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Minnesota-State-CapitolThey’ve been in session for less than a week. Screwing regular people on behalf of almighty tax cuts, pandering to the gun creeps, just generally being idiots…nothing new here.
Regarding their refusal to extend unemployment benefits for miners unless they get ten times that amount in business tax cuts, here’s a summary from MPR. The following blockquote is from the most recent emailed DFL Dispatch. I don’t have a link, but I suppose there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this blog you get that e-publication as well.

“Especially troubling is the hypocrisy that Speaker Daudt is showing workers and families on the Iron Range,” (House Minority Leader Paul) Thissen said. “In Speaker Daudt’s statements about the lawsuits against him he asks for empathy from others because he knows what it’s like to walk in the shoes of someone who has fallen on hard times. But those miners and their families can’t cut special deals.
“Speaker Daudt should extend that same empathy to the thousands of workers and families on the Iron Range and stop holding hostage the relief those families so desperately need in order to get tax cuts for special interests at the State Capitol.”

A gun background checks bill was introduced, of the sort that is supported by an overwhelming majority of the populace at large. Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center) is not interested.

Most members of the legislature don’t think this bill will move forward. Sen. Latz will give the bill a hearing in the Senate, but the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Rep. Tony Cornish, said he won’t give the bill a hearing because it doesn’t do anything.
Rep. Cornish also labeled supporters of the bill “Gun Grabbers of America.”
(CBS Minnesota)

Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), aka Minnesota’s Most Obnoxious Legislator, is just being himself. This is from Bluestem Prairie, and is called “ACORN-obsessed rep attributes proposal to group dissolved before Dayton’s 1st term.” It doesn’t lend itself to easy blockquoting, which in a way is for the best as you need to click and read the whole thing anyway.



From CNN by way of

(CNN) —David Fry — the final holdout in the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge’s headquarters in Harney County, Oregon — surrendered to authorities Thursday,…

From earlier Thurs, 2/11/2016:
All of the remaining four occupiers of the Malheur wildlife refuge in Oregon have either surrendered or agreed to surrender. The only apparent condition has been the escort of the lunatic occupiers by fellow extremist and right wing nut preacher Franklin Graham, (son of popular televangelist Billy Graham).

From Think Progress:


But in the end, the occupiers agreed to disarm and surrender
themselves in the morning so long as the right-wing Reverend Franklin
Graham, who spoke with one occupier by phone during the standoff, was on
hand to physically escort them off the refuge. It took more than an
hour from the first time that possibility was raised for the group to
agree to it, in part because they remained convinced that the FBI would
come in shooting overnight and in part because they said they would
never agree to go to prison or give up their guns.

[From his twitter feed:]

7h7 hours ago

Pray for all involved in the . On my way there now.

The occupiers will be in jail and will be giving up their guns, in spite of their whining and gnashing of teeth.  It beats getting shot, and appeals to their desire to be crazy over-the-top drama queens,  obsessed with factually inaccurate notions of civics and history.
As a bonus, the Feds arrested Cliven Bundy, father of two of the Oregon occupation leaders, notorious for his own governmental armed stand off back in 2014, in Nevada.
Courts will be busy, demonstrating that while justice moves slowly, it does move.  I am looking forward to a bit of that ‘grinding’ mentioned in numerous historic quotes:

“Millstones of Justice turn exceedingly slow, but grind exceedingly fine.”
~John Bannister Gibson (1780-1853), American jurist, Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
( a paraphrase of the ancient Greek, Euripides)


Justice, though moving slowly, seldom fails to overtake the wicked~Horace, Odes, (23 BC)

Now it is time to sit back, and watch the administration of justice occur; listen for the subtle grinding sounds.


the smarter version of Sarah Palin – solid rubber between her ears instead of hollow space, and no sounds emerge from her mouth


It appears that in the course of endorsing Donald “turnip-top” Trump, the tea party bimbo Sarah Palin has attempted to blame President Obama for her son’s PTSD, and his domestic violence charge.  Palin claims that Obama’s failure to respect the troops is responsible for her idjit son Track’s violence towards women and chronic abuse of alcohol.

