A Fallacy About Guns

March 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics | Leave a comment
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In a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post, Marc A. Thiessen recounted an incident in which a private citizen, Stephen Willeford, used his own AR-15 to interrupt Devin Patrick Kelley from continuing a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland, Texas, on November 15, 2017.

The AR-15 is the same type of assault rifle that Nikolas Cruz used to massacre students and teachers at the at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.

Thiessen uses the incident in Sutherland to argue that it would be perverse to conclude from the incident in Parkland – and from the many other incidents – that access to assault weapons should be restricted.

Thiessen’s argument rests upon a fallacy of omission. He does not mention that Willeford’s gun-assisted intervention would not have been necessary if Kelley had not had access to an assault weapon.

In fact, that would have been a better solution, because it would not have relied on the rare circumstance that a neighbor had an assault weapon, and was at home at the time, and was willing to engage the shooter.

Looking for the best solution to a problem is mathematically equivalent to trying to identify the tallest peak in a region that hosts many hills and mountains.

A mathematician, a scientist, or an engineer would say that Thiessen identified what was merely a local maximum, but didn’t notice the global maximum nearby.

Thiessen spotted the crest of one of several foothills, but failed to notice the mountain that towered in their midst.

To see more clearly why Thiessen’s argument is incorrect, imagine his argument being applied to cars. Someone in a car can pursue a criminal who used a car to commit a crime. Applied to cars, Thiessen’s logic would imply that driving a car should be unrestricted, and shouldn’t require a license.

In fact, the issues in gun control are closely analogous to those in automotive and aeronautical control:

As was noted in a previous blog, and as has recently been noted by others, the argument for restricting acess to assault weapons is the same as the argument for requiring a license for driving an automobile, and for requiring a more restrictive licence for driving 18-wheelers, and for requiring a still more restrictive license for piloting an aircraft.

Freedom to travel within the United States does not mean unrestricted freedom to travel by driving a car, nor by driving a truck, nor by piloting an aircraft. It also does not mean that access to particular locations cannot be restricted to only particular people.

Analogous statements should apply to guns.

A recent very enlightening article by Mike Spies in the New Yorker magazine describes how we started from a reasonable, rational approach to gun laws, that had lasted for at least a century, and how the discussion was perverted into the present frenzied, dysfunctional tug-of-war.

Gun laws today

Gun laws today

Unpatriotic Devin Nunes, Unpatriotic Donald Trump

February 28, 2018 at 9:41 am | Posted in Abuse of Office, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom | Leave a comment
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Devin Nunes, U.S. Representative from California

Devin Nunes, U.S. Representative from California

Every loyal American would want the investigation of Putin’s interference in the 1916 election to get to the bottom of what Putin’s minions did, and how they did it. Every loyal American would want to refute Putin’s lies, and would want America to have the information it needs to craft defenses against Putin’s future attempts, both on this country and on its allies.

It is iron-clad logic, a simple syllogism: if every loyal American would want those things, then any American who obstructs those investigations and defenses is not a loyal American.

Devin Nunes is not a loyal American.

Donald Trump is not a loyal American.

Devin Nunes is not a patriotic American.

Donald Trump is not a patrotic American.

Devin Nunes is inadvertantly an agent of Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump is inadvertantly an agent of Vladimir Putin.

Neither should ever have had access to classified information.

Neither should have future access to classified information.

Trump’s primary loyalty is to himself and to his “brand” – not to America, not to freedom, not to fairness, not to honest elections.

There are indications that the same is true of Devin Nunes.

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution begins, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, …”

The writers of the Constitution never anticipated a President who favored an opponent of the United States.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit.  Photo by www.kremlin.ru.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit. Photo by http://www.kremlin.ru.

What about Paul Ryan?

Donald Trump shaking hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at his February 28, 2017 address to a joint session of Congress.

Donald Trump shaking hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at his February 28, 2017 address to a joint session of Congress.

Surely Paul Ryan had some sense of Devin Nunes’ personality and character before appointing him to the House Intelligence Committee.

Why then did Paul Ryan appoint Nunes as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee?

