Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Researching the Second Amendment

Was the second amendment intended to secure individual gun ownership rights? I decided to look into the issue myself instead of reading the viewpoints of others since they could be shading the evidence. I read the most relevant Federalist paper. 

I read some original state constitutions, several of which are explicit in guaranteeing private ownership rights. Here's a selection:

Pennsylvania: § 21.  Right to bear arms. The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

Ohio: The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Georgia: Paragraph VIII. Arms, right to keep and bear. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.

Virginia: Section 13. Militia; standing armies; military subordinate to civil power. That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

I read about the House discussion on the draft amendment. It contains a great deal of original info, but its viewpoint seems like it might be skewed in its emphasis on the Quaker issue. Here's a long article on early gun laws because that can show what they considered acceptable way back then. Yes, there were restrictions on crazy people. 

My current guess as of late summer of 2023? (Yes, there was a long delay in publishing this.) The second amendment is mostly about militias, and how every state could and should have one, and they are to be militias of the populace at large. As for limitations on gun rights, that was like many issues--up to the individual state to decide. 

Image: American Rifleman

Extras. Massachusetts gun rights discussion.

Monday, March 25, 2024

RFK Jr. is an anti-science, anti-vax nutcase.

This disqualifies him from being the US president. I don't have much interest in discussing pros and cons because the cons are very bad. 

This is how bad it is. Kennedy has knowingly lied when it comes to quoting scientists. He has ignored scientific evidence. He has pretended he isn't ignoring evidence. He is a zealot who hasn't stopped even when it has cost dozens of lives. That's behavior that I can't ignore, and there is no way I would support him. 

Here is the worst case I've read:

Kennedy also played a part in one of the worst measles outbreaks in recent memory. In 2018, two infants in American Samoa died when nurses accidentally prepared the combined measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine with expired muscle relaxant rather than water. The Samoan government temporarily suspended the vaccination program, and anti-vaccine advocates — including Kennedy and his nonprofit — flooded the area with misinformation. The vaccination rate dropped to a dangerously low level. The next year, when a traveler brought measles to the islands, the disease tore through the population, sickening more than 5,700 people and killing 83, most of them young children.--FactCheck.org

Here's a longer listing of Kennedy's lies and misinformation, but I didn't need to read it. I was already so disgusted. 

Image: The Unbiased science podcast

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Long delayed Afghanistan post

The US had a rushed, somewhat chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Afghanistan government and military collapsed. Not the first time the US has been in this position, and it wasn't as bad as Vietnam. Maybe I'm making excuses for my country, but we deserve some credit for trying and also some credit for admitting failure. 

It's back in the news 2.5 years later, perhaps because of the elections this fall. NO, of course because of the elections this fall. 

I don't know how badly Biden fucked up the withdrawal. My guess is that most of the nastiness was already baked into the cake. That includes Afghan allies running alongside planes. That includes some deaths of Afghans and Americans, people left behind, equipment left behind, and the other mess that comes with a messy withdrawal. 

This article from September 2021 explains that Biden didn't have much choice. The Taliban wanted the US out, and it wasn't going to allow 2500 American troops to stay. 

The mythical 2500 troops that the US could have kept came up again in the political theatre this month too. The military are still pretending we coulda, woulda, shoulda. In this case, we should have kept enough troops to continue securing Bagram airbase. No, I'm not buying that the Taliban would have allowed it. 

I'll also repeat (or maybe state for the first time here) that Trump didn't have a plan. His exit probably would have been as chaotic or worse. His high aide, Stephen Miller, didn't want any Afghan allies settled in the US, and wasn't making any solid plans for them. So Trump crowing that he would have done better is all bullshit. 

Image: NPR

Steve Baker, citizen journalist at 1/6, and his crazy theories

Many conservatives are deeply embarrassed by what happened on January 6. They are right to be embarrassed because it was an attempted coup by mob action which luckily failed completely. However they aren't ready to do the soul searching. Instead they are searching for scapegoats, and are looking almost exclusively outside the conservative movement. It's more circle the wagons than circular firing squad or clean house. 

Steve Baker is a conservative independent journalist. It makes sense that he went to DC on Jan. 6, that he walked to the Capitol, and also followed the rioters in to document the historic event. I applaud the journalists who went there. 

Some of his ideas though are shit. He thinks that the police should have fired on protesters: 

... to some of you this will not be a popular statement — only one officer actually did his job on the 6th. The officer who shot Ashli Babbitt. 

They didn't fire, and that indicates that the fix was in. The demonstrators were allowed to run riot by those 'up the chain' who hoped to score a public relations victory from making MAGA folks and all GOPers look bad. 

It's just so cute to blame the people who let you make a complete fool of yourself, as though they have a duty to stop you from showing who you are. I don't think they have that duty in the political arena. Their duty is to present their case and let you present yours. Their duty is to have good faith discussions. Their duty is not to be underhanded, use illegal or unethical tactics. I don't even expect 100% honesty from them because 100% honesty is often punished in elections. Frankly, if the opposition wants to be foolish, that's their free choice. 

