Monday, December 30, 2019

Armed "volunteers" at Fort Worth TX had been well trained, so this limits the reach of the NRA's arguments in practice

CNN and other outlets have reported that the shooter at the West Freeway Church of Christ near Fort Worth, TX Sunday was stopped by one or more armed security volunteers who had been professionally trained to use weapons to protect the crowd.  In a sense they were like a militia in the wording of the Second Amendment. This is rather unusual in practice. 
The NRA has retweeted the story, and the story does reinforce Second Amendment rights and effectiveness for people who have made the effort and taken the proper training to provide security properly. It would not apply to ordinary civilians.

Texas is one of few states that allows armed volunteers in churches (outside of paid security staff in malls and the like).

There was a video of the incident livestream that was made private.  However television station.
WFAA in Dallas has a video with commentary.  (I lived in Dallas 1979-1988.)

CNN’s story does have a video of the arrest of the Monsey NY attacker in NYC. 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Campuses start implementing lite versions of social credit systems for students

Chris White of Daily Caller writes that some colleges and universities are implementing social credit systems now.

Timcast presented it today.  But right now the systems comprise apps that students use that tract attendance. 

It’s easy to imagine that it could keep track of volunteer or service work (looking toward a mentality of communism).
Pool suggests it would give employers the ability to track where people go and keep them on call all the time, even with minimum wage.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Vox interviews Extinction Rebellion activist, who warns governments could be overthrown

I guess I could put this in my “book review blog” as a book preview,. Because the author Roger Hallam has a book “Common Sense in the 21st Century”.

Sigal Samurl interviews him in an article for Vox, “If our governments want to stop climate change, should we revolt? Extinction Rebellion says, yes”.

What’s even more noteworthy is that Hallam, in the article, talks about overthrowing governments if necessary.

He has an idea that you can force system change by getting civil disobedience from 3.5% of the population.

There is a political science theory that people who just talk and refuse to demonstrate when things get bad enough indirectly invite authoritarianism.  Non-protesters are seen as morally complicit.
Hallam talks about “delibertative Citizen’s Assemblies”, and says they were used in Ireland to force legalization of abortion.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Cyclists and e-scooter riders sharing traffic with cars need to wear helmets, even when in their own lanes

It appears that most states don’t uniformly require helmets for bicyclists or, especially, persons riding electric scooters, when sharing roads with cars.

I’ve had a narrow miss with a scooter recently when making a right turn across a bike lane after being stuck in traffic.

Scotters and cyclists should have visible lights, helmets, and slow down to less than 5 mph (close to pedestrian speed) as they approach an intersection even though they have the legal right of way. They need to give drivers time to see them.
And both must normally ride in the same direction as traffic (unless the jurisdiction has made special design accommodations in the lane), as drivers do not have time to see them going the wrong way,

Friday, December 20, 2019

Major evangelical publication maintains that Trump should be removed from office

Editor Mark Galli of Christianity Today has called for Trump’s removal from office, Guardian story here

The actual op-ed is here  (I couldn’t get the site to come up yesterday).
Some observers maintain that evangelicals have a “mission accomplished” with conservative judicial appointments and may hold Trump’s behavior against him in the 2020 election.  Since they are a major part of his base, this could be “devastating”.
 Pelosi is trying a risky strategy holding the impeachment until she can manipulate the Senate into calling more witnesses  (WSJ editorial)

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Move-on protests go on as Trump is (finally) impeached tonight

Move-On "Impeach and Remove" protests went on in many large cities last night and today, which was cold in Washington.

I was at home watching it on CNN and getting some repairs done, and blogging.

Ford Fischer (News2Share) filmed at the protests outside the Capitol today. There are several videos. 

He also has video of a MAGA rally in Hershey PA recently where protests got violent. He also has videos of 2nd amendment supporters in Dallas feeding the homeless "illegally".
Trump was giving a speech to his “base” in Battle Creek, MI today when the official votes for his impeachment finished, around 9 PM EST.  How will Trump behave now? 
The House chose to add the charge of contempt of Congress rather than subpoena John Bolton and others and wait for the courts to work.

Update:  Dec 19

Viva Frei analyzes the impeachment here.   He maintains that the issue of Trump's stonewalling the subpoenas is a semantic one, that it still probably amounts to executive privilege.  

