Friday 30 April 2021

Real Republican Values. Where is this Party Now?

Ronald Reagan at his Finest

Below is a link to a 1970s YouTube interview someone sent me where Johnny Carson discusses issues with Ronald Reagan before he ran for President. It is an eye opener. Unless Johnny gave him the questions in advance, Reagan is sharp as a tack without Nancy at his side.

After laughing at Carson's lapels, tie, collar, and hair, listen to Reagan. Also notice how much better dressed he was than Johnny. Where did Carson get that jacket? Even Don Cherry wouldn't have worn that!

The take away for me is that all the values Reagan touches are now missing in the party today. He hits all the conservative hot buttons but does so in a common sense way. In those days I was also a conservative in my beliefs. Also listen to how many times he mentions both parties - this was when, despite different views, one party did not hate the other.

The most shocking thing of all was when I mentally tried to envisage Trump in the same interview. What a difference! He would have been totally lost without a teleprompter. I don't know if all of the stories Ronald told were true but he handles Carson like a pro and many of the ideas made perfect sense. One thing is sure - big government and professional politicians and their costly studies, committees, and papers have not changed.

(3) Ronald Reagan Interview on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson - 01/03/1975 - Part 02 - YouTube

C'mon Republicans. Wake up. THAT is what you stand for, not rebellion and lies, lies, lies.


Tuesday 27 April 2021

Second Amendment - Final Post (for now!)


2nd Amendment - Some Food for Thought

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In my last post I created the statement below which I will fictitiously call the Brewster Amendment. Its structure is also primarily innuendo just like The Second. Imagine it was authored during the industrial revolution:

Mechanized transportation, being necessary to the maximization of a productive economy, the right of the people to operate motorized vehicles shall not be infringed.

It very closely parallels The Second and it might be helpful to develop suggestions and enhancements using a driving analogy without the gun emotion attached to The Second. I hope we can agree on the following regarding the Brewster Amendment:

1. That mechanized transportation can include things like cars, trucks, busses / trolleys, ATVs, motorcycles, skateboards, as well as tanks, armoured humvees, and ICBM carriers.

If common sense says to eliminate the last 3 because they have nothing to do with commerce, why include AK-47s, Uzis, and machine guns as "arms" in interpreting the 2nd? They are not for personal protection anymore than tanks are for grocery shopping.

2. That when they mentioned "Mechanized Transportation" the author of the Brewster Amendment had no way to anticipate vehicles with 600 horsepower accelerating to 100 mph in mere moments which are available today .

Common sense says that these road monsters are not part of moving goods to market, people to work, or kids to school. So limits on horsepower, speed, and emissions on some forms of Mechanized Transportation are reasonable. Why not the same for types or "arms" in the 2nd? Today's super cars are like today's super weapons. If the government can make car makers accountable, so should it the gun makers.

3. That mass transit, trains, and trucks require large amounts of energy but are still better than individual monster cars to move people to work and goods and services to markets

Again if this is reasonable then surely a national military is a better way to fight off a foreign aggressor than 50 independent militias. United we stand, divided we fall. The British are not coming. State militias to repel a foreign aggressor make no sense. Should there be 50 air forces as well as 50 militias?

4. That countries which are regarded by the world as the most technologically advanced are usually those which have already created national mass transit strategies and systems for people, like mini and electric cars, bullet trains and convenient trolleys and busses throughout their cities.

In a similar manner, America's greatness as seen by other nations is historically in the country as a whole, not her 50 states. It was the American Nation that others feared, not her State Militias. Foreign adversaries would LOVE the Union to break apart over guns or any other issue and this should be avoided at all costs.

5. That The Authors of the Brewster Amendment were not envisaging one or more states developing their own fragmented transportation laws just to spite the Feds. Imagine for example some states driving on the left and some on the right or each with their own gauge of train tracks. This would shatter any hopes of a robust national economy. So states did not indulge in such petty rebellions because it was not in their best interests overall.

