Saturday, June 30, 2012


What are "arms" for the purpose of the Second Amendment?

After all, there is no modification for the term "arms" in the text.

Why would this include (or preclude) the possession of WMD by private citizens?

The Stink of Right Wing Corruption in the Fast and Furious Scandal

I'm tired of hearing the whining and complaining and the unsupported blaming from the right that they dont get fair coverage in the media. The Nut Gingrich claims of media bias in his campaigning was just one example.

Right wing media simply makes things up, or fails to multi-source or otherwise accurately report news. They play to conspiracy theories and insane premises that demonize the left -- notably the claims of voter fraud and of union corruption.

Consistently, they have no proof for their conspiracies, but they flog them mercilessly.

Consistently, they largely ignore any stories, no matter how well researched and credible, that differ from that conspiracy flogging propaganda they promote. We are far from the days where our media was held to a better standard of fact, the days of Edward R. Murrow, the days of Walter Cronkite.

Our low-information voters believe that it couldn't be reported in the media if it weren't true -- like those good old days of factual journalism, where the media had standards.

We are in a 'post-truth' era -- and that should make us angry, and that should move us to push back for an era of truth.

There are still GOOD reporters, the reporters who deserve Pulitzers, reporters who fact check thoroughly, and who are careful to tell the truth, to be factual and not to overreach beyond what they can prove or demonstrate.

Locally I saw that in the reporting of Dan Browning. I was impressed with his journalism; he was a meticulous researcher, and an ethical reporter of facts.

Nationally, I am similarly impressed with the exceptional investigative reporting efforts of Katherine Eban.

Fortune magazine, which produces the Fortune 500 lists every year, is no rag, no tabloid, no Daily Mail. It has been a prestigious magazine, a rival to Forbes, dating back to its founding in 1930 by Henry Luce. It has been for nearly a century one of the most respected magazines in this nation, primarily for business and economic reporting.

Eban wrote an award winning book about tainted drugs and counterfeit drugs in our health care system. Her reporting has appeared in a wide range of media, both print and broadcast, notably in the New York Times, and on Night Line and 60 Minutes.

Eban's reporting stands up to the closest scrutiny and to the most rigorous challenges -- like good reporting used to do regularly. Her reporting is UNlike the right wing media, which consistently cannot stand up to scrutiny or factual challenge.

For a long time, I have wondered why it is that anyone would believe the ATF or the DoJ simply overlooked the transfer of guns over our borders. It has never made sense to me that they were just incapable of tracking those guns, or that they didn't care very much about NOT allowing firearms to fall into the wrong hands.

That was implausible on the face of it. Why would they do that? The explanation of incompetence did not seem justified; the ATF and the DoJ are not incompetent, and when they have a failing - and agencies sometimes DO have failures, including some massive ones (the Department of Interior has had some horrific ones, for example), they aren't like this, they follow a different pattern.

When there are massive failures in government, regardless of which party is in charge, consistently if you follow the money trail, someone is profiting. There was no such trail claimed or demonstrated in the case of the ATF and DoJ.

No motivation was ever posited, except for another ridiculous conspiracy theory spouted by the NRA that was more full of holes than a target at a shooting range.

When you factor in that the program began under George W. Bush, but was only being used to discredit Obama so very selectively, the stink factor of something rotten from the right got much stronger.

What I don't understand is why this wasn't being investigated sooner, and better, by anyone other than Eban. And what I don't understand is why the larger media, both print and broadcast, hasn't been doing more to announce this stunning expose.

The criticism from the lunatic fringies like the Breitbart blog, or distortion non-journalists like Fox News, don't offer credible facts to counter Eban's reporting. There is NO credible evidence that refutes her research and documentation.

From Eban's Report on Fast and Furious:
We need an investigation into lax laws and into prosecutorial incompetence, or possibly corruption. I am guessing that we won't see anything of the kind from the inherently dishonest Congressman Issa, who is simply playing at dirty politics.

We need more reporters like Eban, we need more integrity and less right wing post-truth ideology from the new media of the blogosphere, and more critical thinking and fact checking.

Quite simply, there’s a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.
Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.
How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It’s a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson’s anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election. (A Justice Department spokesperson denies this and asserts that the department is not drawing conclusions until the inspector general’s report is submitted.)
“Republican senators are whipping up the country into a psychotic frenzy with these reports that are patently false,” says Linda Wallace, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation unit who was assigned to the Fast and Furious team (and recently retired from the IRS). A self-described gun-rights supporter, Wallace has not been criticized by Issa’s committee.
Isn't the normal, reasonable question that should be asked, how was it legal for these straw purchasers to buy these guns in the first place? Isn't the logical question, why weren't local prosecutors or law enforcement at the state and local level arresting or prosecuting these crimes?

It was never the case that the surveillance by ATF was watching the ONLY straw purchase activity. That activity has been documented over and over and over; it was widespread.

It is STILL widespread in Arizona. Where is the outrage that it continues and that the laws in the state of Arizona and elsewhere ALLOW it? This is clearly not about restricting legal gun purchases to lawful gun owners; this is purely and entirely about stopping intentionally ILLEGAL gun traffic. This is something over which we should all be able to unite, so why is it the Republicans and the NRA are opposing it?

Oh yeah -- that might reduce gun sales, and given the role of the NRA as lobbyists for the gun manufacturers, in ALEC and more directly, that would cut into the illegal gun sales that make money for those special interests, money which can fairly be termed bloody money.

Follow the money -- who profits from this activity? The gun dealers do, and the gun manufacturers do, and there is a clear trail of money as well to the right wing politicians.

The same rule appleis that always applies. Follow the money, in this case the dirty right wing blood stained money.

The right likes to give loud and repetitive lip service to the word Freedom. When you hear that kind of abuse of the word, it should alert you to the fact that there is misdirection present, it should put you on notice that they are trying to disguise the reality.

It is a clear case of the wonderful line from the Wizard of Oz, "don't look at the man behind the curtain'.

Eban looked, Eban wrote, and Eban is still pointing. You should be looking too, and sniffing the stink of right wing corruption, and objecting.

