Eric J. Bowman

Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Sherry Aitken: Respect the rule of law

"individual sovereignty"

Ugh. There's no basis for this "sovereign citizen" claptrap, which is why it's so routinely lauged out of court by both judges and juries. The founding precept of this nation was Liberty -- no man shall be deprived of this by the state except under due process of law. NOT that no man shall be deprived of liberty by the state because the state has no sovereignty over its citizens.

"The 2nd Amendment documents the fact that free people have the right to defend themselves against an overreaching tyrannical government."

Not really. This is a modern interpretation referred to as "insurrectionist theory" as documented, and thoroughly debunked, here:

History bears out that even if the insurrectionists are right in their interpretation, it turns out to be a pitiful mechanism to oppose government tyranny. Ask the folks at Ruby Ridge, or Waco, or the Confederacy, or the Whiskey Rebellion -- rise up in armed insurrection, the federal government will come at you with everything it's got, and you won't have a prayer.

That article also documents Washington's disdain for militia units, in his push to raise and train the professional army we required to defeat the British. We tend to glorify our early victories, which were indeed won by militia, but that was before the British brought the full might of their empire down on us, which militias didn't do so much to repel.

So this notion that the 2nd amendment protects us from either foreign or domestic government tyranny, is provably false.


Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Sherry Aitken: Respect the rule of law

Sorry, but you're the one stretching the meaning -- you claim an unlimited right by editing the text of the amendment to support your position. While you're entitled to your own opinion, you're not entitled to your own facts.

As really written, limitations on that right are the purview of a well-regulated militia, making this a collective right -- up until the 21st century when our activist supreme court legislated otherwise from the bench, not based on established case law (indeed, ignoring all legal precedent), but rather on NRA-funded academic papers published in legal journals.

But, even that ruling that an individual right to bear arms exists, didn't go so far as to declare it unlimited.


Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Sherry Aitken: Respect the rule of law

"Magazines are a part of arms aren't they? It doesn't specify guns.I agree with restricting the ownership of RPGs, etc, but amend the U S Constitution. The vast majority of Americans will agree with those restrictions. What's the problem?"

Well, since there's nothing unconstitutional about these restrictions, an amendment isn't called for.

"If a background check determines you can't own a gun, doesn't that infringe on your right to keep and bear arms?"

Only if none of my actions have forfeited that right, and there's no appeal/review process.

If I can't pass a background check because I've previously been convicted of using a gun to commit a violent felony, it isn't infringing on a right I've been duly stripped of due to my own irresponsible behavior in the past. Like how some states deprive felons of the right to vote -- which I disagree with, but agree that there's nothing unconstitutional about it.

"I'm simply trying to make people think. We can do this right, do we need to allow our representatives to violate the U S Constitution?"

I've thought about it, but continue to fail to see any violation of the second amendment, here. If this is indeed the case, I'm sure a court will so rule. Nothing to get all worked up about here, it's called checks and balances, and it's how our system works.

What's worth getting worked up about, are the House Republicans. After the demise of ACORN, a federal court ruled that its de-funding by congress amounted to an unconstitutional bill of attainder. So of course they've included the same thing in the latest budget they passed, despite ACORN no longer existing, and in shameful and oath-breaking spite of the (conservative) Supreme Court telling them that, yes, this is indeed exactly the definition of a bill of attainder.

Not much shame in being ignorant of the constitution the first time around. But where do they get off, this time?


Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Sherry Aitken: Respect the rule of law

No, that's the NRA-condensed text. You're re-writing history when you claim the second amendment states "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" because if that's precisely what Madison meant, that's what Madison would have written.

The ambiguity is all those words you oh-so-conveniently leave out, about well-regulated militias. Since the security of the country is no longer dependent on militias due to our standing army and national guard, the second amendment could be construed as saying that the right to keep and bear arms may be infringed.

The full wording is open to semantic interpretation, probably why the NRA has deliberately misled a large chunk of the country into believing that the complete text of the amendment is "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Making that condensed statement their motto has proven to have excellent propaganda value, but it's a deliberate deception.


Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Rob Douglas: Growing disrespect for the law

No, it's jobs. By not adopting austerity (until now with the sequester), our debt as percentage of GDP (the only measure of debt which matters) has actually decreased in recent years; whereas in Great Britain austerity measures have increased their debt as percentage of GDP -- meaning that even though they lowered their debt, they also shrunk their economy such that servicing that debt now consumes a greater percentage of revenue.

Putting America back to work would increase the size of our economy, continue to lower debt as percentage of GDP, and decrease our debt service payments as percentage of revenue. Our increase in debt under Obama is primarily the result of Bush destroying the economy. The fix is not to focus on debt, which leads to economic contraction; but to focus on jobs, which leads to economic growth. Getting our economy growing again through job creation, would cause our deficit to take care of itself, due to increased government revenue from the expansion of the tax base.

Unlike Greece, America can spend our way out of recession because we have our own currency. While printing more money could potentially get our economy back in order, we're running out of time as the world moves away from the Dollar as the global reserve currency. The more this continues, the less anyone is interested in U.S. Treasury bonds (which is how we create more money); printing more money accelerates this process (QE3 anyone). I'm afraid we're missing our window to stimulate the economy back to health, if we don't move soon we lose our ability to do anything but destroy society through austerity, once the Dollar loses its status as the global reserve currency and we can no longer borrow at today's near-zero interest rates.

Which is already well under way; take China as one example. Instead of converting foreign trade to Dollars, China now has agreements with Russia, India, Brazil, Korea, and others to conduct transactions in one or the other countries' currency. China is also selling off its US debt and converting it to gold. If this country doesn't get its act together soon (by which I mean wasting any more time on austerity / cutting the social safety net, and focusing on job creation instead), we'll be stuck trying to pay our debts with massively devalued currency, at which point we're screwed.


Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Routt and Moffat county sheriffs say they won't, and can't, enforce new Colorado gun laws

Yeah, if you eliminate half the text of the amendment, it's clear as a bell. But, if your NRA-condensed version is what Madison had precisely meant, that's what Madison would have written.


Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Rob Douglas: Growing disrespect for the law

"Our elected representatives also need to grasp the reality that a nation that loses respect for the law quickly can slide into anarchy."

What we're sliding into isn't anarchy, it's some sort of corporate-fascist police state. The law says that our telco customer data is to be treated as sacrosanct. The fourth amendment says our communications are to be treated as sacrosanct. When Bush was caught warrantless-wiretapping the entire country, no congressional investigations occurred, and no special prosecutor was assigned; then the telcos were granted full immunity, both going forwards and retroactively. Then Obama extended the program, making the surveillance state bipartisan consensus. I guess the government just waives any laws it finds inconvenient, any more. Kinda like certain Sheriffs.

I'm not sure if it's irony, or poetic justice, that the warrantless surveillance state managed to inadvertently take down CIA director Petraeus as collateral damage. If it isn't already a snake eating its own tail, just wait 'til all those domestic surveillance drones come on line. How can we respect a system whose lawlessness threatens our security more than the terrorists? Or do anything about it, unless we organize resistance via carrier pigeon?

But the big motivator for decreasing respect for the law, is how unequally it's applied. "Too big to fail, too big to jail" means that instead of enforcing the laws, our government has decided to turn our economic fate over to a bunch of known-yet-unprosecuted criminals, because surely letting them bring the global economy to its knees again would be less disruptive than prosecuting them and letting the free market pick the winners.

How can any self-respecting citizen respect a system of laws which has degraded to the point where it literally puts the criminals in charge of our finances? But the result won't be anarchy -- fist sign of that, and it's martial law and bye-bye democracy.


Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Grand jury seated for Routt, Moffat and Grand counties

"Traditionally, the Routt County District Attorney’s Office has done its own investigations and filed its own charges."

If it ain't broke, please don't fix it. This isn't the big city, where standing grand juries make more sense, but are usually symptomatic of wider ills.