Likewise The Authors of The Second did not intend any group in one party to storm The Capital or to hang prominent members of the opposition just because they were not happy or they liked their own policies better. Elections serve that purpose.

6. All vehicles operating on public roadways are licensed - that is to say - registered. This has seldom been questioned.

All guns ownership should be registered as well. Guns are designed to kill - cars are not. Neither the Brewster Amendment nor The Second forbid registration.

Enough philosophy and academia. Time to throw some meat into the cage. On the surface non of these violate the language of The Second Amendment:

1. The sale and distribution of arms. Some regulations exist regarding sales and those selling. Apply these regulations across all states using one set of laws. This will require a lot of diplomacy and negotiation. Casual sales by individual citizens at gun shows or to friends, relatives, and strangers must be included as well as restrictions on sales to the mentally disturbed and existing gun felons.

2. Regulate the USES of any arms held by citizens, anywhere. Obviously crimes like bank robbery are already covered. Murder in the name of self-protection is not. Work towards all states following the same laws and eliminate nebulous concepts like "invaded my space" and "felt threatened". Nobody knocking on a door to ask directions or ask for assistance should be legally shot by the homeowner.

3. Agree on a list of those weapons one is allowed to bear. This again is a state problem - a big one - which should be consolidated. Assault weapons should not be on it.

4. The sentences for those guilty of crimes committed using a gun, should be greatly increased if the gun is a banned weapon.

5. Regulate the ammunition of banned weapons including its manufacture, distribution, and sale. Only the military and groups authorized to use such weapons should be able to buy its ammunition.

6. Tax the hell out of gun ownership. This does not violate The Second unless you view it as "Infringement". That would mean that ANY form of taxation is an infringement (some already believe this). If all taxation ceased then governments and their services including infrastructure and policing would cease to exist. Perhaps the revenue could go towards settlements for the victims of current gun laws.

7. All states should have the same minimum age for gun ownership which should coincide with the age to serve in the military.

Remember this: there are multiple inquiries ongoing as I write into police departments and their firearm use, especially in regards to fatal shootings by officers. Most are in agreement that there have to be some new standards about both how police can use firearms and making them accountable. Surely the same applies to private citizens who don't receive any formal training in their use. It would be nuts to charge a cop for a shooting if a citizen can commit the same offence with no repercussions.

That's a start. Fire away.... 


Sunday 25 April 2021

Second Amendment - Time to Talk

2nd Amendment Summary and Suggestions

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Having posted a number of topics on this subject which attempted to highlight some of the controversies, realities, and beliefs, I now face the challenge that any President or well meaning citizen faces in trying to suggest changes.  Many gun loving citizens will react negatively to ANY change. That is a given. However with any journey to make progress you have to take the first step.

I began by acknowledging that the second amendment (above) is deliberately vague. That is a major understatement. Let's move the same challenges into a non-gun world for a moment. Here is a very similarly worded statement. I will try to work with THIS as an impartial beginning. This one is a problem in all modern countries:

"Mechanized transportation, being necessary to the maximization of a productive economy, the right of the people to operate motorized vehicles shall not be infringed".

Starting to get it yet? Here are some of the obvious problems with the above but this issue affects a much higher percentage of the population. I don't know many people who do NOT want to drive some vehicle eventually. On the other hand, with guns, I think it is safe to say that a higher percentage of people do not want guns than those who don't want to own and drive a car. In Canada and I assume the USA, motor vehicles, speed limits, and most highways are under provincial (state in America) control, not federal.

