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National Militia

June 26th, 2019 Comments off

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,, the right of the people to join the national militia shall not be abridged.  With membership in the militia, comes the right to own a firearm, subject to the rules and restrictions of the militia, and attended by proper training in the use of such firearms.

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Grapes of Wrath

December 6th, 2018 Comments off

From The Rude Pundit 11-27-18:

I was looking up some things about how, during the Great Depression, in towns that were being destroyed by starvation and labor war, parents would send their children out on the road to find a better life than the one they could supply them. It reminded me of this passage from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, about Dust Bowl refugees from Oklahoma and elsewhere heading to California, where they hope to start a better life. But, of course, they are met with anger and hatred and hindrance every step of the way, crushing their American dreams.

Here ya go:

“The movement changed them; the highways, the camps along the road, the fear of hunger and the hunger itself, changed them. The children without dinner changed them, the endless moving changed them. They were migrants. And the hostility changed them, welded them, united them—hostility that made the little towns group and arm as though to repel an invader, squads with pick handles, clerks and storekeepers with shotguns, guarding the world against their own people.

“In the West there was panic when the migrants multiplied on the highways. Men of property were terrified for their property. Men who had never been hungry saw the eyes of the hungry. Men who had never wanted anything very much saw the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants. And the men of the towns and of the soft suburban country gathered to defend themselves; and they reassured themselves that they were good and the invaders bad, as a man must do before he fights. They said, These goddamned Okies are dirty and ignorant. They’re degenerate, sexual maniacs. Those goddamned Okies are thieves. They’ll steal anything. They’ve got no sense of property rights.

“And the latter was true, for how can a man without property know the ache of ownership? And the defending people said, They bring disease, they’re filthy. We can’t have them in the schools. They’re strangers. How’d you like to have your sister go out with one of ’em?

“The local people whipped themselves into a mold of cruelty. Then they formed units, squads, and armed them—armed them with clubs, with gas, with guns. We own the country. We can’t let these Okies get out of hand. And the men who were armed did not own the land, but they thought they did. And the clerks who drilled at night owned nothing, and the little storekeepers possessed only a drawerful of debts. But even a debt is something, even a job is something. The clerk thought, I get fifteen dollars a week. S’pose a goddamn Okie would work for twelve? And the little storekeeper thought, How could I compete with a debtless man?

“And the migrants streamed in on the highways and their hunger was in their eyes, and their need was in their eyes. They had no argument, no system, nothing but their numbers and their needs.”

Along the way, they are beaten and thrown out of towns, and their camps are set on fire, hurting old people, kids. All because of fear and irrational hate of the other. Yes, this time, now, there is the added layer of horrific racism, but, even back then, Trump would have had the Okies tear-gassed.

“They reassured themselves that they were good and the invaders bad.”

Same as it ever was.

Categories: Humanism, Mind, politicas Tags:

Constitution and Pardons

July 25th, 2017 Comments off

The President…shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 1

Also, from the Heritage Constitution Guide:

The possibility of a President pardoning himself for a crime is not precluded by the explicit language of the Constitution, and, during the summer of 1974, some of President Richard M. Nixon’s lawyers argued that it was constitutionally permissible. But a broader reading of the Constitution and the general principles of the traditions of United States law might lead to the conclusion that a self-pardon is constitutionally impermissible. It would seem to violate the principles that a man should not be a judge in his own case; that the rule of law is supreme and the United States is a nation of laws, not men; and that the President is not above the law.

James Pfiffner
Professor of Public Policy
George Mason University
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Power vs Empathy

June 23rd, 2017 Comments off

Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, in Ontario, recently described something similar. Unlike Keltner, who studies behaviors, Obhi studies brains. And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy. Which gives a neurological basis to what Keltner has termed the “power paradox”: Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities we needed to gain it in the first place.

— Atlantic, August 2017

Categories: Mind, politicas Tags:

Ranked-Choice Voting

December 13th, 2016 Comments off

Ranked-choice voting (RCV) means the voter votes for candidates in order of preference.  If there is no clear majority winner, the lowest-ranked nominee is eliminated, and their votes assigned to those voters’ next-highest=ranked candidate, until there is a clear majority winner.

This may not be great for general elections; it is easily used to oust a sitting party for momentary purposes.

But it would be great for primaries!  It would not throw the baby out with the bathwater, if poles were taken more often, giving voters a chance to express their preference without committing to a sudden change in government.

Single-issue candidates, though they may not be eventual winners, would be promoted as champions of their cause, and the other candidates would see the swell of support for that cause.

Categories: Economics, politicas Tags:

Voter Fraud and Fairies

March 18th, 2016 Comments off

“Voter fraud is rampant” — it’s the hoariest claim of proponents of voter-ID laws, and the most untrue. As the evidence has shown over and over and over and over and over, there is no voter-impersonation fraud — the only type of fraud that such laws purport to combat.

In 2014, Justin Levitt, an election-law scholar at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, catalogued every instance of voter-impersonation fraud he could find in any election since 2000 — not just prosecutions, but even vaguely credible allegations. He found 31 — over a period in which Americans cast about 1 billion votes in federal, state and local elections.

NYTimes

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SCOTUS Nominations Confirmed in Last Year In Office

March 17th, 2016 Comments off

Supreme Court Nominees Confirmed in Last Year of Term, 20th Century

date of vacancy        date of nomination        Nominee/        Confirmed            President
——————————————————————————————————————–
October 14, 1911    March 13, 1912            Mahlon Pitney        March 18, 1912      Taft

January 2, 1916         January 28, 1916        Louis Brandeis        June 1, 1916       Wilson

June 10, 1916        July 14, 1916             John Clarke        July 24, 1916                    Wilson

January 12, 1932    February 15, 1932        Benjamin Cardozo    February 24, 1932   Hoover

November 16, 1939    January 4, 1940            Frank Murphy         January 16, 1940  Roosevelt

(ret. Nov. 1987)        November 30, 1987         Anthony Kennedy    February 3, 1988   Reagan

Scotusblog

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Financial Strip-Mining

March 7th, 2016 Comments off

The “pro-business” model of capitalism is broken — and getting worse, author and activist Les Leopold tells Salon

Categories: Economics, politicas, Uncategorized Tags:

Authoritarianism

March 7th, 2016 Comments off

An excellent article on the authoritarian impulse, in Vox:

http://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism

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Haidt et al. On Today’s Parties

February 6th, 2016 Comments off

http://www.vox.com/2016/2/5/10918164/donald-trump-morality

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