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August 17, 2009

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Now, however, he knows that he'll face the wrath from the teabaggers if he supports reform.

There's something about the phrase "fearing the wrath of the teabaggers" that makes me think of Monty Python.

Seriously, maybe we should all go to the town hall meetings and threaten to say "Nee" in a Very Loud Voice if we don't get a public option.

It might work.

God, what a clown show. This whole debate is making me very, very depressed.

Good analysis.
The Democrats now have to pass the best bill they can working within their own party with perhaps Snowe or Collins.

It is really important they pass SOMETHING.

Partisan politics is a zero-sum game. Democratic defeat = Republican vistory.

Publius

There are reports that the recent Rasmussen poll indicates that 54% of the public thinks it would be better to do nothing than to make the current congressional reform bill into law. If that number is true, do you think democrat congressmen ought to pay attention to it and jetison the bill? If not, then at what percentage should they pay attention to it?

I ask this because in a prior post you urged certain dem congressmen who were in conservative districts to vote with the dem team even if it would put their seats in danger with their conservative constituents. If they are not to listen to their own constituents, and they are not to listen to the broader public, then who should they listen to? And why?

Grassley should never again have any kind of meeting with constituents, or a press conference, or for that matter a meal without loudmouthed, jackbooted thugs threatening his safety at the top of their lungs and shutting down the proceedings.

He should be pelted with cabbage and accused of granny murder at every turn.

His tawdry personal life of convening death panels in the toilet stalls of airport men's rooms should be broadcast far and wide.

Uninsured people should be given his home address to be used when they require a trip to the hospital emergency room.

His lying, unAmerican mouth should be packed with salt and sewn shut with barbed wire.

The only potential threat to him is from the right, so what possible incentives does he have to stand up to the town hall protesters, Palins, etc.

How do you come to this conclusion? Grassley is from a state that's very purple, but tending blue. His colleague in the Senate is Tom Harkin, a solid liberal. In principle he's as likely (if not more so) to be threatened from the left.

But in fact, Chuck Grassley is a safe as safe can be for rather old-fashioned and trans-ideological reasons (though the notion he's a moderate is laughable): he does the farm-state equivalent of fixing potholes, plus he has enormous seniority. Nothing can threaten Chuck Grassley electorally.

I think his actual positions on healthcare reform reflect his desire to torpedo it. I do think that he always wanted to torpedo it.

As for the function of the teabagger protests: they're designed to both move public opinion and, more significantly, create the impression of moving public opinion. And in so doing, they are designed to provide political cover for the very substantial, bipartisan minority of both houses of Congress that, from the start, wants to make sure that no reform hurts insurance industry profits. If this process succeeds, we'll get a public-option free system with individual mandates, i.e. a federal law forcing forty-six million more Americans to put money in the insurance industry's coffers. That's "reform" our political class can believe in!

Finally it's important to remember that wingnut reform opponent Chuck Grassley only has power in this situation because Democratic Sens. Baucus, Bingaman, and Conrad let him take part in the Gang of Six, and that the Gang of Six only has power in this situation because Harry Reid and the Democratic Senate leadership is willing to give them power.

Bottom line: with sixty Senators, 255 members of the House, and the Presidency in Democratic hands, whatever emerges from this trainwreck is 100% the Democrats' responsibility. The Republicans would be a pathetic sideshow if Democrats didn't want them to play a more significant role.

It is really important they pass SOMETHING.

Partisan politics is a zero-sum game. Democratic defeat = Republican victory.

The problem with this line of thinking is that it is might produce a bill that is, itself, a Republican victory in all but name, i.e. a federal bailout of the insurance industry that does next to nothing to contain costs, but mandates that those currently without insurance give their hard earned money to private insurers.

The only way for the American people to win is for the right wing of the Democratic Party to draw these conclusions first. This is a staring competition. Progressives need, for once, to have the courage of their convictions and not blink first. All Democrats feel that they will take a significant political hit if something doesn't pass. And progressives in the House can insist that nothing without a public option will pass.

At which point the onus to make sure that something does pass will rest with the intransigent Senate Democrats.

And as a progressive Independent, I'd say that a Democratic Party that can't pass real healthcare reform with a Senate supermajority, a substantial house majority, and the White House doesn't deserve victory.

"If they are not to listen to their own constituents, and they are not to listen to the broader public, then who should they listen to? And why?"

Setting aside that Represenatives are elected by voters in their district, not nationally, making national polls irrelevant, I assume that D'D'D'Dave's Rule from now on is that in every politicial issue, if at a given time a national political poll indicates there is a national majority favoring or opposing something, all members of Congress should vote according to said poll.

We'll see how consistent you are in this principle. I assume you've always felt this way, which is why when public polling said we should leave Iraq, you were demanding to know why Congress wasn't voting to do this immediately, right?

In 2005, for instance:

[...] 59 per cent of respondents believe U.S. troops should leave Iraq as soon as possible, even if the country is not completely stable.

Source: CBS News
Methodology: Telephone interviews to 808 American adults, conducted from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5, 2005. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

You always feel Congress should follow national polls, right? Or just when they happen to agree with you at a given moment in time on a given issue?

"If they are not to listen to their own constituents, and they are not to listen to the broader public, then who should they listen to? And why?"

Setting aside that Represenatives are elected by voters in their district, not nationally, making national polls irrelevant, I assume that D'D'D'Dave's Rule from now on is that in every politicial issue, if at a given time a national political poll indicates there is a national majority favoring or opposing something, all members of Congress should vote according to said poll.

We'll see how consistent you are in this principle. I assume you've always felt this way, which is why when public polling said we should leave Iraq, you were demanding to know why Congress wasn't voting to do this immediately, right?

In 2005, for instance:

[...] 59 per cent of respondents believe U.S. troops should leave Iraq as soon as possible, even if the country is not completely stable.

Source: CBS News
Methodology: Telephone interviews to 808 American adults, conducted from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5, 2005. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

You always feel Congress should follow national polls, right? Or just when they happen to agree with you at a given moment in time on a given issue?

"There's something about the phrase "fearing the wrath of the teabaggers" that makes me think of Monty Python. Seriously, maybe we should all go to the town hall meetings and threaten to say "Nee" in a Very Loud Voice if we don't get a public option. It might work."

Or at the very least get the left side some press coverage. May actually not be that crazy an idea.

Granted it's sad, but...

Senator, BRING ME A SHRUBBERY!

Mr. Farber:

"You always feel Congress should follow national polls, right? "

No. I feel like they should be responsive to the constituents in their district.