Instead, Palin appears to either be hoping very much that this claim will slide by the crazy, ignorant base who doesn’t give a tinker’s damn if Trump (and his supporters) are factually accurate or even vaguely truthful.  If not, her endorsement might quickly prove to be more of a liability than a benefit to the eccentric right winger leader.  False claims about military service are one of the few things that might antagonize Trump’s ignorant followers.


Here are the apparent problems with Palin’s claim:

1. there appears to be no credible diagnosis of PTSD from a health professional re Track, and there is a huge questionmark over Track Palin having been in combat;


2. there is no credible evidence that how a president feels or doesn’t feel affects anyone having PTSD, re the subjective perception of respect for the military;


3. Track enlisted in 2007, served for a year in 2008, BEFORE Obama became president.  If anyone is responsible for problems resulting from Iraq, it would be Dubya, not Obama; and


4. the entire Palin clan is prone to drunken violence, without the rest having served anywhere in our armed forces.  It is a ‘Palin’ family thing, not a PTSD problem.  The family appears to be a bunch of armed alcohol abusing louts, such that a more plausible explanation for Track’s behavior is that he learned it at home.

From we see that it appears that Track Palin served a little over a week of active service under the Obama administration’s first term of office; further that his prior year of active service does NOT appear to have been in combat, from the available description on his discharge papers.  There have been vets who have been in theaters of conflict in other countries WITHOUT having themselves been in combat.  I would further underline that nowhere (so far) have I found Track Palin himself making the claim he was a combat veteran, OR that he suffers from PTSD.


From on how one checks combat service records, which indicates Track Palin is NOT a combat veteran, via the Veterans Disability blog:

That was the case today when speaking with a Veteran about combat. His question was: “What exactly makes anyone a combat Veteran?” Some may be quick to say that serving in combat makes you a combat Veteran, but there is more to it than that.

The VA lists several different ways in which a Veteran can prove he or she was in combat.

· If you received a combat service medal, then you are considered a combat Veteran

· If you received hostile fire pay, imminent danger pay or tax benefits

· If you received military service documentation that documents combat theater

So, does serving in a foreign country automatically qualify me as combat Veteran? Not necessarily. Even if you served in Iraq or Afghanistan during the past ten years, it does not guarantee that you are a combat Veteran.

How can you find out? Well, your DD-214 is a great place to start. Your Discharge won’t automatically say that you were a combat Veteran though…that would be too easy. Box 13 on more modern DD-214’s is where they list medals, awards and ribbons. The VA does recognize certain medals etc. as a qualifier for combat service. (That list will appear in an upcoming blog.)

Also listed on your DD-214 is the type of pay you received. Box 18 would be the place to find out if you received Hostile Fire Pay, or the Imminent Danger Pay. It is important to note that this can appear in box 13, though it is rare for it to appear there.

And a vet who has served in combat, and who has served with Track Palin, is quite adamant he is not a victim of PTSD, nor have I found anyone who served with him who substantiates that Track Palin was a combat veteran or was symptomatic for PTSD.

From Salon:


…if this wasn’t about a 26 year-old grown man currently charged with fourth-degree assault, fourth-degree misconduct involving a weapon and interfering with a report of domestic violence.
Earlier this week, Track, who divorced his first wife in 2012, was arrested over an incident at the Wasilla home he shares with his parents. Police noted his current girlfriend had “bruising and swelling around her left eye” and described Track as “uncooperative, belligerent, and evasive with my initial line of questions.” A breath sample registered his blood alcohol level at 0.189. In her conversation with the police, Track’s girlfriend claimed he had threatened to kill himself, and an unloaded AR-15 was found near the scene. Palin denied using a weapon but told police “that they were spread throughout both residences on the property.”

