Fellow Travelers

Friday, August 19, 2016

Trump is not the end of the Republicans. Probably.

I got a message on Reddit after a post discussing how the Republicans can come back in 2018 and 2020, and how Trump isn't the death of their party. 
If Trump loses as often predicted, does the GOP stand a chance of winning in 2020?
The reason I'm asking you this question is I'm trying help a friend of mine who is among the center-right #NeverTrump crowd, and understandably despairing over the state of the party, to try and give him some hope things will inevitably work themselves out the better for Republican/Conservative voters like him.
There was more but you get the idea. Here's my answer:
Saying the Republican Party "can't be stuck in the 1980s," Kasich described Portman, a former colleague in the U.S. House, as representing "21st Century thinking" on the environment, civil rights and other issues.
Right now, the Democrats feel like they are ascendant, triumphant. It is unthinkable that the Republicans could challenge them. The Presidential election is as good as won, the Democrats very possibly could take back control of the Senate, and as soon as the 2020 redistricting goes through the Democrats will fix the problems in the House and take back control of it. You don’t have to look hard to find plenty of liberals and Democrats with this mindset today, confident that Trump has doomed the Republican Party.
It’s a familiar refrain for me, because I heard the same thing after the 2004 elections. Bush had been re-elected. The Republicans increased their majorities in the Senate and House. State constitutional amendments banning gay marriage passed in eleven states. Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah. Clearly the country liked how the Republicans were handling the economy, didn’t approve of liberal social policies, and trusted the Republicans to handle national security and the war.
Two and four years later, all that changed. Because that’s the only constant in politics, change. And in 2008, the Democrats were ascendant. The Republicans had bungled the economy. The wars were dragging on. And so on, and so on. American politics swings like a pendulum.
The damage Trump is doing to the GOP is, I think, overstated. People have short memories. And people also love rebranding. What Trump does is make ideas toxic. He’s made those ideas of the Republicans that were stuck in the last century toxic, so that the Republicans can more readily discard them. Trump is the rock bottom that will facilitate the necessary rehabilitation of the party.
It’s difficult for an incumbent to be unseated, unless that incumbent is seen as the third term of a two term president. It hasn’t happened often, but the Reagan and Bush administrations are a good parallel. Anything that goes wrong between now and 2020 will be blamed on Clinton, on the fact that the Democrats have had the presidency for twelve years. It’s extremely unlikely that Clinton will accomplish anything positive, certainly anything substantive to resolve the serious problems we face as a country.
On top of that, she lacks the charisma that Bill has (or had), and possesses all the arrogance and then some. It will be an endless four years of scandal, and not only will there not be a single republican on her side, but she’ll be alienating progressives, libertarians, on and on. Numerous people, Democratic voters presumably, have said that if Clinton doesn’t play ball with the left she can “simply” be primaried. Of course, that’s not happened since before the Republican Party existed, but it’s the “carrot” they’re holding out to us, probably with the hope that we’ll just forget between now and 2019 or so.
There’s a road map for the Republicans to come back in 2018 and 2020, and that is to abandon social conservatism and adopt some more libertarian ideas. I think you’ll see a lot of outreach to libertarians leading up to 2018. The focus will be Small Government, and anti-corruption. Those will be the two areas where Clinton is the weakest, and where libertarians and even aging social conservatives see eye to eye. It is a message that will succeed in states like Texas and Georgia.
I would advise the center-right Republicans to 1) accept that Clinton is winning this year, 2) vote for Gary Johnson and make it clear it’s because they’re small government and for national unity, and 3) work to bring together libertarians and social conservatives going into 2018 and 2020. Make no mistake, the GOP is down but it is not out, and there is a lot of opportunity for them over the next four years. And there are a lot of GOP strategists and thinkers who recognize this and are working towards that end.
It’s also worth noting that the GOP has unprecedented dominance at the state level. There are 23 states where the governor, upper chamber, and lower chambers are controlled by Republicans. In 31 states the upper and lower chambers are both controlled by Republicans. This will give them a huge advantage in controlling those 2018 and 2020 elections. Some of their abilities may be curtailed by the Supreme Court with Hillary appointees on it, but this will just strengthen the positions of libertarians and encourage Clinton opponents. Now, what the Democrats are hoping is that, in 2020, in state level districts for state senate and state house that were thoroughly gerrymandered in 2010, they can win those seats so that they can “repair” the gerrymandering in a direction favorable to them.
What this ignores is that, in order to win these seats, the Democrats need candidates. They need candidates for governor, for state senator, for state representative, for US House representative, for US Senate, for all the jobs like Treasurer and Auditor and state-level Secretary of State. And in many states, those candidates aren’t there. This is because there’s been that 6 years of gerrymandering, and probably ten by 2020, where young candidates don’t have a chance to come up through the ranks. Obama, before he was President, was a US Senator. Before that, a state senator. In Ohio this year there is a Senate election between the Republican incumbent, and the best the Democrats can put forward is the former Democrat governor, who had the misfortune of being the state’s chief executive when the financial crisis hit in 2009, and who wound up taking the blame for the results of that crash. He has a very good chance of losing to Portman, the Republican incumbent. And he was the guy chosen by the state level Democratic establishment. In a lot of ways, there isn’t anybody else.
In 2010 when the GOP gerrymandered Ohio more so than it already was , they went with Packing instead of Cracking. Say you have a metropolitan area that normally votes solid blue. Cracking will split that area between multiple districts, each having a little bit of the metro area and a massive bit of the wealthy suburbs and rural areas. This didn’t work out too hot in 2008 in central Ohio, which was split between OH-7, OH-12, and OH-15. After very expensive and contentious fights, including one in the recount margin, the Democrats took OH-12 and OH-15. After the 2010 census and the following redistricting, the GOP remedied this by packing the Columbus metro area into a new OH-3, a district carefully drawn street by precious lefty street to ensure that conservative votes were in OH-12 and OH-15, and liberal votes were in OH-3. This meant that while OH-3 will always be represented by a liberal, the GOP and DNC doesn’t have to spend money to run contested elections in central Ohio.
This also means that the OH-3 representative becomes somebody so liberal that they can’t hope to be elected to a statewide office. So it limits the future prospects of any career politician in OH-3 or the other Packed districts in Ohio. Anybody who could run on a wider level is too liberal to win. But on the Republican side, gerrymandering frees up libertarian and centrist Republican candidates to run and win, because if they can make it through the primary, they have an effectively guaranteed general election. This is the mechanism by which the party can be pulled both towards the center and towards libertarianism, and also one which gives the Democrats a harder path to make the miracle turnaround they need in 2020 to control the redistricting.
Republicans are mocked online now. I remember as a leftist being attacked and mocked online plenty in the 2000s for being anti war, especially since I opposed it from the start. Being pro gay didn’t help. This happens. But the mockery and demonization has a backlash. Young voters coming up who want to be individuals and iconoclasts, independent people, will see that mockery and align themselves against it.
So here’s my prediction.
The Republicans soften on social conservative issues. They point to the corruption and inefficiency and arrogance of the Democratic Party under Clinton’s leadership. It won’t be hard. She’ll give them no shortage of opportunity. The GOP looks at the relative popularity of the Libertarians this year, not just with young up and coming voters but with already established Republicans. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Reid Ribble from Wisconsin (a House rep), and more, they’ve all indicated they might vote for Gary Johnson, and in so doing indicated their support for the Libertarians. The Republicans reach out to the Libertarians. A lot will come over, some won’t. Some social conservatives will leave the GOP in disgust, but most won’t, for the same reason a lot of progressives stay with the Democrats. I know, because they’re my relatives. With a rebuilt and rebranded Small Government Anti Corruption Conservative Coalition, the GOP could become a place for centrist Republicans, and libertarians, for young and old voters, and could go on to win big. Or at least, not have the losses in 2020 that they’d need for the Democrats to put them in the ground.
In closing, every party is at its best after it is declared dead. It’s a freeing experience.
Here’s some reading:

Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Name the 38 states that will get Republican legislatures"

The Republicans are very close to controlling enough state legislatures to call and ratify a Constitutional Convention. When this is pointed out, incredulous Democrats have a hard time accepting it. For example, 
Name the 38 states that will get Republican legislatures.
Well, the math isn't terribly difficult. But it is terrifying and imminent.

31 states have them already. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Goergia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virgnia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In those states the Republicans control both the upper and lower chamber, often by wide margins.

In 8 states the Republicans control at least one chamber. These are Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, and Maine. Of those 8 states the Democrats control less than 60% of the remaining chamber in 7 states.

  1. In Colorado the Democrats control the state house of representatives by 34-31, 53%. A 2 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  2. In Iowa the Democrats control the state senate by 26-23 with 1 independent, 53%. A 2 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  3. In Washington the Democrats control the state house of representatives by 50-48, 51%. A 2 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  4. In Kentucky the Democrats control the state house of representatives by 53-47, 53%. A 4 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  5. In Maine the Democrats control the state house of representatives by 78 - 69 with 4 Independents on the side, 52%. Not factoring in Independents, a 5 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  6. In Minnesota the Democrats control the state senate by 39-28, 58%. A 6 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.
  7. In New Mexico the Democrats control the state senate by 24-18, 57%. A 4 seat loss would put it in Republican hands.

Overall the Democrats are 25 state legislator seats away from having the Republicans control both state chambers in 38 states, the number needed to not only call an Article 5 Constitutional Convention, but to also ratify it.

The Democrats during the last eight years have had historic statehouse losses:
Obama’s record for losses, at least through the 2014 midterms, is historically bad having overseen two horrible midterm elections for Democrats. Overall, Sabato wrote, Democrats during Obama’s presidency lost 11 governorships, 13 U.S. Senate seats, 69 House seats, and 913 state legislative seats and 30 state legislative chambers. (Our analysis of legislative seats is off from Sabato’s by three. The small discrepancy is likely due to run-offs and recounts.) 
The shedding of U.S. House seats, state legislative seats and statehouse control is at least twice the average two-term losses from Truman through George W. Bush, Sabato said.
All the Republicans need to do is pick up 2.7% of the state legislature seats that they picked up under Obama. It's that close.

These are low level races that rarely get a lot of money put into them... unless big money Republican donors see that Trump isn't worth wasting their money, and suddenly they have somewhere downticket to invest, in areas ignored by Democrats who believe that the presidency and the Supreme Court is the only thing that matters.

Another frequent counter claim from ostrich Democrats is
The country is far to polarized to get an amendment passed.
Which is only true if you limit yourself to thinking at the national level. If you look at the Senate and the House, the Presidency and the Supreme Court, and you think that is the only government that exists, then yes, you might get that idea. But the demographic reality is that one end of that polarization is concentrated in a few high population states, and the other end of that polarization is spread out across several medium to low population states. As a visual aid, look at the 2012 election results by county.

Now, when it comes to winning the popular vote nationwide, and when it comes to winning electoral votes, this helps the Democrats. When it comes to an Article V Constitutional Convention, it does not help the democrats. A 6-3 tilt in the Supreme Court doesn't matter at all if you can overturn the Supreme Court with amendments passed and ratified through the state legislatures instead of through the US Congress. This is a fact. The electoral college favors states with big population centers, an Article V Constitutional Convention has nothing to do with the electoral college, and it just matters how many state legislatures you control in total numbers.

