toysWhich of these two toys do you think are illegal to sell anywhere in the United States due to potential risk to human lives?

In a brief diversion from our current series on preparing for the 2014 midterms, I want to make a point regarding the ongoing debate over gun laws. As those who follow me on Twitter have noticed, this has become a focus on many of my recent tweets. I have touched on this subject over the past year in this Blog. I have had many gun rights advocates attack me on Twitter for my views. As I have mentioned, I am a gun owner, I work law enforcement, I see guns as tools, but I am not a gun worshipper and I do not believe that the founders intended unlimited full access to guns as a constitutional right.

On this last point many (both pro and anti gun rights) will argue with me. Hell, even President Obama has made it clear recently that he sees the 2nd Amendment as a right to “bear arms.” I still can’t get past those first few words in the amendment “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a Free State…” History is clear that Thomas Jefferson did not believe in standing armies and supported State militias (well regulated State militias mind you) as the best means of security for this new nation. He feared that a standing army could pose a threat of a coupe over the civilian government.

Recently I posted on Twitter a link to a Harvard School of Public Health meta-analysis of gun safety studies that have been peered reviewed and debunk many of the talking points of the NRA. It shows clearly that the benefits of gun ownership are outweighed by the risks it imposes on the individual, especially if they bring that gun home. It shows that many of the “truths” those who strongly advocate to support gun ownership to protect themselves are simply unsupported by the facts. However, in posting that link, I was met with one response that I found representative of the thinking on the right-wing fringe “I have a peer review study that the 2nd amendment is a constitutional right.” Rather than dispute the public safety aspects of gun ownership, they go straight to their belief that the founders have ordained they have an absolute right to gun ownership that shall not be infringed by any regulation at all.

Here is the link to the Harvard meta-analysis for your review. It covers many areas but is easy to navigate through.

So just for the sake of argument (though I’m still not convinced this is true) let us say that there is an absolute constitutional right for gun ownership in this nation. Hey, who am I to argue with Constitutional Law Professor Barack Obama who has stated publicly that he agrees with this interpretation. So we all have a right to own a gun, does this also mean that we have a responsibility and legal requirement to own a gun?

There have been cases where small jurisdiction towns have tried to impose a legal requirement to be armed based on the 2nd Amendment. In 1982 Kennesaw, Georgia made it a law that with few exceptions, all homes had to have at least one gun. They claimed that because of this law, the crime rate plummeted, so it stands as proof that gun ownership reduced crime. They failed to mention that the crime rates plummeted by the same amount in the same areas in surrounding towns of equal size that didn’t impose that law. Using this same logic, I found this lucky charm a few years back and have never been attacked by a Bengal Tiger so this little charm is obviously responsible for that. The above study debunks the myth that gun ownership reduces crime.

So you have a right to bear arms. Don’t we as mature adults in a civilized society also have a right to conduct ourselves in a manner that promotes the well-being of our family and neighbors? You know, aren’t we expected to be responsible adults?

Further, even though it may be guaranteed in the Constitution, many rights are also guaranteed.

You have the right of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and many others. However, laws exists that regulate each and every one of these “freedoms” and they have been upheld in the Supreme Court as Constitutional.

You may assemble in great numbers but you cannot then riot and cause public discourse.

You have a right to practice your religious beliefs, but if those beliefs include “honor killings” you can’t do it.

You have a right of freedom of speech, but you cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theatre.

Your Constitutional freedoms end where they imperil the rights and public safety of others. The law permits regulations to keep this from happening. As with everything else in the Constitution, the right to exactly how we bear arms can and should be regulated. Hell, even staunch center-fold conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is on record saying that gun ownership can be regulated.

As the study above shows, not only is the perceived benefits of gun ownership far outweighed by their risks, it shows that such ownership endangers the community as a whole. It sounds crazy but it would appear that more guns actually do translate to more gun violence in our society. When you add in high-capacity magazines to military style assault weapons, you only make the problem exponentially worse.

The nice thing I’m finding is that as a country, we appear to be learning from the years of NRA misinformation to the gullible among us to perk up gun sales in order to increase the profit margins of their clientele (not gun owners) the gun and ammunition manufacturers.

During the LA gun buy-back program, someone actually brought in a rocket launcher. A pawn shop owner in Florida has declared he will no longer sell weapons. The days of the tyranny of the gun manufacturers may finally be coming to an end, though I tend to doubt it. It will always be a problem, but maybe we can make it less of a problem.

If you want to own a gun, fine. Just please be responsible about it and don’t come crying to us when you discovered it did absolutely nothing in keeping you or your family and friends safe. If it results in an innocent person’s death, well hope you really think long and hard about that one. You’ve been warned.



If you can stomach it, here is a point by point analysis of Wayne LaPierre’s infomercial on December 21, 2012 that took place one week after the mass killing of women and children in Newtown and while at the same time another mass shooting was taking place in Pennsylvania. The NRA said it was a press conference. However, since they took no questions and only spouted off many old and tiring talking points most of us have already heard, I think it was more of an infomercial filled with the same tact and honesty you come to expect on late night television and the hucksters who try to sell their products.

I also noted that many of Wayne’s points had elements of psychological projection and cognitive dissonance mixed in with out-and-out lies and misinformation. Below is a link to a transcript of his speech if you wish to draw your own conclusions. So here goes:

Wayne begins by citing how he and the NRA’s four million members “…join the nation in horror, outrage, grief and earnest prayer for the families of Newtown, Connecticut … who suffered such incomprehensible loss as a result of this unspeakable crime.”

Of this I have no doubt. However, he fails to mention that the vast majority of his membership actually do agree to more effective common sense gun control regulations that Wayne and his lobbyists in the NRA leadership have fought against in Congress that has open the way for the availability of these weapons of mass destruction easily falling into the hands of those so inclined to use in the matter of the Newtown killer.


“Out of respect for those grieving families, and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment. While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectfully silent.”

The NRA has never responded immediately after such a shooting knowing full well that anything they would say would incite even more the anger from those horrified by the act. However, as a lobbying organization, the sole purpose of the NRA leadership is political gain. They give elected officials “grades” and either openly support or will work to primary any politician who offers up any version of sound and workable gun control to protect the people. They were very much politically active in trying to get anyone so inclined to regulate guns voted out of office, especially Barack Obama (who had yet until just recently offered any gun control legislation). In their efforts for 2012, they had the least bang for their membership dues buck in this endeavor.


“Now, we must speak … for the safety of our nation’s children. Because for all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week, no one — nobody — has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?”

The anger people have been directing at the NRA is due to their continued and effective efforts to prevent anyone from proposing and enacting into laws the very steps needed to protect our children to prevent any further Columbines, Virginia Techs, and now Sandy Hook. Each time politicians try to address it, the NRA have shut them down.


“The only way to answer that question is to face up to the truth. Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them.

And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”

Here is where Wayne misrepresents what “Gun-Free Zones” means. He’s implying that such zones can’t have any guns at all to include armed security. That is not the case. It tells people not to bring weapons at all to the site without permission under penalty of law. This prevents untrained and unqualified cherubs or nut jobs that would actually do more harm than good from endangering the people there. Armed security is not unknown in “Gun-Free Zones” otherwise how can it be enforced? Columbine was a gun-free school zone and had two armed security guards.


“How have our nation’s priorities gotten so far out of order? Think about it. We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, courthouses — even sports stadiums — are all protected by armed security.

We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capitol Police officers.

Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it. That must change now!”

