Archive for the ‘thwarting democratic process’ Category

Penigma, Catherine the Great, and Russian Interference in the 2016 Election

Catherine the Great! (Oh, the temptation to make a comment about Donkeys!)

Yep, you got that correct, Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great (Екатери́на Вели́кая, Yekaterina Velikaya),  Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796.

That’s because the only thing which made Donald Trump president was the electoral college, an institution created by the US Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2-4).  So, if there really WAS any “Russian” influence in the process that made Trump president of the US, it would have had to have been produced during the reign of Catherine the Great!

The Fact is Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 65,853,516 (48.5% votes) to Trump’s 62,984,825 (46.4% votes), but lost in the electoral college by receiving 232 (43.1%) of the electoral votes to Trump’s 306 (56.8%) votes.

Of course, it is far easier to blame the Russians for this defeat than it is to address the real issues behind Clinton’s loss.

Although, that is a strategy that is sure to backfire since any claims of “Russian” interference result in the faults of the Clinton Campaign: her being a weak candidate, DNC misconduct, and pretty much everything that was common knowledge to Sanders’ supporters and Clinton opponents.

Any real discussion of Clinton’s loss must include the faults of the US system of elections: especially the radical overhaul of the electoral college, which was supposed to have prevented foreign interference in the US presidential process ( The Federalist Papers, No 68).

It is blatantly obvious that the Electoral College serves no useful purpose, but that won’t be addressed as long as people refuse to address the real cause of Trump’s becoming president.

Then again, any real investigation of the US election would be a threat to the current Democrat-Republican duopoly. The duopoly thrives on the illusion that US elections are somehow “democratic”, but it is hard to make that claim when an institution designed to be anti-democratic is allowed to continue its existence.

See also:

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Born to run things

I had to admit that there were a few possible titles to this post, such as “Sure I am an elitist”, “Define Sheeple”, “critical thinking on the internet”, and so forth. But if you have actually read this blog, you have figured out that I am from the “ruling class”. You know, the elite, the people who run your life.

I find it interesting to see how people are described as “sheeple”, especially in the context of the “Second Amendment debate”. Even more so when I look at the wikipedia entry:

Sheeple is a term of disparagement, in which people are likened to sheep.

It is often used to denote persons who voluntarily acquiesce to a perceived authority, or suggestion without sufficient research to understand fully the scope of the ramifications involved in that decision, and thus undermine their own human individuality or in other cases give up certain rights. The implication of sheeple is that as a collective, people believe whatever they are told, especially if told so by a perceived authority figure believed to be trustworthy, without processing it or doing adequate research to be sure that it is an accurate representation of the real world around them.

Sorry, I don’t fit the picture of “sheeple” in any way. Maybe “sheeple herder”, but not “sheeple”.

Nevermind that I am a believer in the “collective right” and will always be as it is the historically accurate interpretation. The “individual right” camp has done a wonderful job of twisting the truth, yet I am amazed at who is willing to believe it. Yes, there are lawyers who actually believe that the Second Amendment includes self-defence: despite the fact that they would rip holes if it were the opposite opinion claiming that there was a right that didn’t exist (e.g. abortion).

No, this is not because I was told this was the correct interpretation, but because I actually looked at the source material, which I frequently cite for you to examine as well. It is the only interpretation that makes sense as well.

Unless you truly believe criminals have the right to firearms ownership.

Additionally, I am amazed that there is such blatant running of the Heller by the Special Interest think tank, the Cato Institute. And guess what, the Cato Institute has ties to Rupert Murdoch. In case you missed it, Murdoch owns quite a large media conglomerate: News Group. News Corp owns the Wall Street Journal.

As the bumper sticker says: “the media are as liberal as the large, conservative companies that own them.”

And there is a reason that “conservatives” dislike National Public Radio and want to cut funding: they would have no control over a publicly funded organisation. But fortunately, nearly 30 years of “conservative” governments in the US have left public broadcasting with almost no funding.

What is left? You find that the media, and even the internet, are filled with right wing posts and a predominance of right wing information. You have to sift to find anything useful.

You are told that Heller “finds” an individual right, but guess what? That right seems more and more nebulous if you scrutinise it.

For example:

Although we do not undertake an
exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the
Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be
taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the
possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or
laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places
such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing
conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.
Heller p. 54

This has a footnote, 26, which states:

We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only
as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.

Don’t forget footnote 23 as well!

23 With respect to Cruikshank’s continuing validity on incorporation,
a question not presented by this case, we note that Cruikshank also
said that the First Amendment did not apply against the States and did
not engage in the sort of Fourteenth Amendment inquiry required by
our later cases. Our later decisions in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252,
265 (1886) and Miller v. Texas, 153 U. S. 535, 538 (1894), reaffirmed
that the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government.

What does that leave you with? Nothing?

But it is an “individual” right!