Have you ever heard of ALEC? They're the group behind "Stand Your Ground" laws, Voter ID laws, anti-immigration laws, pro-fracking laws, anti minimum wage laws, and pro-oil industry laws. They have been excluded from state anti-lobbyist laws. They write the legislation that Republican legislatures pass and Republican governors sign. In addition to their many unpleasant goals they've got the goal of calling a constitutional convention:
Constitutional Convention for a Balanced Budget Amendment
  • One of ALEC's top priorities is to amend the U.S. Constitution via a Convention under Article V of the Constitution, and it is getting closer each year. Here's the latest:
  • ALEC's balanced budget amendment campaign has attracted little media attention, but the pieces of legislation that could trigger a constitutional convention are moving forward much more quickly than many might anticipate.
  • Although there are many unanswered legal questions about how a convention is triggered, 27 states have enacted such measures, including three in 2015.
  • The Constitution provides that 34 states (two-thirds) can trigger a convention to propose amendments, which must then be ratified by 38 states (three-fourths).
  • That puts convention proponents just 7 states away from victory. (Any controversy over how states are counted would be settled by Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.)
  • The Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, which is closely allied with ALEC, has targeted 13 states this year, many of which are deep red: WA, MT, ID, WY, AZ, OK, MN, WI, SC, KY, WV, VA and ME. The biggest threats appear to be VA, WV, OK, SC and WI.
  • This is not a grassroots movement; it is a highly organized and well-funded attempt capitalize on the Republican's historic takeover of state legislatures to lock in the right-wing's discredited "supply-side" economic policies.
  • The balanced budget amendment--which could force deep cuts in vital programs like Social Security or limit the ability of the government to deal with economic or natural disaster or even war--has been supported by Koch-backed groups like David Koch's Americans for Prosperity and the National Federation of Independent Business. ALEC and it's "Jeffersonian Project," a new 501(c)(4) arm, are lobbying for it.
  • Throughout U.S. history, the Constitution has only been amended through a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress on a specific amendment, which is then ratified by two-thirds of state legislatures. If a constitutional convention is triggered it is unclear that it could actually and constitutionally be confined to the balanced budget, and some groups –like the Convention of States–are pushing for much broader amendments to limit the power of federal government, including adding term limits.
The Democrats don't want to face how ominous a prospect this is, not least because there really isn't a way to stop it at this point. The overconfident bluster I see from centrist Democrats these days on the impossibility of an Article V Convention is almost identical to the reaction I got from Republicans in 2005-2006 when I'd suggest the Democrats could take back Congress and that guy from the DNC Convention in 2004 could easily be president in 2008.

There is a first time for everything, even an ending.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"That would quite literally start a civil war"

The following point was made on Reddit recently:
The Democrats have lost over 900 state legislator seats since 2008. They have lost control of 30 state legislative chambers. The Republicans are currently 3 state chambers from being able to call a constitutional convention, and 7 state chambers from being able to ratify the results of it. They can push amendments banning abortion, banning gay marriage, banning or legalizing whatever they want, and those amendments will be part of the constitution. And it will have been done legally, democratically, and there won't be shit the federal government can do about it.
The reply was
That would quite literally start a civil war.
Well sure. It probably would. Now let's assume that person was right.

First, what would spark a Constitutional Convention? Well, a group called Election Justice carried out an exhaustive study on the results of the Democratic primaries, using exit polls and the same methods used to detect fraud in elections overseas. They discovered that there were significant differences between the exit polls and the final "official" recorded votes. This discrepancy was large enough that it would have clinched the nomination for Bernie Sanders. Earlier claims were met with derision and dismissed by the DNC establishment, claiming that exit polls are not conclusive enough to definitely show evidence of fraud, and that the methodologies of exit polls in the US are different from those used overseas. Here's what they found:
Applying the results of the exit polls conducted in these primaries in an attempt to verify the computer counts revealed that these counts differed widely from the exit poll projections. These discrepancies occurred primarily in the Democratic Party primaries but not in the primaries of the Republican Party. This is remarkable, as the exit polls for both parties were conducted on the same day, in the same precincts, with the same interviewers, and used the same methodologies.  
Comparing the computer vote counts with the exit poll survey results for the Republican Party primaries, the total survey margin of error was calculated to be 32% greater than the usual statistical margin of error applied to such surveys. Ten of the primaries of the Democratic Party had computer vote counts that differed from the exit poll results by more than the augmented margin of error applied to the exit polls conducted by Edison Research.
This has been dismissed by the DNC and by the traditional media, but it has been picked up and I've seen it widely repeated by conservatives, coupled with an expectation that Hillary will rig the November election as well. Let me make something clear. It doesn't matter if Clinton did or did not rig the primaries enough to win, and it doesn't matter if she does the same for the general election. What will matter is whether or not enough people believe that she did. Given what people already believe about Clinton (in many cases justifiably) is it a stretch to think they'd believe this?

Against that background, an outgoing Obama has his Supreme Court Justice approved, giving Democrats a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg and Justice Breyer retire and are replaced. Before or after this, a state level assault weapon ban gets to the Supreme Court. There are lawsuits on these coming soon based on new laws in Maryland and California. The newly anti-gun Supreme Court issues a landmark decision defining gun ownership as a collective right and not an individual right (the position already preferred by the liberal justices and the ACLU). In reaction to this, Republican legislatures in the many pro-gun states call Article V Constitutional Conventions to correct this and any other of the outrages that the endemically corrupt Clinton Administration won't be able to help committing.

And that brings us up to the point of the original reddit post,
The Republicans are currently 3 state chambers from being able to call a constitutional convention, and 7 state chambers from being able to ratify the results of it.
and its reply,
That would quite literally start a civil war.
There are currently 23 states that have a Republican governor and has Republican control over both chambers of the state legislature. This is assuming that the downticket drag of Hillary doesn't cause any immediate losses in November. That's 23 state level National Guard organizations of which the governors are their commander-in-chief, raised from citizens of those states that have voted for Republicans for the governorship and both chambers of the legislature. Now, the President can call those National Guard units up for federal service. Would they listen?