But my comment was not an expression of my opinion. It was a question for Publius. It was he who said they shouldn't be responsive to their constituents (on this bill: because they benefit from the overall democrat brand yada yada). Given that position, I was wondering at what national polling majority percentage (if any) he thinks they are justified in turning away from the party line. I'm assuming here that he believes in democratic principles enough to set that percentage at less than 100%.

I was wondering at what national polling majority percentage (if any) he thinks they are justified in turning away from the party line.

23% (that was the public's approval rating of the Republicans the last time I checked).

So, in your own little world, are ALL those voicing any type of opposition and/or hesitation to the current health bill fundamentally against it? If that's the case, then the 23% Republican approval rating better make you finally move to that shack in the woods, because America is coming and we're pissed.

Seriously Dave, my argument was stupid, but way more intelligent than your own.

"Seriously Dave, my argument was stupid, but way more intelligent than your own."

I did not make an argument. I asked a question.

off topic:

Publius, I am an old fan of your Legal Fiction days. I would be very much interested in any thoughts you have regarding Scalia's recent dissent in a Georgia death penalty case in which he argues that "This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted de-fendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent."

Is this as insane as it sounds?

thanks

Lots of guns showing up at the meetings these days -- automatic weapons too, just in case President Obama and Democratic Congresspeople think they can duck and roll as they attempt to govern.

True, just potential violence and the bullets are still in the chamber of my imagination, as has been explained to me, you know, just a guy there who is thinking he's going to blow a hole in you if you attempt to govern, but you're supposed to wait around for the gunfire to start before you stop governing, but still, at any other venue --- sports, bars, in the car, in church, at school, you name it, I assume the bullets will be used.

I'm curious: isn't the message the following: "We will kill you if you pass healthcare reform."

It makes a body wonder why Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray bothered to hide when they accomplished their citizenship duties. Hell, they could have just sauntered down to the Plaza or into the motel for a better shot.

"I did not make an argument. I asked a question."

You say that as if no one has seen this dodge before, rather than it being a classic rhetorical dodge.

Is it true that you try to avoid taking responsibility for what you imply, d'd'd'dave, by asking a question, rather than making a statement?

Hey, I'm only asking a question. I did not make an argument.

Presumably now all anyone has to do is phrase their comments to d'd'd'dave as questions, and he can't possibly object to anything you ask, because, hey: it's only a question. It's not an argument.

Incidentally, phrasing like the following is an argument:

There are reports that the recent Rasmussen poll indicates that 54% of the public thinks it would be better to do nothing than to make the current congressional reform bill into law. If that number is true, do you think democrat congressmen ought to pay attention to it and jetison the bill? If not, then at what percentage should they pay attention to it?
It's not a simple attempt to gain information: it's a statement of an argument, with a question attached.

But, of course, since to you it's just "a question," and not an argument, we can all now just use this technique with you, and see if you have any objection to it, after all. Isn't that right?

I'm just asking a question.

Grassleys comments matter because they are a reaction to a deep seated distrust of government in our society. That distrust is based on years, at least all of my lifetime, of politicians constantly telling us what the other side is going to do to us.

That is followed by year after year of sensational stories about the latest politician being bribed or corrupt or scandalous. In every case the loyal opposition makes sure that the worst possible spin is put on the failure and generalized as much as possible to reflect badly on the other party.

Then, every time we have an election or debate over major legislation, both sides trot out the campaign funds issue to destroy the other side.

So, eventually, the American public, perfectly reasonably comes to the conclusion that there is no one in Congress (except perhaps, but not always, their Congressman) that can be trusted to do anything in the best interest of the people.

Both of our last two Presidents ran for office as Washington outsiders (rightly or not) and were elected by people who wanted that trust to be restored.

So what happens? The other party sets out from the start to ensure they are not perceived as successful, because winning the next election is more important than gaining the trust of the people for our government.

The Congress is barely more popular than Bush was, why would anyone trust them to make a fundamental change in our society?

That is the battle that, on a bipartisan basis, the Congress should solve first. Then good governing would actually be possible.

Grassleys comments matter because they are a reaction to a deep seated distrust of government in our society.

Hey, you know what? That is, sadly, true.

It's also sadly true that Grassley's comments are a *cause* of a deep seated distrust of government.

It's also sadly true that Grassley's comments are risible horsesh*t, shoveled up to pander to people who have no clue about the substance of what they're discussing, and who have allowed themselves to be whipped into a lather by political hucksters.

Meanwhile we spend roughly twice what any similar country does and 15% of our population has NO health insurance coverage whatsoever. None.

I can understand that folks who have better things to do than reading Congressional legistlation, and who get their news and information from explicitly partisan sources, may well be misinformed.

Chuck Grassley, however, is a god-damned Senator of the United States of America. It is his freaking job to know what is in the legislation, and it is his freaking job to help his constituents understand what's in the legislation.

There is nothing whatsoever in the legislation that empowers the federal government to decide whether your grandmother should be denied medical care.

The section in question, which will no doubt not appear in anything that ever comes to a vote, concerns whether a public health program will pay for individuals to discuss their end-of-life plans with their physician.

In other words, whether it will enable people to make their own intentions and desires clear to their physicians, so that their wishes are honored and carried out.

We're all clear about that, right?

Chuck Grassley is full of sh*t. He's a lying SOB. He is pandering to people's ignorance and fear for political advantage.

I understand that people are nervous about what's going to happen with their health insurance. It's Chuck Grassley's job to help them understand, accurately, the proposals that are on the table, and he is utterly failing in that responsibility.

He's not a regular guy. He has a public responsibility.

The reason people don't trust the government is because of creeps like Grassley.

That's why his words matter.

Mr. Farber

"But, of course, since to you it's just "a question," and not an argument, we can all now just use this technique with you, and see if you have any objection to it, after all. Isn't that right?"

But that is exactly what you did

here "I assume you've always felt this way, which is why when public polling said we should leave Iraq, you were demanding to know why Congress wasn't voting to do this immediately, right?"

here: "You always feel Congress should follow national polls, right?"

and here: "Or just when they happen to agree with you at a given moment in time on a given issue?"

I haven't objected to your questions. And I haven't objected to you trying to answer questions for Publius.

I have one for you now. How is your job search going?

"The reason people don't trust the government is because of creeps like Grassley."

Who number 534, the makeup of the legislative branch, sans Grassley, and the executive branch (2 plus appointees) and in most debates a large number of state and local party faithful. He is just the one today.

Given D3dave/frank's history of commenting and his own knowledge of Gary's personal situation, shouldn't his last question give the mods ample reason to throw the liar out? I put it in the form of a question because that seems to be his dodge du jour.