As I noted above, many schools have armed security, if they can afford it. They have police officers who make regular patrols of campus. The two most famous incidents of school shootings in recent years Columbine and Virginia Tech had armed guards on duty. LaPierre is advocating that we need armed guards in every school in the country. That is nearly 100,000 schools who currently suffer from budget cuts at the hands of the Republicans that the NRA supports. And to follow LaPierre’s logic, you would also need guard at each mall, each church, each community center, each park, and any place where children are known to gather. Who pays the price to first properly evaluate each “armed guard” of children for potentially violent tendencies or pedophilia for that matter? Then who pays the salary and benefits for these guards? Surely Wayne isn’t saying that just anyone with a gun is fine to stand there armed overlooking our children? The costs would be staggering and only consistent if we lived in a Police State. How is that American Wayne?

Are Our Schools Becoming Police States?: Zero Tolerance Policies

“The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?

How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame — from a national media machine that rewards them with the wall-to-wall attention and sense of identity that they crave — while provoking others to try to make their mark?

A dozen more killers? A hundred? More? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?”

It’s true; we have an “unknown” number of genuine “monsters” in our midst. A problem exasperated by the fact that the Republicans refuse to properly fund mental health needs throughout our country. Refuse to establish outreach mechanisms designed to identify and properly treat these people. They won’t put out the money. This dates back to Ronald Reagan shutting down mental health facilities as governor of California and later as President. We can do better in identifying and treating these people. In the mean time, the most effective thing we as a nation can do is prevent the easy access of weapons of mass destructions from falling in their hands. Efforts that Wayne and the NRA have fought tooth and nail. What good is a database of mentally ill if the NRA won’t require gun sellers to access it and won’t allow a waiting period to access it?


“And the fact is, that wouldn’t even begin to address the much larger and more lethal criminal class: Killers, robbers, rapists and drug gang members who have spread like cancer in every community in this country. Meanwhile, federal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40% — to the lowest levels in a decade.

So now, due to a declining willingness to prosecute dangerous criminals, violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years! Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization.”

The major reason why “federal gun prosecutions” have decreased. The NRA has changed or weakened laws that prevent the Feds, or local state and city governments to prosecute gun violence. It’s not a “declining willingness”. Further, the little secret Wayne doesn’t want you to know is that murder, robberies, rape and drug crimes have actually decreased over the past 20 years, only mass killings have increased. It has increased since the ban on Assault Rifles expired in 2004 at the pushing of the NRA.


“And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.

Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?

Then there’s the blood-soaked slasher films like “American Psycho” and “Natural Born Killers” that are aired like propaganda loops on “Splatterdays” and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have the nerve to call it “entertainment.”

But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”

Wayne is only now aware that there’s violence in the movies and on video games? Where has he been? He’s also citing movies that came out over ten years ago. The fact of the matter is that there has been ongoing research trying to link these movies and video games to violence and guess what? There really isn’t any. Those inclined to violence will watch these movies and may act out violently. Those who aren’t will or won’t watch these movies or play these games and they will have zero impact in their lives. What does have an impact of increased violence in the real world as backed up by meta-analysis? Income disparity. As that increases, so does the acts of violence. And when you couple that with easier access to more guns, you get mass shootings Wayne.

“In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes — every minute of every day of every month of every year.”

This is the classic chicken or the egg argument. Is media creating a more violent culture is a more violent culture being reflected in media? It doesn’t matter; if our culture is getting more violent as Wayne appears to think, then let’s not give the violence better tools to use like assault weapons with high capacity magazines and drums.


“A child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18.

And throughout it all, too many in our national media … their corporate owners … and their stockholders … act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators. Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws and fill the national debate with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away.”

Would love to know where Wayne got that little statistic. I couldn’t find it on any validated crime statistic or sociological study anywhere. Sounds like something from Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” group who are infamous for coming up with completely unsubstantiated and non-peered review studies to back up their propagandist narrative. In short, just about everything that comes from Focus on the Family, as well as the NRA leadership is crap. None of it backed up by facts.


“The media call semi-automatic firearms “machine guns” — they claim these civilian semi-automatic firearms are used by the military, and they tell us that the .223 round is one of the most powerful rifle calibers … when all of these claims are factually untrue. They don’t know what they’re talking about!

Worse, they perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban — or one more law imposed on peaceful, lawful people — will protect us where 20,000 others have failed!

As brave, heroic and self-sacrificing as those teachers were in those classrooms, and as prompt, professional and well-trained as those police were when they responded, they were unable — through no fault of their own — to stop it.”

So Wayne goes into nomenclature here as well as semantics. The point is a military style assault weapon as far as anyone who cares is concerned about is a powerful weapon that in the wrong hands will kill anything that gets in its way. During the previous assault weapon ban, mass shooting went down. After it expired, they’ve grown three fold. In Australia, since 1996 when a much more severe and inclusive assault weapon ban has gone into effect, there hasn’t been a single mass shooting. The fact of the matter is bans work and not having them makes matters worse. Even if those teachers were armed, unless they had similar weaponry and a similar lack of respect for human life as Lanza had, they would still be dead.


“As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. It is now time for us to assume responsibility for their safety at school.

The only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away … or a minute away?

Now, I can imagine the shocking headlines you’ll print tomorrow morning: “More guns,” you’ll claim, “are the NRA’s answer to everything!” Your implication will be that guns are evil and have no place in society, much less in our schools. But since when did the word “gun” automatically become a bad word?

A gun in the hands of a Secret Service agent protecting the President isn’t a bad word. A gun in the hands of a soldier protecting the United States isn’t a bad word. And when you hear the glass breaking in your living room at 3 a.m. and call 911, you won’t be able to pray hard enough for a gun in the hands of a good guy to get there fast enough to protect you.

So why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect our President or our country or our police, but bad when it’s used to protect our children in their schools?

They’re our kids. They’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty to protect them — it’s our right to protect them.”

This is sickening hyperbole on Wayne’s part. Of course we all are concerned for our children’s safety the difference is what is the best way to accomplish this? Wayne makes the paranoid and incorrect belief that people think that “guns are evil”. Sane and rational people understand that guns are tools. Now this particular tool is designed primarily to kill whatever it is used against. It’s not the tool, it’s the character and/or competency of the user we are concerned about. It is interesting that he brings the Secret Service here. Most likely due to his Obama Derangement Syndrome, but no matter. The Secret Service quite simply the best qualified trained and armed security force in the history of the world. Guess what, they failed to protect the life of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan was shot. Tools are only as good as those who use them. A person with little value for the lives of others or their own has no problem using a weapon of mass destruction like a military style assault weapon. Most people who have weapons have never been psychological assessed and certainly not trained in combat shooting scenarios against such people. There is quite simply no true effective means to stop people so inclined to use such a weapon to murder than to keep them from these weapons. It’s that simple. Our responsibility is to keep these guns out of the hands of those not qualified or fit to have them. Quite frankly, that’s about the majority of our country.

“You know, five years ago, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy. But what if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by qualified, armed security?

Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared? Is that so abhorrent to you that you would rather continue to risk the alternative?”

As I noted before, we have nearly 100,000 schools in this country. Further, Virginia Tech had armed guards as did Columbine. Further Wayne, as I noted above and as verified by professional law enforcement personnel would attest, if there was an “average” armed security guard at Sandy Hook with a standard issued Glock or whatever, they would have been the second victim, following Lanza’s mother in this shooting and then the killer would have his or hers Glock to do more killing. No Wayne, it’s not remotely possible that 26 lives would have been spared. Only twice in our history have armed civilians attempted to stop a mass shooting. Both of these occurred in 2005, a year after the assault weapon ban ended. Both were shot and one, a fully trained and qualified arms instructor, was killed.

“Is the press and political class here in Washington so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and America’s gun owners that you’re willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a lone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life to shield the children in her care? No one — regardless of personal political prejudice — has the right to impose that sacrifice.”

Again, pure hyperbole Wayne. We don’t hate gun owners, only irresponsible gun lobbyists like you who don’t grasp the problem of simply making easy for everyone to have a powerful weapon for easy killing. Monsters will always be monsters; we don’t need to make it easier for them to do monstrous things.