He contends that they knew how violent the protests would be and didn't exercise their ability to stop it:

I know they knew what potential existed and that they carefully orchestrated, by command-and-control actions, each step of the events that transpired. National Guard presence was not wanted on-site, too early, to not scare off the militant groups and thwart their intentions. Once it was determined the militant factions would not use overtly deadly force, (firearms), they were gradually allowed access to the Capitol grounds, steps, and then the building... The presence of riot-geared photographers, with press badges — already on site long before the conclusion of Trump’s speech — was a dead giveaway that "up the chain" officials both knew and had tipped off the media about what was to come. (Same link.)

Well, I don't agree that photographers ready for a riot was a clear indication that The Powers That Be hoped for a riot and planned for it. Instead it was simply paying attention to the general trends in rallies in the previous weeks. As I've written, I thought there would be many people attending with a high likelihood of skirmishes with counterprotesters and/or police. So it wasn't rocket science to gear up for riot situations. 

Operational Teams and Undercover Presence

Steve Baker believes that there were many special ops teams or individuals at the Capitol that day. His sources are extremely thin though. The most detail comes from his twitter thread, where he states that he saw a spec ops team involved in evacuating Ashli Babbitt. It's worth reading both of those links.

... which led me to a more detailed twitter thread, but still closely related. Jeff Rosen, the acting Attorney General, had activated a bunch of special teams that he had at his disposal. They mustered at Quantico during the weekend before 1/6, but were closer in on 1/6. This was smart, especially if he didn't tell anyone who was loyal to Trump. We obviously needed to have a lot of national guard and special ops ready for whatever might erupt on that day, and also the day/night before it. So if this is true, good on Rosen. 

If the FBI was doing its job, there would have been informants and even agents at the Capitol that day. It's nuts to think that they should have stayed completely away. It's also nuts to think that they were directing the decisions. The FBI certainly didn't choose the date of the rally. Nor did they choose the slogan Stop the Steal. The message was clear at the top, the bottom, and in between. Find a way to stop the electoral college vote count. 

Storm was coming, very clearly

Nearly everyone saw this storm on the horizon, unless they didn't look. I personally expected a lot of confrontation. Hopefully it wouldn't include kidnapping, hostages, torture, or assassinations, and my hopes were on-target. This twitter thread shows some of the sentiments being expressed in the runup. They are violent, so that was a reasonable expectation. There are more quotes here, along with a helpful timeline.

Even with all the evidence that the MAGAs planned this themselves, egged on by Trump and his cohort, some of them are still in denial. They think they were suckered by a deep conspiracy instead of by obvious conmen (to the rest of us) like Trump. This one doesn't even believe Ashli Babbitt was shot. Ashli's mother tells him to go fuck himself, and something in that vein. 

Image: Daily Journal

Extras. The GOP state attorneys general organization behaved very poorly during and after election period, and this piece pummels them.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Always more links of interest

DeSantis flubs his campaign launch in New Hampshire by scheduling an event opposite a major GOP women's event. 

The federal indictment against Trump for his part in Jan. 6 and trying to fraudulent overturn the election. 

I'll need to check back on this: a very strong El Nino is forming in the Pacific due to the high ocean temperatures. This has been a very strange weather year already and there may be more. 

Two articles on the GOP scorched earth plans for the federal government.  

Hezbollah might be getting advanced anti-aircraft missiles from Russia. 

Great Lincoln Project takedown of that quack RFK Jr. 

WaPo does a survey of AI (artificial intelligence) and finds that it is saturated in Western stereotypes. This isn't at all surprising. 

Info from 2016 unearthing past wrongs. The sugar industry bought and paid for a health study in 1967 that downplayed the negative effects of sugar in heart disease, and emphasized the role of fats. This was published as a scientific study, but it used value judgements and gray areas to support a bias. Scientific studies can be stilted. It's important to beware and be critical. 

Holding onto this link about Epstein: The 128-page report from the inspector general. I wanted to check in particular about the level of available video. Many camera feeds weren't being saved/stored, but some were. There was good video of access points to the units, and that video shows no people accessed the units. That means no assassin team. Scans of Epstein's address book. This is the most interesting page, perhaps his most important contacts, which are handwritten.

A listing of Trump PAC payments to lawyers. Probably not a complete listing either. 

Image: epsteinblackbook.com

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Fascinating links. Too good not to publish.

Real power in Congress-problem solvers. Hell is a narrow majority

Rare common ground in SCOTUS. How the theory that state legislatures could decide electors got busted. 

Brazil: Bannon tactics/riots. Code words used to set it up. 

Great video showing global temperature rise

Russia planning for offensive---mince meat. Specifically, Russian troops will be mince meat in their Feb '23 offensive

Qualified immunity

Lessons of the anthrax scare.

