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25 July 2016 @ 01:18 pm
The Presidential campaign is about the leadership of our government and country.
Therefore, we should each vote for the person who most shares our vision of the sort of country we actually most want to live in.
If we don't care for any of the individual candidates, then we should vote for the party whose platform points to the kind of country and world we want to live in.

Before you vote for our next president, please, thoughtfully consider their worldview, their character, their beliefs and behaviors, their history.  And ask yourself:  "Is the country this person wants to create the same country I want to live in?"   "Do they share, overall, my vision for an ideal society and place to live?"  That should be your basis for your vote for a presidential candidate.

Consider using I Side With for an impartial assessment of which candidate and which party you actually align with.

And then vote for that person/party regardless of whether the pollsters say they have a chance to win or not.

Whatever you do, don't vote for a party or a candidate simply out of habit, or social pressure, or because you "identify" as one party or another.  Actually think and select the logical choice for you, for what you truly believe and really want.

If everybody took the effort and the risk to do this I think we would all find we are part of bigger groups than we thought.

The forced-choice, two party, deadlocked bullshit we have now is predicated on voters' fear of "wasting" their votes.  They are counting on our being discouraged and not voting, or our being scared to not vote for someone "with a real chance to win."  Don't listen to that party establishment message on either side:  a protest vote is not a wasted vote: just ask the Brexit voters, or the Bernie voters.

Your vote matters, and if everybody realizes that and gets out and votes their conscience, then the 2 big parties will discover there are more of us than there are of them.

This screwball presidential election is the perfect chance for us voters to blow the system wide open and show those 2 big parties where they can stick it.
24 July 2016 @ 12:44 pm
Anybody reading this blog can see that I generally lean toward the left on social and economic issues.  However, I don't think I'm unreasonable, and in fact I consider myself a moderate on gun control.

Given the recent lone-gunman shootings, my primary concern is limiting the amount of firepower any single person can wield, while at the same time maintaining people's right to keep and bear arms in a manner consist ant with our cultural heritage.  Self defense and recreational shooting are not significantly impacted by an assault rifle ban of the kind I would propose.

Stay with me here.

Assault rifles and battle rifles are designed for military combat: for providing high lethality for extended periods under extreme circumstances against equally equipped and often armored opponents.  None of those conditions exist for members of civilized society.  Assault rifles/battle rifles are, literally, overkill for the needs of average citizens.

Now don't get me wrong, I get it.  Military-grade weapons are cool.  Wielding that kind of firepower feels good.  And it's fun to shoot them.  But does the average person really need that kind of killing capability?  I mean, C4 can be a lot of fun too, and what's cooler than a belt-fed M60 or an RPG?  But we all agree that we shouldn't have any of those.  Likewise, there is no legitimate reason for the average Joe to have an assault rifle.

So we should ban assault rifles and battle rifles.

But what about that limited impact on self-defense and recreational shooting I mentioned above?
OK. How is an assault rifle defined?  By it's configuration?  NO.  It is defined by the rounds it fires, which is also what defines firepower.  Therefore any ban needs to focus more on the ammunition than the gun that fires it.

Which makes it super simple.

My proposal would have only three rules:

1.  No automatic weapons chambered for intermediate cartridges or full-power rifle cartridges.

2.  All magazines for all firearms limited to 15 rounds.

3.  Any crime committed using a banned weapon becomes a federal crime.

To be effective  this law would be strongly enforced, with real teeth.  And existing guns covered by the ban would be grandfathered and strictly regulated in the same manner as machine guns are regulated under the federal machine gun ban.

Now, before you protest this as too restrictive, note that semi-auto subguns and handguns are still legal under these rules.
This ban would still allow weapons such as:
    KRISS Vector
    H&K MP-7
    H&K UMP
    FN PS90
Although they would be restricted to magazines of 15 rounds.
Each of these are totally bad-ass military grade anti-personnel weapons.
In fact, the AR-15 is available in a 9mm version that would be legal under this ban.  So I am not even proposing banning the AR-15.
Civilian recreation and home/self defense would continue to be more than adequately served.

* subguns are every bit as cool and fun to shoot as assault rifles, and are also legit military-grade hardware providing essentially the same shooting experience
* Shotguns, pistols, and subguns are all tactically more suited to home defense than a full-on assault rifle or battle rifle.
* Most handguns are limited to 15 rounds already.
* If you need more than 15 rounds of continuous fire before reloading then you chose the wrong fight.