1. Implementing national laws like speed limits, minimum age and learning periods is more difficult
2. Controlling insurance nationally is also more difficult
3. What motorized vehicles are included - tanks; bulldozers; skate boards; boats; convoy tractor trailers with 5-6 trailers?
4. What about vehicles for sheer pleasure that are not moving goods or taking people to work? Are these enhancing the economy (other than providing some employment to manufacture them)?
5. Who regulates the sale and manufacture of the vehicles to assure their safety or effect on the environment?
6. How can we make better use  of a lot of statistics on traffic injuries, damage, and death?
7. With ever growing traffic and parking problems, how many vehicles should a citizen be allowed to license to drive?
8. Can people with mental disabilities drive? What about a history of driving drunk or recklessly?

I think you can readily see the parallels to gun control. Some of these points (as they relate to normal driving of passenger vehicles) seem obvious. Some of the restrictions and laws that DO exist also are not considered to be an infringement to most reasonable people.

That does not juxtapose well to American gun owners. There really is no "logic" or reasoning with the most fervent gun owners. I know that neither I nor any other person who does not share their passion for guns and the belief that they are the "solution" to increasing mass shooting, has to address the rest of society. The audience must be those who know these problems either never existed in countries without a gun culture or in those who dramatically reduced it by controlling or eliminating the public's right to carry.

You have probably noticed that I have been delaying the toughest part - what to do about it. That's because I still have no real answers. I hope the next post will be the final one and that I can make a few suggestions, some of which will not be my own. The source does not matter - only the result does.


Wednesday 21 April 2021

Second Amendment - Topic 6


2nd Amendment, Sale and Distribution - Topic 6

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Here is the last topic - the sale and distribution of weapons - before looking at the overall gun situation.

The above reproduction of the Second Amendment states nothing about the sale and distribution of the "arms" that one may bear. Thus no suggestions or current practices on sales are in violation of this Amendment. Proposals and regulations have to be considered with original intent in mind. Everything keeps coming back to that - interpretation.

As stated in one of the previous topics, regulations or practices regarding sale and distribution varies by state and by situation. Professional sellers of weapons are certainly regulated federally but not so much by state. If you sell a gun to a friend or at a gun show or garage sale, there is no regulation. Need I go further?

This in effect negates any legitimate regulation. If I want to go on a rampage and do my own mass shooting, I can buy any weapon I want off the street or from a neighbour. There will also be no background check - just slap down my cash and start shooting.

Once again letting reason interfere with passion, here are some suggestions:
  1. Any vendor at a gun show must be a registered seller - no private sales. That vendor must conduct and show proof of a valid background check on the purchaser (no minors, no mental disorders, no prior serious weapons offences). This does not prevent illegal yard sales for example but it is one large step for mankind!
  2. Such sellers should lose their license to sell if they violate this.
  3. A purchaser should also have to register a purchase. This does not violate anything in the 2nd. You need to register a car which is not intended to kill so why not a gun? I know this argument is as old as the controversy but it is still valid.
  4. Rapid-fire assault weapons should not be sold to the public - does not violate the 2nd. Yup - heard it all before - they are "arms" so they should be available. Today assault weapons, tomorrow tanks in every driveway.
  5. As mentioned before, if you can't regulate the gun sale then regulate the ammunition sale. This will really make gun owners go wild but the 2nd does not preclude this approach. Naturally, the manufacture of your own ammo would have to be part of this.
I could go on but why waste the space? We know what the reaction will be. There is enough here to make a big impact - like the impact of one of those rounds hitting a body.

That is enough food for thought, both of rational thinkers and the not so rational. In subsequent posts I will address the tough part: what to do about all of this, if anything.

Thanks for reading this far.


Monday 19 April 2021

Second Amendment - Topic 5


2nd Amendment, not Applicable in Special locations? - Topic 5

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This one should be easy but as stated before, nothing about the second amendment is easy.

What I have read with only minimal research (Google research so it must be true!) is that state and federal legislation on this is all over the map - literally. That goes for almost everything about the 2nd Amendment.