“Ladies and gentlemen, there is no national, one-size-fits-all solution to protecting our children. But do know this President zeroed out school emergency planning grants in last year’s budget, and scrapped “Secure Our Schools” policing grants in next year’s budget.”

Anyone who knows civics knows that all budgets originate in the House of Representatives, this one controlled by Republicans. They are cutting anything and everything they can. They are the ones who want to defund just about everything that funds schools in this country, not the President. Here Wayne, you simply lie.

“With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget, we can’t afford to put a police officer in every school? Even if they did that, politicians have no business — and no authority — denying us the right, the ability, or the moral imperative to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm.”

Assuming an average salary (not including benefits package) of $50,000.00 per guard, and placing a minimum of two in each school would cost $10,000,000,000.00 a year. This figure does not include assessment, on-going training, and arming. $10 billion a year Wayne. This Republican Congress will not release that kind of money. As noted above, this is only for the schools. The Republicans have been cutting community policing funding started under Bill Clinton continuously since he left office. You know this isn’t going to happen do to GOP politics, backed by the NRA.


“Now, the National Rifle Association knows that there are millions of qualified active and retired police; active, reserve and retired military; security professionals; certified firefighters and rescue personnel; and an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every school. We can deploy them to protect our kids now. We can immediately make America’s schools safer — relying on the brave men and women of America’s police force.

The budget of our local police departments are strained and resources are limited, but their dedication and courage are second to none and they can be deployed right now.”

As noted above Wayne, Columbine and Virginia Tech had just such armed security as you described here. How well did that work out for them? All the former training and bravery won’t stop a round fired from a semi-automatic assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine/drum.

“I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.”

Point of order Wayne. You are a lobbyist, not an elected official. We all know you’re sole purpose in your position in the NRA is to sell more guns to as many people as possible. You’ve been very successful at this by threatening Congressional representatives for years to do what you want or they would be out of a job. Don’t give us this crap. Congress has already done exactly what you have been forcing them to do for years, sit on gun control regulations.


“Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation or anything else, as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work — and by that I mean armed security.

Right now, today, every school in the United States should plan meetings with parents, school administrators, teachers and local authorities — and draw upon every resource available — to erect a cordon of protection around our kids right now. Every school will have a different solution based on its own unique situation.

Every school in America needs to immediately identify, dedicate and deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place right now. And the National Rifle Association, as America’s preeminent trainer of law enforcement and security personnel for the past 50 years, is ready, willing and uniquely qualified to help.

Our training programs are the most advanced in the world. That expertise must be brought to bear to protect our schools and our children now. We did it for the nation’s defense industries and military installations during World War II, and we’ll do it for our schools today.”

Since Wayne LaPierre took office with the NRA, their focus ceased to be one of responsible gun ownership and has instead been a lobbying arm for gun and ammunition manufacturers. This is a fact. There is no training they offer that is “preeminent” in the world of law enforcement in this country. Most law enforcement has their own in-house training and qualifying curriculums. At best, the NRA only offers membership cards, nothing of substance. Their training is little more than comic books and 1980 style videos that are laughable. The old NRA ceases to exist; the one today has little to do about proper and effective training for the proper use, care and maintenance of weapons. It’s a fact.

“The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields.

Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead this effort as National Director of the National School Shield Program, with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires. His experience as a U.S. Attorney, Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security will give him the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and credentialed experts available anywhere, to get this program up and running from the first day forward.

If we truly cherish our kids more than our money or our celebrities, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible and the security that is only available with a properly trained — armed — good guy.

Under Asa’s leadership, our team of security experts will make this the best program in the world for protecting our children at school, and we will make that program available to every school in America free of charge.

That’s a plan of action that can, and will, make a real, positive and indisputable difference in the safety of our children — starting right now.”

And here is the point of this infomercial. Although the NRA may not have initially created the problem with mass killings in this nation, they have through the lobbying efforts to create lax and ineffective or non-existence gun control laws, made the task of “monsters” killing innocent people easier. By doing so, they have profited via the skyrocketing sales of military assault weapons and other guns as well as ammunition. They have perpetuated a climate of paranoia and fear to get people to buy more and more guns. Now, they want to play the other side of the argument so they can profit there to. They made the matter worse while getting rich from it, now for another fee from the government via the tax payers, they’ll get even more money to correct the problem they created. This is a con job.


“There’ll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action.

We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act. We can’t lose precious time debating legislation that won’t work. We mustn’t allow politics or personal prejudice to divide us. We must act now.

For the sake of the safety of every child in America, I call on every parent, every teacher, every school administrator and every law enforcement officer in this country to join us in the National School Shield Program and protect our children with the only line of positive defense that’s tested and proven to work.”


This was his closing. As I noted at the beginning, this wasn’t a press conference, he took no questions. He couldn’t. Infomercials are designed to con the weak minded into getting out their credit cards and call toll free now. Be one of the first 50 callers and get a special bonus offer…

This was a farce from a very farcical man who has almost single handedly made our country less safe by introducing as many weapons into the hands of the least qualified people our nation has. Our country has 5 percent of the world’s population yet owns 50% of the world’s guns. 80 million Americans own 300 million weapons. Highest in the world. By LaPierre’s logic, we should be the safest nation on the planet with that many guns in American hands. But we’re not. We have 19 times the gun violence rate of the rest of the industrialized world combined. Evil is everywhere, no doubt about it. But evil can’t do much unless you give it the tools to do evil, that’s your current NRA. Providing tools for evil doers since Wayne LaPierre came to work there.



It was days before Christmas, when all through the US House
No real legislation was stirring, because they’re ran by a louse.
The economy was dangling by the fiscal cliff on a dare,
in hopes that President Obama would cave on a scare.

The upper two percent of Americans were nestled all smug in their beds,
with visions of permanent Bush tax cuts dancing in their heads.
And momma Steph in her studio, and Chris Lavoie on her lap,
had just settled their brains for a long winter’s political scrap.

When out on the Capitol Mall there arose such a clatter,
The GOP Caucus sprang from the chamber to see what was the matter.
Away to the rotunda they flew like a flash,
through some lobbyists who threw them some cash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the luster of midday to objects below.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
but thousands of Occupy Wall   Street giving up a cheer.

With a community organizer there, so lively and quick,
they knew in a moment they were about to be sick.
More rapid than bald eagles their anger came,
and they whistled, and shouted, and called them out by name!

“Now Boehner! now, Cantor! now, McCarthy and Bachmann!
On, Gohmert! On, King! on, on West and Kingston!
For the wishes of the polling! for the demands of us all!
Now vote our way! Vote our way! Vote our way, you all!”

As the destruction that came from hurricane Sandy still lie,
they meet up with obstacles like Cantor demanding offsets or die.
So up to the Jersey shore, the people they knew,
with little coming from Congress, they were screwed too.

And then, in a press release, we heard on the air
the crying and sobbing of each Teapublican there.
As we drew in our breath, and went turning around,
Down the GOP approval ratings came with a sound.

The people have had enough, from this childish two percent protection,
and the trust they ever had was all tarnished from their obstruction.
A bundle of emails and Tweets had been flung to their PAC,
and they looked like a swindlers, just covering their back.

Boehner’s eyes-how they teared! his dimples how orangey!
His cheeks were like moist towelettes, his nose like a cherry!
His drool on his little mouth was dripping down and lo,
the quivering of his chin was quite a little show.

The stump of his gavel he held tight in his grip,
And he waved it, encircled it over head, oh what a trip.
He had to come up with something to save his diminishing power,
Meanwhile Norquist was worried too and needed a shower!

Boehner came up with a Plan B to try to save himself,
and we laughed when we saw him, what a pathetic elf!
Another tear in his eye and a crick in his head,
soon gave us comfort to know we had nothing to dread.

