of control, which is why election reform and voting rights aren't high on the agenda.

So, when you think that the electoral college is somehow "good", just remember how much it distorts the vote.  It works both ways.  In fact, this distortion is more disturbing to me than the 2016 result was, but notice that no one talks about how the distortion of presidential election results is common in US politics.

Even among the "constitutional conservatives" who defend this bullshit.

I should also add that sham elections which are elections that are without any purpose or significance and meant purely for show are a feature of dictatorships. These elections may have choices, but they are meaningless choices which do not truly express popular opinion.  These type of elections are meant to try and establish a sense of legitimacy for an illegitimate government.

Given the results of the electoral college in distorting the popular vote, or totally negating it, one truly has to wonder why people try to establish a false distinction between republics and democracies other than many republics (e.g., USSR, German Democratic Republic, The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or Democratic Republic of Congo) are totalitarian states.

In fact, tolerating sham elections and a false democracy/republic ends up creating an oligarchy.

And you can't have either a democracy or a republic without free and fair elections on a secret ballot.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Brexit v DACA

EU citizens have a Fundamental RIGHT to free movement between member nations.[1] Prior to Brexit, a citizen of Holland could live in the UK or a Citizen of the UK could live in Belgium. You would still have to comply with local registration laws (e.g., Belgium), but they couldn't deport an EU citizen.

Brexit changed that and removed a right guaranteed by Treaties.

With Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, the people in question are "unlawfully present", which means they are non-compliant with immigration procedures. Deferred action:
is a discretionary, limited immigration benefit by DHS. It can be granted to individuals who are in removal proceedings, who have final orders of removal, or who have never been in removal proceedings. Individuals who have deferred action status can apply for employment authorization and are in the U.S. under color of law. However, there is no direct path from deferred action to lawful permanent residence or to citizenship.  And, it can be revoked at any time.
Deferred action doesn't really grant any right or permanent residency status.  In other words, people were still in danger of deportation under DACA. 

I want to add that most nations will deport a non-citizen who is not compliant with immigration procedures.

Deportation in and of itself can create consequences for international travel/movement.
But, there is a big difference between having a right to reside in a nation taken away from you and being deported because you DO NOT HAVE a right to be in the nation.

While it may create a sad tale, most nations do not show the same consideration the US has in trying to normalise people who have been "unlawfully present". There is no right for people to be unlawfully present to become citizens.

It is not racism, it is international law.

Footnotes:
[1] Article 3(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU); Article 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU); Titles IV and V TFEU; Article 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Gun Control Irony

It would be really ironic if instead of all the mass shootings the US has suffered (my condolences to the victims and their families), that the incident that caused people to realise the US needs gun control is an out of control suburban mother fighting over a notebook in a suburban Wal-Mart.
No, pulling a gun in this situation is not self-defence by any stretch of the imagination.  No one was fearing death or serious bodily injury which would justify even the threat of deadly force.

The woman pulling the gun is committing Felony Assault under Michigan law, Section 750.82.
The offense of Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW), is also known as Felonious Assault in Michigan. ADW is felony which is punishable by up to 4 years in prison. ADW is a crime which involves an assault with a deadly weapon (such as a gun or knife) or any other instrumentality which is fashioned or used as a weapon (car, club, bottle) which is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death. A criminal charge or conviction does not require actual physical contact or an injury. The offense is considered complete upon placing another in fear of an assault by a person who possesses a deadly weapon 
Michigan law requires that the defendant "must have honestly and reasonably believed that he or she was in danger of being killed, seriously injured or sexually assaulted" in order to use deadly force.  Additionally, the defendant "may only use as much force as he or she thinks is necessary at the time to protect himself or herself."

While a person may believe he or she had acted in self-defense, the police, prosecutor, judge and jury may disagree.


No shots need to be fired for her to be found guilty.

I'm not sure how the "pro-gun" crowd can defend this action.  I know responsible gun owners don't, but it's time they stepped up to the plate and admitted this shit happens too often with the relaxing of concealed carry law for it to be condoned.

It's time to give Presser v Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 6 S.Ct. 580, 29 L.Ed. 615 (1886) yet another plug.

One of the many failings of the Heller-McDonald bullshit is that those cases were not cases of first impression, but that post is coming in the future.

See also:

Friday, September 1, 2017

What is the difference between a Republic and a Democracy? (Part II)

Democracy cannot consist solely of elections that are nearly always fictitious and managed by rich landowners and professional politicians.

— Che Guevara, 1961
How the founders imagined a republic to work.
Part one was sort of a trick question since both systems embody these rules. It is non-sensical to try and distinguish between these systems in modern times.

This wasn't always the case as the Founders of the United States often criticised democracy, which in their time tended to specifically mean direct democracy, often without the protection of a constitution enshrining basic rights. James Madison argued, especially in The Federalist No. 10, that what distinguished a democracy from a republic was that the former became weaker as it got larger and suffered more violently from the effects of faction, whereas a republic could get stronger as it got larger and combats faction by its very structure.

The founders equated "democracy" with what we would call "anarchy", but they were working with ideals, not realities. 

What was critical to the American version of a republic, according to John Adams, was that the government be "bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend."  The rule of law is the concept where the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens which was the important factor in adopting the US Constitution.

