Category Archives: Washington

When Is an Apology Not an Apology?

When it’s not an apology, that’s when.

Here’s Howard Dean “apologizing” over the tweet in which he wondered if Donald Trump was using cocaine:

“I apologize for using innuendo. I don’t think it’s a good thing to do, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do…This entire campaign has been debased by innuendo. Where was the mainstream media calling out innuendo 15 months ago when Donald Trump started running for president of the United States? That’s what I want to know. Do your job.”

Seriously, Howard Dean apologizes like all liberals…without a single bit of regret and with no actual apology proffered to his intended target.

The way The Hill chose to caption the photo accompanying the article doesn’t help.

“Howard Dean apologized Friday for insinuating that Donald Trump used cocaine, arguing his remarks were meant to highlight a critique of media coverage of the businessman’s presidential bid.”

Note to The Hill: Dean didn’t apologize for insinuating that Trump used Cocaine.

Howard Dean didn’t apologize for the content of the Tweet. He didn’t use innuendo. He didn’t even, as The Hill’s caption implies, insinuate that Dean used drugs or apologize for doing so.

To call Dean’s statement an apology in any sense of the word is an insult to everyone who’s ever made a heartfelt apology to anyone over anything. An apology carries with it a sincere sense of regret. Does anyone think Dean was regretful over his use of “innuendo,” much less over the original tweet? Of course he wasn’t. He said exactly what he thought he needed to say to try to get the result he wanted.

The whole rambling statement is a farce, intended to deflect any further criticism of his tweet. (Rambling enough that it left me wondering about Dean’s possible drug use.) The next time it’s mentioned, he can say, “I apologized for that” and move on.

 

Here’s my point.

I don’t really care if Howard Dean insults Donald Trump, or publicly wonders whether or not he’s using cocaine. I do care that news outlets continue to call statements like Dean’s apologies.

Here’s my point. Words have actual meanings. To continually use words in ways that are at odds with those meanings degrades the language. Let this go on long enough and it will become impossible to communicate complex ideas. English is such a beautiful language; it’s flexible, it’s adaptable, it’s precise, concise and dynamic. Why anyone would willingly jeopardize that is just mind-boggling to me.

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More on I-1491

I happened to come across this website that examines and rejects I-1491 from the perspective of a mental health advocate. You should still vote NO.

Know 1491

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Vote NO on Initiative 1491

Washington State readers, if you take your constitutional rights seriously; if you believe that no one should be deprived of their rights without due process; if you consider yourself to be an advocate for civil liberties, please vote NO on Initiative 1491.

Under I-1491, a judge can, at the request of “family and household members” (ironically, household members need not actually live with you…more about this later), issue an order depriving you of your constitutional right to bear arms. Indeed, the individual to be deprived of their right to bear arms need not even be notified in advance that any action is being taken.

Consider this from Washington Arms Collectors:

“A woman, stalked by a violent ex-husband, attends a handgun class, obtains a Concealed Pistol License, and purchases a handgun – all to defend her and their children. The stalker realizes that he is now in danger if he follows, confronts, assaults her or invades her home. He sends a petition to the court, stating that his ex-wife has threatened him, that during a recent argument she brandished a firearm, and that she owns a gun and has taken training in its use. The stalker provides proof to the court of the acquisition of a firearm. He also knows of his wife’s visits to a psychologist during their divorce proceedings and in his petition discloses the medications she is on and alleges that she is mentally unstable and a danger to her, their children and him. The allegations are serious enough that the court, without a hearing, issues an ‘ex parte* extreme risk protection order’ that orders the woman to surrender her firearms. The first time that the stalking victim knows of the process that is being used to disarm her is when is when the local police show up at her door to deliver notice, search her home and seize her firearms.

With the help of the courts, this victim has been made helpless.”

Forget due process. Forget your constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Forget any quaint notions you may have about being innocent until proven guilty. Forget the old saying about having nothing to fear from the courts if you’ve done nothing wrong.

