Monday, November 30, 2015

The NRA Visit

NRA Visits Colorado Police Evidence Room To Check Up On Rifle Used In Planned Parenthood Shooting

“It’s a little shaken up, but it should be okay—thank God,” said NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, who appeared visibly distressed while kneeling down next to the assault-style rifle and gently placing his hand on the stock. “I’ve just been worried sick since I heard about the incident. It looks like it was dropped pretty hard, and it’s barely got any bullets left, but at least it’s resting safely now. I might just sleep here tonight to keep an eye on it.” LaPierre told reporters that he would do everything he could to help the rifle return home and get back working again soon.

Good Lord, do I love the Onion.

Domestic Terrorism in Colorado Egged on by Republican Presidential Candidates

The shootings in Colorado at Planned Parenthood have been called a "tragedy" by Republicans who deign to acknowledge them. But they're more than that: the attacks on Planned Parenthood -- and the plural is correct -- are domestic terrorism perpetrated by right-wing fanatics.

In the last few decades there have been hundreds of terrorist attacks against abortion clinics:
An FBI Intelligence Assessment at the time found these attacks were "consistent with the actions of lone offenders using tactics of arsons and threats all of which are typical of the pro-life extremist movement." Moreover, the report said it was "likely criminal or suspicious incidents will continue to be directed against reproductive health care providers, their staff and facilities."

Less than two weeks after CBS reported that, another abortion clinic was firebombed in California. It was the fourth arson at a Planned Parenthood location in as many months.

"The toxic rhetoric directed at Planned Parenthood has dangerous consequences," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein in a press release at the time. "It sends a signal that using violence to close clinics and intimidate healthcare professionals and women is 'OK.' It is not."

Since 1977, according to NAF, there have been eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, and 186 arsons against abortion clinics and providers.
We don't know the full details behind the attack on Planned Parenthood, but the killer reportedly told police "no more baby parts" in reference to the shootings.

Republicans who have been blasting Planned Parenthood claim the latest attack in Colorado isn't their fault: the killer is "unbalanced" and you can't blame people who speak out about abortion for the actions of the crazies they incite.

Carly Fiorina has been screaming "FIRE!" in a crowded theater and now three people are dead because she egged on some kook.
But conservatives haven't been exercising "free speech:" they have been perpetuating a lie based on propaganda videos doctored by an anti-abortion hate group. Carly Fiorina has been particularly mendacious, making all sorts of outrageous and outright lies about the videos and Planned Parenthood's activities. She has been screaming "FIRE!" in a crowded theater and now three people are dead because she egged on some kook.

If conservatives were arguing the facts, it would be one thing. But when they spout lies and cite doctored videos as their "proof" they are complicit with a program of propaganda and hatred on the same level as Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Unless people like Trump, Fiorina and Cruz own up to the lies and admit that the videos are fake and that Planned Parenthood has been smeared by a bunch of fanatics, they bear a degree of personal responsibility for the attacks.

Good Words

From recent question on Quora...

I think the most pressing issue facing America is the meltdown of one of our two primary political parties. The Republicans have gone from (to my thinking) distasteful to dangerously deranged. And they're dragging HALF our population with them down the hole. (We wonder how the insanity of the Nazi party could take root in a place as advanced and civilized as Germany in the 1930s, well watching the meltdown of American conservatism gives us a front-row seat.) 


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Put Them Away

Let us be clear. Our Founders did not ratify the Second Amendment so that men like this could obtain military-grade arsenals.

Look at this face. People like this guy and the ideology that allowed him to obtain the weapons that he had are the real threats to our national security. They are far worse than ISIL or any Islamic extremist organization. They continue to pile up bodies with one party in this country vociferously defending them.

It's way past time to stop them. They need to be disarmed and put away for accessories to murder.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

Great Words

I posted a question on Quora recently that had the distinction of being answered by world famous game designer Ernest W. Adams. His response was amazing.

The people who are claiming that you have no right to live peacefully don't seem to know what "ensure domestic tranquillity" means. It means citizens not killing each other. Of course you have a right to live peacefully; it is explicitly one of the aims of the Constitution. The Second Amendment undermines that aim by empowering people to do violence with high efficiency. 

More importantly, however, it's simply a bad idea and needs to be abolished. Owning firearms not a "natural right" (there's no such thing), it is a privilege we allow to those who are not felons. But the privilege is so consistently, violently, tragically abused by Americans, that it needs to be curtailed. The Finns and the Canadians are far more responsible with their firearms. But I don't trust an American with one.

Considering he has an average of two million views per month with over four thousand followers, his response will get widespread attention. I am most grateful.

Given the advancement in technology coupled with the fact that we manage to kill thirty thousand of our own people every year due to gun violence, we are not domestically tranquil.