The problem is that the founders didn't really understand republics, or perhaps were too fond of idealising them. The French philosopher who influenced the founders, Montesquieu, classified both democracies, where all the people have a share in rule, and aristocracies, where only some of the people rule, as republican forms of government in his "The Spirit of the Laws". Montesquieu was combining two very different forms of government into his concept of a republic.

This discussion should have started with the disclaimer that the modern type of "republic" itself is different from any type of state found in the classical world, or during the the concept bandied about during "the Enlightenment". The most important thing about real classical republics, they were either conquered by empires or became ones themselves. This becomes important in refuting Federalist #10: republics are not inherently stable, which was demonstrated in post-revolutionary France (the First Republic).
The reality: "We are not ze democracie, We are ze republique!"

The French demonstrated that the founders concept of republics was a ungrounded in fact at roughly the same time the Constitution was adopted.  Despite a strong guarantee of rights, the Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen de 1789, the First French Republic deteriorated into the Terror and then the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Another point, The term republic originated from the writers of the Renaissance as a descriptive term for states that were not monarchies, which gives a lot of latitude. On the other hand, now one can have a constitutional monarchy that is a democracy. This is important since Democracy comes from the Greek: δημοκρατία , Demokratía, which is literally "rule of the commoners". Democracy in modern usage, is a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as a parliament. I think a lot of people who try to differentiate between democracy and republic are really thinking of oligarchy, which is indeed neither system.

So, republics turn out to be more prone to problems  despite the founders' beliefs as a comparative study of US, French, and British history post 1789 demonstrates. And democracies tend to be far more stable than the founders believed.

The upshot is that the modern definition of a republic (from Latin: res publica, "public matter") is a sovereign state which is organized with a form of government in which power resides in elected individuals representing the citizen body and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law. Presently, the term "republic" commonly means a system of government which derives its power from the people rather than from another basis, such as heredity or divine right. But it can even be dangerous to assume a something calling itself a republic, or democracy, truly is one (e.g., Democratic People's Republic of Korea or Democratic Republic of Congo, which both happen to be dictatorships).

While hereditary and divine right were once the defining factor in monarchies, they no longer are. United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavian countries, Thailand, Japan and Bhutan turned powerful monarchs into constitutional monarchs with limited or, often gradually, merely symbolic roles. In other countries, the monarchy was abolished along with the aristocratic system (as in France, China, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Egypt). An elected president, with or without significant powers, became the head of state in these countries. In other words, Constitutional Monarchies tend to be democratic.

If there is any real advantage to a republic, it would have to be that it can eventually evolve.  But one has to be careful how it evolves as the French and US examples have shown.  The French revolution produced a republic that was highly factionalised and unstable.  France's transition to democracy has been a rough road. The US also has its own problems, which includes some people believing there is a "right to rebellion", which is false (US Constitution, Article III, Section iii).[1]

Likewise, the US is ridden with factionalism which can hinder governmental function.  I find it interesting that people who try to make a difference between republic and democracy usually tend to be the ones that support a crippling factionalism. In fact, I find the people who try to make that distinction don't support true republics or democracies, but are more interested in an autocratic system.

Perhaps this shows where their difference comes since the people who wish to hinder government by non-funding parrot the phrase that there is a difference between a republic and a democracy.  They are willing to stop governmental function.  On the other hand, Parliamentary democracies dissolve when they cannot pass spending bills since  in the Westminster parliamentary systems the defeat of a supply bill (one that concerns the spending of money) is seen to automatically require the government to either resign or ask for a new election, much like a no-confidence vote. A government in a Westminster system that cannot spend money is hamstrung,  which also called loss of supply.

Anyway, I worry whenever anyone tries to make a distinction between these two systems since there should be none in practise.  I would add that people who do try to make that distinction are aware of the anti-democratic nature of the US system and are comfortable with it. We should not end up with oligarchy pretending to be a republic.

But a country cannot and should not enforce political systems on others that it does not implement at home. The US needs to start living up to its self image as a democratic-republic.

[1] Which means the proper "threeper" symbol should be "III.iii" for that article and to show they are not patriots following the constitution, but people being seditious and acting unconstitutionally.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

You think you know what the Electoral College is about?

Take this quiz for an eye opener.
 Here's the link: https://www.270towin.com/quiz.php#.WaV7b9GQzIV

The electoral college really does none of the things it is supposed to do.

And ponder this before you say I am being a "liberal whiner" or such:
Clinton won a gigantic 370-168 electoral vote majority and became president, despite having won only 43 percent of the popular vote [in 1992].
https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2012/10/picking-president-dangers-and-weird-outcomes-electoral-college

Five million votes separated Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the popular vote during the 2012 election. It would be a stretch to call the 2012 presidential election a particularly close one with a margin that large. But because of the peculiarities of the Electoral College, a shift in just three hundred thousand votes in four states would have made Romney, rather than Obama, the president. Similarly John Kerry would have defeated George Bush in the Electoral College with a shift of fewer than a hundred thousand votes in Ohio.

Think about that when you try to say I am just being a whiner.