So, again, why, do we need high capacity assault rifles?

One more thing:
Against those who would argue that bans like this aren't effective:  Even under the federal machine-gun ban, there are lots of full-auto machine guns all over the country (just look at YouTube).  But... when was the last time you heard of a mass killing (or any crime) perpetrated by some guy using a full-auto Tommy Gun?
08 July 2016 @ 02:47 pm
Maybe the cops were prejudiced against him, not so much because of his race, but because he was known to them as a bad guy.  Maybe if he hadn't been doing something illegal at the time the cops wouldn't have been after him that night in the first place.  Maybe if he had been compliant he wouldn't have been shot.

Court documents and arrest records show Mr. Sterling was anything but an “innocent” man just trying to sell some CD’s outside a liquor store.  Police, court and arrest documents show  Sterling had been a member of the Bloods gang, had a list of offenses including battery, assault, drugs and weapons charges, and he owed at least $25,000 in child support. He was also a registered pedophile, since he impregnated a 14-year-old girl when he was 20 years of age.

Here is his partial rap sheet, courtesy of The Black Vault:
9/09/96 – Aggravated battery
10/31/97 – 2nd degree battery
1/06/98 – Simple battery
5/04/00 – Public intimidation
9/20/00 – Carnal knowledge of a juvenile
9/04/01 – Domestic violence
5/24/05 – Burglary of an inhabited dwelling place
7/11/05 – Receiving stolen things
9/12/05 – Burglary of inhabited dwelling place
3/17/06 – Simple criminal damage to property, simple robbery, simple theft, drug possession, misrepresentation during booking, simple battery, aggravated battery
4/12/06 – Aggravated battery, simple criminal damage to property, disturbing the peace, unauthorized entry
4/04/08 – Domestic abuse battery
6/03/09 – Resisting an officer, drug possession, receiving stolen things, possession of stolen firearm, illegal carrying of a weapon with CDs, sound reproduct without consent
10/12/09 – Illegal carrying of weapon, marijuana possession
8/13/15 – Failure to register as a sex offender
4/08/16 – Failure to register as a sex offender
6/14/16 – Ecstacy and marijuana possession

After knowing more about Alton Sterling it's easy to understand why the cops probably approached him with extreme wariness and intolerance of any noncompliance.  Also, we don't know the full story, or how the struggle went down.

Of course, no matter how you spin it, it seems wrong to shoot a guy when it's 2 on 1 and you have him down.

In some cases of struggles like this one and the one in St. Louis, it seems clear that the cops are dealing with a known bad guy, and a big one who doesn't want to be arrested.  What exactly are they supposed to do?  Just let him go?

I'm not saying we don't have a problem with racial profiling and cops' excessive use of (deadly) force.  I'm just saying:  1) it's not profiling when the individual is a known bad guy with a jacket 3" thick; and 2) the line between reasonable and excessive force gets pretty blurry when dealing with a big guy who persists in resisting.  You have to judge these cases on their individual merits.

Again, I agree we do seem to have a problem with racial policing and excessive use of deadly force in this country, as other recent cop shootings of black citizens demonstrate.  And even when you do correctly evaluate these cases on their individual merits many of them unfortunately fit the pattern:  the case of Philando Castile, for example, seems completely indefensible.

Trevor Noah had a good response to these horrible shootings:
The Daily Show - The Fatal Shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile
01 July 2016 @ 12:30 pm
By now I'm sure everyone has seen this crazy "Christian" blog making the internet rounds, especially the strange racist entries about Christy Sheats, the woman who shot her daughters and then was shot by the cops.

The author claims to be a Christian and a messenger of God, but the tone of the blog and the views expressed are antithetical to the messages of both Jesus and Paul.  It has no actual biblical foundation whatsoever.

Some have suggested that it's satirical, yet it seems to have too much earnestness for satire.
I do agree there is no way to read the entries with any knowledge of the New Testament and not come to the conclusion that the entire blog is either: 1) a magnificent troll, or 2) the product of a sadly confused mind.

In my opinion the whole thing is a self-aggrandizing vanity project by an apparent narcissist with a god complex.  Or perhaps she's legit schizo.