Why More Guns Again?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks...

Today, I'd like to thank the 250 or so regular readers of this site. Most of you have been with us from the beginning and we here at Zombie Politics are most grateful.

I receive several emails a week but I thought it most appropriate to share this recent note today from regular reader Ahn Hui (who gave his kind permission to publish).

Mark, I know that over the years you've been slapped around on here for your posts about gun violence. I want to say I, for one, am grateful for what you share and for the questions you pose. We must be the change we wish to see in the world. Those of us with compassionate hearts and insightful minds have to get the culture to turn the corner on gun violence. The only way to do that is to get people talking. Reason will ultimately prevail. 

When we can get the American people to understand that firearms, particularily handguns and automatic weapons are the security blankets of cowards, not the ultimate trump card they think, then we can make some progress towards a more peaceful and worthwhile future for us all.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How Alike They Are

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Sick Jihad

The New York Daily News has officially declared war on the Gun Cult.

A "sick jihad" indeed. Why do they want to make it easier for ISIL guys to get guns?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dallas Mayor More Concerned About Armed White People

The mayor of Dallas is pushing back against politicians who say Americans should be skeptical of Syrian refugees, saying he is “more fearful” of armed white men than people fleeing civil war in the Middle East. I know I am. They are the ones who the greatest threat to our national security, especially those who are gun rights activists.

Speaking to MSNBC on Saturday morning, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was asked to discuss the growing anxiety over Syrian refugees entering the United States, purportedly over concerns they could be potential agents for militant groups such as ISIS. Rawlings staunchly rejected the assertion that Syrians are somehow uniquely prone to violence, saying he is more concerned with the rise of white supremacy and the recent flurry of mass shootings committed by white men.

“I am more fearful of large gatherings of white men that come into schools, theaters and shoot people up, but we don’t isolate young white men on this issue,” Rawlings said.

He also said that vilifying refugees only helps ISIS, as doing so falls into their “trap.” He then pushed back on the notion that ISIS is somehow representative of Islam.

“ISIS is no more Islamic than Nazi senior staff was Christian,” he said. He also subtly challenged Christian governors and other followers of Christ who have rejected refugees, referencing Jesus’ scriptural call to “welcome the stranger” in Matthew 25:41-43.

That passage reads

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

I'd say God is pretty clear:)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Good Words

Here's a recent post from Gun Ownership is a Right and A Responsibility.

The people who love their guns the most hate humanity the most, and do this nation and this world the most harm. We see it over and over and over again.... These thugs should be arrested, prosecuted and convicted of hate crimes. In fact, it's imperative that we do precisely that.

Yep. Let's start with the gun bloggers and gun blog commenters.  In fact, we should start their very own GITMO considering that they are terrorists.

Let's see if a few years in prison will chill them out:)

Jesus and Ben Carson

Take a look at the photo that is up in Ben Carson's house.

No, that's not a photo of Carson and the late Duane Allman. That's Republican Jesus!!

Do we really want this guy as president? Wow...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What Could ISIL Do To Us That We Don't Already Do To Ourselves?


I actually think that the major terrorist organizations have gotten wise to this. How do you terrorize a society that murders 11,000 of it's own citizens every year? They're probably thinking about what it would take to truly terrorize Americans, and not seeing how it would be possible, short of acquiring a nuclear device. This is why I expect to see American allies hit again and again. That sort of tactic might bring more pressure to bear on American policy than simply adding to the carnage Americans are obviously so comfortable with.

Friday, November 20, 2015

If Anyone Can Use Your Gun, It Doesn't Make You Safer

I live in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the big news around here lately has been the shooting of Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man. NAACP leaders have come to Minneapolis and are meeting the mayor and the governor. Protesters are camped out around a police station. Interlopers used the protest to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police. 

The demonstrators want video of the incident released, and law enforcement doesn't want to release it yet for fear of contaminating witness statements.

From what we can tell, the following happened: Jamar Clark beat up his girlfriend. Paramedics were called and began to treat her. Clark hassled the paramedics. The cops tried to stop him. He allegedly got his hand on the gun of one of the cops. Then the cops shot him in the head. The demonstrators say Clark was handcuffed, the cops say he wasn't.

The video probably won't clear anything up: it's probably of poor quality, shot from a building surveillance camera with a poor angle.

Now, Jamar Clark wasn't some innocent motorist. He instigated the incident. But the punishment for being a violent idiot shouldn't be the death penalty.

But there is a common thread in most of these shootings of unarmed black men: cops are afraid their own weapons will be used against them. In Ferguson Michael Brown was shot after supposedly trying to take a cop's gun. Last December a cop shot Ezell Ford, a black man who supposedly tried to grab his gun. In 2013 Jonathan Ferrel, a former football player, whose car broke down was killed because the cop said he tried to take his gun.

