Prosecute the torture.

July 28, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden, Last Night

Folks, let me say, let me say something that has nothing to do with politics. Let me talk about something that I'm deadly serious about. This is a complicated and uncertain world we live in. The threats are too great, the times are too uncertain to elect Donald Trump as President of the United States. Now Let me finish.  No major party, no major party nominee in the history of this nation has ever known less or has been less prepared to deal with our national security.

We cannot elect a man who exploits our fears of ISIS and other terrorists, who has no plan whatsoever to make us safer. A man who embraces the tactics of our enemies, torture, religious intolerance.  You all know. Other the Republicans know - that is not who we are.

It betrays our values.
Donald Trump betrays our values.

For a full (though not official) transcript, go here.

That was one of the best episodes of America I've seen

July 26, 2016

I'm just going to go ahead and repeat this because it bears repeating


Congratulations, Hillary!

Reasons Why Donald Trump Is Unqualified For The Presidency (List #1)

Note: these are not the ONLY reasons nor are they necessarily the BEST reasons - I am assuming this list will be updated from time to time.

But for this morning, here's my list:
While the first two are simply products of a stubborn politically-enforced intellectual inactivity (to put it nicely), let's all remember that waterboarding is torture and that torture is a war crime.

The GOP candidate for the Oval Office has advocated committing war crimes.

Let that sink in for a second.

That alone disqualifies him for the highest office in the land and should have disqualified him from the start.

July 23, 2016

The Tribune-Review's Colin McNickle MISREPRESENTS A Source

This one has been bouncing around in my head for some time, forgive me.

A few weeks ago my BFF, columnist Colin McNickle, wrote this piece at my absolutely positively favorite news source in the entire galaxy (it's true - believe me), the Tribune-Review.

It's titled:
Here's the foundation of the 2nd Amendment
And in it he very subtly misquotes his main foundation/source - United States Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story.  It's interesting to note that a columnist for the conservative/libertarian Tribune-Review would be so enamored of a Justice "deeply committed to a strong national union" but there you have it.  Strange bedfellows and all that.

About Joseph Story, he was nominated to SCOTUS on November 15, 1811 and confirmed by the Senate three days later.  And according to the Federal Judicial Center:
His appointment to the Court came after three other nominees, including John Quincy Adams, had either declined the offer or failed to win Senate confirmation.
Wait, The Senate voted on the nominees back then? Within days?? Did you know this Senator Toomey?

Anyway, in 1833, Story published his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, from which Trib columnist selectively selects his snippets to bolster his pro-gun argument.

This is what McNickle says Story wrote:
Once upon a more cogent time, the right to bear arms scarcely was questioned. The right was considered as natural as breathing — a natural right, not a common law right. As Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story put it in “Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States,” his seminal 1833 book, “The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons who have duly reflected on the subject.”

It was Mr. Justice Story who distilled the Second Amendment — “the palladium of the liberties of a republic” — into its essence:

“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms ... offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
And then in a quote within a quote (McNickle is quoting this article at The Federalist and that article is quoting Poli-Sci professor Edward Erler):
The right to revolution — and even merely the specter of it, I would interject — is “an essential ingredient of the social compact and a right which is always reserved to the people. The people can never cede or delegate this ultimate expression of sovereign power. Thus, in a very important sense, the right of revolution (or even its threat) is the right that guarantees every other right.”

Or as Story put it, “There is certainly no small danger that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause in our national bill of rights.”
Now, let's go see what Joseph Story really wrote.  I'll highlight the parts that McNickle chose for you to see:
The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.
Ohmigod! Take a look at what Colin McNickle chose not to show you.  Immediately after the first sentence he takes from Story, we see this:
The militia is the natural defence...(sic)
And then in the sentences immediately before the last that McNickle chooses for you, we see this:
And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see.
Regardless of what you (or I) might think of the Second Amendment's meaning, do you really think Joseph Story was talking about an individual's right to own weaponry rather than a State's right to a militia made up of citizen-soldiers?  Story is obviously talking about a "well regulated militia" as the "natural" defense against tyranny and complaining how there was (even then) a growing indifference to any sort of "militia discipline" and strong disposition "to be rid of all regulations."

My my - plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, I suppose.

