Archive for February, 2013

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The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

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The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fall outs. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices.  To be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. And the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fall out all of its own. For the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, that these things cannot be confined to the twilight zone.” 

– The Monsters are Due on Maple Street – The Twilight Zone 

One of the top “arguments” of gun advocates  against gun control of any kind is that it helps protect ordinary citizens from a tyrannous government or government take over of any kind. The most cited example is the Holocaust and the (false) assertion that if the Jewish population in Germany had been allowed to own guns, the subsequent genocide would not have happened as clearly untrained civilians could have defended themselves against the military and thus when members of the SS and other military personnel marched into their homes to apprehend them.

Such an assertion is false and problematic for a number of reasons.

In the event of a coup, the first entity that takes sides is the military because whoever has the military on their side will be able to coerce people and thus has the power.  Therefore, in such an event, the government essentially becomes the military and vice versa.  AR15s or any of the guns currently owned by civilians are not going to save anyone vis a vis the military might of the government in charge. It was not going to save the Jewish population in their homes in 1933, and it would not save anyone in this country either if such a fantasy scenario were to ever take place.

The truth is that guns on the hands of civilians are simply no match, whatsoever, against military power and especially mean squat when the government has atomic weapons. Heck even today, if the National Guard and armed forces, in some fantasy scenario created by the NRA and other fear mongers,  somehow decided to go after people, AR15s would not protect them. I mean really, what do people think they can do in such an even anyway? Shoot their way out of the country? 

Such delusions, however, do not seem to bother gun advocates and fear mongers such as Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert who mumbled this unfounded and incomprehensible gibberish the other day:

Louie Gohmert

Louie Gohmert

[The Second Amendment] is for our protection and the founders’ quotes make that very, very clear and including against a government that would run amok. We’ve got some people who think Sharia Law should be the law of the land, forget the Constitution. But the guns are there, that Second Amendment is there, to make sure all of the rest of the Amendments are followed.”

Let’s debunk and deconstruct this junk

1) The Founders did not intend to place guns in the hands of ordinary citizens and they did not want them to be used in public discourse.  It clearly stated that people shall bear arms  as part of a regulated militia. As Alexander Hamilton said about a militia:

A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions  as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss.”

The only entity that, in all its wisdom, decided to extend the Second Amendment to mean that also ordinary citizens can and should own guns is the fucking Supreme Court in its 2008 ruling.

Shooting our way through this country was certainly not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. In fact, the founders of this nation created the Constitution and this very Nation to move away from the arbitrary rulers of Europe who used such unenlightened methods as an approach to governance.  The use of guns as a tool in public discourse is unevolved,  unenlightened  and uncivilized.

The founders of this nation wanted people to resolve their problems and dissatisfaction through civil society and democratic means, such as grassroots, organizing and lobbying instead of by shooting opponents or those they do not like or whom they merely perceive as a threat, even though there really is not a real threat emanating from them.

True patriots support the Constitution adamantly and wholly. They have faith in the Constitution of the United States and the Rule of Law. Since we no longer find ourselves in the 17th Century where citizens had to fight for and stand up to oppressive monarchies, the use of arms in this country to protect against the government no longer applies and is ridiculous at best.

One should always question the actions and policies of one’s government and leaders demanding transparency and oversight But armed revolt? With guns? One cannot keep lawmakers in check by owning assault rifles. One cannot get the Supreme Court to enact policies by pointing a gun at them.
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2) It is quite hypocritical, but completely expected,  of Tea Partiers and conservatives such as Gohmert to talk about the government wanting to institute Sharia Law (a subtle nod to Obama and his alleged Muslim ties and connections as laid out by terrible human being Michele Bachman) when clearly religious based laws, albeit Christian, are what Conservatives like him want for this nation.

3) I am particularly disturbed by the fact that a law maker and elected official believes that this country, including its Constitution and its Amendments, ought to be protected by guns and by actually pulling the trigger on those who may threaten them.