Our own state of Minnesota, and the city of Minneapolis receive a mention in the Eban expose. We do things differently here than in gun-crazy gun-corrupt Arizona:

Voth was a logical thinker. . He lived by advice he received from an early mentor in law enforcement: “There’s what you think. There’s what you know. There’s what you can prove. And the first two don’t count.”
But he was not operating in a logical world. The wiretap represented the ATF’s best—perhaps only— hope of connecting the gun purchases it had been documenting to orders from the cartels, according to Hurley. In Minneapolis, the prosecutors Voth had worked with had approved wiretap applications within 24 hours. But in Phoenix, days turned into weeks, and Group VII’s wiretap application languished with prosecutors in Arizona and Washington, D.C.
No one has yet explained this delay. Voth thinks prosecutor Hurley’s inexperience in wiretapping cases may have slowed the process. Several other agents speculate that Arizona’s gun culture may have led to indifference. Hurley is an avid gun enthusiast, according to two law-enforcement sources who worked with him. One of those sources says he saw Hurley behind the counter at a gun show, helping a friend who is a weapons dealer.


Quick question--Was is the domestic violence clause of the US Constitution?

What does it cover?

Conspiracy to defraud?

I think that copyright matters, and is important. Creators ought to be legally able to give their work away freely, as so many do for the betterment of humankind, and to set certain conditions on how their work is used. And I think creators ought to be able to release their work under traditional copyright and have legal recourse against those who are illegally profiting from it.

There have been a couple of cases here relating to sites which offered links to TV and video content: Anton Vickerman and Sheffield student Richard O'Dwyer. I have to admit that I find these prosecutions to be disturbing. Although, I do find solace in this comment:

"This was not a case brought using copyright law. The interest groups involved couldn't present a case of copyright infringement and instead decided to press for the use of the common law offence of 'conspiracy to defraud'," said UK Pirate party leader Loz Kaye. "This is one of the most controversial crimes in English law – it criminalises conduct by two or more people that would not be criminal when performed by an individual.

The offence was notoriously used in the 1970s to prevent people sharing film cassettes as the TV and film industry believed video was a threat to their existence."

Since I do talk a lot about downloading material, but usually for my own personal use. I also talk about feeling somewhat guilty that I can't pay more than my fair share for the material I download--although I am more than covered under the UK TV licensing scheme. I can add in that these people were doing this for profit, and I'm just linking back to official sites where the material can be found.

I will also add that I do not like downloading via Torrent, but would prefer if archived material were better available. Although, if someone is inclined to go that route, it is far more available than I would like.

Graham Linehan, writer of the sitcoms The IT Crowd, Black Books and Father Ted, said the prosecution itself – not just the potential extradition – was a cause for alarm.

"It just seems to me that people like Richard are being punished for being able to navigate the modern world," said Linehan. "The internet has changed everything, they're doing what comes naturally in these new, uncharted waters and suddenly they're getting their collars felt by people who still have Hotmail addresses.

And then [there's] the sheer shocking arbitrary nature of it all … to be told that you could face up to 10 years for sharing links? When I heard that Nora Ephron died, I shared on Twitter a link to the full version of When Harry Met Sally on YouTube. Am I a criminal now? Why? Why not?"

The strange this is that US authorities become concerned about a site linking to content often still within copyright. To sell a counterfeit CD or DVD of a copyrighted work is an offence, as is deliberately uploading such a work to the internet. On the other hand, they are now hitting people who link to copyrighted material. The whole thing makes absolutely no sense on its face.

Additionally, the prosecutions are happening for events happening outside of the US with no direct connection to US territory.

I can add in that Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, launched a petition against the O'Dwyer extradition attempt. Naturally, I signed it. This is too frightening to not sign.

Read more:

Jimmy Wales: Richard O'Dwyer and the new internet war:
Richard O'Dwyer: living with the threat of extradition:
Video interview with Richard O'Dwyer:

WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR FAST & FURIOUS? Turns out it was lax gun laws promoted by the NRA!

The right wing engages in the most ridiculous of conspiracy theories.

The latest one has blown up in the face of the right wing like a whole keg of gun powder exploding.

Could this folly promoted by the NRA result in the gun zombies being laughed into extinction as an organization?  If it doesn't - it should.

This is another example of  the classic non-facts idiocy that gun nuts swallow because of their utter and total lack of any ability whatsoever at critical thinking exacerbated by their total lack of knowledge of facts and a complete and devestating inability to discern and discover FACTS.

I coined a new term for the gun lunatic, gun zombie (mindless repetition of "must have guns") lexicon.  It is  more than a fract, defined as a minor singular deviation from objective and verifiable reality; it is a full-blown 'Fuct', a false piece of progandized information that is so massively stupid and inaccurate, on which the gun nuts rely that it is larger than a mere fract, and more foundational -- and more stupid on the part of the gun nutz.

This is one of the latter,  a full-blown, neon-flashing, siren blaring 'fuct'.

Turns out Fast and Furious is NOT even remotely as the right wingers and especially the NRA have portrayed it, and as is far more logical, it turns out that the responsibility for the  2000 firearms that ended up in Mexico, and the dead federal agent lies squarely on the doorstep of the pro-gunners and the NRA.

Given this took place in ultra-conservative pro-gun to a disastrous fault Arizona, it is a reasonable speculation that the majority of these prosecutors who would NOT ALLOW the ATF to arrest straw purchasers were CONSERVATIVES, TEA PARTIERS and REPUBLICANS!!!!

Your consciences, individually and collectively must by now be smoking, shrivelled and blackened beyone recognition.

Here are the details of OBJECTIVE REALITY, not the gun lunatic NRA promoted fantasy conspiracy for the ignorant gun lunatics, from a well regarded and prestigious investigative reporter for a nationally respected journal.

Prepare to hang your heads in SHAME for all the times you tried to represent this differently. Your skin should be brick red flushed with shame from your scalp down to the soles of your feet for EVER having believed the NRA about this (or anything else).  More than shame for yourselves, if you have ANY INTEGRITY WHATSOEVER you should be repudiating Rep. Issa as a dishonest reincarnation of the despicable witch-hunting cold war era Sen. Joe McCarthy. 

I tried unsuccessfully to cut the clip to the proper length; the Fast and Furious interview begins at aprox. 4:00 in.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Swat down, and I don't mean Mosquitoes

Remember a recent post about being allowed to shoot law enforcement (as well as firemen, etc.) for things like entering the wrong house?  That was, I believe, the law passed in Indiana.

Here is another example of that kind of event; human beings make mistakes, and human beings can be deceived. 