His caucus spoke not a word of support, and the press went straight to work,
And everyone clearly knew, that Boehner was nothing but a jerk.
And his Plan B died in his own caucus, a dumb course he chose,
and giving us a nod of futility, the polling for Democrats rose!

He sprang out of the way, to his team like a missile,
and away they all flew out of town to our chants and our whistle.
And we all had to exclaim, as this Congress’ term was too far to the right,
“Happy mid-term 2014 to all, and we have not yet begun to fight!”



Fire Fighters salute six year old Newtown victim Daniel Barden who wanted to be a fire fighter when he grew up.

On Friday, December 14, 2012 a man in possession of an AR15 with a high capacity magazine, as well as other weapons entered Sandy Hook Middle School and executed 20 first-graders as well as 6 faculty members. He obtained these weapons from his gun advocate mother, after shooting her in the face. She was well armed and had some fairly impressive weaponry to keep her safe.

On the same day in China, a man who was upset over “doomsday” predictions entered an elementary school and stabbed 23 children. Though many were seriously injured, no one died.

Those on the far right are pointing to things like the killer in Newtown being mentally ill, suffering from autism and/or Aspergers as the explanation for his acts. The Chinese are saying that their guy was “psychologically affected” by the doomsday predictions for December 21st. Many are saying that both were evil and deranged. I heard a guy calling in on Ed Schultz radio show on December 19th claiming to be a psychologist citing that it is obvious that the Newtown killer was suffering from “Lyme Rage” (Lyme Neuroborrelios) as a result of being bitten by a tick in Connecticut, which is very common. He cited studies proving that ticks causing Lyme disease, results in rage tendencies of those bitten, who in turn go out and commit these violent acts. All we have to do is autopsy his brain to prove it.

He was adamant, “we can’t blame the guns, and it was Lyme rage that was responsible for the Newtown murders.” I researched this and from what I can find, this phenomenon has essentially been used as a defense in Court cases against prosecution, although the studies cited lack proper peer review validation.

Regardless, even if Lyme Rage or anything else was to blame for what precipitated the killer from carrying out his acts, the problem was he was able to use an assault weapon to execute his victims.

Now gun manufacturers will say that the AR15 isn’t an assault weapon by their definition. But I’m going to take some license here, if the weapon serves no useful purpose other than to kill as many people in a short period of time as possible, it’s a weapon of war and thereby an assault weapon. You wouldn’t use this weapon to hunt unless you are a very bad shot and you don’t mind grinding your meat in the woods before you even approach it.

No, this is a weapon of war that was legally purchased by a woman, who by all accounts was convinced she would be at war if the economy collapsed. She appears to have bought into the fear that the NRA likes to instill in people, so they feel the need to buy these weapons to remain safe. Unfortunately for her, as with many gun owners, she was killed by her own weapon by someone she knew.

So many things can be responsible for the evil in the world and the motivations for those who would commit such acts. It happens in this country and in others. The only difference is those so inclined in this country appear to currently have no problems securing weapons of war to carry out their acts. Those in other countries, say China don’t. Nor can they in Europe, Australia or any other industrialized country. The assailant in China only had a knife. Even though he attacked and people were severely wounded, no one died. The children in Newtown each had 3 to 11 rounds in them. They never stood a chance. The available weaponry made this heinous act possible.

So what to do? Those in full support of what they perceive to be 2nd Amendment rights balk at any attempts to ban Assault Rifles and high capacity magazines. They cite that “gun free zones” are “targets of opportunity” for those so inclined to carry out murderous acts. Since we can’t ban the weapons, the only solution from their point of view is to arm the schools, arm the amusement parks, arm all public meeting places, give everyone the right to carry a concealed weapon everywhere to dissuade those who have bigger and meaner weapons from doing anything. Hell it works in the movies or on “play station” or whatever, it should work in real life. However even after saying this, they don’t want guns in State Houses, Governor’s mansions, any place of government and the GOP also banned any firearm at their convention in Tampa.

They, and many of the lemmings who speak for them say that if the teachers (who they lambasted during this last election cycle) were armed, this would have never happened. Of course Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich have added that the “secularism” of our society, taking God out of the schools, is also responsible for what happened in Newtown. But that is another rant where I’ll explain to Mike Huckabee that per his logic, the church burnings and shootings would also be because God isn’t there. But to continue.

Here’s the problem with bringing more guns into the picture. Peer reviewed studies clearly show that the simple act of bringing a gun into a home, business, facility dramatically increases the odds of being shot by that very same gun. Most murders occur in the home with the owner’s gun being used by the assailant who is more likely to be known to the victim. Further, to effectively use a weapon as a tool of defense, a person must undergo strict and thorough training, both technical and psychological to deal with being in a fire-fight. The military calls it boot camp. They don’t get their guns until they qualify. They need to learn not only to shoot straight, but to do so with the pressure of being shot at. The police do the same and this training is often repeated on a quarterly basis. Oh and by the way, both military and police are required to take and pass psychological evaluations before they can carry on the job. Many say that anyone with a “carry conceal” permit can protect those in the schools, perhaps the teachers. Well in most jurisdictions all that is needed to get a “carry conceal” permit is to fill out a card. There’s no training, no test of skills, no psychological examinations. You just pay your fee and off you go.

So underpaid, overworked, underappreciated educators are to be armed even though they haven’t been trained to properly conduct themselves in a firefight to protect themselves and others. If police officers and military personnel die on a regular basis in such shootouts, how would these teachers do?

The issue isn’t arming the schools; it’s removing the availability of weapons of mass destruction, weapons of war from civilians like they have done in Australia. After their last mass shooting in 1996 with an assault rifle, they were banned and bought back by the government. Guess what? Not a single mass shooting in Australia since then. After our assault weapon ban expired in 2004, the number of mass shootings has increased three fold. See the connection?

Don’t give me the 2nd amendment. First of all it applies to “A well regulated Militia”. If you are a member of a well regulated militia, on duty to keep your state free, then you may have something there. Otherwise, as Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post said in the Editorial (not a leftist rag mind you) the 2nd amendment is outdated in the 21st century. Even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said after Aurora that the 2nd Amendment leaves room for gun control legislation:

“I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” he said. “But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not on the streets of our cities”.

There are over 90,000 public schools in our country. In an atmosphere where those on the right feel we are taxed too much because government is too big with too many teachers, first responders, fire-fighters on the public dole, how will we pay to have armed guards at all these schools?

As I pointed out above, teachers will not be qualified to protect themselves or their students. The best course of action (in the beginning of this process) is to go back to the assault weapon ban and banning the sales of high capacity magazines. From there we can decide what to do with the weaponry already out on the streets. Perhaps just like in “conservative” Australia, we can buy them back.

Either way, more guns does equal more gun violence, fewer guns mean less. Again it goes back to simple math, something those on the right continue to have problems with.


suspended-web-hosting-300x300I was surprised Monday morning when suddenly I found for the first time in the 3 years I have been on Twitter, I couldn’t access my account. I later came to learn that I had been suspended. I had to go home and retrieve my password to access the site only to discover that I had been suspended due to “complaints” that I was sending “unsolicited replies” (which sounds oxymoronic) with a nasty tone to them. They said this made for a bad atmosphere on Twitter and I had to promise to be nice, otherwise I would be permanently banned from the site.

