Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Las Vegas, Lawbreakers and Secession

It Takes Two (or 60) To Tango - Las Vegas

(1) Mentally disturbed individuals as well as truly evil people pose a danger to society when (2) it is possible for them to secure weapons.  

While it is impossible to keep all weapons out of their hands, there is no reason to permit assault rifles and similar weapons, which can kill many quickly, to remain available.  There is no need for such weapons to be available to others than the military and law enforcement agencies. 

In 2013, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 (AWB 2013) was a bill introduced in the 113th United States Congress as S.150 by Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, on January 24, 2013, one month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. It was defeated in the Senate on April 17, 2013 by a vote of 40 to 60. The names of the Senators, most of whom are still in office, who voted for and against it can be found by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.

No matter what their rationalization for their vote, some of the blood spilled in Las Vegas is on the hands of these 44 Republicans, 15 Democrats and one Independent.  Any comments made by them regarding what happened in Las Vegas should be answered with the question, “but where were you on April 17, 2013?”  

The broader question is whether what happened in Las Vegas should spur further efforts to ban assault weapons as well as the inexpensive kits which are available to convert conventional weapons into assault weapons.   I believe doing so would only serve to unify and energize the Republicans' base of right wing conservative voters, and get them to the polls in 2018.  The Newtown school shootings serve to illustrate how tragedy alone is insufficient to gain support for gun control. 

The best way to get intelligent gun control legislation passed is to elect a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate in 2018 and a Democratic President in 2020.  Until then, making an issue of gun control will, in my opinion, prove counter-productive and only increase the number of Republican voters.

I still believe that the best way for the Democrats to win in 2018 and 2020 is by reducing the number of Republican voters.   The way to do that is for Democratic candidates to demand of their opponents whether or not they stand with the most incompetent and ill-prepared President in American history.  

Regardless of their answer, it will keep those Republicans away from the polls who disagree with whatever that answer is.
Jack Lippman

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 .... 

Lawbreakers Among Us

We wonder why people think so little of breaking the law.  Two examples:  There’s a TV commercial for an SUV featuring a back lid which can pop open and be closed from the driver’s seat.  A nice lady parks illegally to pick up her husband at the airport.  An officer spots the violation and approaches her, but not before she pops open the lid and he runs to the car, throwing his suitcase in the back and jumps into the vehicle. 
She steps on the gas, leaving the officer behind, unable to ticket her.  

Another commercial, this one from a string of car dealerships, features pink license plate frames (Drive Pink) representing their contribution in fighting breast cancer.  A noble gesture for an excellent cause, but it ignores the fact that a license plate frame which obscures any part of the plate (and this one blocks out part of the lettering at the top and at the bottom) is illegal in Florida, subjecting the driver to getting a ticket. 

Now these are both petty things, but they reflect a disregard for the law which is manifested at more significant levels, such as Cabinet officials using expensive private air transportation at government expense in situations where regular commercial flights are readily available.  We have a President who has frequently disparaged our legal system, insulting decisions made by Federal judges.  Lack of respect for our legal system in the White House seems more permissible in a culture where advertising glorifies being able to get away with illegal parking at an airport.

And going a bit further, many businessmen (and our President is a businessman) employ lawyers because they do not want to run afoul of the law, toward which they maintain an oppositional posture.  Lawyers are often employed to answer the question of "how much can I get away with?"  There is nothing wrong with this, unless you are among those Americans who still believe the law and its precedents exist for the benefit of all of us, and not something to be skillfully sidestepped by those who see law as something which limits rather than protects them.


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Jack Lippman 

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