The Watering Hole; Thursday June 30 2016; Gun Control? Underway!

I’ve never been shy concerning my attitudes toward the Second Amendment and the consequences of its misinterpretations by the Supreme Court; I’ve also never shied away from countering ANY argument in favor of universal gun ownership/possession. Guns have one purpose and one purpose only: to kill. Unfortunately for critters everywhere — humans especially — said purpose is massively overused, to the detriment of ‘we the critters,’ each and all. Similarly, the concept of rationality, of ‘control’ of the issue, is typically and constantly dismissed/disallowed because of the irrationality implicit in each and all of the arguments used to support the ‘universal gun ownership’ premise.

Bottom line: regardless of today’s conservative irrationality, guns are useful only to those who are interested in killing, and useless to those who are not. It remains, sadly, an essentially impossible task to do the logical thing and rid ourselves of the Second Amendment, in spite of the fact that it was written by James Madison solely to mollify slave owners concerned about the clause in the 1787 Constitution that assigned the use of militias to the federal government and NOT to the several states. Madison, himself a slave owner in Virginia, understood that militias were often used by Slave States to put down slave insurrections, a process seemingly disallowed by the new Constitution. Therefore the Second Amendment and its primary “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” clause was added in the Bill of Rights to essentially allow state militias to be continuously used for local purposes, and in the process re-open the door for Slave State ratification of the new Constitution.

In the two-plus centuries since the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791, the Supreme Court has ruled on numerous occasions regarding the breadth of meaning implicit in Madison’s words, i.e. 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.  In 1876, for example, in United States v. Cruikshank, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution.” Then in 1939, United States v. Miller, SCOTUS ruled that the federal government and the states could limit any weapon types that didn’t have a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.” In 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court handed down a landmark decision that held the amendment protects an individual right to possess and carry firearms. Finally, in the 2016 decision Caetano v. Massachusetts, the Court reiterated its earlier rulings that “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding” and that its protection is not limited to “only those weapons useful in warfare.”

It took the Supreme Court 200-plus years, but as of today its rulings have effectively erased and rewritten the meanings implicit in the original Second Amendment, disregarding any and all references to “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” and concentrating instead only on the words “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Stated another way, the new bottom line ignores the Second Amendment’s original purpose — to allow Slave States to use armed militias to put down slave uprisings — and has instead become what’s seen as a guaranteed  Constitutional right, one that allows each and every citizen to own and carry as many of their own preferred instruments, each designed for the sole purpose of killing the life form at which it’s aimed, as they might care to own.

And these days, rest assured that ANY attempt by ANY state or by the Federal government to control in ANY way the guns available for sale to the general public will be met with screams from every quarter — save for, of course, the tiny corner still owned by sanity.

But then, suddenly, this very day, a breath of freshness, a beam of light piercing the imposed gun-culture darkness:

Hawaii just put gun owners on an FBI database — and the NRA is freaking out

Hawaii’s governor signed a bill making it the first U.S. state to place its residents who own firearms in a federal criminal record database and monitor them for possible wrongdoing anywhere in the country, his office said.

The move by gun control proponents in the liberal state represents an effort to institute some limits on firearms in the face of a bitter national debate over guns that this week saw Democratic lawmakers stage a sit-in at the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hawaii Governor David Ige, a Democrat, on Thursday signed into law a bill to have police in the state enroll people into an FBI criminal monitoring service after they register their firearms as already required, his office said in a statement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation database called “Rap Back” will allow Hawaii police to be notified when a firearm owner from the state is arrested anywhere in the United States.

Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to place firearm owners on the FBI’s Rap Back, which until now was used to monitor criminal activities by individuals under investigation or people in positions of trust such as school teachers and daycare workers

[. . .]

Ige’s office said he also signed into law two other firearms bills. One makes convictions for stalking and sexual assault among the criminal offenses disqualifying a person from gun ownership. The other requires firearm owners to surrender their weapons if diagnosed with a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder.

Three cheers for Hawaii, for the Kingdom of Atooi! FINALLY!! A state with enough brass to look at the gun lobby and laugh, smile and wink before taking some reasonable and easily imposed steps to finally help curb this nation’s murderous plague of gun insanity!