I later came to learn that I was not alone that morning. Several of my Twitter friends were also suspended. I then learned that trolls gang up on our accounts; send in faux complaints about our content to get us suspended. Made sense because in the days prior to this I broke my long-standing rule of not engaging with trolls and right-wing nut jobs when they enter my time-line opting instead to simply block them. However with the tone of things coming down in response to the Sandy Hook shooting and the crap coming from the mouths of the pro assault weapon and high-capacity magazine group, I couldn’t let many of them go unchallenged. Of course there could also have been some complaints because in recent months I’ve learned to send my snark directly to the Twitter accounts of our nation’s leading idiots. Perhaps that’s what they mean by “unsolicited replies”. I’ve been especially active in sending tweets to Governor Rick Snyder @onetoughnerd and @RepLouieGohmert. I’ve also sent tweets of a particularly snarky tone to @ChuckGrassley, @SpeakerBoehner, Mitch McConnell @McConnellPress, Eric Cantor @GOPLeader, @Limbaugh, @SarahPalinUSA, @SenJohnMcCain, Sen Lindsey Graham @GrahamBlog, and @MicheleBachmann, you know, the usual suspects.

Although these are public servants, perhaps they’re too thin-skinned to be challenged via Twitter on their actions and instead of blocking, ignoring or manning up and responding, they go to Twitter to silence those who don’t agree.

Fair enough. I can understand not wanting to deal with people who don’t agree with you and trying to stop it. However I would think public officials would have more backbone. So be it.

Since then, because maybe I can’t trust myself to be good or because the problem may be trolls ganging up on those of my point of view I’ve done two things. First of all I’ve stopped responding to trolls and RWNJs again. When I get a mention I’ll check the bio and Time Line and if they’re stupid and insulting, they’re blocked without a response. Second, I’ve created a “Bunker” account on Twitter that I can go to if I end up in Twitter Jail or get suspended again.

So if you can’t find me on Twitter for some reason, you can find me in my bunker where my Twitter rants will continue. Afterall, the first amendment comes before the second amendment.



Here’s a post from Crook’s and Liars over this very same issue. We’re not alone and Twitter monitors appear to be as gullible as those on the right in suspending those who really aren’t doing anything wrong based on thin-skin accusations of those who get their panties in a twist because people don’t agree with their narrative.


A POLITICAL RESPONSE TO NEWTOWN? From my good friend @TobyK9Cohen

tobyThis tweet “I hope people remain calm and level headed in the face of the Newton massacre. No politics, please. Pray for the dead. Pray for the families” I found following the #Newtown shootings set me off more than most.

I won’t or harass the tweeter by giving their name. And it is this tweet that shut me down yesterday.  140 characters is insufficient to respond to all the wrong represented in that tweet.

You see that tweeter was really saying do not have any emotional reaction that might instigate political action that is ant-gun. Just make the empty gesture of prayer to make you feel like you have done something and forget about it.

The Newton shooting is only that much more visceral than other mass shootings because most of the dead are around the age of five.  There is no “rush to judgment” here. We do not need to know the shooter’s name, age, race, religion, or mental health history And even the source of the weapons is almost irrelevant. We later find the guns were purchased “legally” by the shooter’s mother; 3 of five guns she owned. The mother, shot to death by her own son with her own gun.

With guns, like climate change, the toothpaste is already out of the tube and seems uncontrollable so why bother.  But that merely plays into an all or nothing argument.  Ultimately the answers should come in the form of significant taxation of ammunition and guns; the funds going to support law enforcement and the healthcare of victims.

“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.”  The 2nd Amendment is self-evident, but the meme of constitutional interpretation gets evoked here for economic reasons only; guns are big business.  It is the corrupting influence of massive amount s of money in politics that makes the Newtown shooting symbolic of the consequences of corporate persons running roughshod over flesh and blood humans.

I am not opposed to regulated gun ownership. In some areas of America one’s ability to hunt or manage animals are necessary. Sport shooting, which is essentially target practice, is part of responsible gun ownership.  It is time for a regulatory tune up.  Guns demonstrate the idealistic weakness of Libertarians who essentially argue people will innately make great decisions.  The practical approach is to look at what people actually do, and intervene to modify individual behavior for the greater good.

So channel your anger productively in the face of the Newtown massacre.  Only politics which creates and shapes laws is the means to produce a national response to the gross availability and guns and ammo.  And when you are done talking to God, talk to your representatives, friends and neighbors to decrease the frequency and ease of mass shootings.


On Friday, December 14, 2012,  twenty innocent children were executed by a deranged man who first murdered his gun advocate mother in their home, took her legally purchased weapons of mass destruction and went to a near by school and killed six and seven year old first-graders. The anger I feel is only dwarfed by the frustrations I have knowing that due to the political strength of the National Rifle Association, this sort of thing is not only becoming more frequent, it’s becoming easier for the deranged and the only outrage you will hear from those who say they support Second Amendment Rights is the fear that people will use this incident to take their guns away. They are so concerned over myths propagated by the NRA, they leave little concern or outrage for the vile act that occurred. The old stale talking points begin to surface yet again:

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

“If you take guns away, only criminals will have guns”

“People can use knives and bats to kill too, so why not ban them?”

“Only the Second Amendment keeps this country safe from oppressive government.”

“They all want to take your guns away.”

“If more people were armed, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“Towns with strict gun control laws have just as many gun related murders as any other place.”

Well, this is all just pure bullshit.

First of all, all of this talk comes from the NRA. Here’s what people need to understand about this organization as it stands today. It’s run by lying paranoid nut jobs. Okay, that’s hyperbole, but I’m angry.

In reality the NRA is a lobbyist organization with gun and ammunition manufacturers as their clientele. They say they exist to protect Second Amendment Rights, and that would be a worthy cause if the rights were ever in real danger. They are not and never have been.

Never in the history of this nation has any viable political party advocated taking guns away from everybody. There is debate on the true meaning of the Second Amendment, but that’s only for people who actually read and study for a living correcting the propaganda perpetuated by the NRA.

Either way, gun control advocates don’t want to take guns away from everybody, only some and introduce strict methodology to ensure the wrong people don’t get the weapons and certain type of weapons of mass destruction do not fill the streets.

The NRA says they are protecting Second Amendment Rights. That’s a lie. In fact they are creating an atmosphere of fear, paranoia and mistrust to compel the easily gullible to go out and buy as many guns, and as much ammunition as possible. That way, their clients clean up with huge profits.

A prime example of this misinformation from the NRA? They continue to tell their membership that President Obama is out to take all their guns away. They even have gone so far to say he will do it in a “third term” as president. Now the facts are as of today, President Obama has yet to propose, or side with any legislation that would limit access to guns in any way at all. In fact, he’s signed legislation allowing guns to be brought to National Parks. He’s actually expanded gun rights in the nation. But according to the NRA, that’s all part of his plan to fool the people so he can later take the guns away. If that’s not paranoid thinking, I don’t know what is.

I do own guns. I used to target shoot and I still have one in the home locked away. I do not keep a cache of ammunition because I am realistic. If people are going to declare war on me and attack, having one or two guns I won’t be able to get too many shots off before I’m taken out. But that assuming somebody is going to declare war on me and attack. The odds of that happening to me, or anybody else for that matter, are less than winning the Powerball.

So I have no problems with gun ownership. I have never been arrested or convicted of any crime. As a law enforcement officer, I have passed a psychological evaluation. I have been fully trained on nomenclature, and I qualify on the range. I also understand that whatever the barrel of a gun is pointed at is apt to be destroyed if the trigger is pulled.

As a gun control advocate, all I ask for is that those with criminal records, those who have a history of mental health problems be excluded from gun ownership.

To do so, I believe in waiting periods to investigate who is buying a weapon and that the weapon and ammunition be registered for future reference should it turn out they are used in any crimes. It’s that simple. If you aren’t out to murder someone immediately and have no prior record or mental health issues, why should you need less than a week or so before taking the gun home?