Anyway, it's a blog as minor and irrelevant as the one you are currently reading, with the exception that it's made a big internet splash due to its outrageous content.  I think this is because people (including myself, apparently) are just simply fascinated by the spectacle of such crazy doublethink brazenly published for the entire world to ridicule-- and of course there is the sport of trying to figure out what exactly is going on.  It's just so cray cray you almost feel compelled to read it, kind of like watching Hoarders:  it's horrible and awful and sad, but you watch it anyway because it's such a fascinating, disturbing mess and the psychology is sort of interesting.  But in the end it has no bearing on your own life unless you happen to know someone similarly afflicted.

Here is a pretty good take on it, that assumes it is satire:  Toxic Christian of the year: Jennifer Mayers
See also my entry: Religious Fundamentalism as Narcissitic Personality Disorder
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30 May 2016 @ 02:12 pm

Just read an interesting post on body identity, or rather, bodies as gendered by the law.

Posted in Breasts Are Healthy, a topfreedom blog: Define Female. Define Breast.

I was struck reading this post how the core issues behind regulating bare breasts are the same issues behind the so-called bathroom bills:

  • the power of men to define just what is a “woman's body”

  • the automatic sexualization of those women's bodies by men, no matter their age or body type

  • the cognitive dissonance and resulting fear that occurs when said definition (read: sexualization) is shown to be fuzzy and arbitrary

  • ridiculous legal response designed to: assuage men's cognitive dissonance; avoid men's indecent sexualization of “non-women”; and maintain men's control over gender roles.

These are the issues we as a society are struggling with. How do we define gender vis-a-vis body? How do we deal with the hyper-sexualization of the nude body (and breasts in particular) in American culture? How do we arrive as a society at a less rigid, less shaming attitude toward bodies and gender and gender roles?


Hillary Clinton Is a Conservative Republican

By Laurence M. Vance

March 24, 2015

There is no real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican. Consider just these ten things.

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on foreign policy? Both support the United States imposing sanctions on other countries, a form of economic warfare. Both support the United States’ incessant meddling in the affairs of other countries. Both support an interventionist foreign policy. Both think the United States should police the world.

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on the welfare state? Both think Social Security should be “saved” so that future generations of the elderly can be supported by the young. Both support the government providing unemployment benefits so that those who work can support those who don’t. Both support WIC, TANF, federal job training programs, food stamps, and housing vouchers.

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on health care? Both support socialized medicine—Medicare and Medicaid—for the aged and the poor. Both feel that it is the job of government to ensure that no one is denied insurance because of a preexisting condition. Both feel that is the job of government to make health care more affordable. Both support the National Institutes of Health giving grants for medical research. Both favor federal HIV/AIDS-prevention initiatives. Both think that the government should regulate medical devices, medical schools, physicians, drugs, and hospitals. Both oppose genuine medical freedom, including the right to sell one’s organs. Oh, but Republicans oppose Obamacare. Sure, but only because it is a Democratic program. When Bush was the president and they controlled the Congress they supported Bushcare, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on foreign aid? Both support taking billions of dollars from American taxpayers and giving it to the bloated, corrupt governments of other countries. Both support more foreign aid for Israel than for any other country. Both think it is the job of the United States to provide disaster relief in other countries after an earthquake or typhoon. Both have no problem with the United States bribing foreign governments with cash and military equipment to get them to obey U.S. dictates.

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on education? Both think that all children should recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Both support the federal student loan program, Pell Grants, the National School Lunch Program, Head Start, and the federal Department of Education. Both believe that some Americans should pay to educate the children of other Americans. Oh, but conservative Republicans support educational vouchers and Clinton opposes them. And you think their support of vouchers is a good thing?

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on victimless crimes? Both support anti-discrimination laws. Both support laws against gambling, drug use, prostitution, and insider trading.

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on the drug war? Both oppose the legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Both want to continue to fund the DEA. Both think it is the duty of government to lock people in cages for possessing substances the government doesn’t approve of.

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on the military?  Both support the empire of U.S. troops and bases that encircles the globe. Both would insist that U.S. troops bombing, invading, and occupying other countries are defending our freedom. Both support the continued stationing of U.S. troops in Germany, Italy, and Japan even though World War II ended 70 years ago. Both believe that the U.S. Navy is a global force for good instead of evil. Both support drone strikes even if they do cause a little “collateral damage.” Oh, but conservative Republicans want to increase the defense budget. And you think that is a good thing? Ok, I’ll grant you that there might be a slight difference between Hillary Clinton and conservative Republicans on the military–she is not as bad as they are.

