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Friday, August 31, 2012

I want the next President to do something about gun violence

We all know that would not be Mitt Romney, particularly with Paul Ryan as his Vice President.  And President Barack Obama has been sorely lacking in his support for even banning assault rifles again along with high capacity magazines.  So what do we do?  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is this nation’s strongest advocate for gun control through his organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, but he already turned the job down in the past.

The NRA "elephant in the room"
I am a solid supporter of Barack Obama but if he doesn’t get the balls to come out of the closet for gun control after the recent mass shootings, I have to reassess my support.  Enough is enough and the President knows it but is afraid the NRA will doom his second term if he suddenly does what is right.  I did two posts on confirmed results that the NRA really cannot influence an election to the extent they claim.  You can see Part 1, Part 2.

Anyway there is additional evidence that the NRA myth isn’t true.  Gun control supporters from both parties have won Senate and House seats: 

Republicans include Sen. Mark Kirk in Illinois, Sen. Dan Coats in Indiana; these two even picked off Democratic seats.  For the Democrats, Senators Barbara Boxer in California; Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand from New York.  Ron Wyden in Oregon, Barbara Mikulski in Maryland and Daniel Inouye in Hawaii; Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut, Michael Bennet in Colorado and Chris Coons in Delaware.

Why Mitt Romney, especially Paul Ryan, must be defeated:

Erin Capuano in a Digital Journal op-ed asks how the 2nd Amendment has been distorted to “commit crimes and make money for the gun lobbyists?”  And the answer to that I have been talking about for years is that the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) led by Wayne LaPierre has put the fear of God in Congress and the White House that they can be easily replaced if they don’t play wacky Wayne’s game. 

She claims that amid yearly increases in gun violence and homicides, “gun laws are stripped away state by state.”

Capuano reviews the arguments over the 2nd Amendment and how the Bill of Rights was written at a time when a new democracy was being created and there were threats of tyrannical governments and military run states, all of which has long since vanished years ago.  But wacky Wayne has hung his hat on the 2nd Amendment and will no doubt hold on until they take it from his cold dead hands.  Yes, Charlton Heston was just as looney as LaPierre is.

The op-ed writer says “The NRA has been the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing for generations…” talking about their support for the rights of gun owners in a crusade that has repeatedly placed the right to own a gun and take it anywhere over human life.  Just look at the figures she provides from the latest year broken down, 2008, of firearms murder victims:

·       Handguns – 6,755
·       Rifles - 375
·       Shotguns - 444
·       Other not specified or type unknown - 79
·       Firearms, type not stated – 1,831

Grand Total 2008 – 9,484 deaths by firearms.

In 2010 there were 8,775 murders using guns and none of the above includes the wounded.  Take a look at my U.S. Shootings Report for July which started listing “woundings” in June, and also with links back to March.  There’s more in Capuano’s op-ed comparing gun homicides in the U.S. with those in Canada where the gun laws are much stronger. 

She closes with, “We can have stricter gun laws while still allowing people to own guns, we can limit the amount of guns that people own, the type of guns that they are able to own and where and when they are able to have those guns and use them.”  This statement should be an excellent place for the White House or someone in Congress to start the drive for more gun regulation. 

There has to be an American public now that sympathizes after the recent mass shootings.  If not, American gun deaths will continue to escalate.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Can the Democrats win back the House and maintain Senate control by exposing the GOP relationship to the Tea party?

Wellington C. Ramos was born in Belize but now resides in the U.S. where he holds BAs in political science and history from Hunter College in New York, a Masters in urban studies from Long Island University, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of political science and history.  Ramos says:

“If the Democratic Party in the United States does not expose the relationship between the Republican Party and the Tea Party, they will not pick up the seats they need to regain control of the House of Representatives and can risk maintaining control of the Senate.”

Wellington C. Ramos
Ramos, who is black, characterizes the Tea Party as “mostly white people,” who fear losing their country to immigrants coming here for a better life.  Much in the same way Americans originally arrived, but minus the part where we “slaughtered” Native Americans in order to take possession.  TPers throw in moral issues like same-sex marriage pandering to a certain base, but Ramos says their goal is “…to control the politics of this country and regain power.”

Ramos says the Tea Party is for, “…universal gun rights, cracking down on illegal immigration, small government, lower income taxes, sanctity of traditional family values and greater military spending.”  One of its most extremist positions was refusal to raise the debt ceiling or compromise with the Obama administration over the issue.  NY Sen. Chuck Schumer said: "The American people are seeing the Tea Party for what it is. Extreme and their popularity is declining.”