So here are some places where I would suggest guns should be prohibited. When reading them ask yourselves "Would the authors of the Second have any reason to disagree with these?" Federal laws are consistent with many of them. In many locations State laws are not:
  • government buildings. (Some states restrict carrying in some state buildings but not others)
  • courthouses
  • schools
  • hospitals
  • airports and planes (other than security forces)
  • bars or any other places where people and their emotions are liable to be under the influence of a substance like alcohol or drugs including sporting events
  • any private business or property where the owner decides to disallow guns. This latitude is constantly under attack
  • banks
  • police stations
  • churches
  • parks
  • public transit
  • nudist colonies (just kidding to see if you got this far)

Even where these apply there are differences regarding concealed or open carry restrictions. What difference does this make? Is the thinking that if you can carry an open weapon the other guy/girl has a better chance of reaching theirs if they see you reaching for yours? Sound like Dodge City? 

My take on this is something that applies to all of these locations. Turn it around and ask why does anyone require a gun in any of these locations? The answer for the gun owners/lovers will always be for protection - against some other person.

If fear of the other person is the big issue, then I have two suggestions, expensive as they might be.1) Such locations all have securely locked entrances. 2) An armed guard searches/scans for weapons outside that entrance with mandatory temporary surrender of weapons until the owners leave. The weapons would be locked up and only the guard could unlock them.

One more idea would be to work towards standardizing all of these locations and restrictions across federal and state jurisdictions. Then at least everyone would have to abide by one set of rules.

This leaves one more topic - 6 - before summarizing the entire subject and possibly making suggestions.


Saturday 17 April 2021

Second Amendment - Topic 4


 2nd Amendment, Case for Gun Rights Denial - Topic 4

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Today's topic is another heated one. Are there certain groups of people who should be denied firearms under any circumstances?

Mature adults have to include at least one - children. Surely the authors of the amendment would have assumed this one. As mentioned days ago the question then becomes at what age? If there are minimum ages for drinking or driving does it not make sense to use the same age here? Nixon signed an extension to a bill to require voters to be at least 18. Should you own deadly weapons before you can even vote?

If you agree that children - whose brains, powers of reason, emotions etc. are not yet developed but will, why allow the mentally handicapped to have guns when their same traits won't develop?

That leaves criminals. How can anyone think that a person who has already used a gun illegally, won't do it again? Using the same analogy as above, if repeat offenders can lose their right to drive, why not the right to shoot? In my opinion a person found to break the law while using a gun should not only forfeit all their guns they should suffer severe consequences if they are found to acquire new ones. The seller should be included.

Here is one approach that is simple. Nobody outside of police, conventional military personnel including guardsmen federal and state, and possibly private but licensed security companies and bodyguards should be allowed to carry firearms - NOBODY. Now we all know the immediate reaction will be that the bad guys will still carry. How do other countries control that? I can only suggest severe penalties for those who carry illegally; even worse for those who supply them; and spot checks - LOTS of them - by police or other designated groups any time and any place to enforce a no carry law.

In times of war the military will supply the necessary firepower, not Tom, Dick, and Harriet. Those days are long gone. The British are not coming.

It isn't going to be easy. Nobody, including me, is saying that.

To be continued...


Thursday 15 April 2021

Second Amendment - Topic 3

 2nd Amendment, Militias - Topic 3

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In my post April 11, 2021 I listed what I saw as areas of discussion and controversy regarding the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Topic 3 is today's subject, the meaning of the word "Militia."

Was the use of the term "Militia" in reference to (1) the need some day to fight off a foreign attack (keeping the War of Independence in mind); (2) the right of each of the (United) states to do the same against each other; or (3) the need for state(s) to rebel against Federal government?

(1) One of the backbones of America and one of its greatest points of pride is how disparate people banded together to free themselves from British oppression. Despite the superior British experience, they lost as we all know and America was born. That was almost 250 years ago. Since then The United States of America has shown her strength to the world by uniting those very peoples whenever needed especially to go to other countries and fight with allies against common enemies. The notion of having to fight off an intruder on a moments notice with self-armed militias is not realistic today.