Whether it is in the context of a Shoot First / Stand your ground shooting, or this kind of event, more guns and more shooting only compound the mistakes and the bad outcomes, they make NO ONE safer, nor does it improve the legal process in any way.


Online threat — but SWAT team raids wrong house

18-year-old was watching Food Network when door came down, stun grenade went off

Imagine you're sitting at home, comfortable on the couch, watching the Food Network, when all of a sudden a heavily armed SWAT team breaks down your door and storms into your living room.
That's what happened to 18-year-old Stephanie Milan, who was watching TV in her family's Evansville, Ind., home last Thursday (June 22), when a team of police officers broke down her storm door — the front door was already open — and tossed a flash-bang stun grenade into the room.
"The front door was open," Ira Milan, Stephanie's grandfather and the property owner, told the Evansvile Courier & Press. "To bring a whole SWAT team seems a little excessive."
[Wi-Fi Warping Wallpaper Keeps Hackers Out]
Turns out, however, that the SWAT team had the address wrong.
The Courier & Press said the police had been investigating "anonymous and specific online threats made against police and their families on the website," and had obtained a search warrant for the Milan house. An Evansville police officer said one of the threats that came from the Milan household mentioned explosives and said, "Evansville is going to feel the pain."
Whoever made these threats, the Courier & Press said, likely remotely routed them through the Milan's open Wi-Fi connection, which means it could have been used from an outside location. It's possible the Milans, or specifically Stephanie, were targets of "swatting," a particularly nasty prank by which the perpetrator — often through hoax 911 calls — tricks a SWAT team into raiding a house of his choosing.
Last July, Parry Aftab, a prominent Internet security advocate, became the victim of such an attack. Police swarmed her northern New Jersey home after pranksters placed a 911 call through a computer that cloned her number and said a man had killed four people and was holding another hostage in her house.

CQC 3 Gun retention

Isn't the gun loon mythology that the "goblin" starts to cower once the gun is pulled?
Unfortunately, that isn't the case in the "real world".
 Cops and the military train on this stuff, or at least they SHOULD train on these tactics if they are going to carry.

I hope this stuff gives you nightmares about "goblins" grabbing your guns and using them against you.

Another law abiding gun owner?

This comes from the Animal Welfare site:

Under Gunfire, Rescuers Save Dog from Backyard of Evil

Under Gunfire, Rescuers Save Dog from Backyard of Evil
Written by Ashley Owen Hill of Mississippi, Author of the Lucky Dog Rescue Blog

About a month ago, I was checking Facebook when I ran across a picture of a dog in need. As always, someone had simply shared a dog’s photo on my wall. Each day, I see hundreds if not thousands of images of desperate animals. Each of those photos is urgent. Each of those photos hurts my heart. Each of those photos affects my soul. Even still, as I scrolled past this particular photo, I stopped and my heart stopped, too.

The photo itself was disturbing, infuriating and heartbreaking. The photo was accompanied with a wall comment which said: “Ashley: I think I read that you know of an animal rescue group who is willing to help terminally-ill dogs before they go to Heaven. This is Max. His medical condition has taken a turn for the worse, and he doesn’t have much time left on Earth.”

Before I’d even clicked on the photo, to get more information on this dog, I responded to her comment and said, “I have good news. I am that rescue.” As I clicked on the picture, I realized that Max was posted by a dear friend of mine, Rebecca Helwig, of Dogs Deserve Better in Nashville. Then I read Rebecca’s account of his rescue. It said:

Meet Max. He has been chained for at least 1 year. When someone in his neighborhood reached out to us for help, a volunteer and I went to the home to check on Max. The neighbors were extremely worried about the dog… for good reason. From the photos, you can obviously see the insane abuse and neglect that this dog has been forced to endure.

When we arrived, the neighbor and my volunteer walked into the backyard, to check on Max. Meanwhile, I remained in my car taking photos of Max from the street, with a zoom-lens camera (Due to trespassing laws, when obtaining photographic evidence of animal cruelty, one must remain outside of property lines in order for photos to be admissible in court.) Shortly thereafter, a vehicle screeched into the driveway. The homeowners jumped out of the car, and ran toward the backyard, yelling: “What the f*** are you doing?” The volunteer said: “We’re just checking on your dog, man.”

That’s when the homeowner pulled out a gun, pointed it at them and yelled: ” Don’t move!”

Well, as soon as they saw the gun, the neighbor and the volunteer started running. Then the homeowner starting shooting. That’s when I heard the gun shots. I looked up, as the neighbor and volunteer were running toward me. Then, I saw the gunman running toward us as well, still shooting. When the others ran inside the neighbor’s house to safety, I started the car and got the heck out of there, too. Even still, I wasn’t giving up on Max. I couldn’t just leave him there on that chain with those awful, violent people, who were willing to let him starve to death. So, long story short, I made some calls, pulled some strings, and got Max to safety.

However, even after he’d been saved, we’d soon find out that Max was deathly ill, due to the years of neglect he’d suffered. According to the vet, Max was knocking on death’s door as he was less than 2 weeks away from literally starving to death. In addition, he was suffering from massive internal and external parasite infestation, and multiple other ailments. But, the most critical, life-threatening condition Max faced: severely-advanced heartworm disease.

Max's body condition has improved dramatically.

As I finished one of the most heartbreaking posts I’ve ever read, I was in tears. Immediately, I sent Rebecca a text to let her know I would help. She put me in touch with a woman named Carola who had been temporarily fostering Max while a home was sought. Carola shared an incredibly touching story with me about how Max changed her perception of Pit Bulls and her life:

“Ashley, please understand,” Carola told me. “I come from Germany. Growing up, in my country, all Pit Bulls were banned. So, I was raised believing that all Pit Bulls were ‘bad.’ When I came to America and began to foster rescue dogs here I had one rule: ‘No Pit Bulls.’ Even still, Max had nowhere else to go. Because he’d been so badly abused, I decided to take him. But he was a Pit Bull, so, my defenses were way-up.”

“At first I was afraid of him,” she continued, “not because he ever threatened to hurt me but simply because of what I’d been told about his ‘breed.’ But then Max was so loving — and I wanted to love him, too, but honestly, I was afraid to love him.

One day, I heard Max choking on a toy. Out of instinct I reached my hand into his mouth, and pulled the toy out of his throat. And, Ashley, do you know what this Pit Bull did after I had my hand in his mouth, reaching down his throat? He licked my hand, as if to say: ‘Thank you for saving me.’ It changed my life. I was so ignorant. So misinformed. So judgmental toward these dogs. Yet Max, even after all he’s been through, is honestly the sweetest dog I’ve ever known.”

