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Secret Service Bans Guns at GOP Convention, Ending Debate | Alaska Dispatch News

http://www.adn.com/article/20160329/secret-service-bans-guns-gop-convention-ending-debate

No guns at convention. A loss for self consistency but a likely win for safety for reasons explained in my last blog post.

Bonus for Republican candidates: can now officially blame Obama administration for keeping guns out of delegates hands.

Petition · Quicken Loans Arena: Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July. · Change.org

Donald Trump said “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools—you have—and on military bases on my first day. It gets signed my first day…you know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko? That’s bait.” (Jan. 8. 2016)

Ted Cruz has accurately pointed out “shooting after shooting after shooting happens in so called gun-free zones.” He continued, “look, if you’re a lunatic ain’t nothing better then having a bunch of targets you know that are going to be unarmed.” (Dec. 4, 2015)

And Ohio Governor John Kasich has been a leader in this movement to eliminate deadly “gun-free zones” starting with his brave decision to fight the Democrats and end “gun-free zones” at National Guard facilities in Ohio. (Dec. 18, 2015)

via Petition · Quicken Loans Arena: Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July. · Change.org

I believe people should live up to their professed values. So if the GOP truly believes that gun free zones endanger people AND they are holding their convention in an open carry state, they ought to accept guns at their own convention and not hide behind the Arena’s policy. They’d waive the rule if the GOP and Ohio’s governor asked.

I would sign the petition myself except for this ridiculous paragraph:

This doesn’t even begin to factor in the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention. Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.

There will probably be an immense amount of security outside the arena. Protestors will likely be herded into “free speech zones” far from the venue. IF there is a lone wolf out there, he or she won’t get near the venue to threaten people inside. No ISIS cells organized from outside the United States have been identified. I’m not signing on to a petition whose organizers honestly fear imminent large scale ISIS shootouts.

I submit that if a lone wolf is out there, allowing guns in the area will increase the likelihood of an attack and multiply the damage. All it would take is one individual with fake credentials getting into the arena and taking their best shot at a speaker. People immediate start drawing and firing their guns where they think the shooter is. Chances are good that several people around the actual shooter will have drawn their guns. People won’t know who the real shooter is and someone will panic and gun down a delegate with a gun. That person in turn will be targeted as “the real shooter.” The number of shots will continue to escalate until order is restored. Possibly with additional casualities as the police unknowingly kill more “real shooters” because orders to drop weapons were either unheard or disregarded as terrorist tricks.

I believe this to be true because a convention floor is a very, very crowded place.

Another scenario would be panic following an accidental discharge – no terror attack needed.

Despite these dangers, I believe the Republican National Convention ought to allow guns on the floor. They need to live with the consequences of policies they have forced other people to live by.

I will close with the actions desired by the petition and leave it to you if you want to sign or share with Republican friends:

THEREFORE, WE ARE CALLING TODAY FOR THE FOLLOWING FIVE POINTS OF ACTION:

1. From the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland: A suspension of their policy preventing the open carry of firearms on the premises of the arena from July 18-21, 2016 to coincide with the Republican National Convention.

2. From the National Rifle Association: An immediate condemnation of the egregious affront to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution constituted by the “gun-free zone” loophole to the state law.

3. From Ohio Governor John Kasich: A concerted effort to use his executive authority to override the “gun-free zone” loophole being exploited by the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

4. From Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee: An explanation of how a venue so unfriendly to Second Amendment rights was chosen for the Republican Convention. Further, we demand a contingency plan to relocate the convention to another location should the Quicken Loans Arena refuse to honor the constitutional rights of the RNC guests to open carry firearms during the convention.

5. From all Republican candidates for President: You have been brave in raising awareness about the immense dangers posed by “gun-free zones.” In order to ensure the safety of your supporters, delegates and all attendees at the convention in July, you must call upon the RNC to rectify this affront to our Second Amendment freedoms and insist upon a suspension of the Quicken Loans Arena’s unconstitutional “gun-free zone” loophole. Every American is endowed with a God-given Constitutional right to carry a gun wherever and whenever they please.

 

 

Supreme Court: Open Letter to Senator Sullivan

I write to express my continued dismay at your continued rejection of considering ANY Supreme Court appointment of President Obama’s.

I have read your statement at https://www.facebook.com/1499142123704271/posts/1702865476665267 but remain unconvinced that you and your party are acting in the interest of the nation by refusing to act on the President’s nomination. You state:

The decision to withhold advancement of Mr. Garland’s nomination isn’t about the individual, it’s about the principle. Alaskans, like all Americans, are in the midst of an important national election. The next Supreme Court justice could fundamentally change the direction of the Court for years to come. Alaskans deserve to have a voice in that direction through their vote, and we will ensure that they have one.

Even if the Constitution provided a role for the general electorate in Supreme Court appointments, we Alaskans have already had three votes on the direction of the Supreme Court – As a State, we voted for Romney in 2012, but didn’t get him. In 2010 we re-elected Senator Lisa Murkowski and in 2014 we elected you to the Senate. Under the Constitution, those are all the votes Americans need for Supreme Court nominations to proceed to confirmation or failure.