In fact if America were to have another internal or civil war there is a very good chance other great nations like China or Russia would take advantage while she is down to attack if they were ever going to do so. "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" is a fact of history.

Since that War of Independence the need for the ultimate armed forces has become even more important but not using whatever you have in your basement, garage, or pickup truck. Therefore it seems at least to me that state militias to defend America are an obsolete notion. Maintaining superior national armed forces is surely the best defense.

(2) and (3) If the "Militia" was to permit one state to wage actual war with another or to overthrow a central government (with a weaker militia?) then again I say in today's world America would be doomed. This could have happened on January 6, 2021. Thank God Federal and loyal state forces ("militias" if you prefer) fended off an internal attack - and that is exactly what it was.

Therefore any use of militias in any of the scenarios mentioned above would likely spell doom for the country. Is this why the amendment was created? I hardly think so.

One more observation: where in The Constitution does it say or was it ever intended that if one group or another in the world's model democracy disliked the result of an election or what any politician stood for, the unhappy party should grab some "arms" and proceed to hang or shoot those politicians? Is THAT what the amendment was for? Once again - NOT!

So ironically, this leaves the most popular argument in favor of Americans owning guns - personal protection. When your read the amendment (See 1st paragraph, above) personal protection is not even mentioned nor can I see how it is implied.

It is difficult to come up with a good analogy. Perhaps this is like forming a group of volunteer firefighters for a remote area. If they are granted the right to use a flashing light and a siren on their private vehicle it would be for the occasional need to rush to very rare fires. It would never be intended to get to your regular job on time if you were late. This would be like using firearms for personal use, not that of being a member of a militia.


Wednesday 14 April 2021

Second Amendment - Topic 2


 2nd Amendment, Federal or State - Topic 2

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In my post April 11, 2021 I listed what I saw as areas of discussion and controversy regarding the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Topic 2 is today's subject, the nature and purpose of the arms themselves.

In dictionaries I consulted arms and weapons reference each other. They appear to be synonyms. Both can include objects or devices used to fight, harm, overpower or even kill another being or living thing. In that sense even other species possess weapons. Weapons evolved over time from natural sticks and stones to those shaped or rendered to be more effective. We have all heard of arrows, knives, slingshots, spears, swords, lances, clubs, and even other tools like axes and pitchforks being used in both defensive and offensive manners. Humans alone have continually perfected our weapons and the means to mass-produce them. We are discussing human weapons today.

During the times of the second amendment common weapons were single shot flintlocks, muskets and cannons. In battle there were also swords, knives, and spears. Nobody could have possibly anticipated modern weaponry including tanks, machine guns, automatic pistols and assault weapons capable of tearing a body to pieces in mere seconds.

In any calm rational setting, it seems to most outside America and many inside, that these kinds of weapons were never intended for personal protection of family and property. For purposes of international war and defending ones country - with arms and militias, the opposite is true.

Many argue that the second amendment does not list arms that you can't possess or things you can not do with them - therefore anything goes. I do not subscribe to this. It is not stated that five year old kids can't bear arms and shoot their friends but similar things have happened. Also not prohibited is the ownership of an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead parked in your drive - ditto for an F18 or other fighter jet.

I am being pedantic because the authors of the 2nd Amendment assumed a certain degree of common sense on the part of governments and citizens. To many of us that appears to have been a false assumption. If anything in the previous paragraph seems to be "obvious", then where do you draw the line between what the authors intended and what not?

In the American system of government the courts are the final decision makers but on major issues associated with this topic they have opted out.

One tactic which I suggest is to approach the USE of arms covered by the amendment. As stated above this is also not defined so no rights would be infringed upon. Some laws address this such as robbing a bank using a weapon especially when people are injured or killed. Surely this can be expanded for other personal use of firearms. Associated with this would be prohibiting criminals who have been found guilty of previous crimes using weapons and those with known mental disabilities (to be defined). Would the authors of the amendment have objected?