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Case in 5th Circuit tests whether an organizer of a protest is personally liable for damage or injuries caused by other protesters

Marissa K. Lang reports in the Washington Post about litigation in New Orleans where a police officer was injured by a rock throwing in a Black Lives Matter protest, and the police officer is suing the organizer of the protest rather than the person who threw the rock.  The protest had occurred on a Louisiana highway. 
The Fifth Circuit has allowed the suit to go forward.
The litigation could make it much harder and riskier to organize protests.
The Post article links to another one regarding a National Park Service proposal to make activists pay for the costs of demonstration security.
This will be a First Amendment issue, because speech alone is actually supposed to be followed or accompanied by (or bundled with) assembly and petition.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Could Trump declare martial law in a temper tantrum? David Pakman discusses a caller's disturbing question

Today, a caller asked the David Pakman show, how likely is it that Donald Trump will declare martial law in an attempt to weasel out of impeachment or (now more likely) holding the 2020 election or “losing it” (in quote because it is a Pewdiepie-like meme of my own, in music).  InfoWars has been talking about this idea. 

David answers, highly unlikely (my father used that phrase, another meme). Or extremely unlikely. Because of posse comitatus, Congress would have to become complicit. 

Pakman said he thought martial law had been declared during WWII to imprison the Japanese Nisei immigrants, but the only case shown in the New York Times was in 1861 by president Lincoln in Kentucky.
But Cornell Law school discusses martial law in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor and discusses “Articles of War” with respect to Nazi saboteurs (like the Hitchcock film), 9/11, and domestic disorder. 
Presidents have declared numerous states of emergency (gratuitously), and it is possible to shut down the Internet or many of its capabilities (social media) in an emergency (Books, Jan 5, 2019).

Friday, December 13, 2019

Pakman finds Fox and Friends clip where Trump apparently confesses, and the Democrats overlooked it in the hearings (??)

The Wall Street Journal is indeed pretty responsible with old-fashioned, non-tribal economic and judicial conservatism, so their editorial Thursday “The Incredible Shrinking Impeachment”, a play on a comedy movie, seemed welcome as I sat sipping bitter coffee in a Starbucks reading it.
The quid pro quo seems over with. The WSJ maintains that Trump was within his rights to temporarily hold payments to Ukraine and that Obama had done almost the same thing once. The WSJ does consider mention of Biden in a phone-call inappropriate, but it is more like something that gets you fired by cancel culture.
The Washington Post 's lame editorial maintains that this was a quasi-bribe to get Ukraine to smear and spread conspiracy theories about Biden (but whether Biden may have violated the law seems to be in dispute still.  Maybe that holds if the material on Biden was knowingly false.
More disturbing is the Trump’s not allowing Bolton to testify, and the idea that the courts would take months to decide.  Bolton could make it game over.   No, the courts would rule within hours given the stakes.

I was told I “blurt out things” by my buddies at Fort Eustis in the Army back in 1969.  So David Pakman catches Trump admitting it (“blurting”) on Fox News, on Fox and Friends ("Trump Confesses Everything", see the blog posting here Nov. 25, 2019 for the embedl a similar video from MSNBC is included this time). A bad screenplay, Pakman says. I actually am going to hock the screenplay of my own book soon.  That caught my ear.
OK, I don’t recall that this conversation came up during the hearings. Does this conversation answer the Wall Street Journal editorial?  Did the Democrats overlook this video?  Timcast (Tim Pool) has been saying the Democrats have blown the hearings, merely with incompetence.  But did he see this?  

I don't want to give limitless WPost links here, but the reader should look up a Dec 12 article by Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey about a secret White House memo that tries to get around Trump's potential legal problems (there is a link to a 9-page PDF), and Bloomberg's article by Laurence Arnold and Billy House on "what you need to know about Ukraine..." here, reprinted by the Post. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Major shooting in Jersey City with unclear motive; Trump's impeachment

On a day when two articles of impeachment were announced against Donald Trump, the nation was distracted by a prolonged incident in Jersey City NJ involving snipers that had people trapped in a kosher market.  But it apparently started in a cemetery. 

It’s unclear if the market was targeted (and this resembles Pittsburgh or a 2015 incident in France), and what the motives of the deceased suspects were.
Trump also announced he would sign an XO declaring Judaism a “nationality” in order to apply certain civil rights laws, but the designation is inappropriate. A nation really does have borders.  Trump actually contradicts himself.


More recent evidence suggests that the shooters were associated with the Black Israelites, who taunted the Covington kids -- a bizarre extremist group, but terrorists, yes, if so. 