Track Palin was serving in Iraq as an air guard in the “Arctic Wolves,” the Army’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, during his mother’s 2008 bid for vice president. He is routinely described in the press as a combat veteran, though some within the veteran community, based on Palin’s discharge paperwork, dispute his actual combat duty.


Unless, perhaps, we want to redefine the acronym PTSD to mean (Sarah) Palin’s Totally Stupid Dypsomania (alcohol abuse)?

Here is a review of the charges against Track Palin.

This entire family of Alaskan hicks (the adults anyway) act more like redneck trash than pious folks demonstrating those wholesome family values they give such annoying lip service.  For example, we have anything-but-chaste Bristol Palin, who took a ton of $$$$ to espouse abstinence having yet another child out of wed lock, and brother Track, who is dad to a daughter born 3 months after his wedding, (a fitting repeat of his parents behavior – Track was also conceived before his own parents’ engagement and elopement) and we have this past example of Palin family drunken brawling from less than a year and a half ago.

These are NOT ‘law abiding people’, these are not ‘family values people’ who present a clear understanding or example of how people behave morally and ethically in a civil society.  These are over-privileged cretins with too little judgement and too much money, and a mind-boggling capacity for ignorance and bad behavior, and a grotesque degree of hypocrisy and a false sense of entitlement apparently.

What they are NOT is personally accountable — but apparently, on the right, that’s just a requirement for OTHER PEOPLE.  Another example of right wing do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do morality, the kind that holds other people to a higher standard than they hold themselves.  How apt that Palin endorses the oh-so-vulgar Trump; they are noisy, garish birds of a feather in a  gold paint gilded cage, hip deep in their own guano baggage, a ‘yoooge’ ‘classy’ gilded cage.

As noted by multiple other individuals who are far better entitled to address the topics of the US military and PTSD:

‘Palin is using PTSD as an excuse to shift blame away from her son’s domestic violence,’ Brandon Friedman, the former digital media director for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said in an interview with Huffington Post.

‘She never mentioned the actual victim. She portrayed her son as the victim, but never talked about his girlfriend, apparently crying and hiding under a bed because he beat her.’

Friedman also said; ‘The fact is, veterans who have PTSD are far, far more likely to harm themselves than they are to harm others.’

As for Palin’s comment about President Obama, Friedman said; ‘It’s ironic that people like Sarah Palin are in the party of “personal responsibility” but as soon as someone in her family is arrested for domestic violence, it’s Obama’s fault.’

Paul Rieckhoff, who heads Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, seemed to reiterate this statement, telling NBC News; ‘It’s not President Obama’s fault that Sarah Palin’s son has PTSD.

‘PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury, and I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular.’

He also said that he hopes Palin does not turn this into ‘a political chew toy in a political campaign’.



So, it seems that the Brits have turned their brutally sharp wit on the idjits in Oregon. Yup, the rest of the world (or ROW, as Eddie Izzard called it) is laughing at them as well, for their hypocrisy and ineptitude.  Consider the fools thoroughly skewered, like a kebab, roasted on the grill to a crispy turn.

AT them, not with them; it is important to make that point very clearly and sharply. I give you an excellent piece from the esteemed Independent, of the UK.  Do, by all means, check out the entirety, but here are a few of my favorite excerpts by the Independent, mostly from the Twittersphere, under the headline, “Oregon ‘terrorists’ don’t plan siege very well, put out desperate plea for snacks and supplies”:


“Take your guns and hunt for your own damn snacks you paragons of boot-strappy manhood.”

Every successful revolution starts with takeover of closed visitor center with gift shop.

 Wait… They’re anti-government yet they want to use the USPS? This calls for a *facepalm*

my mom cooked hella pallau and chalau last night. Think they’d be ok w/ afghan food?

I know it is early yet, but ‘paragons of boot-strappy manhood’ is going to be my favorite phrase for 2016.  It doesn’t get better than that.  And for more domestic scorn of the dullards, on this side of the pond, from Raw Story:


‘Y’all Qaeda’: Twitter users mock Oregon right-wing militia action — and it’s awesome

follows a strict interpretation of Shania law.