While the Constitution does not provide for a popular vote on the Supreme Court, it does provide for Senate votes. If you believe that Judge Garland is wrong for the court, or that a President’s power to appoint should end in year three of their term, vote NO on Judge Garland.

I believe that your attitude not only harms the country but your own party and donor class in at least three ways:

1) Republican control of the Senate is threatened. Whether or not the majority of Alaskans support your position, voters in states with vulnerable Republican Senators favor acting on the President’s nominee. They say that your refusal to have a vote on the President’s nominee will make them less likely to vote for their Senator. Is blocking the Presidents nominee worth going to minority status?
2) If your effort to limit a President’s appointment power to the first three years of their term succeeds, you can count on the Democrats throwing your words in your face if something similar happens in the last year of a Republican President’s term. They will enforce your own views either by having a majority or through filibuster. Unless you remove the filibuster — which I heartily recommend should you retain control of the Senate in 2017.
3) Whether Trump or Clinton gets elected President, you are unlikely to get a nominee as acceptable to you as President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland. You may dream of confirming Judge Garland in a lame duck session, but if Clinton wins, some Democrats will almost certainly filibuster him, using your own words of “Let the next President make her own nomination” against you.
As I stated in my last letter to you on this subject, when I say “take action” I do not say “confirm” even though I do support Judge Garland’s appointment. I mean that you should urge your leadership and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings followed by an up or down vote. If you don’t believe that Judge Garland should not be on the Supreme Court, vote him down and wait for the next nominee. That is a legitimate exercise of the Senate’s power of advise and consent. It’s an exercise contemplated and expected by the Founders. I can’t believe that they intended the Senate to take no action at all — though if you have documentation to the contrary please send it to me and I will read through it.

Please do your constitutional duty. Hold hearings on Judge Garland. Give him an up or down vote.

Supreme Court: Open Letter to Senator Murkowski

I write to express my continued dismay at your continued rejection of considering ANY Supreme Court appointment of President Obama’s.

I read your statement at http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2016/3/murkowski-statement-on-u-s-supreme-court-nominee but remain unconvinced that you and your party are acting in the interest of the nation by refusing to act on the President’s nomination. You cite then Senator Biden’s statement on nominations in an election year as support, but as documented by Politifact, Senator Biden spoke within a few weeks of the Democratic Convention AND stated that President Bush did have the right to appoint a Supreme Court Justice the day after the election. He never suggested, as your party does, that such a choice should be left to the “next administration.”

By the way, I think that Senator Biden was as wrong then as you are now. Had a vacancy come up at the time, I would have urged the Senate to do then what I’m asking you and your party to do now – hold hearings and have an up or down vote. If the candidate was unworthy, reject them.

Back in 1997, your father voted to give Judge Garland a lifetime appointment to the DC Circuit of Appeals, considered by some to be the nation’s second most powerful court. You can find his “Yea” vote at http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=105&session=1&vote=00034. Has your father changed your opinion of Judge Garland? If so, what changed? If not, why do you seem to trust Senator McConnell’s judgment more than your own father’s?

I believe that your attitude not only harms the country but your own party and donor class in at least three ways:

  1. Republican control of the Senate is threatened. Whether or not the majority of Alaskans support your position, voters in states with vulnerable Republican Senators favor acting on the President’s nominee. They say that your refusal to have a vote on the President’s nominee will make them less likely to vote for their Senator. Is blocking the Presidents nominee worth going to minority status?
  2. If your effort to limit a President’s appointment power to the first three years of their term succeeds, you can count on the Democrats throwing your words in your face if something similar happens in the last year of a Republican President’s term. They will enforce your own views either by having a majority or through filibuster. Unless you remove the filibuster — which I heartily recommend should you retain control of the Senate in 2017.
  3. Whether Trump or Clinton gets elected President, you are unlikely to get a nominee as acceptable to you as President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland. You may dream of confirming Judge Garland in a lame duck session, but if Clinton wins, some Democrats will almost certainly filibuster him, using your own words of “Let the next President make her own nomination” against you.

As I stated in my last letter to you on this subject, when I say “take action” I do not say “confirm” even though I do support Judge Garland’s appointment. I mean that you should urge your leadership and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings followed by an up or down vote. If you don’t believe that Judge Garland should not be on the Supreme Court, vote him down and wait for the next nominee. That is a legitimate exercise of the Senate’s power of advise and consent. It’s an exercise contemplated and expected by the Founders. I can’t believe that they intended the Senate to take no action at all — though if you have documentation to the contrary please send it to me and I will read through it.

Please do your constitutional duty. Hold hearings on Judge Garland. Give him an up or down vote.