Video of why the Tea Party must be stopped:

As an example, I have been getting Tea Party emails for a couple of years and following are some the radical headlines signifying their hate of Barack Obama:

  • America’s demon President schedules deadly takeover

  • Exposing America’s fraud President

  • Obama to destroy America: rebuild in his image

  • Obama plans second term calling for assault on America

  • Rush Limbaugh: Obama hates this country

  • Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the birther issue

  • Rush Limbaugh exposes Obama’s membership in Socialist New Party

  • Obama has admitted to use of cocaine and other drugs—has never admitted he stopped his drug abuse


Tea Party radicals in action
The above headlines are the epitome of incendiary rhetoric designed to bring down America by a group that, if you listen to some of their demonstrations, is burdened with double-digit IQs.  And this is what is controlling the GOP today.  The TP has been responsible for ousting long-standing stalwarts in the Republican Party like Arlen Specter and Richard Luger, simply for compromising on issues with the Democratic Party.

Ramos comments, “They have taken over the Republican Party to the point where all the moderates are either retiring or getting kicked out of the party completely.”  It’s the Tea Party way or the highway.  America was not built on that kind of governing but it can easily be destroyed if this gang of fruitcakes is allowed to continue to spew out their idiocy.  Ramos believes firmly that Mitt Romney will “succumb to their demands.”  A message that Dems must convey.

Wellington C. Ramos might connect Tea Party tendencies toward anarchy with his home country of Belize and the unrest there in 2005 over significant tax increases.  It is certain that TPers would revolt against any proposed tax increase by Democrats and this is probably why the GOP stands so firm against any increase in taxes.  Ramos closes by saying, “…stop this Tea Party madness that is trying to take over our beloved country.”  But will Americans heed the alarm?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How does Lance Armstrong situation coincide with gun control?

I do not know whether or not Lance Armstrong is guilty of doping charges.  He gave up his fight against the U.S Anti-Doping Agency which could mean he is tired of the struggle or maybe he’s guilty.  Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated said: “Doping charges are serious, the evidence is significant and some credible people have accused Armstrong. (I mean, how much of a jerk would Armstrong have to be for this many people to want to frame him?)”


Lance Armstrong
But the meat of the SI article isn’t the fact that Armstrong might or might not have been using performance-enhancing drugs while winning his Tour de France races, but rather the fact that the public is apathetic about the fact.  One way or the other.  Rosenberg thinks this is the case.  And does it sound like a parallel to the same attitude against gun violence by Americans?  Only 45% were for more regulation of firearms, 50% against in a 2010 study by Pew Research.

But there are those of us who won’t give up on the issue and Sanjay Sanghoee is one of those writing in the Huff Post.  Described in some media as a “dispute,” Sanghoee says the Empire State Bldg. shooting was “barbarism and insanity.”  And he thinks many American gun owners use their guns to experience a “sense of control and power that only a firearm can impart.”  I agree and must add that in many cases a firearm is carried to replace or bolster a man’s masculinity.

Amy Sullivan in The New Republic states: “Barack Obama and Mitt Romney may not want to talk about gun control, but events are conspiring against them.”  Both have voiced their opposition to the mass shootings, apparently without a clue that something needs to be done right now.  And if they are aware, it’s all put on the backburner until after the November elections while many more are likely to be shot and killed before then.  In this respect, politics stink.   


But that's what the NRA told me to say
Sullivan adds a comment by Mitt Romney to Brian Williams of NBC News: “We can sometimes hope that just changing the law will make all bad things go away. It won’t.  Changing the heart of the American people may well be what’s essential, to improve the lots of the American people.”  To that Amy Sullivan replies “Poppycock.”  My opinion is that by the time Romney’s concept comes to fruition, hundreds of thousands more innocent people will be killed by guns.

But there are improvements in public attitudes toward gun control sounded by an August 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute.  In that poll, 52% favor stricter firearms regulation compared to 44% against.  However, this study was done following a series of recent mass shootings and is likely to mellow considerably after the shock wears off.  Support of gun control has dropped significantly since its high of 66% back in 2000.

The Institute for Economics and Peace has ranked states according to which are the most violent based on homicide, violent crime, incarceration rates, as well as the availability of firearms.  The top five are Louisiana (#1 20th year in a row), Tennessee, Nevada, Florida and Arizona.  Only one of these states, Arizona, experienced one of the recent mass killings; the Tucson massacre in Jan. of 2011 where 6 died, 13 wounded including former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords.