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Anti-vax protesters try tactics of anti-abortion activists in the streets

Brandy Zadrozny and Erika Ewards report on new activism from the anti-vax crowd, now taking to Yelp to downgrade doctors giving vaccines since Facebook kicked them off platforms.

They are also showing up at clinics and doctors’ officers in the style of anti-abortion protesters.
At the same time, CDC predicts that a newer strain of influenza will peak early this season, but it resembles older strains that the elderly may have some immunity to.

Friday, December 06, 2019

MoveOn and other activists want to "conscript" everyone into massive demonstrations right before House impeachment vote

Apparently, activists believe that mass protests on the day of the impeachment vote in the House would pressure the Senate to convict Donald Trump.

I got an email from MoveOn with Nancy Pelosi appearing to speak for them, part of it reproduced below.

Tactically, you wound wonder if this would be more appropriate during the Senate trial if that’s what you want.

David Pakman (TV blog) had called also for “strategic financial defaults” in a bizarre video where he said he was worried about his audience (being na├»ve over the Medicare for All issue).

Yesterday, there were violent protests in France over Macron’s proposed pension changes (similar to Yellow Vest protests filmed by Ford Fischer and News2Share last February). Is that what “Pelosi” wants?  These newer protests were from the Left, however.

There is also the risk of a sudden provocation (to say the least) from North Korea right in the middle of the impeachment process.

I don’t personally march in demonstrations or help organize them, ever, now.  I’ll cover that more soon.

I do think that the House needs to consider the Mueller probe and hear from John Bolton first. This is very critical.

Here is part of the text  (I don't like to be addressed personally when I don't belong to the group): 
“That's why, John, we're organizing a massive wave of protests all across the country, in collaboration with dozens of partner organizations, to take place the night before the House vote on impeachment. These protests need to be very big and very loud and get attention everywhere—on TV, on social media, and in the local press around the country that members of Congress pay closest attention to.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Portland OR school system struggles with extreme classroom discipline problems, even in elementary school; social media and left-wing politics to blame?

Station KDW8 in Portland hosts a work session and debate among teachers in Portland, OR regarding the unusual problems teachers are having with disciplining students, especially in elementary schools.
This session was recorded about six months ago. 
The teachers are saying they are badly underfunded and understaffed.  But there is a question as to whether the political and social trauma in Portland (with Antifa) in recent months is contributing to the atmosphere.
Teachers do refer to extreme poverty and poorly prepared parents.  They say they have to intervene on “what their deficit was with their behavior.”
But social media and the rapid fire of information on smartphones on children too young to have them is an issue. 
I worked as a substitute teacher in northern Virginia  2004-2007.  Particularly in the middle school assignments I got cited for “poor classroom management” and discipline problems, some of which I did not even see happen.
On the other hand, news reports in the area report on abuse of students by some teachers, for example (WJLA7 story in suburban Maryland).  
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of a Portland stadium, CCSA 3.0. 


NBC10 in Philadelphia reports a similar problem in Philly, with teachers quitting, Nov. 19. This was about older students and "teaching to a test".   There is a big issue with teachers spending their own money. 

Monday, December 02, 2019

Why did SCOTUS even take a repealed gun law from New York?

Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School, argues, on NBC News. that the Supreme Court really should have turned down the case “New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York”, and that Chief Justice Roberts apparently has the ability to do so after oral arguments today. The law would have prohibited NYC residents from carrying their weapons out of the city to other lawful locations. 

The case is essentially moot since New York City repealed the law. A victory for the plaintiff would embolden other plaintiffs to challenge what sound like very reasonable gun control reform, as stated outside the Court today by some speakers, especially Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly  (the NRA is located in his district on I-66 in Fairfax County(. 

Generally (and David Hogg and A March for our Lives have generally concerned) the concepts are to ban assault weapons from most civilian purpose, run thorough background checks, and close the gun show loopholes.

I was there this morning, and have video and a report on what I saw on another site here.

David Hogg makes what sounds like a rather extreme characterization of pro-gun-rights protesters at other demonstrations. I saw no evidence of that myself today.

I have heard the idea that possession of any weapon is a “fundamental right” under Heller.  I don’t see that.  The possession of a smaller weapon reasonably appropriate for home self-defense (or possibly when outside, if with concealed-and-carry permit) sounds covered. For possession or access to larger military-style capable weapons (or bump stocks), it sounds like the militia clause should apply. Someone should have specific training and belong to a group with responsibility for defending other people. (With teachers, the law could get interesting.)