Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lex Anteinternet: Packing Heat

Recently I posted this item about concealed carry of firearms:
Lex Anteinternet: Packing Heat:  M1911 Colt pistol. Let's turn to a topic that makes people scream and yell at each other, as well as to simply quit listening t...
In that, I made this point
And let's next an uncomfortable truth. . . a lot of policemen aren't exactly marksmen.

Now, in fairness, maybe this guy was.  But policemen aren't the equivalent of snipers, or even accomplished pistoleros.  They're policemen. Their job is pretty varied and most of them never fire a shot in anger, television portrayals aside.  And frankly the track record of large city police forces isn't necessarily all that spectacular in this area.  That may well be because, with all the various thing they do, shooting a pistol well, which isn't necessarily the first thing most policemen have in mind when they become policemen, isn't necessarily their first priority.  By way of some examples of surprising police gun play, police action in New York City on occasion provides a good example.  A person can easily find examples of New York police firing large numbers of shots and hitting comparatively little, or if they are hitting, firing far more shots that would seemingly be required. 

Indeed, the New York Times has noted:
New York City police statistics show that simply hitting a target, let alone hitting it in a specific spot, is a difficult challenge. In 2006, in cases where police officers intentionally fired a gun at a person, they discharged 364 bullets and hit their target 103 times, for a hit
rate of 28.3 percent, according to the department’s Firearms Discharge Report. The police shot and killed 13 people last year.
In all shootings — including those against people, animals and in suicides and other situations — New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540), and a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away. Nearly half the shots they fired last year were within that distance.
In Los Angeles, where there are far fewer shots discharged, the police fired 67 times in 2006 and had 27 hits, a 40 percent hit rate, which, while better than New York’s, still shows that they miss targets more often they hit them.
New York Times, December 9, 2007.  The article goes on to note that the police departments in question argued that poor marksmanship was not the cause of their lack of hits, and they may be correct.  But we can still draw two conclusions from this at a bare minimum.  Maybe in an armed
spat more than one man or woman with a pistol is a good thing and maybe police aren't the world's greatest pistol marksmen.  Indeed, hitting things with pistols requires some dedication.

 Illustration of a New York policeman who has passed the civil service
examination.  He's stopping a horse that's apparently out of control and
thereby saving an innocent damsel.  While dates, this photo this
illustration does illustrate the truth that the police are a service
that does a lot more than just get into gun battles and that its not an
occupying army.  The fact that British police don't even routinely carry
firearms perhaps accidentally illustrates this. Truth be known, police
very rarely need them, and they aren't their main focus by a long shot.

Some would argue that this would apply to anyone, and perhaps it would, but in contrast to police, people who are single mindedly carrying a pistol may very well have a different mindset towards being proficient with a pistol.  Or at least they are not likely to be any worse, perhaps.
As if to emphasize this point, and some others, we now have had this past week the example of a health care worker, a black gentlemen, being shot by a policeman while trying to render aid to an autistic man.  The police department in the city in question, North Miami, has come out and said that the policeman, who was armed with a M4 type carbine, was aiming for the autistic man, not the rescuer.  The policeman was only 50 yards away, and M4s are fairly accurate.

That's a bad shot.

Now, I know that  I'm second guessing somebody in a horrible situation that I wasn't in, but at 50 yards?  He should have been able to make that shot.  That perhaps points out a bit of what I was trying to illustrate above.

What else can we take away from this?

Well we can thankfully take away from it that it was not an example of a racially biased shooting, thank goodness.  But I think we can see why African Americans are hypersensitive to this topic.

We might also, although a person hates to dwell on it, note that contrary to the way the press would have it about the "high powered" 5.56 rounds fired by the M4, it's not particularly lethal.  It's only a .22 caliber weapon.  There's a lot that goes into that I'm not going to go into, but it's not exactly a .458 Winchester Magnum or something.

Anyhow, while not fully related to everything I'd posted in my earlier entry, it does seem to prehaps illustrate something about police marksmanship, maybe.

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, Jackson, Wyoming

Churches of the West: Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, Jackson, Wyoming

This is the very impressive Our Lady of the Mountains in Jackson, Wyoming. The stone Romanesque church is located on a little under a city block, and unfortunately is a bit hard to photograph, or at least I did a poor job of photographing it. Added to that, the weather conditions were less than ideal at the time.

I don't know when this church was built, but I believe it was built in the last 15 years, as I can recall going to Mass in Jackson as the older church, was an impressive, but small, log structure.

Nighttime scene during Lent.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Cognitive Disconnect on the left and right.

This is one of those posts I started long, long ago, and then sort of let hang there for awhile.  A series of posts by a niche columnists caused me to reconsider it and post it again.

One thing Facebook has really served to do is to vastly expand the amount of casual political commentary, from all political spectrum, I run into.  Well, in re-editing this, not just casual, but even "professional" if you will. And that's increased my running into the interesting cognitive disconnect to many people have in their political views.

People often cherish hard right or hard left notions as they feel they should, and it fits their view on politics in general, or even because it fits their view of one particular thing in particular.  It's interesting how this works.

For instance, one fellow I'm aware of lives in that fair land to our north and comments continually about American politics from a fairly left wing perspective. That's fine, but the other day (now a day far back on the calendar) he posted a long heartfelt item on Israeli politics and how, because they're another culture, we cannot judge them.  Eh?  If a non American can judge American politics that some non American and non Israeli can judge Israeli politics.  Israel, here, however gets a free pass because it's Israel.  That doesn't make very much sense.  It just fits into his worldview.

Quite a few left wing folks I know are very much in favor of stringent gun control and won't consider anything else on that topic. This is always to "save lives" and they won't tolerate any concept that it won't. The same people, however usually have no problem with ending life before it comes into the world, which if the same logic were applied, would absolutely require that to be the state of the law.  Odd.

A selection of those folks are big on legalizing marijuana, even though more and more evidence is building that it has detrimental effects on the brain and its a public safety hazard. How can you be for banning one thing you think is a public safety and personal hazard while arguing to legalize something that is also a public safety and personal hazard?   Either you're going to require the state to probibit everything that's dangerous from being available, or you are not.   You can't hold both opinions, logically.

Indeed, almost nobody, left or right, is for banning booze, but it's undoubtedly the biggest public safety and personal hazard around.  People like to cite the "failed example" of Prohibition, but in reality, Prohibition was actually a success.  People just didn't like it.

