Hillary or Bernie?

Those of you who follow my Twitter Time Line with any regularity might have noticed that I haven’t really tweeted or retweeted anything specifically favorable or unfavorable towards either of the leading two Democratic Candidates, nor have I live tweeted their debates. I have spent arguably an inordinate amount of time tweeting snark about the Republican Candidates and live tweeting their debates but not the Dems. 

Those who have read my bio and have followed me know that I was with the Republican party for over 30 years and out of total frustration of the hard right-wing turn and marginalization of moderates in the party by the Tea Party types, I left. Now to be clear, I did not become a Democrat. However I have found that I prefer the platform of the Democrats immeasurably more palatable than that of this current “faux” conservatism from the so-called “Christian” right “Constitutionalists” who are in reality narrow-minded, bigoted, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, lemmings for the corporate and/or tyrannical leaders of the party. Did I leave anything out? 

I welcome centrists and liberal leaning people to follow me as I follow back. As I also have mentioned I enjoy intelligent and humorous dialogue. I prefer pragmatism, fact based reasoning and most important of all, critical thinking, (all nearly extinct and verboten in the current manifestation of the Republican Party). Following “liberals” and centrists I make it a point not to favor or cast aspersions on their candidates of choice, providing they are good for the nation and the overall good of her people. Now I will go after those on the Democratic side who I see as causing damage to the mission statement of the party. For example, I am not impressed with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In her position she should be focusing on spreading the mission of the Democratic Party to anyone within earshot in all 50 states and US territories. Media still covers the Republicans far more than the Democrats and by not holding more debates in Prime-Time, even less coverage is had. 

Now regarding Hillary and Bernie. I find that the vast majority of Democrats support either one. Many who personally advocate for one or the other will also add that they would still vote for the other if their candidate lost. Thom Hartmann, who has had Bernie on his radio show every Friday for “brunch” for years and is one of Bernie’s most noted advocate, has said quite candidly he supports Bernie but if Hillary wins the primary he could vote for her “in a heartbeat.” Stephanie Miller who supported Obama over Hillary in 2008 prior to Obama gaining popularity has made it clear she now supports Hillary. But as with Thom, if Bernie wins, she can vote for him “in a heartbeat.” That is the example all those on the left and middle should take. Sadly, it isn’t. 

There is plenty of good in both candidates. However it is also true that both have baggage that can and will be exploited in the General. However those who say “Bernie or Bust” or “Hillary or Bust” present a real and imminent threat to the progressive cause in November. Republicans can only win if voter turnout is low. The lower the turnout the higher the neo-conservative gains. To not vote because your candidate lost is almost guaranteeing one of the GOP candidates winning.

The odds are about 50/50 that the Dems can take the Senate back. It’s unlikely they can take the House back. The next president will likely nominate three or four Supreme Court Justices, will have to either carry on with the Obama agenda or kill it to satisfy the right-wing. The next President has to be a Democrat. Whether you think Hillary or Bernie are or aren’t Progressive enough, or capable of winning or not keep in mind (again as Thom Hartmann points out) “on their worst day, both Hillary and Bernie are better than any Republican Candidate on their best day.” 

I’ve seen battles between Dems on Twitter and other social media before. It can and does get personal and nasty. If you’re not following their litmus test, they can be as nasty to you as the worst Right-Wing Nut Job out there. Just today because I expressed my support for “whoever wins the primary” a Sanders supporter made assumptions and threw insults my way. This was someone I had followed and he had followed back for years. He’s now blocked. Another chimed in and before it got too bad, I blocked her. I went through this turf war among liberals before regarding Unite Blue. I won’t go through it again. 

One thing the Republicans have done and will continue to do that appears to be difficult for Democrats is that after the primaries are concluded, whether their candidate won or not, they will still unite and vote for the winner in the General. Too many Dems unfortunately give up if their candidate loses. They either don’t vote, vote for a third party candidate or do a write in. That is throwing your vote away. Nothing anybody can show me proves otherwise. 

So in closing, fight for your candidate during the primary season. Make your case but be respectful of the hard felt beliefs of others. Don’t alienate them from you or you from them. In the end, support the winner and push for as many Blue wins as possible in November. Otherwise you were part of the problem.

Be Careful What You Rebel For

We all know from the years of propaganda floating in the West by Ranchers and anti-Government types about how the Federal Government has stolen their land and won’t allow ranchers their right to graze cattle on it without horrible restrictions. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are the Gestapo in their minds while they misrepresent history, the law, the Constitution and reality to prove their point.

Of course they leave out the fact that

1)      Article IV, Section 3, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution states: The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States….” or

2)      the more reasonable complaint that the lands taken by the Whites originally belonged to the Natives and that the Supreme Court in 1823 disgustingly ruled in what’s been called “The Discovery Doctrine” in Johnson v M’Intosh that “discovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title of occupancy, either by purchase or by conquest.”, or

3)      that much of the land not already taken by White American Settlers were owned by Hispanic Settlers before the Americans arrived, or

4)      that these “American Territories” who petitioned Washington DC for Statehood agreed to cede much of this land to the Federal Government, or

5)      finally that over the past 100 plus years, failed property owners in debt have sold land to the United States Government. In fact the land around the Malheur Wildlife Refuges is just such land. Prior to that it was property of the Paiute Tribe.