Why did Paul Ryan even allow Nunes to be on that Committee?

Paul, please explain to the American people why you appointed Nunes as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Paul, now that you cannot miss seeing that you introduced a worm into the apple, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to re-assign Nunes?

Paul, are you, too, not a loyal American?

Paul, are you, too, inadvertantly an agent of Putin?

Paul, where are your primary loyalties? They seem to be to the Republican Party in its current debased form, not to America, not to freedom, not to fairness, not to honest elections.

As noted by Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post:

“Real patriotism would be not to denounce the “Russia hoax” but to insist that Congress — and for that matter, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — get to the bottom of what happened in the 2016 election and, even more imperative, that the United States strengthen its defenses to prevent future meddling.”

Dishonorable Devin Nunes: What Are His Loyalties?

March 29, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, folio 270 recto, early 13th century, by Herman the Recluse of the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice.

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, folio 270 recto, early 13th century, by Herman the Recluse of the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice.

To what Is Devil Nunes loyal?

The one who is better known as Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)

Based on his stonewalling of investigations into Russia’s role, and his frantic attempts to divert the focus of the investigation away from Russia and away from Trump’s campaign, and toward the patriots who alerted the country, and his secret nightime trip to confer with the White House, it appears that Devin Nunes’ loyalties, in their order of importance to him, are

  • First, Devin Nunes himself, followed – possibly closely – by his family.
  • Second, Trump, followed – possibly closely – by the Republican Party in its present grotesquely deformed version.
  • Third, possibly the United States, possibly including the district that he supposedly represents.

Given that order of priorities, it is not fitting that Nunes should be a member of the House Intelligence Committee, much less that he should chair it.

Nunes was in Trump’s transition team. Yet he claims that there is no conflict of interest for him to lead the investigation of contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The conflict of interest is clear. Nunes cannot be objective about this issue.

In attempting to deflect attention away from the real danger – Putin’s mafia – Devin Nunes betrayed his country.

He doesn’t belong in Congress.

For his future, his best career option is to apply to become a caddy at one of Trump’s golf courses.

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Putin => Wikileaks => Trump

July 24, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Posted in Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | 2 Comments
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Trump Approves of Putin. Image created by thepoliblog.WordPress.com.

Trump Approves of Putin. Image created by thepoliblog.WordPress.com.

 

(After writing this posting, I searched for URLs to cite as evidence for what is asserted in it. It immediately became evident that others had come to the same realizations: see the articles by Abby Phillip and by Amber Phillips in the Washington Post. But since different aspects are emphasized in what follows, it seemed non-redundant to go ahead and post it.)

 

Putin is the Tyrant of Putinia (which has replaced Russia).

Putin ordered his minions to hack into the computer files of the Democratic National Committee to steal the emails and plans of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Putin wanted to use that information to boost Trump’s chances in the US Presidential election in November.

Putin wants Trump to win.

Trump and Putin like each other’s philosophy and style. Both are authoritorian and greedy. Each hides his insecurity by projecting brazen self-confidence. Neither of them gives a hoot about the constraints imposed by laws, or even Constitutions.

Trump also drools over the potential for business opportunities in Putinia.  So he is careful to always ‘make nice’ to Putin, and never challenges what Putin does.
Some leader of the free world Trump would be! He has a built-in conflict of interest.

Putin cannot legally afford to admit that he is responsible for the hacking.

Also, if it were known that the release of the information was intended to aid Trump, then the impact of the released information would be diminished.

So Putin had the stolen information forwarded to Wikileaks. Having Wikileaks release the information gave Putin deniability.

Wikileaks – having no sense of privacy and decency, and deserving none – eagerly made the stolen information public.

Releasing the stolen information can have had only one possible purpose: to embarrass and hamper Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Trump is guilty of many things, but he had no knowledge of this.

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Trump’s Selective Isolationism Would Endanger US Support For Israel

April 3, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics, Presidential election, Terrorism | 1 Comment
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Flipped version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Flipped version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

As long as the US remains fully engaged with the rest of the world, actively promoting open stable societies and allies, it makes perfect sense for the US to aid Israel. Israel is an open society, socially and technologically advanced (apart from its short-sighted ‘lebens-raum’ policy of settlements, and is a steadfast ally.