My guess is that a lot of cops just say this to cover up bad shootings because there's no way to prove it unless there's video. But it does happen, and apparently it happens all the time.
On March 11, a defendant on trial for rape in Atlanta allegedly overpowered a courthouse deputy, took her gun and killed four people, including two law enforcement officers. A little over a month later, a Providence detective was killed with his own weapon while interviewing a suspect at police headquarters.

Police in Augusta, Ga., killed an inmate who fled on April 21 after overpowering a state corrections officer and taking his gun, authorities said. Two days later, a man under arrest in Spring Valley, Ill., wrested away an officer's gun and beat him with it. The suspect then fatally shot himself, police said.
This shows the fallacy of "guns make us safer." If your weapon can be used by anyone who picks it up, it represents a hazard to you and everyone around you.

A gun is like a hand grenade with the pin pulled. Cops run around all day and all night with this armed grenade on their hips, just waiting for it to go off. No wonder they have itchy trigger fingers.

Now, if these cops had guns that only they could fire, how many lives would be saved? And it goes beyond cops: how many kids shoot their little brothers because daddy left his gun where the kiddies could get it? How many teenagers have committed suicide with a stolen weapon? How many people have been shot by their own weapons because they dropped them on the bathroom floor?

The NRA has opposed guns that are keyed to individuals because they're afraid they would malfunction when they're most needed. And I agree that guns activated by a fingerprint reader, or an embedded chip, or some other equally esoteric technology are insufficiently reliable.

Simpler is better. There has to be a simple foolproof unlocking mechanism for a gun. It might be a ring that acts as a key when it's inserted into the grip. It might be some kind of coded safety that takes just a moment to activate while you're aiming (because cops had better damn well be aiming). This would also reduce the number of accidental shootings that occur when cops clean an "empty" gun.

The basic design of police sidearms hasn't really changed in century. It's time to use some of that American exceptionalism to design weapons that really do make us safer.

As long as anyone can shoot a cop's gun, the weapon poses a deadly threat to bystanders, suspects and the cops themselves.

Good Words

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Good Words

What I didn’t fully appreciate, and nobody can appreciate until they’re in the position, is how decentralized power is in this system. When you’re in the seat and you’re seeing the housing market collapse and you are seeing unemployment skyrocketing and you have a sense of what the right thing to do is, then you realize, "Okay, not only do I have to persuade my own party, not only do I have to prevent the other party from blocking what the right thing to do is, but now I can anticipate this lawsuit, this lobbying taking place, and this federal agency that technically is independent, so I can’t tell them what to do. 

I’ve got the Federal Reserve, and I’m hoping that they do the right thing—and by the way, since the economy now is global, I’ve got to make sure that the Europeans, the Asians, the Chinese, everybody is on board." A lot of the work is not just identifying the right policy but now constantly building these ever shifting coalitions to be able to actually implement and execute and get it done.

---Barack Obama, November 17, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Gun Laws I Want Here In The United States

Here are the kind of gun laws I'd like to see here in the United States. This was from a comment on Quora.

I find it interesting some Americans think it's hard to get a gun in the US. Sounds much too easy to me.

Australian method [it helps we're an island continent with fairly tight border control]

1. Go do a gun handling safety course at a firearms shop. Takes 2 hours. Send forms off. Certificate comes back 1 week later.

2. Fill out license application for your state registry. You must include a genuine reason (for ownership). This includes recreational hunting/vermin control (on a property big enough) or as part of a sporting shooter's association (state based). Or animal welfare/primary production (i.e. cattle grazing). 

3. Pistols heavily restricted to certain employment types (security) or gun club. Very very hard for average citizen to own hand gun.

4. Long arms are broken into 3 main categories: A, B, C (there are others). A are air guns, rim fire etc. As a primary producer, say, you can pretty easily get one (pest control, animal welfare), even on small lots (say 4 Ha/10 acres). Category B include centrefires. Must have at least 25 acres to own one, or, be in a shooting assoc, or, have permission to shoot on a larger landowner's land.

5. Send forms off. Registry does check. No one with any assault/AVO/serious criminal conviction can legally own a firearm.

6. For land owners, registry checks land size/aspect and proximity to neighbours on google maps/earth/etc.

7. Licence approved/or not.

8. Take forms to motor registry and get license.

9. Go to gun shop and get a permit to acquire. 1 PTA per firearm. You can only apply for and have approved, PTAs for your allowed firearm classification. Each PTA costs money.