The Electoral College is anti-democratic and that is not a good thing in a nation which has presented itself as having free and fair elections to the point of fighting wars based on that lie.


See also, Eric Black's series in the Minn Post (not in any particular order):
And this:
Trump’s victory another example of how Electoral College wins are bigger than popular vote ones

Sunday, August 27, 2017

What is the difference between a Republic and a Democracy? (Part I)

I'm going to start this off in two parts because I want people's opinion on which of these systems embody the following principles?
  1.  A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; 
  2.  The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; 
  3.  Protection of the human rights of all citizens, and    
  4.  A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.
The rest of this will come in a later post.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Actions like Charlottesville should not be condoned.

Taken in Charlottesville, a block from Emancipation Park, by @HouseofRuin

The Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville was not covered by the First or Second Amendments as the above picture demonstrates.

The US Supreme Court decision, Presser v Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 6 S.Ct. 580, 29 L.Ed. 615 (1886), made this clear:
It cannot be successfully questioned that the State governments, unless restrained by their own Constitutions, have the power to regulate or prohibit associations and meetings of the people, except in the case of peaceable assemblies to perform the duties or exercise the privileges of citizens of the United States; and have also the power to control and regulate the organization, drilling, and parading of military bodies and associations, except when such bodies or associations are *268 authorized by the militia laws of the United States. The exercise of this power by the States is necessary to the public peace, safety and good order. To deny the power would be to deny the right of the State to disperse assemblages organized for sedition and treason, and the right to suppress armed mobs bent on riot and rapine.
Presser needs to be brought back into the "Second Amendment Jurisprudence", although it seems to boggle the mind that anyone could claim an armed assembly to somehow fit within the definition of "peaceably assemble".

We can go a bit further to the claim about one belonging to an "unorganised militia" leading to Second Amendment rights, but Presser made it clear that neither Presser nor the Lehr und Wehr Verein "had no license from the governor of Illinois to drill or parade as a part of the militia of the state, and was not a part of the regular organized militia of the state, nor a part of troops of the United States, and had no organization under the militia law of the United States."

Presser made it clear that:
The right voluntarily to associate together as a military company or organization, or to drill or parade with arms, without, and independent of, an act of congress or law of the state authorizing the same, is not an attribute of national citizenship. Military organization and military drill and parade under arms are subjects especially under the control of the government of every country. They cannot be claimed as a right independent of law. Under our political system they are subject to the regulation and control of the state and federal governments, acting in due regard to their respective prerogatives and powers. 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.
We can also get into the historic events which led to the adoption of the Constitution, one of which was Shays' Rebellion, along with the text of the Constitution to see that somehow trying to turn the "well-regulated militia" into a mob, which the insurrection theory does, is an absurdity.

The right needs to abandon its absurd interpretation of the Second Amendment, in particular that it somehow gives licence to rebellion.

Even more importantly, it needs to see where this absurdity has taken us. Time for this shit to stop.

See also:
The Chilling Effects of Openly Displayed Firearms

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Right-Wing Terrorism and Right-Wing Silence on Charlottesville

The GOP's continuing silence on Charlottesville is defeaning. The President made a false equivalency argument that both the left AND right operate with violence and therefore the blame for some guy driving his car into a crows was shared. However, I don’t recall the last time a leftist blew up an abortion center, killed a doctor performing legal services, knifed people standing up for teenage girls or blew up a federal building (or tried).

Claims of left wing accountability for what happened in Charlotte are absurd.  The left (improperly) attempts to squelch free speech, and I don’t support it, but they clearly are allowed to try and clearly are ALLOWED to boycott (like it or not). No one, though, is allowed to engage in premeditated acts of terrorism and intimidation. The left is not immune from engaging in violence, but it is rare compared to right-wing violence.  The GOP has falsely tried to claim the primary problem is a lack of civility on both sides, violence on both sides.  That is bullcrap, the primary problem is that the GOP, and more importantly conservatives has used dog whistle terminology to appeal to racism since the time of Reagan (and even before that if we include the writing of William F. Buckley - grandfather of modern conservatism).


The Anti-Defamation League’s site (a Jewish website focusing on anti-Semitic activities) notes:

“Over the past 10 years (2007-2016), domestic extremists of all kinds have killed at least 372 people in the United States. Of those deaths, approximately 74% were at the hands of right-wing extremists, about 24% of the victims were killed by domestic Islamic extremists, and the remainder were killed by left-wing extremists.” https://www.adl.org/education/resources/reports/murder-and-extremism-in-the-united-states-in-2016

Go read that again, 74% of ALL terrorism in the US over the past 10 years has been by right-wing extremists, 2% by left wing. That’s not equal, that’s not “Blackshirts”, it’s not left wing tyranny. It’s right-wing violence.

That's right, Right-Wing terrorism is 37 times more common that left-wing terrorism, and more than THREE times more common that Islamic terrorism.   The President cajoled President Obama for not calling it "Islamic terrorism" but Trump is SILENT on calling it right-wing terrorism. 