But Trump wants to drastically reduce US involvement with the rest of the world – to save money!

Does Trump know what pennywise and pound foolish means?

If we pulled back fron NATO, does he think that we would still have international partners for embargoes, sanctions, and for cooperation in fighting terrorism?

Does he think that we would have diplomatic and military allies when we suddenly needed them?

Trump’s policy would unleash unintended, undesireable consequences.

Here is just one that he hasn’t thought of.

If the US became isolationist, as Trump favors, then US aid to Israel would become an anomaly. It would become an exception. It would stick out like a sore thumb. It would soon cease.

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The Koch Conspiracy to Subvert American Democracy

January 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth, Global warming, Judicial Misjudgment, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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David H. Koch in 2007, as cropped and rotated from a photo by freddthompson

David H. Koch in 2007, as cropped and rotated from a photo taken by freddthompson

The remarkable new book, ‘Dark Money’, by Jane Mayer, shows that a many-fingered long-lasting conspiracy by very wealthy, very greedy, very defensive individuals, underlies much of what has degraded and coarsened American political life over the past two and a half decades.

The conspiracy was instigated by Charles and David Koch.

The conspiracy is driven by the self interest of Charles and David Koch and their co-conspirators. They all rationalize it to themselves as the defense of liberty – but only of those liberties that benefit themselves.

It is a conspiracy to subvert American democracy. Jane Mayer shows that it was started when Charles Koch concluded that he couldn’t achieve his goals via the open political process.

Prominent members of this group are (quoting from Mayer’s page 4) “Richard Mellon Scaife, an heir to the Mellon banking and Gulf oil fortunes; Harry and Lynde Bradley, midwesterners enriched by defense contracts; John M. Olin, a chemical and munitions company titan; the Coors brewing family of Colorado; and the DeVos family of Michigan, founders of the Amway marketing empire.”

Their convocations impose utmost secrecy: no mobile phones, no notes, no audio or video recording. The eleborate precautions are described on page 9 of Jane Mayer’s book.

That it is a conspiracy is proven by its secrecy.

Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have been speakers at these meetings.

Were Scalia and Thomas paid to speak? How much?

Was their air travel and lodging reimbursed, or paid directly by the meeting’s sponsors? Almost certainly.

Scalia’s and Thomas’ attitudes on issues that were likely to come before the Supreme Court may have been influenced by those at the secret meetings at which they spoke. But more likely, they were invited to speak, and agreed to speak, because they were known to already favor plutocracy over democracy.

In turn, that almost certainly influenced how they voted when the Supreme Court was reaching its decision on Citizens United.

The Supreme Court’s majority decision on Citizens United enabled wealthy donors and the executives and board members of wealthy corporations to have much more influence – per person – on elections and on elected officials, than do ordinary citizens such as you and I. As a result, PACs became prominent. A PAC is not supposed to coordinate in any way with the candidate it supports, but news stories too numerous to count cite direct contacts and indirect signalling between candidates and ‘their’ PACs (yes, that is how some of the PACs are described in news stories), and there is much transfer of personnel between the campaign staff and the PAC and vice versa. PACs provide an effective way of influencing political outcomes, and are one of the Koch conspiracy’s major tools. No more ‘significant political say for each active citizen’. The political voice of a  director of a PAC, of a lobbyist or of a politician who has an affiliated PAC, or of a wealthy individual, a corporate executive, or a member of a corporate board that contributes importantly to a PAC, is much louder than the voice of any ordinary citizen. This has seriously corrupted American political life, and has greatly attenuated poltical democracy.

Because of – or as evidenced by – their participation in these secret meetings, Scalia and Thomas were biased, and should have recused themselves from the decision on Citizens United.

If asked, Scalia and Thomas might claim that they attended and spoke as private citizens, that they were merely speaking for themselves, exercising their Constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and of speech.

As private citizens? Hah! No one believes that for a moment.