10. PTA approved: first PTA takes 28 days (the cooling off period). After that subsequent PTAs apparently are quicker.

11. Take PTA to firearms dealer, acquire.

12. You can only buy ammunition for the type of firearm you have.

Other notes:
Transporting firearms requires the ammo is locked separately from firearm. Preferably bolt actions have the bolt removed and store separately. Firearm locked in car or in special lockbox attached to vehicle.

Very strict laws as to storage.

All firearms must be acquired through a dealer - no person to person sales.

You cannot carry a concealed weapon in public even if you legally own it.

Arguably, this is a pain in the bum, but you can be reasonably sure most legal firearms holders are responsible.

Some (Americans especially) might see this as a curtailment of rights. Maybe in 1800 when the Wild West was as it was, but in 2015 Australia (and any civil society, really), this is a very, very small price to pay to ensure a mostly safe, civil society.


I'm done living under their rules for guns...rules that are currently the most acute threat to our national security....rules that a small percentage of our population gets to dictate.

I'm even more tired of the current strategy that gun safety proponents are advocating. They are making the same mistake that President Obama made when he tried to meet the Cult halfway. They don't want to meet halfway. They are on the one yard one on the right side of the field, especially when it comes to this issue. So, gun safety advocates have to start on the one yard line on the left side of the field and work to the middle.

Let's begin with this: FUCK THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cue The Islamophobia

You could see this one coming from a mile away. Brown people-GET OUT!!! You are all terroristy and stuff,,,

From someone who went through their own issues with anger, hate and fear after 9/11, I can safely say that this sort of bullshit accomplishes nothing. It only serves to embolden those who claim to be Muslim. ISIL isn't anymore a representation of Islam than the KKK is a representation of Christianity. Giving them more reasons to hate us isn't a good strategy.

I've stated this many times but military action alone accomplishes nothing. This is a battle over ideology and it can only be one through free trade and free markets in those areas of the world that are currently ruled by dictators. This is really at the heart of why people around the world flock to ISIL. They are angry at the lack of freedom.

Giving them that freedom, both in economy and in civil rights, changes all of that.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Study on Background Checks

Between January 1, 2009 and July 31, 2015, there were 37 mass shootings in states where background checks were required for all handgun sales and 96 mass shootings in states where they were not. Controlling for population, there were 52 percent fewer mass shootings in states that require background checks for all handgun sales than in states that do not.

The difference was more pronounced among shootings committed by prohibited people. During the period of observation, there were 44 mass shootings committed by assailants known to be prohibited from possessing firearms—10 in states that require background checks for all handgun sales and 34 in states that do not. Controlling for population, there were 63 percent fewer mass shootings committed by people prohibited from possessing firearms in states that require background checks for all handgun sales than in those that do not.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A White American Christian

Never forget. This person killed 168 American men, women and CHILDREN. He injured 600 more. He perpetrated the worst case of domestic terrorism in United States history. He wasn't black or brown. He wasn't a Hindu or a Muslim or Syrian. He was A WHITE AMERICAN CHRISTIAN. Now think on that before you spread your anti Islamic and anti people of color BULLSHIT on social media.

Strategy Shift

Here's an interesting piece from today's Times regarding the strategy shift of ISIL. I find most of it to be on the mark save for one glaring omission: wasn't this always going to be their strategy?

Like Al Qaeda before it, ISIL is an organization that wants the world returned to the year 700 with old style Islamic values. They don't just want their little corner to rule over. They want the whole thing and want to eradicate anyone that stands in their way.

So, now the question becomes how do we stop them? We area already bombing them so that's good. If we decide to put boots on the ground, we could take out their main force of 20,000 guys and 1970s pickup trucks. Neither of these actions, however, would defeat them because we're talking about a worldwide ideology. This, of course, brings us back to the problem we had with Al Qaeda. How do you stop an idea?

At the core of the solution to this problem lies free trade and free markets. When people get a taste of the wealth and prosperity that capitalism brings, they tend to not want to shoot each other or blow themselves up anymore. That's why Muslims in the United States aren't radicalized. They love their lives here and are comfortable.

No doubt there will still be Islamic groups that will not go gently into that good night but that's where international crime fighting efforts have to be massively increased. Intelligence...human where we can really take the fight to ISIL.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


As the world reacts with horror and sympathy to the attacks in Paris, please note that by this time tomorrow morning, the same number of US citizens will be dead due to gun violence on our own home soil. In another 36 hours, that number will double. In another 36..tripled.

And all with none of the media attention that Paris is getting right now....

Friday, November 13, 2015

Conservatives and The Gold Standard

For years many conservatives have been insisting the United States return to the gold standard, with putzes like Glenn Beck hawking gold on TV at inflated prices.

Ted Cruz and Ben Carson pulled the gold standard out of their asses in the most recent Republican presidential debate. The New York Times has an article that explains the technical reasons why some conservatives want it (to limit government spending) and why it's stupid (it causes deflationary spirals and depressions).