Bluntly, there is no equivalency at all and the GOP has no excuse for remaining silent on this issue.  The only reason they are silent or have been, is that appealing to racism works for them to help win elections.  They use those same dog whistles when they bring up "election fraud", blacks and Hispanics are voting twice, that's the only reason the GOP loses elections.  They are now seeing the fruits of their cowardice.  When you tell whackos that they should be afraid of their government and have rights to "defend themselves" from thugs, you have folks walking around with semi-auto rifles, having illegally invaded a US Government facility, staring down the ATF and FBI.  The GOP fails to call that out as crazy, but more importantly, it continues to bring up these dog whistles (like voter fraud) - and so we get right-wing terrorism like some crazy a$#ole driving a car into protesters.  No left-winger did that, no left-winger forced anyone to do that.  This wasn't retaliation, it was a pre-meditated act by a racist, fascistic Nazi and the GOP owns that lock, stock and barrel, there is no equal on the left.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Once again Penigma scoops the Mass Media on who "hacked" the DNC,

The Shingouz:

It sort of makes sense since nobody is taking credit for a leak.  It would have to be these crafty little critters from Mézières' and Christin's (and now Luc Besson) Valérian et Laureline. What else could so easily get away with stealing documents and then leaking them.

See:
Why Some U.S. Ex-Spies Don't Buy the Russia Story

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Addendum to Why I left the Democratic Party and went back to being independent.

I added this to the end of that Post:
It was also influential that the Clinton camp (and pretty much everybody) was pointing out that Trump would never win.  I can remember at least three predictions of a Clinton landslide.  Well, Clinton did get more popular votes, but the prediction of her winning was premature. I can say that most of the factors in my deciding to bolt from the Democratic party was due to their actions, not "Russian interference" of any sort. I think that goes for most people who voted for Third Parties.

Or just plain didn't vote.

Any real discussion of the election should try to address the real issues that led to Trump being President. Which would also include Clintonite overconfidence they would win (which they did as far as the popular vote goes, but the Electoral College needs to go).

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why I left the Democratic Party and went back to being independent.

OK, Hillary Clinton wasn't the only reason, but her candidacy was the final revulsion in a long string of signs that the Democratic party didn't want, or care about my vote.

I can really start this timeline with when I read a quote from Jomo Kenyatta something along the line of "does having two parties make you twice as democratic as we are?" Kenya was a one Party State and western democracies, such as the US, were trying to push "multiparty democracy".

One of the cold war staples was "free and fair elections", which seems laughable after the 2016 Presidential election.

I came up with this a while back (probably after the Philadelphia DNC).
My timeline is:
1980--Supported Anderson, but ended up voting for Carter, who lost anyway.
2000--Gore wins the popular vote, yet doesn't become president
2004--The Candidate I wanted to vote for, Gen. Wes Clark, dropped out before I had a chance to vote for him.
2008--Clinton v. Obama--Obama won and the pact was made for 2016
2015--Clinton is chosen to be democratic nominee before any votes are cast.  Sanders is "drafted" by popular demand.
2016--Sanders does well to my surprise, but the system is totally rigged against him.
--AP calls the primaries for Clinton before the largest state in the Union, California, has voted along with 6 other states and territories.
--Between AP calling the election and DNC in Philly, it becomes obvious that I have no voice in the primary selection process and I DEMEXIT.
--DNC Philly makes it clear the Democratic Party isn't.
--Clintonite overconfidence that Trump will lose.

US parties are supposed to be "coalitions", but that doesn't really work and the Republicans have become the party of the "right" (I won't call it conservative since it isn't),  The Democrats the party of the "Left": although many progressives and liberals are showing disgust with the Democratic Party (as are a lot of  conservatives with the Republican Party).

Sanders was willing to take his candidacy to the end of the cycle.  I have to admit that I was surprised he did as well as he did.  But the Democratic Party isn't truly "democratic" and Clinton was the chosen candidate.  It was said that the Dems preferred to lose with Clinton than win with Sanders.

But it is the lack of democracy in the process and unwillingness of either party to address this problem which drove me to the Greens.  The Greens were the only party talking election reform.  After all, Clinton was more about the big donors than the little guy (as the Sanders phenomenon pointed out).

It is the continued scapegoating with silly theories about Russian involvement, when it is pretty obvious that what cost the election was the electoral college.  Neither third party candidate on their own stole the vote from Clinton either: numbers here.

Quite frankly, the reason I voted for Jill Stein over Hillary Clinton was that Stein was the only candidate who was addressing the issues I cared for: including election reform.  I am not sure whether people who supported Clinton really knew, or cared, what she believed in.  I say this because one of the incentives for writing this is a run in with a Clinton supported who somehow believed Clinton wasn't a hawk.

Quite frankly, I don't think it made a lot of sense to try and debate hardcore Clinton supporters because I am not sure what they thought about Clinton or her politics.  I only know I didn't like what I saw when it came to her policies. 

They weren't what I believe in.

Or that I could trust her.

The problem with the Russian scapegoating is that if you analyse it, you find that the real failures were from the Democratic Party.  But it's a lot easier to blame someone else than address the systemic failings of US politics.  And I won't be voting for the two major parties unless some drastic changes happen.

Quite frankly, it was not the Russians, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, or anyone beside the "Democratic" Party which drove me back into being independent.  I doubt I will bother with wasting my vote in a sham primary election (or showing much interest in that process).  Bernie and the Greens point out how much of a sham the current political situation is in the US, which is why I went with them.