"Given D3dave/frank's history of commenting and his own knowledge of Gary's personal situation, shouldn't his last question give the mods ample reason to throw the liar out? I put it in the form of a question because that seems to be his dodge du jour."

I agree, no question.

Grassley has been sprinting to the right ever since the religious right seized control of the Iowa Republican Party. Remember, they wouldn't even let him be a delegate at the Republican National Convention, presumably because he was too liberal. He's been running scared ever since, and making less and less sense. He really seems to have had a sort of political mental breakdown. Which leads one to wonder why on earth the Dems would negotiate with him in the first place. He simply cannot vote for ANY health insurance reform and avoid a primary, which he would probably lose. It's not entirely certain he will avoid a primary anyway, and voting with Democrats on any issue will be political suicide for him.

If I declare often enough that D3dave/frank is a liar then some people will believe me. I know I almost believe it.

"If I declare often enough that D3dave/frank is a liar then some people will believe me. I know I almost believe it."

Lying I don't know so much, the last statement crossed my line.

jftr, the 8:09 comment was not mine.

Even though we would like to vote D3dave out of the forum because he doesn't agree with us, I don't think we can do it. We couldn't muster a quorum of eligible voters. Jesurgislac, byrningman, and Liberal Japonicus are not US residents, Publius does not meet the literacy test, and I couldn't afford to pay the poll tax (be sure to visit my blog and donate.) I'm afraid we're stuck with him. We should at least report him as fishy to Obama's brownshirt website.

the 8:09 comment was from Dave. I was actually about to defend you. I think an apology to Gary is in order, but i'm very resistant to booting anyone, esp. conservatives b/c I think criticisms are helpful to keep us all on our toes, to test our arguments, etc.

But taking the identity of a community member is not cool at all.

And so I'd ask for apologies. And then I'll engage your substantive questions above.

But that's a warning on taking identities -- i mean, think if someone did that to you

Needless to say, the 08:44 PM comment is not by me.

Now, Gary, you are showing your good sense of humor. I appreciate that.

Russell, do you have any of those nice words for Congressman John Conyers, who deems it unnecessary to even read legislation prepared by fellow democrats. He finds that notion risible.

I haven't had much time to visit or contribute lately. But one of the reasons I continue to make this my blog destination is the spirited -- not mean-spirited -- nature of discourse and debate.

So put me down with liberal japonicus and Marty as feeling D'd'd'dave crossed the line.

I just don't see the need for personal jabs.

I just don't see the need for personal jabs. It's perfectly acceptable to call D'd'd'dave a liar but it is just going too far to be truthful about Mr Farber's unemployable status.

We can make up any kind of crazy thing to call someone who doesn't agree with us: homophobe, racist, liar, bigot...whatever. I mean, that's a given.

But let one of them even state the truth about one of our weaknesses and it is THE BAN.

Serial impersonation should be enough to justify booting d3-Dave, right?

Publius,

Enough, the 9:11 is certainly not bonzo.

I'm gonna say this and I'm outta here. Gary's first response to d'd'd'dave's question was in a way similar to something I noted a while back that whenever I (or others) make a comment with say 2 points, one significant, the second less so, invariably other commentators will avoid the significant issue and begin debate on the side issue. I can only guess that this is a way to change the subject.

I still believe you have a sense of humor, Gary.

Marty, your 7:04 about elected officials, in general, including democrats, is right on. Another great argument for limited government as envisioned by the founders. Do you think they knew something we don't get?

GOB, although Thomas is down, so I can't quote you a good current example of a federal bill, here is a randomly selected state bill. I challenge you to read through it all, in its entirety, and then get back to us to let us know how long it took you, and then provide a summary of what all its provisions mean, and the implications of them.

That's not, in fact, what we pay Senators and Representatives to do; it's what we pay their aides to do, and provide our elected officials with summaries of. If we didn't do things this way, our elected officials would each have approximately 100,000 hours per seek of negative time.

In other words, the idea that Senators and Representatives are supposed to be reading bills in whole is entirely risable. I don't know what example you're referring to, but anyone who ever attempts to discredit a representative or senator for not "having read the bill" doesn't have a clue as how Congress, or state legislatures, work.

"whenever I (or others) make a comment with say 2 points, one significant, the second less so, invariably other commentators will avoid the significant issue and begin debate on the side issue."

GOB, while what you say does occur, it's not the case in your example. Accepting that current poll numbers dictate a certain approach should mean that one accepts that approach for similar problems. If not, there should be some explanation why the situations are different. When called on it, d3dave dodges and resorts to personal insults. This strikes me not that d3dave introduced some significant point to the discussion but that he was merely trying to disrupt the conversation. The fact that he now impersonates other commentors merely underlines that this is his goal.

Barack Obama has a tail.

He can't prove he doesn't have a tail. If he could prove he doesn't have a tail, why doesn't he?

The Republican assassins showing up at Democratic events know he has a tail, and they intend to take care of the situation.

No one here can do anything about it, whether it's NRA assassins, or the usual run of the mill liberal, because no one can prove Obama doesn't have a tail.

He has a tail.

Discuss it among yourselves, for all the good it's going to do ya. Discuss it with Moe Lane, and Charles Graasley, if you want.


See where it gets you.

You know what happens to people in America who have a tail.

I'm gonna say this and I'm outta here. Gary's first response to d'd'd'dave's question was in a way similar to something I noted a while back that whenever I (or others) make a comment with say 2 points, one significant, the second less so, invariably other commentators will avoid the significant issue and begin debate on the side issue. I can only guess that this is a way to change the subject.

I agree GOB that at times folks seem to disagree with the secondary point or, sometimes, with what they thought you said, or meant.

Sometimes we are all just cranky and disagree. I do it myself. Sometimes it is worth making the point, at risk of what liberal japonicus sometimes warns me will cause a pile on, sometimes not. Sometimes I just ignore Gary for a couple of days because he irritated me.

But if we can't have the dialogue here, with no seat in Senate at stake, with no job or reputation on the line, without resorting to just plain meanness, then how can we hold people who have the actual responsibility to that standard?

Thanks on the 7:04

'GOB, while what you say does occur, it's not the case in your example'

But here.

' In other words, the idea that Senators and Representatives are supposed to be reading bills in whole is entirely risable.'

is an example from Gary in the same spirit. Instead of addressing Conyers' lack of knowledge of what was in the health bill, he tries to indicate that I am maybe stupid by going literal about what I said, as a way of avoiding substantive response.