The progressive group, Alliance for Gun Responsibility is, predictably, supporting this initiative by distributing questionable “facts” and statistics. For example, they cite a study by the equally progressive Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, that claims dozens of lives have been saved by “similar” legislation in Connecticut. That’s super, but unless you live in a Minority Report world, where it can be known in advance that a particular act is certain to happen (and we know how that turned out in the movie), any claims of lives saved has to be pure speculation.

Furthermore, while some may say that the Connecticut legislation is similar to I-1491, it differs in at least one significant way. The Connecticut law requires an independent investigation on the part of local law enforcement before a person can be stripped of their 2nd Amendment rights; I-1491 requires only the say-so of the aforementioned family or household member.

Just exactly who are these family and household members? Aside from the people you would normally expect, I-1491 also includes a “person who resides or has resided with the respondent within the past year.”

 

Say, for example, you need a roommate, so a friend of a friend moves into your spare room. Your new roommate quickly falls behind on his share of the rent and utilities and, eventually, you ask him to move out. Several months later, the deadbeat roommate still owes you money. Angry over your efforts to collect, the ex-roommate files a petition with the court for an extreme risk protection order, stating that you own at least two handguns, drink heavily on the weekends, that you’ve been harassing him over a bogus claim for money and recently threatened him. The judge agrees that you’re a threat and issues an ex parte order to deprive your of your firearms. And just like the helpless woman in the hypothetical situation above, you’re none the wiser until the police show up to confiscate your firearms.

When this legislation was introduced to the State Legislature in 2015, it never passed out of committee. Why, you ask? Because even the liberal gun grabbers in Olympia could see that it was deeply flawed. First, as already mentioned (yes, I’m beating a drum, here), an extreme risk protection order can be issued before the respondent is even aware that any complaint has been filed.

Second, there is very little downside for a person who maliciously files a petition. There’s no filing fee and the penalty clause  is weak; in the event of a malicious petition, the respondent bears the cost and burden of seeking redress.

Next, the legislation requires only a preponderance of evidence in order for an ERPA to be issued, meaning that the judge need be only 51% sure that the facts alleged in the petition true. This is a laughably low standard to use in order to strip a person of his constitutional rights.

To be clear, I can understand the motivation behind this piece of legislation. Take the story about the woman above, and turn it around to have her seeking protection from her violent, gun toting ex-husband. It seems like the legislation proposed in I-1491 would be tailor made to protect her. Not so, according to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

If a person is truly dangerous, existing law already provides a variety of mechanisms to deal with the individual, all of which can lead to firearm prohibitions in appropriate cases.  Depending on the circumstances, these can include arrest, followed by pretrial detention or release on bond with conditions and monitoring; restraining or no-contact orders; or emergency mental health evaluations and commitments.

The issuance of an ERPO does not do anything to deal with the underlying cause of dangerousness, nor does it subject the person to any actual physical restraint, ongoing reporting or monitoring requirements, or treatment for any underlying mental health condition.  Initiative 1491 will be ineffective as it targets the tools but not the problem.

If a dangerous person is committed, he gets treatment. If he is arrested, he might be detained pretrial or at least monitored and subject to reporting requirements while on pretrial release. Nothing happens, however, to a person with an ERPO except the seizure of the person’s firearms (if he is known to have any) and listing in a prohibited person database.  Under I-1491, the person is left free to carry out any harmful designs by any means at his or her disposal, including the illegal acquisition of additional firearms.

I have not provided an exhaustive list of reasons here why I-1491 deserves to be voted down in November. I strongly encourage you to read both linked articles and ask yourself why progressives are pushing such a deeply flawed and anti-civil rights piece of legislation. While I’m sure they do want to save lives, it seems ironic that many of the same people who support this shameful assault on the 2nd and 5th Amendments also support abortion on demand and assisted suicide. This leaves me to draw the conclusion that they may be just as interested in depriving as many citizens as possible of their firearms as they are in improving gun safety.


As a side note, what is it with liberals anyway? They accuse conservatives of waging a war on women; they mock us by saying we want women to be barefoot and pregnant, but the truth is that liberals want women to be helpless and they want that helplessness codified into law.

*An ex parte judicial proceedings are conducted for the benefit of only one party; the other party is specifically excluded from the proceedings.