Expanding things out, some time ago I saw on Facebook a post by a fellow who ciculated a misquote of H.L. Mencken's.  The quote offered was, in its correct form:
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
Now, the irony of this is that the person who posted the quote was directing it at the GOP race at the time, and more particularly he was addressing it towards Donald Trump.  I don't mean to suggest that Trump is a moron, he clearly is not, no matter what you think of him, but I point this out as that's who he was posting it about.  However, as the same fellow has a lot of conservative friends they leaped right in, not appreciating that, and made comments about how that had happened in the form of President Obama.

Once again, no matter what you think of him, President Obama is in no way, shape or form a moron.  Indeed, I'd guess that no matter who is the next President, they will not be as intelligent as President Obama who is a highly intelligent man. That doesn't mean I agree with Obama on everything, and indeed I disagree with him more often than not, but I note this as people who are asserting that he (or Trump) are morons are doing so simply because they are in the opposite political camp.  Indeed I'd dare say that Obama has taken more abuse of this type than any President since Ronald Reagan.  Being in university at the time Reagan was President I well recall that, according to what I was hearing, he was both a moron and a fascist.   Obama, in contrast, is according to some a moron and a Marxist. Well, none of that is true.

Expanding this out, once columnist I'm aware of is outright hostile to Donald Trump.  A lot of columnist are outright hostile to Donald Trump, that's fine, but this particular columnist is known only because he focus on religion in his writings and is known, therefore, as a religious columnist.  The irony here is that this particular person's faith holds extremely strong opinions on matters of life and death, and including the lives of those who have not yet been born, and by implicitly backing Hillary Clinton he's basically backing a candidate who is very obviously in favor of conduct that this religion holds to be a mortal sin.  What constitutes a mortal sin is not as simple as it may at first seem to be, to those who are not familiar with this in depth, in that it requires knowledge that the conduct is a mortal sin, but almost everyone who writes from that prospective well knows that the underlying conduct is a mortal sin which then raises the question of what arguing for the election of a person, implicitly, who supports conduct that's grave in nature and which is regarded as a mortal sin amounts too.  I'd hesitate to do that, if I were he.

Indeed the same columnist writes quite a bit on gun control, which at least isn't charged with the same apparent danger to ones soul in whatever position a person might take, but like a lot of issues its not that simple and some of the articles strike me as snarky.  I've addressed gun control above, but I'm often struck by how the debate quickly often is marked by Reductio ad absurdum.  I've written a bit on gun control here, and I'll admit that I'm opposed to it on legal, factual, and philosophical grounds, but the debate certainly doesn't always run that way.  Indeed, very often at least the anti vote is really snobbish and seems to assume that the entire world out to be sitting at Starbucks sipping some absurdly odd and over priced coffee product while you are reading The New Yorker and wearing Buddy Holly frames.  Not so much.

By the same token, there are quite a few people locally who take positions on energy issues based, it would appear, simply on their political alignment.  We're undergoing a revolution in energy production and we better face it, and it makes little difference if you are a Republican or Democrat in regards to that.  But to listen to people, you'd think otherwise.

Well, I guess this sort of thing has always been the case. But in a year of political theater of the absurd following years of political dysfunction, we could hope for better.

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Tracking the Presidential Election 2016, Part IX. Yawn. . . . who?. . . what parties?

I wasn't going to post another one of these until the conventions, but as the last one had such a specific title, and as I had already added it to address the news release on Hillary Clinton's email, I thought I should.

The motivating factor this time is that Donald Trump announced that Mike Pence will be his VP candidate.

Who, what. . . yawn. . . . 

Yeah, exactly.

He's the Governor of Indiana.  Oh, um.  okay then.  

And um. . .why exactly . . . ?"

Well, according to the New York Times:
In Mr. Pence, the presumptive Republican nominee has found a running mate with unimpeachable conservative credentials, warm relationships in Washington and a vast reservoir of good will with the Christian right. National Republican leaders, including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, had pronounced Mr. Pence an excellent choice in advance of Mr. Trump’s announcement.

Mr. Pence is viewed as a sturdy and dependable politician by Republicans in Indiana and Washington, and chided Mr. Trump for his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States, calling it “offensive and unconstitutional” in a Twitter post in December.
Well, yeah.   Okay.  It's dull and darned near non news, except in that he didn't pick any of the firebrands people were worried he would.  Maybe he's listening now to the GOP.

Well, maybe, but there's probably hardly any point. Way back when these threads started I noted that I thought Hillary Clinton would be the next President and the GOP would mess this election up.  They have, and this race is, I'm afraid, all over but for the shouting.

Which might explain why so many in the Republican Party are opting for the Dunkirk Option I described below.  That is, they're pulling away from the beach and retreating, trying to save what they can.  Lots of Republicans have been quiet.  

None of which explains why the platform this year seems set to alienate those GOP members who were on the fence.  For example, Wyoming Senator John Barasso managed to preside over the drafting of a document that people here will seek to whack him with next time he's up for reelection.  Come on, Doctor John, you know that Wyomingites overwhelming oppose transferring Federal lands to the states.  What the crap where you thinking putting that into the platform. Geez.

Well, at least on that, Trump is far to the left of his own party platform.  And actually not only on that issue.  Not that it matters, the race is over and the only real question is how bad it will be for the GOP.  Indeed, at this point, it's legitimate to ask if the Republican Party will actually survive this election. There's some reason to doubt it.

Well, while this race is over, except for the shouting, one thing it has done is to revive the interest in third parties for the first time in a really long time.  Lots of Republicans are pondering jumping ship.  Others feel like they've already been pushed overboard and are swimming towards new ships. Some Democrats aren't too happy with the wax figure Boomer figurine they're running for that matter, and are also pondering the same.

So what all is out there?

First, let's list the two big parties so we've done our job.


Democratic Party:  Hillary Clinton (presumptive).

Republican Party:  Donald Trump and Mike Pence (presumptive).


Yikes, so what else is out there?  We won't look at them all, and there are a zillion of them, but only the few that might be worth looking at in one way or another.


The Libertarians haven't picked their nominee yet and have several individuals running.  However, Gary Johnson is widely presumed to be the nominee for the party.  Johnson was a Republican governor of New Mexico.