"Instead of addressing Conyers' lack of knowledge of what was in the health bill"

I have no idea what you're talking about here. Perhaps you could give a cite to some news story, to explain what it is you're referring to? That would help me respond to it, if you'd like me to respond to --- whatever it is you have in mind, that I can't know, not being a mind-reader, and which if you've previously explained or linked to, I've missed. Sorry.

"Instead of addressing Conyers' lack of knowledge of what was in the health bill, he tries to indicate that I am maybe stupid by going literal about what I said, "

He can be irritating, but he does try to hold himself to a standard of precision in what he writes that makes it tolerable. I have no context for the Conyers comment but if he said he didn't need to know the details I would agree with you.

Gary,

I also will take your complete 9:40 as a validation of the virtue and wisdom of limited government. If our representatives in Washington would stop thinking they have a solution for every difficulty ever faced by mankind, they might be able actually to know and understand for what they are voting when they approve our defense expenditures. I know you would support them understanding what those votes mean.

The site's misbehaviors have driven Mr. Thullen right out of his mind.

"The site's misbehaviors have driven Mr. Thullen right out of his mind."

I have grave doubts as to whether that was John.

Scalia's recent dissent in a Georgia death penalty case...

Yes, OT, but I was wondering the same thing. I can't say what *I* think of Scalia and stay on the sunny side of posting rules...

USA Today notes that even forcing legislators to read the health care legislation in the House probably wouldn’t do much good. The bill is so bogged down with bureaucrat-eze, few of them are likely to understand it.

Take the opening lines of one of the bill’s most controversial sections, the one about voluntary “end of life” counseling:

SEC. 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION. (a) Medicare. — (1) IN GENERAL. — Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is amended — (A) in subsection (s)(2) — (i) by striking ‘and’ at the end of subparagraph (DD); (ii) by adding ‘and’ at the end of subparagraph (EE); and (iii) adding at the end the following new subparagraph: ‘(FF) advance care planning consultation (as defined in subsection (hhh)(1) … “

Complex bills like these are generally written with heavy input from the lobbyists and interest groups who have so much at stake in them. The public doesn’t find out exactly what the implication of striking “and” from subparapraph (DD) might be until the bill has already been implemented.
[...]

Why “Reading the Bill” Won’t Matter

GoodOleBoy and Marty,

Just out of curiosity, do you think that the CEO of, say, IBM, must read every single detailed report produced by their subordinates' subordinates, in full? I don't think so. I'm fairly certain that large corporations could not function if the CEO had to read review all business decisions in detail rather than delegating to subordinates. Do you agree?

Specialization and delegation are how we make large enterprises work. If you insist that we cannot use those tools in Congress, that's fine, but that's really equivalent to saying that you want an almost powerless federal government. I can't understand how we could have a military in such a world since Congress would lack the institutional capability to effectively oversee military procurement among many other things.

Just to clarify, I'm trying to determine whether you guys are opposed to specialization and delegation in all organizations or just Congress and if it is just Congress, what is the basis of your objection?

"I also will take your complete 9:40 as a validation of the virtue and wisdom of limited government. If our representatives in Washington would stop thinking they have a solution for every difficulty ever faced by mankind, they might be able actually to know and understand for what they are voting when they approve our defense expenditures. I know you would support them understanding what those votes mean."

I'm not following how my citation of a Wisconsin State legislature bill demonstrates anything at all about either the federal legislature, or our defense expenditures.

Please do explain.

My point was that laws are complicated, which has precisely nothing to do with whether we're talking about the state or national level; in both cases, laws are long and complicated and written in lawyerly language, because if they weren't, they'd be far vaguer then they are, even more misunderstood, and more subject to interpretation by courts.

Meanwhile, any chance you might want to link to whatever it is you have in mind in regard to John Conyers, so that we might discuss it, or do I need to research it for myself? (I'm actually expecting to be going to bed early tonight, but who knows?)

USA Today notes that even forcing legislators to read the health care legislation in the House probably wouldn’t do much good. The bill is so bogged down with bureaucrat-eze, few of them are likely to understand it


In my experience this process is similar to most contract negotiation. The principals get together, agree on the terms (hopefully with their lawyers in the room), the lawyers go away and craft the contract. As the contract itself is negotiated the lawyer sits with the principal and explains what the changes mean to the original deal, or the lawyer added protections.

Common practice, probably less predictable results based on the number of principals involved and the fact that most are lawyers in the first place. :)

"Just out of curiosity, do you think that the CEO of, say, IBM, must read every single detailed report produced by their subordinates' subordinates, in full? I don't think so. I'm fairly certain that large corporations could not function if the CEO had to read review all business decisions in detail rather than delegating to subordinates. Do you agree?"

Missed this before my last post. In context of my last post, I believe that major pieces of legislation require the principals (Congressmen) to sit with their lawyers/aides and understand how the language of the bill matches what they agreed to. Lots of day to day legislation is simply that, the daily work of the aides in Congress.

"My point was that laws are complicated, which has precisely nothing to do with whether we're talking about the state or national level; in both cases, laws are long and complicated and written in lawyerly language, because if they weren't, they'd be far vaguer then they are, even more misunderstood, and more subject to interpretation by courts. "

On the other hand...

Too many laws, too many lawyers--that's the necessary consequence of a complex society, or so conventional wisdom has it. Countless pundits insist that any call for legal simplification smacks of nostalgia, sentimentality, or naiveté. But the conventional view, the noted legal scholar Richard Epstein tells us, has it exactly backward. The richer texture of modern society allows for more individual freedom and choice. And it allows us to organize a comprehensive legal order capable of meeting the technological and social challenges of today on the basis of just six core principles. In this book, Epstein demonstrates how.
[...]

Simple Rules for a Complex World

Yes, that was me.

But, as with President's Obama's tail, I've no way to prove or disprove it.

If guys with guns proclaim that I didn't write that comment, then by God that's the way it's going to be, regardless of my efforts or good will or bipartisanship.

Armed force wins the day and determines the truth in America.

Glad to get your perspective John. However if you could control the pens they are mightier than the sword, or guns, so I hear.

Dave - I've decided to ban you for 48 hours. I'll lift it after that. To be perfectly clear, I'm not doing for any political disagreement -- indeed, that was the reason I resisted doing it, b/c I want criticisms, etc.

But, I flatly warned you about imitating people here. It completely undermines the discussion, and the integrity of the thread.

Others -- please let me know if people are writing comments under your name.

I'll lift it and then hopefully I won't have to do it again.

I appreciate all the above confirmations on the unlimited value of limited government. I think any elected representative should be ashamed to confirm having voted for any legislation where the essential elements were beyond their understanding. Government is complex because it benefits those who govern to make it so. This complexity is not a partisan issue.