Not a surprise since Arizona has the loosest gun laws in the country; a state where anyone can buy a gun and carry it around anywhere they want to.  All because of a bunch of Republican misfits that let the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) tell them every move to make.  It is this radical conservative culture that is killing thousands of innocent Americans each year, all because they love their guns more than human life.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

America’s worst governor, Arizona’s Jan Brewer, also “terrible human being”

Erin Gloria Ryan is an irreverent writer for Jezebel and I mean that in the most complimentary of ways.  You have to love this lady for her honesty and clever writing; believe me, she holds absolutely nothing back.  Her latest article on Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer starts with Brewer’s illustrious background of being “…Glendale {AZ} Community College's most famous radiologic technologist certificate recipient.”  Apparently perfect training for doing nothing.

Maybe Brewer just needs to
put on her glasses
Her latest bungle in the media is described by Ryan simply as “assholery,” not because the New York Times Magazine article in which she says 99.9% of gun owners were responsible people was released on the day of the Empire State Bldg. shootings, but because of the latter comment and other stupid remarks she made in the interview.  The interviewer, Andrew Goldman, also pulled no punches with questions on Brewer’s most infamous blunders:

Things like what about the “tacky,” and “shouty” confrontation with Barack Obama on the airport tarmac; her obvious racist immigration policy; the incarceration of her son for sexual assault in the 1980s, then as governor pushed to preserve state spending on mental health while cutting funding for rape victims.

But perhaps the classic in the interview was the following:

Q: You signed a law that entitles people to carry concealed guns in bars as long as they don't drink. I wouldn't trust myself in a bar with access to a gun.
A: I think a bartender knows who's drinking and who isn't.

Q: But a bartender wouldn't know who's carrying a concealed weapon.
A: Ninety-nine point nine percent of the people that are gun owners are very responsible.

Erin Gloria Ryan commented profoundly, “Wow, what an asshole. To follow that line of reasoning, we should probably get rid of the driver's license requirement, speed limits, and center lines on roads because 99.9% of drivers are responsible about what side they're supposed to drive on and when they should pass. Let's also get rid of prescription requirements for addictive drugs like Xanax and Valium, because 99.9% of people who use them do so responsibly.”

Jan Brewer on Pres. Obama's executive order for young undocumenteds:

Ryan’s piece on Jan Brewer is by far the best writing I have seen recently but there is more.  The Funny or Die site released a video recently starring Mary Steenburgen as Brewer and a cameo by George Lopez at the end.  This video is a must-see for anyone who thinks Arizona has gone too far with its anti-immigration law SB-1070.  Things like this have made the state the laughing stock of the country.  One local comment after seeing the video was:

“Wouldn't it be nice, just every now and then, to be in the news for winning a Super Bowl or something instead?”  Purely pathetic. 


Jan Brewer hasn't a clue

And Brewer has family problems other than her son, but equally as close to home.  John Brewer, her husband, was fired as the executive dir. of the naturopathic board in 2001 from allegations he shredded public documents and misrepresented his credentials.  And recently Brewer appointed Robt. Gear in that position who has a history of complaints against him by the same board.  He also has strong ties to John Brewer.

The Governor has a PAC to raise money, as she describes it, to help other politicians to be able to govern like her.  God help them!  But the treasurer of the organization is on probation with the board that licenses accounts, and had his registration as a securities salesman revoked in 2009. Robert Hockensmith violated state laws and was dishonest and unethical.  He was fined $200,000 and put on probation for three years in 2010.

But Jan Brewer’s push to turn over Arizona inmate care to private prisons is one of her greatest achievements.  Chuck Coughlin, Brewer's campaign chairman and policy adviser was also a lobbyist for the largest private prison company in the country, Corrections Corporation of America, who operates six prisons in the state.  Professed to save Arizona lots of money by the GOV and the GOP legislature, the move is costing taxpayers $3.5 million a year.

I have said this several times in the past.  This poor soul doesn’t realize what a nationwide example of brainlessness she is.  Brewer plows on making the kinds of statements above and shackling Arizona with the kind of burdens like SB-1070 and the private prison debacle.  The end result is a state in chaos with gun laws that allow anyone, yes anyone, to own a gun.  The problems are numerous and many, including myself, are sick of her and her minions in the legislature.

