Saturday, July 03, 2010


McDonald Special Edition

As is true with most folks who read this blog, you are probably aware that the June 28, 2010, Supreme Court decision on "McDonald (et al) vs City of Chicago, Illinois (et al.)" heralds a new, and more traditional, interpretation of the Second Amendment.

And a lot of us like it!

It's not the 'whole answer', and there are still questions about what other restrictions may be applied to firearm ownership,. such as Registration. And the "Gun Show Loophole". And ... well, wait a minute!

Just what DOES that decision mean?

And in fact, just what does the decision SAY? And what were the points raised by the case, what was resolved, what was left for future legal gymnastics?

Finally, why was it a 5/4 decision by the SCOTUS, who ruled against the majority, and what were their arguments?

Whew! The more I read, the less I realize I actually understand.

Thanks to the Magic of the Internet, there are sources which can answer some, even many, of these questions.

In keeping with the Corporate Motto here at Geek Central: "We Surf The Net So You Don't Have To!"
(Either that, or we just surf the net anyway, and pass the good stuff on.)

Here are some good places to look for more information:

First the original link to this article was found at Musings of a Geek with a .45, and leads us to a "Zmag" article titled McDonald Special Edition.

I suspect this is not the best link, as it seems to begin in the middle of a multi-frame article.

Try this link instead. And remember it assumes you're smart enough to find the ZOOM control (look for the orange rectangle) and know to advance to the next page using the right-arrow. Okay, if you can't figure it out, just ... either go back to the porno channels or move on to the next article.

The above links (not the porno channels, the ZMAG article) discusses the dichotomy between the five "for the plaintiff" votes vs the four "for the defendant" votes, and the FIVE different opinions submitted by the nine SCOTUS judges.

Note that Chicago is working hard to undermine the clearly stated fundamentals of the Second Amendment.

The Chicago City Council on Friday approved what city officials say is the strictest handgun ordinance in the nation, but not before lashing out at the Supreme Court ruling they contend makes the city more dangerous because it will put more guns in people's hands.

The new ordinance bans gun shops in Chicago and prohibits gun owners from stepping outside their homes, even onto their porches or in their garages, with a handgun. It becomes law in 10 days, Corporation Counsel Mara Georges said.

Other restrictions in that ordinance:

_ Limits the number of handguns residents can register to one per month and prohibits residents from having more than one handgun in operating order at any given time.

_ Requires residents in homes with children to keep handguns in lock boxes or equipped with trigger locks and requires residents convicted of a gun offense to register with the police department, much as sex offenders are now required to do.

_ Prohibits people from owning a gun if they were convicted of a violent crime, domestic violence or two or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

_ Requires prospective gun owners to be fingerprinted, take a four-hour class and one-hour training at a gun range.

_ Calls for the police department to maintain a registry of every registered handgun owner in the city, with the names and addresses to be made available to police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders.

Those who have handguns, illegal under the ban, would have 90 days from the day the ordinance is enacted to register those weapons.

Registration? Well ... that isn't a big deal anymore, is it? Historically, "registration" has been the first step to "confiscation", but states (and cities) can't do that anymore, can they?

Perhaps not, but if Chicago requires registration, then what happens if you can't register your legal firearm because the mechanism for registration has "broken" ... perhaps even deliberately? For example:

The District of Columbia enacted a registration requirement for all handguns in 1976, then closed the registry so that all guns not on the books could never be lawfully owned in the District. Chicago followed suit in 1983.
Remember that Gun Control is not about guns. It's about Control.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Mosque at Ground Zero?

'10,000' throng to stop Ground Zero mosque

"Only in New York City is this possible," Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, or ASMA, told the magazine. Khan is the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of ASMA.

Americans all over the country are rallying to stop the construction of a Muslim Mosque at "Ground Zero"; actually on currently unused grounds near to the Twin Towers which were destroyed by terrorist attacks on American infrastructure during the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001.

Meanwhile, the man who proposed this project has been quoted as saying: "I don't believe in religious dialogue". PJTV auditing his American and 'other' statements has found "extraordinary contradictions between what he says in English and what he says in Arabic..."