"Barkey said there was no specific case that prompted him to form a grand jury, and he wanted to be prepared should something come up."

The flip side of that coin, is that if nothing does come up, you (or your successor, if you establish this precedent) will be sore tempted to give them some "make work", to justify their existence. One railroad in NW CO is enough, thank you.

"You don’t want to (wait to) have a fire to build the ability to respond to it," Barkey said.

Sorry Mr. Barkey, but that's exactly what the vast, prosecutor-friendly powers of a grand jury should be reserved for. In fact, there's one grand jury afoot right now which I fully support as sore needed -- Steubenville. What the kids called the "rape crew" may be responsible for two more girls now revealed to have been in the same condition on the same carpet, plus another 13-year-old girl almost a year ago at an after-prom party.

These roaming parties may have bounced through assistant coaches' residences, with one witnessing the girl and merely telling them to go away -- not calling the authorities, let alone the coach. But nobody's talking, and many are actively obstructing. So it appears the recent convictions are only just the start. In this extreme situation, my sympathies lie entirely with law enforcement (except maybe that Sheriff), and I wouldn't know where they should begin if it weren't for grand juries. They don't have experience with that system there, either, but something tells me that won't impede indicting anyone the prosecutor feels should be indicted.

Someone in another thread brought up the Blee case, but the time for that is long past. Let's all pray that moving forward, we don't ever have a genuine need to seat a grand jury over a specific tragedy. If we do, though, I wouldn't be worried about our local DA's office not having experience with that system. They could, I'm sure, go to some other jurisdiction which does -- Colorado Springs comes to mind -- and learn as they go with plenty of experienced advice.

It just doesn't happen that a prosecution fails at trial over some error at the grand jury level, or that a grand jury error overturns a conviction on appeal. What I'm saying, Mr. Barkey, is you don't need the practice.


Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Grand jury seated for Routt, Moffat and Grand counties

"Barkey said longtime employees who have worked in the District Attorney’s Office for 30 or more years cannot remember a grand jury ever being used in the 14th Judicial District."

And I can't remember any case for the past 20 which called for one, nor can I remember any citizen request that we have any grand jury, let alone a standing grand jury, in Northwest Colorado. That isn't how we do things 'round heah.

"'I just think it’s a terrific tool that I wanted us to try to use,' Barkey said Wednesday. 'I think I owe it to the community to try out this tool.'"

A standing grand jury is a terrific tool, for weak DAs and those who must rely on weak police departments, who are otherwise unable to secure indictments using evidence and arguments which pass muster with a judge. When was the last time a grand jury didn't indict someone?

It's a much lower bar than is the custom and practice in Northwest Colorado, and I think you owe it to the community not to introduce a tool which is so easily abused, and twisted to political purpose, as the new standard operating procedure (I linked in another thread to a front-range case where a grand jury added a ludicrous racketeering indictment for a DA running for higher office to use as election publicity).

"Barkey said he doesn’t have experience working with grand juries, but members of his office consulted with the 4th Judicial District in Colorado Springs, where a grand jury is used."

Trust me, you'll love 'em!

Your libertarian constituents (a good chunk in this judicial district) may feel otherwise, however.

I don't mind that you're an authoritarian, it didn't keep me from voting for you or thinking you're doing a better job than the last gal, and IMO is a good trait in a DA anyway. But standing grand juries are a tool of repression which we are now the only country still using.

"Grand juries can help prosecutors investigate cases because they have the ability to subpoena documents as well as witnesses to testify in advance of a trial. Grand juries meet in secret and have the ability to indict people. They also can signal to prosecutors the strength of a particular case."

And yet, for 30+ years we've been doing just fine without any such secrecy -- it isn't like these problems are insurmountable without grand juries, they just require a little more due process, which the voters may not necessarily find a bad thing.


Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 5 months ago on Sherry Aitken: Respect the rule of law

How is it, exactly, that magazine capacity limits or background checks infringe your right to keep and bear arms?

You're not allowed to own RPGs, artillery, tanks, tactical nukes, list goes on... unconstitutional?