Detransitioners. Study on hormones for teens isn't conclusive. To read? Is this the one were no measure was that good? Check on depression. Critique of Dr. Turban, pro-transition psychiatrist. Jordan Peterson talking with detransitioner Chloe Cole. Great video of trans vs detrans discussions----watch and list the questions discussed. Reuters series on trans issues: long wait times for Tavistock. US teens and top surgery. 

Uvalde. He has a battle rifle. Report on the response from officers on the ground. 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Still more covid lies

I'm frustrated and unhappy with all the covid lies that I have to fight. In another forum with too many trolls, we have liars who pretend the vaccines were/are more dangerous than the infection. 

This is muddled by problems with reporting adverse effects. Some people have tried to bump up the reporting, and some healthcare professionals have tried to cover up some serious adverse effects. It's happening partly because of societal stresses where misinformation goes viral, and people make poor choices based on the misinformation. So rare problems aren't processed as rare, but as red flags meaning the government is lying to you and you need to believe someone like Alex Jones. 

A lot of people have made really bad risk assessments when it comes to covid and the vaccines. They've been so concerned about vaccine adverse effects that they didn't consider the possibilities of grave illness or death from covid. Maybe they also wrongly thought they could take ivermectin and that would handle it. Perhaps 2-10 out of each 1000 who thought this way ended up very sick, and therefore suffered a great deal based on a poor decision. (I don't know the numbers, and it would vary a lot by age and somewhat by location.) Vaxxed versus unvaxxed statistics have shown this in many places, and especially in Sept '21 through about March '22. 

Still, I've got one very persistent yahoo who claims the vaccines are very dangerous and I'm a horribly lying unethical person. I started look into what this erroneous claim was based on, and here are some of the sources I found:

This conclusion is based on cherry-picking evidence, ignoring vaxxed vs. unvaxxed hospitalization and death rates, and concerns that the data has been censored and/or scrubbed. 

It is possible to fool with the data and make it some much more innocuous than it is. Personnel can be encouraged to report or discouraged. Coverups are definitely a known phenomenon. But it's much harder to hide a large trend because there are many more people with the knowledge of the negative outcomes. 

So I reject the idea that the numbers are completely cooked. One observation I've had is that no hospital was overwhelmed with vaccine patients, but many were overwhelmed with covid patients. 

The yahoo seized on the issue of reporting of myocarditis. This is fair. It was downplayed to prevent people being discouraged or nervous about the vaccines. One report in particular was published and then withdrawn. The explanation is actually a non-explanation. It's claimed that data in the report was removed from VAERS, the US vaccine adverse effect reporting system. I found these sources with original matter from the article: Zenodo with a download; online full article, and another article on the same topic but with a reasonable balanced conclusion. The withdrawal article by Dr. Jessica Rose and the very questionable Dr. Peter McCullough, says this in the conclusion:

It  cannot  be  stressed  enough  when  referring  to VAERS  data  collected  in  the  context  of  the COVID-19  injectable  products  that  effective antiviral responses against the nCoV-2019 virus in the  form  of  both  cellular  and  humoral  immune responses  have  been  reported  in  peer-reviewed studies  [51–56].  Because  of  the  low  Infection Fatality  Rate,  indicating  effective  and  robust immune responses, it remains unclear why multiple experimental  mRNA  vaccines  have  been  fast-tracked through conventional testing protocols and are also being fast-tracked through production and administration  into  the  public.  With  repurposed drugs  like  hydroxychloroquine  and  Ivermectin showing extremely positive results in patients [57–68], it is also unclear why these drugs are not being more extensively promoted as effective tools in the fight  against  this virus.  What  is  clear  is that  the injectable  products  are  proving  unsafe  for  many individuals and inefficacious  in others.....

This conclusion downplayed the fatality rate and the strain on the healthcare systems, and wrongly stated that HCQ and ivermectin were showing extremely positive results. This paper came from antivaxx quack doctors. Sadly, there are quacks and charlatans in every line of work. Covid was been a bonanza for them. The political atmosphere has made it more likely that people take sides based on political affinity rather than sober evaluations of data. 

Image: Imperial College London

Extras. Another issue, and this is not a lie so much as a point of disagreement. Are vaccines more dangerous for those 0-39 than covid is? That definitely was and is an issue due to the adverse effects of the vaccines, and the inability to predict who will have a serious adverse effect. It was possible for a while that myocarditis from the vaccine was a bigger danger in that age group than covid itself. It was hard to be sure. One report showed that mortality in this age group briefly went higher for vaxxed vs unvaxxed (closeup here). However, when covid mutated and started infecting more people under 40, probably this question was settled toward vaccination, though perhaps only for certain years/variants. A number of people are probably glad they took the vaccine when the variant appeared. But prediction is difficult. 

Were VAERS reports being ignored? Possibly

Quack doctor Peter McCullough faced the music when a certification board revoked his certification due to his false statements about covid and the vaccines. They gave him quite a spanking.