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By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold – 

The press is being played like a “phish” by President Obama over the Russian hacking incident. First of all, it is a distraction from the real damage which Democrats inflicted on themselves by using dirty tactics against Hillary’s opponents and disrespecting many of the groups on which they depend for support. If you can’t defend the message, attack the messenger. Secondly, it is not an attack on democracy or the election process, it was an attack on Democrats. If there was an effect on the election, it was the content of these emails, not the fact that they were hacked.

Based on what we know so far, the level of involvement by Russian intelligence is also being exaggerated. This was not an high level, sophisticated attack like the one executed by the U.S. and Israel on Iran’s nuclear separation industry.  Democrat e-mails were hacked by a low level attack called “spear phishing.”

“Phishing” is a term used when a malicious email is delivered asking the receiver to open a document or website which contains malware or asks for personal information. Many times they bear the name of an acquaintance, whose email has been hacked or merely guessed. These are often marked by poor grammar or misspelled words or an unusual topic.

Spear phishing is more sophisticated, but still low level. The email and subsequent websites are disguised to look official, complete with logos and layout like the real site. However they are bogus, and any information the user provides is directed to a spurious server which collects and uses or sells the collected personal information. Usually some sort of software will be planted on the user’s computer that will continue to collect and transmit information to the criminal. A typical ruse is “Your account has been hacked, and will be locked pending your response. Please re-enter your password and personal information.”

Hillary’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, fell victim to a spear phishing attack, which was spread to other members of his contact list. These attacks preceded the November presidential election, specifically after Obama allegedly warned Putin to cease and desist.  AND MEMBERS OF THE DNC KEPT FALLING FOR THE RUSE!

This does not mean Russia had no involvement. In fact many criminal attacks of this sort originate in Russia or Eastern Europe. On the other hand, it does not mean the Russian government played an official role. We simply don’t know without additional facts.

Obama’s evidence supporting the role of Russia and Putin is vague in its analysis of alleged Russian government-sponsored hacking groups that are blamed for breaching several different parts of the Democratic Party during the 2016 elections.  The so-called FBI/DHS report issued on Thursday, December 29, 2016, meant for technology professionals, likewise contains self-contradictory statements.

Of note is that not one of the “17” security agencies (out of three or four) have come forward.  All of the information has come from Obama or staff working at his pleasure.  If true, a factual report would reveal sources and methods, which are more valuable than any information derived by their use.  Instead, the report was criticized by security experts who said it lacked depth and came too late.  Security experts using Twitter criticized the government report as too basic. Jonathan Zdziarski, a highly regarded security researcher, compared the joint action report to a child’s activity center. Tom Killalea, former vice-president of security at Amazon and a Capital One board member, wrote: “Russian attack on DNC similar to so many other attacks in past 15yrs. Big question: Why such poor incident response?”

Meanwhile, on the same day the FBI/DHS report was released (Thursday, December 29, 2016) Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia for interfering in the 2016 elections in retaliation for Russian efforts to interfere with the US presidential election.  These sanctions included the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US.   Putin’s reaction was to be the good guy for now. Rather than respond with similar sanctions against the US, Putin said Friday he would wait until Donald Trump becomes the US president next month before deciding his course of action

“While we reserve the right to take reciprocal measures, we’re not going to downgrade ourselves to the level of irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy,” Putin said in his statement. (The phrase “kitchen diplomacy” in Russian refers to “quarrelsome” behavior, according to The New York Times.)

With his statement, Putin indicated he plans to ignore Obama’s final diplomatic moves and focus on working with the Trump administration going forward. That puts the US response to the hacking attacks squarely in the hands of the president-elect, who has maintained that there’s no way to know that Russia orchestrated the hacks. Trump’s statements run counter to the US intelligence community’s publicly stated assessment that Russia was indeed behind the attacks.

Wisely Donald Trump is not biting but instead is keeping a low profile regarding the hacking incident.  Keeping silent is Trump’s best option. Trump wants to ‘move on’ but says he will meet with intelligence officials this week for an update. If Trump comes out in support of Obama’s allegations without justification, he will alienate Putin and the Russians and future diplomatic relations. If he denies it, Obama may spring corroborating information, playing Trump as a politically ignorant and dogmatic. 

The only way to prove Russian government involvement and/or intent is by intercepting other means of communication. Obama now faces a dilemma. If he provides proof certain, he will divulge national secrets. If he doesn’t provide this proof, and it is all politics, it will come out in subsequent Congressional investigations. With Trump silent, it is Obama twisting in the wind. On the other hand, John McCain and Lindsay Graham find the bait irresistible.  This is not surprising in the least for those who follow the erratic behavior of both McCain and Graham, who many times promote issues that are not in keeping with what is best for the Republican Party.

Popcorn anyone?

Thorner & Ingold: Obama’s lame-duck land mines

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If true, giving anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian rebels is an act of utter stupidity on the part of Obama. How long before these missiles find their way to ISIS, Al Qaeda, or any number of hostile groups to shoot down our planes and airliners? 

The fact is, there is no daylight between the “friendly” rebels in Syria and these other groups, merely geography and opportunity.

When the Russians moved into Aleppo, they discovered mass graves of people tortured and executed, in all likelihood by the rebels. The area in question was held by the rebels for several years, and denied to the Syrian government and the Russians. Assyrian Christians were able to celebrate Christmas for the first time in many years, claiming they were prevented as rebels became increasingly Islamist in their rule.

In all likelihood, Obama knows this but thinks the consequences will fall on the President-Elect. The best indication of this knowledge is his reluctance to come to the rebels’ aid after Assad crossed Obama’s “Red Line in the Sand.” There is not and never was a clear way to identify “friendly” rebels.

In his brief tenure, Jimmy Carter managed to alienate the Middle East by his interference in Iran. Obama has built on the Carter legacy in steroids. At least Carter had respect for Israel. Will American Jews see Obama’s conspiracy with the U.N. as their “Red Line in the Sand” now that Obama has enabled the UN Security Council to vote for a resolution which urges Israel to end settlement activities in occupied territory?  This resolution will be difficult for Trump to reverse, because UN Security resolutions are considered law in some parts of the world.