'Just to clarify, I'm trying to determine whether you guys are opposed to specialization and delegation in all organizations or just Congress and if it is just Congress, what is the basis of your objection?'

Fact is, I was a senior line executive with several thousand subordinates in a nationwide operation. I do understand specialization and delegation, but this never meant I could be unaccountable for anything that went on in the organization I was responsible for. These elected officials may delegate drafting language to the lawyers but they are responsible for the results.

It would be nice to field a respectable challenger for Grasseley so he doesn't get too crazy. It's not like Obama didn't carry the state by double digits.

I think any elected representative should be ashamed to confirm having voted for any legislation where the essential elements were beyond their understanding.

Has any representative done such a thing?

These elected officials may delegate drafting language to the lawyers but they are responsible for the results.

Has anyone suggested that they're not?

'My point was that laws are complicated, which has precisely nothing to do with whether we're talking about the state or national level; in both cases, laws are long and complicated and written in lawyerly language, because if they weren't, they'd be far vaguer then they are, even more misunderstood, and more subject to interpretation by courts.'

And my point was that if laws are so complicated, perhaps that is an argument to limit the number of issues a given group of individuals oversees. We used to have a way to accomplish this before the federal government decided it could handle almost everything. The spirits of this site, the progressives of the late 18th and early 19th centuries paved the way with their influence on the adoption of the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution.

'Has any representative done such a thing?'

'Has anyone suggested that they're not?'

My comments were in response to Gary's lament about how complicated legislation is and to Turbulence's request for clarification of my view on specialization and delegation and attendant accountability.

I think the answers to your questions are yes and yes but I haven't done the research because that was not where I was going with my response to Gary and Turbulence.


I think any elected representative should be ashamed to confirm having voted for any legislation where the essential elements were beyond their understanding.

Then we probably shouldn't let Michelle Bachmann and James Inhofe, among others, vote at all.

But those two are the living proof that unworthies can get to the top even absent affirmative action ;-)
And Bachmann even accused the media of writing a hit piece on her and her son for praising her son's good upbringing (a deadly insult in her circles it seems).

That is the battle that, on a bipartisan basis, the Congress should solve first. Then good governing would actually be possible.

Oh, please. Was it a Democrat who solemnly pronounced that "government IS the problem"? If people have a visceral mistrust of government it's because one side of the aisle has been consciously and deliberately stoking that mistrust for 30 years. "Bipartisan" my ass.

"I'm curious: isn't the message the following: "We will kill you if you pass healthcare reform.""

Ah, no, I think it's something more along the lines of, "If goons show up to shut us up, they'll regret it." Or, in some cases, "I carry everywhere I go as a matter of principle, and I'm not making an exception here just because it makes you nervous."

And, of course, sometimes a gun is just a gun, not a message, and the person carrying it isn't trying to tell you anything. They're just trying to remain prepared should a situation come up where a gun is required.

Keep in mind that something like 1% of the population does go around armed. There will be people with guns at just about any large gathering, without any messages being required.

Remind me to bring my bazooka next time in case the thugs come with body armor to neutralize my usual(semi-automatic) assault rifle. Am my message is in my sign saying "Once it was called the 'Final Solution'" not in my making use of my 2nd amendment rights.
Btw, is it only in Hollywood movies of the Old West that town hall events have signs saying 'leave your guns outside' (or some equivalent) or is that based on true events from before the changing of the Waynes?

I don't know, Brett, I think those guys were carrying guns because their wives and girlfriends prefer cigars and an insufficiency in one area can be equalized by sufficiency elsewhere.

Jesurgislac, byrningman, and Liberal Japonicus are not US residents

Am I that un-memorable?

*flounces*

Late to the thread, and the other party is on enforced "vacation", but it seems a point worth making on the off chance he reads it and actually wants to argue in better faith in the future.

There are reports that the recent Rasmussen poll indicates that 54% of the public thinks it would be better to do nothing than to make the current congressional reform bill into law. If that number is true, do you think democrat congressmen ought to pay attention to it and jetison the bill? If not, then at what percentage should they pay attention to it?

[...]

No. I feel like they should be responsive to the constituents in their district.

But my comment was not an expression of my opinion. It was a question for Publius.

[...]

I did not make an argument. I asked a question.

I shall suspend my disbelief and assume for a moment all the above was written in good faith. As was pointed out, this is a rhetorical ploy. Specifically, it is a loaded question. The "questioner" takes for granted that their question's target must "govern to the polls"; this is made glaringly evident by the second question ("at what percentage"). An argument has not been made so much as it has been assumed; observers have every reason to conclude the questioner supports (or at the very least is arguing for) the notion that politicians should change their stances according to shifts in public opinion polls. The question is structured in such a way as to force its target to accept this premise; to do otherwise requires them to assume bad faith on the part of their questioner. To claim that this is not an argument for the premise's acceptance strains credulity to the point of breaking, and very possibly beyond.

A question, to drive the point home: do you think we should impose a marginal tax rate of 50% on income over $250k? And if not, how much higher should the rate be?

'Oh, please. Was it a Democrat who solemnly pronounced that "government IS the problem"? If people have a visceral mistrust of government it's because one side of the aisle has been consciously and deliberately stoking that mistrust for 30 years.'


He was a democrat until he couldn't take it anymore. Thirty years ago was not the first time anyone said government was the problem. How did the concept of limited government arise at the founding?

The whole discussion on guns is just more of the same. I just left Arizona and I'm in Utah now. Guns everywhere. In all my time out here I have yet to see any human being shoot another. Of course, if I hung out in Phoenix or Salt Lake City long enough, I probably would see it, since it is in the cities where individuals acquire this quaint notion that they have a right to control others (and somehow they also get the idea that a weapon is a way to do that). Mostly those I meet here just leave others alone and the fact that many here carry guns does not seem to distress their neighbors.

Most of the disputes in these musings are similar. The control freaks want to tell those who are not into that how to live their lives. This is accomplished through government, hence the negative view within the community of those who do not accept this kind of dictatorship.

Re Conyers: There's a video going around the rightwing blogs (e.g., here) of a speech at the National Press Club where Conyers makes essentially the same point Gary made at 10:54 about "reading the bill."

There was also a column in the Culpepper (VA) Star-Exponent in which the columnist argued that Conyers must not know what's in the bill because he didn't realize it actually abolishes private insurance. Which it doesn't, but apparently not buying the rightwing BS about this bill now makes you ignorant.

