Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Ultimate Slam Dunk Argument Against the Individual Right Interpretation of the Second Amendment.

One thing that Heller and McDonald demonstrated was that it didn't really care about the Second Amendment within the Constitutional Context. That means that those two cases are an absurdity in "Second Amendment Jurisprudence". The absurdity starts with its minimalisation of what Heller described as the "preferatory clause". The reason for the nonsensical nature of the "individual right" interpretation is that it takes the Second Amendment out of legislative and historic context.

But one need not go beyond the four corners of the document to show this is an absurd interpretation of the Second Amendment since it is presumed that a legal document will be interpreted so as to be internally consistent. A particular section of the document shall not be divorced from the rest of the act. Thus, if the Constitution mentions certain goals or subjects in the preamble, it must be considered within the terms of those goals and subjects.

There are two versions of the Amendment and I will use this one for the purposes of the argument I will be making for the purpose of clarity:
"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."
That means the phrase "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state" was pretty much ignored or discounted in Scalia's analysis. This is despite the rule of constitutional interpretation that "It cannot be presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect." The individual right interpretation means that not only is the "preferatory clause" mere surplusage, entirely without meaning, but so is the rest of the text

Of course, the "Individual right" theory also neglects the preamble, which most people seem to stop reading after the first three words:
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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."
I would assert that both the preamble of the Constitution and the "preferatory clause" are important to the analysis of the Second Amendment within the proper constitutional context. That is because the document needs to be read as a whole. Doing that it becomes clear that one of the purposes of the US Constitution is to address matters of "the common defence".

From Plato's Laws through common law and until modern legal systems, preambles to constitutions have played an important role in law and policy making. The preamble to the United States Constitution has become a legend. The phrase “We the people of the United States” and the remaining forty-five words of the preamble are the most well-known part of the Constitution, and the section that has had the greatest effect on the constitutions of other countries. And yet, the preamble remains a neglected subject in the study of American constitutional theory and receives scant attention in the literature. This is a shame since a preamble is the part of the constitution that best reflects the constitutional intentions of its drafters.

The interpretive role of preambles is rooted in the common law tradition. Edward Coke asserted that preambles to an act of parliament are a “good mean to find out the meaning of the statute” and “the key to open understanding thereof”, they are “the key to the statute and the key to the makers.” William Blackstone referred to preambles as intended “to help the construction of an act of parliament.” Blackstone noted that whenever the statute is dubious, “the proem, or preamble, is often called in to help the construction of an act of parliament.” However, in a case of conflict between the preamble and the body of the act, the body of the act prevails. This is still considered good law in common law states. Some have a specific clause indicating the significant role of preambles in statutory interpretation.

The preamble may not be legally binding, but it is key to understanding the rest of the document and should be given weight in any constitutional analysis. Any interpretation that runs contrary to these principles is questionable. Anything which assumes something which is not covered by the main text must be suspect, which the individual rights interpretation does in spades.

This takes us to two concepts of statutory interpretation: (1) only items which are specifically mentioned are addressed within a law. (2) items which are not specifically mentioned are not covered by the statute.

Which takes us to Article I, Section 8, Clause 16, which gives Congress the power:
"To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"
Note that Congress is given the power to ARM the militia. Only Congress has this power under the Constitution. This is where the individual rights theory provides the usual misquotations removed from their context, which in the case of the Patrick Henry "Let everyman be armed quote" is tragic since it is clear that Henry was concerned with the above section of the Constitution, not a personal right to arms, when one reads it in context.

I really don't want to get too much into how this one sentence has been mangled and removed from constitutional context in the attempt to create a right which does not exist. The grammar is handled in this article: Dennis Baron, Guns and Grammar: The Linguistics of the Second Amendment. I will say that Prof. Baron would give the "preferatory" clause far more weight than it was given in the Heller decision:
Reading the Second Amendment as a statement in which every word counts follows from the opinion articulated by Chief Justice John Marshall: “It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect” (Marbury v. Madison, 1803). But even without that landmark ruling, it would have been clear to 18th-century readers that the first part of the Second Amendment was bound to the second part in a cause-and-effect relationship, that the right to bear arms was tied by the framers directly to the need for a well-regulated militia.
If you wish to go outside the Constitution, there are many more problems with the Individual right interpretation. In fact, both the Heller and McDonald decisions were exercises in sophistry which removed the interpretation from an "originalist" and "constitutionalist" context and placed them into pure fantasy. If anything, the Heller and McDonald decisions are unconstitutional exercises of power by judicial amendment of the constitution. McDonald even more so since it somehow neglected Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 and created a right which was present in state laws in contrast to its non-existence in the US Constitution.