In respects to Russia, Obama has recently upset Russia when he signed the NDAA on Friday, December 23, 2016.  The bill was passed by veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate earlier this month.  As in other recent years, the bill prohibits military cooperation between the United States and Russia until Russia has “ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”  Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has concluded that the Authorization Act has been adopted by the outgoing Obama administration to create problems for the incoming Trump administration.  

Another johnny-come-lately policy on December 20, 2016, of Obama’s lame-duck presidency was to designate Atlantic and Arctic areas off-limits to offshore drilling

There must be an effort to stop this lame-duck president before he can lay any more landmines in our foreign and domestic policy. Let there be a lantern in the steeple of the North Church.

 

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By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

Although the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams” (see film clip), as reviewed by Roger Ebert in the “Chicago Tribune” on April 29, 1989, had to do with a farmer standing in the middle of a cornfield hearing voices that tells him, “If you build it, he will come” (the voice seems to promise Joe Jackson will come and play on it), the same catch phrase from the movie reflects the Democrats’ “economic” recovery plan.  It you build roads and bridges, industry will respond by expanding and adding jobs.  What baloney!   

What about the stimulus packed signed into law by President in 2009?  In the stimulus package was $30 billion designated for infrastructure spending that was handed over to the states for shovel ready jobs.  It was thought that injecting money into transportation projects would not only put construction workers and contractors to work quickly, but it would also lay the groundwork for future economic growth and development.  Obama predicted the transportation money alone would put hundreds of thousands of workers on the job.

This report  found that states spent more than a third of the money on building new roads—rather than working on public transportation and fixing up existing roads and bridges.  As a result, states missed out on potentially thousands of new jobs, and bridges, roads, and overpasses around the country are still crumbing.

The Democratic mantra, according to “The Atlantic” in 2015, is that each dollar spent on “infrastructure” will add $1.44 to the economy. Democrat VP candidate cited a figure of $1.76, a reference which is undocumented. The economic windfall will come from the money spent on concrete, asphalt and labor, plus the money the laborers will spend on groceries and other items. In other words by planting good money in roads, money trees will spring forth and bear fruit. There are a couple of problems with this arithmetic. First, workers who would build these roads are already eating and buying things. And where does asphalt come from or the energy to roast limestone into cement?  From coal and oil Obama has pledged to eliminate.

“If you build it …” implies roads create industries and jobs, whereas the opposite is true. What business can you cite whose growth has been limited by the ability to move raw materials and goods or workers to their stations?  Add to this the fact that any business exhibiting success will be punished through taxation and regulation by Obama and his heir-apparent, Hillary Clinton. The truth is more business will create more tax revenue even without raising rates.  That revenue can be used to repair and improve the roads and bridges.

Going back to the 19th century, men like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford created a demand for roads at a time most highways were dirt (and often mud), when many were toll roads maintained by private entrepreneurs. Carnegie invested in railroads and found it hard to find steel for rails. He built steel mills to supply his railroads, as well as the framework for modern buildings. Henry Ford invented cars which were tall enough to navigate the rutted roads of the time. As people bought cars, they demanded public roads on which to drive, and cars became sleeker and faster.

Returning to coal and oil for a moment, Obama and Hillary want to replace them with “clean, renewable” energy as quickly as possible.  In 2015 the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity, which runs our homes and business.  About 67% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum): 33% Coal; 30% Natural Gas; 1% Petroleum.  The production cost using fossil fuel is about $0.04 per kwh, compared to $0.25 per kwh for solar. In order to make the latter even remotely feasible, it is heavily subsidized by tax money (more accurately, borrowed money). Unlike fossil fuel, which is available on demand, “green” energy depends on the wind and sunlight.  There is no way, at present, to store excess energy for use when wind and sun aren’t available, so coal and natural gas provide the backup.

Trump, the builder

In a speech on August 19, 2016, in Diamondale, Michigan, Donald Trump promised to reverse The Obama/Clinton ban on coal and exploration, claiming it will produce over $6 trillion in tax revenues alone over the next 4 years, and at least 500,000 high paying jobs. Apparently Trump thinks we have enough people selling French fries and T-shirts.

Who will take these jobs? Trump has plans for education too, with a renewed emphasis on charter schools for children of depressed neighborhoods and others who want to learn skills beyond basic survival. The selection will be based on merit, not lotteries as in the magnet schools favored by Obama/Clinton and the Democrats.

Speaking of building things, there is the famous Trump Wall which Trump promises to build between Mexico and the United States to stem the flow of illegal immigration. This goal is corrupted by Democratic Spin Masters to say Trump is against all immigrants and immigration. However it is these legal immigrants who suffer the most from illegal immigration. Lacking education and language skills, new immigrants tend to occupy the lowest wage jobs. Illegal immigrants compete for the same jobs, but without documentation they must work at the offered wages without any real ability to complain.

Perhaps Mr. Trump should rephrase his statements to say that it is a metaphor for a wall which already exists – the law?  It is the law which is being ignored or usurped by the current administration. The law is not just a wall but a ceiling, which extends from border to border and beyond.

The other thing Mr. Trump can rebuild is our relationships with other countries. President Obama has pursued “deals” with our enemies and ignored our friends. It is based on the philosophy that any deal is better than no deal. Mr. Trump built his business on the principle that a bad deal is worse than no deal. In a negotiation, you can’t get the best deal if you are unwilling to walk away from the table. This is a technique well known to anyone who has bargained for a new car.  It is utterly foreign to a President and his designated successor, who have apparently never owned a car nor driven one.

 

 

 


Friday, August 05, 2016

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By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

Donald Trump’s somewhat disjointed reference to the Ukraine and Russia’s intentions, and his swift denunciation by the Left merit a further examination. Of course the liberal press is firmly behind Hillary and Obama, and will seize on any opportunity to deprecate Trump without allowing any amplification of the issues. Let’s look back a couple of years.

 In 2014, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych put off efforts to commit to joining NATO in favor of strengthening ties with Russia.  Besides Ukraine’s long association with Russia, and as one of the former Soviet States, nearly 20% of its residents are ethnic Russians, even more in the strategically important Crimean peninsula. Ukrainians opposed to Yanukovych staged a number of increasingly violent demonstrations, which provoked equally violent reaction by the police.