Conyers has been sponsoring single-payer legislation for many years. Not only do I think he would know whether this bill leads immediately to single-payer, he's probably one of the people in Congress I would trust the most to know what's in a House-passed healthcare reform bill, whether he's personally read every page of it or not.

Well, I was kind of hoping that Brett might be right about guns at Arizona public forums having no message (other than the message that wearing one's weapon UNDERNEATH one's trousers interferes with the complicated undercarriage of crotchless panties and garter belts these dickless wonders walk around in {not that there is anything wrong with that}), but I may be wrong.

TPM has YouTube footage of the message, which has the usual boring "armed resistance to taxes are theft, blah, blah blah blahblah" rhetoric.

Still, I think our Congresspeople and President are safe, because obviously these guys do pay taxes of one kind or another (gasoline to get to the event and to burn Jews afterwards) and haven't plugged anyone yet -- and we need to keep our heads about us and realize that real men in America use trucks full of fertilizer as message-delivery systems.

Also, I'm proud that a black man (see the video) in America can aspire to and achieve the same depths of dumbassedness as his white trash brethren and stand shoulder to shoulder as an equal in defense of the left (read: right) side of the Libertarian/Republican Bell Curve.

On another forum someone brought the counterargument that someone with an explosive belt would also be considered non-threatening, if one follwed that logic.
The answer was that Muslims unlike true Americans are by definition threatening and that therefore it would be apples and oranges (wouldn't pomegranates be more apt here?) ;-)

The control freaks want to tell those who are not into that how to live their lives. This is accomplished through government, hence the negative view within the community of those who do not accept this kind of dictatorship.

Yessir. "Live and let live." That's today's Republican Party in a nutshell.

Oh, and I'm still trying to decide whether, in my perfect universe, John Thullen would be poet laureate or host of his own cable news show. Or why not both?

'Yessir. "Live and let live." That's today's Republican Party in a nutshell.'

Why do you mention the Republican Party in connection with a portion of my comment?

"'Oh, please. Was it a Democrat who solemnly pronounced that "government IS the problem"? If people have a visceral mistrust of government it's because one side of the aisle has been consciously and deliberately stoking that mistrust for 30 years.'"

In the nicest way I can, this is just not true. I will quoute myself from other posts, as long as i can remember the standard is:

There are excellent fact and opinion blog entries, with a measured mix of those two things. The subsequent conversation goes immediately to partisan lines and then ultimately to two views:

1) Republicans (conservatives) lie and don’t care about anyone and want to keep everything for the rich

2) Democrats (liberals) are not so secret socialists who want to give everything to everybody except the rich and have the rich pay for it

Some permutation of that is employed generically in every discussion, campaign,and debate, no one is blameless in this mutual endeavor.

Various comments:

It's plainly untrue that all members of Congress, the entire executive, and whatever other parts of government you care to name are corrupt and/or liars. Many are honest, responsible public servants.

If you truly do believe that there is not a single member of the government who can be trusted to act in the public interest, I don't understand why you don't just move somewhere else.

What Grassley would have us believe is that, if government is allowed to be involved in either providing insurance for health care, or for providing health care itself, it will inexorably result in unaccountable panels of state apparatchiks deciding whether or not your very own granny will be allowed to live or not.

As Senator Grassley no doubt knows, millions of older Americans are currently covered by public health insurance. It's called Medicare. To my knowledge, under Medicare soulless bureaucrats do not roam the hospital halls deciding whether to pull the plug on granny or not.

It's a decision that's made by patients, their doctors, and their families, which is as it should be. I been through it, it sucked, but the government agencies that were paying for the care had nothing to do with it.

Maybe it's different in Texas, but that's a special place. And nobody will force you to live there.

CharlesWT, it is not at all unusal for legislation to consist of piecemeal adjustments and modifications to other, pre-existing legislation. Yes, it's a PITA to sit with a copy of the US Code and sort out what the changes mean. But as Gary and others have pointed out, we pay a small army of Congressional aides to do exactly that.

Quite often their findings are published for general consumption by members of Congress in the form of CRS reports. Quite a number of those are also available for public consumption at OpenCRS and other places.

There's absolutely no reason for any member of Congress to not understand what is in any piece of legislation. Whether they've read through the text or not.

Good Ole Boy, when you say "founder" do you mean Jefferson or Hamilton?

I am in full support of Dave's temporary banning. I'd like to respectfully suggest that posting under another commenter's well known name be added to the posting rules as a bannable offense.

Last but not least, I got no problem with people owning guns, or carrying them if they are licensed to do so. But I can't think of any good reason that anyone would need to bring one to a Congressional town hall meeting in this country. And I also think it's disingenuous to consider it "the other guy's problem" if folks are uncomfortable with the idea that other folks in their midst are armed.

Some permutation of that is employed generically in every discussion, campaign,and debate, no one is blameless in this mutual endeavor.

I agree that each side in the political debate denigrates the other.

What I do not agree with is that both sides present government as a fundamentally untrustworthy and predatory institution.

That stuff comes pretty much exclusively from one side.

For the benefit of our good friends like Brett Bellmore and Good Ole Boy, I quote a passage from Don Corleone's speech to the Mafia Dons with whom he has just negotiated peace, in part to ensure that his son Michael can safely return from hiding in Sicily:

But let me say this. I am a superstitious man, a ridiculous failing but I must confess it here. And so if some unlucky accident should befall my youngest son, if some police officer should accidentally shoot him, if he should hang himself in his cell, if new witnesses should appear to testify to his guilt, my superstition will make me feel that it was the result of the ill will still borne me by some people here. Let me go further. If my son is struck by a bolt of lightning, I will blame some of the people here. If his plane should fall into the sea, or his ship sink beneath the waves of the ocean, if he should catch a mortal fever, if his automobile should be struck by a train, such is my superstition that I would blame the ill will felt by people here. Gentlemen, that ill will, that bad luck, I could never forgive. But aside from that let me swear by the souls of my grandchildren that I will never break the peace we have made.
Brett and GOB, in siding with, and defending the rights of, your gun-toting paisans you are putting yourselves in the position of Don Barzini and Don Tattaglia: you are taking on responsibility for the safety of young Don Obama. That's the price, if you want a peace in which to enjoy your 2nd Amendment rights.

The gun toters are on your side, not mine. If one of them should go so far as to take a pot shot at Obama, or Pelosi, or the lowliest freshman Congressman, I will attribute that misfortune to YOUR ill will. I will not forgive YOU.

Aside from that, I swear on the souls of my grandchildren that I will never break the peace our Framers made in 1787, and you can keep your goddamned guns for all I care.

