Archive for category Politricks

Good Idea, Bad Idea

If the country wants to infringe on the citizen’s right — not just the citizens who have been perfect, but also citizens who have done wrong — to keep and carry arms, then we should amend the constitution. As it stands now, an accurate reading of the second amendment clearly forbids infringement by the government on the citizen’s right to keep and carry. Yes, sophist (and often ridiculous) reasoning has resulted in a wide variety of constitutionally unauthorized legislation along the lines many are suggesting, but again, as these laws are in fact unauthorized, there is no salient reason — outside of fear of unauthorized, coercive violence on the part of the government — for any citizen to respect them, much less obey them.

I am not — repeat, not — in favor of the second amendment as it stands today. But I am even less in favor of allowing or encouraging the government to ignore the constitution under any circumstances. That has led directly to torture; complete inversion of the commerce clause; surveillance, search and seizure without a warrant or even probable cause; repression of speech; direct government support and fostering of religion; ex post facto law; de facto double jeopardy; the taking of land for commercial purposes; and much, much more along the same lines.
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Median net worth of congressmembers: 1m. Wonder Why?

Congress, under pressure from their constituents, after continuously taking advantage of insider trading law exceptions to enrich its members, made insider trading by its members illegal in 2012 (this was known as the STOCK act, bill S.2038) The mechanism to enforce this was public access to the records of the members of congress.

Then, the 113th congress quietly passed bill S.716.ES into law (how quietly? Unanimously, no debate, no recorded vote, total voting time: 14 seconds), which eliminated public access to the records of the president, vice president, any member of congress, and any candidate for congress.

Naturally, members of congress are in the perfect position to know about many advances and changes with regard to corporate value fluctuations. They make the laws that cause many of those value fluctuations, and then of course there are the lobbyists.

If I had access to this information for several years, as do congress members, I’m sure my net worth would be quite different from what it is now too.

But hey, no one cares. ‘Murica, right? Let’s get those tech jobs sent overseas while we stop the Terrible Threat Of Immigrants. Perhaps then I’ll be able to utilize my extensive programming skills doing… yard work. Thanks, congress. Thanks, corporations.

Congress: 14% approval rate, 94% re-election rate. You explain it. I can’t.

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Analyzing the 2nd Amendment Correctly

rippedThe 2nd Amendment is in the news again. As I come across various news stories and blog posts like this one, I repeatedly find attempts to present an explanation of this portion of the constitution. Some of these attempts err because they use modern definitions for terms that meant something else when the amendment was written; some fail because they don’t catch on to the difference between an instruction to government and an explanation to the reader; some are outright propaganda, written to conform to a point of view without regard to any intent to get at an accurate reading.

I’ve spent quite a lot of time looking at this over the years. Although you may begin to feel as you read this that I am pro-gun, in fact I am not. What I am is pro-constitution. As you’ll see if you read this completely, the constitution provides for change, and the obvious path is, if you want change, you should make that change — properly. Please read this to the end before you decide that I’ve got a foot in the door here, for or against the “rightness” of American citizens being armed.

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The 2012 Election – I Surprise Myself

8142797777_17cc1e55ec_nDeb and I had the pleasure of meeting some of the key democratic candidates for office for, and within our state (Montana) today. Each spoke for a few minutes about their aspirations, and spent some time “working the room”; I bent a couple of ears, as anyone who knows me might expect, and got some fairly good answers, actually.

I don’t normally jump on a soapbox, politically, but this year… here we go.
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The Constitution is not just a piece of paper

rippedObama (and let’s be fair here — also the congress, and the judiciary, and state officials) has repeatedly demonstrated either a complete disrespect for, or absolute misunderstanding of, the constitution.

From the inversion of the commerce clause, ex post facto laws at both the federal and state levels, sweeping usurpation of article 5 powers via the judiciary, to blatant violations of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 14th amendments, our government is — at best — operating in an unauthorized fashion, wielding powers it was never granted by the people, and ignoring its obligation to protect the rights it was explicitly charged with protecting in return for being allowed to operate at all.
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Nuclear Attacks – Survivable, say Feds

The feds have published a happy little book (available here) that lets us know we can expect to survive small nuclear attacks. The blogosphere has been muttering about it, mostly to the mistaken tune of “OMG, Global Thermonuclear War!”

But this booklet isn’t about a sophisticated attack by missile or bomber; this is about little tiny nukes, up to 10 kiloton, the kind of thing you might expect from an unusually sophisticated basement terrorist manufacturing operation. It is a guide for local officials that detail everything from what to expect in terms of injuries, damage and fallout, to what to do about people’s pets.
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Is a corporation really like a person?

In the US, (IMHO very bad) court decisions have made it so that businesses – corporations – are commonly treated as if they were persons under the law. This leads more or less naturally to weighing the rights of the corporations against the rights of a flesh-and-blood person; and when a corporation contributes more to the public trough than the citizen does, the outcome is often a foregone conclusion.

Lately, it’s been rattling around in my old head that perhaps, instead of treating corporations like persons, we should treat them like useful, but very dangerous, viruses. Comparable to one that generates some useful end product, but would eat your flesh off if you got any on you. Because other than the end products they make, I’m really hard put to think of much good corporations do unless they’re legislated into a corner and forced into it.
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SCOTUS empowers another ex post facto law

rippedThe Supreme Court ruled on May 17th, 2010, that federal officials can indefinitely hold inmates after their prison terms are complete. The high court in a 7-2 judgment reversed a lower court decision that said Congress overstepped its authority.

Ex post facto laws are explicitly forbidden to the federal government and the states by two separate and quite specific clauses in the constitution, the government’s authorizing document:

The federal government: “Section 9 – Limits on Congress – No … ex post facto Law shall be passed.”

The states: “Section 10 – Powers prohibited of States – No State shall … pass any … ex post facto Law”

You may be asking, “What is an ex post facto law?” The legal definition is given by Calder v Bull (3 US 386 [1798]), in the opinion of Justice Chase, which defines four ways laws must fail as ex being post facto:
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