President Obama threw his support behind the demonstrators, and when the elected President, Yanukovych was forced to flee the country, quickly recognized the rebel government as the legitimate representative of the country. Yanukovych fled to Russia, mounted a public relations campaign against the rebellion, and gained the support of Putin and the Russian people. Russia shares an 800 mile border with the Ukraine, and the Crimea has been a strategic warm-water port for Russia for centuries.

While it is easy to sympathize with pro-western sentiments among the Ukrainian majority, this situation is yet another example where Obama has thrown his support against a legitimate government in the name of “human rights.” He did this in Libya, Egypt and Syria, with little thought of the consequences, and no viable plan to follow through in rebuilding those nations. Thirty years ago, President Carter did the same with Iran, deposing the legitimate government of the Shaw and replacing it with the theocratic rule of the Ayatolas. Carter pressured the Shah to make what he termed human rights concessions by releasing political prisoners and relaxing press censorship. Khomeini could never have succeeded without Carter. The Islamic Revolution would have been stillborn.

To some extent President Bush made the same mistake with Iraq, when attempting nation building, but the situation was made worse when Obama pulled out, leaving the Shiites at the mercy of militant Sunnis with no chance of mediation or reconciliation.

From Carter to Obama this nation has received little support from our European allies, but through it all American has earned the lasting distrust of secular Middle Eastern countries like Jordan, Turkey and Israel.  Russia, on the other hand, has an economy smaller than that of California, yet it holds a strong influence over European countries. Nearly all of the petroleum and natural gas for Europe flows through Russia at the pleasure of President Putin.

What was Obama’s reaction to strengthen our position?  Rather than establish a strategic backup plan, Obama has systematically dismantled our petroleum and gas industries by EPA fiat, has refused to approve the Keystone Pipeline, has halted all exploitation on federal land, and has allowing Saudi Arabia to dump oil into the U.S. at a price below production costs with the intent to economically cripple our domestic producers.

In summary, enemies do not fear us and our friends do not trust us.  Our largest deficit is national will.  In 2004, we destroyed the Iraqi city of Fallujah in order to root out Islamist terrorists. Then in 2011, we pulled our troops out of Iraq, despite predictions that Iraq would fall apart. In 2009, we demanded Assad leave power in Syria,    but we did not use military force to accomplish our demand. In the resulting civil war, Islamist terrorists seized half of Syria and Iraq.

In November 2015, the Islamists—now called ISIS rather than al-Qaeda—massacred 130 civilians in Paris. But the American political system was unable to unite behind committing forces, as we did in Fallujah a decade ago. Why? Our commander in chief has rejected deploying Americans in ground combat because he believes eternal war is the nature of the Muslim Middle East. He refuses to utter the words “Islamic terrorist.” The same is true of Hillary Clinton. Our Congress will not even debate a resolution to authorize the use of ground forces for fear of how the vote would affect reelection.

Lastly, as reported by the “Wall Street Journal” on August 3, 2016, the Obama administrations secretly funneled 400 million dollars in cash to the Iranians back in January. The revelation was particularly notable in that it coincided with the release of four American prisoners being held by the Iranians, leading to speculation that the payment was, indeed, a ransom payment.  The Iranians certainly celebrated the U.S. payment as ‘ransom money.”  U.S. Iranian hostage, Abedini, tells of Iran holding the plane on the tarmac until the ransom plane arrived. It is a policy for the U.S. never to pay ransom, as this only encourages more kidnappings. It is significant that the transaction was in cash. Obama’s excuse is that since we do not have diplomatic relations with Iran, we couldn’t simply write a check. This is as implausible as Hillary’s excuse that she couldn’t have two email accounts on her Blackberry. If so, was the $1.5 billion for the Iran Nuclear Deal delivered in a tanker, riding low in the water with a load of bullion?

Sensible steps can turn things around, but that depends upon the next commander in chief. So far in the twenty-first century, due to our vast wealth and technologies, we have not been sorely tested. Our beloved nation does not have a martial spirit, and perhaps does not need one. It does need a military inculcated with a warrior spirit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Thorner & Ingold: What is the RNC Establishment Thinking?

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By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold – 

A phony and a fraud was visited upon the American people on Thursday, March 3rd, but it wasn’t only by Mitt Romney  — a two time failure at the presidential sweepstakes and the self-appointed guardian of the Republican establishment —  who excoriated Trump by expounding upon “profound consequences” should Trump be elected president 

Ironic is that Romney courted and touted Trump’s endorsement and support in 2012.  At the time Romney proudly stood next to Trump and accepted his endorsement, as did the establishment, for winning was most important to the Republican Party.   Four years later Trump has become a monster to the very enablers who creation the conditions for his rise in popularity.  Why?  Not being able to control Trump, he threatens the status quo of Republican establishment members, whose power is linked to keeping control of the Republican Party and remaining in office.

Voices raised against Romney’s Trump attack

Judi McLeon had this to say about Mitt Romney’s diatribe against Donald Trump in her March 3rd article published in the “Canadian Free Press” on Thursday, March 3rd, “We taw a puddy tat’ named Mitt Romney”:

Up to now, other than watching his son Josh Romney try to force a primary challenger on Utah Senator Mike Lee, it has been a case of  cat’s got your tongue’ for Romney on the 2016 presidency.  But now that it looks like business mogul Donald Trump has a real shot at the presidency from millions of 8-year-long disenfranchised Americans, Romney comes crawling out of his gilded ‘puddy tat’ cage. Shouldn’t folks remind him, ‘The election is over, MItt, and you so roundly lost.’  The catnip sent his way by the apoplectic GOP establishment, the same one who sent him out unprepared on the campaign trail before, was the lure that brought him out again today.

Rev. Franklin Graham said, “The Republican presidential campaing has not only sunk to new lows, but the Republican establishment seems to be desperate to pick their own candidate. . . ”  statements regarding Romney’s presentation.