Many New Yorkers, and most friends and family of 911 victims, have attended public meetings to discuss the proposal.

The proposal was actually entered sometime before 911, and the prospect has been 'on hold' until just recently.
Here is a YouTube video describing some of the commentary regarding the proposed construction:

Although NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to be in favor of the proposal (latest word is that the city council has approved the project 29-1), many people suspect that the motivation is more than to approve a previously proposed project. Some believer that the construction of a Mosque on Ground Zero would represent the Muslim religion placing it's foot on the neck of a conquered foe. ("It's a stab in the eye of America.")
There may be some justification for this interpretation, as suggested by this PJTV video:

It's difficult to know what's "right", when one considers the anguish of 1911 families versus the lack of understanding of what any gesture may mean from the perspective of an Islamic fundamentalist.

Some think that it would be a gesture to reassure the Muslim populations of the world that we do not hold 'them' personally responsible for the 1911 tragedy.

Others believe that it would be an insult ... to the victims, to the American People as a whole ... and also an acknowledgement that Islam has, by the American permission, forced America to bow in dimmitude to the Islamic Movement.'

And one wonders whether the primary imperitive is for the American People to thus acknowledge that it holds Muslim followers ultimately blameless, or to allow Islamic Terrorists to boast of their conquest over The Great Satan.

Should this decision be left to the City Council of New York City?

Or is it a decision that all of America should share?

Having trouble deciding which should be the priority? Perhaps it would help to have more information about what this Mosque conduction would mean to the Islamic Society. This 11-minute PJTV interview with Walid Shoebat, a former Islamic Terrorist, may help to to understand the issues.

I found it helpful:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

NRA and the 1st Amendment

Democrats face criticism from customary allies - Politics - Capitol Hill -

This story has been around for several weeks, and I've been following it without comment because I wasn't sure where the story was going, nor on my stand on it.

There's a local talk-show radio host, Lars Larson, who expressed his disappointment that the National Rifle Association seems to have 'caved in' as soon as Congress agreed to exempt the NRA from the egregious requirements of non-profits.

Briefly stated, the bill ( the "DISCLOSE" act) was intended to counter a "loop-hole" in compaign contributions which, according to the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCUSA) allowed Corporations the same First Amendment Protections as individual.

Essentially SCUSA ruled at the first of the year that Corporations could 'speak' about campaign issues, and publish these comments, with the same freedom as individuals.

Since Corporations typically have deeper pockets than most individuals, Congress thought their political comment should be restricted, especially in months toward the end of the campaign season.

So they fabricated a new bill which, if enacted into law, would impose incredibly burdensome reporting regulations on political speech. This bill was also directed at non-profits ... who usually (as in the case of the NRA, for example) have their own agenda.

The NRA objected, and since the NRA wields stronger political power than most non-profits (see the failure of Al Gores's 2000 Presidential Bid, where he couldn't win his own home state of Tennessee because of his anti-gun agenda), Congress decided that they could pass the bill if they could just buy off the NRA. Which they did, as well as several other Non-Profits (including the Sierra Club, the AARP, and the Human Society) which 'profited' by special exeptions:

"Regardless of your position about the legislation in general, we think you will agree with us that this special carve-out is undemocratic and dangerous," Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, wrote Tuesday to the leaders of more than 100 member-organizations. She sought signatures on a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressing "profound disappointment and anger about the special treatment provided to those least in need of special treatment."

If anything, the president of the Brady Center to Prevent Handgun Violence was even more barbed about the concession given to the organization that arguably does more than any other to thwart his own group.

The special treatment for the NRA "is exactly why Americans are so turned off by politics and cynical about Congress," Paul Helmke said in a telephone interview. "It makes no sense at all when you say you're concerned about the role that money plays in politics."

The League of Conservation Voters also opposes the measure, according to a spokeswoman. Aron said the Sierra Club does as well, although officials for that organization could not be reached.

The developments left the fate of the legislation in doubt, according to Democratic aides who said the leadership likely would decide on Wednesday whether to go ahead with earlier plans to seek a vote by the end of the week.