From elsewhere on social media, a more poignant bit of insight:

And a brilliant example of what is wrong with the right, passion misdirected, heavily loaded with unnoticed hypocrisy; again from FB, this time from FreeDumb Nation:


That awkward moment you rely on the federal government for money to go and participate in overthrowing the federal government.



Gone round the bend in Oregon

by Dog Gone on January 4, 2016 · 1 comment

So, we have the crazy Bundy bunch (nothing like the wholesome Brady bunch) out in Oregon, making asses of themselves to start out the new year. What a bunch of maroons, who apparently are more likely to be turning blue with cold than any shade of red soon.  Think Progress has the best review of the details, here.  It is NOTHING like what the right would have you believe.  Here is the essential element omitted in most of the recent media coverage:


The Hammonds set a fire in 2001 that ultimately burned 139 acres of BLM land. The ranchers say they began it on their own land with agency approval, but prosecutors say they were in fact seeking to cover up illegal deer hunting on the BLM acreage near their property. A second, much smaller fire in 2006 burned another acre of BLM land during a “burn ban” imposed to allow agency firefighters to combat a blaze caused by lightning.

I liked the way the STrib described these losers in the location they chose to occupy.


“…the refuge area, which is remote even by rural Oregon standards.”

So far, it doesn’t seem as if anyone cares, at least not in a positive way. As noted on FB by comedian Andy Borowitz, who has equally sharp wits and tongue:


OK, by now I’ve heard a lot of great names for the Oregon gang: “y’all-qaeda,” “yee-hawdists,” “yokel haram.” But I think my favorite is “f*cking idiots.”

And all hope of practical support seems to have failed from the right wing nut job militia sector; for example the Oathkeepers, who ran away scared from daddy Cliven Bundy, are actively discouraging their members and others from supporting Bundy Jr. aka Bundy light(in the sense department) by calling this latest farce the opposite of the Bundy Ranch, per the ever-vigilant (as distinct from vigilante right wing nuts), Right Wing Watch noted:


Oath Keepers Urge Members To Back Off Oregon Standoff: ‘This Is The Opposite Of The Bundy Ranch’

After sons of rancher Cliven Bundy led armed militia members in occupying a federal building in Oregon in protest of a federal court ruling regarding two ranchers who were sentenced to jail time for arson on federal lands, at least one “Patriot” group is urging its members to “stay out of” the situation: The Oath Keepers.

The leader of the extremist Oath Keepers, one of the biggest players in the standoff at the Bundy ranch in Nevada, thinks that the Bundy brothers have gone too far. In a statement issued on New Year’s Day, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes said that although he’s sympathetic to Dwight and Steven Hammond, the ranchers convicted of arson, he wants no part in the Bundy sons’ takeover of a federal wildlife refuge because the Hammonds had not asked for help.

In a video statement, Rhodes said that the Oregon situation is “exactly the opposite of the Bundy ranch,” claiming that while militia groups “went to Bundy ranch to prevent that family from being Waco’d,” the current standoff is being “manufactured by potheads who want a fight” and is no longer a “peaceful protest.” He added that the Hammonds “were found guilty by a jury of their peers.”

It is a distinction without meaning or merit; the Bundy’s have been properly found guilty plenty of times and are equally deserving of being behind bars for their lawlessness and looting of federal land too, which takes away valued resources out of ALL our pockets. A jury of peers is just as legitimate, neither more nor less, than any other court in the country. The notion put forward by the Bundy’s and the rest of the unraveling lunatic fringe is that they are entitled to something that does not belong to them, but rather belongs to US to YOU AND ME, as citizens and residents of these United States. The government is all of us; the people they are attempting to screw over are the rest of us, who are not holed up as trespassers and vandals indulging delusions of relevance.


Time for a good yawn, and for these morons to get a good kick in the seat of their pants, which appears to be the part of their anatomy they use to attempt thought, (a failed aspiration).
Comment below fold.