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Better Bombs than Guns? Really?

I pray I never find myself in the midst of a terrorist attack, but if I did, I’d prefer the attack to be with guns, where I had a chance to hide, flee or fight, than to have my life snuffed out in an instant by a bomb. Maybe it’s just me.

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Imagine

glock-19_hrImagine, by John Lennon, is among my top picks as one of the worst songs ever, but that’s not because I don’t have a good imagination.

I like to imagine lots of things, but one of my favorites is to imagine how many fewer rapes would be attempted if every potential rapist had to spend time wondering whether or not his intended victim was armed with a handgun.

Or how many would-be muggers would become actual muggers if they knew there was even a 50-50 chance their intended victims were armed. Or how many potential mass shooters would target schools, theaters or shopping malls if they knew their intended victims could respond with deadly force.

Now imagine what would happen if they knew for a certainty that none of their intended victims would be armed. Ever.

 

 

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When Will You Fight?

Oh, hey, look at me…I’m reblogging my own post. What will it take for this Administration to recognize that we need to fight? I mean really fight, like our children’s lives are on the line. When they burn an American hostage alive? When our daughters and granddaughters are wearing burqas? When they’re crucifying, beheading and burning people alive on the streets of our cities? Do you think it can never happen here? If you do, you are wrong.

it's only words

Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; 

If you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly;

You may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival.

There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves. 

~Winston Churchill

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In Which Harry Reid Waxes Eloquent On The Many Virtues Of The Filibuster

The full text of Reid’s 2005 floor speech:

Mr. President, yesterday morning I spoke here about a statement the Majority Leader issued calling the filibuster a “procedural gimmick.”

The Websters dictionary defines “gimmick” as – – “an ingenious new scheme or angle.” No Mr. President, the filibuster is not a scheme. And it is not new. The filibuster is far from a “procedural gimmick.” It is part of the fabric of this institution. It was well known in colonial legislatures, and it is an integral part of our country’s 217 years of history.

The first filibuster in the U.S. Congress happened in 1790. It was used by lawmakers from Virginia and South Carolina who were trying to prevent Philadelphia from hosting the first Congress.

Since 1790, the filibuster has been employed hundreds and hundreds of times. Senators have used it to stand up to popular presidents. To block legislation. And yes – even to stall executive nominees.

The roots of the filibuster can be found in the Constitution and in the Senate rules.

In establishing each House of Congress, Article I Section 5 of the Constitution states that “Each House may determine the rules.”

In crafting the rules of the Senate, Senators established the right to extended debate – and they formalized it with Rule XXII almost 100 years ago. This rule codified the practice that Senators could debate extensively.

Under Rule XXII, debate may be cut off under limited circumstances.

    • 67 votes to end a filibuster of a motion to amend a Senate rule
    • 60 votes to end a filibuster against any other legislative business.

A conversation between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington describes the United States Senate and our Founders Fathers vision of it.
Jefferson asked Washington what is the purpose of the Senate?

Washington responded with a question of his own, “Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?” “To cool it,” Jefferson replied. To which Washington said; “Even so, we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”

And this is exactly what the filibuster does. It encourages moderation and consensus. It gives voice to the minority, so that cooler heads may prevail.

It also separates us from the House of Representatives – where the majority rules. And it is very much in keeping with the spirit of the government established by the Framers of our Constitution: Limited Government…Separation of Powers…Checks and Balances.

Mr. President, the filibuster is a critical tool in keeping the majority in check. This central fact has been acknowledged and even praised by Senators from both parties.

In fact, my colleague from Georgia – Senator Isakson – recently shared a conversation he had with an official from the Iraqi government. The Senator had asked this official if he was worried that the majority in Iraq would overrun the minority. But the official replied… “no….we have the secret weapon called the ‘filibuster.’”

In recalling that conversation, Senator Isakson remarked: “If there were ever a reason for optimism… it is one of [the Iraqi] minority leaders, proudly stating one of the pillars and principles of our government, as the way they would ensure that the majority never overran the minority.”