No matter, they complain that the Federal Government shouldn’t own or control this land. They demand it be privatized, sold to private interests and not managed by the Federal Government.

After all, all the BLM does is ensure the land isn’t over-grazed making it useless for years, or mined making it useless for those wanting to camp on these lands and enjoy nature, or developed eliminating the natural beauty and access to the land for ever. No, they want the land sold because the Federal Government has no business controlling the public lands held in trust and protection for the People of the United States. Only Ranchers should have that right.

Many “Conservative” Republican politicians at both the State and National Level agree with these people and have sponsored legislation to sell off these lands. In Arizona Senator John McCain worked to sell off Indian land to a Canadian Mining interest.

Well, let’s give these ranchers what they want.  

Why should they have to fork out $1.69/AUM to the Federal Government for grazing rights when they can pay private land owners $20.30/AUM?

Why should the tax payers be responsible for firefighting these tenderly dry lands from major fires? Let the private owners do it.

Now keep in mind, if this land was to go for sale in all these states, good business dictates it go to the highest bidder. The better the land, the better the resources on it, the higher the cost.

Now we know all these poor local ranchers are starving, relying of government subsidies to sustain their ranches and families (did I forget to mention that fact?) so they may not be in the best position or have the credit rating necessary to borrow the money to buy these prize lands. That being the case, multi-national ranching, mining, and land development corporations with the resources just might be making the better bid to buy these lands.

Wonder what a Saudi Family land development interest would charge local Christian Ranchers to graze on their lands? Wonder how they would handle these Christians poaching on their lands? Certainly they would be much kinder than the Federal Government has been.

Foreign interests love buying American real-estate. It’s the best investment they can make so much of this land sold by the U.S. Government is far more likely to end up in their hands and subject to their rules than private U.S. land speculators. Don’t think so? It’s already happening as I mentioned above.

Evil Tyrannical gubmit is an easy rallying cry from those wanting attention and more freebies. It’s a great way to gain financial support and some level of respect from those who don’t have the time to think and reason, it’s a great way to get the votes from those who don’t have the time to think and reason. However, it isn’t a way to deal with the Public Lands, held in trust by the Government of the United States and regulated by acts of Congress (not the President mind you) for the public good or public vote. You want this land privatized? May as well sell yours too in the process because they will drive you out of business and off their lands for their bottom line.

Additional Reading:

Doctrine of (Christian) Discover:  http://nativeamericanhistory.about.com/od/Law/a/What-Is-The-Doctrine-Of-Christian-Discovery.htm

Fact Sheet BLM Management of Livestock Grazing: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/grazing.html


Tarp Man’s Family History

During the Bundy Militia standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon we were all introduced to Lavoy Finicum. He is one of the Militiamen fighting for the right to commit Arson and not serve out the sentence covered by law for two ranchers who don’t want anything to do with these nuts.

Many scoffed at Lavoy immediately naming him Tarp Man on social media. However that’s not fair, the Finicum name goes back to many battle scenes in our country’s history. Here are just a few:







The 2nd Amendment Wasn’t Written to Codify Insurgency

As the Bundy Militia pathetically try to make themselves relevant by occupying Federal Lands to protect two convicted Arsonist (who want nothing to do with the Bundy Klan) social media is again abuzz about militias, gun rights and how the second amendment was written for the sole purpose to permit armed insurrection against the government of the United States, if “the people” sees it at “Tyrannical”. 

Many on the right extreme have come up with bizarre and unsubstantiated claims about our founding and what the constitution says, however this interpretation is among the most laughable of all of them. Nothing in the history of the time, not the Federalists papers, not the written works or diaries of the founders, not even reason or logic substantiates this idiotic claim from those who may have read the Constitution but either didn’t understand it or only read propaganda about the Constitution by NRA conmen and phony historians like David Barton. 

Let’s examine this theory from the loons on the right. However to fully understand what follows you need to have an open and clear mind and the ability to utilize critical thinking. So Gun Nuts will have problems sorting through this, but here’s hoping. 

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution adopted in 1791 and states clearly: 

“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.” 

Now we all know that the Gun Nuts out there like to ignore that first part. I read one blog that on one hand accurately stated it was a “dependent” clause but then oddly stated that as a “dependent” clause, isn’t relative to the rest of the amendment(?) Ah, rightwing logic! 

The issue of Militia is key. The current and popular theory of the Gun Nuts is that the whole purpose of this amendment was for the people who they see as the “militia” are the only way to remove tyrannical government, like the founders did in the Revolutionary War against George the Third. Now if the Second Amendment was the only amendment referencing the militia in the constitution and there were no other acts of Congress legislated and signed by the Chief Executive at the time, you may, with a lot of booze and no sleep on a school night, give credence to that theory. However, that isn’t the case. 

Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution provides that the states transferred to Congress the power: 

“To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel Invasions” and “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia.”  

The founders were wary about having a standing army so they wanted to rely on calling for State Militias to defend our nation from all enemies foreign and domestic. They wanted to ensure that the Militias were well armed, trained and organized for just such an eventuality. In fact each time until 2008 with Heller, When Second Amendment rights were argued before the Supreme Court, the Justices ruled that the Second was a “group right” ceding to the dependent clause regarding a militia. It has only been since Heller that the Supreme Court has now changed over 200 years of stare decisis and has now made gun ownership an “individual right”. So much for Antonin Scalia saying the Constitution isn’t a “living document” subject to change. 

Now that’s not all. Congress in 1792 (keep in mind this Congress was made up of who we call our founders at that time) legislated the Militia Act of 1792. Under this Act and Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution father of our country, presider of the Constitutional Convention and first president of the United States George Washington twice put down armed insurrections against the government of the United States by calling out the Militias. It would appear as many clearly understand, the second amendment was written as a means to defend our government, not threaten it. If the latter were so, how was President Washington allowed to use the Second to put down armed rebellion? By the way, the Whiskey and Shay’s rebellions essentially were about the same things (taxes, federal government overreach, etc.) that the right cite now as “Tyranny.” After Washington put down the Whiskey Rebellion he reported back to Congress stating: 

“To yield to the treasonable fury of so small a portion of the United States, would be to violate the fundamental principle of our constitution, which enjoins that the will of the majority shall prevail.  . . . Succeeding intelligence has tended to manifest the necessity of what has been done; it being now confessed by those who were not inclined to exaggerate the ill-conduct of the insurgents, that their malevolence was not pointed merely to a particular law; but that a spirit, inimical to all order, has actuated many of the offenders.”

He didn’t care much for “Second Amendment Remedies”. 

Now many on the right will cite quotes from the founders like Thomas Jefferson to support their claim the purpose of the second was to give the people a means to threaten our government. Interesting notion except for two things, if it isn’t legislated and signed into law by the Chief Executive, it carries no legal weight. And second, the quotes they cite have no basis in fact. One they love to cite is Jefferson saying: 

“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” 

These are stirring words except for one thing. Thomas Jefferson never said them. It has been researched and no historians have been able to attribute it to any of his writings or speeches. In fact the quote first surfaced in 1914. Keep in mind Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826. 

Some like to say it can be found in the Federalist Papers. I suspect they never read them or understand that the term “Federalist” is key. These papers were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay who were “Federalists” and it was the Federalists who advocated for a stronger central government to replace the weak one provided under the Articles of Confederation. Why would those believing in a strong central government write about a means to overturn it by a mob? 

Another thing these Gun Nuts don’t comprehend when they cite “Tyranny” as reflected in the Declaration of Independence as a warning to “Tyranny” in our government. At the time prior to our formal break from the rule of King George the Third, his leadership was absolute. He wasn’t elected King, he was born King. He wasn’t held to the will of Parliament, he controlled Parliament. He wasn’t bound to orders of the English Courts, he was the English Courts. When the founders created our government they wanted to avoid a Monarchy like the one they just rebelled against. They saw government as only being viable upon consent of the governed. So they created a Chief Executive who would serve terms of four years and to remain in office must win in a nationwide election governed only by the Electoral College. That Chief Executive could be held to account by a separate Supreme Court, that Chief Executive can be impeached by a Congress or by the people by not re-electing him or her.  So it would appear that the remedy for a “tyrannical” President is actually either our Congress, our Supreme Court or our ballots. Things that didn’t apply to King George the Third in 1776. So comparing Obama to King George is disingenuous at best. 

Another thing to consider if you still believe a small militia group has the right to overthrow the government of the United States because they see it as Tyrannical and they don’t want to wait for the next election or take the time to go to Court or Congress for redress of their issues: Who determines what’s Tyrannical and who elected these Militias to represent the rest of us? Seems that these people are nothing more than insurgents taking matters into their own hands regardless of what the rest of the nation thinks. That makes them far more dangerous than any elected official who is constrained by the US Constitution. These people see themselves literally above the law, which make them the tyrants. 

No my friends, nothing in the Second Amendment or the Constitution as a whole condones or permits armed insurgency against your government. Our system is set up to deal with redress in a much less violent manner than the idiocy of ne’er-do-wells who really have no business socializing with decent folk.

At best, private gun ownership is for your personal protection, not revolution. Certainly not a revolution you would ever win or live through. 

One final thought, people who join up with the weekend warrior types should be careful calling themselves “Militias”. As somebody pointed out to me on Twitter recently, if they are militias, then under the Constitution, Congress and the President can call them out and deploy them to defend our nation. They could be sent to Syria for all I care.