{ 1 comment }

Some current reality about guns

by Dan Burns on December 15, 2015 · 0 comments

militiaThere is actually a lot of truth, like the following items, out there about guns. It just can seem hard to notice amidst all of the rancid howling of the gun creeps.

HOW MUCH DOES gun violence cost our country? It’s a question we’ve been looking into at Mother Jones ever since the 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, left 58 wounded and 12 dead. How much care would the survivors and the victims’ families need? What would be the effects on the broader community, and how far out would those costs ripple? As we’ve continued to investigate gun violence, one of our more startling discoveries is that nobody really knows.

(Mother Jones)



What YOU can do about gun violence

by gregladen on October 9, 2015 · 0 comments

Why you have to do something about guns


This message is primarily for those living in the United States. In the US, we have an outdated Constitutional amendment that has been interpreted by many, including the courts, in a way that hampers effective legislation to address what is clearly a major problem with the proliferation and use of firearms in inappropriate ways. We are frequently reminded of this by the regular occurrence of mass killings such as the recent event in Oregon. But really, that is a small part of the problem, numerically. I lay out some of the numbers below, and address some of the arguments that regulation of guns should be absent or minimal. We have another problem as well, one that is paralleled in many other areas of policy. Special interest groups such as the National Rifle Association, through pressure and campaign financing, control much of the Congress.


Other countries have addressed their gun violence problem effectively. We can too. But in order for that to happen, this has to happen:


1) The specious arguments against gun regulation have to be called out for what they are, and ultimately, ignored.


2) Citizen pressure on our elected representatives has to be increased significantly.


3) Organized efforts against the gun industry and the gun lobby have to be supported.


Your role as a citizen is critical. There are three steps you can take. Here, I’m asking you to take one of them, the one that requires the least effort and would likely have the largest impact. First, the other two. You can learn more about the gun problem, by reading this post to the end, and reading other material. After that, don’t let the gun supporters off easy when they pull out their arguments. Tell them they are wrong, and why. I understand and respect the fact that most of you are not going to do this, but some of you may be inclined to do so, and I thank you for that. Another idea is to check your investments (like your 401k) to see if you are supporting the gun industry. If so, see if you can fix that. You can find information about that here.


The easy step you can take, and likely the most effective, is to send a note right now to your representative in Congress. I’m told (see this) that a written letter delivered by the US Post Office has a significantly larger impact when it arrives on the desk of your Congressperson than an email (or tweet or a signature on a petition), so do please spend the stamp and do that if you can. But an email is good too, and if that is all you have time for, please do it.


Write your own note, but here are a few suggestions.



The conservative guns-and-Bibles pushers are LIARS.  That includes emphatically a number of GOP presidential candidates.


They make money and gain influence by peddling false claims about tragedies.  They make claims from un-verified reports; in the case of Oregon, the unverified reports about targeting Christians which law enforcement conspicuously would not validate or confirm.  The guns-and-Bibles pushers then CONTINUE to push their inaccurate but scary narrative, even after the facts are clear their statements and positions are false.  Follow the money; they do this because there is bloody $$$ in it for them, from the religious right and from the gun promoters.


To update that old line “there’s money in them thar hills!”, there is money in those ‘shills’.  From

Shill, noun:a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.


The Oregon shooter, like the Columbine shooters he emulated, did not target people for their religion, much less specifically for being Christian.


From the Inquisitr:


Even initial reports that Mercer was targeting Christians now appear to be incorrect. Initial reports indicated that he asked victims if they were Christian, and shot them in the head if they answered yes.
But new reports from witnesses say that Mercer did ask questions about religion, but it did not appear to be a motivating factor in who he shot and who he did not.
“‘Do you have a God? Are you Christian? Do you have a religion?’ It was more so saying, ‘You’re going to be meeting your maker. This won’t hurt very long.’ Then he would shoot them,” said Stephanie Salas, whose son, Rand McGowan, was wounded in the attack, in an interview with the Associated Press.