I am truly disappointed by the praise of the emperor's new clothes in McDonald v Chicago by the justices willingness to separate the Second Amendment from Constitutional context by even countenancing that it had nothing to do with Article I, Section 8, Clause 16. How does Congress' power "incorporate" to the States without an amendment to the Constitution? McDonald can only be described as silly buggers and not really precedent.

State v. Buzzard, 4 Ark. (2 Pike) 18 (1842), puts 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 revisionist theory that the Second Amendment somehow applies to a context outside the common defence is beautifully destroyed since it does not withstand scrutiny within the four corners of the US Constitution.

It is even more devastated if we are going to go outside the document since we need to have the "scholars" explain how:
  1. The concept of self-defence did not allow for the use of deadly force as a first option when the Constitution was written.  Deadly force at that time was a LAST option. There was a duty to retreat. Deadly force could only be used if there was no lesser alternative and all other options had been exhausted.  You had to have your back to the wall to be able to kill someone. 
    --carrying a weapon would create a presumption that you intended to do harm.
  2.  Where are the other versions of "gun rights" in Common Law nations?
  3. The issue of civilian control of the military, which fear of standing armies is a common thread in English political thought.   It was mentioned in the debates in relation to this Amendment, whereas personal defence was next to nonexistent.
  4. regulation of private arms has always been a part of the common law.
  5. When primary source material is read in its complete form, it highlights the above issues and the lack of concern with a right to own a weapon outside the context of the common defence.
  6. Why the US Constitution would concern itself with matters of "personal defence", especially in light of point (1) above?
  7. Why state constitutional provisions explicitly mention this right, but it is not mentioned in the US Constitution.
There are far too many flaws in the Individual Right interpretation of the Second Amendment when one looks at it critically. There are even more flaws in the "precedent" set by Heller-McDonald despite its "friendliness" to firearms regulation. These are dangerous decisions to be left in the common law cannon.

It is a shame that Heller and McDonald have been allowed to create mischief in the US legal system.
I will not even bother readdressing the absurdity of the associated insurrection theory of the Second Amendment since it is so far from the Constitutional contexts as to be laughable. The fact that so many people are willing to accept it in their ignorance is astounding.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Trump-eting one of the many GOP lies

So, Trump, and the other Republican candidates for that matter, all claim we have done nothing against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, Trump most notably so in his recent comments re Pope Francis. 

And this, after chastising Ted Cruz for lying; more of the pot calling the kettle black!

This lie is in sharp contrast to the reality that we have been hitting ISIS hard for a long time, along with our allies, doing considerable damage to them. From this week's STrib indicating that ISIS is going broke, because of those airstrikes led by the good ol' US of A under the leadership of President Obama.
photo from the AP, circa 2014
IS faces budget crunch, cutting perks and trimming salaries:

FILE - In this summer of 2014 photo released on a militant social media account, a convoy of Islamic State militants in Raqqa, Syria. The extremist group that once bragged about minting its own currency is now accepting only U.S. dollars in Raqqa, slashing salaries across the board and imposing �exit fees� for those trying to leave its domain. BEIRUT — Faced with a cash shortage in its so-called caliphate, the Islamic State group has slashed salaries across the region, asked Raqqa residents to pay utility bills in black market American dollars, and is now releasing detainees for a price of $500 a person. The extremists who once bragged about minting their own currency are having a hard time meeting expenses, thanks to coalition airstrikes and other measures that have eroded millions from their finances since last fall. Having built up loyalty among militants with good salaries and honeymoon and baby bonuses, the group has stopped providing even the smaller perks: free energy drinks and Snickers bars. Necessities are dwindling in its urban centers, leading to shortages and widespread inflation, according to exiles and those still suffering under its rule. Interviews gathered over several weeks included three exiles with networks of family and acquaintances still in the group's stronghold in Raqqa, residents in Mosul, and analysts who say IS is turning to alternative funding streams, including in Libya. In Raqqa, the group's stronghold in Syria, salaries have been halved since December, electricity is rationed, and prices for basics are spiraling out of reach, according to people exiled from the city. "Not just the militants. Any civil servant, from the courts to the schools, they cut their salary by 50 percent," said a Raqqa activist now living in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, who remains in close contact with his native city. But that apparently wasn't enough close the gap for a group that needs money to replace weapons lost in airstrikes and battles, and pays its fighters first and foremost. Those two expenses account for two-thirds of its budget, according to an estimate by Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a researcher with the Middle East Forum who sources Islamic State documents, Within the last two weeks, the extremist group started accepting only dollars for "tax" payments, water and electric bills, according to the Raqqa activist, who asked to be identified by his nom de guerre Abu Ahmad for his safety. "Everything is paid in dollars," he said. His account was bolstered by another ex-Raqqa resident, who, like Ahmad, also relies on communications with a network of family and acquaintances still in the city. Al-Tamimi came across a directive announcing the fighters' salary cuts in Raqqa: "On account of the exceptional circumstances the Islamic State is facing, it has been decided to reduce the salaries that are paid to all mujahedeen by half, and it is not allowed for anyone to be exempted from this decision, whatever his position." Those circumstances include the dramatic drop in global prices for oil — once a key source of income — airstrikes that have targeted cash stores and oil infrastructure, supply line cuts, and crucially, the Iraqi government's decision to stop paying civil servants in territory controlled by the extremists.
And it's not like this is only recent damage to ISIS; from the International Business Times back in September 2014. This pretty much brings us to the choices that the GOP candidates are liars, so bone ignorant on the realities of the regional conflict as to disqualify them from serving in any office more demanding than dog catcher; or both. :

US Airstrikes In Syria Cripple ISIS Funding By Hitting Oil Refineries
ISTANBUL -- U.S. airstrikes in Syria targeting oil refineries controlled by the Islamic State group are cutting heavily into the group’s profits, which at one point were, on average, between $2 million and $3 million a day, analysts say.
“It is crippling for ISIS,” Luay al-Khatteeb, director of the Iraq Energy Institute, said of the destruction of oil refineries. After more than a week of U.S. and coalition bombings targeting the Sunni militant group in Syria, “profits [for ISIS] are out of the equation." The group’s profits are now in the thousands rather than millions of dollars per day, Khatteeb said in a discussion on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Istanbul. Khatteeb said before the airstrikes, ISIS was making anywhere between 30,000 and 40,000 barrels a day in just Iraq, and in Syria, they produced 50,000 barrels. Now, they are making on average 20,000 barrels a day.
Over the past three months the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has gained control of large parts of Syria and Iraq, including oil fields on the edges of Iraqi Kurdistan. The extremist group began selling oil, turning itself into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. The group has sold both crude and refined oil to locals in Iraq and Syria, and purportedly on the black market in Turkey. According to Khatteeb, ISIS sold the oil for prices ranging between $20 and $40 a barrel. Each truck transporting oil through the border via what Khatteeb said was an already well established "smuggling network" was worth about 7,000 barrels.
The money has been used to finance, at least in part, the group’s weapons, ammunition, soldier salaries and procure other resources needed to fight.
Describing ISIS as a “network of death” at his speech at the United Nations last week, President Barack Obama said the U.S.-led coalition would starve the group financially.  
Lying is for losers -- like Trump; THIS damage to ISIS is what winning looks like, regardless of polls or primaries, and this is what it looks like to be the president instead of a reality tv celebrity. If Republicans want to win the general election and get the White House back, they need to stop being such eager consumers of lies and the liars who peddle them.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

CANADA for President 2016;
or the US of "Eh?"

Not a serous possibility, sadly, given our constitutional limitation to natural born citizens (even if we can reasonably assume we know what that means, absent a SCOTUS decision on it).  