This leads me to McNickle's biggest sin.  Take a look at the context into which he places Story's last sentence.  It's a discussion of "the people's" right to revolution.  That's where McNickle writes about indifference going to disgust and then to contempt.

Now take a look at where Story actually uses the word "indifference."  It's in two places; "the growing indifference to any system of militia discipline" and then the danger that it leads to disgust and so on.

Story is NOT talking about any sort of revolution there is he, Colin?

You mis-represented your main source didn't you, Colin?

Isn't that kind of a bad thing to do when you're a columnist?  I'm just asking.

July 22, 2016

RIP: GOP

From Huffingtonpost:
Republicans mourned the Grand Old Party after presidential nominee Donald Trump gave his acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention on Thursday.

Nicole Wallace, communications chief under former President George W. Bush, didn’t mince words after Trump spoke.

“The Republican Party that I worked for for two decades died in this room tonight,” Wallace said on NBC.
And again:
A small group of veteran Republicans who are die-hard Donald Trump opponents gathered Thursday evening to mourn ― and effectively protest ― a party they no longer recognize.
Meghan McCain:
The party I was part of is dead.
And so on.

Meanwhile, on the speech itself, here's NBC:
TRUMP CLAIM: My opponent wants to essentially abolish the 2nd amendment.

THE FACTS: Clinton has proposed gun regulations, like background checks to purchase firearms. Yet the 2008 Supreme Court decision protecting and individual's right to possess firearms also stated that the right isn't unlimited — and can be subjected to regulations.

TRUMP CLAIM: Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America's fifty largest cities. That's the largest increase in 25 years.

THE FACTS: Trump is correct that there has recently been an uptick in crime, including in some (but not all) of America's largest cities. But overall, violent crime is down significantly since the 1980s and 1990s, according to FBI statistics. And the current violent crime rate is lower today per the most recent data (365 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 people) than when President Obama first took office in 2009 (431 incidents per 100,000 people).
There are other places that find Trump equally fact-free:
And so on.

Sad to see how low this once dignified party has sunk - but let's not forget, that by courting 2-3 decades of fact-free demagoguery (Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell, the Tea Party) the GOP has only itself to blame.

Let's hope we never ever see that again. 

July 21, 2016

GOP Convention Day Four Theme: "Tomorrow Belongs to Me"

I'm here in Cleveland and I managed to get some video of the rehearsal for the last night of the GOP convention. Rehearsal? Right! I guess there have been so many missteps, they're leaving nothing to chance for the grand finale. Anyway, the rock group Queen has repeatedly requested that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump no longer use their song "We are the Champions" as his theme song, so the Trump campaign has gone in a different -- and some might say -- a more appropriate direction. From my iPhone:



Looks like the focus group of delegates are eating it up! Can't wait to see Trump enter to this!

They will also be revealing the new campaign poster:


I'd say another winner!

As per the program notes for the evening, directly after Trump gives his speech, Hillary Clinton -- having been tried in absentia and found guilty by potential Attorney General Chris Christie -- will be dragged into the Quicken Loans Arena where her head will be shaved and she'll be "shot for treason." 

What a show!

July 20, 2016

Meanwhile, Outside...It's Still Getting Warmer. (Trump and Pence BOTH Deny Climate Science)

We all know that GOP Presidential Nominee (and husband of a well-known Slovenian plagiarist), Donald Trump thinks that climate science is a hoax.  But what about his Vice Presidential nominee?

He's also a climate hoaxer - from way back in 2001.

Meanwhile, however, it's still getting warmer outside.  From NOAA:
Warmer to much-warmer-than-average conditions dominated across much of the globe's surface, resulting in the highest temperature departure for June since global temperature records began in 1880. This was also the 14th consecutive month the monthly global temperature record has been broken—the longest such streak in NOAA's 137 years of record keeping. The June 2016 combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average, besting the previous record set in 2015 by 0.02°C (0.04°F). June 2016 marks the 40th consecutive June with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average. The last time June global land and ocean temperatures were below average was in 1976 (-0.07°C / -0.13°F).
Warmest June since temperature records began in 1880.

For those who can't be bothered to read here's a chart:


Yea, some hoax.

Something else to think about come November.  Which party agrees with science and which doesn't?