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Archive for the ‘right wing liars’ Category

Right wingers point at Venezuela when whining about the perils of socialism. Bull. Try Denmark or Sweden if you want a socialist country. The chaos in Venezuela is about racism, not socialism — the Blancos (whites) owned the economy, got kicked out of office by the Indios (brown), and think destroying the economy will get them voted back in. It’s all about “the punishments will continue until you vote us whites back into power!” They would literally rather destroy the country than relinquish economic and political power to people they consider their racial inferiors. The most hilarious thing of all is that if you put the average Blanco and the average Indio side by side, the average white American wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them!

I boarded with a Blanco when I was in college. He was a racist piece of shit. I’ve heard many of the exact same things out of the mouths of Blancos today that I heard back then from that jerk’s mouth. They are as bad as the old white elites of the American South who were willing to shut down all government services rather than allow blacks equal access to them. Which is where most anti-government sentiment in the United States stems from, BTW — it’s grounded in racism and in utter spite, a willingness to cut off services to themselves rather than share them with people they consider their racial inferiors.

But anyhow: the chaos in Venezuela is basically about a race war between the Blancos and Indios. Socialism is incidental to that, and more about the Indios trying to punish the Blancos for the Blancos torpedoing the economy as the Blancos try to punish the Indios for voting them out of power than about any real ideological convictions. The situation in Venezuela was caused by a civil war between races, not by socialism. Socialism has its own issues and inefficiencies, but it doesn’t cause race wars. That just isn’t a power of any system of economics.

– Badtux the Geopolitics Penguin

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One of the talking points that gun fondlers are always putting out is that “our founding fathers believed in an individual right to keep and bear arms in order to overthrow tyranny, and it says so right in the Federalist Papers!”.

So: I went to a site with the complete text of the Federalist Papers, and went searching for the word “arms”.

The word “arms” appears 27 times in the Federalist Papers. It appears in two contexts — in reference to the arms of foreign nations, and in reference to the arms of the militia.

There is not a single reference to arms in the context of individuals. The militia, however, are referenced 64 times in the Federalist Papers, or almost three times as many times as the word “arms”. Think the Founding Fathers thought the militia was important? If you think the Federalist Papers are an accurate depiction of their thought, they sure did! The militia are mentioned primarily in two contexts: as a defense against tyranny, and as the principal military force used to resist invasion of the United States.

Remember the militia clauses from Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution?

Congress shall have the power … To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

The arguments put forth were that the militia clauses were necessary in order to

a) make sure that the militia was properly armed and organized so that the militia, not the regular Army, could be the principal armed force of the country. The regular Army’s duty would be to hold off the attacker until the militia could be called up to deal with them, and the militia had to be armed and trained to regular army standards because the militia would work with the regular army,

b) the militia had to be able to be placed under Federal control in order to coordinate effectively when doing so.

One argument was that if put under Federal control, the militia could be used to enforce tyranny. The answer was that by reserving the appointment of officers and the authority for training to the states, if the Federal government tried to impose tyranny using the militia, the fact that the officers are appointed by the states would lead to the militia refusing to obey those tyrannical orders.

But what if a state’s militia attempted to impose tyranny within that particular state? Well, by being able to federalize the surrounding states’ militias, the Federal government and surrounding states could overthrow that tyranny and bring back democracy.

The militia, then, was viewed as the principal means to resist a tyrannical government, whether it was a tyrannical state government or a tyrannical Federal government. Federalist #46 takes that to its ultimate extreme. James Madison states that the individual states amongst them were capable of raising up to 500,000 militia from amongst themselves, and the Federal government was incapable of arming and feeding more than 50,000 soldiers, or literally 1/10th of that number, thus if the Federal government decided to use its military to enforce tyranny, the states had the ability to resist and overthrow said government.

Based solely on the text of the Federalist Papers, therefore, the only right I can see that the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the 2nd Amendment was the right of members of state-organized militias to keep and bear arms. They viewed state-organized militias, not individuals with muskets, as the principal bulwark against tyranny.

But read the text yourself and see what you think. Don’t believe what anybody else says about the Federalist papers. You’re an adult. You can read. Read it yourself and come to your own conclusions. If you think you can find an individual right to keep and bear arms in order to resist tyranny mentioned anywhere there, please let me know which paper and which paragraph you found it in. Curious penguins are… curious!