Ashley and Max

In that moment, I didn’t have words. I felt so comforted. So validated. So elated. Everything I’ve ever said about these dogs, everything I’ve ever asked someone to believe, everything I’ve ever preached about this breed was being communicated through the words of another human being who experienced it for herself. And because of that experience with Max, Carola became a believer. Then, Carola said: “I feel so good about this. I want you to take Max.” I responded: “I know how much you love him, so how about this? Max will live with me but we’ll share him.” In tears, Carola agreed.

Soon, Max’s transport was arranged. And yesterday, Max arrived. Now he’s here with me forever. At first, upon arrival, he was a little unsure, a little confused. But then at some point Max let go of his anxiety. In a moment I’ll never forget, Max walked over, kissed me on the cheek, snuggled close to my side and fell asleep. Just like that, Max and Ash were family. Just like that, Max was home.

Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase and Harmony Fund international animal rescue network.

You Don't Know What a Fact IS :Anonymous, Unknown

In the wee small hours I came across a comment from someone identifying themselves as 'Unknown'.

Like our ban on 'Anonymous' commenters, this was more of the same, and therefore not posted, plus it was on a year old post about Doc Holiday.  Comments that turn up on old posts have a high incidence of being spam, and often contain links to commercial sites.

But what struck me about this particular comment was that it claimed with apparent great confidence to be written by a conservative who felt that it was very important to point out FACTS, because that was what conservatives did.  Conservatives point out facts to the rest of us.

The fact that the conservative was sharing was that MOST SHOOTINGS --- it's a FACT!!!!!! --- were FRONTAL.

This struck me as just one more of the myths, the utterly stupid and foolish claims about guns and shootings, that are embraced by the gun nuts, the gun loons, the gun ZOMBIES, who will believe anything gun related, without ANY BASIS IN FACT WHATSOEVER.

It occurred to me that perhaps this represents a profound understanding by conservatives generally, and gun lunatics specifically.  Whether it is the NON 'FACT' that the Japanese did not invade the U.S. mainland because they were afraid of our civilian gunz!, or the NON FACT that Switzerland scared away the Nazis by having their army keep gunz!,  or the NON-FACT that in the UK it is against the anti-terrorism law to buy more than two limes, or that gunz were routinely belt carried rather than holster carried aka mexican carried by Mexican peons and gun slingers in the OLD WEST, OR ANY OF THE OTHER PRO-GUN STUPIDITY that you gun zombies pass off as fact that is NOT FACT AT ALL, there is a pattern to what you believe.

It is clear to me now -- you are simply utterly confounded by what constitutes a fact, and what is fiction.

Ft. Bragg Shooting

More gun violence; one more person who sincerely believes the gun culture myth that shooting people is an acceptable solution.  The people who do things like this deeply believe they are in the right at the time they do some of the worst wrong actions in their entire lives.  Guns make that possible, they enable people to do drastic and violent things when they should not.

Whatever explanation the injured shooter gives for his actions, it was a bad, wrong, horrible thing that he did.  Guns allow people to make mistakes that are far more drastic than if they were not armed with lethal force.  We would be happier, healthier, and safer if we had fewer guns in this country, and fewer shooters.

In the case of the military, guns are essential.  But it seems that wearing a firearm was NOT essential to this meaning.

Fort Bragg shooting
Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET: A soldier is dead and two others injured following a shooting Thursday afternoon at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, according to a statement released by the post. A senior U.S. defense official told NBC News that the deceased victim was a battalion commander.
The shooter was a soldier, according to the Fort Bragg statement. He shot another member of the unit during a safety brief -- in this case, a 10 to 15 minute lecture by a commander or soldier-in-charge about staying safe for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.
The soldier then shot himself. He is injured and in custody, according to the statement. A third soldier was "slightly" wounded, according to the statement.
The victim is from the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, which is a reconnaissance and intelligence unit, according to its Facebook page. A brigade includes three or more battalions, according to the Army's homepage.
Special agents from the Army’s Criminal Investigation team were on site Thursday evening.
“This is a tragedy for our community,” Col. Kevin Arata, spokesman for Fort Bragg, said at a press conference. “We don’t yet know the reasons for the shooting, but are working with the unit and the affected families to help them through this difficult period.”
Officials said earlier that the incident does not appear to be terrorist-related.
Fort Bragg officials said on Facebook that the post is not on lockdown.
NBC News' Courtney Kube and Jim Miklaszewski and's Isolde Raftery and Rebecca Ruiz contributed to this report.

Life and Art

Was it wishful thinking?

How long before the right wing nut conspiracy theory crazies try to portray this as some sort of one world order, or the illuminati, or the U.N. hijacking the real SCOTUS decision? Did Faux news nuts even notice that the report was wrong? They're so fact averse, they so consistently receive factually inaccurate information, they might not figure it out for days.

The Colbert Report predicted something like this earlier this week, in response to the pre-recording of multiple health care decision outcomes:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert News Alert - Obamacare Supreme Court Ruling
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert News Alert - Obamacare Supreme Court Ruling - Richard Mourdock's Responses
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

From the Guardian:

Healthcare ruling: CNN and Fox News report wrong decision

CNN apologises for reporting too quickly on the supreme court ruling, but they weren't the only ones to get it wrong

CNN fixed their mistake within minutes, but not before the error went viral. Photograph:

It was one of the biggest news days of the year so far, and within minutes of the supreme court ruling, "CNN" was trending on social media networks worldwide.

Unfortunately for the news channel, it proved to be the wrong kind of trending – CNN was being lambasted for reporting precisely the opposite of what had actually happened.

"Individual mandate struck down," the breaking news banner on CNN's US domestic news network proclaimed. "Supreme court finds measure unconstitutional."

In fact, the supreme court had actually upheld President Obama's healthcare law. The confusion arose because it declared the individual mandate – which obliges most Americans to secure health insurance – as unconstitutional in terms of what is know as the "commerce clause" but allowed it to stand as a tax.

CNN was not the only news organisation to get it wrong – Fox News also declared the individual mandate unconstitutional. But it seemed that Fox was let off lightly compared with its more middle-of-the road rival.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obamacare UPHELD!