By virtue of their special status, Justices of the Supreme Court are always seen – accurately or inaccurately – as reflecting upon the Supreme Court when they speak on any topic having political ramifications.

By virtue of their special status, Justices of the Supreme Court receive special treatment at airports. Unless their hosts proved travel in a private airplane, both Scalia and Thomas probably availed themselves of that special treatment in their flights to and from these Koch-sponsored events.  Private citizens do not receive this special treatment.

Doesn’t the Supreme Court issue guidelines on the out-of-court activities of its Justices?

Federal employees receive such guidelines, to reduce as much as possible both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

Common sense says:

Attendance and giving a speech at a public meeting is proper for a Supreme Court Justice, as long as that attendance is not subsidised nor paid for.

Attendance at secret meeting is proper for a Supreme Court Justice, as long as the meeting is within the premises of the Supreme Court, and includes all of the Justices.

It is not proper for a Justice of the Supreme Court to attend and speak at a secret meeting on political policy, outside of the Supreme Court, and probably without even the knowledge and assent of all of the other Justices.

Two Justices of the Supreme Court committed a serious breech of ethics, casting great doubt upon their impartiality.

You can thank the Koch conspiracy for that.


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Shout It! We Do NOT Love Donald Trump

January 23, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Conceited, Dysfunctional Politics, Presidential election, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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320x480.DonaldTrump.May2015.UpsideDown

As explained at the bottom of this post, you can comment on it to show either your agreement or your disagreement with some or all of it.

Trump is insecure. To an abnormal extent, he likes to project strong self-esteem. But the abnormal intensity of his boasting reveals that his self esteem is actually weak. His need for reassurance is why he continually claims that this group and that group loves him. Do you know anyone else who so obsessively boasts that so many groups love him?
Donald Trump, we do NOT love you.

We do not even LIKE you.

We despise Trump because he is an insecure braggart and a bully.

In Atlantic City, Trump tried to bully an elderly widow who just wanted to remain in her own home, rather than have it bulldozed to advance Trump’s plans for a casino. Trump lost. (Despite his inflated claim, Trump does not always win.) Afterwards, instead of expressing remorse and ethical growth, Trump gratuitously and falsely said that she was a nasty person.

We mistrust Trump because he believes in hype as a matter of principle.
An article (by Robert O’Harrow Jr., Alice Crites, Walter Fee) in a recent Washington Post adds detail to what we know about Trump’s spotty business history.
Besides being careless of facts, Trump overstates his assets, overstates what he can accomplish, and spins his failures – as if calling a failure a success makes it so.

As a matter of policy, Trump tells people what he knows they want to hear (voters, casino commissions), without making sure that he can back up what he says.

We despise Trump for his astoundingly incautious handling of large sums of money. Imagine what such an impulsive, feckless investor would do to the US Treasury, and to the financial standing of the US. Alexander Hamilton would have been aghast at the dangers of entrusting any significant aspect of the US economy into the hands of such a gambler and bluffer, especially given Trump’s bumpy track record in business.

We despise Trump for never acknowledging when his claims are proved to be erroneous. Trump’s disinterest in correcting the record shows that he does not care about the truth.
A striking example is his ‘birther’ claims about Obama, which he never retracted despite abundant solid disproof.

We despise Trump because he does not favor an open society, with the time and role it gives to the airing of dissenting views. Instead, Trump likes Putin’s way of doing things, and Putin likes Trump. An open society is the goal of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: witness the separation of powers, and the Bill of Rights. Trump thinks those features are merely impediments to decisive action. As explained in a previous post, Trump’s political beliefs developed as a result of the atypical advantages he had in starting his carreer.