Like Michael Moore said, I don’t like where this country is going but I have no plans to leave it.  Therefore, guess I’ll just have to change it.  Let’s do it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Empire State Building shooting ruins mass shooting silence

The Onion was celebrating a week without any major massacres by firearms when it had to back off as it was announced that there had just been a mass shooting at New York City’s Empire State Building right in the middle of Manhattan.  You probably wouldn’t classify this as the typical massacre like Aurora, Colo. or the Wisconsin Sikh temple because the gunman only shot and killed one person.  The nine wounded were from police fire.

Assisting victim in Empire State Bldg shooting
Now I am no expert at criminology, but does this incident appear to have been prompted by a police force—one of the finest in the world—that has become influenced with the possibility that every public shooting is potentially a massacre?  These are well trained officers yet they wounded nine bystanders in the melee.  Has the huge availability of guns in this country pushed police departments in America to the edge, resulting in this kind of outcome?

To give you an idea of the actual anticipation of the possibility of more imminent gun violence, federal authorities commented that a lot can happen in 24 hours, saying: ““so let’s not get too excited yet.”  And they were right.  Yet another person armed with a gun holding a grudge killed an innocent person.  Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was down the street talking to the celebrating crowd and when told what had happened said:

“You know what, forget it. There was another one about 20 blocks from here. So, party’s over. Sorry.”

It is a sorry state of affairs when we can’t go one week without a shooting that ends up killing innocent victims and wounding several others.  But it is blatantly clear why this can happen and it all centers around the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) and its head, Wayne LaPierre.  This organization, commandeered by this wacko in the late 1970s, who devised his evil concept that 2nd Amendment rights are more important than human life, deserves the majority of the blame for all the killings.

Vivid tape of Empire State Bldg. chaos with victim:

The shooter, Jeffrey Johnson, used a .45-caliber semiautomatic and was armed with extra ammunition in his briefcase.  Johnson was killed by police but not until he caused nine innocent people to be shot.  In BuzzFeed.com “Criminologist James Alan Fox has written that, according to FBI data, mass shootings have fluctuated since 1980 with no sustained upward or downward trend.”  But his data stops with the year 2010 with no crime data available for 2012.

As regular readers know, I have been compiling nationwide figures on shootings since this past March, including deaths and woundings, broken down by the city in which they occurred.  The numbers are starkly unbelievable and should shock the apathetic American public that has been shunning gun control.  Since March 2012 there have been 432 deaths from 1,056 shootings; woundings were added to the report in June and in only 2 months there have been 628.

Keep in mind that these figures represent only those reported by the media and, thus, considered somewhat conservative.

To extend the data above by James Alan Fox that stopped in 2010 re. mass shootings, there were 28 that occurred since Columbine in 1999 through 2011, including the shooting and severe wounding of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in Tucson, Arizona in Jan. 2011 where 6 were killed and 18 others wounded.  Most notable from the 28, the massacre at Virginia Tech where 32 were killed, 15 wounded.  Then Fort Hood, Texas with 13 dead and 42 wounded.

But that was just the warm up.  2012 exploded during the summer with 17 wounded with an assault weapon at a Tuscaloosa, Ala. bar.  Then the mass shooting at the Aurora, Colo. theatre killing 12 and injuring 58.  Next it was the Sikh Temple in Wis. where 6 were killed and 4 wounded.  Which brings us up to the incident at New York’s empire State building.  Fox comments that this trend is likely to continue with around 300 million guns in the hands of Americans.

Also from BuzzFeed.com, Philip J. Cook, crime scholar and Ludwig's coauthor on Gun Violence, “believes adversarial political rhetoric is a possible contributing factor. He criticizes the NRA for ‘promoting the idea that Obama's goal is to take away guns and they have to fight to prevent that from happening,’ an idea he says has stirred up fringe gun enthusiasts and led to record-breaking rises in gun purchases and concealed-weapon applications in many states.

NY Mayor Bloomberg with his group
Just moments before the Empire State building shooting, NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg on WOR’s John Gambling Show said, “I don’t know what it takes, John.  Somebody asked me what would shock Congress. Well, they had a Congresswoman shot…. And that didn’t seem to do anything,” the mayor said. “The Founding Fathers I don’t think ever envisioned AK-47’s in the hands of people."  The congress is clueless and Obama afraid of the NRA.
Mayor Bloomberg has been asking for new gun regulations for years and in a
CBS NY article they are spelled out:

·       Require background checks for every gun sold — 40 percent of all guns are sold without background checks

·       Stronger enforcement of straw sales, where someone buys a gun for someone not eligible to own one

·       A requirement that states enter criminal and mental health records into the federal background check system

I would add to this the banning of all assault rifles and high capacity magazines.