Health Care Reform / Affordable Health Care Act Upheld!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


In honour of my changing another word to "feck":

I just figured out where all out commenters have gone...

From Ohh Shoot!:

Man unintentionally shoots and kills himself while showing relatives the gun he kept with his concealed carry permit

Guess he didn't realise that firearms were deadly weapons that result in death and/or serious bodily injury when used correctly.

Or in the hands of idiots.

Rules of Constitutional Construction

Just a simple list, but something people need to be aware of before they start coming up with nonsense. It was found here

Within these methods, we can, by study of the writings of the Founders, and the writings they read, elicit such principles for interpreting or constructing the Constitution for the United States as the following:

  1. The Constitution is the written document. Although it may be considered to include the understandings of its words as of the time of ratification, it does not include the subsequent body of practices or precedents upon which constitutional decisions might be based, which may or may not be consistent with it, or authorized by it. The written document refers to itself as "this Constitution", and provides for only four methods by which it may be amended, all of which apply only to the written document.

  2. The authority for provisions of the Constitution is the ratifications and state admissions. Current consent or acquiescence, or lack thereof, to the Constitution or any practice, does not affect the original constitutive acts, and has no authority, unless expressed through adoption of amendments as provided in Article V.

  3. Provisions of the Constitution are mutually consistent. There are no internal logical contradictions, except that a provision of an amendment inconsistent with a previous provision supersedes that provision.

  4. None of the words are without force and effect, except those superseded by amendments, unless such amendments are repealed. Except for the statement of purpose in the preamble, every word was intended by the Framers to be legally normative, and not just advisory, declaratory, aspirational, or exhortatory. Verba intelligi ut aliquid operantur debent. Words should be interpreted to give them some effect.

  5. Rights and powers are complementary. Every right recognized by the Constitution is an immunity, that is, a right against a positive action by government, and is equivalent to a restriction on delegated powers. Conversely, every delegated power is a restriction on immunities. An immunity may be expressed either as a declaration of the right, or as a restriction on powers.

  6. There are no redundancies within the original unamended Constitution. However, amendments may be alternative ways of expressing equivalent content in the original unamended Constitution or previous amendments. More specifically, the Bill of Rights added no new content not implicit in the original unamended Constitution, except the twenty dollar rule of the Seventh Amendment.

  7. The Constitution was intended to define a functionally complete and harmonious system. That does not mean, however, that all powers anyone might think the nation or any branch, level, office or department should have, were actually delegated.

  8. Original "intent" is functional, not motivational. The private motives of the Framers or Founders are irrelevant and largely unknowable, and likely to have been diverse. The common law rule of interpretation understood by the Founders was to discern the functional role of elements of the law, not the private purposes of the lawgivers.

  9. The ratification debates are the best evidence of original understanding. The arguments of those opposed to ratification are not just the positions of the losers in the debates, which some might dismiss as not indicative of original understanding. As the debates proceeded, understandings evolved and clarified, and positions changed. Most opponents were satisfied by adoption of a Bill of Rights, and by assurances by the proponents concerning how the words of the Constitution would be interpreted, and those assurances must be considered part of the original understanding. That means that a construction to which the more significant "anti-federalists" would object is almost certainly incorrect.

  10. Powers are narrow, rights broad. The entire theme and tenor of the ratification debates was that delegated powers were to be interpreted as strictly as possible, consistent with the words, and rights as broadly as possible, with the presumption in favor of the right, and the burden of proof on those claiming a power. Potestas stricte interpretatur. A power is strictly interpreted. In dubiis, non præsumitur pro potentia. In cases of doubt, the presumption is not in favor of a power.

  11. Delegated powers cannot be subdelegated. The U.S. Constitution vests all legislative powers in Congress, and all judicial powers in the Supreme Court and inferior courts, except as specifically expressed. Executive branch officials may subdelegate but must remain responsible for the actions of their subordinates. There can be no authority exercised that is not accountable through constitutional officials.Delegata potestas non potest delegari. A delegated power cannot be delegated. 9 Inst. 597.

  12. The power to regulate is not the power to prohibit all modalities of something. It is only the power to issue prescriptions to "make regular", enforceable only by deprivations of property or privileges, not of life, limb, or liberty. There must always be some modality that is not prohibited.

  13. Implied powers are only to "carry into Execution" an expressed power and not to do whatever is necessary to achieve the intent for which a power might be exercised. Delegation of a power is delegation of the right to make a certain kind of effort, not to do whatever is necessary to get a desired outcome.

  14. There can be no common law crimes. They are in conflict with the prohibitions on ex post facto laws and bills of attainder.

  15. Rights may not be disabled or unduly burdened by legislative or executive process. "Due" process is judicial only, involving the granting of a petition to disable a right of the defendant, with the burden of proof on the plaintiff or prosecutor, and with the defendant having at least those minimum protections that prevailed during the Founding. with similar disablements having similar standards of proof and protection.

  16. There is no right without a remedy. Ubi jus ibi remedium. There must always be an accessible forum in which a complainant has oyer and terminer for any petition.

  17. The Founders were learning. "Original meaning" is not just about what the Founders consciously meant at the moment of ratification, but includes what they would discover with further study of the legal tradition they invoked in the words they chose. Thus, they referred to authors like Blackstone and Coke when they were unsure what they meant, and so must we.

  18. Early practice indicative but not dispositive. Early practice by the Founders may provide evidence of their aspirations in the words they chose, but should not be regarded as perfect expressions of their intent. Practice can represent compromise with practical concerns and may lag behind the ideals contained in the words.

  19. Mental models of mental models. Each of us has a mental model of the world that includes a model of the mental models others have of the world. Communication is possible only to the extent that our mental models of the mental models of others are somehow accurate or congruent. When a lawgiver issues a law, a command to others for future compliance, he is relying on others to understand his words the way he does, and those others are relying on him to use words with the meanings they have for them. But words are an imperfect way to convey meanings, and if the recipient of the command cannot interrogate the lawgiver for his meaning, he must try to improve his mental model of the lawgiver's mental model by such means as learning to accurately predict what the lawgiver will write about matters the recipient has not previously read.

  20. Find the right level of abstraction. It was common for the Founders to use somewhat more concrete words to mean broader principles. Thus, "press" or "arms" is not limited to the technology of the time, but refers to the general function they served. "Militia" does not mean merely those legally obliged to respond to an official call-up, but defense activity generally.