We despise Trump because he allows and enables Corey Lewandowski‘s totalitarian control of access – by reporters and by the public – to Trump’s speaking appearances. Lewandowski’s approach is similar to that of Putin in Russia, to Xi in China, to Kim Jong-un in North Korea: only favorable images and reports may come out. Lewandowsky stomps on freedom of speech. Perhaps for his next job, Lewandowski should interview for a job with one of the dictators named above.
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Political contributions, the BuyPartisan Mobile app, and Citizens United

August 22, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics, Fairness, Judicial Misjudgment | 2 Comments
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A US two dollar bill. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollar "US $2 obverse". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_$2_obverse.jpg#mediaviewer/File:US_$2_obverse.jpg

A US two dollar bill. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollar
“US $2 obverse”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_$2_obverse.jpg#mediaviewer/File:US_$2_obverse.jpg

There is a new free app for mobile devices, BuyPartisan, developed by Spend Consciously, Inc. (Although the app is presently available only for Apple devices, Spend Consciously plans to release a version for Android devices in the very near future.)

The SpendConsciously.com web site suggests that you use your mobile device to scan the barcode of the product you are considering. The app will display the political donations of the CEO, Board of Directors and employees of the company that produced the product. On the basis of that information, you can decide whether or not to buy the product. You can also tell your friends what you have found out.

Two related articles (one by Colby Itkowitz, and one by Al Kamen and Colby Itkowitz) in the Washington Post describe what they discovered by using the app.

Subsequently the Editors of the Washington Post disparaged the new app, claiming that it would intensify political polarization.

But in coming to that conclusion, the Editors forgot an important new factor, namely, the Supreme Court’s misguided ruling on Citizens United.

The ruling on Citizens United magnifies the impact of an individual CEO + Board of Directors on an election far above above that of an ordinary citizen. A CEO and Board of Directors can favor their preferred candidate by using the vast financial resources of his corporation to the candidate or proposed law that they personally favor. You cannot.

"1900 New York polling place" by E. Benjamin Andrews - Andrews, E. Benjamin. History of the United States, volume V. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. 1912. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1900_New_York_polling_place.jpg#mediaviewer/File:1900_New_York_polling_place.jpg

“1900 New York polling place” by E. Benjamin Andrews – Andrews, E. Benjamin. History of the United States, volume V. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. 1912. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1900_New_York_polling_place.jpg#mediaviewer/File:1900_New_York_polling_place.jpg

In an election, a voter has two kinds of votes.

There is a direct vote, by making a choice on a ballot.

There is an indirect vote, by contributing or not contributing to a candidate or to a proposed law.

The CEO and Board of Directors’ huge contribution easily drowns out the much smaller contribution that is feasible for most ordinary citizens.  The Supreme Court’s illogical decision dramatically undercuts your indirect vote. The Supreme Court’s ruling implicitly transforms the United States into an oligarchy.

The money that the CEO can appropriate in this manner is derived from the company’s sales to its customers.

Your only way of influencing the amount that the CEO and Board of Directors has available for this legal but unjust diversion of corporate funds? Either buy or do not buy from their company.

The Supreme Court’s politically partisan decision on Citizens United has thus linked buying decisions to political positions.

The linkage acts whether or not you – or the Editors of the Washington Post – recognize its presence.

That is why citizens now need to determine the political preferences of the CEO and Board of Directors of any company they might use.

Without apps like BuyPartisan, a great deal of time consuming detective work would be required for you to obtain that information. The app makes it easy.

Contrary to the position taken by the Editors of the Washington Post, using this app is now imperative for good citizenship.

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Involuntary Manslaughter on the George Washington Bridge

February 13, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom | Leave a comment
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"The George Washington Bridge, connecting Fort Lee to New York City, is the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge." (Wikipedia) Photo by Jet Lowe, April 1986.

“The George Washington Bridge, connecting Fort Lee to New York City, is the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge.” (Wikipedia) Photo by Jet Lowe, April 1986.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”, said the email from Bridget Anne Kelly to David Wildstein.  Bridget Kelly was a top staff member to Govenor Chris Christie of New Jersey, and David Wildstein was one of Christie’s appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge.

The goal: to punish someone who hadn’t fallen into line politically (the Mayor of Fort Lee), by punishing thousands of innocent people, namely, people who where commuting from New Jersey to New York City via the George Washington Bridge.

David Wildstein contrived to create a horrendous traffic jam for people traveling during rush hour from New Jersey to Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge.  An unneccesary ‘traffic study’ was devised, as a cover story.