How can anyone say it is OK for someone who knocks on a door for directions or who enters a house by mistake to be shot dead? In some states all the owner has to do is say they felt threatened or that they felt that their space was invaded. I don't have the answer but many people are elected and paid big bucks to come up with such answers or compromises. There is one of the biggest problems. Gun owners don't want to compromise.

Once again this will be discussed further in my final post on the Second Amendment. Please feel free to leave comments.


Monday 12 April 2021

Second Amendment - Topic 1

 2nd Amendment, Federal or State - Topic 1

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In my last post April 11, 2021 I listed what I saw as areas of discussion and controversy regarding the Second Amendment to U.S. The Constitution. Topic 1 is today's subject

Does this amendment target the individual states, the Feds, or the citizen?

The purpose of this amendment and why it was proposed is open to interpretation. No-one is living who was around when it was written. It is perhaps deliberately vague - somewhat like The Bible or any religious book. 

One predominant thought is that it was intended to allow citizens of individual states to fight a tyrannical Federal government. Does "militia" mean only groups such as armies and national guards have the right to bear the arms or does each individual have this right either for personal protection or to form their own "militias?"

Another issue is whether the original intent was to prevent the Feds from banning or granting the right to bear arms. Many think it was to permit only the States to grant or restrict this right.

Looking at other countries it seems to make sense that the most powerful army should be a national one if it is the country that needs defending. National governments will generally have the most funding, international contacts, and be most aware of world events. In fact many other countries do not have provincial or state militias, just police forces to enforce municipal, state, and federal laws.

The notion of having a standing army complete with weapons at home might have had merit long ago but with today's communications and satellites it is hard to imagine a surprise attack on the USA. Having guns at home as a national defense strategy to counter such an attack is a stretch.

The idea of entrenching the right to form discreet militias precisely to overthrow their own national government seems contrary to any notion of a nation. That's like giving cigarettes to people but asking them not to light them. Similarly if the idea was that one state might want to go to war with another, what kind of nation is that?

Having the right to personal protection with a gun has some merit given the American gun culture mentioned in the first article. However protection as in your person and family does not justify weapons of war at home or on the streets.

I will return to these topics in my final post where some suggestions will be offered and solicited. This was just some food for thought.

The next in this series will address types of weaponry.


Sunday 11 April 2021

Second Amendment

 An Old Favorite with Every American and Many Others

Many people have waded into this swamp and been bitten by alligators or at least been astonished by the number and size of them! It is even more controversial for non-Americans to discuss. I am Canadian but just as those passionately in favour of gun ownership have their rights, the entire world population has a right to hold its own opinions including their experiences with no such right to "bear" arms.

So I will discuss this in a series of posts attempting the whole time to respect all opinions and not to "lecture". The fact remains there are many Americans who are actually against the current status quo and who want at lease reasonable change. There are also many who do not.

To begin with a Google search for Second Amendment produces the following:

"A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

Lawyers, politicians, and private citizens have written and shouted volumes on this topic. What I have read tends to fall into these areas of controversy:

1. Application at the Federal vs. State levels

2. The nature and purpose of the Arms themselves

3. Whether "Militia" was in reference to the need some day to fight off a foreign attack keeping the War of Independence in mind or the right of each of the (United) states to do the same against each other, or the Federal government

4. Whether there are any classes of citizens for whom such a right should be infringed upon or denied such as known criminals who have used guns to break the law, or those with mental problems

5. Whether the right should not apply to some areas such as The District of Columbia, other government buildings, schools, hospitals.

6. Who should have the right to sell arms and weapons and whether this right should be regulated

Those alone suggest how this can be so controversial. I am not a lawyer but neither are most of the citizens who argue their right to bear any and all types of arms.

In future posts I will address each of these. Today let's look at another phenomenon. The topic in America has morphed into a mentality - almost a religion.

