The Second Amendment is Dead

Image from http://awselby.com/?p=331

Image from http://awselby.com/?p=331

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, born 226 years ago today, is dead.  Defunct.  And it has been dead for a long time.

Many of you will say it’s not dead.  It’s never been revoked, it’s still in the Constitution, and it’s still the law.  And I would agree.  But as it existed originally, and from a practical point of view, it’s deceased.

The Second Amendment harkens back to the American Declaration of Independence.  No less that President Abraham Lincoln believed that the Constitution should be interpreted through the Declaration’s principles, according to Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution by historian James M. McPherson.  And that says it is “the Right of the People to alter or abolish” a despotic government. “It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” It is “the Right of the People to alter or abolish it.”

To throw off a hostile government, and to provide guards for the future, means having and using arms.  The right to bear arms goes back much further, back 100 years to the English Bill of Rights of 1689.  And in the 21st century in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court proclaimed the right to bear arms was “clearly an individual right, having nothing whatsoever to do with service in the militia.”

While the nation’s founders did not state a constitutional right of the people to “throw off such Government” once they founded a government, they did continue the tradition of giving people, including individuals, the right to bear arms.  In 1791, the Second Amendment passed which says, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

So why do I say the Second Amendment is dead?  At its acceptance, and by the traditions that preceded it, it gave people the right to bear arms against a government.  From a practical point of view, that means people having arms that could be used to defeat a nation.

In 1791, this was entirely practical.  A person of relatively modest means could buy a Kentucky long rifle, then arguably the most effective weapon in existence.  (I’ll leave it to munitions experts to debate on whether a field gun or something else was most effective, but in any case, a person could buy one).  For something larger, you and your associates could buy and use a real, deadly cannon like members of private groups, including the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, used.

But things have changed, radically.  There was the Civil War’s Gatling gun, which was nearly an automatic weapon; and the 1880s Maxim gun, which was.  These weapons were not readily available, and were very expensive.  The Second Amendment, in its original meaning as interpreted through the Declaration of Independence, was dying.

In today’s world, it’s all over.  None of us can go to our local gun shop and pick up a arsenal of thermonuclear weapons.  And you can’t go to Walmart to get yourself a nuclear submarine and an armed aircraft carrier.  They’re too expensive, and too illegal.  That’s what someone in the modern world would realistically need to “throw off such Government.”  Thus, by its original meaning, the Second Amendment is dead.

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Presidents v. The Constitution

Then President Barack Obama and then President Elect Donald Trump (Pete Souza).

Then President Barack Obama and then President Elect Donald Trump (Pete Souza).

We live in a political era in which several Americans presidents in a row have been severely criticized, often with claims they violated the U.S. Constitution, and hit with calls for their removal.  The current one, Donald Trump, is certainly no exception.

Just in the last few days, a senator claimed President Trump had “castrated” the Secretary of State; Trump named a woman who denies climate change and who calls wind and solar power parasitic to be energy advisor; Trump’s campaign has been subpoenaed over sexual assault charges; and U.S. states are suing over Trump’s move to destroy the Affordable Care Act.

While the numbers of such battles and accusations is very high right now, battles between the president and constitutionalists is nothing new.  To put a perspective on what’s happening now, it may be time to reflect on battles that happened before Donald Trump or Barack Obama before him were elected to America’s highest office.

Even back then, Andrew P. Napolitano noted in The Wall Street Journal that Most Presidents Ignore the Constitution.

JANUS-Tête-à-Tête photo by Pete Souza. This image is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

The Media is a Myth

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“The news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does.” — Tweet by Dennis Prager

People talk about “the media” almost as much as they talk about “they.” But who are “they?” And what is “the media?”

“Media” is the plural of “medium.” A medium, in the media sense, is something that’s used by one person to communicate a message to others. “The media” includes every single medium. Every newspaper is part of “the media.” So is every magazine. So is every radio station, television station, movie distributor, blog host, chat group, social network. “The media” is Twitter and Google+ and My Space and Instagram and Facebook. Everyone who communicates on paper, radio, television, film, or Internet is part of “they” and part of “the media.”

“The Media” is actually a concept that exists in the human mind. But in terms of physical reality, there is no such thing as “the media.” You can’t smell it, feel it, taste it, hear it, or see it. You can sense a part of it, like watch a television news program or listen to a radio show or read this blog post.

But what about the conspiracy of “the liberal media” or “the conservative media?” I’ve worked for “the media” for a long time. I’ve written for newspapers, magazines, books, radio, television, the Internet, and more. For years I wrote five days a week for a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper. I don’t remember even once being told if I was supposed to be liberal or conservative. And I don’t remember ever talking to someone who worked for another medium to coordinate what slant we were going to give to the news. I was much too busy doing my job.