Cyberbullying: The Anti-Social Network

BBC Three ran a show back in April about Radio 5 presenter Richard Bacon called The Anti-Social Network. He saw a website two years before the programme called "Richard Bacon is a [expletive]" which was run by someone who hated not only Bacon's Show, but also Bacon personally.

Aside from a running commentary on what he disliked about each day's programme, he would fantasise about Bacon's death, daydream about him dying in a plane crash and express his hope that Bacon's body would be mangled in a car wreck. As the months wore on, he became utterly obsessed. He started posting links full of abuse to Bacon's wife, mother and work colleagues. Bacon's newborn son even garnered a few mentions.

Bacon delved deeper into the phenomenon and found out that the level of vitiol he was receiving wes mild. Imagine you're the parent of a child who has died in tragic circumstances and you're reading a tribute site dedicated to their memory. Underneath the comments from friends and acquaintances, you stumble upon graphic, violent and sexual abuse from people writing under pretend names. People who their deceased child never even knew.

I would like you to take part in an experiment. Go to any news website that allows readers to post their own thoughts. Choose the most innocuous celebrity story you can find, and read people's comments beneath. There is something about the alchemy of a keyboard and a public platform that taps into a side of human nature that you rarely, if ever, encounter in real-life conversation.

People need to be educated on how to deal with these attention seekers (because that is all they are), the phrase "don't feed the troll" is there for a reason. Ignore them, once they start thinking that they are getting under your skin by responding, it gives them an even bigger sense of accomplishment. I'm willing to bet most of them are deeply lonely and unfulfilled--so keep that in mind when you come across one. 

The really important question about this phenomenon is "Where does freedom of expression cross over into harassment? "

See also:  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chuck Norris, Numbnuts

Is this the right forum to gripe about the boy scouts policy? And how much credibility should we give to a guy who doesn't believe in evolution?

He might be good at punching and kicking things, but that doesn't give him any moral or intellectual authority. But hey - the gun loons love him, and so does the extremist right wing, who make war on women, science, gays, and now children apparently.

Apparently he invented his own mixed drink, iced tea and grand marnier..........doesn't that sound a little, well, GAY?

Major Surprise: The NRA Lies About 'Fast and Furious'

From Forbes (not exactly a pinko media outlet):

The Truth about Fast and Furious:

, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.
How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It's a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson's anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election. (A Justice Department spokesperson denies this and asserts that the department is not drawing conclusions until the inspector general's report is submitted.)

Or, you are charged with possession of an illegal weapon and

Or, you are charged with possession of an illegal weapon and

the weapon in question is a Great Highland Bagpipe.
The prosecution is based upon a statute dealing with firearms. In fact, the precise language is that “the weapon must fire a projectile using either a chemical, explosive, or pneumatic pressure force”
The prosecution relies upon the 1746 prosecution of James Reid, a Piper who was executed at York as a rebel. In his trial it was alleged in his defence that he had not carried arms, but the court observed that a Highland regiment never marched without a piper and therefore that his bagpipe in the eyes of the law was an instrument of war.
“The bagpipe is the only musical instrument deemed a weapon of war because it inspired its troops to battle and instilled terror into the enemy. The skirl of the pipes stirs men’s and women’s souls and its power and influence in battle as in life, is measurable”.
The prosecution brings forth loads of documentation to prove that the bagpipe is an instrument of war and should be considered a weapon. Oh dear, even the EU bureaucrats want to go after bagpipes as well!
Should the law be extended based solely upon this new scholarship?

You’re in court and the Judge is a large marsupial

Why because you have been charged with a crime.

Let's make this fun, you were charged with possession of a controlled substance: Motor Oil.
The law you were charged with states:
a person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree when that person knowingly and unlawfully possesses one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-half [1/2] ounce or more.
I'll add in the narcotic drugs for purpose of this act (and example) are opium, morphine, heroin, and Oxycontin, which is found in the definition section that I just made up for this example.
But the controlled substance you are found in possession is pure motor oil: no weird summertime blend that just happens to contain any of the mentioned narcotics.
Where in the words of the quoted statute are the words "motor oil"?
Nowhere, right.
My point exactly.
But the prosecutor is arguing that motor oil is controlled since there are taxes on it, it is only sold in filling stations, and has been rationed in the past. The words "containing a narcotic drug and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances" don't really matter since this is about controlled substances, which motor oil surely is. She even brings in loads of legislative histories dealing with the rationing of motor oil, which in her opinion proves beyind a reasonable doubt that motor oil is a controlled substance. And she has popular opinion on her side to boot.
There is the new scholarship which proves motor oil is a controlled substance.
So, Nearly everybody believes motor oil is a controlled substance since this is my example and you have to take this as a given, even though it is legally incorrect.
All the case law says that this is ridiculous because the whole wording of the statute needs to be considered. One cannot go outside of the statute, or just use part of the statute and disregard inconvenient language such as "containing a narcotic drug and said preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances". Add in that motor oil and narcotics are two different things. The intent of the legislature writing the controlled substance law didn't consider motor oil, let alone have it around ad arguendo (after all this is my example). Add in that all legal precedent says that controlled substance only applies to narcotics enumerated in my example.
If you think Heller was correctly decided, then you should have no problem with being convicted.
As I like to say:
show me the words "self-defence" in this text:
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.
or this one:
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.
You can't, can you.
I see the words "well regulated militia", but zip about self-defence.
Now, if you were charged with a crime and the actual act wasn't covered by the wording in the text, would you expect to be convicted?
Nope, any lawyer would rip holes in the prosecution. Well, except for the second amendment crowd as they would believe it was a controlled substance just because everyone believes it is a controlled substance.
Additionally, you are saying that the law can be anything a judge decides it to be irrespective of the wording or precedent since Heller was correctly decided. Popular opinion counts far more than legal precedent or proper legal method.
Is that what you really want?

Why use my dog's name for a blog?

It started out as a joke when Harriet Miers was proposed to be a supreme court justice, someone said my dog had been to court more than she had.  The really sad statement about that was the Laci probably had been to court more than Harriet Miers!

Likewise, many law school professors have never been admitted to a bar (any bar) let alone have actually practised law.

Other nations provide for some sort of apprenticeship before letting people loose to practise law, but the US legal educational system choose to shift the training of lawyers to law schools. Where did the actual training to become a lawyer take place: in the field or at school?  Ultimately, the attitude was that any actual legal education would take place when someone studied for the bar exam in the US.  Some law schools try to teach law, but they are not considered the "top" Schools.