When will this country wake up?  Following all other developed countries in gun control and leading that group plus many third-world countries in deaths from shootings should confound the simplest-minded person.  We are not a nation of dummies, although some congressional leaders and states like Arizona would challenge that notion.  We have a chance to do what’s right with the escalation of gun violence.  The question is…are we smart enough to do it?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Is the NRA responsible for the military suicides?

I will let you decide the answer to this question once you have finished this post.  The hard facts are that the majority of these military suicides, mostly Army because it is the largest of the four, have two things in common: Alcohol and a gun.  If you recall in an earlier post, the two are also a factor in domestic suicides in the U.S.  Firearms were used in 50% of these deaths.  But the military has been stymied by the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) by another of their stupid laws.

Military commanders claim in the Christian Science Monitor, “…that a new NRA-backed law prohibits them from engaging in discussions about weapons and safety.”  Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s former Vice Chief of Staff, commented before retirement, “…when you have somebody that you in fact feel is high risk, I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to tell that individual that it would not be a good idea to have a weapon around the house.”  Now is that unreasonable?

The NRA thinks so.  Due to an NRA backed law, commanders are not allowed to ask a soldier who lives off post whether that soldier has a privately owned weapon.  Chiarelli “…expressed concern...that this law amounts to a prohibition on commanders engaging in vital discussions with US soldiers about weapons and personal safety."  The military can enforce any situation if the soldier lives on base but not off base.  50% of military suicides also use a firearm.



Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta said, with 206 troops already taking their lives this year, “That is an epidemic.  Something is wrong.”  Chiarelli makes another statement that is significant to all self-inflicted gun deaths, “if you can separate the individual from the weapon, you can lower the incidences of suicide.”  Of course, this would also apply to certain situations other than suicides, those that would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally unbalanced.


Big mouth NRA head, Wayne LaPierre
responsible for loose gun law

The NRA is apparently not confronting the situation.  But Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) Oklahoma through his spokesperson is, “very concerned” about suicide within the military. At the same time, he adds, “individual rights must be protected.”  There’s that NRA dictated 2nd Amendment crap again which places the right to have guns over human life.  By the way, Inhofe was the author of this idiotic legislation, and in 2008 received a $51,050 donation from the NRA. 

In a Huff Post article exclaiming how military suicides doubled in July over June, it is thought this is a result of multiple deployments as well as marital and financial problems and health issues.  I do not know how many guns are owned by members of the military, but it is a fact that between 270 and 300 million are in the hands of all Americans.  Those guns privately owned by the military may be included in this but, no matter, it’s still just too many damn guns.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I was for voter ID before I was against it

OK, someone has already said that but I just found out it can actually happen.  It didn’t seem wrong to me to simply ask an individual if they were actually the person whose name was on the voting rolls.  If I have to prove who I am to get on an airplane, and I do, then why not when I vote?  But then I started checking into the demographics of those that would be affected most, plus reading a recent report of just how rare voter fraud is in the U.S.  Now I’m not sure either way.

Those most likely to be affected are the poor, minorities and elderly.  Is it a coincidence that much of this group would be most likely to vote for Democrats?  No it definitely is not just fate since the major force behind voter ID laws is Republican led.  As an example, according to Open Channel on NBC, the ultra conservative organization American Legislative Exchange Counsil (ALEC) has launched a “flurry” of voter ID bills.  So much for GOP credibility.

Let’s talk demographics starting with Hispanics.  The Latinos population represents 16.3%, based on the latest Census figures.  For a family of four, the poverty level is considered to be around $22,350 and that represents 13% of U.S. population.  The elderly defined as being age 65 plus number 13%.  This comes in at a grand total of 42.3% of the U.S. population.  Let’s assume the majority of these three groups would lean to voting for Democrats.

According to 2008 election figures, there were 213,313,508 eligible voters representing 70.2% of the U.S population.  But only 132,653,958 voted in 2008 or just 43.6% of the population and 62.6% of eligible voters.  The question, of course, is just how much of the 42.3% above is represented in the 132,653,958 that voted in 2008, or better yet, not represented. 

The turnout rate for the voting age population in 2008 was 56.9% and we might wonder if some or all of the above profile are included.  In either case, voter ID laws could certainly only further discourage whatever number that was.

The hardest hit will be the minorities, particularly Hispanics in certain states.  Arrests through Arizona’s Maricopa County sweeps by Sheriff Joe Arpaio have put the fear of potential jail, at least harassment into even the legals in the state and nationwide, even though they have proof of legality.  USA Today reports, “Every year, 600,000 more Latinos become eligible voters, making them a potentially potent voting force.”  The problem is getting them to the polls.

