No Individual Right to a Gun

For 200+ years the Supreme Court held that the 2nd Amendment did not guarantee an individual right to a gun.  Not until the Scalia court and Heller did it do so. Well, Scalia’s dead.

So, no, once again, there’s no individual right to a gun. And there sure as hell isn’t an individual right to an assault weapon. We know the non-Scalia court is going to be firm on that.

The Supreme Court is not taking up a challenge to state assault weapons bans.

The preamble to the Constitution is all about the collective.  “WE hold these truths to be self-evident… provide for the COMMON defense, promote the GENERAL welfare…” and then we get to the 2nd Amendment and it’s all about that well-regulated militia.

We need to rewrite the thing, but in the meantime, let’s be real. I am all for due process, but if you’re on the terror watch list or no-fly list, or if you have mental issues (including being on certain medications), have anger issues, you’ve assaulted anybody (shown a lack of control), you should not have a gun. If you are under investigation, local law enforcement should be able to impound your weapons until you are cleared.

And no one under any circumstances should be able to have an assault weapon in their home.

Now, if a compromise is to be found on that issue, I would be interested to know if anybody has proposed a law that allows assault weapons to be owned, so long as they are secured at licensed shooting ranges. If people have to have them for recreation (geez, how about cooking instead?), at least have them secured someplace where no one can just grab it and use it in anger.

 

AR-15 Inventor’s Children Speaking Out

He would have been horrified at civilian use of the weapon he created for the military.

The ex-Marine and “avid sportsman, hunter and skeet shooter” never used his invention for sport. He also never kept it around the house for personal defense. In fact, he never even owned one.

FILE: Colonel Robert Sigholtz from Springfield, Virginia holds a new rifle in March 1967 — the AR-15 Horst Faas / AP file

And though he made millions from the design, his family said it was all from military sales.

“After many conversations with him, we feel his intent was that he designed it as a military rifle,” his family said, explaining that Stoner was “focused on making the most efficient and superior rifle possible for the military.”

Obama Approval 9 Points Up Now 53-44

Obamafav

While Trump’s disapproval is at 70%.

John McCain shot himself in the foot while in a very tough senate race against Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick has been within a few points of McCain in every poll so far which is a very bad sign for a long serving incumbent. Earlier this week he was behind 43-41. This is a real Dem. pick up possibility.

McCainCapture

Speaking of lame-ass incumbents who have been screwing their constituents for a long time.  Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, the guy holding up Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Sup. Ct. is also in danger.  Under 50% approval in latest PPP poll. He’s ahead, by single digits, of a not nearly well known Dem.  It’s a very uncomfortable position to be in when you’ve been around forever and you have Trump leading your party.

But to really gauge how behind the 8 ball the GOP is for this election, super blood red Utah is actually, legitimately in play.  Mormons hate Trump.

“For a state where the majority of voters have supported Republican presidential candidates since 1964, the fact that Trump is in a dead heat with Hillary Clinton suggests Utah voters are still very reluctant about a Trump presidency,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute.

Hillary doesn’t have to win Utah, obviously. But if Trump has to battle and expend resources in a state like Utah, then this is not even going to be competitive. And by the way, first term GOP representative Mia Love, the only black GOP women ever elected to Congress, from Utah, is also going to be in a very tough race against Dem. Doug Owens. Love has to run way away from Trump like he has nuclear cooties, which is what Republicans all over the country will do in blue and purple areas.  To have to do so in a red area gives the Dems. another pick up opportunity they couldn’t have foreseen pre-Trump.

 

Bernie Won the Debate and Changed the DNC

This should be a bigger story, we’ll see how the day goes, but Bernie Sander’s attacks on DNC head Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (along with a lot of other people) have been addressed by the Clinton campaign.  She’s still the titular head of the party, but the Clinton campaign has installed Brandon Davis, the national political director for SEIU as general election chief of staff to the DNC.  Which essentially moves DW-S to a back seat. This isn’t uncommon for campaigns to do, and may be spun by W-S as no news at all, but the pick is a sign that the Clinton people either didn’t completely disagree with the criticisms of W-S, or at least agreed that a change of direction was in order.