And he was right. I spoke yesterday about Senator Holt and his 1939 filibuster to protect workers’ wages and hours. There are also recent examples of the filibuster achieving good.

In 1985, Senators from rural states used the filibuster to force Congress to address a major crisis in which thousands of farmers were on the brink of bankruptcy. In 1995, the filibuster was used by Senators to protect the rights of workers to a fair wage and a safe workplace.

Now Mr. President, I will not stand here and say the filibuster has always been used for positive purposes. Just as it has been used to bring about social change, it was also used to stall progress that this country needed to make. It is often shown that the filibuster was used against Civil Right legislation. But Civil Rights legislation passed – – Civil Rights advocates met the burden.

And it is noteworthy that today the Congressional Black Caucus is opposed to the Nuclear Option. For further analysis, let’s look at Robert Caro, a noted historian and Pulitzer Prize winner.

At a meeting I attended with other Senators, he spoke about the history of the filibuster. He made a point about its legacy that was important. He noted that when legislation is supported by the majority of Americans, it eventually overcomes a filibuster’s delay – as public protest far outweighs any Senator’s appetite to filibuster.

But when legislation only has the support of the minority, the filibuster slows the legislation …prevents a Senator from ramming it through…and gives the American people enough time join the opposition.

Mr. President, the right to extended debate is never more important than when one party controls Congress and the White House. In these cases, the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.

Right now, the only check on President Bush is the Democrats ability to voice their concern in the Senate. If Republicans rollback our rights in this Chamber, there will be no check on their power. The radical, right wing will be free to pursue any agenda they want. And not just on judges. Their power will be unchecked on Supreme Court nominees…the President’s nominees in general…and legislation like Social Security privatization.

Of course the President would like the power to name anyone he wants to lifetime seats on the Supreme Court and other federal courts. And that is why the White House has been aggressively lobbying Senate Republicans to change Senate rules in a way that would hand dangerous new powers to the President over two separate branches – the Congress and the Judiciary.

Unfortunately, this is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior by this White House and Republicans in Washington. From Dick Cheney’s fight to slam the doors of the White House on the American people…

To the President’s refusal to cooperate with the 9-11 Commission… To Senate Republicans attempt to destroy the last check in Washington on Republican power…To the House Majority’s quest to silence the minority in the House…

Republicans have sought to destroy the balance of power in our government by grabbing power for the presidency, silencing the minority and weakening our democracy.

America does not work the way the radical right-wing dictates to President Bush and the Republican Senate Leaders. And Mr. President, that is not how the United States Senate works either.

For 200 years, we’ve had the right to extended debate. It’s not some “procedural gimmick.” It’s within the vision of the Founding Fathers of our country. They established a government so that no one person – and no single party – could have total control.

Some in this Chamber want to throw out 217 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power.

They want to do away with Mr. Smith coming to Washington. They want to do away with the filibuster. They think they are wiser than our Founding Fathers.

I doubt that’s true.

Truth pouring from the mouth of Harry Reid; you don’t see that every day. And yesterday he threw it all away for a lie…the lie that Senate Republicans are blocking President Obama’s judicial appointments at an unprecedented rate. Here’s the truth:

According to a May report from the Congressional Research Service, President Obama had 71.4% of his circuit court nominees approved during his first term, which is slightly better than George W. Bush’s 67.3% level of success during his first term.

President Obama also didn’t fare the worst when it comes to district court nominees. During his first term, 82.7% of Obama’s district court nominees were approved, George H.W. Bush had 76.9% of his nominees approved.

And, for the record, Obama’s nominees are being confirmed in fewer days than Bush’s appointees.

But in recent years, it’s the amount of time it takes to get a nominee approved where the most radical change has taken place.

For example, during Reagan’s first term, it only took 45.5 days for one of his nominees to get approved. That number escalated only marginally over the next 20 years. But by the time George W. Bush was in office, the number skyrocketed to 277 days. Obama has fared slightly better than Bush, with his nominees taking 225.5 days to get approved. But historically speaking, it’s still a severe departure from most presidencies.

So, at the end of the day, Obama’s experience may not be quite as unique as he wants the public to believe. (Full article.)

 

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