But Dennis Prager, and apparently many others, sees the media in the West as a vast conspiracy, a greater threat to America than Russia. Interestingly, Dennis Prager is a radio show host (media), a columnist (media), an author (media), a public speaker (media), and has his own “Prager University” which is actually his media company (media) that posts on Facebook (media), all coming from the West….

Photo of Dennis Prager by Gage Skidmore is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Dennis Prager’s tweet is here.

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

The War is Over

Exhibit in the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Photo, taken by Daderot, released into the public domain.

Confederate flag exhibit in the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Photo, taken by Daderot, released into the public domain.

Little known historical fact: the American Civil War, aka the War Between the States, is over.  It ended in 1865.

I say that because it appears many people are still trying to fight that war.

I remember years ago visiting the capitol of Alabama in Montgomery.  I was astonished to see both the flag of the United States of America, and the flag of the Confederate States of America, flying above the capitol building.

It was not that I had anything against the flag of the Confederacy being at the capitol.  It is a part of Alabama’s history.  Many brave and noble people lost their properties and their lives fighting for their homes, for Alabama, and for their view of America.  The war, in many ways the most costly in American history, should not be forgotten.  The Confederacy should not be forgotten, nor should its flags.  I would have been perfectly happy seeing the flag openly displayed inside the capitol building.

But Alabama has not been part of the Confederacy since 1865.  Neither has Texas.  Texas has been under the flags of six different nations, including itself.  Those fly over Six Flags amusement parks, as well they should.  But not over the capitol, any more than the capitol of California should fly the flag of Mexico.  Nor should Washington D.C. proclaim allegiance to the Nacotchtank.  They inhabited the land long before Captain John Smith discovered them at the beginning of the 17th century, and even longer before it became the capital of America.  But the flag that flies over the center of government should represent that government and its allegiance, not allegiance to another nation.

We’re now having a battle over statues of the Confederacy.  Again, I have no problem with the statutes themselves, even after I learned there were more erected during the assertion of Jim Crow laws over “negros” than at any other time.

But if they’re displayed, they should be displayed as a symbol of American history.  They should not be a sign of its allegiance.

An opinion of an individual member or associate of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the entire family.

Breastfeeding Week 2017

Photograph Australian artist Joy Hester nursing her son Sweeney. In the background can be seen a painting by 'Professor' Henry Tipper (Harold Deering), a trick cyclist and amateur painter whose work was discovered and promoted by Albert Tucker. Shot in 1945, the photo is in the public domain.

Photograph Australian artist Joy Hester nursing her son Sweeney. In the background can be seen a painting by ‘Professor’ Henry Tipper (Harold Deering), a trick cyclist and amateur painter whose work was discovered and promoted by Albert Tucker. Shot in 1945, the photo is in the public domain.

It’s time to celebrate breastfeeding with World Breastfeeding Week between Aug. 1 and 7, 2017. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing a mother and child can do. And yet it’s shunned in many parts of the world. Mothers have been threatened and fired and even injured for wanting to take good care of their babies.

Breastfeeding is important for nourishment and the immune system and the bond it forms between mother and child. Even men can build a better relationship with a child held to their bare chest as skin-to-skin contact is critically important to a developing infant.

Learn more about breastfeeding and World Breastfeeding Week at http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/.

See also “The 111 Benefits of Breastfeeding – For Babies, Moms & Everyone Else.”  This has some commercial links, but most of the links are to information from the United States Government.

An opinion of an individual member or associate of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Go Topless Day 10th Anniversary Aug. 26

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Image is copyrighted by Go Topless at gotopless.org. It’s used here to publicize their sponsored event.

Is there really a reason men can go topless and women can’t? Should women blindfold their babies and toddlers before they let them nurse? This isn’t about nudism, it’s about feminism and personism.

To show that women should have the same rights as men, the 10th anniversary GoTopless Day peaceful protest is Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017.  It’s always near the Sunday nearest Women’s Equality Day when women got the right to vote for gender equality.

Women and girls can go topless (or with their nipples covered, usually with fake nipples, if they’re marching in a prudish area), and men can wear bikini tops and bras.  To find out if it’s happening near you, and if women can go fully topfree or not, check here.

An opinion of a friend or associate of The Loveshade Family doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Republicans are in Denial Over Donald Trump–Says a Republican Senator

“Who could blame the people who felt abandoned and ignored by the major parties for reaching in despair for a candidate who offered oversimplified answers to infinitely complex questions and managed to entertain them in the process? With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump.”  That’s by Jeff Flake, Republican senator from Arizona.  It’s in a piece entitled, “My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump.”