On the other hand.....Rubio is shooting his ads for president in Canada. While far too many Americans are weak on geography, as we see here, and especially conservatives as we see here, I think we can safely argue that we don't want a president who is weak on which side of the border is Canada and which side is the old US of eh?, er A. But it is conservatives who are the weakest on geography :  
Worryingly, but hardly surprisingly, the poll also found that the further a poll respondent thought Ukraine was from its real location, the more likely he was to support US military intervention in Ukraine. Few Americans could find Iraq (Eye-raq to most), Afghanistan, or Iran (Eye-ran) on the map. “Let’s get those dirty Commies,” goes the latest wave of war fever to sweep the US, “if we can only find them!” Some respondents put Ukraine in Australia, or South America. Interestingly, the poll found that the group least able to locate Ukraine was +65 year olds – core Republican voters.
From the STrib:
OOPS — RUBIO AD IS SET IN CANADA The scenes and narration mimic Ronald Reagan’s legendary ad “Morning Again in America.” But Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio’s new ad of the same name opens with a shot of Vancouver, Canada. “It’s morning again in America,” the ad begins with shots of a harbor, city street and suburban neighborhood. “Today, more men and women are out of work than ever before in our nation’s history.”
Well, if they can't run in our elections, then at least those enterprising Canuks have an alternative to our more toxic politics (from facebook):
Cape Breton Island: Website Invites Americans to Move to Canadian Island if Donald Trump Is Elected
The website, cbiftrumpwins.com, was created by radio host Rob Calabrese of Sydney, Nova Scotia. He says he has gotten serious inquiries since launching the site, news outlets reported.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Cruz and Rubio,
if not respectably
The latest headlines have nominee wanabee Rubio and Congressman Trey Gowdy joining Trump in attacking nominee wanabee Ted Cruz for engaging in dirty tricks.   From the Wall Street Journal:  
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. — The rivalry between Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio has escalated rapidly in advance of Saturday’s GOP primary here, and on Tuesday Mr. Rubio’s campaign accused Mr. Cruz’s team of an “underhanded tactic” in a state whose primary contests have had a lengthy history of them. Mr. Rubio’s campaign indicated that it believes Mr. Cruz’s operatives have been circulating a Facebook post claiming to be from South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, one of Mr. Rubio’s fiercest supporters who has appeared with him in close to a dozen events over the past several days.
Boo bloody hoo Rubio, and too-bad Carson before him.

These are nothing new, these are business as usual tactics for the GOP.

To protest them is to ignore or to attempt to deny that this is anything other than Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the right -- and nowhere more so than in South Carolina, election cycle after election cycle.  

The GOP is always the party of the dirty tricks, not the values party and not the party to which anyone who values religious standards for conduct should ever adhere. The GOP is the party of the gullible, the party of the-end-justifies-the-means. It's hard to know which is worse - the crooked political operatives who cheat and lie, or the stupid people who fall for their dirty tricks and bigot-pandering, in their voting and in their donations.  

 I fully expect to see these and more of the dirty tricks used routinely on the right pulled out of their 'rat-f*cking' Nixon-style bag of dirty campaigning methods.   One of the examples that comes to mind, the George Dubya Bush campaign in South Carolina promoting the false rumor that John McCain had a black child out of wedlock; the reality was that the McCains had adopted a child from Bangladesh. Let me review what those 'family values' Jesus-loving Republicans did to John McCain back in 2000 in South Carolina.

The Data Lounge highlighted a few - the race-baiting phone calls that McCain had a black child with a prostitute, that his wife was a drug addict, that he came back from being a prisoner of war too 'damaged' to be entrusted as commander in chief, and that McCain committed treason while a prisoner of war.  

This is the same party that not only cannibalized it's own rival campaigner for the nomination, but later ran the Swiftboat ads against John Kerry.   Are there ever dirty tricks on the left? Of course there are, but not on the scale or with the approval and participation of the mainstream political establishment to the same degree as the GOP.

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 wlky.com
(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 symptom.ukprogressive.co.uk
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: https://www.bing.com/search?q=queen+youtube+channel%2C+another+one+bites+the+dust&pc=MOZI&form=MOZTSB

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

lyrics here: https://www.bing.com/search?q=lyrics%2C+don%27t+stop+me+now&pc=MOZI&form=MOZTSB

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 YouGov.com, 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.