The US Military is predominantly conservative. This TIME article from the 2012 election gives us some numbers:
But the U.S. military plainly tilts toward the GOP. That’s largely because today’s military is an all-volunteer force increasingly drawn from the Sunbelt, where the Pentagon has focused its recruiting efforts since the draft ended 40 years ago. And traits the military prizes — like aggressiveness and respect for authority — tend to be more pronounced in conservatives. 
The independent Military Times newspapers conducted an voluntary survey among its members that shows them supporting Romney over Obama by a greater than 2-to-1 margin. But the newspaper’s subscribers are older and more senior in rank than the military as a whole, and the fact that it’s a self-selected sample can further distort its findings. 
Indeed, there has been a conservative drift among U.S. military officers since the draft ended. In a 2009 survey of 4,000 Army officers, Heidi Urben, an active-duty officer and doctoral candidate at Georgetown University, found that between 1976 and 1996, the share of senior military officers identifying itself as Republican jumped from one-third to two-thirds, while those claiming to be moderates fell from 46% to 22%. 
Senior military officers who described themselves as liberal fell from 16% in 1976 to 3% in 1996. Urben found that younger officers leaving the Army were far more likely to identify themselves as Democrats than those opting to stay, which would tend to make the more senior ranks increasingly Republican. 
A Pew survey released last year showed post-9/11 veterans’ political leanings are the reverse of the public they’re serving: 36% describe themselves as Republicans, and 21% as Democrats; 34% of the public said they were Democrats, and 23% Republican. Six in 10 vets say they’re more patriotic than the average American.
The Constitutional Convention described above would be entirely legal and constitutional, being organized under Article V of the US Constitution. Every enlisted member of the military swears an oath and the Constitution figures into it very heavily.
I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).
The military is sworn under oath to support and defend the Constitution. If an order contravenes the Constitution, which is the law of the land, it is an unlawful order, and there is an extensive body of military legal history and tradition that instructs members of the military not to obey unlawful orders. Which means that if there was some sort of federal action (perhaps an executive overreach) by a Democrat President to stop a Republican-initiated Article V Convention or its outcome, then the already very conservative military would further be obligated by oath to stop the federal government.

While I'm on the military, you may remember seeing a popular liberal meme and associated blog posts going around a few years ago talking about how federal dollars flow from blue states into red states, and how those red states are mooching off of blue state money. Well, the reason for that is because the red states host the most military bases. There are 222 military installations in the United States. The 31 states controlled by Republican state legislatures are host to 139 or 63% of those. States with both chambers controlled by Democrats States host 58 military bases, for 26% of the total. States with split legislatures host the remaining 22 bases.

Police officers, especially sheriffs and deputies, tend to be overwhelmingly Republican. On top of that you have the added tension between police and the Democrats as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement. I thoroughly support BLM and I think the police in America are too ready to kill and aren't held accountable. The things they get away with lead to police going further until they do something really outrageous, like the Castille or the Walter Scott killings, and these things do incredible damage to the perception of police nationwide and their relationships with their communities. The relationship between police and Democrats isn't great, and things like this, which I do support, don't help with that. You also have a decade or more of surplus military equipment going to local police departments. The police are more militarized now than they have ever been. And they're more conservative and more friendly to the Republicans than they have ever been.

According to Pew Research, the demographics of private gun ownership are similarly skewed. Half of all Republicans own guns. I know alt-right family members with an arsenal numbering in the dozens. Less than a quarter of Democrats own guns. 41% of Conservatives own guns, and only 23% of Liberals own guns.

How often, when Republican gun owners talk about needing their guns to defend against tyranny, are they told by Democrats that their guns would be ineffective against the might of the US military? Who, exactly, do they think will be wielding that might?

If the state governments use Article 5 of the US Constitution to call a constitutional convention, then they are acting entirely legally. A civil war in opposition to that would be an illegal one. Not an immoral one, but an illegal one. Defending the Constitution comes before obeying the orders of the President, and additionally it's only required that lawful orders be obeyed. So you'd have a civil war, sure. And on one side, you'd have

  1. A majority of state governments.
  2. A majority of state National Guards.
  3. A majority of the federal military forces and military bases.
  4. A majority of the police forces.
  5. A majority of civilian gun owners and combat veterans.

On the other side you'd have

  1. A fraction of the state governments
  2. A fraction of the state National Guards
  3. A fraction of the federal military members and military bases.
  4. A fraction of the police forces
  5. A minority of civilian gun owners and a lot of people who think guns are icky and have panic attacks at the thought of seeing one in person.

If that fellow was correct that a constitutional convention "would quite literally start a civil war", who do you think would win it?

Of course, what's more likely to happen is that Congress will impeach a rogue president and remove them from office before things got to the point of Civil War, but that would still, and probably even more likely, result in a right-wing dominated Constitutional Convention.

Monday, July 25, 2016

For the Progressive Left to win, Clinton must lose

Apparently this needs a tldr, because 7 pages about the political future of the country is too long for an electorate raised on 30 second sound bites. So, here's the summary:

1. Clinton is demonstrably corrupt, as is the DNC machine that got her the nomination, and electing her rewards that corruption.

2. With a corrupt and unpopular incumbent, the Democrats lose downticket elections in 2018 and 2020, as well as allowing someone even worse than Trump to take over the Republicans and beat Clinton in 2020.

3. The president's party loses seats in the midterms more than 75% of the time.

4. Democrats have lost 900 state legislature seats since the reasonably popular Obama was elected, and it'd be much worse under Clinton.

5. Republicans need 38 state legislatures to be able to overrule the Supreme Court and change the Constitution and its amendments however they want.

6. Currently Republicans control both chambers of the state legislatures in 31 states, and one of two chambers in 8 more.

7. If Trump wins, it will be a disaster for Republicans for the same reasons that Clinton would be a disaster for Democrats.

8. Trump isn't nearly as bad as he's presented, and his worst excesses would be limited by the leadership in his own party.

9. For these reasons, it is imperative that Clinton loses in November, because the alternative is 12 years of Democrat losses. A Trump presidency would be bad but it wouldn't be that bad, but it would lead to 12 years of progressive wins.

10. Vote for whoever you want. Clinton, Trump, Stein, Johnson. Trump perversely actually does have the best and the most specific trade policy right now, Johnson is pro-TPP, and Clinton is lying about opposig it. I'll probably be undecided until I push the button on the Diebold machines only to have it get edited in post to a Clinton vote.

Recently emails were released that were hacked from DNC email servers showing something we all suspected, that the DNC was extensively colluding with Clinton and with the media to favor her campaign over that of Bernie Sanders.

This is in violation of DNC bylaws. Article 5, Section 4 of the charter and bylaws of the Democratic Party requires the DNC chair to remain impartial during the primary process, a rule that Schultz seems to have violated in these emails:
In the conduct and management of the affairs and procedures of the Democratic National Committee, particularly as they apply to the preparation and conduct of the Presidential nomination process, the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.
“She finally did, but not before speaking with President Obama — and not without a fight, according to Democrats familiar with the negotiations.”
“I want to thank my longtime friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her leadership of the Democratic National Committee over the past five years. I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership. There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie–which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states. I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid–because as President, I will need fighters like Debbie in Congress who are ready on day one to get to work for the American people.”
She was forced out for misconduct, for actively working against Clinton’s challenger, and she was immediately rewarded for that. It’s corruption as plain as day, as plain as the nose on my face. And to me at least, it is inexcusable.