But the gold standard is bad for other reasons. It would give more power to countries that produce gold. What countries produce the most gold? In order of production in 2014: China, Australia, Russia and the United States. We're number 4! We're number 4!

Do we really want to give China and Russia that much control over the United States' economy?

And there really isn't very much gold in the world: last year the entire world's production was 2,860 metric tons. A cubic meter of gold weighs 19 metric tons. That means that the entire output of all the gold mines in the world was only 150 cubic meters, or a cube measuring 5.3 meters on a side, about 17 feet.

I could store the entire annual global production of gold in my basement. All the gold produced in history would fit in a cube 68 feet on a side -- you could stack it all on the basketball court in Madison Square Garden.

The idea that the best use of gold is to have it sit around in vaults collecting dust is sheer stupidity. Gold should be used for things of real, practical value. It's extremely useful in electronics because it's a good conductor and doesn't corrode. It's used in spacecraft for the same reasons, plus it acts as a lubricant. It's used in dentistry and medicine, timepieces and jewelry. And of course, to plate every knick-knack in Donald Trump's apartment.

It's crazy that Ted Cruz thinks the best use of US government resources is to buy gold from China and Russia and then let it sit in Fort Knox doing absolutely nothing, meanwhile jacking up the price of every wedding ring, computer, cellphone and television set on the planet.

But the real reason the gold standard is coming up now? Because it sounds cool. The phrase "gold standard" has a cachet of excellence. It was a Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt, who got the United States off the gold standard -- and ended the Great Depression, but never mind that. Gold standard -- good, Democrats -- bad!

Ted Cruz is bringing up the gold standard not because it has any merit, but because he wants to associate himself with something that sounds cool. He thinks most conservatives are dumb and easily duped by promises of wealth, and a country on the gold standard would be really wealthy! That, and it would make his gold-hoarding speculator pals incredibly rich overnight.

The gold standard is emblematic of the conservative mindset of flash over substance, and the overriding emphasis of money over human well-being.

Just How Bad George W. Bush Was....

Check out this recent piece from Politico.

By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, “it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.” “There were real plots being manifested,” Cofer’s former boss, George Tenet, told me in his first interview in eight years. “The world felt like it was on the edge of eruption. In this time period of June and July, the threat continues to rise. Terrorists were disappearing [as if in hiding, in preparation for an attack]. Camps were closing. Threat reportings on the rise.” 

And yet the Right gives him a pass and are blowing a bowel about Benghazi. What a bunch of assholes...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Another GOP debate? Yawn...

I think the Democrats got yet another thing right: less debates. The Republicans have too many...which kinda goes along with their too many candidates. I'm pretty fucking bored with them, to be honest, because they are essentially saying the same thing over and over again.

Obama sucks...the world is fire...Hillary is evil...we hate brown people (ex: Bush, Kasich) and don't take my fucking guns. The GOP debates have become like a cover band in a shitty bar that plays all the songs that the people who support them want to hear.

Where are their new ideas backed up by evidence that their policies will work?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veteran's Day!

Go find a veteran.

Touch them on the shoulder.

Say "Thank you for your service."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why Christians Need to Talk About Guns

Here's a great piece on how inroads might be made into the evangelical community in terms of gun safety. I was very heartened to read about Rob Schenk's conversion and the action he has taken as a result. Here's a nice bit from filmmaker Abigail Disney.

What we’re increasingly seeing is terrible fear among evangelical conservatives. I think evangelicals have always kind of seen themselves as outside the mainstream and as having less political power. There’s always been a sense among them that [someone was] coming to get them. 

And then you pour ISIS into that, and then you pour this kind of Fox news always amping up the fear, and then you have the NRA, which is also playing on that fear pretty unscrupulously. So you have people who are convinced that on any given night, someone’s going to break in and shoot them in their home, which is just statistically just as close to impossible as it gets. You’re much more likely to be hit by lightning. 

All too true. Stop being afraid.

More importantly, stop listening to the Gun Cult.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Good Words

From a gun owner on Quora...

