Monday, October 9, 2017

Defining "Unless," The Second Amendment, Two Gorsuchs and a Facebook Posting

What I Meant by "Unless"

Here is a copy of the article about “secession” which appeared in the posting just before this one.  Note that I concluded it with the word “unless…. “And here is where that “unless” might lead us.  But please read the article from last week’s posting which appears below before you read on further.

“Kurdistan, Catalonia and the Confederacy

The Kurds want to be independent.  Catalonia wants to be independent.  They may have good reasons for wanting to be independent. But unfortunately, Catalonia is part of Spain and Kurdistan is part of Iraq, Turkey and even Iran.  None of these countries are willing to permit secession of those desiring independence, any more than the United States was willing to let the States of the Confederacy secede in 1861.  The Civil War was fought to prevent it from happening.

But if in the extremely unlikely situation whereby the nations from which Catalonia and Kurdistan are trying to separate themselves can be brought around to accepting their secession, there is no reason why the States of the Confederacy should not be able to once again ask for their freedom from our "Union" today as well.  Now that slavery is not an issue tied to secession, it might be a good thing for the United States to be relieved of Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas.

These States contribute far less in taxes to the Federal government than they receive in benefits, so their secession would make the United States far more governable.  And if West Virginia and Oklahoma wish to join with them, that would be fine too.  But of course, this will never happen.  Unless ....” 

And here is that “Unless” contingency further explained: Imagine that the Democrats win control of both Houses of Congress in 2018, strengthen their majorities in 2020 at which time they elect a President as well. This is a distinct possibility because of the ongoing disintegration of the Republican Party into a traditional ‘free enterprise – low tax’ group and an extreme right-wing libertarian, crypto-anarchist group which believes that government involvement in anything other than national defense is a step on “the road to serfdom.” 

The G.O.P. candidates which come from one of these groups will automatically be unacceptable to the other group and this schism will open the door to Democratic victories at all levels.  The fact that the incompetent, unqualified occupant of the White House is a Republican will also help the Democrats.

Once in power, the Democrats will proceed to institute programs which provide Medicare for all, job creation through massive infrastructure rebuilding, environmental regulations, consumer protection, recognition of worldwide climate change and domestic economic growth based on globalization.  Other than fighting with a holdover Supreme Court about some of these things, the Democrats will pretty much have a free hand legislatively.  And the tax burden for all of this will fall upon the hitherto tax-protected wealthy.

Finally, they will, with great caution, introduce laws which will regulate private ownership of guns, making possession of any weapons for uses other than hunting, personal protection or sport shooting illegal, and will ban any military type weapons, automatic or semi-automatic or whatever.  This is the one issue over which the remaining Republicans will unite

Once these gun control laws are passed by the Democrats, the threat of insurrection by those who have cherished their weapons for years, egged on by the NRA, its publications and their advertisers, will rear its ugly head.  It will be time for the payoff from years of training by private militia in the woods and shooting semi-automatic and automatic weaponry on ranges.  It will be time to see if Charlton Heston’s famous slogan about taking away his guns “only from out of my cold dead hands” is anything more than empty rhetoric to those who have sworn by it.

Of course, they would be no match for the Federal government’s armed forces, even if some State National Guard units sided with such an insurrection.  IT IS THEN THAT THE GOVERNMENT, sensing that decades of lax gun laws just cannot be wiped out overnight, and RATHER THAN PROVOKE ANOTHER CIVIL WAR, WILL OFFER THOSE STATES THAT FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THEIR GUNS "THE RIGHT TO SECEDE."  And that is the big “Unless ….” with which I concluded the prior posting.  

The underlying issue in 1861 was the expansion of slavery.  The underlying issue today is gun control and the Supreme Court’s politically motivated misinterpretation of the Second Amendment.  Ending slavery was worth fighting a civil war over.  Gun control is not.  If they want to, let them secede.  

And if they choose to, it will not just be the opponents of gun control in States that support secession who would be delighted to leaveJoining with them will be those whose agendas oppose the Democratic program of supporting immigration, environmental regulation, consumer protection, unions, health care for all, public education, recognition of climate change, LGBT rights and women’s rights as well. Those “suffering” from the higher taxes on the wealthy instituted by the Democrats would also be glad to leave.  

Many in the remaining United States will believe that the country will be a different and far better place once all these folks leave the Union!  Their departure would be a step forward in “Making America Great!”

John Calhoun ... advocate of "nullification" and "secession" throughout first half of Nineteenth Century.  Enough of the South believed him to result in the Civil War and the resulting bloodshed.  

As for forming a government, until the secessionists hold elections, their new country will be temporarily governed by the governors of the seceding States and the NRA, with its membership automatically becoming registered voters.  One good thing, at least for the secessionists, will be that Wayne LaPierre will turn out to be a far more competent president than Donald Trump. 

Jack Lippman

Second Amendment Commentary

Here's a posting from this blog which appeared late in 2015.  Please read it again, and note my comments at the close.   (This is more realistic than the "unless" scenario outlined above.)
                                                                  *   *   *   *   *
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "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.”

In the lobby of the NRA Headquarters Building in Fairfax, VA, the final fourteen words of the Second Amendment are exhibited on the wall.  It’s as if the first thirteen words of the Second Amendment did not exist. (Imagine a group which opposed equality of the sexes misquoting the Bible’s Fifth Commandment as “Honor Thy Father” eliminating any reference to one’s mother.  This is what the NRA has done to the Second Amendment.

