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I have long contended that unless and until we have consensus by proof of what is and is not factual, we won’t have any functional unity.  I don’t want to see us continue to become increasingly dysfunctional as a nation.

 

Lies fuel extremism.  Lies fuel fears.

 

I fact checked the graphic above after finding it on the FB page of someone who expressed an alarming degree of hatred for Hillary, before, during, and after the debate.  I am confident that the reasons this person has for his emotions are ALL as false as the image above, which I took from his FB page.

 

Images like this keep popping up on right wing posts on social media.

 

It is false. But it goes a long way towards explaining the poorly informed right wing response of boos when Hillary CORRECTLY stated her FACTUAL position on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — a document she knows well and understands thoroughly.

 

We have a serious problem with gun violence; our rates are 25 times higher, especially gun violence involving either child victims and/or child shooters.  So long as one side of the issue refuses to be factually accurate, we can’t do anything to successfully resolve this public health issue.

 

Here is what is wrong with the above image; it is entirely FAKE, both parts. Because conservatives LIE when the facts are not on their side; and this is one more example of it. …READ MORE

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Ready. Aim. You’re fired.

by Dog Gone on August 15, 2016 · 0 comments


When things got hot for Trump and his surrogates after his threatening second amendment statements, Trump and his minions tried to lie their way out of his words. It appears that the Trump campaign and Trump himself were spoken to by the Secret Service who also viewed Trump’s words as a threat against Candidate Clinton, should she win  (as increasingly it appears she is likely to do.)

 

It was clear. There was little ambiguity.  It wasn’t a joke.  It was an unabashed dog whistle to an ugly group he wants to support his candidacy.  So far the NRA has been his biggest supporter, and these comments are certainly consistent with some of the worst verbiage spewed by NRA board member Ted Nugent; but he wants the much less acceptable extreme fringe voters, if he can get them, as he loses so many other voters.

 

Trump meant for the gun hugger extremists to use violence against the legitimately elected government of the United States.  It is an extremist belief, now becoming more mainstream as the radical right has hijacked the GOP and increasingly driven out the moderates and saner factions.  In many ways that will define this election.

 

It would not surprise me to find that as he continues to lose, he resorts to it again and again. I believe Trump is hoping to win by encouraging someone to shoot Hillary Clinton, as his only path to the presidency — and that he has support from a certain section of the right, a disturbingly LARGE section of the right.

 

As with his dishonest claims calling the sitting president and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS, and then claiming those words were satire, Trump was also clear that he did in fact mean every word even though he quite clearly knew it was not true.

 

And now after pretending he did not REALLY mean those words, he is making he same ISIS founder statements again.

 

We can expect him to make the same statements threatening Hillary Clinton again. Neither planning nor creativity or variety are strong points on the right; they don’t have a lot of themes or ideas.  It is one of their greatest failings.  They are not good at governance, and least of all at solutions when they encounter problems.  This is just one more way they are one-trick-ponies.

 

It is just one reason, but arguably the best reason, not to elect or re-elect anyone on the right, least of all nasty, ignorant, arrogant, epic failure Donnie Drumpf.

 

Some of Trump’s “2A people” have in the past for example, called for the execution of John McCain, whom a militia or crack pots and crazies want executed. Others want Senator Chuck Shumer killed. A good many of them want Obama and Hillary Clinton killed. Donald Trump’s invited Republican convention speaker Sheriff David Clark has called for insurrection a number of times in the past, and has repeatedly claimed the 2A is for the purposes of terrifying our elected representatives. Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America made almost identical statements to those of Trump regarding the killing of the president – in his case, Obama – back in May of this year, regarding the selection of Supreme Court justices. The recently deceased Mike Vanderoegh was another fan of this interpretation — an unacceptable and unconstitutional interpretation, as established by George Washington and our other early presidents and founding fathers who stamped out such attempts at insurrection. And we see it in a wide range of sovereign citizen, and pseudo-patriot groups. Sharron Angle when running for the US Senate back in 2010 made similar statements about how should she lose at the ballot box, that the 2A crowd would resort to the bullet box.