A lot of noise. Any time there is a question like this there is a lot of noise. The truth though? We just don't know. Here are some other truths though that we should take into account. The odds of you using your gun to defend yourself or your family from a violent crime is many times smaller than the odds of your gun being used by a family member or intruder to shoot you. The odds of you using your gun to defend yourself are many times smaller than the odds of your gun being involved in an accidental discharge. The odds of you successfully defending yourself from an intruder are many times smaller than the odds of you blowing your own brains out in a suicide by gun.
Here is a Harvard study refuting much of the 'self defense' noise you hear all the time.
Gun Threats and Self-Defense Gun Use
Not that is it not a phony study like the John Lott Gun and Gun Crime paper which was not peer reviewed NOR was it a study but merely a self serving polemic by an avid gun aficionado.
You may next hear 'noise' about the UK or Australia. And ho their violent crime rate actually went up after gun control. It may interest you to know that the UK defines violent crime much more broadly than we do in the United States as they include simple assault and sexual assault (that does not have to be rape). Our FBI considers only four crimes in it's violent crimes calculations. Therefore we know right off the bat we are not comparing apples to apples.
The next noise you hear will be constitutional trumpet blowing ad some talk about a 'doomsday clause'. Will the first gun owner who defended my liberty from our own tyrannical government please raise your hand? No sorry David Koresh much as the government botched that raid, you were not defending anything but your own twisted beliefs at Waco. The founding fathers wanted Americans to be able to muster and form a well regulated militia, they wanted them to bring their own muskets and flintlock pistols, hell back in the day private parties owned cannon and frigates that could be issued letters of marque. We were a young country, relatively defenseless, it made total sense. Even then the founding fathers did not say, 'In order to prevent the Feds form getting too uppity citizens should own and carry around guns'. It is my belief , and I am no constitutional scholar, that future SCOTUS rulings will give state and federal governments more authority to restrict and control gun purchase and gun bearing and that this is entirely constitutional and would be a good thing.
Finally there will be noise about what a leftist fascist I am (not a possibility by definition but ok), and how if the Jews had some guns old Adolph couldn't have done what he did and maybe even how the U.N wants to get rid of guns and people in Europe are essentially slaves or victims.
To the above I have a few responses. I own two guns. I will probably but a couple more. I would gladly surrender them (for money of course) if everyone else had to and the government was collecting them. They are for me fun to shoot at the range and a relatively inexpensive ultimate insurance policy. Not for home defense on a regular basis, not for stopping tyranny (not sure my 10-22 Ruger will penetrate the Kevlar and ceramic plates on the FEMA storm troopers), not they are my insurance policy against a complete breakdown of social order-a descent in anarchy, the failure of the electric grid, a plague, the Zompacolypse, that sort of thing.
For those who feel bad for the Europeans, drag your butt over there and eat that delicious food, look at the smiles on their faces, soak up the Tuscan sun, dip your toes on the Amalfi Coast-then tell me about those poor stupid European slaves who compared to us really have no guns at all.
My last point is to bemoan the Jewish argument. If only the Jews had guns they could have....they could have what? The Polish Army had guns and training, so did the French, and guess what-the Wehrmacht rolled through them like a hot knife through butter. Guns weren't gonna stop Hitler from is insane designs on the world, not in the hands of scattered Jews or Romanovs or Slavs.
It's all just noise. It's ok to live having guns to feel like it's your right but please let's not pretend that we are defending the constitution-that's the militaries job-or that we are defending our family-from what? You think there are armed men out there just waiting to attack you? That is our police forces and courts job. They do a better job every year too as evidenced by declining rates of violence.

Very well said!!

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Three Tour Iraq Vet Murdered By Gun Cult

Andrew Meyers served three tours of duty in Iraq and survived. But he couldn't survive a bicycle ride in Colorado Springs. He was one of the victims of Noah Haphram's shooting spree last Saturday. The shooting spree would likely have been stopped had Colorado Springs not allowed open carry.

Worse than any Islamic extremist, the Gun Cult gets blood like this on its hands every single day. It's time we stopped them as we would any other threat to national security and I can't think of any entity more equipped than the federal government:)

Friday, November 06, 2015

Good Words

From George Will...

Donald Trump is just one symptom of today’s cultural pathology of self-validating vehemence with blustery certitudes substituting for evidence. Another is the fact that the book atop the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list is a tissue of unsubstantiated assertions. Because of its vast readership, “Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency” by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and his collaborator Martin Dugard will distort public understanding of Ronald Reagan’s presidency more than hostile but conscientious scholars could.

My bold emphasis above perfectly epitomizes today's conservative...especially the right wing blogger and the right wing blog commenter. Blustery certitudes, indeed:)

Thursday, November 05, 2015

And this is the guy who's beating Trump...

Ben Carson thinks that the Egyptian pyramids were built not as tombs for pharaohs, but to store grain. In a college commencement speech he said:
"My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs' graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it.
It's flatly ridiculous: the pyramids would be useless for storing grain, because they are almost completely solid stone.  We know this because Egyptologists have been excavating these tombs for centuries and have found only tiny chambers and corridors inside them, as shown in this diagram:

Granaries are hollow shells, empty on the inside so that you can store large quantities of grain. What idiot would build a 450-foot-tall, six-million-ton pyramid that would hold less grain than would fill one barge going down the Mississippi?