“Playing ball” essential to winning acceptance

Rather than endorse one of the candidates, Romney could have endorsed one of the remaining candidates, but instead he did what even the Democrats dare not do – launched a personal attack on The Donald. The ostensible reason is that the Establishment doesn’t think Trump can defeat Hillary Clinton, but it goes deeper than that.

The Republicans want a candidate who will “play ball,” In other words, one they can control, as stated before, or their gravy train and power will end.  Trump is definitely not that guy. They would rather lose the election than admit defeat from one of their own. The thought of voting for Donald Trump for president is so unbearable to “Weekly Standard” editor Bill Kristol that the infamous neocon has promised to leave the Republican Party in support of a third party bid if Trump becomes the Republican presidential nominee. 

As far as who might be a better spokesman for the Republican establishment than loser Mitt Romney, it’s certainly not John McCain given his failed presidential run of 2008.  As soon as Romney finished his address denouncing Trump,  Senator John McCain, the party’s standard-bearer in 2008, endorsed Mr. Romney’s harsh Trump rhetoric, citing Trump’s ignorance on foreign policy, based on McCain’s perceived “dangerous” pronouncements made by Trump on national security.

What does “playing ball” mean to the Republicans? Unlike the Democrats, Republicans do not speak with one voice (from the same scripted message). In the absence of unity, the Republican leadership attempts to speak for us, with or without the support of the membership.

The Immigration Issue

The big issue is immigration. The Democrats want open borders in order to gather votes. Republicans want open borders for cheap labor. Hence, nothing gets done – no fences, no enforcement, no staunching the influx. Recently reported was that Abbott Labs gave layoff notices to 180 IT workers. Who spoke out against Abbott for replacing 180 workers with Indian immigrants, here on H-1B visas?   Richard Durbin?  In an outrageous turn, Abbott will require the workers to train their replacements.

Trumps softened stance on visas at Thursday night’s (3/3/2016) Republican presidential debate when Ms. Kelly pressed him on whether he was abandoning his tough criticism of the visas, known as H-1B, did shock some of his supporter who had seen Trump as being against an influx of foreigners taking American jobs. In an immigration blueprint released in August of 2015, Mr. Trump said the visas for highly skilled workers were part of what he called “disastrous” immigration policies that had “destroyed our middle class.” He gave detailed proposals on fixing the visa program to protect Americans. 

A clarifying statement was issued hours after the debate:  “I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse” and pledged to “end forever the use of H-1B as a cheap labor program.” This stance is in keeping with Trump’s endorsement by Leo Perrero and Dena Moore, two former technology employees of the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Fla., at a Trump Alabama rally.  In testimony in front of the Senate, Mr. Perrero had broken down when he described the humiliation of losing his job and having to train a less-skilled H-1B worker to take over his work.  It was Senator Jeff Sessions who helped Donald Trump craft his immigration polices:  “It’s exactly the plan America needs.”  Senator Jeff Sessions has now endorsed Trump. 

So who are our friends in Washington? The Democrats want immigrants in this country to vote for them. The Republicans want them to serve as a cheap source of labor.

The H-1B visa program was intended to let highly qualified foreigners to work in this country when there aren’t enough American citizens to fill the jobs, mainly in the technical industries. There’s something to this. About 15,000 engineers graduate each year in the U.S., compared to 30,000 lawyers. In Japan there are 60,000 new engineers each year and 1500 lawyers.  We would suggest exporting lawyers to Japan (and India), but they’re doing a good enough job wrecking their economies without our help.

Republicans would rather play nice than fight with either Democrats or Hillary

Another issue is the budget. Democrats want unrestrained spending and taxation. Republicans don’t want a fight in which they will be blamed for a shutdown, even if it is the Democrats who erect the barricades. The key word is “fight.” Trump is a fighter. He’s the guy in a bar who will take a punch, put his head down and beat the c*** out of you. In the last Presidential debate in 2012, Romney took it on the chin when Obama lied about Benghazi. Some fighter, some spokesman. Paul Ryan fared no better against veteran stumper, Joe Biden, who glibly makes up facts to support his arguments, and mugs the camera while his opponent has the floor. (Biden is the ultimate photo-bomber.)

The Republicans are pulling their punches against Hillary.  Why?  Because the Democrats preemptively blamed the “Email Scandal” on a Republican conspiracy, the Washington Post, New York Times, FBI and DOJ notwithstanding.

Prison Reform

When Bill Clinton was president, violent crime fueled by drugs reached a peak.  Clinton’s response backed up by Hillary, was to set tough sentencing standards to lock up these criminals.  Now Hillary is decrying the “injustice” in our prison system, and the Republicans remain silent.              

A death knell for Republican Party if will of people is subverted

By violating their part of the agreement, the Republican establishment runs the risk that Trump will run as an independent. Why? Maybe to blame Trump for losing the election, to maintain the status quo?  For without power and the control that comes with power, the establishment will lose its lucrative gravy train.

A brokered convention is under consideration by some as the only way to prevent Trump from being the Republican nominee for president.  Their plan to achieve this may be to keep at least two candidates in the race in addition to Trump, so that no candidate will have the simple majority needed to secure the nomination. A brokered convention itself will not necessarily be fatal to the GOP’s chances in the fall – indeed some might argue a brokered convention could improve those chances.  But the nomination process must seem fair and evenhanded. For Republicans in 2016, how they choose their nominee may be more important than the actual nominee.

Ted Cruz, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, March 4, poured cold water on the calls to stop GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump during a brokered convention, warning that there could be hell to pay with the grass roots if they believe their will is being disregarded.  In Cruz’s mind, there’s one way to beat Donald Trump: “with the voters.”

Monday, February 22, 2016

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By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

The passing of Justice Scalia on Saturday, February 13, while a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch luxury resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa, is a tragedy for the entire nation.

This commentary, “What Scalia Taught Us”, by Paul J. Larkin Jr., director of The Heritage Foundation’s project to counter abuse of the criminal law was published on the day Scalia’s death was announced and expresses the esteem and high regard held by many upon hearing of his death:

For some, it is the painful loss of a husband or father. For those who knew him, it is the loss of a good friend. For law students, it is the loss of a justice who wrote opinions with rigorous analysis, clarity of expression, and at times an acerbic wit.