– Badtux the Reading Penguin

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Republican lawmaker’s office and major Republican propaganda outlets claim that there was no school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and that all the kids being shown on TV are crisis actors.

Yeah, Anthony Borges sure is one helluva crisis actor. So much so that he got shot with 5 actual bullets.

“But these kids are too articulate!” shout the conspiracy theory pushers. Well duh. The TV folks naturally are going to focus on the articulate kids, not the average half-illiterate high school kid who would just stammer and stammer. These kids are no more articulate than the best kids were back in my day, which was admittedly before Raygun was president.

You can validate that these young people actually exist. You can go down to the high school in question, if you’re willing to leave your cloistered home, and validate that there’s a high school there, and there was really a school shooting there, you can stop high school students going in and out of the school and ask them “do you know so-and-so who was on the news the other day?” and they’ll say they’ve seen them in the hall…

Yet these Republican lawmakers and Republican propaganda tools would rather create ridiculous conspiracy theories than face up to the fact that, well, high school kids don’t like getting shot at in their own high school, and can be articulate in their distaste for being shot at in their own high school. What kind of MONSTER would do something like that, creating a conspiracy theory where it’s easy to check what actually happened?

Oh yeah, right. REPUBLICAN lawmakers and propaganda tools.

Finally, the governor of Florida called on the FBI director to resign for not doing anything about Nikolas Cruz. What, exactly, is the FBI supposed to have done? Until he shot up a high school (thus violating the federal Gun Free Schools Act), he hadn’t broken any Federal laws. Refer him to local law enforcement? Local law enforcement knew Cruz intimately already — the Sheriff’s office had already been called about Cruz’s behavior twenty times before the shooting — and other local law enforcement had already visited him another 19 times. What, exactly, was the FBI supposed to do when Florida law enforcement had already visited Cruz 39 times? Extradite him to Gitmo? Uhm, it doesn’t work like that, peeps. They couldn’t do anything about Cruz because he was angry, not crazy, and angry isn’t a mental illness (see prior post). They couldn’t do anything because he was exercising his 1st Amendment free speech rights and hadn’t stepped beyond free speech into the realm of terrorist threats (see prior post). So anyhow, apparently Florida law authorities during Governor Medicare Cheat’s term of office knew about Cruz, and did nothing. And so Scott’s flunkies are passing the buck to the FBI? For realz?

These people have no shame.

But they’re Republicans. So I guess we already knew that.

– Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

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Whenever there’s one of these school shootings there’s a quick rush by the NRA to shout “we need better mental health treatment!”. Here’s the thing: Mental illness has nothing to do with school shootings. The DSM5, the master book of diagnosable mental disorders, doesn’t even have a single classification that applies to most school shooters.

Most school shooters are angry. Not mentally ill. The stats are pretty clear — violence by the mentally ill is no more common than violence by non-mentally-ill people. Anger is not a mental illness, otherwise half the shouters on talk radio would be in asylums.

But, you say, threatening to shoot up schools is at least a threat! Well, uhm…. not so fast. First of all, it has to be provably what’s called a “true threat”. It has to cause someone to be alarmed, thus it has to be specific — there has to be someone that is the target of the speech who feels threatened by the speech. Furthermore, the State must prove that you intended for people to feel alarmed. It can’t be a joke mentioned in passing, there has to be intent to cause alarm. You can thus post a YouTube video of you posing with an AR-15 saying “I’m going to be the best school shooter ever!” and it does not qualify under the Elonis Test as a “true threat”. Because it’s not a specific threat against a specific school at a specific time, there’s nothing actionable there — it’s protected speech under the 1st Amendment.

Now, let’s talk about someone who is mentally ill, who is in possession of an AR-15. Surely we can take the AR-15 away from him, right?

Uhm, no. First of all, only those who have been involuntarily committed as a threat to themselves or others lose their gun rights. You can be on more psychotropic drugs than Keith Richards and still be legally allowed to own firearms.

