JohnGreenberg | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Member since Dec 28, 2012


Recent Comments

Re: “Scott Vetoes Gun-Purchase Waiting Period, Signs Abortion Bill

"The prefatory clause is irrelevant to the second half."

This interpretation is anything BUT self-evident. If the clause is really "irrelevant to the 2nd half," why bother to include it at all? Were the framers paid by the word? Why add words that have no relevant meaning?

In fact, the founders were pretty good writers. Had they intended the two propositions to be totally independent, they could easily have framed the amendment that way: "A well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." This would still provoke the obvious question: why bring up the Militia AT ALL if they really intended the 2nd statement to articulate an unlimited right applicable to everyone?

Many of the framers were classically educated, meaning that they were quite familiar with Latins so-called "ablative absolute," (…). The opening phrase of the 2nd amendment is a sterling example. For more, see //

The far more natural interpretation is that the amendment pertains NOT to individuals in their capacity as citizens, but rather as potential members of a "well-regulated militia" which, the founders thought it important to note, is "necessary to the security of a free State," if there is to be no standing army.

Such an interpretation is consistent with the way all the terms are used elsewhere in the Constitution. It clearly interprets each word and phrase of the text, without making ANY further assumptions beyond the clearly stated meaning of the text.

Finally, if the founders believed that carrying firearms is "a natural, negative right," they would not have bothered to add it to the Constitution. Instead, they thought it important to articulate the rights which otherwise might be ignored.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 06/17/2019 at 10:03 AM

Re: “Scott Vetoes Gun-Purchase Waiting Period, Signs Abortion Bill

"Doom" defines militia as "all able bodied men," but provides no explanation for his departure from the usual definition.

Instead, look at the way the word is used elsewhere in the Constitution. Writers avoid using a word to mean two significantly different things in the same text, without explaining the difference.

"Militia" appears 4 times in the Constitution; "Doom"'s definition clearly fails to explain any of them.

First, Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions" and then, 2nd: "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States."

Still clearer, 3rd, comes later in the same sentence: "reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLINE PRESCRIBED BY CONGRESS." (emphasis added) The 4th use makes the President "Commander in Chief of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."

Self evidently, "all able bodied men" are not necessarily disciplined (think, e.g., a mob). Merely calling a bunch of able bodied men together with no further discipline or training and without regard to character, intelligence or opinions, and expecting them to execute laws, suppress insurrections, etc. would be quite foolish. (Think e.g., gangs or the mafia)

In short, "Doom"'s redefinition is totally inconsistent with the other uses of the word in the text of the Constitution.

Unsurprisingly, the traditional definition as "a MILITARY force that is raised from the civil population" makes perfect sense, and jibes quite nicely with the 2nd amendment's further requirement that such a force be "well-regulated."

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 06/13/2019 at 12:53 PM

Re: “Walters: Vermont Senate Approves No-Nukes Resolution

"It is sad that the same people that advocate against nuclear power tell us that the world will end because of Co2 and global warming." There is no contradiction between opposing nuclear power and addressing global warming. Study and study and locality after locality show that we can meet our energy needs with renewable and sustainable sources of energy.
"Fortunately Vermont now gets most of it's power from Hydro Quebec which is green." Vermont has never gotten more than about 1/3 of its power from HQ, and there is considerable debate about just how green large-scale hydro power really is.
"There are certainly area's[sic] where solar can make a major contribution. Not in Vermont though where it is too overcast and we get limited solar energy due to our northern latitude." Solar can supply more energy in extremely sunny places than it does here, but it works just fine in Vermont. Many Vermonters depend solely on solar photovoltaic power for their electricity.
"And we shut down Vermont Yankee ...." Unless Creepyoldman represents Entergy, "we" did NOT shut down VY. Entergy did, because it could not compete in the electricity market. Nukes are shutting down all over the US for the same reason.
" It is too bad that the leftists that push green energy in VT do not have a clue what they are talking about." It's pretty clear that it's Creepyoldman who doesn't have a clue, not unnamed "leftists."

6 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 05/24/2019 at 11:26 AM

Re: “The Parmelee Post: Scott: Abortion Rights Decisions Should Be Left Between a Governor and His Donors

Sharon Toborg notes that Planned Parenthood's c(3) gives lobbying grants to its c(4) as shown on its Form 990 ( on page 34 (and pp 4 and 50). In addition, they spend small amounts directly on lobbying. That's both true and perfectly legal. All 501(c)(3) organizations are limited as to lobbying (which is, in fact, why c(4)s were formed in the first place). Planned Parenthood's lobbying is well within the legal limits.