How do we as voters, as regular people, force the Clinton campaign to see real world repercussions for this? How do we keep Clinton and DWS from getting away with it? We have only one option. 

Don’t vote for her.

If Clinton wins in November after all this, it will become the way politics are done. She presents herself as the status quo candidate, and this will be the new status quo. It will be impossible to get anyone in office again at the federal level, certainly as a Democrat, who is not in the pockets of the wealthy. Anyone who hasn’t benefited from years of patronage and dealmaking. It will be eternal corruption.

Donald Trump right now is the candidate of racists and idiots. And he may be one himself, or it may be an act. Certainly Tea Party conservatives and republicans are unquestionably the easiest people to manipulate as a politician. The only thing you have to do is say what they want to hear. There’s a very important point in the existence of Trump’s base that can’t be ignored, and yet it often is, and this is that point:

Trump’s supporters would be present in American politics with or without him.

These are people whose positions and beliefs and viewpoints have been shaped by their lives and by the economic circumstances they’re living in. If Trump loses, they’ll still be there, except they’ll feel even more desperate and pissed off and powerless. And in the highest office of the land we’ll have one of the most flagrantly corrupt politician in many people’s memories.

This will leave conditions right for a far right strongman politician, one who is actually everything Trump pretends to be, somebody who has the Republican establishment on his side and who has the alt-right racists and white supremacists on his side. He’ll promise to clean up DC’s corruption, and he’ll have an easy time getting into office on the backs of national exhaustion following 4 years of Clinton crony corruption.

That’s a hypothetical, admittedly. What is not hypothetical is that the party of the incumbent president tends to lose seats in midterm elections. In the 21 midterms since 1934, the incumbent party has lost Senate seats 76% of the time, and has lost House seats 86% of the time. This is also a trend that holds over into local and state elections. The Democrats have lost over 900 state legislator elections since Obama’s election:
“The bottom line: Republicans now control about 56 percent of the country’s 7,383 state legislative seats, up 12 percentage points since 2009.
Thirty-five states posted double-digit seat losses for the Democrats in state legislatures, including more than 50 seats each in Arkansas, New Hampshire and West Virginia.”
Why does this matter? Well, the Democrats have focused their energy on winning federal elections, and occasionally on Senate and House and Governor elections. Republicans have realized that they have a very hard time winning on the federal level, so for at least the last decade they’ve focused on the state legislatures.

If Clinton wins the presidency this year, that trend likely continues. The Democrats continue to lose Senate and House seats in the midterm, and the Republicans increase gains in the state legislatures. We’ve seen the drastic and tone deaf missteps that Clinton in her unbridled arrogance can’t stop making. That’s going to happen during a Clinton presidency too, and it will be a lead weight dragging on those downticket races.

There are two very important reasons why this could be disastrous. First, we’re coming up on the 2020 US Census. Whoever wins state legislature seats in 2018 and 2020 will be the ones deciding redistricting following the 2020 census. When Republicans got into office in 2010, they gerrymandered the House districts in their states and ensured that their midterm gains would be solidified and could be expanded upon. It’s why the Republicans held the House for the last three congresses and why the Democrats aren’t even talking about taking back the House, just *maybe* the Senate. Effectively, and what we’ve seen from recent political history, whoever wins the state legislatures will decide who holds the US House through the 2020s.

That’s the best case scenario.

The other reason ties into a growing progressive movement called the Wolf PAC.  They have a plan to overturn Citizen United and get big money out of politics by using state legislatures to call for an amendment proposing convention.
“According to Article V of our Constitution, Congress must call for an amendment-proposing convention, “on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States”, and therefore 34 state legislatures would have to submit applications.”
That number is a very significant one. 34 state legislatures would have to agree. If 34 state legislatures move for a Constitutional Convention, it happens, and it would take 38 states to ratify the results of that convention.

Right now the Wolf PAC is a long shot. It’s only passed in a handful of states. Its supporters will tell you that these sorts of political movements work slowly but grow rapidly. There’s a problem with that.

Right now the Republicans control both the state house and the state senate (or equivalents) in 31 states. In 8 more states they control one of the two chambers. This means that the Republicans are 3 state chambers away from being able to call their own constitutional convention, and only 7 state chambers away from being able to ratify it.

The US Constitution is effectively the operating system code for our country. If they can change it, they can change anything they want. Rewrite the 1st amendment to not apply to Muslims? Ban gay marriage? Ban abortion? Abolish the minimum wage? They could do all that. They could do anything they wanted.

And Republicans at the highest levels know this. It’s a long term goal of ALEC, an otherwise little known conservative group you may not have previously heard of:
Cruz, along with fellow Republican presidential aspirants Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Gov. John Kasich (Ohio), has endorsed an old conservative goal of a Constitutional amendment to mandate a balanced federal budget. The idea sounds fanciful, but free-market ideologues associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive group of right-wing legislators and their corporate allies, are close to pulling off a coup that could devastate the economy, which is just emerging from a recession. Their scheme could leave Americans reeling for generations. A balanced budget amendment would prevent the federal government from following the Keynesian strategy of stimulating the economy during an economic depression by increasing the national debt. (Since 1970, the United States has had a balanced budget in only four years: 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.) 
Article V of the Constitution lays out two routes for changing the law of the land: An amendment can be proposed by Congress or by a constitutional convention that is convened by two-thirds of the states (34). Either way, three-fourths of the states (38) have to ratify it. Previously, changes to the country’s founding document have been achieved by the first process. But as of today, 28 states—six shy of the two-thirds threshold required by Article V—have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. 
The ALEC-affiliated Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force (BBATF), which proffered the pledge signed by Cruz, is hoping to meet that 34-state threshold by July 4. BBATF is one player in an astroturf movement backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and embraced by right-wing state legislators.
Picture four miserable years of a Clinton presidency with Trump crowing from the sidelines the whole time. The Democratic Party and its voters demoralized from having to defend every terrible tone deaf arrogant corrupt move from the Clinton White House. Picture losses in 2018, and a loss in 2020 to somebody more charismatic than Trump but so much worse. Picture increased Republican control over the state legislatures, to 34 states and maybe even 38.