Yeah, I know, the measures Hawaii has adopted are minimal within the concept of honest and effective gun control, but at this point in time, the old line “any port in a storm” stands tall. Plus, of course, nothing can be more satisfying than a gun control act/law that causes the NRA to freak out! The more of those, the merrier.

As  for me, if ONLY I could write a gun control law (short of repeal of the Second Amendment), it would be a short one, word-wise. I don’t, in fact, think it would need to be verbose at all, and would require no big words. Let’s see, how about this: “Each and every time a person, any person, dies from gunshot, the gun manufacturing industry shall pay a fine of one million dollars.” If the current American death rate by gunfire remains constant — 33,000 per year, approximately — the cost to the gun industry would be a mere $33,000,000,000 (33 billion) per year. The gun industry would clearly have to raise their prices on both guns and bullets appropriately to cover their new expense, likely to levels inaccessible to all but a few. Legally, however, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” would not “be infringed.” There might even be, in fact, one or two “people” who could still afford to buy not only a gun, but also the ammo to make it functional as a killing machine! Also, of course, the value/price of existing guns — the second hand market — would soar to the point where all current gun owners would be millionaires (who could no longer afford to buy bullets. but what the hell).

What could go wrong?

I think I’ll write my Congressman and demand action! He’s a wingnut, but what the hey, gotta start someplace, right? Right! Follow in the footsteps of Hawaii, of Atooi! Who needs guns?

Wailua Sunrise, Kauai

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Hawaii-Atooi —  Who needs guns in Paradise anyway?!!

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, June 29, 2016

Lost Rites:

Pharmacists lost the “right” to impose their religious beliefs on their customers.

People convicted of domestic violence lost the “right” to own guns.

The Great State of Texas lost the “right” to put women through undue burdens to get an abortion.

And Brits lost the “right” to call Americans stupid.

Lost Lefts:

The Democratic Party has moved to the right of Reagan.

Elizabeth Warren, the bane of Wall Street, endorsed Hillary Clinton, the Queen of Wall Street.

Bernie Sanders has virtually disappeared from internet memes.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 27th, 2016: “You Keep Using That Word…”

To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, with the word in question being “Liberal” instead of “Inconceivable!” (you have to read “Inconceivable!” in Wallace Shawn’s voice, of course): “You [conservatives] keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The premise of the following three Christian Post articles is a discussion of recent books about the various authors’ [mistaken] ideas regarding liberals. I started out trying to keep this somewhat brief, but in the interests of keeping the salient points in context, it took on a life of its own. I’ll just share a excerpt of each.

In the earliest of the three articles, “Is Free Speech Just for Liberals?” CP guest contributor Susan Stamper Brown sez:

In the biography, “Churchill: A Life,” author Martin Gilbert writes how Winston Churchill loudly voiced his grave concerns about the apathy shared by those seemingly impervious to the malevolent National Socialist Movement’s intention to steam through Europe like volcanic lava, destroying everything in its way, including free speech.
In direct response, Hitler began warning Germans about the “dangers of free speech” and said, “If Mr. Churchill had less to do with traitors … he would see how mad his talk is …”

History revealed whose talk was really mad.

Truth is, Churchill’s words touched a nerve the annoying way truth always does. Hitler was incapable of engaging in intelligent debate, so he changed the subject, lied, and attacked Churchill’s character. Hitler knew his movement couldn’t stand on its own for what it really was, so the only alternative was to silence opposing views.

Throughout Germany books were banned and ceremoniously cast into blazing bonfires intended to squash divergence of thought and stifle man’s God-instilled unquenchable thirst for truth.

Historical accountings provide a glimpse into the warped psyche of those behind a movement that wrongheadedly believed they could build something worthwhile by shutting down debate, then dividing a nation by race and ethnicity.

They coldly chose their target, the Jewish race, and purged some of the greatest minds in history from all levels of teaching. Schools and universities suffered.