And this will certainly change with the younger Latino generation that is on the way.  I say that by witnessing first-hand here in Arizona how these young undocumenteds are applying for President Obama’s Deferred Action Plan in large numbers.  Although they are illegal according to Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer, they are openly defying her executive order against giving them state benefits, including obtaining driver’s licenses to get to work.

Young Turks expose GOP support of voter ID is to win elections:

The stupid antics of Brewer and disgraced former State Senator Russell Pearce, including some in the state legislature, will come back to haunt the Arizona GOP in future years.  A Hispanic voting bloc large enough to vote these fanatics out of office can’t come soon enough for most progressives in the state.  Pew Research reported 6.6 million Latinos voted in 2010, adding that they expect a turnout of a record 12.2 million in November, which would be a 26% increase over 2008.

But when it comes to voter fraud, one of the primary reasons Republicans are pushing voter ID, a study has found that it is almost non-existent.  2,068 cases of alleged voter fraud were analyzed and only 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation were found since 2000.  That’s less than one per year.  Based on 146 million U.S. registered voters, that comes out to one in every 15 million registered voters.  It would appear the GOP has no grounds for suspicion there.

Raging prejudice but it happens
Republican Mississippi state representative, Bill Denny, who sponsored his state’s voter ID law, said, “Whether you have proof of it or not, what in the heavens is wrong with showing an ID at polls?"  Here’s why.  The state has a black population of 37%, Hispanics 2.7%.  Total population is 2,983,922 so that means a full compliment eligible to vote would equal a total number of 1,184,617 that could throw Denny and other bigots like him out of office in November.

The answer is education before enacting voter ID laws.  We must educate the population on just how important is to register and vote in all elections.  Using activists reaching the poor and elderly, and in the black and Latino communities, to get the word out that to expect representation of their needs, they must go to the polls and elect those who believe what they believe.  And most of all, we must take the fear out of voting for minorities.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From box cutters to assault weapons in gun control

Sanjay Sanghoee is a blogger on politics and the author of two novels.  He has written several posts for the Huff Post on gun control and has heatedly talked about the 2nd Amendment and its shortcomings and misinterpretations.  He notes that it is time to challenge this part of the Constitution and makes a good case for doing so.  I did the same in a 3-part series back in September of 2011: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3.  And I really like Sanghoee’s take on a “well regulated militia.”

But first, it is Sanghoee’s conclusion that “After three shootings, America needs zero tolerance on guns,” of course referring to Aurora, Colo. the Sikh Temple, and bringing in the most recent incident in Texas.  He says: “If the real purpose of guns, as ratified by the Supreme Court, is defense of one's home, then anything that can be used to fire dozens of rounds a minute, accommodate high-capacity clips of ammunition, or spray bullets, should not be in the hands of civilians. Period.


Box cutter
Then Sanghoee comments on a recent remark from someone who argued box cutters and airplanes were used to kill people and questioned whether they should be banned.  He answers, “…the primary purpose of box cutters is to open boxes and airplanes are used mainly to transport people over long distances; Guns, on the other hand, have only one purpose, which is to hurt or kill another living being.”  Thus, another ridiculous gun rights analogy is deflated.

Many of the gun control advocates, including myself, agree that most firearms owners are law abiding, but continue to disagree that any of them should have the right to own assault rifles or high capacity magazines.  This concept of wanting this kind of weaponry personifies the statement of Sanghoee: “Guns, on the other hand, have only one purpose, which is to hurt or kill another living being.”  Even Supreme Court Justice Scalia deems them “affrighting.”

Wacky Wayne LaPierre speaking on the 2nd Amendment and Arms Trade Treaty 1 month ago:

In his article on challenging the 2nd Amendment, Sanjay Sanghoee actually picks apart the decree on gun rights.  There are three things that he finds unclear in the right to bear arms:

1. What comprises "arms";

2. Whether the "free State" in the Amendment has to be protected from its own government or from a foreign aggressor (such as the British at that time), and;

3. Whether the term "well regulated" means well disciplined or with a clear framework of laws.

He goes on to cite the 2008 ruling District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, that established the individual right to own guns outside a militia.  I might add that it does not specify the right to carry them anywhere you want to and not to be able to stockpile an arsenal like James Holmes did in Aurora, Colorado.  It even specifies the possession of firearms “for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” 


Assault weapon

The Founding Fathers could never have envisioned an organization as bizarre as the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) or its wacky leader, Wayne LaPierre.  Had they known of either, there would no doubt have been an addendum to the 2nd  Amendment, 2-A, relinquishing such power from potential gun nuts.  As an example of the ludicrous behavior, Sanghoee compares Middle Eastern militants with homegrown American militias training for battle in some wooded compound in the heartland.
    