 

It’s a cowardly threat, an attempt at intimidation that the right makes when they know they are losing. It is so damn common it is a conservative ‘thing’.

 

As noted by Right Wing Watch:

 

Pratt has a history of saying that the Second Amendment is meant to give people the right to assassinate or intimidate leaders they don’t like.

In Pratt’s view, the Second Amendment was created in order to instill in politicians “a healthy fear” in “the back of their minds” that they will be assassinated so “they’ll behave.”

He explicitly told Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., that she “should do her job in constant trepidation,” knowing that if she tries “to disarm Americans the way the British crown tried 240 years ago, the same sovereign people who constituted this government using the cartridge box someday may need to reconstitute it, as clearly anticipated by the Declaration of Independence.”

When Alan Colmes asked him if he really does believe that politicians “should have a healthy fear of being shot,” Pratt replied: “Sure, that’s what the Second Amendment is all about. ”

While some on the right are taking issue with Trump over his summons of the wackobirds to do violence, not nearly enough of them are, and it won’t be acceptable so long as Trump is the candidate and the RNC gives him even the thinnest cover of support and endorsement.

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Fort Myers, Florida aka the Gunshine State, just had another mass shooting.  The last one was a little over a month ago, in Orlando, resulting in 50 dead, 53 wounded.

 

Germany has had a series of terrorist attacks in 2016, 3 knife attacks, one guy with an axe, one with a bomb, and one non-terrorist attack with a gun.   Each of the terrorist attacks resulted in only 1 dead. Of the stabbings and axe attacks, the knife attacks each left one injured, a third knife attack left 3 injured, and the axe attack left 5 injured.  The suicide bombing left 12 injured.

 

Only the shooter in Germany, tentatively associated with right wing terrorist Anders Breivik, was successful in accomplishing a mass killing, 9 dead, 16 more wounded.

 

This proves the point that strict gun laws work; Germany has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.  Most of the illegal guns are from areas in and near the EU which have experienced civil wars like Bosnia.  Eastern European states often have more lax gun laws; for example, the January 2015 shooting in Paris involved firearms legally bought in Slovakia. The number of dead in that attack, on the magazine Charlie Hebdo, was 12.

 

Right wing gun-huggers would tell you that if there is restrictive gun regulation, only the bad guys will have guns.

 

That is not true.  For example, Germany has the 4th largest legal gun ownership in the world, after the US, Finland and Switzerland.  People can still own guns under gun regulation, the so-called good guys.

 

Right wing gun-huggers will claim – wrongly – that gun regulation and gun restriction means that ONLY the bad guys will have guns.  Bad guys encompass terrorists, both Islamic and right wing terrorists, and criminals; that is also not true.  Rather we see terrorists, both right and left, and criminals, and domestic abusers as well, all find it too easy to get guns in the United States, and far too easy to use them against innocent victims.

 

Germany has a very low level of criminal acts involving guns, giving the lie to the claim that with gun regulation ONLY the criminals will have guns.

 

NationMaster makes comparisons between countries easy, including regarding firearms and crime.

 

For example:

Gemany ranks 77th in crime (per capita)  the United states ranks 30th (per capita); the US has more than twice the rate of crime of the USA

Germany ranks 24th for rape; the US ranked 9th with 3 times more rape than the US (per capita)

Germany ranks 15th for violent gun crime; the US ranks 1st with 3 times more than Germany

Germany ranks 43rd for intentional homicide with a rate of 0.81 per 100,000; the US ranked 7th, with 6 times the homicides per 100,000 of Germany with 5 per 100,000.

There are a variety of other metrics; all of them come out with Germany as safer than the US, usually by a very very large margin.

 

We can continue listing, but the bottom line is that Germany, with their stricter gun laws continues to make legal gun ownership available for qualifying citizens while making their country broadly safer from violence, particularly gun violence.

 

The right wing gun huggers, as they do with every subject that doesn’t suit how they wish the world to be, simply deny inconvenient facts, be it gun control, Brexit being a disasterous vote, or the science of global warming.

