Friday, February 12, 2016

Because you can't make up this stuff!

Donald Trump and the rest of the 2016 cast of clown candidates are all promoting some degree of Islamophobia, to gin up fear among their base in the hopes that will translate into votes.  I have routinely - and accurately - described conservative voters as poorly educated, and as being low information voters, and as being bigots.

Nothing makes that point more clearly than this sad commentary on the lack of geography and history knowledge among United States citizens:
...41% of his [Donald Trump] supporters would favor bombing Agrabah to only 9% who are opposed to doing that. Agrabah is the country from Aladdin. Overall 30% of Republican primary voters say they support bombing it to 13% who are opposed.
Sadly, the Dems are better, but not by nearly enough of a margin to avoid shame.
We asked the same question of Democrats, and 36% of them opposed bombing Agrabah to 19% in support.
I can only hope that in the context of polling questions, which often come at inconvenient times while respondents are multi-tasking, that there was some unfortunate confusion with a familiar sounding place name not registering correctly as fiction rather than fact.

To elaborate further on the poll which produced that sad bit of Islamophobia, from Public Policy Polling year-end:

-54% support Trump's proposed Muslim ban, to only 25% who oppose it. Among Trump's own supporters there's 82/5 support for it. Cruz voters favor it as well, 57/25. Rubio voters are pretty evenly divided on it with 39% in favor and 40% opposed, while Bush voters oppose it 21/37.
-46% support a national database of Muslims, to only 37% opposed. Trump voters support this 66/15 but voters for the other top candidates are more closely divided- Cruz's (40/41) and Rubio's (44/45) narrowly oppose it while Bush's (36/49) do by a wider spread.
-36% think thousands of Arabs in New Jersey cheered when the World Trade Center collapsed to 35% who don't think that happened. Supporters of Trump (49/24) and Cruz (47/22) both pretty firmly think that occurred while Bush (37/51) and Rubio (22/46) voters don't think it did.
-Only 28% of GOP primary voters go so far as to think mosques in the United States should be shut down to 47% opposed to that. Trump voters are on an island on that issue- they support it 45/28 but backers of Cruz (23/40) and especially Rubio (18/66) and Bush (14/68) are strongly against it.
-Supporters of most of the major GOP candidates agree with the basic premise that Islam should be legal in the United States- it's 59/21 with Cruz voters, 67/11 with Bush voters, and 77/10 with Rubio voters. Trump supporters are off on their own on that one too though- just 33% think Islam should be legal to 42% who think it should be illegal. Overall 53% of primary voters think Islam should be allowed to just 26% who don't think it should be.
To put some of these findings about real modern day issues and Trump voters in context, 41% of his voters think Japanese internment was a good thing, to 37% who don't.
While I expect Trump's popularity to continue to decline overall, I sadly do not expect the insidious and deep rooted Islamophobia on the right to do so.

Kim Davis, another pointless legal decision has been issued

Earlier this week a court issued a decision that Kim Davis, Rowan County, Kentucky clerk, acted legitimately and legally in removing her name from marriage licenses, including those issued to same sex couples.

Kim Davis had attempted to thwart the legal decision of the Supreme Court by not issuing any same-sex marriage licenses.

Pending the progress of a law suit through the courts about her religious rights to deny same sex couples marriage licenses, she was ordered not to interfere with the issuance of such licenses by her office -- and her office has moved forward, issuing marriage licenses, including to same sex couples.

What remains to be seen, to be decided by a federal court, is whether or not Kim Davis as the top elected official responsible for issuing marriage licenses may continue to refuse to do so while allowing subordinates in the office to issue such licenses. The issue has never been important to anyone else as to whether or not her name was included on a form, and in point of fact, the state of Kentucky is in the process of removing individual county clerk names from such forms.

However, for the moment, it does appear that Kentucky state law DOES require that format of clerk identification. The recent decision is based on an unproven assumption that those licenses without the name of a county clerk would be recognized as legal.

Davis' term of office runs until 2019, if she chooses to complete her term, in the likely event that the federal courts rule against her having any right to force her religion on others in her official capacity.

One of the proposals for same sex marriage licenses in Kentucky would have two different forms of marriage license - a separate but equal kind of development that would likely be illegal due to disparate treatment of same sex couples. This strikes me as one of the dumber so-called compromises for those who have difficulty adjusting to the 21st century extension of rights and freedom to those previously excluded from them. In any case such a measure would not address the core issue, that Davis and those other bureaucratic officials seek to use their office to thwart or interfere with same sex marriage, and to impose their religious beliefs on others who do not share it, using their positions - elected or otherwise - to make their offices theocratic in nature, as in effectively creating an official state or local government level religion.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Update: final occupier has surrendered in Oregon
The Malheur Occupation in Oregon, it's over with a whimper not a bang - and a bonus!


From CNN by way of
(CNN) —David Fry -- the final holdout in the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge's headquarters in Harney County, Oregon -- surrendered to authorities Thursday,...
From earlier Thurs, 2/11/2016: All of the remaining four occupiers of the Malheur wildlife refuge in Oregon have either surrendered or agreed to surrender. The only apparent condition has been the escort of the lunatic occupiers by fellow extremist and right wing nut preacher Franklin Graham, (son of popular televangelist Billy Graham).