However, the NRA is opposed to waiting periods and any form of registration. Thanks to the NRA, anyone can sell and anyone can purchase high power rifles and guns at any gun show without identification and it’s clearly legal as Fast and Furious pointed out. Again, the NRA isn’t out for responsible gun ownership, they want unobstructed gun sales to as many people as they can. More guns sold, more profit. How do you increase gun sales? Establish an atmosphere of fear and paranoia. That is their business model. Problem is by doing so; there are more guns out there than we really need by many people who have no business owning an instrument designed to kill.

As for the talking points listed at the top of this rant:

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” This is true but people owning guns have a much easier time killing than if they didn’t. To follow this talking point to its logical conclusion, then people so inclined to kill shouldn’t have guns. However, the NRA is opposed to that because it disrupts sales. Besides, more people out there killing people with guns, the more people feel a need to buy guns to “protect themselves” though few of them ever go through the proper training to do so and usually whenever caught in such a situation are killed by their own weapon.

“If you take guns away, only criminals will have guns.” This is based on a false premise. Nobody is trying to take all the guns away; they want to take the guns away from the criminals. Enacting stricter gun control laws would only cause a temporary inconvenience for the law-abiding rational people from getting their guns as quickly as they want. To not have these controls actually does result in more criminals and irrational people from getting guns. So by not enacting such controls, more criminals are getting guns, not less.

“People can use knives and bats to kill too, so why not ban them?” People can kill using knives and bats. Only difference is you must get up close to do it and the victim has a fighting chance to avoid being killed. Further, you can only do it to one person at a time. Try attacking a crowded theater armed with a bat and see how effective you would be.

“Only the Second Amendment keeps this country safe from oppressive government.” Well that presupposes our government is apt to become oppressive. A couple of things, oppression is a relative term and didn’t I mention paranoia earlier? If our government was to become oppressive, then how are a small group of drinking buddies armed with a few rifles and handguns going to stop the largest best armed and trained military force in the history of the world? A military with unmanned drones? You wouldn’t last 5 minutes so get real.

“They all want to take your guns away.” Only if you are a criminal and/or mentally insane. If you feel this way, you just answered my point. Again, didn’t I mention paranoia earlier?

“If more people were armed, this wouldn’t have happened.” The best trained military and police departments in the world end up with people dying in fire-fights in many cases due to “friendly fire.” Shooting at a target on a range is one thing; it’s another when the target is shooting back. Further, trained armed professional have to psych themselves as to how to maintain composure while being shot at. It isn’t easy and not too many weekend warriors actually prepare for that. More people armed, more people killed. It’s that simple.

“Towns with strict gun control laws have just as many gun related murders as any other place.” This is true, but there is a good reason for that. Towns, cities, counties and states are not divided up by tall walls and moats. People coming from neighboring territories that have no gun control easily take these guns to areas where sales are restricted. You will note also that currently, with the growth of carry conceal and stand your ground laws coupled with even laxer gun sales laws, the incidents of mass gun murders have been increasing, not decreasing. Currently, the United States, the country with the most lax gun control laws has 19 times the gun murder rate of any industrialized nation in the world. The rate holds for jurisdictions with or without carry conceal.

As the title of this rant states “Enough Already.” We need a mature debate in this country about gun violence and serious means to address it using proven data, not the talking points designed to instill paranoid fear from the gun manufacturer lobby known as the NRA who also support cop killer bullets, unrestricted assault rifle sales, and allowing guns to be carried in school yards and bars. These lobbyist are nuts. Worse yet, they are domestic terrorists.



raise-the-debt-ceilingThe Republicans in the House and Senate have grudgingly agreed that President Obama has the upper hand and leverage over them regarding increasing taxes on income over $250,000.00 a year. So politically, they have to respond with something more than demanding cuts in social spending that they know the American people won’t tolerate and the Democrats and President won’t agree to. So they have been hinting (for lack of a better term) that they will get back at the President and show who’s in charge by obstructing any increase on the Debt Ceiling.

If this sounds familiar it’s because we have been here before. In the summer of 2011 we had this same debate. The Republicans in Congress via the propaganda wing at FOX News and some disingenuous pundits in mainstream media, convinced many in the country that raising the debt ceiling meant more spending, thus adding to the ever-increasing debt. So they vowed to stop it. They threatened a refusal to vote to raise the ceiling unless the President agreed to substantial cuts to all “non discretionary spending” not related to defense with no increase in revenues at all. By doing this, they threatened for the first time in our history, to place the country in default.

As a result, on August 2, 2011 the President, after arranging a deal with Speaker Boehner on July 31, 2011, signed the “Budget Control Act of 2011.”

However, due to the rumblings and uncertainty that our government was functioning and whether he had the ability or willingness to pay our debt, on August 5, 2011, Standards and Poor lowered our nation’s credit rating from AAA to AA. This was the first time in our history that this had happened. In their report explaining the downgrade, Standards and Poor explicitly stated that this was due to the obstruction orchestrated by the Republicans, that demonstrated that we did not have a working government that could be relied upon. Although Moody’s and Fitch continued to rate our nation as AAA, the Dow plummeted 635 points (5.6%) in just one day as a result of the downgrade.

A few facts about the National Debt Ceiling that causes people confusion and all should be aware of:

1) All spending originates in the House of Representatives. It is then approved or modified in the Senate. After the House and Senate agree on spending and the means, or lack thereof, to pay for it, only then does it go to the President. The President only agrees to what Congress presents him. The national debt is the accumulation of spending of all Congresses (both Republican and Democratic) for decades.

2) Raising the debt ceiling only acknowledges that the United States agrees to make good on all the debt it has already accrued. It does not increase the debt in of itself; it merely says we will pay what we already owe. The bills have already been racked up, the credit card is almost maxed out and the money is owed.

3) Over time, our debt ceiling has actually increased in relationship to our growing GDP.


4) To not raise the debt ceiling is essentially telling our creditors that we probably will not be paying for what we already purchased. It’s like maxing out your credit card and even though you still have revenue coming in, instead of asking for a credit increase, you tell your bank you won’t be paying a dime on it.

5) We have never defaulted on our debt in our entire history. To do so would obliterate the “Good Faith and Credit” of the United States. Any money we tried to borrow would have extremely higher interest rates applied thus adding even more to our overall national debt.

6) Ronald Reagan increased the debt ceiling 18 times, George W. Bush increased it 7 times. Until this President came to office, the thought of not increasing the ceiling has never been given serious consideration due to the consequences such an act would create.

7) If we default on our debt, the U.S. Treasury would need to make good on our debt and would still have to come up with money for new bills coming through. This would require skyrocketing the interest rates the Fed charges banks and corporations to borrow money.

If we don’t increase the debt ceiling, spending would essentially need to be stopped to levels of revenue already coming in. Keep in mind that due to the consequences involved in stopping the spending, unemployment will increase thus resulting in less tax money coming in.

To stop the debt from increasing you would need to make dramatic changes in both revenue and spending at limits that would throw the country into depression.

Taxes would need to be raised on all Americans to levels not seen in over 60 years.

Military spending would need to be cut to levels not seen since before World War I.

Medicare, Medicaid, all Government agencies (VA, FDA, USDA, EPA, OSHA, etc) would need drastic cuts or elimination to keep the debt from going over the ceiling.

Cuts in veteran services, hundreds of thousands of government employees laid off and as a result, these people would no longer able to contribute to the overall economy due to their lack of employment.

So, by going into default, all Americans regardless of party affiliation, sex, race, religion, socio-economic class would be severely affected.

Unemployment would skyrocket to levels not seen since the Great Depression.

Small businesses would not be able to secure any loans, and interest rates for big corporations would skyrocket while at the same time revenues would be cut dramatically due to lack of business from the consumer class and government cancelling any deals with them.

The defense industry could cease to exist.

This is not a game, this is serious. By the Republicans once again stalling on agreeing to raise the debt ceiling they are already signaling to Standards and Poor, Moody’s and Fitch that we have an uncooperative government of obstructionist Republican and the Stock Market could take another dive, possibly worse than the one in 2011 affecting everyone who owns stocks regardless of party affiliation.