Pyramids are massive structures filled with stone because the pharaohs wanted them to be huge and impressive, and the pyramid is the only structure primitive Egyptian technology could build that large.

And the times don't line up. The Great Pyramid was built about 2560 BC, and evangelicals' own biblical timelines put Joseph around 1916 BC, centuries later.

Then Carson spat out this gem:
And when you look at the way that the pyramids were made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons. And various of scientists [sic] have said, ‘Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how, you know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you.’
"Various of scientists" think aliens built the pyramids? No. No real scientists think that. Only kooks like Erich von Däniken think aliens built the pyramids.

You don't need aliens when you have human ingenuity. Scientists know that ordinary people built the pyramids, using any number of techniques that we know they had access to. We found the pyramid builders' homes, tools, and graves. Scientists have tested these methods and found that humans could have designed and built the pyramids without any special magical knowledge or help from aliens or gods. It doesn't take a genius to build a pyramid: you basically just stack a bunch of rocks.

The same is true for the giant stone moai on Easter Island and Stonehenge in England: when people put their minds to it, they can usually figure out how to do something, especially when it's relatively straightforward, like moving big rocks around. Building colossal yet simple memorial structures is, as they say, not brain surgery.

The pyramids were hermetically sealed because tombs are sealed to preserve the corpses inside. And to keep out grave robbers (which they failed to do in almost all cases in Egypt). It's true, some small amount of grain was probably stored in some of the pyramids: all manner of food and other necessities of pharaonic life (food, gold, dolls, chairs, boats, slaves) were placed in the pyramids and other tombs, such as those in the Valley of Kings where Tutankhamun's tomb was located.

Carson continues to this day to defend this nonsense:
"Some people believe in the Bible, like I do," Carson told reporters. "And don't find that to be silly at all and believe that God created the earth and don't find that to be silly at all. The secular progressives try to ridicule it anytime it comes up and they're welcome to do that." 
What does this pyramid gimmick have to do with the creation of the earth? The bible doesn't say that the pyramids were granaries, it just says that Joseph stored grain. The pyramid idea is Carson's pet theory. And it's a stupid and patently false one.

But when someone calls him on it, he starts whining that he's the victim of secular progressives. Why does he change the subject to god creating the earth when the question is about his stupid pyramid granary idea?

Something is seriously wrong with Ben Carson's brain. When you read about all the various ways he's said he tried to stab another kid, his dealings with the snake-oil sales salesmen who run Mannatech, his love for kooky conspiracy theorist Cleon Skousen, and the virulently anti-mainstream Christian teachings of his Seventh Day Adventist church, and now this pyramid nonsense, you really have to wonder about his grip on reality.

Another Gotcha Question!!!

The Libertarian Fantasy

Here's a pretty scary piece from the New York Times regarding arbitration and it really shows what happens if more elements of our society are privatized. As Adam Smith noted, if left to their own devices, owners will collude.

And workers will be fucked.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Republican Base is Dying Even Faster than We Thought

A study released yesterday finds that death rates for low-income white middle-aged Americans are rising significantly:
That finding was reported Monday by two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton, who last month won the 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, and Anne Case. Analyzing health and mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from other sources, they concluded that rising annual death rates among this group are being driven not by the big killers like heart disease and diabetes but by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse: alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.
In other words, the Republican base is dying even faster than we thought.

My sister's ex-husband is one of these statistics. He was a hard-drinking, gun-loving conservative who ran industrial ovens, but struggled with learning how to program the newest equipment; he barely passed high school. He lost his job after the financial meltdown, started drinking heavily, and my sister finally divorced him when he got violent. He recently died at age 50 from organ failure after years of alcohol abuse. It was very sad, because he was starting to turn it around.

And this same thing is happening across the country:
Dr. Case, investigating indicators of poor health, discovered that middle-aged people, unlike the young and unlike the elderly, were reporting more pain in recent years than in the past. A third in this group reported they had chronic joint pain over the years 2011 to 2013, and one in seven said they had sciatica. Those with the least education reported the most pain and the worst general health.
In other words, these people hurt and they self-medicate with alcohol. The article doesn't say it, but a lot of this pain is due to obesity: when you're poor you eat junk food and gain weight. When you're overweight, your joints all hurt and you develop conditions like sciatica, which reduces mobility, exacerbates weight gain and causes more pain. You take narcotics and drink to numb that pain.

That cycle will kill you in a few short years.

Since the turn of the millennium, income inequality has crushed middle- to low-income whites. The financial collapse the Big Banks caused hit middle-aged Americans particularly hard: because of their age, they were the first to get fired and the last to get hired.