The bill calls for new disclosure requirements to accompany campaign advertising by outside groups, which can now spend millions of dollars in often rough-and-tumble political activity without publicly identifying their donors. Democrats agreed Monday to exempt the NRA from its provisions after concluding the gun owners' group had enough allies in the House to bring down the measure.

The NRA issued a statement saying it would neither support nor oppose the measure as long as the exemption was a part of it — effectively a statement of acquiescence in the bill's passage.

So that's the back-story.

Our Mr. Larson was disappointed that the NRA was not willing to fight for the 1st amendment with the same fervor as they had historically fought for the 2nd amendment. And I admit, I was also. Wayne LaPierre of the NRA appeared on the Lars Larson Show to explain their position. I was unable to hear that show, so I don't know what the NRA had to say. Except, although this link may disappear, here is what LaPierre had to say.

LaPierre introduced himself (and the NRA) as historically strong proponents for the 1st Amendment. Larson said "Congress wouldn't have offered the NRA a ... thing ... without knowing they couldn't pass the bill without you?"

LaPierre said the Democrats could have rammed the bill down our (the NRA) throats. "We had to make sure that our gun owners were protected. We think it's unconstitutional, we think the supreme court is going to throw it out. ... this probably isn't going anywhere. .. they didn't give us anything. ... we didn't cut a deal ... but we still think it's unconstitutional. If it had not been for the NRA, this thing would probably have gone through two weeks ago. I represent a gun-rights organization, and I would be derelict of our membership if I didn't object to this thing." And he also said "we're the national RIFLE association! "

And he finally said that the NRA is intended to preserve the SECOND amendment.

(Continue listening to the Lars Larson audio comments, if they're still available, to hear even more critical comments.)

And actually, the recent word is that the bill is in deep, deep trouble simply because of the exemptions!

Not because of the 'large' (over 1 million members, been in operation for over ten years) non-profits were opposed to the bill, but because many other non-profits had been left out of the exemptions (including the US Chamber of Commerce) ... the bill is now in danger of not being passed.

For me, I would wish that the NRA would have continued protesting against this bill. But as LaPierre (not my all-time favorite person) implied in his interview, the business of the NRA is the protection of the Second Amendment. And by extension, it follows that the NRA is conceivably not strictly following it's own charter if it allocates donated funds in an effort to protect the First Amendment.

I don't like it. I've spent my entire life looking upon the NRA as my personal Constitutional Savior.

Well, perhaps not. My father and all of my uncles were Life Members of the NRA. I have not been, and in fact my NRA membership is lapsed. I am not a great fan of the NRA ... as I have said before and often for this sort of reason. The NRA is not a Constitutional Savior. It's all they can do the defend the Second Amendment, and they do little enough of that.

But here, the NRA is clear (if not by the Wayne LaPierre interview, but by the consequences of his "constitutional sell-out"), when the NRA signed on to the exemption it placed the spotlight firmly on the constitutional conflict inherent in this bill.

If the Democratic Congress had not decided to 'buy off' the Large Non-Profits, would this bill have been passed with little or no public comment?

I think so.

Here's a shocking thought for you to contemplate:

Who made the biggest stink about the NRA 'buy off''?

The Brady Bunch.

They had nothing to say about the bill per se, but they were so outraged that the NRA was granted an exception, they truly soured the dish that Congress was so assiduously stirring, to serve to the American people before they dropped us into the oven in their "Hansel and Gretel" Chocolate House.

Politics truly makes strange bed-fellows.

Who would ever believe that the Brady Campaign would support the NRA's true agenda?

The only thing that Wayne LaPierre has to offer to the membership of the NRA as that he is an accomplished politician. I'm not saying he expected exactly this outcome, but he DID say that he thought the bill was 'unconstitutional' and, with the list of exceptions listed, the bill is now a Poster Child for a constitutional battle.

I think the Democrats well be found to have become stuck in the Hunny Pot, and this is the lead-in to a depressing (for them) judicial refusal.

Anything that results in a disappointment for the Dems is a 'win' for America.

And you can take that to the bank.