Before the movement decided to burn bodies as well as books, Historyplace.com cites that “Jewish instructors and anyone deemed politically suspect regardless of their proven teaching abilities or achievements including 20 past (and future) Nobel Prize winners” were removed from their professions, among them Albert Einstein.

I would’ve been one of those “purged professionals,” based on what I’ve heard lately from some disgruntled left-leaning readers. Because of my personal opinion about the president, one reader called me “a racist,” a “religious bigot,” and “a political terrorist.” While calling me a “political terrorist” is noteworthy at least, most telling is this poor man’s statement that my column, as offensive as it was to him, “was permitted” in his newspaper.

Apparently, free speech is just for leftists.

After that, the author continued to talk more about herself, so I tuned her out. I probably should have done so when she first mentioned Hitler, but her description of Hitler’s reaction, which I highlighted above, sounded so much like Trump that I had to share it with you.

In the next article, “If Intolerant Liberals Succeed, ‘Conservatives Should Be Very Afraid,’ Expert Says”, by CP’s Napp Nazworth, the breaking point came after this bullshit:

Conservatives would have much to fear if intolerant liberals succeed in their goal of transforming America, says Kim R. Holmes, author of “The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left.”
The illiberal, or intolerant, Left has come to define liberalism in the United States today, Holmes told The Christian Post, and if these liberals gain control of the Supreme Court and other levers of government, conservatives will be punished for their views.

Then these portions of the interview with the author:

CP: Why did you want to write this book?
Holmes: Like a lot of people I saw how closed-minded and intolerant progressivism had become. Whether it was speech codes or “safe spaces” on campuses, or attorneys general issuing subpoenas against so-called climate change “deniers,” abuses in the name of progressivism were getting worse.

I wanted to understand why. I wanted to tell the story of how a liberalism that had once accepted freedom of speech and dissent had become its opposite — a close-minded ideology intent on denying people their freedoms and their constitutionally protected rights.

CP: Liberalism was once defined by tolerance and open-mindedness, but liberals have become increasingly intolerant and closed-minded. We are beginning to see this phrase “illiberal liberal” more often, which gets confusing. How are we to make sense of what liberal means today?

Holmes: A classic liberal is someone who believes in open inquiry, freedom of expression and a competition of ideas. Its founders were people like John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Tocqueville. Among its most important ideas are freedom of conscience and speech; individual (as opposed to group) rights; and checks and balances in government.

Although progressives are sometimes referred to as “liberals,” they are not classic liberals in this sense. They are philosophically more akin to socialists or social democrats. Classic liberalism as defined here is actually closer to the views of American conservatives and libertarians than to progressives and leftists.

The term “illiberalism” is the opposite of this classic style of liberalism; it represents a political mindset that is closed-minded, intolerant and authoritarian. Although illiberalism can be historically found on the right (fascism) and the left (communism), it is today not commonly associated with American progressives. Nevertheless, it should be.

Progressives are becoming increasingly illiberal not only in their mindset but in the authoritarian methods they use to impose their views on others.

~~ and ~~

CP: Last week, President Barack Obama sent a letter to all public schools threatening to withhold federal funds if they don’t change their bathroom and locker room policies to allow use based upon gender identity rather than biological sex. Does the Left’s new intolerance help us understand Obama’s actions?

Holmes: Yes. Obama comes out of this illiberal strain of the left.

Last, this misleadingly-named piece of utter drivel written by CP’s Brandon Showalter, “Liberals Use Gov’t Power, Intimidation, to Silence Christians, Author Says.” It doesn’t take long to realize that by “Christians”, both the author of the article and the author of the book actually mean “conservatives”, and the complaint is about the fight against “Citizens United”:

WASHINGTON – Conservatives and Christians are being intimidated by the Left and an increasingly abusive government, says Kimberly Strassel, author of The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Waging War of Free Speech.
In a Thursday presentation at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., Strassel told The Christian Post that overt hostility and harassment of people of faith “is clearly a big issue.”

In light of the 2013 IRS scandal where it was discovered that conservative and Christian groups were unfairly targeted, CP asked Strassel how many people she interviewed had experienced an overt assault on their faith.