Sanghoee makes a good point in comparing the fact that the NRA and others hold that it is people that kill, not guns.  But if this is the case, he argues, “…then the reason we have crazy massacres in this country is because Americans are a bunch of homicidal maniacs with no impulse control; and if that part is true, then should we really allow this same crackpot citizenry to carry firearms?”  I ask, shouldn’t we at least keep assault weaponry out of their hands?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s self-serving move on President Obama’s Deferred Action Plan should alienate all Hispanics

Jan Brewer, governor of Arizona only because she supported and signed the state’s anti-immigration law SB-1070, backed by a bloc of radical conservative racist voters, has re-established the state as the most bigoted in the country.  On the day many young illegal immigrants—only because their parents brought them here illegally—were celebrating the possibility of gaining a reprieve to stay as productive citizens, the wicked witch from the Southwest stepped in to stop it.


The typical Jan Brewer
Brewer, America’s worst governor confirmed by a recent ballot, signed an executive order that attempts to thwart President Obama’s directive extending temporary work permits to more than a million undocumented immigrants.  Obama’s directive grants two-year work authorizations to undocumented youth between 15 and 30 years of age who have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least five years.  Brewer did her dirty deed simultaneously for effect.

Everyone agrees the President made the directive when he did to show Latinos that he supports them, conveniently coming prior to the November election.  But it’s a good thing made necessary by the fact that the GOP Congress defeated his Dream Act, designed to accomplish the same purpose.  But the maniac in Arizona’s governor’s office has made it her purpose in life to circumvent anything Barack Obama does on the issue of immigration, no matter how many are hurt.

The goofy Gov did it specifically for politicizing the situation, and to attempt to show an authority used so many times since she took office that has helped make the state the laughing stock of the nation.  Along with a state legislature primarily Republican and called a gang of “Kooks” by a local columnist, Arizona continues to stand out as one of the poorest—if not the poorest—run state in the nation.  Gun laws alone draw criticism from major countries around the world.

Brewer's equally inept Matt Benson talks to undocumented protesters:

What Brewer has done is put Arizona in the position of having to answer a host of lawsuits that are already being planned.  Evelyn Cruz, an Arizona State U. clinical law professor and dir. of the Immigration Law & Policy Clinic says there will no doubt be a legal challenge since Brewer’s order might conflict with federal statues.  The ACLU is already considering a lawsuit against the state if its Dept. of Motor Vehicles refuses to grant the undocumented driver’s licenses.

In the NBC article, “Cruz noted that the REAL ID Act of 2005, a federal law that modified requirements for state driver’s licenses and ID cards, specifically listed immigrants who have been granted “deferred action” as among groups of people eligible for a license.”  Further, “She said Brewer’s order conflicts with both state and federal law.”  Adding, “The state of Arizona has regularly issued licenses to people lawfully present in the U.S. even though they don’t have lawful status.”

Reported in the Arizona Daily Star, Jeff Rogers, Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party said: "Jan Brewer has once again shown that she is nothing more than George Wallace in a skirt.  What's next? Will she personally stand outside the Motor Vehicle office and block entry to qualified 'DREAMers'?"  Arizona U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva commented: "She's just being herself, hurting our economy and pulling families apart to please a small minority of the population."

Marisa Trevino in Politics in Color makes some excellent points calling Brewer beyond being mean-spirited; she “wreaks of vindictiveness” against Democrats and the Pres.  Trevino thinks it sorta seals the Hispanic vote for the Dems and Obama in November.  But what is laughable to the writer is the fact that barring these folks driver’s licenses to get them to work eliminates taxes they would pay to Arizona from their jobs, many of which are unwanted with low wages.


Undocumenteds making their point
Jeff Biggers in the Huff Post says: “By taking public action against President Obama's policy that will potentially grant work permits to over one million undocumented young people, Brewer has once again put Arizona's name on the map as the epicenter of anti-immigrant racism and hate.”  And he adds:

“Brewer and Arizona's right-wing politicos have their own issues with driver's licenses and following the law; in 1988, Brewer failed sobriety tests after a car accident in Phoenix.  Then a state senator, Brewer received immunity from arrest and prosecution.”