As Justice Stvens said:

The question presented by this case is not whether the
Second Amendment protects a “collective right” or an
“individual right.” Surely it protects a right that can be
enforced by individuals. But a conclusion that the Second
Amendment protects an individual right does not tell us
anything about the scope of that right.

The Civic right, Collective right, or whatever you want to call it means that the Second Amendment only protects the “right to keep and bear arms” as part of the militia, that is the body organised under article I, section 8. All the quotes from the adoption deal with partition of power between the two governments:

To Congress is given the power of “arming, organizing, and disciplining the militia, and governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States.” To the state legislatures is given the power of “appointing the officers, and training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” I observed before, that, if the power be concurrent as to arming them, it is concurrent in other respects. If the states have the right of arming them, while concurrently, Congress has power of appointing the officers, and training the militia. If Congress have that power, it is absurd. To admit this mutual concurrence of powers will carry you into endless absurdity— that Congress has nothing exclusive on the one hand, nor the states on the other. The rational explanation is, that Congress shall have exclusive power of arming them, and so on, and that the state governments shall have exclusive power of appointing the officers, &c. Let me put it in another light.

May we not discipline and arm them, as well as Congress, if the power be concurrent? so that our militia shall have two sets of arms, double sets of regimentals, and so forth and thus, at a very great cost, we shall be doubly armed. The great object is, that every man be armed. But can the people afford to pay for double sets of arms? Every one who is able may have a gun. But we have learned, by experience, that necessary as it is to have arms, and though our Assembly has, by a succession of laws for many years, endeavored to have the militia completely armed, it is still far from being the case. When this power is given up to Congress without limitation or bounds, how will your militia be armed?

See my How will your militia be armed? Post.

Funny, but Patrick Henry doesn’t mention self defence in that piece I just quoted. But, you can stop being sheeple and actually do some cite and fact checking for yourself. I mean, did you catch that was a quote famous quote from Patrick Henry?

So, I find it amazing that people think that the Bilderbergers work in secret. See how many people have missed that they have been played by the DC v. Heller nonsense.

The Bilderbergers could post their agenda on the front page of the New York Times and most people would miss it.

Who you calling “sheeple”?

Bilderbergers and Cato–think tanks take action in Norwegian election.

As seen in Endgame, the leader of the Norwegian “Progress party” (Fremskrittspartiet, FrP), Siv Jensen, attended the Bilderberg meeting in 2006.

This received some attention by Norwegian mainstream media.

Then in 2008 the Norwegian mainstream media reported that Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation will help FrP to win the 2009 election, making Siv Jensen the Prime Minister of Norway.

Here she called herself the new “iron lady”, the new Maggie Thatcher of Norway. And she is very confident that she will become the next Prime Minister…

And of course, one of the things her party is working for, is to sell out all the natural resources in Norway, privatizing the heritage meant for future generations.

Heller–Be very afraid!

I find it interesting that people who find conspiracies everywhere and worry about institutions such as the Council for Foreign Relations and the Bilderbergers have missed one very scary point about DC. v. Heller.

Heller was bankrollled by a conservative think tank.

Robert A. Levy is a chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute and the organizer and financier behind District of Columbia v. Heller.

In 2002, Levy began recruiting plaintiffs for a planned Second Amendment lawsuit against the District of Columbia. Although Levy has never owned a gun himself, he was interested in the issue as a constitutional scholar and believer in individual rights. He teamed up with Clark M. Neily III of the Institute for Justice and began finding and vetting District residents who had a legitimate and appealing reason for wanting a gun for self defense at home. They eventually settled on six residents: Shelly Parker, Tom Palmer, Gillian St. Lawrence, Tracey Ambeau, George Lyon and Dick Heller. They tried to select a diverse group, and ended with men and women, black and white, and a variety of income levels. Levy only knew Palmer, a colleague at Cato, and none of the six knew each other before the case.

The lawsuit was initially filed in 2003 as Parker v. District of Columbia. After several reversals and appeals, the case was heard by the Supreme Court on March 18, 2008. The court trashed the previous precedent of US. v. Miller and came out with the new theory that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to gun ownership. Levy released a statement saying “Heller is merely the opening salvo in a series of litigations that will ultimately resolve what weapons and persons can be regulated and what restrictions are permissible. But because of Thursday’s decision, the prospects for reviving the original meaning of the Second Amendment are now substantially brighter.”

Levy financed the lawsuit and served as a co-counsel. As a result of his involvement in the case, Levy has been profiled by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

No big secret there, in fact Levy is incredibly boastful about his plan to litigate rather than legislate.

Now, we groups such as the Bilderbergs whose objective is to dress totalitarian corporate ideology up to appear rational and push it out, unattributable, for mass consumption under Chatham House rules. Meanwhile, outside the Bilder-bubble, ‘god-is-money’ globalisation is the new religon with the greedy given a pat on the back as they plunder both the earth and a large part of the human spirit.

Be very worried because the political agendy of these think tanks is far from open and is very similar to the Bilderbergs.