Those first thirteen words of the Amendment were pertinent from its inception until the Supreme Court chose to ignore them in D.C. vs. Heller in 2008.  Up to then, the right to bear arms was taken to mean that in the days when the government could call up civilians to serve in militias telling them to bring their own guns, there should be no impediments to gun ownership.  In 1789 those first thirteen words made sense.  But we have a regular army now.  We didn’t then.  So while those first thirteen words are no longer important, it doesn’t mean that the second fourteen words can be taken to stand alone in regard to freedom to bear arms, and that states and municipalities cannot regulate weaponry, if they choose to, without violating the Second Amendment.  But that is what the Supreme Court said in 2008.

The role of the NRA in shaping public opinion and supporting legislators who support this misreading of the Second Amendment will be viewed by history as a dark time in American history.   Its constant opposition to any kind of gun control legislation has contributed to making weapons available to those with mental disorders and with evil intent, including terrorists.  Anyone who really wants to secure a weapon can always do so, but the NRA (and the Supreme Court decision in 2008) makes it much easier.  Opponents of gun control measures  look to the misinterpreted Second Amendment as a protector of “due process” for gun purchasers.

The “Father of our Country,” George Washington, had his own thoughts on gun ownership.  He strongly implied that owning guns was important not only for use if called up to serve in a militia, but to use if our own government became oppressive. 

This kind of thinking is held by many today who oppose certain things our government may do.  That’s why there are extremists training in the woods bent on taking the law into their own hands with the aid of their weapons! In the United States in 2016, however, opposition to the government should be voiced in the voting booth, and not with a gun, regardless of what George Washington may have said.  But don’t tell this to the NRA, nor many of its members who fear that gun control regulation, on a local basis, will be the first step toward trying  “to take their guns away” if the Second Amendment is ever again interpreted the way it was written, and intended, until 2008.  And they feel their opposition to gun control is justified by the words of George Washington.  Well, George was wrong.

This is why it is very important to elect a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate in 2016. 
                                  (end of reprinted posting from 2015)

                                                              *  *  *  *  *

Who's on the NRA's Payroll?

Well, we didn't elect a Democratic President and Senate in 2016 and the country is paying the price.   A big part of that is the number of Senators and Representatives who take large amounts of blood money from the NRA.  

They do so out of fear of losing the votes of those who believe that a "gun culture" is a basic part of the American way of life.  That is bullshit.  We regulate drugs, alcohol, tobacco, automobiles (which can be lethal weapons) much more heavily than we do guns in the hands of Americans, who in this country kill far more people with them than ISIS has ever done.  That must be changed.  The only way we can  get real gun control in this country is to elect a Democratic President backed by two Democratic Houses of Congress.  Until that day, nothing meaningful will be done.  The NRA has seen to that.

To learn what Senators and Representatives (all Republicans, of course) received the most blood money from the NRA, read the recent New York Times article on the subject by CLICKING RIGHT HERE!

Facebook Posting

And while on the subject of guns, here is an item I posted on Facebook last Friday.

It’s very clever of the NRA and their “bought” stooges in the House and in the Senate to want to do away with the “bump stock” attachment which can turn a rifle into an automatic weapon, firing off rounds faster than any trigger-finger can.  (Those kinds of automatic weapons, actually machine guns, are already illegal.) It makes the NRA and their stooges appear to be reasonable and willing to compromise, neither of which they are! 

Without a “bump stock” attachment, a legal “semi-automatic” rifle can still fire off rounds as fast as a trigger finger can repeatedly squeeze a trigger stopping only when the magazine is exhausted.  Conservatively, that amounts to about two shots per second, exhausting a 30 round magazine in fifteen seconds, requiring reloading.  Of course, an illegal automatic weapon or a semi-automatic weapon equipped with a “bump stock” can easily shoot off four times as many shots. 

By stressing their “opposition” to “bump stocks” which turn legal semi-automatic weapons into already illegal automatic weapons, they are fortifying their position regarding the legality of semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15.  These too should be illegal.  Until the Las Vegas tragedy, they have been the weapons of choice for mass murderers.  Who, other than the police and the military, needs to shoot off 30 rounds in fifteen seconds?   Target shooters? Hunters? Home defenders?  Let’s see the NRA compromise on these semi-automatic weapons.  Then we will be on the road to real gun control.

Two Gorsuchs

In 1851, under the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Law, a Maryland slave owner, accompanied by a U.S. Marshall and some armed men, marched northward into Pennsylvania to recapture several of his slaves who had fled north a few years earlier.  You can learn what happened by CLICKING HERE to learn more about this event, known as the Christiana  Incident.   It served to awaken the country to the evils of the Fugitive Slave Law which the Dred Scott decision by a Southern-dominated Supreme Court had made possible, a year earlier.  There is no disagreement among legal scholars that this was the worst decision ever handed down by the Supreme Court, and was instrumental in causing the Civil War.

The slave owner, who was killed in the incident, was named Edward Gorsuch, and came from the Baltimore County area of Maryland.  The latest addition to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, 

      Justice Neil Gorsuch

comes from a long line of Gorsuchs who lived in Baltimore County, Maryland.  A brief investigation into online genealogical records does not specifically connect Justice Neil Gorsuch with Edward Gorsuch, but he did have some ancestors with the Gorsuch name living in that area at that time.  If they were related, it was very remotely.    I hope that Justice Gorsuch’s rulings on the Supreme Court are fair and able to make up for the evil Dred Scott decision in 1850 which led to the death of slave owner Edward Gorsuch in 1851, and eventually, the Civil War.

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