A traffic jam in Delhi, India, taken by NOMAD.  It is a different traffic jam, but it gives you the flavor.

A traffic jam in Delhi, India, taken by NOMAD. It is a different traffic jam, but it gives you the flavor.

A woman died after a heart attack, because emergency personnel could not reach her.

Thousands were late for work, missed meetings, missed job interviews, missed appointments with doctors.

Thousands experienced the agony of not being able to reach a toilet.

Hourly workers lost wages.  Businesses lost sales, both to to individuals and to companies.

Those stuck in traffic, those wanting to help during a medical emergency, those waiting for delayed employees and customers, suffered worry and tension that was prolonged enough to cause subtle but real damage to the immune system, heart, and brain.

Besides Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein there may be additional culprits.  Bill Baroni – another Christie appointee to the Port Authority – appears to have been involved.  Bill Stepien, Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff at the time, exhibited suspiciously inhuman callousness about the effects of the jam.

Chris Christie denies knowing about the scheme until he learned about it from news reports.  His denial may well be accurate.  He might have been told that a traffic study was taking place, without knowing that the traffic study was just a cover, and without knowing that his associates had instigated it only to trigger a horrendous traffic jam.

The actions of Kelly and Wildstein, and possibly of Baroni and Stepien, was goon-like behavior.  It is the behavior of gangland enforcers, of thugs, not of those who treasure an open society.  The only novel feature is that in this case the enforcers appear to have been self-appointed, rather than being directed from above.

This wasn’t a prank.  It was deliberately punitive.

Justice requires that all of those who suffered, economically and/or emotionally, from this maneuver should be compensated for their suffering and injury, and that all who can be made whole should be made whole.  There should be prison sentences for the misuse of authority by those culpable, and for the involuntary manslaughter of the woman who died.

In particular, a Grand Jury should decide whether whether Kelly, Wildstein, and possibly Baroni and Stepien, should be tried for involuntary manslaughter.

A Grand Jury should decide whether whether Kelly, Wildstein, and possibly Baroni and Stepien, should be tried for misuse of authority.

A Grand Jury should decide whether whether Kelly, Wildstein, and possibly Baroni and Stepien, should be tried for the economic and emotional damage to the thousands of affected travelers, and to those who awaited them.

Kelly, Wildstein and perhaps Baroni and Stepien should be required to monetarily compensate the woman’s family, and, indeed, all of those who were damaged by their scheme.

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John Boehner’s Priorities

October 15, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Fairness | 1 Comment
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Official portrait of United States House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), turned upside-down.

Official portrait of United States House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), turned upside-down.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives determines which bills are brought to a vote.

The Speaker is therefore supposed to serve the entire House, not just his own party.

In that respect, the Speaker’s responsibility is like that of the President: to act in the interest of the whole country.

John Boehner does not so act.

The present crisis would have been averted if Boehner had brought to vote a bill that had substantial support, and which would have resolved the present stalemate in a prudent, pragmatic fashion.

He refused to do, and lied about his reason.  He claimed that the bill didn’t have enough votes to pass, while knowing knew full well that the Democrats together with 18 to 21 Republicans were willing to vote for the bill, and would have been enough to assure the bill’s passage.

He carefully did not state his real reasons:
(1) Despite serving the country’s interest, that manner of passage would have emphasized the Democrats constructive role, and also the fissure between the doctrinaire wing of the Republicans and the pragmatic (and more patriotic) Republicans, who wanted the government be useful,
(2) Boehner’s own vow – not sanctioned by the Constitution, nor by any principle of useful government – to not bring to a vote any bill that would not pass by Republican votes alone,
(3) bringing those bills to a vote would aggravate the pee party, which might challenge him in the next Republican primaries.

His choices reveal his priorities.

Boehner’s priorities are, starting with his highest:
1.  John Boehner’s political future.
2.  The Republican Party.
3.  The United States.

John Boehner doesn’t have a statesmanlike bone in his body.

At the next election, remember: Ohio and the United States would both be better off without him.

 

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