Whatever the case, the US legal system sees poor legal reasoning on an epidemic scale.  It is worse in the judiciary, but that is due to the political process.

And ignorance.

Rude-y Toot Toot

Daniel Collins Accused Of Threatening Farting New Jersey Neighbor With A Gun

Huffington Post  |  By

When somebody else farts, it's common to wave your hands -- not a gun.

But Daniel Collins was apparently flat-out tired of his neighbor's flatulence and decided to raise a stink with the help of his trusty firearm.

Police in Teaneck, N.J., said Collins, 72, had been involved in an ongoing dispute with the unidentified neighbor for some time, but Collins got really gassed when the man passed gas near Collins' apartment door, reported.

It apparently was the shot heard (and smelt) around the world -- or, at least New Jersey -- because Collins allegedly pointed a revolver at the flatulent neighbor in the vestibule of their apartment building and said “I’m going to put a hole in your head,” according to

When police arrived, Collins denied the threat, but consented to a search. Authorities recovered a .32 caliber revolver from his vehicle.

Collins was charged with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and terroristic threats, but later released on his own recognizance, NBC New York reported.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rachel Maddow on Fast and Furiously Ridiculous

Second Amendment rewritten

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state and  the purpose of the sentence which is also necessary for the understanding of this sentence, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed or removed from its intended purpose.

Simple enough for people to understand?

This needs to be reposted

If you saw a blind, three legged, 29 year old horse win the derby…

you’d say the race was fixed.
On the other hand, I’m rather amazed at the people who are praising the Heller-McDonald decisions. For example, The Brady Organisation which will happily point out that the decision doesn’t preclude reasonable regulations.
In fact, the Second Amendment protects a civic right, that is it is supposed to ensure that the Article I, Section 8, clause 16 militia remains armed and has feck all to do with “”gun rights”. But, you small minded fecks need to get it through your thick skulls while that concept means the Second Amendment doesn’t preclude a gun ban: It also means that Kennesaw Georgia can force people to buy a gun (although, that sort of law could run afoul of the First Amendment).
The Civic right interpretation was the law of the land up until 26 June 2008. And, quite frankly, you can argue that it still remains the law of the land since the Second Amendment has not been properly amended, thus the Supreme Court acted ultra vires in producing this decision.
But, that’s not my point. My point is that Walter E. Dellinger argued worse than any first year law student despite his background, although one of the themes in this blog is that the US legal education system sucks. Still, you’d think that someone of Dellinger’s experience would pound in:
Stare decisis: Dellinger had the accepted interpretation of United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939) which he mentioned as:
The court unanimously said in Miller that the Second Amendment must be interpreted in light of its obvious purpose to ensure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of the military forces.
Unfortunately, Dellinger appears to have been poorly studied in the history of the Second Amendment and its relationship to Standing Army question. Additionally, He was unaware of Shays’ Rebellion, which were the farmers who were on the framers’ minds: not the ones of dime novel ilk that were on Justice Kennedy’s.
There are enough quotations which show that the issue related to that of the Article I, Section 8, clause 16 militia to have sunk any suggestion that there was a private right.
The other aspect which would have strenghtened Dellinger’s argument was the rule of constutitonal interpretation that I keep hammering upon:
None of the words in the Constitution are without force and effect, except those superseded by amendments, unless such amendments are repealed. Except for the statement of purpose in the preamble, every word was intended by the Framers to be legally normative, and not just advisory, declaratory, aspirational, or exhortatory. Verba intelligi ut aliquid operantur debent. Words should be interpreted to give them some effect.
This principle of Constitutional Construction was mentioned in Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), as It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect; and therefore such a construction is inadmissible, unless the words require it.
And while we are at it: nowhere in the Second Amendment can one find the words which allows for “the people” to own arms for personal defence. Again this goes to the rule of construction that no phrase is without meaning. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius’ (The express mention of one thing excludes all others) : Items not on the list are assumed not to be covered by the statute.
Self-defence is not mentioned in the Second Amendment (or the US Constitution).

Justice Stevens’s dissents in Both Heller and McDonald pointed out that was “a strained and unpersuasive reading” which overturned longstanding precedent, and that the court had “bestowed a dramatic upheaval in the law”. Stevens also stated that the amendment was notable for the “omission of any statement of purpose related to the right to use firearms for hunting or personal self-defense” which are present in the Declarations of Rights of Pennsylvania and Vermont. The fact that these decisions were 5-4 means that the Civic right interpretation isn’t dead, just dormant.
But the other side was just as lame as Alan Gura’s argument demonstrates:
MR. GURA: Well, my response is that the government can ban arms that are not appropriate for civilian use. There is no question of that.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: That are not appropriate to –
MR. GURA: That are not appropriate to civilian use.
MR. GURA: For example, I think machine guns: It’s difficult to imagine a construction of Miller, or a construction of the lower court’s opinion, that would sanction machine guns or the plastic, undetectable handguns that the Solicitor General spoke of.
Now, if you are going to say that the first clause has no effect, which the Five fools do, then one is left with:
the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
It is a well-established tenet of our statutory interpretation that the use of the word “shall” generally indicates the legislature’s intention to make a provision mandatory, as opposed to discretionary. Or to quote the RKBA folk:
What don’t you understand about “Shall not be infringed”.
Of course, the court’s construction and interpretation, again violates the principle about the use of the word “shall” since in this context the phrase is now discretionary.
We can get into the fix is in part of this in that the Court could have made Gura and his ilk look like idiots since they construct the phrase to be both discretionary and the first clause to be without effect. So, not only are they asking for Miller to be overturned, they are also asking that long standing rules of Constitutional interpretation be ignored.
Anyway, by ignoring the language “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State”, we should now have a right which allows for the personal ownership of weapons of mass destruction: let alone machineguns. Any Justice worth their salt should have brought this up (Sorry, that includes you, Justice Stevens).
The problem is that the gun loon crowd act like Pavlov’s dog and salivate when they hear “gun rights” and “individual right”, but don’t really understand what exactly is going on here and how they have been the ones who were fecked. That’s slightly less so from the “antis”: although I’m sure we would be hearing about it if they felt truly fecked over . The Heller-McDonald Supreme court decisions talk of “presumptively lawful regulatory measures”, specifically name some, and then declare the list “is not exhaustive”.
In case you missed it or are too fecking stupid to have figured out what happened–here is the Heller-McDonald language:
Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152–153; Abbott 333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489–490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2 Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students’ Blackstone 84, n. 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Heller at 54-5
Which has as a footnote (26):
We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.
Better yet:
But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Heller at 64
From McDonald:
It is important to keep in mind that Heller, while striking down a law that prohibited the possession of handguns in the home, recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is not “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” 554 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 54). We made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” Id., at ___–___ (slip op., at 54–55). We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents’ doomsday proclamations, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms. McDonald at 39-40
The only thing off the table is anything that purports to be a ban. Which leads to my question: had Chicago theoretically allowed for registrations (as does New York City) since that is not an “absolute prohibition”– would the law have passed constitutional muster? After all, NYC’s law has been around for 99 years: doesn’t that count as a longstanding regulatory measure?
Likewise, Candidates cannot say that gun laws violate the Second Amendment if they do not infringe upon the rights to truly “law abiding citizens” to own firearms. As the Court said (twice) “the right to keep and bear arms is ‘not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.’”
We can get into the watering down of the Second Amendment right, but that is something which comes from the territory of a judicial amendment of the document: it is whatever a judge says the right is.
True supporters of the Constitution should be appalled at the Heller-McDonald decisions for what it did to the Second Amendment. The even more amusing part is that Scalia has trashed everything that he claimed to believe in by putting his name to this piece of shit, although one can truly question what type of biased hack he is to have not recused himself from this decision. Better yet, one must question what he is doing as a Supreme Court Justice as his presence on the bench does nothing to dignify the institution.
One must decide the law based upon the law, not one’s personal biases.
Anyway, the fix is in and everybody got fecked: especially the Constitution.