Addition:

It was also influential that the Clinton camp (and pretty much everybody) was pointing out that Trump would never win.  I can remember at least three predictions of a Clinton landslide.  Well, Clinton did get more popular votes, but the prediction of her winning was premature. I can say that most of the factors in my deciding to bolt from the Democratic party was due to their actions, not "Russian interference" of any sort. I think that goes for most people who voted for Third Parties.

Or just plain didn't vote.

Any real discussion of the election should try to address the real issues that led to Trump being President.

See also:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The forgotten Second Amendment case: Presser v Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 6 S.Ct. 580, 29 L.Ed. 615 (1886)

This case should be brought into more prominence in the "Second Amendment Scholarship" since it is basically a refutation of the "unorganised militia" silliness.

The facts of the case are that Herman Presser was a member of the "Lehr und Wehr Verein", an Illinois corporation set up "for the purpose of improving the mental and bodily condition of its members so as to qualify them for the duties of citizens of a republic. Its members shall, therefore, obtain, in the meetings of the association, a knowledge of our laws and political economy, and shall also be instructed in military and gymnastic exercises." The company had no license from the governor of Illinois to drill or parade as a part of the militia of the state, and was not a part of the regular organized militia of the state, nor a part of troops of the United States, and had no organization under the militia law of the United States.

Presser was then charged and convicted of violating Illinois Military code by "unlawfully belong to, and did parade and drill in the city of Chicago with, an unauthorized body of men with arms, who had associated themselves together as a military company and organization, without having a license from the governor, and not being a part of, or belonging to, 'the regular organized volunteer militia' of the state of Illinois, or the troops of the United States."

Presser uses the argument put forth by the people who want to say that they are somehow part of a militia because they belong to the "reserve" ("unorganised") militia, not understanding that they aren't really a constitutional militia unless their "militia" is organised under USC Article I, Section 8, Clause 16.

The US Supreme Court upheld Presser's conviction and said
It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the states, and, in view of this prerogative of the general government, as well as of its general powers, the states cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security, and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government. But, as already stated, we think it clear that the sections under consideration do not have this effect...

It cannot be successfully questioned that the state governments, unless restrained by their own constitutions, have the power to regulate or prohibit associations and meetings of the people, except in the case of peaceable assemblies to perform the duties or exercise the privileges of citizens of the United States, and have also the power to control and regulate the organization, drilling, and parading of military bodies and associations, except when such bodies or associations, are authorized by the militia laws of the United States. The exercise of this power by the states is necessary to the public peace, safety, and good order. To deny the power would be to deny the right of the state to disperse assemblages organized for sedition and treason, and the right to suppress armed mobs bent on riot and rapine.
This decision's significance in the Second Amendment Jurisprudence is that it makes it clear that the Amendment relates to the forces set up under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16, and not individual purposes.

US v. Miller made clear that the Second Amendment has the "obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces (organised in accordance with USC Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 & 16), the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view."

Justice William O. Douglas, who was a member of the Supreme Court explained Miller in his dissent in Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S 143, 150 -51 (1972):
The police problem is an acute one not because of the Fourth Amendment, but because of the ease with which anyone can acquire a pistol. A powerful lobby dins into the ears of our citizenry that these gun purchases are constitutional rights protected by the Second Amendment, which reads, “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.”

There is under our decisions no reason why stiff state laws governing the purchase and possession of pistols may not be enacted. There is no reason why pistols may not be barred from anyone with a police record. There is no reason why a State may not require a purchaser of a pistol to pass a psychiatric test. There is no reason why all pistols should not be barred to everyone except the police.

The leading case is United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, upholding a federal law making criminal the shipment in interstate commerce of a sawed-off shotgun. The law was upheld, there being no evidence that a sawed-off shotgun had “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.” Id., at 178. The Second Amendment, it was held, “must be interpreted and applied” with the view of maintaining a “militia.”

“The Militia which the States were expected to maintain and train is set in contrast with Troops which they were forbidden to keep without the consent of Congress. The sentiment of the time strongly disfavored standing armies; the common view was that adequate defense of country and laws could be secured through the Militia – civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.” Id., at 178-179.

Critics say that proposals like this water down the Second Amendment. Our decisions belie that argument, for the Second Amendment, as noted, was designed to keep alive the militia.
The problem is that Heller-McDonald gave credence to a legal theory with no basis.  The worst part of those decisions is that a bogus legal theory was been given an official sanction.

There is an upside, Heller-McDonald are very limited in their scope.  Not to mention very friendly to firearms regulation.  Since "Gun rights" are not a legitimate right, there is no reason they should not be strictly regulated.  As I said before, the Second Amendment does say well regulated.

And regulated means under rules, as Article I, Section 8, clause 14 makes clear.

It's time this case made it back into the Second Amendment jurisprudence where it belongs. It questions the "individual" nature of the right as belonging outside of the militia context.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What if HIllary Clinton had "won" the 2016 election?