The Libertarians appeal to the libertarian wing of the GOP, so Johnson has had some hope that he might win.  He won't, but he might do better than he otherwise would have.  So while the Libertarian Party can expect to go down in flames, it won't be a big of flame out as normal.

Libertarians stand for freedom in a fairly extreme sense. So they're hard left liberal on some things and far right conservative on others.  To the extent that they appeal to GOP voters, they're often single issue voters.  Rarely do they appeal to the rank and file.  Not too many GOP voters hold the same view that Libertarians do on life issues or on social issues and therefore this party will tank in the general election, but it will do better than usual by picking up some disgruntled Republicans and, on a local level, by running some disgusted real Republicans.

This party is widespread enough that its actually considered a "major" political party by Wikipedia, based on it being organized in all fifty states.

Green Party.

Yes, the US has a Green Party. 

The Greens are a party that seeks the love of Bernie backers as they are part of his natural base.  I suspect that most Green members snuck out and vote for Bernie.  Jill Stein is their candidate.  Even the website of their candidate makes their Berniesque nature pretty evident, except they're to the left of Sanders.

Stein hasn't been officially nominated yet and is the presumptive nominee.  Her campaign is doomed but, as she's a long time hard core activist, she likely doesn't care.  I doubt that more than a handful of Democrats will cross to vote for her showing that the Democrats have done a better job than the Republicans of keeping their house in order.  They have an unpopular candidate, but the unhappy really have nowhere else to go.  Indeed, their option is just to stay home in November.

Like the Libertarians, Wikipedia considers the Greens a major US party.

Constitution Party

The Constitution Party is a hyper conservative party to the right of the GOP.  A year like this has to be a little surreal for members of this party, but perhaps nearly every year is for that matter.

It's positions are generally conservative, but they are also mixed in with a theological view of the country in that they cite to the Bible as a foundational text to some extent at they believe that the US was founded as a Christian nation.

It's held its convention in Salt Lake City already, and nominated Darrell Castle and Scott Bradley to its ticket.  Castle is a lawyer from Tennessee.

In a year such as this, it has to be the hope of this party to pick up conservatives that are disaffected with the GOP, but we're not hearing very much about it.

American Solidarity Party

What, what's that?

The American Solidarity Party is a new party, founded in 2011, that's a true American Christian Democratic Party. Really, this is the first time the US has had one.  It's motto, however is the less than inspiring  "Common Good, Common Ground, Common Sense".

This party is truly unique, in the American context, in that its quite conservative but not at all in the traditional mold.  It stands no chance whatsoever, but its platform is unusual in that it would be strongly appealing to traditional social conservatives, but not necessarily to libertarians.  Indeed, it probably appeals to Sanders voters on some things, such as immigration issues and economics.  On economics, it's truly unique as it espouses Distributism.

It's nominee for the 2016 race is Dr. Amir Azarvan, an Iranian American professor who is a convert to Orthodoxy.  There's no earthly way that Dr. Azarvan can win this election, but at 37, and as a professor who writes heavily on theological issues from an Orthodox prospective, he's on the far edge of unique.  His running mate Mike Maturen is a professional speaker.

Exit stage left. . . or right.

Well, there are a lot more, including the Socialist Party (parties) and the Communist Party, none of which have any chance.  Indeed,the Communist Party USA, a US political party since 1919, doesn't appear to be running a candidate this year and its chairman has actually come out in support of Hillary Clinton, an endorsement she no doubt was not seeking.  In listing these parties we have listed the most interesting ones, and the ones that might pick up a little, but only a little, traction this weird election year.

The more likely result is that the GOP will implode after the race and then start to rebuild.  Unless we simply assume a monumental level of obstinacy, there will be a new GOP in 2018.  There will have to be. But, because of what's occurred, the country in 2020 will not be the one we are living in now.  The GOP failure this year will cement in place some changes that President Obama brought about late in his term, if not permanently, for a very long time.  The GOP's ignoring of the promises it made to its base will come back to it in the worse way and the entire country will be the worse for it, as in this election the voice of traditional conservatives is not really going to be heard.  Indeed, many have hit the bunker already, saving what they can, and for those who embraced Trump in this run, the question will ultimately be to what extent did they damage themselves by doing so. 

First Commentary Followup.  July 18, 2016.

 Delegates to the 1919 Labor Party Convention, the first such convention that party had in the U.S.

The GOP Convention starts today. So we can expect a week of some drama, followed by a temporary boost in Trump's standings at the polls.

A little was noted about the platform above, and rather than dig into the platform much yet, I'd note that on the one item I've noted above, the transfer of public lands, what I thought might prove to be the case is starting to be. Wyoming Republicans, watch out.

I happened to be at a venue where the Wyoming participant in the platform was present, and where I was, the talk was all about how the Republicans were ignoring the overwhelming deeply felt view of Wyomingites on public land transfer.  I.e., Wyomingites are overwhelming opposed to the idea, and yet our Senator, John Barasso, sat on the platform committee that came out in favor of it. Well, Dr. John, be careful. The vox populi wasn't rising up in support of that idea by a long measure.

The discussion turned to one of the local candidates who is running for the House. Same discussion.  One person indicated that they were thinking about talking to him on it, another viewed that as a hopeless endeavor.  I suspect that this issue is going to hurt him, and indeed in the Sunday newspaper a locally vocal person wrote a letter in opposition to him, in part because of his support for a bill to study taking over the control of the local Federal lands.

This issue may well prove to have litmus test qualities to some voters.  It's certainly an example of the local GOP flat out regarding the overwhelming viewpoint of the residents of the state in a highly arrogant manner.  Acting like voters don't matter has really gotten the GOP into trouble this year, and it might start considering that its grip on Wyoming offices might not be has fixed as it seems to assume it is.

Commentary Followup; July 20, 2016

I was doing the day commute to Denver the past day, which makes for an early morning and a late evening, so I've sort of blissfully tuned out from much of the news, but in the interest of keeping up, I should note that Donald Trump is now officially the Republican nominee. All efforts to derail that have failed.

Sort of bizarrely marring the event, his spouse is being accused of lifting lines from Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech.  I haven't looked into it, and I'm not going to, but it's been news.  One bizarre comment in a journal is that its an example of "white privilege".  I think not.