For conservatives, it is the loss of a standard-bearer and icon. For liberals, it is the loss of an opponent who always fought hard but fair.

For those who never had the opportunity to know him, it is the loss of one of our greatest legal minds, of a judge and justice who had made, and will continue to make, legal history. And to those who were privileged to know him, it is the loss of a wonderful human being.

Larkin goes on to note that 100 men and women have been justices of the Supreme Court. While Joseph Story, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Hugo Black, Earl Warren, William Brennan, and William Rehnquist will be remembered for moving the Supreme Court in one direction, thereby establishing the Supreme Court as one of the most powerful institutions in our nation, fewer justices have changed the course of the law. Antonin Scalia, along with John Marshall, were cited in the latter category of judges.

Scalia voiced disapproval of a Constitutional Convention

In a speech to the Federalist Society in Morristown, N.J., Scalia presented the following reason why America’s basic freedom has endured for more than 200 years:  “It is the Constitution, not bill of rights, makes us free.”  Why?  Because it is the Constitution that imposes structure upon our government.  Scalia considered the 7th Amendment — passed on April 8th, 1913, when Woodrow Wilson was President of the U.S., and which provided for the direct popular election of U.S. senators — the most profound and significant departure from our nation’s constitutional structure, contending that it removed a key plank of the constitutional structure the framers put in place to protect federalism and state interests.  Furthermore, at a time when conservative leaders and groups are calling for a constitutional convention (Con-Con), during the question-and-answer session Scalia had this to say about whether such a convention would be in the nation’s interests:  “A constitutional convention is a horrible idea. This is not a good century to write a constitution.”

If you look at issues which have divided the Supreme Court on a 5/4 basis, it is clear that all parties are not reading from the same page, to wit, the United States Constitution. This is why the death of Antonin Scalia constitutes a grave threat to our liberty. Scalia was the bastion of “originalism,” which interprets the Constitution according to the founding father’s original intent.

Cases presently on the docket could alter American life on many issues, especially in closely divided cases where Justice Scalia was expected to serve as a lynch pin of a conservative majority.  With 8 justices a majority decision would be 5-3 rather than 5-4, and if and when there’s a 4-4 split, the lower court’s decision is upheld. But there’s an important caveat to that latter point: that decision isn’t automatically considered legal precedent.  

The potential replacement of Justice Scalia by a liberal judge would shift the balance of power away from individual rights to collective rights in general, but the right to keep and bear arms in particular. Loss of these freedoms would be very difficult to recover, if ever. A liberal court would serve to keep liberals in power throughout the government by denying rights to those who oppose them. Among them, the right to support candidates by word and deed under the First Amendment.

Cases remaining on Supreme Court docket with questionable outcomes without Scalia’s voice

Following are eight important cases that remain on the Supreme Court docket and their possible outcomes without the voice of Justice Scalia.   

Abortion:  In what is considered the most significant abortion case since 1992, this term’s abortion case centers on restrictions placed on providers and clinics by Texas and will again test how far states can go to limit abortion.  The Court was expected to be divided along party lines, with Kennedy as the possible swing vote.

Health care:  Religious nonprofits, including charities, schools, colleges and hospitals, may have to live with the decisions of seven appeals courts, which ruled against their challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate in Zubik v. Burwell.  How will religious freedom stack up when pitted against a woman’s right to choose?

Unions:  Public sector-unions may get a reprieve.  What appeared to be an all but certain 5-4 ruling against unions in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in regard to “fair share” fees that unions charge nonmembers to cover costs associated with collective bargaining, could end up with a 4-4 decision without Scalia.  Labor unions want to hold elections by acclamation in open meetings. They are supported in this by President Obama and the Board of Labor Relations packed with his sycophants.  Currently, elections are conducted with private ballots where everybody in the company has a right to participate.  Election “meeting,” on the other hand, are limited by the size of the hall and subject dissenters to public humiliation or worse.

Affirmative Action:  The use of affirmative action in college admissions could now survive a challenge.  If so, a lower court decision will remain in place that favors the University of Texas in using race as a factor in admissions.

Separation of church and state:  Religious schools could continue to be denied publicly funded grants. Scalia, along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy had indicated a willingness to accept the argument that banning state lawmakers from funding religious schools, if a democratic majority wants to, would impede the free exercise of religion.

Climate Change:  Obama’s Clean Power Plan could return back to the hands of the D.C. Circuit Court. One of Scalia’s last official acts as a justice was to deliver a large dent in Obama’s climate legacy by providing one of five votes to stay the Clean Power Plan, which regulates carbon emissions from power plants. A 4-4 ideological split on the Supreme Court raises the stakes for the more liberal D.C. Circuit’s eventual decision on the Clean Power Plan.

Immigration:  Scalia’s death may not have a big impact on one of the most significant cases the court has agreed to take up: a challenge to Obama’s latest round of executive actions on immigration to be argued in April, unless the administration can win the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy or Chief Justice John Roberts.

 The Second Amendmen:  Last but not least, Justice Scalia was the foremost supporter of our rights to keep and bear arms. The Heller decision established that the Second Amendment gave individuals these rights, rather than a collective right. The MacDonald decision applied these rights to supercede state and local law, subjecting these laws to strict scrutiny in most cases. The New York Times expresses this threat in a near joyful manner. “Instead of overruling precedents outright, he said, a liberal majority might hollow some of them out, notably in the area of gun rights. “The five would narrow Heller to the point of irrelevancy,” he said, speaking of the law that said Americans had a constitutional right to keep handguns at home – Eric Segall, Georgia State”

American people must decide Scalia’s replacement, via our next president

The Founders faced nearly medieval tyranny in the form of George III, who taxed the colonists heavily in order to pay for his foreign wars, and collected these taxes under force of arms. To make matters worse, colonists were required to feed and house those troops at their own expense. The King and Parliament forbade colonists to do for themselves, rather purchase basic materials like cloth, paper and other items from England, because it suited the King to favor monopolies which he created. In order to silence opposition, it became a crime to publicly disagree with his orders (restrictions which still exist in England and most of Europe). In order to forestall resistance to these draconian orders, he ordered arms and gunpowder seized. Fortunately he wasn’t entirely successful. 