The mere threat of default carries severe consequences; actual default would destroy ours and the world’s economy to levels far worse than the Great Depression. This is what the Republicans in Congress are threatening to do for partisan political gamesmanship. It has no practical value in governance or the needs of anyone in the nation or world. It is petty and childish.

Regardless of your party affiliation, you cannot allow your representative to even consider such a move. It’s Russian roulette, and most of the chambers are filled.


don-t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover_designLong ago, many on the right realized that many Americans do judge books by their covers. It’s essentially out of intellectual laziness that they do. So they started finding labels for groups, laws, initiatives, etc that people would look upon and immediately decide on the value of what was described and those either promoting or fighting against it. They trust that the people would be too lazy to actually open the book cover and see what was contained inside and what it has done or would do in relationship to their everyday lives. Right wing conservative hit man and propagandist Frank Luntz is adept at this concept.

So for those of you who actually spend time to look behind the cover art created by the right-wing, here’s a sample of the RWNJ Lexicon that shows what they want you to believe by the title/label and what it truly is by actions and intent.

47%: Per Mitt Romney during the secretly taped speech he gave to donors, and as perpetuated by FOX, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators, was meant to refer to those in America who are wholly dependent on government to survive and are too lazy to take care of themselves. Usually ascribed to minorities and those on “welfare”, anyone who gets any form of government assistance. In reality, those collecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (who actually paid into these programs), food stamps, unemployment benefits, veterans, multinational banks and corporations, small businesses, government contractors, active duty military personnel, elected officials all get some form of government assistance. And many of the 47% actually do pay FICA and state/local taxes and/or paid into their Social Security/Medicare throughout their working lives.

American People: Those who support the right wing agenda. In reality, they do not consider anyone who is a Democrat, RINO (Republican In Name Only), independent, non Christian, atheist, Muslim, anyone who’s political, religious and moral compass who doesn’t FULLY run in line with the views of this group, some 70% or more of the nation, as representative of Americans.

Americans for Prosperity: A political think-tank group funded by the Koch Brothers who advocate legislation that will bring prosperity to all Americans via union busting, “right to work” status, deregulations, etc. In reality, their actions only assist those already in prosperity (usually due to being born into prosperity) in keeping it. The legislation they advocate makes it not only more difficult, but often impossible for those in the lower classes to aspire to the prosperity the Koch brothers and their kind already enjoy and don’t want to lose.

Clear Skies Initiative: An initiative imposed in the Bush Administration to counter regulations in the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) that required antiquated coal burning plants to upgrade their plants to bring harmful emissions down. It essentially grandfathered all these plants and excused them from making any upgrades. This was done by the Bush Administration to “save jobs” which is nice, but does little to clear the skies. As a result, the pollution these plants create has been linked in numerous studies to increased premature deaths and cases of asthma and cancer. Studies using methods approved by the EPA have blamed the Detroit Edison plant for 293 premature deaths and 5,740 asthma attacks per year, according to the group Clear the Air. Likewise two old coal-burning plants in Chicago, the Fisk and Crawford plants run by the company Midwest Generation and producing electricity for Com-Ed, were held responsible for 41 premature deaths, 550 emergency room visits and 2,800 asthma attacks in a 2001 study by the Harvard School of Public Health. Numerous out-dated plants in other states cause similar problems.

Conservative: This is the broad term those on the right like to use when describing themselves or anything they do or stand for. Essentially it is suppose to refer to smaller government with limited powers. However, the origins of the conservative movement never made mention of growing government power to determine what Americans do in their bedrooms, what women do with their bodies, or expand government surveillance powers to have unfettered access to what you read, access on the internet, who you associate with, power of corporations over the needs of the people and legislation of religious ideology with force of law, all things fully supported and demanded by the right wing faction of the Republican Party.

Conservative Christian: A common phrase especially by those on the right describing themselves in their bios. However, they ascribe their core principles to things never said by, and in many ways contrary to the teachings of Christ. If Jesus was a conservative, he was a bad one because the Bible clearly shows he supported free healthcare, expected people to sell everything to follow him and aid the poor, indigent and lesser people among them. Jesus made no claim to governance and only expressed anger at the “money changers” in the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Jesus never forbade homosexuality, never said a thing about abortion, and never told the poor to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. “How you treat the least of thee is how you treat me.”

Constitution Constructionist: A term used by those on the extreme right of the Supreme Court and those who support them implying that they will only view constitution rights as the founders intended. However, they seem to overlook the fact that the founders wrote into the constitution the means for changing it along with the times as the need arises. The original constitution as enacted by the founders only saw white male property owners as those who counted. Slaves were only a fraction of a person, women and minorities had no rights. The constitution is by design, and as validated by a clear reading of the Federalist Papers and the letters of Thomas Jefferson a “Living Document” though the right has extreme problems with that definition. Times change and so can the Constitution to address these changes as we evolve as a society and people. The founders knew this to be true otherwise the amendment process would have never been written into the Constitution.

Constitutional Libertarian: This is a new one that I’ve only recently heard. It applies to Libertarians who see the Constitution under the guise of those who cite “Constitution Constructionist” as their policy. As noted above, this is contrary to what the founders intended. They see nothing supporting full equal rights and equal treatment of all Americans because that was not in the original constitution. They also see many things, cite and quote many things not even mentioned, or totally contrary to what it is in the Constitution and her amendments. When I hear “Constitutional Libertarian” I’m left with the thought that it applies to people who take liberty regarding what the Constitution actually says and means.

Death Panels: A very popular phrase that came up during the Affordable Care Act debates. It implies that there were provisions in the Act giving government the right to determine who lives and who dies via what they could or couldn’t get in terms of treatment. In reality, there is nothing to establish such a government panel with that mandate. However, private insurance companies, in their efforts to maintain profitability currently do have “panels” that determine if they will or won’t pay out on procedures based on their beliefs, regardless of what your doctor prescribes or asks for. They can deny payment for any service based on their interpretation of whether it is necessary, experimental, whatever. So if there are death panels, they are actually the part of the private “for profit” insurance companies, not the Affordable Care Act.

Death Tax: A favorite of the right referring to the Estate Tax where they bring up visions of taxing the dead. They imply that no one can get any inheritance from their beloved dead without paying an extravagant tax on it. Well in reality, the Estate Tax only applies to inheritance over $5,000,000.00. Today, 99.87% of all estates pay zero estate taxes. So this only applies to a very small fraction of the 1%. Here’s a link to the myths regarding the estate tax:

Family Values: This implies that only two parents raising their children in a Christian household beholding to the standards set forth by Ward and June Beaver are consistent with “Family Values.” Otherwise you cannot possibly understand or maintain that standard. So single parents, gay-parents, atheist parents, Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/etc parents, non-GOP, etc do not understand and cannot attain true Family Values. It would appear that only a small fraction of American Families have “values.”

Fox News “Fair and Balanced”: Of course, only Fox News is fair and balanced and by that they mean that they will present both sides of any political position, theirs which is always right despite the facts and the other side which is always wrong. The talk shows openly talk about Republicans and Right Wing Agenda as their own. They make no effort to cover that up anymore. They berate and belittle anyone with a differing position time to present their views before they “have to leave it there.” Fox News is clearly one-sided catering to the low-information viewer.

Global Warming Hoax: Citing a handful of email correspondence regarding research methodology is all they have to say that the entire theory of Global Climate Change is false. They usually cite that God controls the environment and there is absolutely nothing out there to support the theory supported by well over 95% of global scientists using peer reviewed literature. It is true that there are some who offer contrary interpretations. However of these people, nearly all are under the pay of Oil Interests and none of their work is peer reviewed. In fact recently a Koch Brother’s research team came back stating that Climate Change is real and is most likely man-made only to be dismissed by the Koch Brothers, who owe much of their wealth to the oil industry.