 

We can’t let those who are willfully disconnected from reality endanger the rest of us.  We need comprehensive gun control in EVERY part of the United States.  It is increasingly clear that it is not merely correlation but causation, more guns means more gun violence, not greater safety.

 

When, WHEN will we have enough of killing and injuring people because of ridiculous but well-funded right wing myths and propaganda?

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The RNC national convention is working overtime to make people feel afraid; it is some of the worst fear mongering, the most inaccurate passel of lies I have seen in a long time.  Outside of the convention it is an armed camp of paramilitary-armed people, despite the protests of Cleveland law enforcement who does not want them there because they pose a danger.

 

I recently read a discussion with someone who was intellectually dishonest, yet this person expected, one might say DEMANDED that he be regarded with trust and confidence from the rest of us when he carries a firearm in public.

 

I don’t have a lot of respect for the judgment or the integrity of someone who demonstrates both poor logical reasoning and intellectual dishonesty, including a willingness to engage in ad hominem attacks.  If your thinking is so flawed you think airbags are like guns, you need remedial education in how to think.  How you reach conclusions and the soundness of those conclusions matters, particularly if you are using the same mechanisms of judgment when you decide to use lethal force.  Carrying firearms in public without a pressing specific reason, such as working in the transfer of large amounts of money in an armored car, appeals to emotion, at the expense of critical thinking.  Emotion is a poor way to make decisions, particularly when it suppresses those critical thinking functions.  I would argue that carrying a gun does that, and there is scientific evidence to support that.  Science matters in separating fact from fiction, logic from emotion.  It enables us to make better decisions.

 

Just one of the failed arguments proffered was that there was no difference in protecting oneself and one’s family from intentional or accidental injury by having airbags in one’s car, and carrying a firearm to shoot someone to protect oneself and family.  Airbags make us all safer; firearms widely carried in public locations endanger us, making us all less safe, even the gun carrier, ESPECIALLY the gun carrier,  and they particularly endanger law enforcement.  There is no ambiguity in the numbers.  More guns invariably go hand in hand with more gun violence.  The difference in the numbers of guns, especially in public places, matters.

 

We were also told by the gun carrier that no matter how poorly reasoned, no matter how factually unfounded his conclusions or flawed his judgement, that his opinion was equal to the opposition opinion.  All opinions are not equal; some are sound opinions, and others are not.  The difference matters.

 

Here is a partial list of reasons why that is a faulty comparison:

1. Airbags are a passive defense against injury, triggered independently of individual choice or judgment; firearms are not.
2. Airbags are subject to extensive study, recall, and other consumer protections, including liability suits; firearms are not.
3. Airbags are required by law; firearms are not.
4. Airbags don’t accidentally injure innocent bystanders; firearms do.
5. Airbags are not a means to commit suicide; firearms are.
6. In the event of an airbag injury, nearly always there is only one victim; firearms frequently have multiple victims.
7. No one creates anything remotely like an arsenal of airbags, while firearms are stockpiled.
8. No one uses airbags to overthrow or attempt to overthrow government; the same is not true of airbags.
9. Airbags only work in close proximity; the same is not true for firearms.
10.Airbags are not essential for national defense, firearms are.
11. Airbags are not mentioned anywhere, directly or indirectly, in the U.S. Constitution; Arms are.
12.  Airbags have a single use after which they are discarded; this is not true of firearms.

Please feel free to add comments with any other ways in which airbags are NOT a legitimate comparison to firearms and personal safety.

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We keep hearing over and over from the pro-gun goof-balls that if they only had guns, if they were only there at the time, they would heroically, even magically, stop the bad guys.

 

Except there is no evidence that has ever been true or that it ever will be true.

 

There is concrete evidence that a whole bunch of pro-gunners openly carrying loaded weapons like AR15s or similar weapons did nothing but run away from the shooting in Dallas. So much for the blustering claims of heroism!

 

The cops did not run away. The cops did their jobs.  The cops stopped the shooter and the cops were the heroes.