We face a different tyranny today, not from a king but from self-serving “liberals,” whose title inappropriately stems from “liberty.”   As such liberals (Liberalism) look to government for basic needs, largely as enumerated in Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights.  These items include housing, jobs, medical care and wages. If this sounds somewhat familiar, look at the UN’s version of human rights, and before that august body, the Marx/Engles “Communist Manifesto.”  

President Obama was entitled to two terms of office, won in free elections. He is not entitled to encumber the nation with 30 years of an unbalanced Supreme Court which disregards the Constitution and rights under God in favor of a worldly fabrication of “rights” which in fact stand in direct opposition to the rights our fathers fought and died for. We are better off living with a dead tie in the Supreme Court until Obama is out of office than subject ourselves to judicial tyranny from the Left.

It would be a tragedy for our Constitution if the Senate simply confirmed an anti-Constitution judge to replace Justice Scalia’s seat. Confirming a new judge the year of a Presidential election is unheard of, especially with rampant judicial activism. Democrats would never go along with nominating a Conservative judge if the roles were reversed.  It’s likewise folly to expect that Obama would nominate a judge other than a liberal one to fill the vacancy created by Scalia’s death.

The Constitution does grant a president the right to recommend a Supreme Court appointee; however, the Constitution likewise gives the Senate power through the confirmation process to stop the process, and there is nothing the President and Senate Democrats can do about it to get the president’s nomination confirmed. 

It must be left up to the American people to decide who the next Judge will be, via our next President.  If Republicans in the Senate don’t hold the line against an Obama nominee as a betrayal of Conservatism, the Republican spirit and the Constitution, it will likely signal the end of the Republican Party as a viable political party.  If there is anger now over the way Republican legislators repeatedly cave in to Democrats, the anger will turn to pure rage and disassociation with the Party if the majority Republican Senate confirms what is sure to be a liberal Obama Supreme Court nominee. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Keystone-Construction-640x218

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

As predicted, President Barack Obama on Friday, November 6, 2015, rejected the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada in a victory for environmentalists who campaigned against the project for more than seven years.  His reasons include protection of the environment, no “lasting” economic benefits for the U.S., and the current low price of petroleum.

The supposed danger to the environment is based on the mining of oil sands in Canada, not with the pipeline itself. In fact, oil sands mining will continue unabated, but the oil will be transported by truck and rail at 30 times the environmental risk of a pipelineAccording to the governor of South Dakota, Dennis Daugaard, rejection of the Keystone Pipeline by Obama mean that rail capacity needed to carry petroleum will not leave enough to carry farm produce and grain.

The so-called “temporary” economic benefits consist of employing 20,000 U.S. workers for two to five years building the pipeline, at PRIVATE expense. To Obama, “lasting” benefits only accrue when employing far fewer workers to build roads and bridges at PUBLIC expense.

According to Obama, we don’t need Canadian oil.  Even if we had access to Keystone pipeline oil, the oil gasoline prices wouldn’t be reduced [not overnight anyway]. Besides, gasoline is now priced at record low levels [but still higher than when Obama took office].

Low petroleum prices are deceiving.  Modern extraction techniques, including “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing), still need prices over $60/bbl to be profitable. Prices are low because Saudi Arabia, in what is a Saudi Price War on US Oil, is producing crude oil at the same or higher rate as in the past in order to keep prices below the economic break point for U.S. production. The result: our producers are being driven out of business. Petroleum production is down, and thousands of workers have been laid off. It is also the same strategy Rockefeller (Standard Oil) used in the early 1900s to drive his competitors out of business. Rockefeller was then able to charge as much as he wished without restraint. (This, in turn, led to Teddy Roosevelt’s creation of anti-trust legislation, and the start of the Progressive political movement.)

Legacy building guides Obama

As one who deserves a C- as a student of history (and the Constitution), President Obama does not recognize the strategic value of petroleum in world politics. Countries don’t go to war over principles, they fight for natural resources, manufacturing capability, and other strategic assets (e.g., warm water ports). Western Europe depends on Russia for oil and natural gas supplies, whether from Russia directly, or from the Middle East. Without the ability to provide an alternate source of energy, the U.S. cannot count on Europe to back us if Russia were to attack the Baltic States or were Iran to attack Saudi Arabia (almost a certainty in the foreseeable future).

One thing Obama does understand, and only too well, is that in approving Keystone he would undercut his global leadership on Climate Change when nations come together at the end of this month for COP21.

France will chair and host the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) from November 30 to December 11, 2015. The conference is crucial because the expected outcome is a new international agreement on climate change, applicable to all, to keep global warming below 2°C. This temperature variation has been adopted, in spite of the fact that the same climate experts admit the 2 degree rise will occur regardless of the proposed CO2 cutbacks. The real issue:  transferring billions of dollars to corrupt, “developing” nations, while at the same time crippling the economies of those nations expected to pay up.

Legacy is all important to Obama.  Consequences matter little to Obama, as long as his political agenda is being fulfilled in accordance to what he views as appropriate in his assumed role of an imperialist president.

Obama, in accusing others about politicizing the pipeline, remarked that its importance had become “overinflated” and was being used as campaign fodder by both parties.  However, Obama is using the pipeline as a symbol for his global climate change legacy?  Approving the pipeline would have been out-of-step with Obama’s climate message.

It matters not to Obama that as this nation has lead the world in reducing emissions. His legacy assured, it will be up to succeeding presidents to deal with the problems he has created. Rejection of the Pipeline is part of a win-win strategy for Obama and a lose-lose strategy for the rest of nation.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Header-image-whoweworkwith-lawenforcement

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

With the tragic deaths of two newscasters at the hands of a disgruntled ex-employee on Wednesday, August 26 come the predictable calls for tighter gun control and keeping guns out the hands of “crazy” people. In no case, however, do the proposed solutions bear any relationship the crime itself. According to the media and progressive politicians, we have a “crime problem” and a “gun problem.”