This is one of those "alternative history" scenarios where you don't have to look too far since Hillary DID win the popular vote with 65,853,516 (48.5% votes) to Trump's 62,984,825 (46.4% votes), but lost in the electoral college by receiving 232 (43.1%) of the electoral votes to Trump's 306 (56.8%) votes.

That makes this question a bit like the "what if the British won the War of Independence?" Where one should just look at Canadian History.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton would have won the election if the electoral college didn't exist, but she would have been stuck with a legislative branch that was controlled by the opposite party.  Not to mention a party which dislikes her intensely (as do quite a few democrats).

I would guess that we would have another ineffective Clinton administration that would probably last only one term.

But, don't get your hopes up about it being much better than the situation the US is currently in since the legislature would have been the same as it is now.

Another take on this (See also):
What if Hillary Had Won?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Penigma reveals the Russian mastermind who led to Trump's"surprise" Presidential Victory!

Catherine the Great!

Yep, you got that correct, Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great (Екатери́на Вели́кая, Yekaterina Velikaya),  Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796.

That's because the only thing which made Donald Trump president was the electoral college, an institution created by the US Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2-4).  So, if there really WAS any "Russian" influence in the process that made Trump president of the US, it would have had to have been produced during the reign of Catherine the Great!


The Fact is Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 65,853,516 (48.5% votes) to Trump's 62,984,825 (46.4% votes), but lost in the electoral college by receiving 232 (43.1%) of the electoral votes to Trump's 306 (56.8%) votes.

Of course, it is far easier to blame the Russians for this defeat than it is to address the real issues behind Clinton's loss.

Although, that is a strategy that is sure to backfire since any claims of "Russian" interference result in the faults of the Clinton Campaign: her being a weak candidate, DNC misconduct, and pretty much everything that was common knowledge to Sanders' supporters and Clinton opponents.

Any real discussion of Clinton's loss must include the faults of the US system of elections: especially the radical overhaul of the electoral college, which was supposed to have prevented foreign interference in the US presidential process ( The Federalist Papers, No 68).

It is blatantly obvious that the Electoral College serves no useful purpose, but that won't be addressed as long as people refuse to address the real cause of Trump's becoming president.

Then again, any real investigation of the US election would be a threat to the current Democrat-Republican duopoly. The duopoly thrives on the illusion that US elections are somehow "democratic", but it is hard to make that claim when an institution designed to be anti-democratic is allowed to continue its existence.

See also:

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July to our Penigma readers
Why the Yankee Pennamite Wars matter in the 21st century


Image result for Yankee Pennamite War, image
Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania
(location of the three Yankee Pennamite Wars)
Crospey Francis Jasper, 1823-1900


As we celebrate the founding of our nation with the Declaration of Independence, in the more recent context of the challenges this nation faces in our modern era, it is worth reviewing a bit of history.  The American Revolutionary War ended with the Peace of Paris, aka the Treaty of Versailles (there have been many other treaties of Versailles) in 1783.

We began and fought the War of Independence as a nation founded not by the US Constitution but by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.  That perpetual Union did not last all that long, ending in 1786, when it was replaced by the current, much modified United States Constitution which went into effect in 1789.  The Declaration of Independence almost presciently anticipated that change to our current form of government.

From the official web site of the US Senate:
Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the United States Constitution is the world's longest surviving written charter of government. Its first three words –– "We the People" –– affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens.

Sadly few of my fellow Americans, and then mostly newly naturalized immigrant citizen, are knowledgeable about our history.  When you look at the original foundation of this country, founded in bloody revolution, and then look again at what amounts to a second bloodless revolution with the replacement of the Articles with the Constitution, changing profoundly who we are today and how we became our modern nation.

There were middling better known events, like Shay's Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion, that contributed to the need to create a better, stronger, and very different founding document.  Less well known but perhaps more indicative of those stresses were the Yankee Pennamite Wars, aka the Pennamite Yankee Wars, of which there were three.  The wars primarily involved Pennsylvania and Connecticut, but other states involved themselves as well.  The final resolution came in 1799, when the disputed Wyoming Valley became part of Pennsylvania.

Because of the vagaries of early cartography, there was a part of what is now Pennsylvania that was awarded in colonial land grant days to more than one claimant colony, subsequently involving multiple states in this series of conflicts.  In brief summary, the first Pennamite 'war' ran from 1769-70, the second in 1774, and the final conflict, which the more limited federal government of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was inadequate to address --- and the distant government of the UK which had created the problem was inadequate and impotent to do so as well.

The two important elements to take away from this relatively obscure bit of our history are the need for a strong and adequately large federal government, in part to resolve conflicts between the states and between local jurisdictions as well, in order to have a strong and functional nation.  Another element is that any such federal government must exist not to serve special interests, but must exist to serve the people of this country --- and corporations are not people.  But the most important lesson, one that had to be relearned only a little more than a half century after the resolution to the third Yankee Pennamite War, was that we CAN resolve the challenges to this nation peacefully, without bloody revolution, without shooting our fellow Americans.

I wish all of our readers and their friends and families a happy and safe celebration of our Independence Day, and I hope this humble post will contribute to any thought you give the topic today and going forward.

If this leads you to browse a little history, I hope you consider checking out the Yankee (Connecticut) and Pennamites (Pennsylvanians) conflict.