Now, let’s look at what’s necessary to get someone involuntarily committed: Mental health professions must make a case at a court hearing that you present an eminent danger to yourself or others due to a disorder described in the DSM5. They must *prove* that you are a danger. The fact that you utter vague threats is not enough. They have to prove that you’re actually trying to carry out those threats, and furthermore that this is because of a psychiatric condition diagnosable under DSM5. If it’s because of other issues — because, say, someone cut you off in traffic and you threatened to beat his ass, i.e., simple anger (which, remember, is *NOT* a DSM5 psychiatric disorder) — then you won’t be involuntarily committed.

The reality is that the bar for involuntary commitment is so high in the United States, thanks to past abuses of the process, that basically the only way you can be involuntarily committed as a threat to others is if you’ve already done harm to others. You have a 4th Amendment right to be secure in your person against seizure by the state. Simply ranting that you intend to do harm to (non-specific) others is insufficient to violate that right, you have to have actually done something that is harmful to yourself or others or at least credibly threatens yourself and others. And remember, you have to do this while being diagnosable with a condition under DSM5 and it must be related to your diagnosis. Simply uttering threats and ranting aren’t enough, otherwise Alex Jones would be in jail.

In short: Better access to mental health treatment would certainly be nice. But it won’t stop school shootings, and the people claiming it does are just lying to you when they say it would. And the way the Constitution works, there’s nothing — zero — that the police can do beforehand in most cases. “I hate school” is protected speech under the 1st Amendment. “I hate school and I wish someone would shoot it up” is protected speech under the 1st Amendment (see: Brandenburg v. Ohio, it has to be a specific incitement to a specific person to do a specific thing, wishful thinking isn’t enough). Even saying “I will be the best school shooter ever” isn’t enough. The 1st Amendment protects speech that is ominous but not specific. For the vast majority of school shooters, there is nothing — zero, nada — that can be done beforehand. They can’t be committed. They can’t be charged with issuing threats. All that can happen is that the police issue a notice to schools to be on the lookout for this person and call the police if you see them on your campus. Even that’s problematic, because the city or county could be sued for defamation.

The reality is that there’s only one sure-fired solution for school shootings, and that is to outlaw the weapons most used in school shootings — pistols and rifles with box magazines. Nobody has ever done a school shooting with a .38 revolver and nobody has ever done a school shooting with a single-shot bolt action rifle or lever gun. And because of this reality, the NRA and their cronies in power are quick to redirect attention to mental health, police failing to follow up on threatening speech, etc… none of which, thanks to the 1st and 4th Amendments, are anything that the police can do anything about.

– Badtux the Civil Liberties Penguin

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Trump lied about a border agent’s death. So Trump invented an imaginary attack upon border patrol agents. It turns out that it was a simple auto accident — the driver ran off the road and slammed into a culvert, maybe after being sideswiped by a big rig.

But Trump used his trumped-up lie to tar a whole group of people as being evil criminals and as an excuse to instate brutal policies that tear families apart. And the MAGAts don’t seem to care that it’s all based on a lie. Because for a large subset of Americans, any chance to demonize brown people is fine, whether it’s true or a lie makes no difference to them.

If you wonder why I despise Trump, it’s not because he’s a Republican. It’s because he’s a liar, and I despise liars. They’re the 10 Commandments, not the 10 Suggestions, and one of those Commandments is “Thou shalt not bear false witness”. Add in the blatant bigotry, and, well.

— Badtux the Annoyed Penguin

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End result: an Israeli F-16 is shot down after Syria launches a barrage of anti-aircraft missiles in response.

Well, there’s $30M down the drain. Bibi is apparently about to be indicted for corruption. So he needed a distraction. But this was one helluva risky distraction, and could have cost lives if the pilots hadn’t ejected when they couldn’t shake the missiles off their tail.

I wonder if the supposed Iranian drone was as real as the imaginary poison gas that Assad used against his own people?

– Badtux the Skeptical Penguin

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Antifa supersoldiers storming the White House

I mean, we successfully finished our revolution today where we kill all the white people and take control of the government, so… pizza? I mean, c’mon, dudes. Being an anti-fascist super-soldier is hunger-inducing work!

Say… how many of the right wing “news” outlets that successfully predicted the outcome of today’s events will go back and issue corrections noting that nothing they predicted happen?

Oh. Right.

— Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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