CNN”s Don Lemon, in interviewing Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson and Jim Gilmore the day after the horrific Roanoke, Virginia shooting, prompted both candidates to rethink their positions.  Talking to Ben Carson, Don Lemon demanded:  “After you watch a crime like this, does it make you question at all the role of guns in our society?”  Carson responded that guns are not at fault, rather criminals who have no regard for others, and that owning firearms is a Constitutional right.

Both ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CBS “This Morning” on Thursday, August 27 used the shooting death of the two journalists in Roanoke, Virginia to highlight gun control.  GMA co-host Robin Roberts talked to the boyfriend of slain reporter Alison Parker and lectured, “…When something like this happens, the conversation turns to gun control.”

Also on Thursday, August 27 the CBS Evening News seized on the deadly shooting of two local news reporters in Roanoke, Virginia to promote the idea that gun control should be treated like “a public health issue” akin to seat belts, airbags, and anti-smoking campaigns. In a tease early on in the program, fill-in anchor Maurice DuBois explained that“[s]ome public health officials say gun violence, just like car accidents and smoking-related illnesses can be prevented or at least reduced.”

Accuracy of NICS data base?

Among the proposals to stem gun violence are the elimination of background check loopholes (e.g., gun shows and private sales).  However, the shooter in Virginia bought his firearms at a local dealer, and passed the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System)  He had not been convicted of any serious crime, was not a fugitive or under indictment, nor had he been committed to involuntary confinement or treatment for mental disorder. He was good to go, as far as the law was concerned.

The NICS data base is usually up to date on felony convictions and indictments. It is less accurate on orders of protection, and highly inaccurate on adjudication for mental disorders. The last is due to negligence on the part of states and courts to report these issues for a variety of reasons. Incompetence, among public officials, is not uncommon, nor is it a crime.

How far do we go in attempting to predict future behavior? What signs are sufficient to deny Constitutional rights to individuals before a crime has been committed? Are the 4the and 5th amendments any more important than the 1st and 2nd in imparting restraints on government control?

Psychological Screening Shows Dodgy Results

Progressives want to expand the types of mental disorders which would prevent a person from buying a firearm beyond the usual criteria of presenting a danger to themselves or others, subject to court proceeding. Unilateral opinions of mental health professionals would suffice. President Obama has ordered the Veterans Administration and Medicare to report patients to NICS who have difficulty managing their personal affairs, including financial issues and even mobility problems.  As reported in the Los Angeles Times in July of this year, the Obama administration even wants to keep people from collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if it is determined they are unable to manage their own affairs.

Better psychological screening to keep guns from the hands of “dangerous” people would require that HIPPA restraints be loosened. This ignores the fact that even adjudicated commitments are not consistently reported to the NICS background check system. The shooters at Aurora, CO, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois and others legally purchased firearms due to this lapse. Now we see that 60% of the studies for evaluating patients are falsified.

As reported by NBC News, “Psychology Studies Show Dodgy Results.”  According to Brian Nosek, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who led the project: “Any one study is not going to be the last word. Each individual study has some evidence. It contributes some information toward a conclusion. But the real conclusion, when you can say confidently that something is true or false, is based on an accumulation of evidence over many studies.”

Crazy people are out there.  The sad fact is that most criminal acts are easier to predict in hindsight than foresight. There is no reliable predictor of criminal acts of this nature even with better psychological screening.

Forensic Testing not Infallible

Psychology is not the only offender in this regard. Recent articles show how forensic evidence such as hair, bite marks, arson and even DNA comparisons have resulted in many faulty convictions. The field of Forensic Science has opened a lot of doors for the world of criminal investigation. While some of the methods used in forensic testing may seem infallible, a recent study on the feeding habits of vultures revealed the shocking truth about what everyone thought was a universal scale of identification. Now, a woman’s skeleton picked clean by vultures demonstrates how horribly inaccurate forensic science can be.

The Innocence Project is a nationwide legal network that works to exonerate innocent prisoners through DNA testing. Experts agree that the Innocence Project has changed the justice system for the better, both by freeing the innocent and by encouraging scrutiny of all types of evidence presented in the courtroom. The article relates how Steven Barnes served more than 19 years in prison before DNA technology could be brought to bear on his case. In 2008, a test of short tandem repeats on the Y chromosomes of sperm found on the victim showed that Barnes wasn’t a match.

But do we have a “gun problem?” In the last month several “mass homicides” were committed using knives and blunt instruments. Most recently, in Louisiana, a police officer was murdered with his own weapon while investigating a domestic incident where three family members were murdered with a knife. In California, five family members met the same fate. In China and Japan, where no private citizens are allowed to have guns, knives are the weapon of choice, and mass murders are no less common than in the United States (just less publicized). In the Middle East, explosives and fire kill hundreds of innocent people each month. The Prime Minister of Sweden was killed with an “unavailable” handgun. Criminals have no problem obtaining guns, illegally, and kill nearly 30 people a day with them in the U.S. On the other hand, about once a day an ordinary citizen uses a firearm to successfully defend themselves against a criminal assault, and hundreds more go unreported if no shots are fired.

Preventive Intervention Curtails Liberty

The real danger of “preventive intervention” is to our liberty, as seen in the actions of the VA and Medicare. Dictators routinely use “preventive” measures to abuse or murder their subjects, and mental disorders are frequently used as the excuse. It is also used to stifle dissent. The producer of “Obama’s America”, Harvard graduate Dinesh D’Souza, was convicted of a minor election contribution offense and sentenced to two years of confinement. On release, the Judge compelled him to undergo 5 more years of mental evaluation. And according to Hillary Clinton, those opposed to abortion are “terrorists” and those in opposition to the Iran Treaty are pegged as “warmongers.”

Laws only inhibit honest people. The best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  Obama’s gun control agenda has failed in Congress, not because of NRA influence, but because similar measures haven’t worked in the past, and bear no relationship to the problems they seek to address. The defining word is “control.”  “Gun” is just an adjective in this context.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Header-image-whoweworkwith-lawenforcement

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

With the tragic deaths of two newscasters at the hands of a disgruntled ex-employee on Wednesday, August 26 come the predictable calls for tighter gun control and keeping guns out the hands of “crazy” people. In no case, however, do the proposed solutions bear any relationship the crime itself. According to the media and progressive politicians, we have a “crime problem” and a “gun problem.”