Ooops! is different than Bang!

I thought this was a bit of a faux controversy, as there was never at any time an attempt to make a political statement about Dubya.  No one deliberately set out to sneak in a fake decapitated head depicting the previous president, appearing to sort of kinda maybe place George W. Bush's noggin on a pointy stick in the HBO dramatization of a pseudo-medieval fantasy book series, Game of Thrones. 

Subsequent to the discovery, and the resulting controversy, DVDs have been altered to obliterate any possible claim of resemblance to a real person, a former President of the United States.

There is no indication that the prop head used in filming Game of Thrones looks like George W. Bush full face, or from any other angle, contrary to the report in this story. This was not apparently a specifically Bush-look-alike prop, it was just a generic prop.  This not only was the right thing to do for clarity of their intentions in the controvery, it puts an end to any continuing of it in future copies. 

Those who have the earlier version may now have a trivial collectible.

That someone thought AFTER seeing the footage that there might be an unintentional resemblance in a very oblique angle, where no political statement is being made is very different from simulating lethal violence towards an actual sitting president, which I wrote about here.  There is a significant difference from an unintentional resemblance in a prop that is background set dressing footage, and pretending to assassinate with deliberate lethal real violence towards a recognizable full-on likeness that has publicly been used to identify the current sitting president. as a deliberately adversarial political statement.

So, I applaud that beyond acknowledging something they could have ignored, and apologizing for the offense their accidental inclusion caused.  It was the proper thing to do because it was a mistake, even though it was accidental.  AND because deliberate or not, the larger scene was about a character in a leadership role being beheaded as part of a military and political intrigue.

I applaud the producers for going over and above the minimum necessary, to put doing the right thing, setting the right example, in spite of the cost of doing so.   It was a good solution, the kind that should also be good business, as it removes any cloud that might otherwise hang over their series.

Here is the updated news post, with the before and after images involved.

From MSN entertainment:

'Game of Thrones' alters George W. Bush's head after decapitation controversy
By Tim KenneallyTheWrap
HBO has found a way to calm the fury over "Game of Thrones" creators' decision to decapitate George W. Bush: They've removed most of his chin.
The network, which caught heat when series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed that they placed the 43rd president's head on a spike during the show's first season, has replaced the offending segment with an altered version of the footage featuring a new head, which sports a much smaller chin and is generally of a smaller size, The Washington Post reports.
HBO pulled the scene from its online platform and halted shipment on its DVD release of the show's first season, after Benioff and Weiss made the reveal in the audio commentary of the DVD.
"The last head on the left is George Bush," Benioff said, as a series of severed heads mounted on spikes appeared on the screen.
"George Bush's head appears in a couple beheading scenes," Weiss added.
Benioff was quick to note that use of Bush's head wasn't intended as an insult to the former chief executive.
"It's not a choice, it's not a political statement," he said. "It's just, we had to use what heads we had around."
Nonetheless, when the use of Bush's head was pointed out, the criticism came fast and hard, leading to equally swift apologies from both HBO and the "Game of Thrones" creators.
"We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste," HBO said. "We made this clear to the executive producers of the series, who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production."
"We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc." Benioff and Weiss said. "We can't afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk. After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush."
The pair went on to note, "We meant no disrespect to the former president and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise."

Telling on Tell

William Tell, aka Wilhelm Tell, aka Guillaume Tell, aka Guglielmo Tell, aka Guglielm Tell: which name used depends on which national ethnicity one is in Switzerland, which in some respects is like a four-way nation (a not-particularly evenly divided 4 way nation).

William Tell is a sort of semi-historic fictional character, a Swiss variation in terms of his expertise with a bow, and for being a national legend with overtones of the 'right' loyalty in conflict with the acting authority, to the legendary Robin Hood in England.  The legend resembles the English Arthurian legends, in having events take place at very specific locations (although times tend to be a little.....vague) and with at least some figures who actually existed in history, at least, in some versions.  Like the Arthurian legend in the UK, the period of time over which versions of the story occur span a few hundred years, and like the Arthurian legend, there may be some original historic figure that inspired them who has been lost to the mists and myths of time.

This image is from Altdorf, of a famous statue there; in this version he is portrayed with a crossbow.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hey, Dimbo, I'm not alone!

First off, Four Justices followed my interpretation and signed on the Stevens' dissent in Heller

Here are legal scholars who have also criticised the decision:

 A libertarian critique on the topic Balko,Radley, A Hollow Victory? Assessing the real world impact of D.C. v. Heller 

So far, all I see, Dimbo, is that you say that Five Supreme Court Justices have come up with a decision that has been subject to serious criticism in the legal community.