Closing Thought–14Dec21

By now anyone interested in the abortion fight knows that SCOTUS has dealt another blow to the issue…..now the Dems, at least in California, have taken to playing the game that was invested by the GOP….this time it is the issue of guns.

“If [Texas] can ban abortion and endanger lives, [California] can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives.” That’s Gavin Newsom’s latest stance, and one he intends to try to turn into law. The California governor made his announcement Saturday on the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling the previous day that allowed Texas’ so-called heartbeat bill, which bars abortions after about six weeks, to stand. That law isn’t directly enforceable by the state, but instead uses a “novel enforcement mechanism,” per CNN, which allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against doctors or clinic operators who help women get abortions. Newsom wants Californians to have the same opportunity to sue, but for an entirely different reason.

If states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way,” Newsom said in a Saturday evening statement, referring to a recent decision by a federal court that overturned a California ban on assault rifles, per the Los Angeles Times. The federal judge in that case made the assault weapon-Swiss Army knife comparison, calling guns like the AR-15 “a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment,” the paper noted in August.

Newsom wants the new California bill he’s proposing to function in the same way as Texas’ law, in regard to private citizens being able to wield it to file complaints against manufacturers, sellers, or distributors of assault weapons, as well as ghost gun parts and kits. The governor said in his statement that he’s instructed his staff to work in tandem with the state Legislature and Attorney General Rob Bonta on a law that would allow citizens to ask for statutory damages “of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney’s fees.”

“If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that,” Newsom added. The Times reports that the earliest the Legislature could start the ball rolling on this bill would be Jan. 3, when lawmakers come back from the holidays. After that, even if a bill passed, it would face “near-certain legal challenges,” the paper notes.

I am pleased that a Dem has grown a pair to draft a direction…..it will probably go nowhere especially with the legal hacks we have on the Supreme Court….but at least it was a try and I approve of the attempt.

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Those Civilian Deaths

There is a growing problem in our many many wars and conflicts…..civilian deaths.

Our ever expanding use of drones to attack ‘enemy’ positions the number of civilian deaths has risen…..for every single ‘bad guy’ taken out by a drone strike there is the chance that innocent civilians will be killed as well.

With every report that gets out about these deaths the US pledges to investigate the deaths…..this is to placate critics and in the end nothing is actually accomplished and the killers go unpunished.

The question needs to be asked if the US Pentagon be a good and good faith investigator?

Some of us say no…..

U.S. Central Command reported late on Friday a U.S. drone strike in Idlib, Syria against a senior member of al-Qaida, rather than against a member of the self-described Islamic State  — the ostensible legal justification the United States is even in Syria. Even more interestingly, CENTCOM claimed it “immediately self-reported” one civilian casualty that it is investigating. 

But U.S. policymakers should not defer to the military’s investigatory promises given its history of covering up or not sufficiently accounting for civilian casualties. In fact, the Associated Press has since reported that the strike wounded a family of 6, including a 10-year-old child.

It’s no coincidence the CENTCOM appears to have proactively taken responsibility for this latest civilian casualty. This incident came at the end of a week of rightful public uproar after the New York Times revealed the U.S. military’s apparent cover up of an airstrike killing 80 civilians in eastern Syria in 2019. Rather than allowing more exhaustive investigative journalism to uncover its destructive and deadly actions in Syria, it appears CENTCOM is hoping that announcing an investigation will stave off an intense media frenzy like the one following its botched August 29  drone strike in Kabul during the withdrawal from Afghanistan that killed Zemari Ahmadi, a civilian electrical engineer, and his family. 

We can’t trust the US military to investigate civilian casualties

As I was writing this draft more news has popped up……

The Pentagon won’t discipline any US personnel involved in the mistaken drone strike that killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan in August. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accepted recommendations on the issue that did not include punishment, press secretary John Kirby said Monday. The recommendations from two commanders were mostly procedural, the Hill reports, and Kirby said, “There was no overt recommendation made by either specific to accountability and any punishment for anyone.” An independent Pentagon review had come to a similar conclusion, saying there was no evidence of negligence. Seven of the 10 people killed were children.

The aid organization that one of the victims worked for immediately criticized the decision, per CNBC. Nutrition & Education International said the US hasn’t kept its promises to provide compensation to the victims’ families and get them out of the country. “How can our military wrongly take the lives of 10 precious Afghan people, and hold no one accountable in any way?” asked the group’s president, Dr. Steven Kwon. Zemerai Ahmadi, who was killed along with his family, worked for the organization for 15 years. US commanders mistakenly thought he was an ISIS-K operative when they ordered the strike in Kabul.

“What we saw here was a breakdown in process and execution in procedural events,” Kirby said Monday, “not the result of negligence, not the result of misconduct, not the result of poor leadership.” Austin previously had called the drone attack a “horrible mistake,” though the Defense Department at first called it a “righteous strike.” US operations have killed hundreds of civilians, at least, in war zones over the past 20 years, rarely holding an individual responsible, per the Hill.

Seriously?  Just how accurate and fair is the perp given control of a death investigation?

American exceptionalism is a self-forged permission slip to engage in the kind of malicious behavior that the US would condemn from any other nation.

No one cares about the deaths of civilians…..as long as we have our Gummi vitamins and social influencers then all is well with the world.

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