 

CNN”s Don Lemon, in interviewing Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson and Jim Gilmore the day after the horrific Roanoke, Virginia shooting, prompted both candidates to rethink their positions.  Talking to Ben Carson, Don Lemon demanded:  “After you watch a crime like this, does it make you question at all the role of guns in our society?”  Carson responded that guns are not at fault, rather criminals who have no regard for others, and that owning firearms is a Constitutional right.

 

Both ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CBS “This Morning” on Thursday, August 27 used the shooting death of the two journalists in Roanoke, Virginia to highlight gun control.  GMA co-host Robin Roberts talked to the boyfriend of slain reporter Alison Parker and lectured, “…When something like this happens, the conversation turns to gun control.”  

 

Also on Thursday, August 27 the CBS Evening News seized on the deadly shooting of two local news reporters in Roanoke, Virginia to promote the idea that gun control should be treated like “a public health issue” akin to seat belts, airbags, and anti-smoking campaigns. In a tease early on in the program, fill-in anchor Maurice DuBois explained that“[s]ome public health officials say gun violence, just like car accidents and smoking-related illnesses can be prevented or at least reduced.”

 

Accuracy of NICS data base?

 

Among the proposals to stem gun violence are the elimination of background check loopholes (e.g., gun shows and private sales).  However, the shooter in Virginia bought his firearms at a local dealer, and passed the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System)  He had not been convicted of any serious crime, was not a fugitive or under indictment, nor had he been committed to involuntary confinement or treatment for mental disorder. He was good to go, as far as the law was concerned.

The NICS data base is usually up to date on felony convictions and indictments. It is less accurate on orders of protection, and highly inaccurate on adjudication for mental disorders. The last is due to negligence on the part of states and courts to report these issues for a variety of reasons. Incompetence, among public officials, is not uncommon, nor is it a crime.

 

How far do we go in attempting to predict future behavior? What signs are sufficient to deny Constitutional rights to individuals before a crime has been committed? Are the 4the and 5th amendments any more important than the 1st and 2nd in imparting restraints on government control?

 

Psychological Screening Shows Dodgy Results

 

Progressives want to expand the types of mental disorders which would prevent a person from buying a firearm beyond the usual criteria of presenting a danger to themselves or others, subject to court proceeding. Unilateral opinions of mental health professionals would suffice. President Obama has ordered the Veterans Administration and Medicare to report patients to NICS who have difficulty managing their personal affairs, including financial issues and even mobility problems.  As reported in the Los Angeles Times in July of this year, the Obama administration even wants to keep people from collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if it is determined they are unable to manage their own affairs.  

 

Better psychological screening to keep guns from the hands of “dangerous” people would require that HIPPA restraints be loosened. This ignores the fact that even adjudicated commitments are not consistently reported to the NICS background check system. The shooters at Aurora, CO, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois and others legally purchased firearms due to this lapse. Now we see that 60% of the studies for evaluating patients are falsified. 

 

As reported by NBC News, “Psychology Studies Show Dodgy Results.”  According to Brian Nosek, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who led the project: “Any one study is not going to be the last word. Each individual study has some evidence. It contributes some information toward a conclusion. But the real conclusion, when you can say confidently that something is true or false, is based on an accumulation of evidence over many studies.”

 

Crazy people are out there.  The sad fact is that most criminal acts are easier to predict in hindsight than foresight. There is no reliable predictor of criminal acts of this nature even with better psychological screening. 

 

Forensic Testing not Infallible

 

Psychology is not the only offender in this regard. Recent articles show how forensic evidence such as hair, bite marks, arson and even DNA comparisons have resulted in many faulty convictions. The field of Forensic Science has opened a lot of doors for the world of criminal investigation. While some of the methods used in forensic testing may seem infallible, a recent study on the feeding habits of vultures revealed the shocking truth about what everyone thought was a universal scale of identification. Now, a woman’s skeleton picked clean by vultures demonstrates how horribly inaccurate forensic science can be.  

 

The Innocence Project is a nationwide legal network that works to exonerate innocent prisoners through DNA testing. Experts agree that the Innocence Project has changed the justice system for the better, both by freeing the innocent and by encouraging scrutiny of all types of evidence presented in the courtroom. The article relates how Steven Barnes served more than 19 years in prison before DNA technology could be brought to bear on his case. In 2008, a test of short tandem repeats on the Y chromosomes of sperm found on the victim showed that Barnes wasn’t a match. 

 

But do we have a “gun problem?” In the last month several “mass homicides” were committed using knives and blunt instruments. Most recently, in Louisiana, a police officer was murdered with his own weapon while investigating a domestic incident where three family members were murdered with a knife. In California, five family members met the same fate. In China and Japan, where no private citizens are allowed to have guns, knives are the weapon of choice, and mass murders are no less common than in the United States (just less publicized). In the Middle East, explosives and fire kill hundreds of innocent people each month. The Prime Minister of Sweden was killed with an “unavailable” handgun. Criminals have no problem obtaining guns, illegally, and kill nearly 30 people a day with them in the U.S. On the other hand, about once a day an ordinary citizen uses a firearm to successfully defend themselves against a criminal assault, and hundreds more go unreported if no shots are fired.

 

Preventive Intervention Curtails Liberty

 

The real danger of “preventive intervention” is to our liberty, as seen in the actions of the VA and Medicare. Dictators routinely use “preventive” measures to abuse or murder their subjects, and mental disorders are frequently used as the excuse. It is also used to stifle dissent. The producer of “Obama’s America”, Harvard graduate Dinesh D’Souza, was convicted of a minor election contribution offense and sentenced to two years of confinement. On release, the Judge compelled him to undergo 5 more years of mental evaluation. And according to Hillary Clinton, those opposed to abortion are “terrorists” and those in opposition to the Iran Treaty are pegged as “warmongers.”

 

Laws only inhibit honest people. The best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  Obama’s gun control agenda has failed in Congress, not because of NRA influence, but because similar measures haven’t worked in the past, and bear no relationship to the problems they seek to address. The defining word is “control.”  “Gun” is just an adjective in this context.