 

The open carry guys ran away. And after the event they claim the mayor and the chief of police are wrong.

 

They were not wrong; the mayor and the chief of police know exactly what happened, and are supported in their conclusions by the rank and file of law enforcement officers who were present.

 

From the Dallas News:

He [the mayor] said Friday that about 20 people in “ammo gear and protective equipment and rifles slung over their shoulder” participated in the Black Lives Matter rally downtown on Thursday night.
“When the shooting started, at different angles, they started running,” he said. “We started catching.”
Then police interviewed them.
Rawlings said open carry brings confusion to a shooting scene.
“What I would do is look for the people with guns,” he said.
Max Geron, a Dallas police major, talked about the confusion during the shooting in a post on a law enforcement website.
“There was also the challenge of sorting out witnesses from potential suspects,” Geron said. “Texas is an open carry state, and there were a number of armed demonstrators taking part. There was confusion on the radio about the description of the suspects and whether or not one or more was in custody.”

…Senior Sgt. Chris Dyer, president of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Association, said large cities like Dallas should pass ordinances that would ban the open carry of firearms during large events like protest marches.
“Normally in a protest, you’re going to have two opposing sides at least,” he said, noting that tensions can result in violence.
Bringing guns into that situation, Dyer said, is “very distracting” for officers.
“Even open carry proponents will see the common sense in restricting open carry in environments like a protest,” he said.
Rawlings said such a measure would make sense.
“This stuff should be common sense and not driven by ideology,” he said.

 

No, Texas Open Carry rejected such a common sense move.

 

Expecting any rational response from the open carry crowd is wishful thinking. They do not possess common sense, they are totally driven by ideology, and that is in large part why their judgment in a situation is at best questionable.

 

So however much the crazy open carry wish otherwise — they were a nuisance, a part of the problem, a complication that potentially endangered themselves and others at worst, and a hindrance to the response to the active shooter at best.

 

But as to that good guy with a gun rubbish? Even the open carry crowd doesn’t apparently believe or support that whole thing about stopping bad guys. Here is part of the statement from Open Carry Texas after the Dallas mass shooting tragedy:

…Second, if you find yourself in the vicinity of an active shooter and your life is not in danger, do not get involved, if possible.

Third, if your life is in immediate danger, defense [sic] yourself with judicious marksmanship. The risk at that point of being shot by law enforcement is no different than the risk of being shot by an active shooter.

So, NO, if you are an open carry fool, your fellow gun nuts don’t think you should be actively stopping those bad guys with guns, and if you do try to stop the bad guys……….expect to be shot by the good guys AND the bad guys.  A lose lose situation that does nothing to stop the bad guys EFFECTIVELY.

 

Wow.  NOTHING like the claims of the pro-gunners about how THEY would have stopped shootings, and NOTHING like the claims of Wayne La Pierre and the NRA about how more guns are going to make us safe because of those good guys, blah blah blah.

 

Reality and truth are not on the side of the pro-gun conservatives; but then the facts rarely are found in their arguments. THIS incident however should put and end to their ridiculous arguments once and for all.

 

Because it is silly. And bad. By bad, I mean dangerous.  By silly I mean a stupid fantasy appropriate to an eight year old at best, not an adult, and not presented as reasoned thinking.

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What can be said about the latest killing?

by Eric Ferguson on July 10, 2016 · 0 comments

revolver muzzleI won’t pretend to wrap it all in one neat package. The killings of police in Dallas, in retaliation for the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, rub emotions raw and bring in more of the current conflicts within the country. Even just that phrase “in retaliation” implies a direct connection not everyone will want to acknowledge. Here are some thoughts on the subject, even if not with a neat bow around them.
 
There seems to be a contradiction between an attack made in the moment of anger over an incident, and something planned, but those two things can be simultaneously true. As obvious as it is the Dallas shooter was motivated by the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, he had a small arsenal, obviously prepping for something like this. So it’s both an attack spurred by a specific event, and something planned in advance. That’s something those who think it a lie that the Benghazi attack was in response to a video should keep in mind.
 
