Screw Those Other Amendments

It’s only the Second Amendment that really counts, at least in Rep. Ryan Zinke’s mind.

Consider the “War on Christmas.”  As Pogie points out, Zinke interprets the First Amendment to mean that we all need to say “Merry Christmas” a whole lot more.  From the the bill:

Whereas the Framers intended that the First Amendment of the Constitution, in prohibiting the establishment of religion, would not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog: Now, therefore, be it … (So, reading the minds of the founding fathers, the supporters of H. Res. 564 propose that) … the House of Representatives—(1)recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas; (2)strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and (3)expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.

What pandering and a waste of everyone’s time.  There are wars out there that demand our attention.  This isn’t one of them.

So, the Constitution is flexible on First Amendment religious stuff but not so much on Second Amendment gun rights.

Legislation that Zinke and Sen. Steve Daines don’t favor has to do with keeping guns out of the hands of potential terrorists, violent felons and the mentally ill.  So, it’s up to the President to try an executive order. Here’s the link to the AP story, headlined, “Gun Sales: White House To Seek Expanded Background Checks.”

Zinke’s Facebook response is:

President Obama’s disregard for the Constitution knows no bounds. The Second Amendment is about more than hunting; it’s about defending our families, ourselves and our values as Americans. The Second Amendment defends all the others, and I will always stand ready to protect the rights of Montanans.

And here’s Daines after the San Bernardino massacre:

…the President is using this tragedy to pursue misguided firearm restrictions that would undermine our Second Amendment protections while doing nothing to address the most significant factors behind terrorism. I remain committed to protecting Montanans’ Second Amendment rights and will stand strong against efforts to dismantle those freedoms.

The Daines comment and jab at the President came shortly after his two ‘no’ votes in the Senate on expanded background checks. Both bills were reasonable and hardly seem like they infringe on basic Second Amendment rights.

The Constitution is just great for Zinke, and Daines, as long as it fits their agenda and makes for good sound bites.



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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.


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  • “Wasting time”, that’s a good one. Zinke’s support fro Res.564 is a direct reaction to Obama’s policy of restricting the use of “Merry Christmas” in any correspondence of US House Representatives.

    So while certain political factions spend thousands of hours investigating the stacks of congressional mailings, terrorist’s Facebook rants are off limits in the (so called) vetting process in obtaining a visa. Tashfeen Malik comes to mind.

    “Law enforcement sources confirmed to CBS News that Malik made radical postings on Facebook as far back as 2012 — the year before she married Farook and moved to the U.S., reports CBS News correspondent Carter Evans. According to a report in the New York Times, Malik spoke openly on social media about her support for violent jihad and said she wanted to be a part of it. But none of these postings were discovered when Malik applied for a U.S. K-1 fiancé visa”.-CBS News.

    “Behold, a major reason the proposed Muslim Ban is so popular: Because the American people know that our incompetent, America-hating government cannot be trusted with any policy except the simplest.”-AOS

  • Obama has never imposed restrictions on Merry christmas….. ever…..ever…ever. It’s all in your conservative heads. by the way Season’s Greetings, I say this because there is 15 other religions out there that have celebrations around Christmas too.

    BY the way Swede, Christians, jewish people and muslims all celebrate the same God. The second prophet in Islam is Jesus Christ. and they celebrate christmas too…. but of course you wouldn’t know that because …. Uh, Fox News and Breitbart.

      • Excuse me? The children of Abraham? Ismael and Isaac/Israel? She’s not wrong, JC, nor is she ‘rationalizing’. Given the context, I think it might be better to question your motives. Are you just trying to pick a fight, or do you actually think every blog commenter should write a thesis to satisfy your sensibilities?

        • Is the God of Christianity and the God of Islam the same?

          “No, the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are not the same. First of all, the God of Christianity is a Trinity where the God of Islam is not. The Trinity is the monotheistic teaching that God exists eternally as three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Islam, this is blatantly denied. It cannot be the case that God is a Trinity and also not a Trinity. Therefore, since they contradict each other, they cannot be the same.”

          I think that making the assertion that there is one (christian, jewish, muslim) god opens up a huge debate. Norma claims to be an expert on the middle east. I think she would find that there are many, many muslims who would disagree with her opinion.

          So, you want to argue that there is one god? Have at it, philosopher.