While “the people that I talked to generally felt as though all their views were under attack,” Strassel said, “they certainly felt as though one aspect of them, was in fact their faith.”

“We are seeing this a lot, obviously, in the war on faith out there that we have had with the battles over Obamacare and contraception,” she added.

In her book Strassel examines the Left’s penchant, particularly in the Obama years, for bullying their opponents and their use of government agencies to silence citizens from participating in the political process.

Although she touched on several facets of the Left’s intimidation game in her presentation, the core issue she covered was the right of Americans to form associations and participate in representative government. This the Left cannot abide when conservatives do it successfully, she argued.

“The reality is that money is a proxy for speech,” Strassel contended, and Americans have always formed groups to get their message out. To the incredulity of the Left, she argued we we need more money, not less, in politics. More money means more speech. More free speech yields a more vigorous debate and a healthier democracy.

Let me repeat those last two lines: More money means more speech. More free speech yields a more vigorous debate and a healthier democracy.”  What happened to the “FREE” part of “FREE SPEECH”?

Money CANNOT equal speech – the poorest man can still speak and vote – well, vote ONCE; on the other hand, the richest man can buy as many votes as he wants.  The whole argument of Citizens United was and is specious, and the Supremes fucked us over real good when they decided on that piece of shit.

Here’s a pretty picture to give your mind a break.
GLORY10

This is our daily Open Thread – have at it!

I read the news today, oh boy.

I read the news today, oh boy.

Another law abiding citizen shot and killed two people. She was a staunch supporter of gun ownership so she could protect herself and her daughters.

She shot and killed two people – her daughters. Apparently during a family argument.

She was a good-guy with a gun, until the moment she wasn’t.

She was then shot and killed by the police.

Another former law abiding citizen with a gun, shot and killed by the police.

She was a staunch supporter of gun ownership.

I’m sorry, NRA, but guns DO kill people. That’s what they’re designed to do. They’re designed to be the most lethal weapons available to the common citizen.

It has been written, “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” The same is true of gun ownership.

Because we fear – bad guys breaking into our houses – government enslavement – monsters under our beds – no tragedy is horrific enough to move us to give up the right to possess guns. Mass murders – mall shoppers – movie goers – kindergartners – nightclubs – occurr so often they’re no longer shocking. Just sad.

Accepted as inevitable, it is the price of fear.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 25, 2016: Texit Is No Brexit

Great Britain stunned the world when a referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union resulted in the Leave forces winning. The EU’s reaction was to say, “Fine, then let’s get it over with as quickly as possible,” with the word “quickly” meaning “following a two-year negotiation”. This has spurred Danial Miller, of a group called the Texas Nationalist Movement, to push their own bid to secede from the Union, which they are cleverly (not really) dubbing “Texit.” Here’s the problem with it: It won’t mean anything. Unilateral attempts to secede from the Union are unconstitutional, according to a SCOTUS decision handed down in 1869. In it, the Court said a state cannot unilaterally secede. They must either achieve their goal through revolution (like the Civil War) or with the consent of Congress (which won’t ever happen.) I can think of several reasons why Texit is a bad idea, but that’s only because unlike the people in favor of this movement, I can think.

There are dozens of military bases in TX belonging to the federal government. Should Texans choose to secede through revolution, those bases would remain in “enemy hands.” And, no, a bunch of guys in pickup trucks are not going to storm the base and take it over. I know. I’ve seen one of those bases. I spent six weeks in one. They have aircraft that can beat anything the rebels might put up. As one State Republican Executive Committee member said during a discussion of secession (from a link later below), “I’m not sending my grandson out with a 12-gauge shotgun to take on the 82nd Airborne.” And the federal forces fighting back wouldn’t just come from Texas. We have military forces in every state surrounding Texas. The rebellion would be crushed in months, if not weeks. Everything in Texas might be bigger, but not necessarily the ability to think ahead.