What it may be an example of, however, is that the peculiar hopeful Republican line that's going around right now that once people know the Trump family they'll love them is, well, bizarre.  I'm not inclined to go after them in detail and as far as I know there's nothing bad to say about the Trump kids, and I don't even know all their names.  From what little I know of Donald Trump, Jr., I'm more inclined to like him (based on nearly a complete ignorance about him) than I do his father, but as for the father specifically its notable that we've come of the point where a candidate that has exchanged spouses so frequently and who has seemingly always gone for the glamorous variety is carrying the ball for the party that has always associated itself with tradition including traditional family values. Granted, Trump's relationships in that category are of the traditional type, but it's disconcerting that the meaning of that is so seemingly diluted.  At least one GOP pundit on the weekend shows was claiming that once the American public got to know the Trumps they'd love and admire them, based upon how well the kids turned out, but the public isn't electing the kids and I don't think that washes very well.  And as it obviously doesn't wash very well, this places conservative "value voters" in a really odd position, particularly in a year where their candidate is highly unlikely to win. 

Indeed, discontent in some quarters is so strong that some Republicans are still pretty vocal in their opposition.  Glen Beck appeared on the Meet The Press, for example, and actually urged disaffected Republicans and Democrats to vote for the Libertarians or the Greens, or anyone else other than Trump or Clinton.  Pretty remarkable. 

Commentary followup July 21, 2016

And yes, shocking news, a candidate has dropped out. . . . 

And that candidate is. . . .

Dr. Amir Azarvan.

Okay, not the big news you were looking for, but in the interest of keeping everyone up to speed on the news in this oddest of election years, there it is.   Dr. Amir Azarvan has dropped out as the nominee of the American Solidarity Party apparently because his employer resisted his taking time to campaign, or something like that.

It's hard to see how a party is going to get traction if their candidate drops out just days after being nominated.  But oh well.

But perhaps not as hard to grasp as the surreal item, noted above, of the head of the old American Communist Party endorsing Hillary Clinton at a time that Bernie Sanders was still running. Granted, Sanders isn't a Communist, but he claims to be a Socialist, and the Communist are truly Socialist.

Communism was always deluded, but at this point, they need to close up shop and just go home.

In other news, Ted Cruz addressed the Republican Convention but he did not endorse Donald Trump.  That's truly remarkable, and shows the extent to which the GOP is not coming together.

Commentary followup July 22, 2016

GOP nominee delivered his acceptance speed, something that may well define his canidacy more than the GOP platform.  He stated:
Friends, delegates and fellow Americans: I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace. We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order.

Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.

Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims.

I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.

The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.

It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation.

I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.
So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies, and the media myths the Democrats are holding their convention next week.

But here, at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else.

These are the facts:

Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.

Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore.

In the President’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And more than 3,600 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year. Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.

The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.

One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years-old, and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 Grade Point Average. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law.

I’ve met Sarah’s beautiful family. But to this Administration, their amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders. What about our economy?

Again, I will tell you the plain facts that have been edited out of your nightly news and your morning newspaper: Nearly Four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58% of African American youth are not employed. 2 million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the President took his oath of office less than eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely.

Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000. Our manufacturing trade deficit has reached an all-time high – nearly $800 billion in a single year. The budget is no better.

President Obama has doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing. Yet, what do we have to show for it? Our roads and bridges are falling apart, our airports are in Third World condition, and forty-three million Americans are on food stamps.

Now let us consider the state of affairs abroad.

Not only have our citizens endured domestic disaster, but they have lived through one international humiliation after another. We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint.

This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal, which gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us nothing – it will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever made. Another humiliation came when president Obama drew a red line in Syria – and the whole world knew it meant nothing.
In Libya, our consulate – the symbol of American prestige around the globe – was brought down in flames. America is far less safe – and the world is far less stable – than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy.

I am certain it is a decision he truly regrets. Her bad instincts and her bad judgment – something pointed out by Bernie Sanders – are what caused the disasters unfolding today. Let’s review the record. In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map.

Libya was cooperating. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq was seeing a reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was under control. After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the world. Libya is in ruins, and our Ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos.

Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West. After fifteen years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.

This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness.

But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy. The problems we face now – poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad – will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them. A change in leadership is required to change these outcomes. Tonight, I will share with you my plan of action for America.

The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America First. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo. As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect. This will all change in 2017.

The American People will come first once again. My plan will begin with safety at home – which means safe neighborhoods, secure borders, and protection from terrorism. There can be no prosperity without law and order. On the economy, I will outline reforms to add millions of new jobs and trillions in new wealth that can be used to rebuild America.

A number of these reforms that I will outline tonight will be opposed by some of our nation’s most powerful special interests. That is because these interests have rigged our political and economic system for their exclusive benefit.

Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place. They are throwing money at her because they have total control over everything she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.
That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. My message is that things have to change – and they have to change right now. Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned.
I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country. People who work hard but no longer have a voice.


I have embraced crying mothers who have lost their children because our politicians put their personal agendas before the national good. I have no patience for injustice, no tolerance for government incompetence, no sympathy for leaders who fail their citizens.

When innocent people suffer, because our political system lacks the will, or the courage, or the basic decency to enforce our laws – or worse still, has sold out to some corporate lobbyist for cash – I am not able to look the other way.

And when a Secretary of State illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no consequence – I know that corruption has reached a level like never before.

When the FBI Director says that the Secretary of State was “extremely careless” and “negligent,” in handling our classified secrets, I also know that these terms are minor compared to what she actually did. They were just used to save her from facing justice for her terrible crimes.

In fact, her single greatest accomplishment may be committing such an egregious crime and getting away with it – especially when others have paid so dearly. When that same Secretary of State rakes in millions of dollars trading access and favors to special interests and foreign powers I know the time for action has come.

I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders – he never had a chance.

But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest issue: trade. Millions of Democrats will join our movement because we are going to fix the system so it works for all Americans. In this cause, I am proud to have at my side the next Vice President of the United States: Governor Mike Pence of Indiana.

We will bring the same economic success to America that Mike brought to Indiana. He is a man of character and accomplishment. He is the right man for the job. The first task for our new Administration will be to liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens their communities.

America was shocked to its core when our police officers in Dallas were brutally executed. In the days after Dallas, we have seen continued threats and violence against our law enforcement officials. Law officers have been shot or killed in recent days in Georgia, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, Michigan and Tennessee.

On Sunday, more police were gunned down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three were killed, and four were badly injured. An attack on law enforcement is an attack on all Americans. I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: when I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order our country.

