Showing Missouri


I come from a state that raises corn . . .and Democrats and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me.  I am from Missouri.  You have got to show me.

Willard Duncan Vandiver, Speech at Naval Academy 1899.

In order to place things in perspective when looking at Missouri it helps to consider that there are worse things in that fair state than the Ferguson police department.  Consider the justices on its Supreme Court, the state legislature and, as they most recently demonstrated, its voters.

The Justices on the Missouri Supreme Court have spent considerable time during the last few years on lawless excursions in the state’s death chambers. The Justices have repeatedly shown that they do not subscribe to the legal principles followed by most state courts.  The principles they ignore are those that require that executions of those on death row should not take place while the prospective beneficiaries of the process have appeals pending before federal courts requesting postponement of the event. In a thoughtful dissent in the 2014 case of Zink, Nicklasson et al vs. Lombardi Judge Herbert Bye, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, reviewed the Missouri Supreme Court’s unwillingness to defer to federal courts when it came to executions.

In his dissent he wrote that: “Missouri has a well-documented history of attempting to execute death row inmates before the federal courts can determine the constitutionality of the executions.” He observed that among the court’s many wanderings through the death penalty process was the 1983 case of Doyle Williams.  The Missouri Supreme Court set a time for Mr. Williams to expire at the hands of the executioner before the time for Mr. Williams to appeal his conviction and death sentence had expired.  In staying the execution, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun explained to the Missouri Justices that legal protocol required that condemned criminals should not be killed by the state until all their federal appeals had been exhausted.  A few months later the Missouri Justices again set a date for executing four condemned men before the time for them to appeal had run and again Justice Blackmun admonished the Missouri Justices saying: “If Missouri fails to fulfill its responsibility, I shall fulfill mine.”

The Missouri Justices who did not appreciate being admonished by a United States Supreme Court Justice ignored Justice Blackmun and continued in their free wheeling ways.  In January 2014 they permitted the executioner to execute Herbert Smulls 30 minutes before the U.S. Supreme Court had acted on Mr. Smulls’ request for a stay.  (The Justices were prescient-Mr. Smull’s request was turned down-after he was dead.)  It is not only the court that acts in ways that non-Missourians find difficult to understand. The legislature is a close second.

In 2007 the Missouri legislature repealed a law that had been in effect for several years requiring would-be gun buyers to be vetted and licensed by a local sheriff prior to the purchase.  According to a report in the Journal of Urban Health following that law’s repeal there were an additional 60 gun-related murders in that state each year between 2008 and 2012.  In February 2014 the Missouri legislature considered another broad gun rights bill.  One of its provisions required that a gun owner report the theft of a firearm within 72 hours after discovering the theft.  The NRA believed that such a reporting provision implicated the 2d Amendment’s guarantees and at its urging, that provision was stripped from the bill.  Although the NRA’s rationale is not immediately obvious, it may well be that if a person reports to authorities that his or her gun has been stolen the person is admitting that he or she had a gun and that is clearly no one’s business and a violation of the reporter’s second amendment rights. The people of Missouri, of course, elect their legislators and a recent vote suggests they get what they deserve.

On August 5, 2014 voters approved Amendment 5 to the Missouri Constitution by a 64% margin.  That amendment states that: “The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned.  The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable.  The state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.”

Michael Boldin, the Executive Director of the Tenth Amendment Center, said that the passage of the amendment was merely the first step in nullifying all federal gun laws and regulations in force in Missouri.  As he explained:  “Today was step one.  Step two is now.  Pass the 2d Amendment Preservation Act, banning state enforcement of every so-called federal gun law.  And from there, step three and four will be to bring gun control to an end in Missouri.”

Missouri calls itself “The Show Me State.”  Someone should accept its invitation.  It needs all the help it can get.

Christopher Brauchli is an attorney in Boulder, Colorado. He can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.


Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Halyna Mokrushyna
On Ukraine’s ‘Incorrect’ Past
Jason Cone
Even Wars Have Rules: a Fact Sheet on the Bombing of Kunduz Hospital
Walter Brasch
Mass Murders are Good for Business
William Hadfield
Sophistry Rising: the Refugee Debate in Germany
Christopher Brauchli
Why the NRA Profits From Mass Shootings
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
Pete Dolack
There is Still Time to Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Marc Norton
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
David Rosen
If Donald Dump Was President
Dave Lindorff
America’s Latest War Crime
Ann Garrison
Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso
Franklin Lamb
Official Investigation Needed After Afghan Hospital Bombing
Linn Washington Jr.
Wrongs In Wine-Land
Ronald Bleier
Am I Drinking Enough Water? Sneezing’s A Clue
Charles R. Larson
Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduard Mendoza’s “An Englishman in Madrid”
October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?
Ben Debney
Guns, Trump and Mental Illness