We’re told Hillary Clinton must be elected if for no other reason than for Supreme Court nominations. First off, we don’t know that her Supreme Court nominations will be anyone we want to see on the Supreme Court. Look at her record. Look at her priorities. Look at what she considers acceptable. And imagine her picking a Supreme Court Justice. But that’s beyond the point. Even if she picked perfect Justices, it won’t matter if there’s a constitutional convention. It won’t matter even a little bit.

The whole point of the predominantly left wing Wolf PAC is to overturn a Supreme Court decision using a constitutional amendment pushed through state legislatures. Republicans have the same goal, they are a lot closer to it, and they have a lot more Supreme Court decisions they want overturned. Additionally if Clinton gets a solid left majority on the Supreme Court, it will feel urgent and imperative to Republicans that they do exactly that. You’ll see a nationwide movement for it.

Where does that leave us? Yes, it’s common to share memes saying “If everybody who says they’d vote for a third party but third parties can’t win would actually vote for a third party then that party could win.” But let’s be honest. The United States federal system of government favors two parties and two parties only. Sometimes a party will break up and another will take its place. Nobody is currently alive from the last time that happened, when the Republican party was formed. Other times the goals and ideals of a party will shift over time, as happened with the Democrats and Republicans in the middle of the 20th century. Nothing has changed on that front since the Civil Rights Era, but it’s at least more likely. However, at this exact moment in time, barring force majeure like somebody dropping out of the race entirely, either Trump or Clinton will be elected in 2016.

What happens if Trump gets elected? Well, the racists will feel like they’ve won. And as we’ve seen with progressives after Obama got elected, people tend to think that winning the presidency is all they need to do and then they can sit back and take it easy, that they have accomplished their goals. Meanwhile Trump will be politically toxic for anyone in Republican governments to support. He’ll be a danger to any Republican Senator or Representative who works with him, especially anybody from a purple state. Republicans will love working with Democrats to block the worst of his insanities in Congress. Even if he tries to put utter loons up for the Supreme Court, they’ll be blocked by Congress.

This will lead to dissension in the ranks of the Republican Party, as the racist loons in the Republican Party see so much opposition from Congressional Republicans. From that you’ll get primary efforts in 2018 and 2020 to those Congressional Republicans, and Democrats have a good chance of picking up seats in those cases if a moderate Republican loses a primary. You may also get a primary challenge to Trump in 2020.

Meanwhile the incumbent President’s party, the Republicans, lose seats in 2018 and 2020. This helps the Democrats with redistricting after 2020, and a resurgent progressive wing will be able to put progressives in Congress through the 2020s. It also pumps the brakes on a Republican constitutional convention. And the Democrats will have a new person up in 2020, the result of a wide open primary without any “presumptive nominee”, somebody untainted by association with the toxic Clinton political brand that couldn’t even beat Trump. On top of this, you’ll have an electorate that is much more liberal, much more progressive, much more energized, and it will have spent the last 4 years outraged at Trump, instead of outraged at Clinton.

Will Trump kill terrorists and their families? Maybe. But Obama is doing that already. He's done a lot of that, and personally I'd welcome having the left opposing it again as they would under Trump, instead of excusing it as they are under Obama and would under Clinton. 

We’re conditioned in the US as voters to only focus on the current election. We’re conditioned to never think ahead, like a chess game, two more elections, three more elections, and so on. The electorate is like a bull, and the red cape of the other party is waved in front of us with the hope that we will charge, every time, only to have the cape be pulled away so we can be stabbed. Trump is a hell of a red cape, but he’s a cape nonetheless. And we know from leaked emails that the Clinton campaign and the DNC (is there a difference?) has been colluding with the media. Considering that, how bad do we actually know Trump is? Oh, he’s bad, sure, but is he the end of the world? Certainly the DNC wants us to think that, and the media coverage he receives makes him look that way, but we know the DNC works with the media to push false narratives. We have the proof in writing.

On top of that, if you read some of Trump’s more recent speeches, he’s not a *complete* moron. Take for example this speech on jobs and the economy from June. It’s said that Trump doesn’t offer specifics, but here he assuredly does:
Here are 7 steps I would pursue right away to bring back our jobs. 
One: I am going to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified. 
Two: I'm going to appoint the toughest and smartest trade negotiators to fight on behalf of American workers. 
Three: I'm going to direct the Secretary of Commerce to identify every violation of trade agreements a foreign country is currently using to harm our workers. I will then direct all appropriate agencies to use every tool under American and international law to end these abuses. 
Four: I'm going tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers. And I don't mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better. If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal. 
Five: I am going to instruct my Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator. Any country that devalues their currency in order to take advantage of the United States will be met with sharply. 
Six: I am going to instruct the U.S. Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the WTO. China's unfair subsidy behavior is prohibited by the terms of its entrance to the WTO, and I intend to enforce those rules. 
Seven: If China does not stop its illegal activities, including its theft of American trade secrets, I will use every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes, including the application of tariffs consistent with Section 201 and 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. 
President Reagan deployed similar trade measures when motorcycle and semiconductor imports threatened U.S. industry. His tariff on Japanese motorcycles was 45% and his tariff to shield America’s semiconductor industry was 100%.
He knows the specific sections of these trade deals that can be used to correct the wrongs. Those things would not be terrible to have happen. What’s more is they’re going to resonate in the Rust Belt, in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and so on. Tim Kaine, in addition to being a poke in the eye to progressives, was a desperate attempt to get blue collar white voters back for the Democrats. But Tim Kaine supports trade deals. A credible job and trade plan could easily put Trump over in the swing states he needs to win.

Am I likely to vote for Trump? Probably not. But I don’t know who I’d vote for; I have serious problems even with Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. The Green Party supports homeopathy, and Gary Johnson recently came out in favor of the TPP.