Like many Conservative states (and, yes, a few Liberal ones, too), Texas gets more back from the federal government than it puts in. (Miller is totally wrong on this point.) If they secede, they’ll lose all those federal dollars, many of which go to paying the salaries of Texans. Do you really think the Department of Defense is going to hire someone from a foreign country, hostile to the US, to work in any of its other bases in the rest of the country? That’s billions of dollars taken out of circulation in the Texas economy. Less money around means less money being spent, which means businesses start failing and more and more people are out of work. And now they won’t get their earned Unemployment Benefits, despite paying into the system for years. Because they’re foreigners now. Given Conservative hostility to dependence on government, I don’t see the Neutered Republic of Texas (or whatever they’ll officially name themselves) setting up a welfare-type program to help its less fortunate citizens. That’s one of the many reasons they wanted to secede in the first place. Which, again, is ironic since they depend so much on the help of their fellow Americans.

Speaking of which, if they somehow successfully secede they’ll no longer be able to call themselves our fellow Americans. Because they’ll no longer be Americans. And if they’re anything like the Texans of 1861 I’d be fine with letting them ago. The first time Texas seceded it was over White Supremacy and the defense of the Institution of Slavery, points clearly spelled out in their Declaration of Secession. When their citizens voted on the ordinance to ratify their secession, it passed by a vote of 46,153 to 14,747. (76% to 24%) Today those percentages would likely be reversed, so even having a Texit vote would be a colossal waste of taxpaying Texans’ money.

Here is Miller explaining how Texit and Brexit are alike, but not exactly alike.

Besides being wrong about Texas being a a Giver state rather than the Taker state it actually is, Miller was confused about at least a couple of other things. In the beginning of this video, Miller talks about the Orlando Pulse massacre. But he was still pushing the idea that this mass shooting had any real connection to ISIS. Though this video was made about two days after the massacre, the only connection to ISIS was the shooter’s telling 911 that he was doing it for them, even though ISIS never told him to do anything. We now know the killer was known to frequent that same nightclub, and known to have had sex with men in the past. IMHO, it was done either out of self-loathing or because he had a failed relationship with another man. But ISIS had nothing to do with it, and would not have approved of a gay man fighting on their behalf. Later in the video, Miller invoked Sam Houston in his talk about whether or not the people should have a vote on independence. Houston opposed the convention to decide secession in 1861 and stayed silent throughout. And when they overwhelmingly voted yes, he told them they were not being reasonable. I’m sure he would say the same thing today. BTW, when Houston refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the Confederate States of America, they replaced him as governor.

Texit is not a good idea, and just because a small percentage of Texans think it is does not justify pursuing it further. But it’s not a good idea because it has no power to it, and would mean nothing if Congress does not approve. I wish they would, but they won’t. Sure I think Texas is an embarrassment to the nation, but if they’re going to leave the union, let it be done peacefully and totally. We’ll take our military equipment and other federal property with us and blow up what we leave behind. We’ll erect a huge border wall around Texas (but not Mexico) to make sure their more radical citizens stay in their own country. And let’s make sure we never let them in the union again. To be fair, citizens of the United States residing in Texas now can remain citizens of the United States, but cannot have dual citizenship and continue to live in Texas. One or the other. We’ll give you time to find a place to live here, and you can go back to work in Texas if they permit Americans to do so. But if you decide to live in Texas, you’ll be treated as an expatriate, without the rights and protections of our Constitution. (If you’re lucky, the new Texas will grant you the same Constitutional rights. If you’re unlucky, they’ll also bring back Slavery.) Oh, and you’ll need a visa to enter the US. Welcome to America. We hope you enjoy your visit here. Check your weapons at the door.

This is our daily open thread.

Comic Relief – Scots insult Trump -NSFW

Just when I thought I’d never laugh again Trump posted this on twitter:

And the Scots managed to rise to the occasion. I have rarely seen such a collection of choice swearwords.

Here are my favourites:

“Sentient enema” wasn’t all that bad either. I stopped counting easy ones like “fuckwad”, “fuck-knuckle” or “twat-stick”. I rather liked “nylon-haired shit stain”.

The following was rather ingenious, too:

For a favourite I have this classic (with audio in the timeline):

Here’s the audio (click the pic.twitter link):

I second those thoughts and want to add that I am looking forward to welcoming Scotland in the EU.