Many protagonists argue quite correctly that this is such a part of American culture it will never change. The Dodge City shootout scenario is ingrained. Guns make the man. They have guns so I have to have guns. The biggest and best gun wins! It is sad but true. I can think of no other country where people think like this. To others, that does not make it right, just unique - extremely unique. How do citizens in other countries enjoy their peaceful environments without carrying guns?

Many other democracies experience violence between political parties and religions just mentioning two but seldom are guns involved. Italy comes to mind - they change governments like seasons but don't bring out the guns and battle it out in the streets. There is one exception. One group with Italian origins that now exists in many countries is the Mob or organized crime. Surely this is an example of what can go wrong with gun availability. The drug trade is another.

Only organized police and military forces have taken on such groups and succeeded - not individual citizens with guns. To me this is an argument in favour of proper authorities having the guns, not criminals.

So there is an introduction. I look forward to continuing the topic.



Saturday 10 April 2021

And the Presidential #Oscar goes to...

What traits would make the Best #President?

What do the people - ALL of the people - want in a president (or a Prime Minister or any state leader)? I can see why Trump appealed to many people and to the shock of many, beat Hillary Clinton. I have stated this many times. People wanted a change from predictable, political Washington - all talk and no action. Trump with all his insults and lofty claims appealed to those against status quo Washington. Donald J. was just the wrong agent of change.

Many pondered people like Oprah Winfrey or a well known sports person. Once upon a time it was Lee Iacocca - a respected business leader who had turned around the misfortunes of Chrysler and made the Ford Mustang famous. He would have been far better than Trump whose claims were all phony. The problem with all of these is lack of traditional public leadership - knowing your way around Washington. Shaking up the establishment did not go well for Trump in the end. It will take a while to retire the old guard but many of them must go.

How about these traits for starters and I'd be interested in hearing your suggestions as candidates:

1. Honesty. It is sad but in their personal lives not many people practice this although they want it in their leaders. Let's face it - they are paid by and spend the money of the taxpayers.
2. One of us. It would be nice to know that a President did indeed come from common folk and not from a privileged family. Many like Biden talk about their parents being commoners and hard workers - true but ideally the candidate himself/herself has gotten their own hands dirty and had to do without. Middle class is probably right.
3. Youth. Part of the problem with "the establishment" is age. Many young voters now want to be heard. They do not have any bias against minorities whatever the type. This is a fact of life today and the best leader has to accept it.
4. Transparency. This is always a fancy buzz word but the top gun needs to constantly let the people know what's going on.
5. Management skills. This is one that many of the past lawyer types lacked and most corporate executives should possess. However a corporate figure needs a well-known stellar reputation of being liked and respected by the firm's employees and the business community.
6. Sense of Humor. This is not vital but it certainly helps. They must be both firm and light hearted at the appropriate times.
7. Great speaking skills. This is very important. When speaking they must exude confidence. The language does not have to be eloquent - in fact speaking at the level of the majority of the electorate is key. Speaking clearly and without double speak or spin is a true skill. Obama was a great example.
8. Neutral. Another tough one but I believe a candidate who is neither a Republican nor a Democrat is just what the doctor ordered - independent. Politically it would be extremely unlikely given the rules are stacked against this but so were they against Obama. This would make existing parties shape up.
9. Tough. Always necessary. There will be times when this is needed both at home and abroad.
10. Pro-military. America has to be strong militarily or it is doomed. The latest weaponry both offensive and defensive are must haves. The leader must be known to support this but should never use it to strike first. Deterrence to others is the key.
11. Team Leadership. POTUS is just too big a job for one person - Trump is a good negative example. A great President has to delegate to trusted colleagues and be capable of letting them do their job. As well, such people must toe the line or be fired if they make huge mistakes or disobey.
12. Finally cool. Charisma is a winner. Obama was cool. Clinton was cool. Reagan at times, was cool. I am Canadian. Pierre Trudeau was cool. People who do not follow politics relate to cool.