Jeb Tate claims that the NRA does not receive "direct taxpayer funding," but he's wrong The NRA has received money from Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Fish and Wildlife:….

There are more than 1.5 million 501(c)(3) organizations in the US, doing all sorts of things. Despite these claims to the contrary, I've already shown that Planned Parenthood is not at all unique in maintaining related c(4) and political organizations.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 05/21/2019 at 12:26 PM

Re: “The Parmelee Post: Scott: Abortion Rights Decisions Should Be Left Between a Governor and His Donors

Answers to Jeb Tate's questions:
1) "why does PP need tax dollars at all if it has money to spend on political donations?" Planned Parenthood has no money to spend on political donations; it is strictly illegal for a 501(c)(3) organization to make political donations. Planned Parenthood PAC has money ONLY for political purposes; it does no clinical, educational or other work. As noted previously, these are 2 separate organizations.
2) "Are we supposed to believe ... isn't symbiotic? I don't know what your question means.
3) "PP isn't receiving "tax deductible funding." Yes, it is. Contributions to any 501(c)(3) organization are tax-deductible under the limits set by Congress.
4) "it's receiving tax dollars. Yes, it is. That does not contradict the previous point.
5) "in the case of Vermont tax dollars that DOES go directly towards abortions." That could well be true. I'm not familiar enough with Vermont law to answer that. But NO federal tax dollars go to abortions or have gone towards abortions since the Hyde amendment was passed decades ago. Planned Parenthood has received substantial scrutiny from its enemies who would love to prove that it is violating the law. All of these "witch hunts" have been fruitless so far.
6) "can you cite me some examples?" Sure: NAACP, Sierra Club, and NRA have all 3: c(3), c(4) and PAC. NRDC, ACLU, Oxfam all have c(3) and (c)(4) organizations. There are plenty of other examples

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 05/20/2019 at 11:51 AM

Re: “The Parmelee Post: Scott: Abortion Rights Decisions Should Be Left Between a Governor and His Donors

Job Tate's smear on Planned Parenthood is unwarranted. The organization which receives federal tax dollars is legally separate from the organization making political donations. That means its funding sources are entirely separate. If they aren't, the IRS could easily remove their tax status.

Specifically, that means that donors to the PAC are giving money (which is not tax-deductible) specifically for political purposes, not to support the clinical and other services Planned Parenthood provides. While some donors may give to both organizations, not all do.

The fact that there are 2 closely related organizations is not unusual. Plenty of organizations maintain a 501(c)(3) branch to receive tax-deductible funding, a 501(c)(4) organization to lobby and a PAC to make political contributions. This is an artifact of American tax law

As to the allegation that the PAC supports only Democrats and Progressives, that's because the overwhelming majority of Republican politicians are anti-choice. Back when there were pro-choice Republicans, Planned Parenthood supported them: Barbara Snelling, Jim Jeffords, and others received support from Planned Parenthood's PAC.

6 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 05/19/2019 at 11:20 AM

Re: “Walters: Facing Deep Divides, Vermont Legislators Delay Adjournment

This looks like a game in which Democrats, fearing a veto, water down their bills to virtually nothing, while the governor remains silent about what he will and won't accept.

Here's one way out of the impasse. Democrats should pass the strong bills their constituents elected them to pass, and if the governor vetoes them, come back next year and try again. Right now, Scott is counting on a few holdouts who will do his dirty work for him, It's a lousy way to run a government, but from strategically, it's good politics.

Call his bluff. If he votes the bills, Democrats will at least have done what most Vermont voters want. If not, we get the strong bills we deserve.

The alternative is to water down the bills until no one really wants them or cares, and then in the position of explaining why despite all this you deserve re-election.

The governor's basic position is clear, if unpopular. He does not support raising minimum wages or mandatory paid leave. Most Vermonters disagree. That doesn't mean he will lose his next election, which is a whole different question. But it does mean that if you're a Democratic legislator in a marginal district, you have an excellent chance of losing YOUR next election.

Do the right thing.

6 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 05/18/2019 at 11:15 AM

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