Admittedly Flake is from Arizona, a state where Republicans like he and fellow Senator John McCain can say what they really believe about Trump without fear of it destroying their re-election chances.  But in this excerpt from his new book Conscience of a Conservative, he points out how conservatives focusing on fighting Barack Obama instead of working for conservative values helped put Donald Trump in the White House.  And while he says liberals are to blame as well, he wisely leaves it up them to “answer for their own sins.”

It’s pretty clear that virtually no leaders in the Republican or Democratic Party are happy with Donald Trump as president.  No living president of either party voted for him.  Even Vice President Mike Pence strongly disagreed with and distanced himself from Trump more than once before the election.

I believe, as does Flake, that’s it’s time for the Republican Party to assert its own values.  It may be necessary for the party to recreate itself.  It’s done that successfully before, notably after Republicans Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and President Richard M. Nixon both resigned from office in the midst of scandals.  A few years later, it was a new Republican Party, and the new president was Ronald Reagan.

But things have to change if the Republican Party is to retain any semblance of its values.  “If this was our Faustian bargain, then it was not worth it. If ultimately our principles were so malleable as to no longer be principles, then what was the point of political victories in the first place?”

Read “My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/31/my-party-is-in-denial-about-donald-trump-215442

 An opinion of a member or associate of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Bullies, Protests, and Politics: An Analogy

Image is linked from Scoutlete.com. Copyright remains with the copyright holder.

Image is linked from Scoutlete.com. Copyright remains with the copyright holder.

An opinion by guest blogger Kristofer James

I want to think that analogies may help people understand who truly don’t. This is my simple analogy for anyone who keeps wondering “why in the heck are these people protesting?” This is only my opinion, and it is very simplified, and it does not represent everyone who protested…. This is only my opinion–maybe even an alternative fact…

I think of all the strong women descendants of Luella Biler who have made an impact on me when I write many of the things I do. I see their faces as I type. They give me strength, and it is a proud strength. They are my family, and I love them.

So…My analogy…

The classmate who has been known for being a bully (maybe he’s changed, maybe he says he doesn’t even bully anymore, maybe bullied only in the locker room) gets elected to class president. He is inaugurated.

The next day, those who have been bullied by him are maybe joined by others across the land–maybe even the world–who have experienced being bullied, and they rally together, just to remind everyone, especially the newly-elected class President, that they will not put up with bullying anymore. They have been united because of something they have experienced together. They believe that the experiences they share are important on a human level, and want to try to do what they can so that they, and future generations, may be able to live without being bullied. They have that fundamental human right to do so.

And let’s say that for most of the last 100 years, those who have been bullied have not always been protected under the law (maybe the first law to try to protect them was enacted in 1920).

Maybe there are some who were never bullied, so maybe they don’t understand it on the level of those who have been bullied. But to just dismiss it as nothing important is just not very insightful, or empathetic, yet we have grown up in a society that says we should be empathetic and insightful.

But I digress…

They rally because it gives a voice. It makes sure we move forward, not backwards…It lets those who have bullied, or who currently bully, or who are inclined to bully, know that bullying is understood and that it will no longer be tolerated. It lets those who endure bullying know that they are not alone.

They know that it is quite possible that bullying will never be completely eradicated, but at least they rally together to ensure it is not forgotten. They keep in in the light. Awareness.

Maybe some of those who have never experienced bullying first hand know someone who has, and they stand proudly beside them.

Please don’t dismiss them. You know someone who has been bullied, so don’t act like you don’t. And if you have been bullied, don’t act like you haven’t been.

The opinion of an individual blogger does not necessarily reflect that of all members of The Loveshade Family.  Kristofer James has worked in the entertainment industry including work for Inland Stage and as a director in the MSJC theatre department.  The original Ĕk-sĕn-trĭks Cluborguild, which created the Order of the Pineapple and led to the creation of the Discordian Division of the Ek-sen-triks CluborGuild, began at MSJC.  The most recent honorees of The Order are named Here.

“Don’t bully…be a friend” image is from http://newsroom.scoutlete.com/bully-no-more-how-to-stop-bullying

Alden Loveshade: Why Wait Til I’m Dead?

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IMPORTANT: As of this posting, Alden Loveshade is very much alive.

Alden has been to far too many funerals/memorial services in the past few years, losing a father, two brothers, uncle, cousin, etc.  So many times it’s come up: “Gee, I wish I said that when he/she was still alive.”

Well, this is your chance. Feel free to post what you’d post if Alden really was gone.  Then, when the time comes, you can say, “Gee, I’m glad I said that when e was still alive.”  Note that Alden has professionally published 2,000 or so obituaries, and couldn’t resist co-writing his own.

Alden Loveshade, writer, photographer, personist, philosopher, animal caregiver, friend and family member, has died.  In accordance with es wishes, this article uses the genderless “e” for “he,” “es” for “his,” etc.