We saw something similar in the Columbine mass shooting back in 1999.  There were false claims made then about religious persecution in the targeting of victims.  And it is likely from the information known to date that the Oregon shooter, who had a sick interest in becoming famous (or more precisely notorious and infamous) like those other shooters, was to some degree emulating the Columbine shooters.


This shooter – and I won’t use his name, precisely to deny him that notoriety, was into Goth.  The Columbine shooters were erroneously widely reported to be into Goth.  The Columbine shooters were, again erroneously, widely reputed to be outcasts, without friends, part of the ‘trench coat mafia’.  And the Columbine shooters (who were really trying more to be bombers) were widely reported to have targeted certain groups, notably jocks, minorities, and Christians.


Watch the news coverage of the Oregon shooter unfold.  Then take a look at his proto-type mass shooting, Columbine.  The parallels are chillingly clear that the Oregon shooter was emulating the myths and the actual behavior of the Columbine mass shooting in a number of ways.


From the most definitive research on Columbine, Dave Cullen’s book Columbine, via the article 7 Myths about Columbine:

Myth #3: The Columbine killers targeted certain kinds of students.
Truth: Although initial news reports claimed the Columbine killers had targeted minorities, jocks, and Christians, the killing was indiscriminate. Their initial plan was to blow up hundreds of students in the cafeteria. When the bombs failed to go off, they killed students randomly. Interestingly enough, Eric’s friends described him as a sports enthusiast, and two of his best friends were Asian and African American.

Myth #6: Cassie Bernall was martyred for her faith in God.
Truth: According to the eyewitness under the table with her, Cassie was shot when Eric poked his shotgun under the table and said, “Peekaboo.” The 911 tape verifies this testimony.
The martyr story arose from the testimony from another student in the library, Craig Scott (brother to victim, Rachel Scott), who recounted a conversation that took place across the room. Valeen Schnurr was the one who actually professed her faith in God, and this took place after she was shot. As she lay bleeding, she prayed, “Oh my God, don’t let me die.” Dylan turned around and asked her, “God? Do you believe in God?” Valeen said, “Yes, I believe in God.” When the killer asked why, she replied, “Because it’s how my parents raised me.”

We also heard, about Columbine, that those two mass shooters would have been stopped if someone had a gun.  There were two armed cops who were unsuccessful in stopping those two shooters.  Likewise, there was a security guard, and numerous armed students, mostly trained veterans, on the Oregon campus – it was NOT a gun free zone – and they did NOTHING to prevent the tragedy from taking place.  In fact, no civilian with a gun has EVER prevented or stopped a mass shooting in the United States, even when on the scene.


Conservatives like to play the victim card, claiming to be victims when they are not. It is one of the more annoying aspects of conservatives. The religious right is particularly prone to making these false claims. Pro-gun advocates likewise push the notion they could be attacked at any moment, by fill-in-the-blank adversaries, and they likewise push the factually faulty notion that if they have their gun(s) with them they will shoot the bad guy dead, the good-guy-with-a-gun fallacy.  All of which sells more guns to stupid people who are not fact or reason based, the goal of the NRA.  Because gun sales need two things, a ginned-up threat and the myth that another gun in circulation in the hands of a civilian carrier is the solution.


Pro-gun candidate Ben Carson is trying to gin up his support from the religious right based on the false initial claims that Christians were targeted in the Oregon shooting.  God-and-Guns scam artist Mike Huckster-bee, promoter of fake diabetes treatments to desperate sick people for cash, and Bible-thumping pro-gunner, is also trying to gain political advantage from the tragedy.  We also see Donald Trump doing the same, with a less explicitly religious persecution angle.  And we have the Lt. Gov. of Tennessee claiming that Christians should be arming themselves because they are a persecuted minority – both factually false claims.