          • Another impressive response from JC. To support your contention about a complex theological question, you rely (without attribution) on a wingnut Christian site that also argues this:

            “The religion of Islam is not compatible with the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States. Islam teaches the adherence to Sharia Law, which is intended to be a complete guide for all areas of society including judges, lawyers, educators, government officials, the entertainment industries, families, and religious institutions. It would replace the Constitution. The President of the United States is sworn to uphold the Constitution, but a true Muslim could not do that and also hold to Sharia Law, which is what Muslims are obligated to uphold if they follow the Quran.”

            So before you come in swinging at Norma like you’re some kind of expert, maybe give some thought to your argument. I know the quality of sources isn’t terribly important to someone who cites Russian propaganda sites as news and who once linked to the virulently racist, NeoCon World News Daily as evidence, but try to have some standards, man.

              • Please tell us more, theologian. You’ve proven your mastery of the subject with your Google search. I look forward to more keen analysis.

                You do know, though, expert that you are, that not all Christians believe in the Trinity, right? And that relying on one sect, especially a rabidly anti-Muslim one, for guidance might undermine your argument?

                But by all means, continue to lash out at people to show how smart you are.

              • You’re frothing again, Don. Are you suggesting that rabidly anti-muslim christians have a different god than pro-muslim christians? Maybe different from yours?

                • I’ ll leave it to people who read these comments to decide who is “frothing.” Only one of us relied on a source that claims Muslims can’t be President to support his argument.

                  You could always just apologize for having jumped all over Norma when it’s clear none of us are experts in this field, but that would be the act of someone who isn’t suffering from whatever demons ail you.

          • So it’s both, then. My mistake.

            If you had any real interest in a discussion of historical roots or religion or even the theology behind them, you would approach such a chat with half an ounce of respect for the topic or your ‘opposition’. You haven’t and you won’t. Instead, you will engage in the worst sort of “rationalization” to show how your toss-off zinger proves some goofy point that will insult those who disagree with you concerning foreign policy. As is usual, you then follow with a whine about you’re being insulted. I would remiss if I didn’t note that you chose an extremist form of Christianity to make your rather extremist point.

            • I don’t have “a discussion of historical roots or religion or even the theology behind them”. I’m interested in how “religious” people use religious zealotry as a way to advance certain forms of foreign policy.

              It isn’t what I think that is important. It is that there are many millions of christians, jews and muslims that disagree. There are many other choices I could have made to quote from. The one I chose was random. It is how they act, militarily, politically and via terrorism that is important.

              That some would suggest that all three monotheistic religions drink from the same well negates the problems we have in the world. If wishes were fishes, we’d all be sailing the deep blue sea of plenty.

            • Norma’s point was actually valid from both our views. All three monotheistic religions concerning the God of Abraham have drunk from the same well. That they get high in different ways reveals a whole lot more about ‘believers’ than it does about those who point out a simple fact. I disagree with Norma on a number of points, but it’s very difficult to find her appeal to commonality a harm.

  • Do you even have a clue why I chose a statement from a christian apologetics group to make my point? No, of course you don’t. Because their is a branch of christians that don’t believe that they and muslims share the same god. And to add to your ignorance about this topic, those christians don’t believe that a muslim could be president exactly because they don’t share the same god.

    So you’re going to lambast me for pointing to a source that confirms my statement? Or are you going to enforce your form of religious bigotry on those christians who don’t believe in the same god that muslims do? This is what’s wrong with armchair foreign policy wonks. They don’t even understand the basic differences between religions when they try to “analyze” foreign policy.

    The apologetics group I linked to point to the fact that they believe that a muslim president couldn’t swear allegiance to the constitution, instead having to resort to uphold sharia law.

    But if we’d all just agree to having the same god, the world would be such a rosy place…

    • That’s the best rationalization for your terrible source you could muster in twelve hours? Still not too late to apologize to Norma and jut act like a person.

      It’s the Christmas season, right?

            • Every time one of you writes a post or comment that uses my name and I will respond in kind. If my reputation gets dragged through the mud by you two malcontents, you’re going to do it with real names attached. I’ve tried repeatedly to end this nonsense with the two of you, for at least four years. I’m not going to let it continue any longer.

              I took the earlier reference to his name down because of his hysterical claim that it was a threat to him. If you’d like me to put it back up, I certainly will. I don’t want to mess with your “screen clip.”

              Your move.

              [Edited to remove a first name]

                • Not at all. I’m just telling you what I will do. You can insult me at your site and block me from commenting, you can make 5 out of every 7 posts about me, you can post personal Facebook pages with names and pictures from anonymous bloggers here, and you can even come and insult me at own site.