Davis may have been Clinton’s pick, but I think the Sanders campaign will applaud the pick nonetheless. Davis has a great reputation and SEIU has been a force nationally in speaking up for working people. That’s the key conflict between the Sanders direction for the party and Wasserman-Schutz’s leadership towards more corporate control.

 

 

I like this Spin

In the Nation:

Islamic Terrorism Is Right-Wing Terrorism.  That’s true and a good way to spin it to put the right wing on the defensive (where they would be all the time if they had a sense of shame).  Connect the Islamist nuts to the Christianist nuts and even sometimes the Jewish nuts (not necessarily murderous, but still anti-woman (Ultra-Orthadox Rabbi Declares Women Riding Bicycles are “Provocative”).

The details differ, but the defining characteristic of all right-wing religionists is an abiding contempt for religious pluralism. They deny the legitimacy of other faiths. All conservative religious traditions are hostile toward gays and lesbians and those who reject traditional gender roles. Most embrace religious nationalism and reject multiculturalism. There are some exceptions, but most oppose abortion. They all want to return to an idealized vision of an earlier, simpler time. When you get down to brass tacks, they’re all right-wingers.

If Trump and Breitbart and the like want to, irrationally, connect conservatism and protection of gay people (what gay person is going to buy that I want to know other than the ghost of Roy Cohn?), then I think we can be real and indict their kind of absolutist, authoritarian, black and whitism as part and parcel of the same thinking that makes these Middle Eastern Muslim jehadis throw gay people off buildings and Texas Christianist jehadis celebrate their nutso Muslim brethren in doing so.

WaPo- Pastor refuses to mourn Orlando victims

Pastor Roger Jimenez from Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento told his congregation that Christians “shouldn’t be mourning the death of 50 sodomites.”

You just have to see such insanity to believe it, but You Tube already took it down because it violates their hate speech standards, duh.

Likewise, Pastor Steven Anderson in Tempe, AZ who always refers to gays as pedophiles and celebrates the death of 50 pedophiles.

Both of them are twisted enough to long for a government “just” enough to be rounding up gay people and executing them.  There is no hell hot enough for nut jobs that can’t get it through their heads that the evil liberal government they rail against protects them from being rounded up and executed.

The bottom line is gay people are no threat to anybody except in the bizarre imaginations of these wackos, but these wackos and their ilk have spilled a river of blood over the years and blame everybody but their brand of delusional religious extremism for it.

So whether it’s Robert Dear shooting up a Planned Parenthood clinic or Baruch Goldstein massacring Muslims at prayer or a guy named Omar going on a killing spree in a gay nightclub in Orlando, it’s all religiously inspired right-wing terrorism. Let’s stop worrying about which holy text some killer cherry-picked to justify his crimes and call it what it is.

 

 

 

Bloomberg: Coal & Gas Will Begin Death Spiral Within Decade

If they haven’t already. Bloomberg New Energy Finance announced:

The World Nears Peak Fossil Fuels for Electricity

Call it peak fossil fuels, a turnabout that’s happening not because we’re running out of coal and gas, but because we’re finding cheaper alternatives. Demand is peaking ahead of schedule because electric cars and affordable battery storage for renewable power are arriving faster than expected, as are changes in China’s energy mix.

They list 8 reasons for the dramatic change that is already happening. Somebody alert the GOP that their energy plank is completely unrealistic.

 

Net Neutrality Wins in Court

Big win for net neutrality.

The 2-1 court ruling Tuesday forces Internet providers such as Verizon and Comcast to obey federal regulations that ban the blocking or slowing of Internet traffic to consumers. The regulations from the Federal Communications Commission also forbid carriers from selectively speeding up websites that agree to pay the providers a fee — a tactic critics have said could unfairly tilt the commercial playing field against startups and innovators who may not be able to afford it.

Orlando Maniac Maybe Not Really Jihadi At All

His boasts and pledges of allegiance went to differing factions in the Middle East that betrayed a facile understanding of anything going on there.

The allegations that he was seen at the club and was suspected to be gay by people who met him, leading to a gay panic scenario, may make more sense than any sort of jihadi motive.  Maybe he tried too hard to conform (maybe because of his religion).  Beating his wives didn’t get him off enough, and the guys at the club didn’t care for his vibe, so shooting things with his semi-automatic penis substitute became his fetish.