Whether it is claiming they’re some kind of martyr if you don’t wish them Merry Christmas, to the false claims they were targeted in the latest mass shooting — by a self-proclaimed fellow conservative — they try to spin gain, including political capital from these false victim claims.  Pushing the “we are victims” at every opportunity, no matter how factually false is also part of the right wing propaganda that keeps the right wing, especially the radical and extremist right, feeling angry and agitated. That gets unqualified crooked con artists elected, and it sells a lot of guns.


It does not get us good governance or greater safety.  It is based on lies and corrupt money, corrupt power.  Only the foolish and the willfully ignorant should support this effort to propagandize, manipulate, and gain advantage from these efforts to push an us vs. them national mentality of fear and divisiveness.  They lie, they profit, they gain advantage and power.  DON’T LET THEM. They will make you their victims, not the victims of some shooter who should never have had access to legal guns in the first place, much less 14 of them (yes, they found another one).


Truth in Sarcasm

by Dog Gone on October 5, 2015 · 0 comments

OF course, in the tweet graphic above, “all other countries”, by which the writer appears to mean developed countries, have not eliminated mental illness.  But they have largely eliminated mass shootings. Most mass shootings are NOT the result of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, where an individual lacks the capacity to distinguish not only right from wrong, but reality from delusions.


WHAT those other countries do NOT have is our sick, failed gun culture which exalts individual capacities for violence.


WHAT those other countries do NOT have is the NRA, promoting obsessive single issue voting through fear mongering lies and propaganda manipulation.  No one in government or gun control advocacy is “coming for your guns”; they (the government, in the form of Republicans and Tea Partiers) ARE, as has been wryly observed, trying to take away your health insurance, or to make it so expensive it out of the reach of increasing numbers of people.  They are doing this every time the right attempts to repeal Obamacare, or to defund health care providers like PP.


WHAT those other countries do NOT have is the sheer quantity of guns in private hands.  There is a clear correlation to gun violence and the number of guns, by state.


WHAT those other countries do NOT have is a gun lobby contributing to significant corruption and cowardice in government.


WHAT other countries DO have that helps drastically reduce mass shooting, is a combination of guaranteed health care, including for mental health, and significantly stricter and more effective gun control.


WE could have both of those, but conservatives obstruct and oppose it.  They would rather have wealth and income inequality by serving corrupt big money interests, not the citizens of this country.  They mislead just enough voters, a minority in this country, combined with dirty maneuvers like gerrymandering and voter suppression, to stay in power.


The right wing politicians don’t care if we citizens are killed or injured in large numbers, or in smaller number individual shootings, especially those which are murder suicides, seen daily across the country.  The party signified by the color red doesn’t care if you or those you care about bleed, so long as they cash in on their nice green money.  The right wing voters believe they will somehow avoid, individually, any threat to their safety by carrying a gun.  Evidence does not support that emotional thinking.  Right wing voters believe they will survive the lack of a comprehensive medical policy by luck, and maybe prayer, and a false notion that, somehow, makes them more free.  That doesn’t appear to be successful either, based on the number of people in this country bankrupted, regardless of religious belief or political affiliation.


Conservative ideology is a failure which is literally killing people in this country, by violence and by illness that is preventable.  We need a more rational, fact based and bottom line driven right, or we need to marginalize them until they change.  By marginalize, I mean we need to stop them significantly controlling government.


As American as Baseball, Apple Pie and Mass Murder

by Invenium Viam on October 5, 2015 · 1 comment

man in the mirror

Man in the Mirror, Tell Me What You See?

“Kill ’em all. Let God sort ’em out.” Unofficial motto of US Special Forces


OK, so I’m about to piss a lot of people off. In particular, I’m about to piss off people who fancy themselves patriots and don’t like hearing their country criticized. But I really don’t care. It’s long past time that we took a cold, hard look at the Man in the Mirror and be honest about what we see there.


The latest mass murder in Roseburg, Oregon, brings into sharp focus a truth that no one seems willing to talk about: not opinion leaders, not elected leaders, not religious leaders. It’s the unspoken truth no one wants to examine or acknowledge, the white elephant in the room, the subject too awful or too weighty to discuss.