E graduated with distinction with an Associate Degree in Humanities from MSJC.  E was a member of the national honor society Phi Theta Kappa, co-editor of the campus newspaper, editor of student publications, homecoming king (winning with a bag over es head), two-term student government president, and area vice president and state board member for the California Community College Student Government Association.  While at college e was a winner of a Student Leadership Award and a Special Leadership Award and was named to the Order of the Pineapple.  The U. S. Jaycees named him as one of the Outstanding Young Men in America.

Returning to college, Alden graduated Summa cum Laud from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Chicano/Latino Studies.  E also became a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society.  E was co-creator and head writer of “Same River Twice,” a university-produced English language telenovela that won Best Film for Inland California Filmmakers, Smog Dance 1999, and was featured in the New York Latino Film Festival that same year.

It was produced with advice from Oscar and Emmy Award winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler, and under Executive Producer, writer, radio personality, documentarian and Emmy Award Winner Saul Landau.

E was also a director and playwright with several produced plays, including “A Very Bad One Act” directed by Daytime Emmy-Award nominee Ronald Layne Hoffman.  He worked as a reporter, newspaper columnist, book reviewer, researcher, investigative consultant, computer lab supervisor, teacher, web site designer, photographer, animal caregiver, and dishwasher.

E also published articles, short stories, poems, essays, play and movie reviews, cartoons, graphic designs, and photographs.  His work has appeared in a number of local, national and international publications under a variety of pennames.  Under the name Alden Loveshade, es work as appeared in a number of publications including Anaphora Literary Press, BBC, Flight Magazine, Guideposts Magazine, Hemet Magazine, Hungur Magazine, Intermittens Magazine, Sixfold Magazine, Yahoo! News, and Yahoo! Sports.  He also wrote under different names for a number of other publications including being a regular writer and photographer for a Pulitzer Prize winning periodical that is one of the 100 top newspapers in America.

As a singer, actor, playwright, director and in various other capacities, e was involved with about 200 community, college, civic, and professional productions on stage and in radio and television including choral, musical, drama, tragedy, comic, and one-act productions. E appeared in the world premiere of Will Eisner Award Hall of Famer Don Martin and Ron Hoffman’s mini-musical Mia Romantica Crazio.

E was a controversial activist who emphasized five basic beliefs.  These are 1) the rights of the individual, 2) the responsibilities of the individual to society, 3) the responsibility of parents and caregivers to prepare a child for life, 4) complete personal freedom in a free society if it harms no one, and 5) harmonious discord, accepting differences.  As a journalistic activist and investigator, e faced threats of incarceration and even death threats by phone, email, letter, and in person.  E spent time living on the street, and escaped after capture by an armed assailant.  Considering emself a “personist,” e promoted the use of the words “e,” “es,” and “emself” as substitutes for “he/she,” “his/her,” and “himself/herself.”

Es hobbies included historical recreation, acting, drumming, bicycling, being a lord of Sealand, and role-playing games, especially GURPS for which e was a playtester.

In lieu of flowers, it’s asked that donations be made to a favorite charity or group that supports the five basic beliefs.

IMPORTANT: As of this posting, Alden Loveshade is very much alive.

America’s Last Righteous War

The USS West Virginia and the USS Tennessee burn on Dec. 7, 1941, after Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor. | REUTERS/KYODO

The USS West Virginia and the USS Tennessee burn on Dec. 7, 1941, after Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor. | REUTERS/KYODO

Seventy five years ago today, the United States of America declared war on the Empire of Japan. America had what was widely recognized as a very good reason; the day before, Japanese forces bombed the air base at Pearl Harbor in the then territory of Hawaii.

That’s the last time America had a clear and present danger to itself as justification for declaring war.  So why has America gone to war several times since?

The Korean War of 1950-1953 was a colossal failure.  The United States got involved in an internal conflict when North Korea invaded South Korea.  North Korea today is widely accused of having one of the worst human rights records in the world.

The Vietnam War of 1959-75 was between North and South Vietnam. Again, there was no “clear and present danger” to the United States.

In the 21st century, it could be argued that the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 was an act of war; the headline on some newspapers named it so.  But the War in Afghanistan didn’t begin because of an attack by that nation, but by a group of al-Qaeda and Taliban supporters.  America didn’t declare war on Texas because of the Fort Hood shooting of 2009, or on the University of Massachusetts because of student participation in the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013.

The Iraq War began with the United States leading a “preemptive strike” (unprovoked attack) on the nation of Iraq in 2003.  This was because the nation supposedly might pose a threat to the United States at some future point in time if certain things happened.

So why has America gone to war so many times in the last 75 years?  I consulted with a friend who’s an expert on American military conflicts. I asked how many wars had America declared in the last 75 years that proponents didn’t believe would benefit American corporations?  Without hesitation, he answered, “none.”

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the entire family.