--TP

"The gun toters are on your side, not mine. If one of them should go so far as to take a pot shot at Obama, or Pelosi, or the lowliest freshman Congressman, I will attribute that misfortune to YOUR ill will. I will not forgive YOU."

Sorry TP but in Texas and Arizona, both places I am familiar with, party affiliation is not the determinant of who owns or even wears a gun. It is a pretty bipartisan activity.

Sorry TP but in Texas and Arizona, both places I am familiar with, party affiliation is not the determinant of who owns or even wears a gun. It is a pretty bipartisan activity.

True, but owning or carrying a gun while taking a shot at a Democratic party member (Obama, Pelosi, some random Congressman) does correlate very highly with party affiliation. I mean, Obama supporters generally do not wish to shoot Obama.

Having said that, I don't intend to hold you responsible for anything you didn't do, no matter what happens.

Marty, are you telling me that pro-health-reform gun toters have been showing up at town meetings in Texas and Arizona?

--TP

"True, but owning or carrying a gun while taking a shot at a Democratic party member (Obama, Pelosi, some random Congressman) does correlate very highly with party affiliation. I mean, Obama supporters generally do not wish to shoot Obama.

Having said that, I don't intend to hold you responsible for anything you didn't do, no matter what happens."

Thanks Turb since I don't own a gun and didn't even allow my children to own a toy gun while growing up. Guns are a right that should not be taken lightly and should be owned for legal purposes. They are also a substitute for feeling a lack of empowerment for way to many. Yet we continue to glorify them in movies etc.

My least favorite quote from a movie lately was from some movie where the cops said: "Most people respect the badge, everyone respects the gun."

Not really, fear and respect are different.

"Marty, are you telling me that pro-health-reform gun toters have been showing up at town meetings in Texas and Arizona?"

I wasn't there, but my guess would be sure they have, and any use of a gun could have touched off the OK Corral.

Actually, I'm with Tony P.

I know lots of folks with guns. All of my brothers in law have gun collections, and one in particular can cite muzzle velocities for many common makes of handgun from memory.

All good. Whatever floats your boat.

The problem is when folks starting shooting other folks as a way to express their political preferences.

When folks with guns organize themselves into a movement that is openly hostile to what the rest of us recognize as legitimate government, engage in military training outside of the discipline of a military chain of command, and generally make a great big point of the fact that they're heavily armed and perfectly happy to use what they got, it gets my attention.

Lots of folks of all kinds own guns. Fewer, but still lots, of folks of all kinds carry a personal weapon.

The folks that actually shoot other folks as a political statement, however, are birds of a feather. These days, anyway.

"The folks that actually shoot other folks as a political statement, however, are [...]"

Are, so far as I know, since James Brady was shot (Reagan being shot at by Hinckley) nonexistent and that was a seriouslt deranged guy with no political motivation.


You need to get out more.

Nonexistent except for this guy. And also this one. And that's just this year.

Ah, no, I think it's something more along the lines of, "If goons show up to shut us up, they'll regret it."

What world do you live in that this could be considered a rational response? First, I seem to have missed the reports of pro-reform goon squads showing up to disrupt peaceful protests. Are these goon squads just notional, or is there some concrete reason to believe they exist?

Second, even if I were to grant that they exist, what possible threat could they represent that would be best answered by an armed response? You say that "[t]hey're just trying to remain prepared should a situation come up where a gun is required." Could you perhaps outline for us what such a situation would look like? A gun is good for little other than firing a high-velocity projectile, so a situation where a gun is required is one in which you might have to shoot someone, isn't it? So what exactly is it that these potential goons might potentially do that would require shooting them?

I'm hardly an anti-gun extremist, but I do believe that it's extremely stupid and dangerous to go about armed unless you are prepared to actually use your weapon. So these people either are prepared to shoot someone, in which case I simply don't understand the threat which would justify such an action; or they're toting their guns about as an implicit threat, which is incredibly irresponsible. And if you want to claim that they just go about armed as a matter of course, please direct me to the reports of people open-carrying at Bush events, because I must have missed those too.

Marty, thanks for your "guess". It's as good as mine, though different.

Maybe pro-health-reform Texans and Arizonans have been packing heat at town hall meetings, but simply have not made a big fuss about it. If so, I would quote another movie line to you: "Ze point of ze Doomsday Machine iss lost, if you keep it a secret!"

The anti-reform "conservatives" who "want their country back" and display their guns at public meetings to illustrate the fervor of their opposition are saying "We have a Doomsday Machine". They're on your side of the debate.

Any pistol-packing libruls who are carrying concealed guns to town hall meetings, even if such people exist, are NOT trying to influence the debate by sowing fear or arousing anger. They're on my side of the debate.

Now, I am willing to ask people on MY side to leave their secret Doomsday Machines at home, when they go out to public meetings, for the simple reason that I want to AVOID an "OK Corral" situation.

Are YOU willing to ask the people on YOUR side to leave their Doomsday Machines at home, for the same reason?

I'm not asking you to take responsibility if somebody on your side of the debate gets exhuberant with his 2nd-Amendment-protected gun. I'm telling you that I will consider you partly responsible if one of them does -- because it's YOU, and not I, who stands any chance of talking them down before the fact.

--TP

sorry, my reply was probably overly sarcastic.

For example:

George Tiller, shot dead by Scott Roeder, anti-abortion activist and former Freeman.

Stephen Tyrone Johns, shot dead by James W von Brunn, lifelong anti-Semite wacko and occasional anti-Obama birther.

Eric Kelly, Paul Sciullo, and Stephen Mayhle, three Pittsburgh cops, shot dead by Richard Poplawski, who thought Obama was coming after his guns.

Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger, shot dead by Jim D Adkisson, who just freaking hated liberals and thought they were the reason his miserable life was so crappy.

That's this year.

And I'm leaving out the three armed white supremacist meth-heads who were headed to Denver for Obama's nomination speech.

I think you get my drift.

1) Republicans (conservatives) lie and don’t care about anyone and want to keep everything for the rich

[...]

Some permutation of that is employed generically in every discussion, campaign,and debate, no one is blameless in this mutual endeavor.

I'd like a cite to a comment in which I've written this, Marty, or something close to it, since you say no one is blameless. Prove it, please.

Or apologize, and withdraw your claim, if you can't back up your slander. Thanks.

Note: "lots of people do this" is a different claim than "no one is blameless."

"My least favorite quote from a movie lately was from some movie where the cops said: 'Most people respect the badge, everyone respects the gun.'"