I definitely think I’ve shown that Trump winning wouldn’t be the country ending disaster we’ve been told it would be, and that many of us believe it would be. And indeed, Clinton winning could be worse in many ways. Vote for whoever you want to vote for, but do not feel pressured into voting for Clinton as though the world will end if she doesn’t win. Because there’s a very real chance our country as we know it could end if she does. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

No, We Can't All Just Get Along With The Rise Of Genuine Textbook Fascism In America

A friend on Facebook who has the misfortune of having Trump supporters as friends asked them why they support Trump. What followed was a stream of Fox News propaganda and alt-right conspiracy theories, lunatic memes propagated through the American political zeitgeist like Kaposi's Sarcoma‎ through the body of an HIV victim. I won't punish anyone by repeating them all, but this one stuck out as particularly bad, and terrifying.
Obama had BLM in the WH. They are a terrorist group, and will be labeled as such soon. Cop killers in the WH sucks & so does the potus!
After 15 years of the War on Terror, what do we do with terrorists? We jail them indefinitely sometimes. More often, we kill them. Classifying someone as a terrorist means you take out their vehicle or wedding party or house with a Hellfire launched from Nellis, or you light them up with an Apache, or Marines take them out. We kill terrorists.

Black Lives Matter is a political movement, one I consider myself part of, that believes the police are far too ready to use and misuse deadly force, and that they do not have enough legal accountability for this, and that people are too ready to excuse them when people, predominantly African-Americans, die as a result.

For example, in florida this week a black behavorial therapist was shot by a cop while the therapist tried to calm an autistic patient in his care. When the black man, who thankfully survived, asked the cop why he was shot, the cop said "I don't know."

Let that soak in, because it's terrifying. It'd be even more terrifying if I was a black man, but as I possess empathy and common decency I can at least try to imagine how terrifying it would be to be in that position. What's more, that black man had been lying down on the ground with his hands in the air explaining to the police what was happening and that the autistic man had a toy truck. There is nothing more he could have done to comply and be non-threatening, but he couldn't change his skin color.

So, that's why Black Lives Matter exists. But to that Trump supporter, we're a terrorist movement. And in the US we kill terrorists.

After everything went to fucky fuck hell, the friend who'd asked the question initially made another post bemoaning the lack of unity and civility in American politics.
How can we expect our leaders to work across the aisle when we can't do the sane with our friends and neighbors? I asked a question to Trump supporters today and was shocked at how rapidly it turned partisan. What I found, in my opinion, is we share many of the same concerns. For me the only major difference is immigration. I do believe we need to put aside our preconceived notions of what a conservative and liberal are and speak to each other with a more open mind and try understand why others hold the beliefs they have.
The white woman who'd called BLM terrorists replied to this blaming us, and also quite inaccurately calling me a Clinton supporter, saying
Your Hillary friends started the insults & mud slinging. You asked your Trump friends for their opinion and we're getting good feedback until the Hillary supporters started attacking. Just saying. Go figure.
My own response to his post is reproduced below in its entirety:

I have no interest in a conversation with people who think Black Lives Matter activists, and I count myself among BLM supporters, are a terrorist movement.

Trying to "reach across the aisle" and sing kumbaya is a great thing but when you do that with the wrong people, people who hate you, people who want you dead, you're just putting your back in easy reach for them.

Americans need to wake up to the fact that we don't have gentlemanly political disagreements here any more than the competing political parties in the Weimar Republic had. We have open racist sexist fascism. Literal fucking fascism, and it wants us dead. 

Falling prey to the fallacy of the golden mean in this environment means you wind up half dead. Fascists who take power, people who think that annoying pesky protesters can be dismissed and summarily eradicated as terrorists, don't throw you halfway out of a helicopter just because you're a nice guy centrist. You either march in lock step or they will fucking kill you. 

The American South is littered with graves, marked and unmarked, of people during the civil rights movement who thought just being a good person was good enough until they ran into a deputy sheriff or sheriff allied with the KKK. 

I'm not a Hillary supporter (although it is easy for small minds capable only of binary thought to sort all "enemies" into one group), I'm not a liberal, I am an anti-fascist. That doesn't lead to me supporting friendly fascists like Clinton any more than it leads to me supporting unfriendly lowest common denominator fascists like Trump. 

It's easy to understand why other people have the ideas they have. The economy is shit in the US thanks to capitalist exploitation. As during the Depression era Weimar Republic, in the absence of class consciousness people who are poor or middle class, who have enough to be afraid of losing it, can be easily manipulated by a charismatic rabble rouser into hating different races and ethnic groups. Until we find a way to increase class consciousness racism will still be the default go to for the explanation of how shitting poor peoples lives are.

It's easy to understand why Mussolini rose to power, or why Franco's fascists in Spain rose to power, or why Pinochet came to power in Chile and started chucking intellectuals out of helicopters. It's easy to understand the motivations for people who enable tyrants. Hitler wrote extensively about what he was doing and how he was doing it while he was doing it, and there are no great secrets there. That we understand them doesn't make them any less imminently dangerous. I can understand sarin gas or botulinum or a scorpion but it doesn't make them any less deadly.

I'm distinguishing genuine racist fascists from all Trump supporters. There's a lot of overlap in the venn diagram, but there may be some people who support Trump who aren't fascists and who can be talked to and reasoned with. However, it would be extremely difficult because the one single overarching common element I see between every single statement I've ever seen made by Trump supporters is uniformly they are profoundly misinformed. They have a view of the world that demonstrably doesn't match up to reality. 

And what's worse is that when you point it out, they don't care. You can point out extensively sourced rebuttals of what they hold as articles of faith, and it just washes over them. You can't have a discussion or gentleman's agreement with that either. It isn't a philosophical difference or different values prioritized, it's a belief that 2+2 = 9/11Benghazi.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Daenerys has dragons that can mass produce Obsidian

I made the point recently on /r/gameofthrones that the dragons can make dragonglass.
Obsidian kills White Walkers, and obsidian is formed from lava. Dragonfire can melt stone and sand, as evidenced by Harrenhal. Dragons can turn sand into things that can kill White Walkers.
Somehow this was considered a "logical leap" and "video game logic" by some.

Which is ridiculous.