Was the Dallas shooter walking around with his rifle, right out in the open? Texas has open carry. A man named Mark Hughes was misidentified as a suspect because he was walking around a non-violent protest with a rifle, apparently missing the whole point of non-violence. Police could tweet his photo but they couldn’t stop him. Did they see the shooter, and were unable to do anything because it was perfectly legal to carry a gun in a volatile situation? Were the deaths of these police officers basically inevitable when Texas instituted open carry? Maybe the shooter somehow stayed concealed and didn’t rely on being able to carry a gun openly, but odds are we’ll never know for sure. What difference might it have made if just carrying the gun was enough to allow police to stop him?
 
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paulsen2(You can help out the Democratic candidate, Terri Bonoff, here.)

 

Now Paulsen, the recipient of more than $500,000 in donations from the (medical device) industry, has thrown his wealthy handlers another bone. He cast a vote for a bill that would allow tax-exempt groups from ever having to reveal its donors — even to the federal government.
 
In other words, shill organizations masquerading as nonprofits like the Medical Device Innovation Consortium could spend gobs of money on mailers and TV commercials come election time, and nobody would be wiser as to who’s behind the cause or why.
(City Pages)

Paulsen’s A grade has been dutifully earned as well. Over an 18-month period, Paulsen voted 13 times to block efforts to bring a gun safety measure to the House floor.
 
Nicknamed “No Fly, No Buy,” the proposal would ban suspected terrorists on the FBI’s terror watch list from being able to buy guns. It seeks to close the loophole for people who the FBI has determined should not be on a plane, but can still legally purchase firearms.
(City Pages)

Too many people in Paulsen’s “moderate” district just sort of reflexively vote for him, unaware of what a farce his contrived “moderate” image is. It’s time to send this right-winger packing.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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In the 2016 election cycle, no surprise, given the pandering to white supremacists by Donald Drumpf and his family, Craig Cobb is a supporter. It’s not only David Duke, but largely Trump has been left off the hook for this segment of political support.  Last October Nightline did an interview with Cobb that underlines why some see a connection to Nazi-style fascism and the rallies and proposed policies of Donald Drumpf /Trump.  (In prior election cycles, it was Ron Paul who arguably most pandered to this demographic on the right.)

 

Cobb is delusional if he thinks the problems people have with him are in any way discriminatory or contrary to his first amendment rights.  It is a sadly conservative phenomenon when those who attempt to victimize others then claim THEY are the victims when it doesn’t go well.  It is endemic among conservatives.  The problem in Leith was a minority attempting to terrorize the majority.  An example of Cobb in action was this call to Nightline producers.

 

Trump-Loving Racist Craig Cobb Repeatedly Calls Nightline Anchor Byron Pitts N-Word During Interview
 
While recently doing a story about known White Supremacist Craig Cobb, ABC producer Jasmine Brown and anchor Byron Pitts were subject to hateful tirades and now the story has been brought to life through a produced video by timesXtwo…
 
“He is very much in love with Donald Trump,” adds Brown. She continues to describe a line of Cobb’s saying, “I would
almost rather talk to a Jew, because then at least they would be
intelligent.”

 

 
The final closing of the book on the attempted white supremacist takeover by Craig Cobb in the tiny town of Leith, North Dakota took place a little over a week ago, just as TPT was running the documentary of the takeover on public television.

 

It is worth watching the independent documentary “Welcome to Leith,” here.

 

From KVRR:

North Dakota Officials Close Craig Cobb Investigation
 
State officials have closed their investigation into ten human rights complaints filed by white supremacist Craig Cobb. Cobb alleged discrimination because of his white supremacy religious views.
 
The Department of Labor and Human Rights rejected all of the complaints, including one Cobb filed against Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who’s running for governor.

Cobb and one of his crazy side-kicks, an Ichabod Crane lookalike named Kynan Dutton, were arrested and spent some time in jail for terrorizing the town of Leith before making a plea deal that set them free.