I’m still leading with basic insanity as the main cause of the carnage (abetted by the NRA, to be sure), but the gay panic disguised as religious fervor might be closer to true, for what ever that’s worth.

 

It’s a Sickness

Here’s what I believe:

No matter what an individual or group of individuals may use to rationalize or justify their inhumane, sociopathic, or psychopathic behavior, it’s a mental illness, a major malfunction, as it were, to commit such atrocities. Whether it’s butchering scores of strangers that beggars the imagination or the crime of passion under circumstances that some can understand, it’s a failure of ones humanity to inflict cruelty.

I’m relatively anti-religion, I’ve always been an atheist, I see no value in religion (for me), but lots of people are more willing to blame the religion itself for the crimes of its followers than I am. I can’t ignore that much of the goodness in the world is also attributed to religion.  I guess I just have a healthy skepticism both ways – people who save and heal and give and cite their religion would have been good people without it and those who choose a path of violence would have done so without any “divine” inspiration. All religious belief is a form of delusion, some of it just works for us and the rest is a “perversion” of said religion. No, it’s all a perversion of sanity to imagine supernatural sky persons.

Or are we all really primal animals and all we need is a reason to become savages? That premise makes for some great stories from mythology to  Joseph Conrad to The Walking Dead, but not everybody has it in them. In those stories that is often portrayed as a weakness, a failing. The inherently good and kind do not survive in the scenarios imagined. As a society we don’t even consider that view controversial. We understand it and ask ourselves whether we would “have what it takes” to survive nightmarish situations where violence is required. It’s just a given that in a kill or be killed situation we are granted immediate exemption and absolution from the laws of man. The laws of nature are understood to have naturally granted such absolution. Not just absolution but glorification! Can you be the King of the Jungle, the apex predator, the alpha male?

Such ability to “rise above” ones humanity and beyond our constraints in order to meet immoral force with “moral” force is subjectively accepted as a good.  But to a point.  These stories are hero stories and end with the hero having achieved a moral end through immoral means, and then retreating back to his/her normal status in society.

At that point where individuals actions go beyond the acceptable line of demarcation to where justice becomes vengeance or punishment and “lawlessness”, then the stories usually come back to a position of judgment and the simple hero becomes complex anti-hero and must meet an end that infers some moral judgment.

Judgment. Justification. It all comes down to those thorny, completely subjective values. In fiction or in fact, humans can kill for good societally accepted reasons, but not for reasons deemed anti-social.

I wonder if that’s just all just a dodge. It comes down to ego. One wants to believe that they’re capable, competent, adaptable survivors, above their goodness. These stories feed that vicarious desire to believe that we would make it to the other side heroically if we had to walk through a real hell.  We want to believe we’re heroes who can answer the call, but know where the lines are drawn.

Can an inherently good person go over the edge to temporary madness to perform acts of justifiable cruelty to someone or something deemed deserving?  Our entire existence as a civilization is based on the belief that the answer to that question is “yes.” The actions of soldiers, police and the justice system, in the case of the death penalty, have been predicated on that yes. You can live in a “civilized” society, but do horrible, immoral deeds that are granted  “morally justifiable” status by your peers, all in contravention of the teachings of the most deeply held religious beliefs. Now that’s a conundrum for the average person socialized in the Judeo-Christian faiths, for sure. “Thou shalt not kill”, “Turn the other cheek”, etc. (forgive my shallow knowledge of religious texts, I’m sure there are even better examples but that’s what “etc.” is for now, isn’t it?).

This accepted contradiction, that it’s not always insane and inhuman to destroy keeps us groping for the justifications to meet evil with necessary evil. To comfort ourselves that we’re not susceptible to the kind of insanity that grips the murderously evil, we sell this idea that they were nudged to insanity by religious teachings that we revile and are completely not susceptible to.  But I’m more inclined than ever to say that it’s always wrong, it’s always insane, it’s always a sell out of humanity to kill each other.

Unless it’s for meat. As that great savage Tom Colicchio says “respect the protein.”