It is also deeply disturbing to see that gun owners zealously champion the “right” of people to own guns and all sorts of tools of murder, yet somehow seem to have forgotten about all the other civil liberties that are being continuously but surely eroded by the government such as with the Patriot Act and CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), the latter of which would  allow for the sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and certain technology and manufacturing companies to allegedly investigate cyber threats. We see this with Guantanamo Bay and the erosion of the Fourth Amendment.

Incidentally, or ironically, the government being given all sorts of rights and powers in the name of national security  – such as did happen after 9/11 and the creation of the patriot Act and subsequent legislation –  is precisely what preceded the 6 million genocide in Germany. After the burning of the Reichstag, the finding of a scapegoat and instigation of fear, Hitler was able to ask people to give him full power to “protect the public“.

Citizens not being armed had nothing to do with it. The genocide occurred not because Jews didn’t have guns to defend themselves.  It occurred because people, out of fear and paranoia, handed all their freedoms, and with it rights, over to a genocidal murderer who, much like Wayne LaPierre, knew exactly what tunes to sing and what kind of alarmist rhetoric to use to get people pumped up and boiling with paranoia and rage, to the point of committing genocide.

So this idea that gun ownership advocates have about the US being like Nazi Germany and that as citizens we need guns to protect against our Hitler,  which for Republicans these days is a black man with the name of Barak Obama, is ignorant, uncivilized and pathological.

The real threat, right here, right now, is not a government take over, Sharia law, terrorists, Muslims,  hurricanes, activist judges,  black people, street gangs  or any of the other scapegoats the NRA has been manipulating the public into fearing. These things do not plunder the Constitution or pose a threat to the very fabric of society.  What does pose a threat to America, however, is the enemy within

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Quote of the Day

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….I’m not saying she’s not beautiful or a great actress. I just don’t remember her.”

– Manolo Blahnik on Ann Hathaway, Interview magazine

LOLS….. forever…. A love for fabulous shoes and a sense of humor. He should write a column.

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North Korea Conducts Nuclear Tests, the US Threatens War With Iran and Stations 3 Carrier Battle Groups in the Persian Gulf

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On February 12th, North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in defiance of existing U.N. resolutions, angering the United States, Japan and prompting its only major ally, China, to call for calm.

U.S. President Barack Obama labelled the test a “highly provocative act” that hurt regional stability and he and other states that are members of the U.N. Security Council pressed for new sanctions on the isolated country.

The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community. The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies,” Obama said in a statement.

For some strange reason, Israel, which just last year drew the red line for the Iranian nuclear program and just in general seems to care a great deal about keeping this world nuclear free, has remained silent on this one.

It is interesting, or actually quite tragic, to see that the world is pretty much ready to start World War III, under the instigation and encouragement of Israel, because Iran is allegedly building nukes. Yet here we are and see North Korea – which is the craziest and most unstable country in the world (its leadership that is) – actually blowing up stuff with nukes and for some strange reason that does not seem to bother anyone really, including Israel.

Now I understand that there are geo-strategic interests at play here and that Iran is much closer to Israel than North Korea. But if the issue and point of contention requiring “world action” as the US and Israel have been proclaiming, is that of nuclear disarmament, then why don’t we apply this demand uniformly? Why do we not expect it from everyone, no exceptions?

I never hear any calls by Israel or any other nation, or even people inside this country, to begin a military strike against North Korea. Sure, they impose sanctions and “condemn” the action (whatever that means) but what are they really doing about it? “Condemning” an action is nothing but fopo (foreign policy) rhetoric without any teeth and bite. In fact, condemning an action is completely useless if it not followed by real actions. An embargo and other economic sanctions also do not do anything as they only hurt the population but do not, in fact, put a stop to such nuclear armament efforts.

North Korea Nuclear Test Site

North Korea Nuclear Test Site

Not that I am looking for the US or anyone to start a war with North Korea, but if the issue is nuclear weapons being a threat to the world, then why isn’t North Korea being just as targeted as Iran?

Could it be that maybe, just maybe, the issue is not really nukes or world security but the fact that one of Israel’s enemies has them? Therefore, could it also be that we are planning to go to a possible war with Iran (just as we did with Iraq) – not becasue of nukes – but because of Israel wanting us to go after their enemy?