Another movie quote:

Dobbs: 'If you're the police where are your badges?'
Gold Hat: 'Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!'
Non-movie quote:
"The folks that actually shoot other folks as a political statement, however, are [...]"

Are, so far as I know, since James Brady was shot (Reagan being shot at by Hinckley) nonexistent and that was a seriouslt deranged guy with no political motivation.

Political motivation:
[...] In the U.S., violence directed toward abortion providers has killed at least nine people, including five doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort.[5]

* March 10, 1993: Dr. David Gunn of Pensacola, Florida was fatally shot during a protest. He had been the subject of wanted-style posters distributed by Operation Rescue in the summer of 1992. Michael F. Griffin was found guilty of Dr. Gunn's murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
* July 29, 1994: Dr. John Britton and James Barrett, a clinic escort, were both shot to death outside of another facility in Pensacola. Rev. Paul Jennings Hill was charged with the killings, received a death sentence, and was executed September 3, 2003.
* December 30, 1994: Two receptionists, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, were killed in two clinic attacks in Brookline, Massachusetts.

[...]

* January 29, 1998: Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer who worked as a security guard at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, was killed when his workplace was bombed. Eric Robert Rudolph, who was also responsible for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, was charged with the crime and received two life sentences as a result.
* October 23, 1998: Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot to death at his home in Amherst, New York. His was the last in a series of similar shootings against providers in Canada and northern New York state which were all likely committed by James Kopp. Kopp was convicted of Dr. Slepian's murder after finally being apprehended in France in 2001.
* May 31, 2009: Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed as he served as an usher at his church in Wichita, Kansas.[7]

Another doctor, George Patterson, was shot and killed in Mobile, Alabama on August 21, 1993, but it is uncertain whether his death was the direct result of his profession or rather a robbery.[8]

Attempted murder, assault, and threats

According to statistics gathered by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization of abortion providers, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers.

[...]

According to NAF, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, property crimes committed against abortion providers have included 41 bombings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1630 incidents of trespassing, 1264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with butyric acid ("stink bombs").[9]

Brett: "Ah, no, I think it's something more along the lines of, 'If goons show up to shut us up, they'll regret it.'"

We recently discussed a case of "intimidation" where it was an accusation that some guy standing near a polling place with a billy club was a major civil rights violation, and the mere fact that he was standing there, with a club, constituted a crime, and the Obama administration was suppressing prosecution of this "intimidation."

See here; I wonder if Brett thinks it's okay to stand around a polling place with a gun, or if that's different than standing around a political rally or meeting with one. It's a sincere question as to where Brett might draw lines. Brett, do you have any list of places where you believe it should be illegal to carry, or the right to carry (outside private property, that is), unlimited, in your view?

I'm worried for innocent bystanders....or someone insulting the gun owner's special privilege in our society.

"And, of course, sometimes a gun is just a gun, not a message, and the person carrying it isn't trying to tell you anything. They're just trying to remain prepared should a situation come up where a gun is required."

Brett: As someone who has never owned or fired a gun, I would appreciate some insight. Do you think some of these folks coming to town meetings with guns strapped to their sides, in full view for the TV cameras, are sending a message? If so, what message?

If not, why would a person feel threatened and, therefore, in need of a gun at a town hall meeting?

From what I've seen, all points of view are being heard at these meetings. Isn't that the point of a public square?

If the idea is to come prepared, as you suggest, are these gun-toting citizens anticipating trouble? I guess I want to know what would make using those guns necessary.

As a peace-loving lefty, I need more insight.

Mebbe, just mebbe, these guys are hunters and they expect a big fat tom turkey to saunter across the dias or in the street in front of the hall.

I watch the hunting channel occasionally and I notice that beefy guys in fatigues hide in the brush and whisper about the turkeys strutting about in the clearing, the latter of whom may or may not be discussing among themselves the threat of Thanksgiving death panels.

There doesn't seem to be message there either, or at least if there is a message, the dead turkeys on next week's show never seem to get it in time.

By the way, I've nothing against hunting turkeys with firearms, even at political events, though I hate it when my roasted and stuffed Democratic Congresswoman is riddled with buckshot.

Just saw the video of the guy with the AR-15 at the Obama rally in Phoenix.

What I want to point out is that, during the entire time this guy was being interviewed, he had basically zero control over the weapon. It was hanging, muzzle down, on his back from a shoulder strap. He had one hand on the strap and the other hand not touching the gun at all.

What that f**king thing loaded?

The NRA rules for safe gun handling are:

1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction
2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
3. Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it

I'll give him one point for not having his trigger on the finger. Unfortunately, anyone else in the crowd could have put theirs on it.

I also loved his little story about how, if the majority wants to take his money and buy stuff he doesn't agree with, he reserves the right to fight back, presumably with the AR-15.

Who does he plan to shoot? A Medicare administrator? Some accountant down at the IRS office? Granny's doctor?

What a freaking hero.

Move to Somalia, dude.

if the majority wants to take his money and buy stuff he doesn't agree with, he reserves the right to fight back

i'd like to reserve the right to prevent assholes like that from making use of anything that is or was built, maintained, or protected using taxpayer dollars.

. . . it is in the cities where individuals acquire this quaint notion that they have a right to control others (and somehow they also get the idea that a weapon is a way to do that) . . .
Most of the disputes in these musings are similar. The control freaks want to tell those who are not into that how to live their lives.

Uh huh. GOB, can you tell me the provenance of the laws regarding in which manner and via what combinations of genitals and orifices people are permitted to have sexual intercourse with each other? Did those come from "the cities?"

How about the laws regarding which genders are permitted to marry each other? Did those come from "the cities?"

Same question for the laws regarding whether homosexual couples, or single homosexual men and women, are permitted to adopt children. Those, I suppose, came from "the cities?"

Out in "the country" (assuming that's the opposite of "the cities") people just leave each other alone, right?

"Uh huh. GOB, can you tell me the provenance of the laws regarding in which manner and via what combinations of genitals and orifices people are permitted to have sexual intercourse with each other?"

Or, as just discussed in another thread, with yourself, or selling such a dread item.

Those too.

And I guess it was "the cities" who had the signs up in the pre-Civil Rights era that said, "Nigger, Don't Let The Sun Set On YOU In __________."

And was it "the cities" who used to turn lynchings into fun events for the whole family?.

"The cities" must also have been responsible for the anti-miscegenation laws that preceded Loving v. Virgina.

Wanna lecture us all some more about all the "control freaks" in "the cities," GOB?

Back in February, 2006, Phil, I wrote this about Sundown Towns, incidentally.

I conclude with a funnier anecdote than Wikipedia does.

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