M A R C H   2 0 1 8

Friday, March 23, 2018:   Prepare for War – Trump Is
The latest appointment of John Bolton by Trump to be his National Security Advisor is just one more step towards a war with somebody. The boy president is commander and chief and before he leaves office, he is determined to use his awesome arsenal somewhere in the world. No little skirmishes for him. Oh, no… We are talking invasion level activity. All the signs are there - more money for the military, more hawks in the administration, more activity on military bases. War is coming, it will impact you and it won't be pretty.

Everything the asshole in chief does is designed to piss off somebody. Well maybe not the illiterate 30% of the U.S. electorate that supports the jerk, but certainly the majority of Americans and basically every other major country in the world. So when war comes, it will be Trump against the world. Who do you think will win?

Thursday, March 8, 2018:   The Second Amendment Is About the Militia And Only the Militia
So I said that I would address the Scalia ruling in this post, but the truth has changed. A friend pointed out that there is more in the body of the constitution that deals with the Federal Government and the Militia reference in the Second Amendment.

Section 2 of Article 1 in the constitution clearly places the Militia in the purview of the States.

"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States:"
A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel. In the case of the U.S. Constitution, it is an organization sanctioned by a State.

To that end, in Section 8 of Article 1, the role of congress and the State's Militia is clearly defined.
Section 8 "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;…..

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;"
Folks, the Second Amendment is about right of a State's Militia to keep and bear arms, not the right of an individual to buy an assault weapon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018:   Note To The NRA: Shitcan Your Bullshit
The NRA would have you believe that they are strict constitutionalists defending the right to bear arms. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are simply lobbyists for a gun industry that is trying to boost sales of their products.

Let's go back to the basics of the Second Amendment. It reads as follows:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The NRA fought long and hard to get the Supreme Court and in particular Justice Scalia to treat "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," as a "prefatory" clause ignoring the basic principles of English grammar that would be in common use at the time our constitution was written. You can't be a strict constitutionalist and ignore the grammar in use at the time. That pulls the Second Amendment out of context.

In fact, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," is dependent clause and is not superfluous or as the justices ruled, a "prefatory" clause. It is an integral part of the sentence. The causal relationship of the clause in the Second Amendment cannot be ignored. Let's look at a couple of other examples:
"Their project being complete, the team disbanded."

"Stern discipline being called for, the offending student was expelled."
The team disbanded because the project was complete; the student was expelled because his offense called for stern discipline. The Second Amendment is no different. The right to bear arms shall not be infringed because it is essential to maintaining a well-regulated militia.

Mark Moe said in best in his February 12, 2013 opinion titled "A grammar lesson for gun nuts: Second Amendment does not guarantee gun rights". In it he wrote:

"Thus, to call the first clause of the Second Amendment superfluous or "prefatory" is an insult to both (Justice) Marshall and the framers. The 'absolute' clause construction of the Second amendment was quite common at the time, and appears in many state constitutions and framing documents. The primary purpose in these constructions is to give the conditions under which the rest of the sentence is true or valid. As a prime example of the ablative absolute, the first clause of the Second Amendment may stand grammatically free, but serves semantically to modify or clarify the meaning of the rest of the sentence. The Framers were clearly familiar with the ablative absolute and used it not as rhetorical fluff or flourish, but as a way of clarifying intent, in this case clarifying that the right to bear arms is granted in the context and within the scope of establishing a militia. Nothing more, nothing less.

So today, when the paranoid fringe faction of the NRA howls that gun control is an assault on our Second amendment rights, we might ask, which rights are those? Unless they mean the right to 'bear arms' (itself a military phrase) in the service of a well-regulated militia, they're just blowing smoke. The NRA is free to lobby all they want for the freedom for citizens to own whatever gun they choose — it's their right. But to say that gun control somehow attenuates individual gun rights 'guaranteed' by the Second Amendment, well, that's just wrong."

A bunch of gun toting citizens does not a militia make.

So the response by those who rage against gun control is "too bad", the Supreme Court said we have the right in its 2008 decision on Columbia v Heller. Yes they did.

We won't go into the fact that conservative justices of Supreme Court promised that they would not be judicial activists, but if you read the opinion, even Scalia said it was not Carte Blanche. I will go into that in my next post.

Thursday, March 1, 2018:   The Fart Of A Deal
Trump said today that he is going to impose stiff tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum which will likely kick off a global trade war. The effect of that trade war will be to lower everyone's standard of living. Would some U.S. industries and their executives benefit from these tariffs? – of course. But the average schmuck is going to pay more for the products that depend on foreign steel and aluminum like the automobiles and packaged food. That or impacted companies will move their U.S. production and U.S. jobs to other countries where they not only get cheaper labor but cheaper steel and aluminum. Either way, the Trump supporters and the rest of us get screwed.

And it is guaranteed that the impacted foreign countries will retaliate and that retaliation will take many forms none of which will benefit the average American.

Oh and the stock market let the Trumpster know how it felt about his deal – the Dow dropped 420 points today.

Copyright J. R. Avery
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