Friday, June 30, 2017

1984 - Where Weak is Strong. The Weakest President in My Lifetime


Yesterday Donald J. Trump again proved he is an amoral, immature, con-man.  He lied about a reporter and attacked her.  Why?  Because she has (along with her husband/co-host) repeatedly called into question the honesty and overall mental health of a man who can be goaded so easily.  In short, she wondered whether a man who occupies the White House, but who can be so easily distracted and pulled into pettiness is qualified, and more importantly, stable enough for the office.  That’s the job of journalists.

So, Trump, in 40 words or so, proved she was exactly right.   He attacked her personally for questioning his judgment, stability, and decency.  Many have criticized Trump for proving (again) he’s effectively an amoral sexist, and criticized him for attacking her as a woman.  Ok, I get it, but it’s also not new and frankly, isn’t compelling to his base.
 

What SHOULD be disturbing for his base is this.  Trump does not prove he is strong by attacking those with far less power and authority than the President has, he proves he is weak.  He proves he is a bully, he proves he is facile, he proves he is insecure.  He is like the adult man who hits his child for speaking back to him.  If that’s strength, then it’s an ugly, immoral kind I could never think of as strong.  Strong is knowing when something is beneath your engagement, strong is realizing you have responsibilities, and living up to those responsibilities.  Mr. Trump has never taken accountability in his life, so I suppose expecting him to do so here is foolish, but the question I have for his ardent followers is this, what is strong about someone who excuses his conduct and blames everyone else for his misbehavior, even when he has far greater problems which we need him to deal with.  What is strong about a man who picks fights with those who have nothing like the power to fight back that he has to punish them?  Do we think of fathers who beat children as strong?  If you don’t, what exactly do you think is strong about this?  Is there anything you’d think was beneath his office, if not him personally?
 
This conduct isn’t really about sexism.  Trump’s election proved conclusively sexism is alive and well.  No, this is about the petulant bullying of a man so weak he can’t handle criticism and will threaten people with the power of the Presidency to settle personal scores.  That’s not strong, it’s pathetic and deeply disturbing.
 
But.. no matter, being a bully is not weak any longer, it's apparently being strong, at least in the Orwellian world of Donald Trump where his lies are truth, his fake Time news is real, and real news is fake.  Yes, those are the signs of a strong man, or maybe the signs of a strongman, but they are also REALLY the signs of the weakest man I've ever seen in a position of real power.  They say you can judge a man by how he treats people who he sees as being in a lesser station.  If we use that as a bell-weather, then Trump is the weakest man the White House has seen in modern times, if not ever.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Second Amendment is a victim of desuetude--LIVE WITH IT!

Desuetude is a doctrine that causes statutes, similar legislation or legal principles to lapse and become unenforceable by a long habit of non-enforcement or lapse of time. It is what happens to laws that are not repealed when they become obsolete.

Unfortunately, this doctrine currently only enjoys recognition in the courts of West Virginia and nowhere else in the US. Perhaps this is why Scalia somehow decided that he could bring an outdated, anachronistic, and defunct section of the US Constitution kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.  It's bad enough the Second Amendment serves no real purpose these days since there is no longer a citizen's militia (as if there really ever was) and it has been replaced by a large, standing military in peacetime.

The best argument in favour of desuetude might also be the simplest. In the words of one commentator, "it is part of the intelligent cooperation the courts owe the legislature to relieve it from the burden of seeking out and repealing statutes that clearly serve no modern purpose." Given the purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure the continuation of a system which died out at childbirth and was possibly stillborn), it serves no purpose.

If anything, it stirs the minds of those not willing to understand it to take it out of context: Historic and Constitutional. It has been removed from its purpose by judicial fiat which has decided that the purpose is not relevant to the guarantee.

On the other hand, repeal by desuetude is much like repeal by sunset clause. Indeed, we could call the doctrine of desuetude an implied and indefinite sunset clause. Once the purpose was declared invalid, then the guaranteed right becomes invalid.

Recent events demonstrate the mischief an antiquated law can cause if it is not properly repealed: especially when the law is as misinterpreted and subject to misconceptions as the Second Amendment.  The Second Amendment does not address self-defence.

Even more importantly, it cannot be conceived as allowing people to act against the legal framework (e.g., article I, Section 8, clause 15; Article III, Section iii; and 14th Amendment, section 3).  The fact that absurdity has been given any credence goes beyond my comprehension.

It makes far more sense to declare the Second Amendment dead judicially than to amend it completely out of Constitutional context.  In fact, judicial amendment of the Constitution is totally ultra vires (beyond its power).

The "When we hang the capitalists, they will have sold us the rope" department part 3

This is the silly rhetoric which has taken the US right from being anything vaguely "conservative" into the realms of lunatic fringe:
“The courts do not have the last word on what the Constitution is. They decide particular cases, they don’t make law. Their decisions, unlike the Roe v. Wade usurpation, don’t extend to the whole of society, they’re not supposed to. And we may have to reassert that proper constitutional balance, and it may not be pretty. So, I’d much rather have an election where we solve this matter at the ballot box than have to resort to the bullet box.”