First, "Dragonglass" is just obsidian.
Dragonglass is a common name in Westeros for the substance known as obsidian, a form of volcanic glass.
Second, "Obsidian" is just "a hard, dark, glasslike volcanic rock formed by the rapid solidification of lava without crystallization."
It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth. Obsidian is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows, where the chemical composition (high silica content) induces a high viscosity and polymerization degree of the lava.
Third, "Felsic Lava" can be produced at temperatures of 1200-1400 Fahrenheit if the chemical composition is correct.
Felsic Lava
 Felsic or silicic lavas such as rhyolite and dacite typically form lava spines, lava domes or "coulees" (which are thick, short lava flows) and are associated with pyroclastic (fragmental) deposits. Most silicic lava flows are extremely viscous, and typically fragment as they extrude, producing blocky autobreccias. The high viscosity and strength are the result of their chemistry, which is high in silica, aluminium, potassium, sodium, and calcium, forming a polymerized liquid rich in feldspar and quartz, and thus has a higher viscosity than other magma types. Felsic magmas can erupt at temperatures as low as 650 to 750 °C (1,202 to 1,382 °F). Unusually hot (>950 °C; >1,740 °F) rhyolite lavas, however, may flow for distances of many tens of kilometres, such as in the Snake River Plain of the northwestern United States.
Fourth, the question now becomes, is Dragonflame  hot enough to melt stone? Well, yes. This was done to make the dragonroads, the Black Wall of Volantis, and to thoroughly wreck Harrenhal. The color of the dragonfire of Dany's younger dragons indicates it is roughly 2000F give or take. More than enough to make Felsic Lava.

No leaps of logic, no video game logic, just a combination of the fantasy rules already established within the Game of Thrones setting (for example, "dragonflame is hot" and "dragonglass kills white walkers") and of real world science.

I'm not the first person to make the connection either
Dragonfire can be used to make more than just castle ruins, it can also turn sand to glass.  Dragonglass seems to be obsidian made with dragonfire instead of a volcano.   When lava rich in feldspar and quarts is cooled very quickly, there isn't enough time for the molecules to align neatly and form a crystal.  Instead, the molecules harden in a disordered fashion and become glass.  The resulting "volcano glass" is more commonly known as obsidian.  This is a distinct two step process.  First the rock is melted and becomes liquid and is then cooled quickly.  However, in certain cases this two step process happens very quickly and it seems the glass is produced in one step.  At the Trinity test site, it is not unusual to find what is called Trinitite or Trinity Glass.  During the bomb test the desert sand, composed mainly of quartz and feldspare with hints of other elements, was sucked up into the bomb blasts fireball, melted and cooled rapidly as it rained down.  It can be found in several colors depending on what trace elements are present, some types are even red when copper from near by electrical cables was brought into the mix.  It is mildly radio active.  This whole process can also happen when sand is struck by lightning.  The sand melts with the heat of the lightning then solidifies into glass very quickly.  It seems that there is no reason this shouldn't happen with dragonfire.  Interestingly, the temperature needed to melt rock and form obsidian is very close to the temperature needed to melt granite.  Seems like these dragons were made to conquer Westeros and create the weapons needed to rule Beyond the Wall.  If any one of the great dragons blew fire on sand or other glass-forming compounds, the sand would melt then harden quickly into the Walker-killing glass.
Hilariously, after I pointed all this out, the one who'd said
You got some heavy video game logic going on there.
Replied to my science with
In a fantasy world, yes I am going to assume that not everything in it is similar to the real world.
Now who's using video game logic? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

With Thunderous Applause

It is really starting to look like we're going to get a "compromise" of a semiautomatic rifle ban coupled with state repressions of Muslims, and it'll be presented as a compromise between left and right instead of a solid win for authoritarianism. If not after Orlando, then after the next one, or the next one, or the next one.

ISIL/Daesh has not been shy about saying that their goal is to make western liberal democracies intolerant of moderate Muslims in order to push moderate Muslims into feeling like they have no choice but to radicalize or abandon their religion and become apostates. The part two of their plan is to have those Muslims either come to Syria and fight in the apocalypse or stay in their home countries and carry out further attacks towards that goal.

When somebody like Bill O'Reilly goes on the Colbert Report and talks about how he'd be open to banning "assault rifles" so long as Congress literally declares war on Islamic terrorism so that suspected Islamists can be indefinitely detained until the "end of the war", *and gets cheered* by a vocally "left wing" audience, that's where we're headed.

Oh sure, some people will say there are good Muslims and point to examples of these and say we're only putting the bad ones in camps, the ones that can't adapt to be peaceful. If this script sounds familiar, it's because we dusted it off from when it was used on the Native Americans and the Jews and the Australian Aborigines.

How could this happen? Wouldn't the left not stand for it? Well, except for the atheist left, led and inspired by luminaries and media figures like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins, who make the argument that there can be no moderate muslims. With our society's fetish for the fallacy of the golden mean, the argument to moderation, the rest of the left will take the midpoint position that it's okay to indefinitely detain the "bad" muslims so long as we respect the "good" muslims. That will be enough to get the camel's nose in the tent, and the alliance between the atheist left and the anti-muslim Christian right will take care of the rest, probably after a few more attacks from previously moderate muslims.

There are only 1.6 million Muslims in America, that's not a big enough group in a country of 320+ million people to keep them safe, the tyranny of the majority in a democracy comes into play.

I don't know that there's a way to stop this either. I think the carrot of an AWB will be too much for the authoritarian left to resist, and the carrot of anti-muslim pogroms too much for the authoritarian right to resist, and the genuine anti-authoritarians in America are a minority probably comparable in size to the Muslims. Will Orlando be enough to push us over the edge? Maybe, maybe not, but these attacks are not going to stop and they *can't* be stopped. How many more attacks do you think it would take? Pick a number and check back with me once we reach it.

The easiest part of this would be the legal side of it. You'd need nothing more than a constitutional amendment saying simply "The First Amendment does not apply to the Muslim religion. The Second Amendment does not apply to semiautomatic or other military weaponry, which may be further regulated by Congress and the states." The phrasing can be finessed around, like "The First Amendment does not protect criminal organizations which operate under the color of religion" or something like that. Same for the phrasing of the second part. It will seem appealing to a broad number of people. All it takes is a Constitutional amendment and it'll be totally legal.

And when it happens, it will be hailed as bipartisanship and met with thunderous applause.