Treadwell Ruins

Today I was inspired to go for a walk with my camera down the Treadwell Historic Trail. This time I decided to focus on decaying equipment and buildings left over from the early 20th Century. I made some pictures into black & white. Do you have a preference from the following?:

 

DSCN6838

1. Color power plant

DSCN6838 (2)

2. B&W power plant

DSCN6833

3. Color rollers

DSCN6833 (2)

4. B&W rollers

Letter to Senators: Reconsider Supreme Court Stance

I sent the following letter to both of Alaska’s Senators – Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. If you want to see the Senate act on a Supreme Court appointment, I strongly urge you to contact your Senators as well. If enough of us act, perhaps something will come of it. Nothing will happen if we do nothing.

—-

I am writing you today to urge you to reconsider your opposition, sight unseen, to any appointment made to the Supreme Court by President Obama. You have said that it would be “unprecedented” for a President to send a nominee to the Senate in an election year.

To put it bluntly yet give you the benefit of the doubt, you have have been lied to. As reported at the SCOTUS blog entry “Supreme Court vacancies in presidential election years” published on February 13, 2016, there have been several Supreme Court appointments and/or Senate confirmations in election years:

1912 – President Taft nominated Mahlon Pitney, confirmed by Senate 50-26
1916 – President Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis, confirmed by Senate 47-22
1916 – President Wilson nominated John Clarke, confirmed unaminously by Senate
1932 – President Hoover nominated Benjamin Cardozo, confirmed unaminously by Senate
1940 – President Franklin D Roosevelt nominated Frank Murphy, confirmed by Senate
1987 – President Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy after failed nominations of Bork and Douglas Ginsburg, confirmed by Senate in election year 1988 97-0.

I know that this information has been available to you for a few weeks and I am sorrowful it has not changed your mind.

While not completely without precedent, the 330 day plus wait you propose for next Supreme Court nominee is extremely rare. Given the Court’s makeup, it also seems likely we will have a set of 4-4 decisions which turn our country into a patchwork of conflicting laws. This cannot be good for the business community or the country as a whole.

I also find it surprising that your opposition is reported as unconditional – that even if President Obama appointed a Republican or someone who had previously been confirmed to a federal judgeship 98-0, you would not allow as much as a hearing. What could possibly make these justices unpalatable now? Reasons might come out in hearings, but you reportedly don’t want to hold them. So it looks like you are willing to pass up qualified judges acceptable to a Republican Senate.

But what happens if we elect a Democratic President? What happens then? Do you accept a nomination from President Sanders or President H. Clinton, even if their pick is less advantageous to you than someone President Obama proposes? Or will you continue to keep the court in deadlock 4-4 in hopes that a liberal justice will die and tilt the Court back in your favor? We deserve to know what your plans are before the next time you are up for a vote.

I should also point out that even if we elect a Republican President, there is no guarantee that his nominee will be the conservative voice you appear to desire. I remind you that Justice Kennedy, the swing vote on the court, was appointed by President Reagan. Most famously, President Nixon nominated Warren Burger to be Supreme Court Chief Justice with the expectation that he would lead the way in dismantling liberal decisions of the Warren court. This did not happen, Chief Justice Burger was even more liberal in some ways. In fact, Chief Justice Burger was in the majority in Roe v. Wade. A Republican President is no guarantee of a conservative justice.

So instead of waiting 300 plus days of uncertainty in the law of the land in hopes that the President you want will appoint the Justice you want who will act in the way you hope, I ask you act on the nomination that President Obama sends you. Urge the Judiciary Committee to hold thorough hearings and have an up or down vote.

I am NOT urging you to vote Yes or No on a nominee. That is up to you after you give full consideration to the President’s appointment. I do ask, urge and expect that you will give full consideration to a nominee and not keep the country in limbo. I further insist that if you are given a nominee you have previously voted to confirm, that you vote to confirm them again unless new information has come to light.

Respectfully, Daniel Cornwall

 

References:

Supreme Court vacancies in presidential election years  (SCOTUS Blog, 2/13/2016) – http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/supreme-court-vacancies-in-presidential-election-years/

Sen. Richard Blumenthal correct that the longest Supreme Court vacancy in 30 years has been 237 days (Politifact, 2/18/2016) – http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/feb/18/richard-blumenthal/sen-richard-blumenthal-correct-longest-supreme-cou/

History of the Burger Court (Washington University Law School) – http://supremecourtopinions.wustl.edu/?rt=index/history

Roe v. Wade: The Aftermath of one of the Most Controversial Supreme Court Decisions (Loyola Student Historical Journal) – http://www.loyno.edu/~history/journal/Oehlke.htm

 

 

What Will Sen. Murkowski Cut to Pay for Plane Tax Cut?

A recent Congress.gov alert brought this news about Senator Murkowski:

Legislation sponsored:

 

  • S. 2530 – A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the exemption for certain aircraft from the excise taxes on transportation by air.

The text has this line in it:

(1) in subsection (a), by striking “6,000 pounds or less” and inserting “12,500 pounds or less”, and

So it looks like heavier and more expensive aircraft will be exempt from excise taxes. This will reduce revenue to the federal government during a time of deficits. Without other actions it will raise the annual deficit.

So, if Senator Murkowski wants to keep the deficit from increasing under S. 2530, she needs to either offer an offsetting tax on something else, or cut something. Will she do either?

 

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