I will work with, and appoint, the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job done. In this race for the White House, I am the Law And Order candidate. The irresponsible rhetoric of our President, who has used the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color, has made America a more dangerous environment for everyone.

This Administration has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime. It’s failed them at every level.

When I am President, I will work to ensure that all of our kids are treated equally, and protected equally.

Every action I take, I will ask myself: does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson who have as much of a right to live out their dreams as any other child America?

To make life safe in America, we must also address the growing threats we face from outside America: we are going to defeat the barbarians of ISIS. Once again, France is the victim of brutal Islamic terrorism.

Men, women and children viciously mowed down. Lives ruined. Families ripped apart. A nation in mourning.

The damage and devastation that can be inflicted by Islamic radicals has been over and over – at the World Trade Center, at an office party in San Bernardino, at the Boston Marathon, and a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBT community. As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. To protect us from terrorism, we need to focus on three things.

We must have the best intelligence gathering operation in the world. We must abandon the failed policy of nation building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria. Instead, we must work with all of our allies who share our goal of destroying ISIS and stamping out Islamic terror.

This includes working with our greatest ally in the region, the State of Israel. Lastly, we must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place.

My opponent has called for a radical 550% increase in Syrian refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country under President Obama. She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people.
Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be.

Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers. We are going to have an immigration system that works, but one that works for the American people.

On Monday, we heard from three parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden, and Jamiel Shaw. They are just three brave representatives of many thousands. Of all my travels in this country, nothing has affected me more deeply than the time I have spent with the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our border.
These families have no special interests to represent them. There are no demonstrators to protest on their behalf. My opponent will never meet with them, or share in their pain. Instead, my opponent wants Sanctuary Cities. But where was sanctuary for Kate Steinle? Where was Sanctuary for the children of Mary Ann, Sabine and Jamiel? Where was sanctuary for all the other Americans who have been so brutally murdered, and who have suffered so horribly?

These wounded American families have been alone. But they are alone no longer. Tonight, this candidate and this whole nation stand in their corner to support them, to send them our love, and to pledge in their honor that we will save countless more families from suffering the same awful fate.
We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities. I have been honored to receive the endorsement of America’s Border Patrol Agents, and will work directly with them to protect the integrity of our lawful immigration system.

By ending catch-and-release on the border, we will stop the cycle of human smuggling and violence. Illegal border crossings will go down. Peace will be restored. By enforcing the rules for the millions who overstay their visas, our laws will finally receive the respect they deserve.

Tonight, I want every American whose demands for immigration security have been denied – and every politician who has denied them – to listen very closely to the words I am about to say.
On January 21st of 2017, the day after I take the oath of office, Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced. We are going to be considerate and compassionate to everyone.

But my greatest compassion will be for our own struggling citizens. My plan is the exact opposite of the radical and dangerous immigration policy of Hillary Clinton. Americans want relief from uncontrolled immigration. Communities want relief.

Yet Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration, and mass lawlessness. Her plan will overwhelm your schools and hospitals, further reduce your jobs and wages, and make it harder for recent immigrants to escape from poverty.

I have a different vision for our workers. It begins with a new, fair trade policy that protects our jobs and stands up to countries that cheat. It’s been a signature message of my campaign from day one, and it will be a signature feature of my presidency from the moment I take the oath of office.
I have made billions of dollars in business making deals – now I’m going to make our country rich again. I am going to turn our bad trade agreements into great ones. America has lost nearly-one third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997, following the enactment of disastrous trade deals supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Remember, it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA, one of the worst economic deals ever made by our country.

Never again.

I am going to bring our jobs back to Ohio and to America – and I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequences.

My opponent, on the other hand, has supported virtually every trade agreement that has been destroying our middle class. She supported NAFTA, and she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization – another one of her husband’s colossal mistakes.

She supported the job killing trade deal with South Korea. She has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP will not only destroy our manufacturing, but it will make America subject to the rulings of foreign governments. I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and independence. Instead, I will make individual deals with individual countries.

No longer will we enter into these massive deals, with many countries, that are thousands of pages long – and which no one from our country even reads or understands. We are going to enforce all trade violations, including through the use of taxes and tariffs, against any country that cheats.
This includes stopping China’s outrageous theft of intellectual property, along with their illegal product dumping, and their devastating currency manipulation. Our horrible trade agreements with China and many others, will be totally renegotiated. That includes renegotiating NAFTA to get a much better deal for America – and we’ll walk away if we don’t get the deal that we want. We are going to start building and making things again.

Next comes the reform of our tax laws, regulations and energy rules. While Hillary Clinton plans a massive tax increase, I have proposed the largest tax reduction of any candidate who has declared for the presidential race this year – Democrat or Republican. Middle-income Americans will experience profound relief, and taxes will be simplified for everyone.

America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world. Reducing taxes will cause new companies and new jobs to come roaring back into our country. Then we are going to deal with the issue of regulation, one of the greatest job-killers of them all. Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end it. We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy. This will produce more than $20 trillion in job creating economic activity over the next four decades.

My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and steel workers of our country out of work – that will never happen when I am President. With these new economic policies, trillions of dollars will start flowing into our country.

This new wealth will improve the quality of life for all Americans – We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow. This, in turn, will create millions more jobs. We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice.

My opponent would rather protect education bureaucrats than serve American children. We will repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare. You will be able to choose your own doctor again. And we will fix TSA at the airports! We will completely rebuild our depleted military, and the countries that we protect, at a massive loss, will be asked to pay their fair share.

We will take care of our great Veterans like they have never been taken care of before. My opponent dismissed the VA scandal as being not widespread – one more sign of how out of touch she really is. We are going to ask every Department Head in government to provide a list of wasteful spending projects that we can eliminate in my first 100 days. The politicians have talked about it, I’m going to do it. We are also going to appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court who will uphold our laws and our Constitution.

The replacement for Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views and principles. This will be one of the most important issues decided by this election. My opponent wants to essentially abolish the 2nd amendment. I, on the other hand, received the early and strong endorsement of the National Rifle Association and will protect the right of all Americans to keep their families safe.

At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical community who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits.

An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views.

I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans. We can accomplish these great things, and so much else – all we need to do is start believing in ourselves and in our country again. It is time to show the whole world that America Is Back – bigger, and better and stronger than ever before.