                  I’m just going to let people know who is behind it. That’s not a threat at all. That’s just fair.

                  Or like I have suggested repeatedly, we could apologize and ignore each other. I’ve reached out to you two at least five times since 2011 to put this nonsense to rest. And I’m still willing to do it, as I have been since at least 2011. It’s up to you two.

                  You have my e-mail address. Why don’t you two think it over and let me know if we can just coexist without continuing to do this? If not, that’s fine, too. All I can do is offer one more time.

  • Don, I’m not interested in emailing with you. While today’s email from you was measured, in the past you have not been. We could meet in person, as I travel to Helena frequently, but I doubt you’d want to do that.

    What I counter offer is this (and I speak only for myself here):

    I do not take well to threats. If you choose to out me, there will be consequences. You do not hold all the power here, and are not going to bully me.

    I propose that we return to the ideal of blogging where we are free to write about and challenge ideas. Take on the challenge and debate or not, that is your or my choice. But lets keep the personalities out of it. I simply propose that we refrain from ad hominem and making this personal.

    So, moving forward without the personal ad hominems or not. I could care less about apologies. Your move.

      • You can choose to smear me under your real name if you like. No different to me than if you were to use a pseudonym. Using your real name gives you no more “right” to smear me than if you use a pseudonym, here or elsewhere.

        And by the way, you know that my initials are not a pseudonym, they are real, and that is the way my friends refer to me and have for decades.

        But you still haven’t replied to my counter offer. No ad hominems and keep the personalities out, or not?

        • I think you don’t understand my point. There is no way to separate the two. If I write a post criticizing the more radical left for undermining what I believe should be more practical priorities, you will perceive that as a personal attack. If one of you writes a piece calling me a homophobic sexist, I will probably assume that’s a personal attack.

          Your site has devoted over half of its current front page to my posts and me personally. Before that, it was going after Polish Wolf, who actually was silenced when you outed him, something you’ve never apologized before.

          My point is not to win the argument here, or paint you as the bad guy. My point is that the blood is too bad (Thanks, Taylor) for any good faith effort to “just discuss issues” now. I’m suggesting it would make more sense to just stop doing it.

          But if you can’t, I think you need to understand how I can’t permit someone who writes things saying that I “want Ryan Zinke to sodomize me with a rifle” to do that any more. That’s wrong, by any measure.

          So, again, I suggest this. Why don’t I leave you two alone and let you write about things I’m probably not interested in? And why can’t the two of you do the same?

          I’d argue that if what you care about is police state/destructive capitalism/rape of the Earth, there are probably bigger, and more important targets than me.

          And it is different when you smear someone under a pseudonym. That you can’t understand that, doesn’t change that I believe it. Like on almost every issue, it seems there is no persuading that can be done on this point.

          Isn’t that a good enough reason to just stop?

    • You’re welcome to come here and tell me how stupid I am all you like. I do enjoy your nuanced perspective on the issues. But please do remember these are commenting guidelines:

      I’ve explained before why a person using a pseudonym gets less latitude to be insulting. I don’t think you agree with my position, but it’s my site, so it doesn’t matter if you agree or not. If you choose not to comment again, that’s fine as well.

      • And as I mentioned above, you may feel that a person using a pseudonym can be abused more than a person using a real name here. I see no distinction, and it has and still will raise my ire. Using a pseudonym or my using initials is not an invitation to abuse.

        You abuse me because I choose to use my initials as my “name” and I’ll abuse you back. As I don’t take well to threats, nor do I take well to bullying. You out me, there will be consequences. Your choice. Or you could just ban me, like you have done for the last several years.

        • “Maybe then we should just not write about each other for awhile,” he suggested for the tenth time, noting that the bad blood was unlikely to go away.

          And, for the record, I have no idea who you are. I suspect most people who read my site don’t either.

  • It appears that blogging and commenting will resume as before. You don’t get to tell me what to write about, and I won’t tell you what to write about. You attack me because i use a nickname, I’ll attack you. You out me, there will be consequences.

    I offered to drop the personal and ad hominems. You refused to accept that. Let the record be clear.

    • I think anyone who reads this thread probably has a pretty clear understanding of which one of us is at fault and can’t just walk away. I feel sorry for you, but do what you need to do.

      Don’t bother with enabling my comments at your site. I’m not coming back to comment there, so it doesn’t matter. You’re welcome to stink up threads here with your bitterness and rage, just as long as you can follow the commenting guidelines.

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