 

Had Cobb and his confederates been smarter and had more money, they might have pulled off their town takeover.  This kind of neo-Nazi intimidation is not a smart way to try to take over a town; you can count on push back.  Meet your not-so-friendly neighborly Trump supporters, and those with whom they choose to associate under the 1A.
 

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Obvious reason, clearly science

by Dog Gone on April 6, 2016 · 0 comments

Gun control will continue to be a divisive issue in the 2016 election cycle, and in subsequent cycles for the foreseeable future.

 

The gun-obsessed insist on a faulty reasoning, that if you restrict guns, only criminals will have guns.  That is not true, in nations where guns are much more restricted than in the USA, there is lower rates of crimes with guns and lower rates of gun violence.  Gun restrictions keeps firearms OUT OF THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS.

 

I have yet to see a solid, reasoned or valid peer review (one which is supported by other experts in an appropriate related field) which validates the claims of the gun obsessed.  The Journal of the American Medical Association is no lightweight organization/publication.

 

From ScienceNews.orgMagazine issue:

 

Vol. 189, No. 7, April 2, 2016, p. 5

Guns, drugs, cars. Sounds like a formula for an action movie, but the list may explain why American men don’t live as long as men in other high-income countries.

In the United States, average life expectancy among men is 76.4 years — about two years shorter than men who live in Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and nine other countries. Deaths due to injuries are the reason for much of the gap, researchers report in the Feb. 9 JAMA.

An analysis of U.S. and World Health Organization data revealed that deaths from injuries due to firearms, drug poisonings and auto crashes account for 48 percent of the difference in men’s life expectancies. These causes of death are less of a problem for American women, the researchers found.

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scotusSure, there’s the obvious. Republicans hate Obama, oppose everything he does as SOP, and would oppose any nomination he might make for the US Supreme Court even under different circumstances. They would likely oppose any nomination made by a Democratic president, though given the disrespect they’ve shown this president, they probably feel the awful irony that the most blatant racist to sit on the court in recent decades will be replaced by someone chosen by the first black president.

 

But that’s not all.

 

Think back a few decades. Republicans held the presidency, and made all the supreme court nominations, for 20 of 24 years from Richard Nixon’s inauguration until Bill Clinton’s. The other four years were Jimmy Carter’s term, when he got zero picks. Zero. Presidents aren’t guaranteed any picks. Consequently, when Clinton started his first term, the court was 8-1 Republican. It may have been only 6-3 conservatives to moderates/liberals, but the point is this: the conservative lean of the supreme court is not recent. Going back to roughly the early 1980’s, for over 30 years, the court has been conservative. It didn’t start with George Bush Jr.; it couldn’t have, considering that the most infamous of the court’s 5-4 conservative decisions, Bush v. Gore, was a necessary precondition of Bush being placed in the presidency.
 
In other words, for all or most of the adult lives of those now living, and for the entire lives of anyone under age 35, the supreme court has been conservative, and been an eroding force for civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights, and restraints on corporate power. Liberals haven’t always lost, but winning has always been against the odds, hoping a conservative or two could see the light on one particular case. Conservatives have been aware of this, putting far more attention on judicial appointments than liberals in general. There is no liberal equivalent of the Federalist Society frmo which John Roberts came.
 
So the death of Antonin Scalia means not merely that the favorite justice of the right has died, not merely that he’ll be replaced by a Democrat, and not merely that he’ll be replaced by THAT Democrat; it means the first liberal supreme court most of us have ever seen.
 
If the importance of that still doesn’t sink in, imagine no Bush v. Gore, and all that has flowed from that horrific decision; or at least, had Bush gone to the court as he did, he wouldn’t have been able to count on a partisan decision. Who knows, maybe a liberal court would have made a radical decision like telling Florida to actually count the ballots. Imagine no Citizens United or any decisions blowing apart our campaign finance laws. Imagine no Medicaid gap being written in the ACA. Imagine no Heller decision making law out of fringe doctrines of the gun obsessives. This is the court that is on the verge of flipping thanks to President Obama getting to select Scalia’s replacement.
 
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