Does such a person exist? Does anyone have at least the majority of these characteristics? I'd like to see some of your ideal candidates and traits in comments.


Thursday 8 April 2021

Pardon Me Mr. President

Time to Reconsider Presidential Pardons

Isn't it time for the whole idea of Presidential pardons to be re-examined? The alleged request from Matt Gaetz for a blanket pardon from Donald Trump is just the most recent example of the potential abuse of such a tradition. Thankfully it was not granted. Look at Trump's other pardons for more examples. 

His approach to pardons resembled his tossing MAGA hats out to a crowd. He pardoned friends and allies. Thankfully he did not attempt one for himself. He is not the first President to abuse this power - far from it.

There is certainly a place for such a last chance option in the system. The problem is giving this absolute power to one person. It was intended to right what were generally accepted as injustices, especially when a party had served a substantial percentage of their sentence. The idea is to give an otherwise deserving or remorseful person a second chance at some form of normal life again, when many years have already been lost.

So what constitutes an abuse of this power by a President? Here are some examples in my opinion. Pardons for:
  1. Himself/herself
  2. Members of his/her own family (to be defined) 
  3. Cases in which he/she or any party, group, company, or association stands to benefit financially or in any other material way from the pardon
  4. Cases where it can be proven that the President already received a benefit as outlined in 2, above.
  5. Cases which have not yet been tried in a court of law. 
Here are some recommendations, even if changes to the Constitution are required:
  1. The pardon is invalid and can be reversed when it is proven that a President only agreed to the pardon because of physical threat or duress
  2. At present a list is compiled for the President's consideration which would remain. The President may add to or remove from the list. 
  3. This list must then be reviewed by a small, special committee of current congressional representatives or senators from any official party. There must be at least one member from each party and its representatives are appointed by Congress. There would be an even number of people on this committee and a simple majority would be needed. The President could only vote to break a tie. 
  4. The granting of such pardons would occur every two years. There would be a maximum number on each list (10? 20?). This allows those who might have been waiting a long time more opportunities for consideration
  5. A list of the most egregious crimes (updateable) would not ever qualify for pardons. This list would have to pass in both Congress and the Senate.
  6. If for any reason a President has to be replaced then any existing list must remain in place before the new President acts on any other new pardon list.
  7. If the pardon involves an entire class of people such as draft dodgers then it would only count as one pardon
  8. A guilty verdict must have been found before any pardon can be granted. Accusations do not qualify
These changes will not be easy. At present the process can make a mockery out of an otherwise decent system of government and justice.

Pardon me for bringing up the issue. I'm sure many others brought up after DJT's long list. Some of his predecessors' lists were shorter but just as wrong.


Sunday 4 April 2021

Easter Parade in America

Sing like Bing (Crosby)

This time of year you are liable to hear a classic oldie which - perhaps - even young folk know. This is the White Christmas of Easter - Easter Parade (written by Irving Berlin). Someone changed the original lyrics to a be more suitable for the current political environment.

In my red Trump bonnet, with "MAGA" written on it,
I thought I'd be The Lady of the Easter Parade.
Who's that wench in navy? With that blonde hair so wavy?
And what does "BBB" mean in my Easter Parade?

On the avenue, Penn' Avenue, when photographers do snap us
That brat will scat when I show her my Uzi
I believe The Big Lie, so where is Trump our Big Guy?
And why are all these guardsmen in my Easter Parade?

In the next election, there'll be a big correction,
We'll whoop these left wing Commies and their social charade.
Look around you lady. Your own State votes are shady.
And soon there'll be just whites folks at the Easter Parade.

Not so fast lass. Hold your ass. Voters Rights Act will trump Trump
And you'll find that you're up the creek in manure.
When The Donald's locked up, we'll see how bad he screwed up,
Then red and blue can hold hands at the Easter Parade.