In this journey, I'm so lucky to have at my side my wife  and my wonderful children, Don, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, and Barron: you will always be my greatest source of pride and joy. My Dad, Fred Trump, was the smartest and hardest working man I ever knew. I wonder sometimes what he’d say if he were here to see this tonight.

It’s because of him that I learned, from my youngest age, to respect the dignity of work and the dignity of working people. He was a guy most comfortable in the company of bricklayers, carpenters, and electricians and I have a lot of that in me also. Then there’s my mother, Mary. She was strong, but also warm and fair-minded. She was a truly great mother. She was also one of the most honest and charitable people I have ever known, and a great judge of character.

To my sisters Mary Anne and Elizabeth, my brother Robert and my late brother Fred, I will always give you my love you are most special to me. I have loved my life in business.

But now, my sole and exclusive mission is to go to work for our country – to go to work for all of you. It’s time to deliver a victory for the American people. But to do that, we must break free from the petty politics of the past.

America is a nation of believers, dreamers, and strivers that is being led by a group of censors, critics, and cynics.

Remember: all of the people telling you that you can’t have the country you want, are the same people telling you that I wouldn’t be standing here tonight. No longer can we rely on those elites in media, and politics, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place.

Instead, we must choose to Believe In America. History is watching us now.

It’s waiting to see if we will rise to the occasion, and if we will show the whole world that America is still free and independent and strong.

My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: “I’m With Her”. I choose to recite a different pledge.

My pledge reads: “I’M WITH YOU – THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.”

I am your voice.

So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I’m With You, and I will fight for you, and I will win for you.

To all Americans tonight, in all our cities and towns, I make this promise: We Will Make America Strong Again.

We Will Make America Proud Again.

We Will Make America Safe Again.

And We Will Make America Great Again.

Commentary followup, July 23, 2016

Hillary Clinton announced that Tim Kaine of Virginia would be her running mate.

The choice emphasizes the extent to which the Democrats are running a traditional managed campaign, which after all has worked for Clinton so far this cycle.  After being dragged to the left by Bernie Sanders, the choice of Kaine signals an appeal to the center.  With the Sanders threat over, save for some likely noise next week at the convention, Clinton seems to have determined to try to recapture middle of the road Democrats who may be leaning now towards the Republicans.  If that's her goal, Kaine is a good choice.

Kaine is a former governor and current senator and is what is called a "centerist".  He's middle of hte road on gun control, he's on the left in gender issues, he's a "personally against" but no legislation on early life issues.  He looks, therefore, sort of like a better version of Joe Biden.

It'll be interesting to see if that sells this year in the general campaign, as generally the electorate has been unhappy with compromise candidates this year.  In some ways that sort of defines Kaine, who has managed to be a centrist in a state that leans to the right, and is one of the generation of Boomer Catholic candidates who have been comfortable with what is generally regarded as moral compromise by the serious in that Faith.  So its a very traditional choice, in a year in which tradition hasn't held a lot of sway.  It is a choice, however, that allows Clinton to pitch for middle of the road voters where she is somewhat weak.

Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016
Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016, Part II
Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016, Part III Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.
Tracking the Presidential Election Part IV
Tracking the Presidential Election Part V
Tracking the Presidential Election Part VI. The wobbly Democratic Party.
Tracking the Presidential Election Part VII
Tracking the Presidential Election Part VIII. Is there a Brexit lesson for the US election?

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Preparedness Day Terrorist Attack: July 22, 1916

A bomb went off went off at San Francisco's Preparedness Day Parade, killing ten and wounding forty.  While two labor leaders were convicted for the terrorist act, they later had their sentences commuted due to the lack of any real evidence associating them with the acts.  The perpetrators have never been identified.

Why San Francisco had their parade on a day other than the Flag Day celebration that was the rule I don't know.  But this event occurred on this day, in 1916. 

Preparedness Day was an event authored by the Administration following the passage of the National Defense Act which recognized that we were on the verge of war with somebody.  Maybe Mexico.  Maybe Germany. Maybe Mexico and Germany.  Times were tense.

The times were also increasingly radical, as we will see soon in some additional posts, and anarchists and radical socialistic were very much a factor in various movements around the world, including the United States, at that time.  Indeed, not all that long ago on this blog we read of the 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland which featured a radical socialist element, which tends to be forgotten.

This event is interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that this is an event which we'd presume to read more in our own time rather than a century ago.  It's also a terrible example of miscarried justice as those convicted of the act never really seemed to have any connection with it, which should have been obvious in the administration of justice that's impartial.  While the perpetrator has never been identified, there are strong suspicions about who was responsible, and it seems very clear that very radical elements were responsible.

Scary times in the US, to say the least. This came in the midst of  the mobilization of the National Guard, a raging war in Europe, and a nearly universal belief that the United States and Mexico would soon be at war.

Friday Farming: Women's Land Army

Another example of the US Women's Land Army during World War One.

Oh I know, you've heard that women first worked outside the home during World War Two.  Ain't true.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lex Anteinternet: Retirement

I ran this item back in March of 2014:

Lex Anteinternet: Retirement: If you are in business, or read business news, or listen to any type of commentary at all, you're going to hear a lot about retirem...
Something that I wasn't aware of then, and have only learned recently, is that the average American retirement age falls in between 58 years old and 62 years of age.  62 is when the generational cohort I'm in can first take Social Security, which explains part of that.

But not all of it.

Ill health, whether it be the natural or unnatural deterioration of the body, and mental factors, including the natural deterioration of the mind in some circumstances, or the cumulative impact of years of stress on others, or unemployment of older workers, all play a significant factor.  In this way, perhaps, we're closer to earlier generations in regards to the close out of our work years than we might suppose.

It's interesting, but perhaps natural, that we've come to associate "retirement age" with age 65, which for generations has been the age at which a person is fully eligible for Social Security.  Interestingly, that same age was adopted by the Canadian government for its full retirement.  65 is not the age for post Boomer retirees in these regards in the US any longer, however.  In my generational cohort its age 67.  In the UK it was age 65 for men and age 60 for women for eons, although that is going up.  65 is common in many European countries as well, as are differential ages for men and women, with women's uniformly being younger where the ages are not the same.  So, we have to assume that placing retirement in the 60s is for a real reason, as so many nations do it.  After all, if countries as divergent as Vietnam (60 men/55 women) and Ireland (66 men and women) take this approach, it must mean something.