The total destruction of private-sector labor unions has made it impossible for these people to negotiate fair wages and exert any control over their fates. Gigantic companies like McDonalds, Walmart and Dollar General have destroyed most of the small businesses that used to dot the countryside, making everyone with a minimal education a minimum-wage drone.

Now these poor uneducated whites are mad because they're in the same boat that blacks and Hispanics have been in for centuries.

Are these the people backing Donald Trump and Ben Carson? People whose personal circumstances are miserable, who blame society for their inability to pull themselves up by their bootstraps?

Even though things seem bad to folks like this, the United States is still the richest country in the world. The problem isn't that the government is spending too much money on welfare: it's that giant companies shipped jobs overseas and keep all the profits for CEOs and shareholders while paying the people still employed in the states next to nothing.

For the last 15 years all the new money in the economy has gone into the pockets of a very few guys like the Walmart heirs, the oil baron Koch brothers, bank CEO Jamie Dimon, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, drug extortionist Martin Shkreli, and -- yes -- presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The business decisions of these billionaires are why uneducated white guys can't make a decent living anymore. It's not blacks on welfare, or 11 million Hispanic immigrants picking vegetables and cleaning hotel rooms.

The entirety of all the Republican candidates' economic plan is more tax breaks. That's all they have, because they're either billionaires like Trump or selling out to billionaires like Rubio. But tax breaks will all go to the billionaires. Because if you're not making any money, a tax break is useless.

The intrinsic problem of our economy is that people who run companies pay their employees too little and themselves too much. And the Republican presidential candidates intent on bringing about the new Gilded Age like it this way.

This is exactly the same problem this country had in the 1890s. It took a while, but it was fixed by organizing labor unions, raising taxes on the wealthy and reducing the ability of banks to speculate.

It's no accident that middle-aged, middle-class whites have suffered as labor unions have been destroyed, taxes on the wealthy have been slashed and banks have been deregulated.

What Open Carry Does

Regarding the recent Colorado Springs shooting rampage...

Bettis said she recognized the gunman as her neighbor — whom she didn't know by name — and that before the initial slaying she saw him roaming outside with a rifle. She called 911 to report the man, but a dispatcher explained that Colorado has an open carry law that allows public handling of firearms.

Again...the Gun Cult is a more clear and present danger to our nation's safety than ISIL or any other terrorist organization. They must be stopped. Yesterday.

For a group that caterwauls all the time about Nazis and gun free zones being dangerous, they sure seem to be doing a great job of actually creating and supporting that type of totalitarianism.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Why He Quit The NRA (Good Words)

Reprinted in its entirety because it's just that fucking good.

I was a member of the National Rifle Association for more than 50 years. In 2012, I decided not to renew my membership.
My NRA was all about marksmanship, safety and responsibly. But the NRA today is off the rails. It’s being irresponsible, and it has been for years. NRA leaders should be sponsoring responsible gun laws instead of opposing them, in my opinion.
In 2006 my daughter was one of the victims in thes hooting at the Jewish Federation in Seattle, where a shooter killed one and inured five. My daughter survived, barely. After she recovered, she wanted to put the tragedy behind her, but she found that it was too life-changing. She started telling her story, and she began advocating for more effective gun-control laws in Washington.
I’ve always enjoyed shooting sports. As a Boy Scout and an Explorer Scout, I joined the NRA in high school. I then spent 20 years in the Navy, where I qualified as an expert in both rifles and pistols. I still own guns: four modern firearms and two old-fashioned pistols that are more than 100 years old.
But I strongly believe that being a responsible gun owner means supporting sensible laws to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people. This belief was cemented by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. The shooting in Oregon last week was another tragic reminder.
I feel that four things can help prevent such tragedies in the future. Requiring background checks on the state and federal level is the sensible first step. In addition, there should be penalties for officials of city, state and county governments who fail to enter people’s names in the database when they’re judged to be mentally ill, or a danger to themselves or others, or have convictions that would make them no longer eligible to own firearms.
Another safety precaution would be to make sure that when a protection order is issued by a judge, that person’s guns are confiscated until the order is lifted. Finally, no one needs high-capacity magazines, firearms capable of holding more than 10 rounds, for target shooting, hunting for personal protection. Not only should they not be sold, but their possession should also be illegal.
Many NRA members would agree that we need more common-sense gun laws: A 2013 survey found that about 75% of members support stronger restrictions on guns. The NRA leaders should listen to the members and do more to make sure that gun ownership goes hand-in-hand with responsibility and safety.
Gun-rights advocates often make the argument: “Guns don’t kill people; people do.” But the reality is: People with guns kill people. And there’s a lot more we can do to stop them.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Fake Christians

Neighbors upset over church’s homeless family program

Not surprisingly, this happened in the South where the alleged "real Christians" are located.

“If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. -- Leviticus 25:35-36