Clearly, if Israel cared for a nuclear free world they would not own nukes themselves, for one. and they surely would also be championing for North Korea to not have them and speak out.

The sad truth is that Israel has been trying to con the United States and its people to start a war with Iran under the guise of an alleged nuclear threat by the same. The fact that North Korea poses a bigger threat as  – unlike Iran – it actually has done nuclear tests  –  doesn’t seem to bother those minions in the population that buy the bullshit lies and champion for a war; a level of ignorance that plays well into Israel’s war mongering efforts. 

To be clear, Israel has every right to do whatever it wants to “defend” itself (although I would allege that there are some entities needing defense against Israel, but that is another post), but not by dragging the US into yet another bankrupting war.

So next time you support military strike against Iran because “they own nukes” and think we need to bankrupt this country some more for Israel, remember these things.  It is very counterproductive and demoralizing when UN resolutions in particular, and rules in general,  are applied selectively. 

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Actual Quote From A Walking Dead Fan Regarding Firearms

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

You won’t believe the shit I get to read sometimes:

I hope everyone who watches the walking dead supports Firearms and disregards that phoney media crap like the Sandy Hook shooting…. Guns DO NOT kill people, PEOPLE kill people.” 

This was actually posted on AMC’s The walking Dead comment blog by a reader a day after the mid season premiere.

The guy then followed his post by asking people who “have an open mind to spread the word” as this country “is in serious trouble.”

I don’t even…this asshole really believes that the guns in The Walking Dead and the ensuing zombie apocalypse make a good point for lobbying against gun control since clearly the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse is likely to happen and illustrates the need for guns galore, woohaaa.

You may laugh about this and dismiss this guy as someone from the lunatic fringe not really reflecting the “values” of gun advocates and lifetime members of the NRA. But incidentally that is kind of the same view professional jackass Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the NRA, holds when he says shit like

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Before I tell you how the NRA and our members are going to Stand And Fight politically and in the courts, let’s acknowledge that all over this country, tens of millions of Americans are already preparing to Stand And Fight to protect their families and homes. These good Americans are prudently getting ready to protect themselves.”

The rest of his “speech” was racially tinged, unfounded, ignorant garbage about Obama wanting to take away our guns! Latin American drug gangs and criminals! Mexicans! Illegal Immigrants! Kidnappers! Criminals! Terrorists! Muslims! and how terrorists and Muslims will attack with Obama standing by and watching while us citizens with our guns the NRA is working so hard to place in our hands, will be left to fend for ourselves.

Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival.”[…] Responsible Americans realize that the world as we know it has changed. We, the American people, clearly see the daunting forces we will undoubtedly face: terrorists, crime, drug gangs, the possibility of Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest or natural disaster.”

That’s right, peace loving patriots. The world is a scary, terrible and dangerous place and we have to be prepared to SHOOT THEM ALL.  AAAAALLLL Whaaaa “to withstand the siege that is coming“.

Round them all up:  Liberals! Socialists! The Mentally Ill! Gays! Homosexuals! Pacifists! Immigrants! Activist judges! Women judges! Women! “Bloomberg, Soros, and the rest of their ilk.” Renew your NRA membership! Donate more so we can champion your cause, oh so freedom loving citizens, because apocalypses of all kind are upon us – even the zombie.

And let’s not forget all the other fun uses for guns. After all, “every year, shooting is becoming more and more popular, with more people engaging in the shooting sports for fun. […] Stand And Fight, let’s continue to make the shooting sports one of the fastest-growing recreational activities in America. By doing so, and by telling others about it, we’ll popularize and make gun owning and shooting more mainstream than ever before.” Shooting is so cool, especially chasing a helpless, innocent creature, cornering it and the blowing its brains out. It’s so much funnity fun fun. These are values we must instill in our children.

We gotta embrace guns and create an EVEN BIGGER gun culture. “We don’t want America to become like England” where only 155 people a year die of gun related injuries as opposed to 32,000 here in the US. Pah! “We have so much to be proud of as gun owners, shooters and freedom lovers. ” STAND AND FIGHT PATRIOTS.

Who’s Afraid of Wayne LaPierre?