Simply put, ours is society that glorifies violence. We’ve created a psychopathic culture. Why should the psychopaths among us be any different from the rest of us? Why should social predators and the mentally imbalanced uphold a higher standard of conduct? Those who use gun violence to commit mass murder are only conforming to what they experience as social norms.


The problem is NOT that there are too many guns. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans own guns of some kind. Death by gun violence overall has been decreasing over the last decade or so. Americans have always kept guns in abundance and had free access to guns throughout our history. Besides, it only takes one assault rifle or a fast action automatic pistol with a high capacity magazine to commit mass murder. The problem is NOT that there are not enough gun laws. Neither new gun laws being proposed nor the gun laws we have now would have prevented any of the slaughters at Aurora, Charleston, Columbine, Newtown, Virginia Tech, or Roseburg. The problem is NOT that the mentally imbalanced among us have access to guns and we fail to restrict it, to report it, and to prevent it. The mentally imbalanced have been among us forever, but never before in our history as a nation have the unbalanced and the psychopathic committed acts of mass murder with such frequency and abandon.


No, the problem is that American culture glorifies violence. More to the point, our culture glorifies emotional gratification through violence. Those who commit mass murder through gun violence are only acting irrationally within an already irrational world of glorified violence. We fetishize guns, we fetishize gun violence, we fetishize perpetrators of violence, we fetishize revenge as a motive for violence, and we glory in the gratification of violence and death. We’ve done so for decades.


We fetishize violence in general, and gun violence in particular, as an acceptable form of emotional gratification. It’s in our movies and literature. It’s in our television shows and music. It’s in our video games. It’s in our politics. It’s in our sports. We reduce all disagreements and conflicts to Good Guys vs. Bad Guys, Black Hats vs. White Hats, Us vs. Them. We reduce the most complex international relations and foreign dealings to a simplistic America = Good, Everyone Else = Bad scenario. We always wear the White Hat because, of course, we’re always the Good Guys. In every Showdown at High Noon, we expect the winner be the quickest cowboy to slap leather. The killers among us who commit mass murder are simply acting in accord with the world they see all around them.


Our all-time best selling video games are all about emotional gratification through violence: Soldier of Fortune, Thrill Kill, God of War, Mortal Combat, Tour of Duty. Our best selling movies, particularly those that produce serial sequels, are all about gratification through violence: Rocky (x7), Rambo (x4), Die Hard (x5). The Death Wish (x5) movies added an element of vigilantism to the mix; one man acting alone outside the law to right the wrongs done him through emotional gratification by violence. Among our most popular TV shows, a zombie apocalypse or an infesting swarm of vampires provides an endless supply of dehumanized former human beings to cut down.


It’s in our sports. America’s true past-time is no longer the bucolic game of baseball, a slow ballet of skill and coordination. America’s favorite sport is now football, a continual clash of bruisers, a combat sport so violent that it requires extensive body armor to participate and has produced brain injury among some 96% of former NFL players. Baseball and hockey sometimes produce brawls between opposing teams making them an infrequent combat sport. Boxing has always been a combat sport where the ultimate act of dominance in the ring is to knock-out your opponent, to turn out the lights. We denounce cock-fighting and dog-fighting as inhumane, as we do confinement farming of poultry and livestock. But cage fighting that features both men and women in combat sport so brutal that it produces permanent severe injury, or maiming, is featured on cable television as pay-per-view entertainment without moral objection or censure. The evidence is clear that we value the well-being of our fellow human beings far less than the animals whose flesh we consume. Can blood sport in coliseums be far behind? Even motor sports are not immune from violent death: drivers die behind the wheels of ever faster and more powerful cars running on ancient, technically deficient racetracks. We call it a tragedy.


The emotional gratification of violence extends even to fans of opposing sports teams who are attacked and beaten by home-team thugs with increasing frequency and sense of impunity.

USA!!! USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!


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