It doesn't mean that a person will be in super health, or even capable of working, at that age, however.  Retirement sites like to show healthy couples in their 60s enjoying life in exciting ways, but many people by their late 50s are in pretty darned bad shape.

All of which may mean nothing at all, or which may be serious food for thought.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday at the Bar: Trouble in the legal profession hits the CST.

 Public domainDepiction of trial by combat, with combatants properly aligned to give each smiling combatant the advantage of the sun, unbekannter mittelalterlicher Künstler - Dresdener Bilderhandschrift des Sachselspiegels, hrsg. v. Karl v. Amira, Leipzig 1902, Neudruck hrsg. v. Heinrich Lück, Graz 2002.  From Wikipedia Commons.  This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.

I've written more than once about the reports of distress amongst legal practitioners here on this site.  Most recently I did that in an item on Alcohol and the Law.  In some of those I've been a little skeptical about what I was reading, but I've reached the point where the evidence seems sufficiently overwhelming (although there are a few doubters) that I'll concede its correct.

Indeed recently I've had a couple of odd instances in which this topic has come up in one fashion or another.  For one, I was sitting waiting for a deposition to commence when an out of state lawyer, a super friendly fellow, started talking about it (the topic came sort of out of the blue and I really don't know how it came up).  He went on a long litany of the statistics, it was like reading a journal article on it, about the topic, going into addictions lawyers have to alcohol, drugs, women, etc. and how destructive it was.  And this from opposing counsel.  I hard knew what to make of it, frankly. 

Anyhow, this past weekend Casper Star Tribune columnist Joan Barron, who is a CST columnist whom I really like, had an article on the Wyoming state program.  I was truly surprised, but I'll give credit to her and to the state bar for trying to publicize what they're doing.  Her article had this interesting set of observations in it:
Some people regards lawyers as rich fat cats in suits who don’t deserve sympathy. Some lawyers are well-off, but the average salary isn’t that stunning.
And they are the professionals people turn to when they are in trouble. They also are the men and women assigned to defend indigents, who have no other options.
Think Atticus Finch of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” admittedly a romantic and idealist portrait of a small-town lawyer. Or the more realistic case of the late Gov. Ed Herschler of Kemmerer, who neglected his solo practice to appeal successfully to the U.S Supreme Court the death sentence of a transient he had been assigned to defend, a man he disliked.
She goes on to detail that there were apparently four lawyer suicides in recent years, of which only one was openly that and the others disguised.  I know the guy who had the open one, and indeed, I was in a hearing against him the day prior in which he asked for an extension in his case, which I agreed to.  I've felt horrible about it ever since as it makes me feel like I opened the door up a bit as it gave that case a window for a replacement lawyer it wouldn't have otherwise.

Anyhow,  the article details the new Wyoming State Bar program, which apparently all state bars or at least nearly all of them now have.  It's good that the state bar has one, but I have to wonder how effective these things are.

That's for a variety of reasons, but I'll be frankly that I have come to view a lot of psychological problems as a combination of environmental and organic.  I'll fully conceded that our DNA's in our fallen state set us up for a lot of problems.  But I also think we've created a world which we're not really very well suited to live in, and that includes, I fear, our legal system.  We have an adversarial system, which is not only well known, but celebrated in the law.  The thesis is that the courtroom substitution for trial by combat of old serves to bring out the truth to the jury.  Maybe it does, although I truly have my doubts about that, but what it also does is to put a premium on combat, and all combat takes it toll on the combatants.

 Wounded British soldiers, World War One.  Note the stare of the man on the bottom left of photo.

I suspect that's in part what happens to some of the lawyers who end up in needing the help referenced above.  Years of judicial combat, financial strains, and simply the everyday pleas for help get to them.  I've known a few that seem to have run into such trouble and did indeed take refuge in the wrong places, booze, women, or whatever.  And I've also known a few who seemed to have developed very harsh personalities.

I won't claim to know what the solution to these things is.  Some people end up seeking help in medicine, and they likely should.  But this all takes me back to something I've mused about here before.  I have to wonder about our having built a world that we don't seem fit to live in, and about also creating, as part of that world, a legal system that seems to be going after the well being of some of those employed in it.  Why are we doing that?

 New York lawyers, 1916.

Addressing the legal system alone, what we should note is that technology and advances in communication, while the law believes that it has improved it, hasn't improved the life of lawyers one bit but, if anything, its made it infinitely worse.  If we go back to the year we've been focusing on so much here recently, 1916, most lawyers would have been either solo practitioners or small firm lawyers practicing locally and relying on the mail for communication. Some would have had phones by 1916, but many would not have. Local affairs would principally have been the ones they were involved with, although as we know from very old entries here even in the early 20th Century some Wyoming trial lawyers had state wide practices.  But in those state wide practices they still had to rely on the mail and they traveled principally by train, and occasionally by horse.  

That's quite a bit different from what I see now all the time, which is lawyers flying across country to attend one thing, and checking on others from their Iphone while they are there.  

Technology can't be put back in the box.  But things can be done.  And one of those things is to recognize that law, like politics, is all local. And that would mean discouraging or even preventing the erasure of the the state borders in the practice of law.  But the trend is going the other way.  Our Supreme Court has been complicit in flooding the state courts with out of state lawyers who are sometimes hyper aggressive while also not understanding the local rules and customs.  It's dragging the practice down a level or two and not aiding the practice here a bit.  A partial fix to this problem would be to restore the old rules that you can only practice where you have actually passed a real state bar, not something like the UBE, and that you must actually have some business connection with the state where you are practicing.

Additionally, maybe something should be done to take a page out  of European systems that are more inquiry based than ours.  If litigation is a search for the truth, maybe it ought to actually be a search for the truth.

Finally, maybe something has to be done about he process of legal education.  Indeed, this gets us to the topic of education in general, but again and again I'm struck by how we have a system that's largely designed to recruit the ignorant and burden them with expenses while being educated by individuals who know very little about actual practice. That has to mean that there are people recruited who are not suited for the endeavor.  Once a person is out of law school they're qualified to do exactly one thing, and one thing only, practice law.  Maybe they ought to have a taste of that practice simply as a qualifier to even enter law school, before they do.

Jeep celebrates its history.

We noted the 75th anniversary of the issuance of the contract for the 1/4 ton truck, that came to be known as the Jeep, here the other day. 