I don’t know about you, but I am not really afraid of dying at the hands of an Islamic terrorist or a looter. I am, however, super scared of dying at the hands of a small, paranoid, frightened and law abiding NRA member pumped up by alarmist rhetoric and armed with deadly weaponry who shoots first and then asks questions. I am afraid of some disgruntled or unstable person deciding to take his anger, frustration and hate out on me by barging into a mall, bookstore, theater or any other public space I may occupy and empty several rounds of hot bullets into my body because the NRA has worked long and hard to insure that guns remain ubiquitous features of the American landscape and culture and are easier to obtain than a checking account.

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It is also interesting to note the kind of fear the NRA is choosing to vest their efforts in.

I too am afraid, see. But it is not the same fear LaPierre and gun merchants are mongering us into.

I am not afraid of the zombie apocalypse, looters during hurricanes, or Mexican drug lords. I am afraid of the Patriot Act and that the government can spy on its citizens no questions asked; I am afraid of the hollowing out of the Fourth Amendment where people can be arrested and locked up without due process, like they did with Bradley Manning and countless others;

I am afraid of people being locked up in places like Guantanamo Bay and tortured based on suspicion or nationality;

I am afraid of the toxic waste in our waters, air and food and that cancer has become an epidemic;

I am afraid of some asshole in Washington violating my body without my consent by telling me what I can and cannot do with it and then have the audacity to not call it rape;

I am afraid of losing my job and not having a social safety net in place;

I am afraid of being at the mercy of corporations and banks for my livelihood and economic well being;

I am scared that I may wake up in a world in which Roe v Wade is history and women have to resort to backdoor alleys and dirty coat hangers to exercise autonomy over their bodies and get an abortion;

I am scared of oil companies and defense contractors plundering our nation’s assets and wealth while they keep getting subsidized bu our tax dollars and make record profits; I am afraid of banks that are too big to fail so they cannot be prosecuted thus effectively giving carte blanche to banks to engage in all sorts of criminal activity knowing that they will remain untouchable;

I am afraid that our corrupt Congress, which is mostly populated with millionaires, has sold us out to those lining their pockets and that Supreme Court thinks that nothing is wrong with that as it grants corporations citizen status;

I’m  scared that unions 10 or 15 years from now will be a thing of the past;

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I’m scared of Israel extending its war mongering paws to our shores and conning us into another war on its behalf, potentially leading to a global military crisis with devastating consequences for all of us.

I am scared that this precarious position we are sitting right now – economically, socially, politically, culturally etc – is going to come crashing down on us while the NRA stuffs every orifice with guns, “just in case”.

So I’m scared, alright. But unlike the NRA and the “patriots”, I understand that paranoia, othering, scapegoating, bigtory, guns and violence are not going to help us out of this mess.

The only thing that is going to get us through it, as a society, is cooperation, empathy and the fostering of peace. In fact, you can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats its vulnerable populations, not by how well armed they are. That is the litmus test of success for militant dictatorships under martial law.

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People who believe that arming up is the solution and naturally the way a civilized peoples need to behave themselves in society and as a matter of public discourse are clearly more concerned with antagonism and isolation, than cooperation and peace as killing people who scare you is not the same as protecting oneself.

Fear is a powerful ally. And so is scapegoating. The NRA has a very real financial interest in promoting violence and death and they recognized a long time ago, 140 years ago to be precise, that they can do so by instilling fear in the hearts and minds of people; a fear that will boil over and make everyone want to pick up a gun to get the point across. 

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Only a Sith Deals in Absolutes

Palpatine

Palpatine

Unscrupulous entities and opportunists deal in absolutes. For them, intention and effect do not matter, everything is viewed in terms of black and white instead of in shades of gray. Theirs is a worldview in which the desire to control one’s environment for personal power and security and forming temporary alliances only for the purpose of gaining greater personal advantage, takes precedence over seeking and fostering the good in everyone, cooperation and risking and sacrificing personal safety and reputation to benefit the whole.

Those who operate in absolutes cannot ever change their minds, admit wrong doing or their mistakes and then apologize because a person operating in absolutes cannot afford to be inconsistent for fear of losing credibility. Any change in allegiance must be framed and propagandized to appear as part of the plan all along.