From Think Progress:
But in the end, the occupiers agreed to disarm and surrender themselves in the morning so long as the right-wing Reverend Franklin Graham, who spoke with one occupier by phone during the standoff, was on hand to physically escort them off the refuge. It took more than an hour from the first time that possibility was raised for the group to agree to it, in part because they remained convinced that the FBI would come in shooting overnight and in part because they said they would never agree to go to prison or give up their guns.

[From his twitter feed:]

7h7 hours ago
Pray for all involved in the . On my way there now.
The occupiers will be in jail and will be giving up their guns, in spite of their whining and gnashing of teeth.  It beats getting shot, and appeals to their desire to be crazy over-the-top drama queens.

As a bonus, the Feds arrested Cliven Bundy, father of two of the Oregon occupation leaders, notorious for his own governmental armed stand off back in 2014, in Nevada.

Courts will be busy, demonstrating that while justice moves slowly, it does move.  I am looking forward to a bit of that 'grinding' mentioned in numerous historic quotes:
"Millstones of Justice turn exceedingly slow, but grind exceedingly fine."
~John Bannister Gibson (1780-1853), American jurist, Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
( a paraphrase of the ancient Greek, Euripides)


Justice, though moving slowly, seldom fails to overtake the wicked~Horace, Odes, (23 BC)

Now it is time to sit back, and watch the administration of justice occur. Listen for the subtle grinding noises.

A few more are gone.......... but were they ever SERIOUS candidates in the first place?
Are ANY of the GOP candidates REALLY serious contenders for the nomination or office?

Trump is not the cause of the GOP’s problems—he’s the
A few more candidates have dropped out, Fiorina and Christie. The shelf of candidates on the right have been singularly shallow, none of them really have great depth, and all of them have serious "oppo" material that would be a detriment to their candidacies the same way the '47% are takers' and his record of exporting jobs hurt Romney (and some, worse than what properly came out about Romney).

For example, it would not surprise me to find that Trump had shafted plenty of veterans and their families, like those former casino employees who lost their health care and retirement funds in the failure of his New Jersey casinos - contrasted with Trump exploiting veterans for political advantage with his fund raising stunt while dodging the Iowa debates.  Trump has no history of supporting veterans or of acting on veterans issues, which makes his recent actions at best specious and suspicious.  While I would regard anything coming from Pete Hegseth, failed Minnesota right wing nut candidate, now on the payroll of the Koch brothers as a political activist, the criticism that Trump has no new ideas for veterans, no past advocacy for veterans, and is not serious when it comes to his policies for veterans is pretty much on target.  And that is just one example of many possible oppo issues that could sink Trump in a general election with voters - including his low information supporters who don't really know who he is, but are swayed by style over substance.

I would argue that neither one has ever been a serious contender to be the presidential nominee for the GOP - and neither have the others who dropped out (left or right).  Candidates like Jindal and Perry never had a prayer of winning the nomination, in spite of all their prayer rallies. (Does anyone even remember Perry was briefly a candidate, ....or Jindal?)

A few who still hang on, like Jim Gilmore, John Kasich, and Ben Carson have never really been serious contenders either, they just haven't left yet. Gilmore, for example, got 0% of the New Hampshire primary vote and received 0% of the Iowa caucus vote as well.

I doubt that even most of the political savvy, the most extensively and encyclopedic informed follower of the 2016 election cycle, could readily identify Jim Gilmore without a caption identifying him, and that few more could readily identify Kasich without a label (myself included) among the candidate line ups.  Even Carson's advisers and coaches find him to be a joke.  I expect that we will see Gilmore and Carson quit soon, with Kasich following their example after South Carolina.  I expect Jeb to hang on until April, maybe May. The Bush brand is so badly tarnished, and Jeb is so lacking in any ideas that were not already espoused and implemented by his brother Dubya, that regardless of how much money, or what aging family member Jeb drags out to be his proxy supporters, it is unlikely anything he could do would change the deep disaffection that the country holds for the Bush legacy.

Even though they won the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, respectively, I would further argue that neither Trump nor Cruz have a serious chance at being the GOP candidate either; the establishment still holds the real power, if less so than in the past.  And the establishment doesn't like either one, and are, I expect, going to be successful, ultimately, in preventing them from running under the Grand Old Party imprimatur, with all that goes with the official party approval.

I can only surmise that the candidacies of the unlikely proceeded from some angle, some strategy, that participating as a candidate would in some way pay off afterwards, that it would add some degree of prestige or profit.  A few, like Kasich and Fiorina, appear to have been /appear to be running more for the second spot on the ticket of VP.

Steve walks warily down the street,
With the brim pulled way down low
Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet,
Machine guns ready to go
Are you ready, Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat
[Chorus] Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I'm gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust see the rest of the lyrics here:

And then there's the progress of 'the Donald' Turnip-top Trump.... which can only remind me of another Queen classic:

lyrics here:

Friday, February 5, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

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

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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Why does the US have a problem with insurrectionism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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