Well, not too surprisingly, Jeep has a really nice feature on its website celebrating its own history.

Well worth taking a look at, and not only on the 1/4 ton models, but on the other Jeep brand vehicles that have been made over the years.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lex Anteinternet: The Coup in Turkey. Perhaps not as disturbing as s...

Hmmm, so the coup failed, but will Turkish democracy survive?
Arrest warrants have also been issued for at least 2,745 judges and prosecutors across the country, according to Turkish media reports.
From the Washington Post.

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: St. John's Episcopal Church, Jackson Wyoming

Churches of the West: St. John's Episcopal Church, Jackson Wyoming:

These photographs, taken in waning light, depict St. John's Episcopal Church in Jackson, Wyoming. There are actually two churches on the location, with this one being the new church built in 1995.

The photographs that appear below are the second church, built in 1916. This church is on the same half block as the 1995 church.  So here we have something that fits nicely into the 1916 theme we've been exploring this year.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Coup in Turkey. Perhaps not as disturbing as some would have it.

As most folks following the news know, an element of Turkey's armed forces attempted to overthrow the government yesterday.

One piece of news analysis I read stated:
The military action, the results of which are still unclear, took Turkey out of Europe and placed it squarely in the Middle East. It tore away the country's stability, replacing polarization with what could end up being outright civil war, whether the coup succeeds or not.
Oh bull.

In fact, the Turkish coup attempt actually reflects a long history in the country of the Army, not the civil government, being the backer of democratic secular government.  The army long distrusted civil authorities not to fall into dangerous factionalism.  It was the Army itself that brought about the downfall of the Ottoman caliphate and made Turkey a secular state.  In recent years the presidency of  Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamist, was making many in the west nervous but also making some wonder how it was that the Turkish army was actually standing aside and not intervening.  Now some have tried.

Indeed the real danger, which the article above did acknowledge, is that the Erdogan reaction to the coup may actually make it a real Middle Eastern nation.  Endrogan has been problematic all along as it stands counter to Turkey's secular traditions and always scared people into wondering if he might try to make Turkey into a more Islamic state.  Some of his backers are now blaming Fethullah Gülen, a moderate Sunni mullah, for inspiring the coup. This seems to be without backing, but its is worrisome as Gülen is truly a religious moderate of the type that Westerners always hope will inspire moderation in the Islamic world. That Erdogan backers would blame him is distressing as it brings one Islamic group, one in power, into contest with another which is more moderate.

Turkey is under a lot of stress right now, to say the least.  That some in the army attempted to rise up isn't that surprising.  The Turkish army has overthrown the government quite a few times before.  That the coup failed is also a good thing, as is the fact that the entire Turkish military didn't join in.  It shows that Turkey may have truly matured into a modern democracy. . . depending upon what its reaction to this event is.

Who the heck are these people. . .and what are they fighting for?

 Islamic Army in India.

Again and again in the past few years the Western world has been hit be spectacular terrorist strikes.  With each such strike, a brief burst of straight reporting occurs, to be followed by anguished analyzing that seeks to explain, and explain away, the terrorist strike.

Not every single act, it is pointed out, is organized or directed by a central enemy authority.  But that does not mean that there is not a singular consistent thread to them, and that's the single most glaring deficiency in our failure to understand the people who are attacking us.

In the US every attack, save for that which occurred on 9/11, is explained away in psychological terms or passed off as a conventional crime.  It can't be the case, we believe, that any sane person really wishes to harm us.  They must, therefore, be insane.

And, indeed, many of them may be, or perhaps are partially, or are perhaps otherwise deluded.

In the Middle Ages when the Norsemen descended on Northern Europe among their most fierce combatants were Beserkers. 

The dude on the right is a Berserker.

Berserkers fought with wild fierce abandon.  Indeed, they give us the world "beserk".  There are many theories about how they worked themselves into such a frenzy, and nobody really knows.  But one that should be noted, and seemingly rarely is, is that maybe they were just nutty and the Norse were employing their nuttiness for their own purpose.

This wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility or even that uncommon. Throughout man's long history there are plenty of instances of the nutty, distressed, or deluded being employed in combat.  It isn't that novel.  And for that matter a cause sometimes attracts people who are disturbed and distressed. Again, examples abound.  What better way for a malignant personality to justify his hatred then by linking into to a campaign of hatred?  Do we believe that everyone, for example, who was in the SS had just been convinced by Nazi ideology, or do we accept that some were just sickos who used that as an excuse?  Did every Red murderer in the revolutionary Russia really feel a hard devotion to the proletariat, or were some just nasty creeps?  What about Baron Ungern-Sternberg of the Russian Civil War.  Did his devotion to the Whites cause him to do all those creepy acts, or was something else going on?

The distressing Baron Ungern-Sternberg of the Russian Civil War.

All of which is to suggest this.  Yes, there's some real whackos who attach themselves to warfare, and they aren't always directed by a central authority.  But that doesn't mean that the combating authority doesn't adopt their actions or give them motivation to act.  Yes, Berserkers were berserk, and not all Norsemen were by any means. But they used them.  And not every German was a pathological hater of Jews, but that didn't mean that the Nazi government couldn't find employment for those who were.  You get the point.

And the wider point is that movements that adopt and excuse such behavior define themselves by it.  Some German soldiers were nothing more than clerks wanting to go home.   But the Nazis were evil.  Most Norsemen were farmers at heart, but their viking raids by which they are remembered were truly murderous.

We have now seen, in North America, a repeated series of attacks by people who claim allegiance to a hard line Islamic theology.  It's easy to say "oh, they're sick", but that's a risky assumption.  Not all are, likely.  And these attacks are accompanied by deadly ones in Europe.  In a little under a month we've seen one man claim allegiance to ISIL and strike a bar in Florida. While were looking for the reason and rejecting the one he gave, and wondering if trying to disarm the American public might be the solution, and even deadlier attack followed up in Nice France. 

Ban the truck?

That's not going to work.

Send them all in for psychoanalysis?  That's not going to work either.

Maybe we ought to start with just acknowledging what's going on.  An element of Islam is at war with us.  No, not every element.  And not every Muslim either.  But some are, and its more than a handful.  And, like it or not, they're amongst the most observant and hardcore.  They may also be way off the mark in their own interpretation of Islam. But pretending that they don't have one, and that those who answer that call are simply insane, is in error.