When you deal in absolutes, it is all about appearances rather than what is actually taking place because the real world is never black and white even though he who thinks in absolutes, pretends it is.

Note that even progressives can deal in absolutes. It’s just that their motivations are vastly different than the motivation of the unscrupulous entities and opportunists of above.

Human rights, civil rights, freedom and autonomy, social justice and equity and the like are enduring values for progressives and like minded people. But unlike the unscrupulous entities of above, the absolute principles of progressives do not have detrimental and adverse effects on  others or society as such.

Their absolutes are aimed at preserving life and diversity, respecting autonomy and agency, fostering understanding, compassion and agency.

They also understand that the universe is morally neutral, that often one value is pitted against another by the unscrupulous, and that sometimes the best that can be done is a moral compromise.

Why this long, seemingly unrelated, intro you ask? Because everytime Wayne LaPierre, the executive director of the National Rifle Association and vile douchebag liar of epic proportions opens his mouth, a ton of unfounded, ignorant excrement is spewed out and this here is no different:

I urge our president to use caution when attacking clearly defined absolutes in favor of his principles. When absolutes are abandoned for principles, the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone’s graffiti“, LaPierre said of Obama’s Inaugural Address last month when the president said Americans should not “mistake absolutism for principle.”

LaPierre critsized the President because he believes that the statement was as an attack on the N.R.A. and gun owners who believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution provides an absolute right to bear arms.

First of all, it does not. The Constitution does not provide an absolute right to bear arms. The Second Amendment clearly states that “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” In other words and today’s language that means ‘in order to maintain a well regulated militia which is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’

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If, therefore, absolute interpretation of the Second Amendment is the NRA’s  contention, here it is. The Supreme Court, in its 2008 decision, has decided to place guns into the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry outside of the well regulated militia because they did not interpret the Second Amendment in absolute terms. If they had, they would not have ruled that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to possess firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home and within federal enclaves.

Second, the President, in his Address, was reminding people that the Constitution of this nation is based on a certain spirit, certain principles rooted in the Declaration of Independence instead of on absolutism (read: tyranny).

LaPierre, in all his ignorance and zeal, was mistaking the term absolutism – which means a form of government in which an autark or monarch wields unrestricted political power over the sovereign state and its people with universalism.

And finally, I would like to point out LaPierre’s usage of the term graffiti when addressing and criticizing the President because I do wonder how many white presidents who have either introduced new legislation or challenged aspects of the Constitution – not that Obama was even doing that –  have been accused of spraying graffiti on the Constitution.  It is no coincidence that La Pierre is using this particular image when referring and speaking to a black President.  

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NRA Calls Sandy Hook Shooting “Connecticut Effect”

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We have a strong agenda coming up for next year, but of course a lot of that’s going to be delayed as the ‘Connecticut effect’ has to go through the process,” lobbyist and fucking worthless human being Bob Welch told the Wisconsin’s NRA State Association during the legislative update.

It is a testament to the abysmally sad state of affairs in this country  when murder, or in this case slaughter of innocent people, is being casually framed as an “effect” that must be tolerated before we can go back to business as usual, so to speak. 

After all, the NRA would not want all that grief, sadness, and loss muddy up your fucking access to assault weapons.  They have to make sure that getting a gun – a tool solely designed to kill – remains easier to obtain than a checking account and the only consumer product not regulated for health and safety.

Yeah, a lot of anti-gun control laws have been championed for by the NRA and the gun merchants that populate its leadership have pretty much stood behind every single instance of gun violence in the US – in spirit, if not physically.

But there is a lot more dismantling of gun laws and standing behind gun violence to do and the NRA is getting ready for such a noble act.

So brace yourself America. Once those damn intellectual liberals and the parents and loved ones of those massacred have gotten over their their pesky crying over a bunch of kids shot to death in Connecticut by guns the NRA worked hard to place in the hands of law abiding citizens such as Adam Lanza’s mother, the NRA will be back, with a vengeance, making sure that many more such guns be made available to law abiding citizens. After all, our mass murderers have to remain the best equipped mass murderers in the world.

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