Finally, monkey see, monkey do.  Nebraska’s GOP governor, Dave Heineman, has decided to imitate life in Arizona by deciding to refuse the same state benefits to undocumented immigrants in that state.  How any state leader could follow the lead of the inept Gov. Jan Brewer is beyond me but, then, I suppose that places Heineman in the same category with Brewer.  I don’t know about the people of Nebraska, but I do know many Arizonans are tired of this lunacy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gun owners get religion when in the pew…and other gun rights nausea

Yet another poll was taken after the recent Aurora, Colo. and Sikh temple shootings focusing on the attitudes of religious groups.  Released on August 15, and taken by the Public Religion Research Institute conducted in partnership with Religion News Service, there was hands-down agreement: no guns in church.  76% said no to concealed weapons there compared to only 20% who wanted them.  So what happens to the fanatical gun nuts when they go to pray?


One determined gun bubba
In my mind, this is the epitome of hypocrisy since it is the goal of the National Rifle Assn. (NRA), and its members, to make guns available to anyone who wants them, and make it legal for them to take them anywhere they want to.  Not once have I heard from NRA head, Wayne LaPierre, that he wants an open carry policy on firearms, except, of course, when you go to church.  That would mean capitulation, something the NRA has absolutely no appetite for.

In the religious study 54% of these households own one or more guns, compared to the fact that 76% of church-goers who want no weapons in their church.  But this is not so in evangelical congregations; only 35% are in favor of gun control, compared to 52% of all Americans.  Overall, less than one-third of U.S. households own a gun, a figure that has been regularly dropping over the years.

On the other hand, 62% of Catholics and 60% of those unaffiliated believe in gun control.  The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, thinks he knows why Catholics lean toward gun control, the most obvious reason being that many of them live in urban areas where a lot of the gun violence takes place.  He also surmises that in Catholics, “…there might be a slightly greater appreciation for the notion of the common good, which is enshrined in Catholic social teaching, in addition to individual rights.”

Idiot pastor encourages members to bring guns to church:

The urban concept reappears when looking at Black Protestants who definitely favor more gun control by 71%.  White mainline Protestants drop to only 42% for more gun control, possibly due to the fact that 54% of this group lives in a household with a gun.  But those households without a gun prefer more gun restrictions.  According to the Economic Times, part of the problem for these fanatical gun owners is the mythology that surrounds the issue.

And that, in turn, is supported in the “madness” of the trumpeted legal foundation of the 2nd Amendment, says Bennett Voyles in the ET.

Eliot Spitzer, former New York attorney general and governor, says in a recent Miami Herald article, the government can limit guns immediately.  He adds that New York mayor Michael Bloomberg could do the same.  And he explains clearly how it could be done.  Use the government’s power in the marketplace.  As the largest purchaser of guns, the feds can say to gun manufacturers that they would not:

“…buy any weapons or ammunition from companies that do not agree to pull semi-automatics from their stock and refuse to produce magazines with more than 10 rounds other than for sale to the government.

To begin with, that would show gun companies that the feds are in control of the firearms market, not the National Rifle Assn, (NRA).  Secondly, it would prove that the NRA does not have the power over gun rights that they claim to have and might curb some of the financial support weapons manufacturers provide the organization.  Left with only its members’ dues to exist on, the NRA would soon be out of business or at least left ineffective.

Would John Wayne carry his gun to church?
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, doesn’t think Congress or the White House will do anything about gun violence before November.  In an article, “Everyone looks at the United States as uncivilized,” Markell takes credit for standing up to the NRA and then beating them at their own game passing gun regulations in Delaware.  He agrees with other studies that say the gun lobby’s influence over Congress is exaggerated.

But let’s return to the title of the article Markell appears in, the part about everyone looking at the U.S. as uncivilized.  “Everyone,” of course, means the rest of the world, and the overall opinion is that America loves its guns over human life.  As an example, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria has slaughtered thousands; UN estimates number between 17,000 and 20,000.  If you have followed media coverage, you know that the world is calling Assad uncivilized.

I did a post last week, “Why is the NRA so much like Al Qaeda?” which points out the comparison between Osama bin Laden and the NRA’s head, Wayne LaPierre.  Bin Laden wanted to kill as many Americans as possible, no matter what.  LaPierre wants to sell as many guns as possible, no matter what, which is indirectly responsible for 31,347 firearm deaths a year equaling 10.2 deaths per 100,000 population. 

The similarities are frightening which further confirms why America is being called uncivilized by much of the world.