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on taxes? Both support refundable tax credits like the earned income credit that allow some Americans to receive tax refunds when they paid no taxes to begin with. Both believe that tax reform should be revenue neutral. Both want tax loopholes that allow some Americans to keep more of their money eliminated. Both support making “the rich” pay their fair share via a progressive tax system. Both believe that the government is entitled to a portion of every American’s income.

Is there any real difference between Hillary Clinton and a conservative Republican on the national security state? Both support the CIA, FBI, FISA, DIA, TSA, and NSA. Both support government spying and covert activities. Both support the Patriot Act. Both support the Department of Homeland Security even though the United States already has a Department of Defense.

The choice is clear for 2016. Vote for a conservative Republican. Vote for Hillary Clinton.

01 April 2016 @ 01:30 pm
Improper use of "in care of" when adressing things.

Why is everybody doing this wrong?

I just received an incorrect one today:

I really don't think the dealership is hanging out at Carls house.

It's gotten so bad that I literally cannot remember the last time I saw it done correctly.
Even some web sites explain it wrong.

OK, guys, it's like this:
person it is going to in care of place they are at
NOT the other way around!

Like this:     Joe Employee c/o Employer
Like this:     houseguest c/o homeowner
Like this:     minor child c/o guardian

What is so hard about this?  Really?

Here it is explained at wictionary.
And again at wikihow.
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
13 March 2016 @ 09:27 pm
The Presidential campaign is about leadership, leadership of our government and country.  We should each vote for the person who most shares our vision of the sort of country we actually most want to live in.  It's not about what they can actually get done, it's about the direction they want to take us.  No presidential candidate can hope to fulfill even a third of their campaign promises.  But they can do what they can to move our country closer to their vision.  That's much of what leaders do, what presidents do.  This is why the totality of their message is important, not some single issue in their platform.

Before you vote for our next president, please, put aside their single-issue hot topics and step back and consider their worldview, their character, their beliefs and behaviors, their history.  And ask yourself:  "Is the country this person wants to create, the same country I want to live in?"   "Do they share, overall, my vision for an ideal country and an ideal society?"  That should be your basis for your vote for a presidential candidate.  Not what they can get done, but what they would do if they could.

For myself:
I don't want to live in a xenophobic state with a constant drumbeat of nationalistic fervor.
I don't want to live in a conservative theocracy.
I don't want to live in a corporate oligarchy.
I don't want to live in a mean-spirited, dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself society.
And I definitely do not want to live in the wild west.

I do want to live in a peaceful culture with a healthy, educated populace where we take care of each other: you know, like a civilized society.

So I am voting for the candidate who most closely shares that vision for the future of our country.
12 November 2015 @ 11:06 am

I've heard reports that they are bringing charges against the guy from Rolla who made the online threats the other night. I don't see what they can really do to him.

He was 93 miles away from MU and had no guns or anything. His was a completely non-credible troll threat. And the threats were made on Yik Yak, which is basically troll center: people say anything and everything there. It is an unrestricted online free-speech zone. Unfortunately in America right now free speech = hate speech. Of course they were right to arrest him and hold and question him. They had too. But as far as actual charges? Not so much.

BUT..... as a student in the UM system making threats to other UM students I'm sure he has ran afoul of the rules of student conduct. I'm guessing he could probably be expelled and barred from future enrollment. For a kid in his position, that punishment could very well ruin his future, and so is more than enough.

28 October 2015 @ 07:56 pm

Once again, the Republican debate is blacked out to anybody without a cable subscription. For Republicans, apparently, politics is pay-to-play, even for voters.

Republicans have simply given up even trying to pretend to address the average people of this country. They obviously don't give a rat's ass for anybody who isn't a member of the middle-class establishment, seeming to say, “If you aren't in a socioeconomic position to have a cable subscription, then we don't want to talk to you – never mind the lip-service we give to broadening our appeal beyond our traditional base, or the 25% of Americans without cable.”

This is in sharp contrast to the Democratic debate, which could be seen easily and hassle-free by virtually anybody in the country with a screen, be it a cable TV or a connected device (cellphone, computer, etc.).

In both message and practice the perception is Democrats are trying to be inclusive and in touch with the people, whereas Republicans are exclusive, out-of-touch snobs.