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The "When we hang the capitalists, they will have sold us the rope" department part 2

“if congress keeps going this way, people are looking for 2nd Amendment remedies.” 
                            --Sharron Angle, who served as a Republican member of the Nevada Assembly from 1999 to 2007. She ran unsuccessfully as the 2010 Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Nevada.

Don't go whimpering if the "wrong" people start acting what you have been promoting in your ignorance.

Especially when it is a BOGUS interpretation of the Second Amendment, which is so far removed from the Constitutional context as to be a total absurdity (US Constution, Article III, Section iii).

Actually, I guess that corrects the Threeper's definition of themselves so that it should be III.iii to show they are really TRAITORS according to the document they claim to follow.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The "When we hang the capitalists, they will have sold us the rope" department

OK, this tweet is wrong on many levels.


The first one is the believe that somehow the Second Amendment invalidates article III, Section iii of the US Constitution.

Or that a document that begins:
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.
somehow contains the seeds of destruction of the nation.

The US Constitution was written as a response to Shays' Rebellion and a read of what the drafters thought about that event should eliminate any doubt that the Constitution somehow condones rebellion if it isn't clear enough from the Constitution itself.

Nevermind that the military structure envisioned by the founders which was supposed to be guaranteed by the Second Amendment is as non-existent as the American Dream.

But this is what happens when one chooses to ignore the purpose of the Second Amendment ("A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State") and call it somehow meaningless.  Saying that a clause in the constitution which is somehow "mere surplusage" is a statement which makes judicial review meaningless (see Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (more) 1 Cranch 137, 2 L. Ed. 60, 1803 U.S. LEXIS 352).

If the people who make idiotic statements like this would take a few moments to consider the ramifications of the Alexandria shooting, then we might actually get somewhere.
They need to understand one person's freedom can be seen as another's tyranny. One person's freedom fighter is another's terrorist.

They can't go making statements like that and not understand that they may have just put a target on their OWN backs.

Even more importantly, one cannot have a serious war on terrorism and make weapons easily accessible to your enemy.

If anything, the Second Amendment's "well regulated" needs to be brought into the debate. And it fucking well doesn't mean "well-trained",[1] but under strict civilian control (the real issue of the Second Amendment is civilian control of the military, not personal weapons--that is exactly what you will find if you actually do some thinking and stop parroting idiotic statements which are detrimental to the constitutional structure of the US).


If gun rights are enumerated, then they are under very tight control.  As State v. Buzzard, 4 Ark. (2 Pike) 18 (1842), pointed out about  the absurdity of the individual right assertion:
However captivating such arguments may appear upon a merely casual or superficial view of the subject, they are believed to be specious, and to rest upon premises at variance with all the fundamental principles upon which the government is based; and that, upon a more mature and careful investigation, as to the object for which the right was retained their fallacy becomes evident. The dangers to be apprehended from the existence and exercise of such right, not only to social order, domestic tranquillity and the upright and independent administration of the government, but also to the established institutions of the country, appears so obvious as to induce the belief that they are present to every intelligent mind, and to render their statement here unnecessary.
The US Supreme Court said in Presser v Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 6 S.Ct. 580, 29 L.Ed. 615 (1886):
It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the states, and, in view of this prerogative of the general government, as well as of its general powers, the states cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security, and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government. But, as already stated, we think it clear that the sections under consideration do not have this effect...

It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the states, and, in view of this prerogative of the general government, as well as of its general powers, the states cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security, and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government. But, as already stated, we think it clear that the sections under consideration do not have this effect.

It cannot be successfully questioned that the state governments, unless restrained by their own constitutions, have the power to regulate or prohibit associations and meetings of the people, except in the case of peaceable assemblies to perform the duties or exercise the privileges of citizens of the United States, and have also the power to control and regulate the organization, drilling, and parading of military bodies and associations, except when such bodies or associations, are authorized by the militia laws of the United States. The exercise of this power by the states is necessary to the public peace, safety, and good order. To deny the power would be to deny the right of the state to disperse assemblages organized for sedition and treason, and the right to suppress armed mobs bent on riot and rapine.
US v. Miller was not helpful to the revisionist agenda of the Heller-McDonald decisions because it made clear that the Second Amendment has the "obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces (organised in accordance with USC Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 & 16), the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made.[2] It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view."

The Second Amendment is a victim of desuetude and it was  Scalia's job to have declared it such.  But it is now the public which must come to the realisation that the Second Amendment serves no purpose in modern society.

Before it ends up being the self-destruct button for the United States.

Notes:
[1] Military regulations are not a drill manual, but the rules of conduct.  And while we are discussing Article I, Section 8, we should mention clause 14 which states:

"The Congress shall have Power To ...make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces...."

Anyone with a shred of familiarity with the US Constitution should be ashamed at pushing the absurdity of the revisionist "individual right" interpretation of the Second Amendment as being so far removed from the text to be an obvious non-sequitur.

See also, www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/1/essays/54/military-regulations

[2] " the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made"--this means that the Second Amendment MUST be read as a whole.  That basically invalidates the bullshit spouted by the Heller and McDonald decisions and the pseudoscholarship which would remove the Second Amendment from its Constitutional context.