Concern about the rising political activity of these think tanks is accentuated not only because they adhere to an extreme right wing economic orthodoxy, but also because they have found well-heeled allies in the corporate sphere who are prepared to fund advocacy activities as part of their own corporate political strategy. As evidence presented in this report indicates, it is very difficult to obtain precise information about these corporate funding strategies, as neither the corporations, nor the think tanks are obliged to disclose comprehensive data about their financial activities. This secrecy enables corporations to play a double game of nurturing a public image of corporate social responsibility while at the same time funding think tanks that fight social, consumer protection and environmental legislation across the board. Furthermore, in principle, think tanks are not expected to engage in direct lobbying on specific legislation. However, research by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) shows that in practice the line between their activities and lobbying is blurred.

While the perspectives of neoclassical think tanks, such as such as the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, or Fraser Institute, play a role in liberal-democratic processes as part of a rich mixture of ideas, they also contribute to the erosion of democracy if they come to dominate the public consciousness. Their domination forces the polity too far to the right side of the democratic model when inadequate ideological balance exists.

Now, everyone is talking about how 5 judges sanctioned the popular myth about the Second Amendment dealing with self-defence, which is something that does not stand scrutiny. Even more importantly, the Judges of the supreme court have changed the law without democratic process.

I mean, if you want the Second Amendment to deal with self-defence, then you go through the process of amending the constitution.

But Levy did a wonderful job of by-passing the democratic process and abusing the legal system. Strangely enough, but Scalia has warned about by-passing the political arena and going to the Court system to set political agendas.

I keep pointing out that the Second Amendment was meant to protect us against a runaway military budget, but how often does the issue of standing armies come up in relation to the Second Amendment? No, it has become a personal right and the rise of this personal right has coincided with the rise of the military-industrial establishment.

Any wonder that the Heller decision comes during an illegal war and as we are seeing governments going bankrupt?

I don’t have the time to research this, but I have noticed that the talk about the institution of the militia has diminished to be replaced with talk of self-defence. Scalia wipes out the first half of the Second Amendment to make the Second Amendment all about self-defence.

Just as the military budget goes out of control.

And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see.

Joseph Story Commentary on the Second Amendment

Any right you have from DC v. Heller is illusory. It will be taken from you.

A standing army in the hands of a government placed so independent of the people, may be made a fatal instrument to overturn the public liberties; it may be employed to enforce the collection of the most oppressive taxes, and to carry into execution the most arbitrary measures. An ambitious man who may have the army at his devotion, may step up into the throne, and seize upon absolute power.

Military interference with civilian government is hardly an obsolete concern. Military coups have overthrown democratically elected governments on every continent, and within the memory of anyone alive today who bothered to notice. In many countries where the standing army doesn’t flaunt its political power, the military continues to pull the strings of puppet civilian officials. But these embarrassments have received little attention in the popular media and public education, creating a complacent citizenry unaware of just how rare and fragile the freedoms they take for granted are from a historical perspective. We’re told instead that the American standing army is somehow different from every other standing army down through history, and couldn’t possibly pose a threat to our constitutionally limited form of government or our liberty as citizens.

But even more frightening…

Suppose you are a Republican politician with deep-seated hostility toward the Federal government. You find that certain government programs, including some very big programs, such as Social Security, politically untouchable. Nevertheless, you’d like to put an end to everything that is big government, including Social Security (though you’d never say this publicly).

What do you do?

Why not make reckless, irresponsible “tax cuts” (really tax delays) that leave a big chunk of the government funded by deficit spending? Do this year after year, building up a budget deficit so large that a big part of yearly tax collections go to merely pay interest on the debt. Publicly proclaim you have given Americans a “tax cut” as the government heads toward bankruptcy.

And what happens when the government goes so deeply in debt that it can’t function? For our right-wing friends, this is fine: there is very little that the government does of which they approve. “Crippled government is a good government” seems to be their instinctive belief.

A bankrupt government is a scary thought. What about the next time we are forced to go to war, and we have to send troops who are woefully ill equipped? We saw what happened when George Bush thought the war in Iraq could be a low budget affair; our troops died in unarmored vehicles due to attempts to keep costs down. This will happen again in future, inevitable military conflicts.

And those of us who don’t have the five million dollars that the “conservatives” believe is the dividing line between rich and middle class expect to survive in retirement partly on income from Social Security. If the government can’t uphold its promise to provide Social Security, lots of us are in serious trouble. Republicans who hate big government may bring an end to Social Security, one of the biggest government programs ever. And they’ll do it without ever winning over the electorate to their views.

The trillion dollar federal deficit is not simply some accidental happening out of politicians’ control. Republican presidents, from Ronald Reagan to George Bush, have deliberately foisted a “borrow and spend” policy knowing they are driving the government to bankruptcy, and not caring what the consequences are for the rest of us.

Maybe someone can dig deeper into this, but I find Heller very worrying in the trends that are coming from these think tanks with an agenda of destroying freedom.