Job Creators: These are the people who cannot be taxed at a higher rate because they need tax cuts and the extra money provided to them by the federal government to create jobs. Well the problem is they’re not creating jobs despite ten years of the Bush tax cuts. In reality people only create jobs if there is a financial need to do so. In short demand for goods and services creates jobs, not extra cash in the hands of those at the top. Currently thanks to the Bush tax cuts the job creators are literally sitting on trillions of dollars that they are keeping out of the economy and in bank accounts (usually overseas) not contributing to our economy. When the middle-class grows and has more buying power, they spend that money, if the rich get even more money, they sit on it. There are job creators, just not the ones the right-wing like to refer to.

Liberal Media: Any media that isn’t Fox or right-wing talk radio is “Liberal Media” because they are only supportive of the “liberal agenda.” In reality, most media is controlled by the same corporate interests as much of Fox and right-wing talk radio. What’s more interesting is that a study of news stories from all media show significantly higher “negative” coverage of Obama and traditional left-wing causes than positive, despite national favorability polling of the people. There may be media more to the left than Fox, but it can hardly be called “liberal”.

ObamaCare: The epithet applied to the Affordable Care Act. By doing so they made the whole act completely to work of a President that many on the right doubt was ever born in this country, is extremely liberal, and is Marxist. Well much of the Affordable Care Act is made up of Republican Ideas presented during the “Hillary Care” debates of the 1990’s. The individual mandate was proposed by the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think-tank now about to be controlled by Jim DeMint. It is modeled under the conservative model of “Romney Care” that was instituted in Massachusetts. It isn’t liberal by any means, it is actually a center-right response to the Single-Payer, Universal Healthcare that those on the left truly want. However, in calling it “ObamaCare” the right-wing is actually correct in a way they would never admit, Obama is a centrist who does embrace Republican/Conservative ideas as a means of governance, not the liberal he’s portrayed to be by RWNJs.

Right to Work: This applies to Right to Work legislation in various states around the country designed to limit, if not out-law collective bargaining rights of workers via unions. It implies that everyone has a right to work and that union style “collective bargaining interferes in “job creators” ability or desire to create jobs. What it actually does is limit the ability of workers to use democratic principles to join together and as a group demand better working environment and pay than the employers, who need the people working for them, are willing to part with because it cuts into their profit margins. Studies across the nation clearly show that Right to Work legislation often results in lower wages, lower job security, and worsening work environments than states who still recognize and allow workers to exercise their democratic rights to be heard. Further, employment rates in right to work states are often below the national average. It’s not an issue of providing good jobs for workers; it’s providing bigger profit margins to corporations that usually do not translate to better jobs.

Socialist: This essentially applies to anyone who counts on government to supply those things that only government can provide on a fair and productive means. Anyone who isn’t “anti-government” is socialist. Anyone who believes in Infrastructure, Roads, Safe food, Clean Air and Water, Police, Courts, Fire-Fighters, Military being provided by government of the people for the people without a profit margin is a socialist.

Socialized Medicine: Although enjoyed by most industrialized nations in the world at less cost with better outcomes than what is provided in this country. Of course, we actually do have what the right will call “socialized.” Veterans Care, Medicare, Medicaid are all under what the right would call socialized medicine because it’s government controlled and managed and nobody receiving it would be willing to give it up. In reality, it truly cannot be said that ObamaCare is socialized because the heart of it keeps healthcare under the control of the for-profit insurance companies, much to the dismay of those on the left.

Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party: One of my favorite groups to talk about. These are the people who were created essentially as a grassroots, but were quickly taken over by corporate interests. They base their existence that as citizens, they are paying higher taxes with no true representation than ever before. In reality, on a federal level, citizens are paying to lowest federal tax rates in over 60 years and it has even gone lower under President Obama. Further, though they want to pay even less taxes, they do not want any of the services provided by government (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) cut or reduced in any manner. An extremely fun group to work with.

Traditional Marriage: From what the right-wing says, from the “Bible” and throughout history, marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman for the procreation of offspring. Anything outside of that is not traditional and should be outlawed. Of course, many on the right had this same believe regarding interracial marriage. They do not seem to understand that in reality, traditional marriage was a property arrangement and could involve multiple spouses and concubines. In a pragmatic sense, marriage today has little or nothing to do with the history of the union of people more than a legal classification of non-siblings for property rights during their lives together and after death. Nothing in the Bible says that people of the same sex cannot get married. Most of the references to marriage talk about polygamy. But no matter, for these people, tradition is what they cherry pick from history, not history itself.

Union Thugs: An epithet applied to anyone who supports unions and/or collective bargaining rights of workers. This applies to the history of some bad people associated with unions in the past. However by doing so, they ignore what the existence and work of unions throughout our history have provided for all workers over the objections of the business leaders. These are the things that those who assail union supporters as thugs would themselves not likely give up: paid holidays, paid vacations, paid sick-time, safe working conditions, employee benefits, fair wages, family leave, 40-hour workweek, overtime compensation, the list goes on.

There are many terms/labels in the RWNJ Lexicon that will come up in conversation either on talk radio, social media, workplace, or at family gatherings. It’s important to realize that you can’t judge a book by its cover nor can you judge a situation by its label, especially if that label is applied by someone with a narrative to promote. Look at the history and the facts of any group of people, process, initiative or law before applying either negative or positive support for it. This is where we do better than those on the far right-wing fringe, we want to know, they just want to support or disapprove of whatever they’re told by the labels they are given.


no-term-limitsNow I know this position of mine will clearly upset people on both sides of the political aisle, but having seen what implementation of term limits has done in Arizona, and the clear damage a large group of inexperienced legislators can cause to not only State, but Federal government, I stand firm on this assertion.

In my humble opinion, from my observations and read on history, the implementation of term limits has always been a tool by those who can’t quite get the trust of the people to vote for them, by forcing out those who do well in their elected offices. Being a good politician who has the trust of the people is no different from being a good employee. Someone with talent and years of experience, who continues to excel at their job and produce for the employer, or in the political sense, the people they represent.

Now those in favor will rightly point out the power of the incumbency that allows poor politicians to remain in office and how term limits end up being the only way to move them out. However, the way I see it is that this is more the problem of an uninformed and disengaged electorate, not the system. If an elected official isn’t doing their job to the satisfaction of the people, they can (in many cases) be recalled or better yet, voted out in the next election cycle. This has happened more time in history than the other way around, where bad politician remain in office. But again, it’s because of the disengagement of the constituents in the particular district than the system itself. If you require term limits, then good and productive elected officials are also forced out, to the loss of the constituents they represent and who benefit from good representation.

In Arizona, during a time when even though the state was becoming more Republican, the Democratic Party had “safe” seats in the Legislature and we had a good balance of representation. Both sides were experienced in working together for the benefit of the people they represented. The democrats who were in office for the most part were very good and experienced representing the people. However we had an issue where it was discovered that some Democratic representatives were involved taking bribes. The push was made by the Republicans to enact a constitutional amendment creating term limits in the State House and Senate that passed. Problem solved? Well, what was expected and designed to happen, happened.

Both good and bad representatives were term-limited out of their seats. Now these were people with years of experience representing their constituents who were replaced (mostly by Republicans) who had little to no experience in how to legislate, negotiate and govern. They didn’t know the rules; they had no experience in negotiating across party lines. A large group of inexperience, right-wing legislators took over the House and Senate. The only place they could go to in order to “learn the ropes” were party staffers and lobbyists. So by placing a large number of inexperienced representatives in positions of power, the real power switched to unelected staff members and lobbyists who had different agendas from “serving the people.”

Sure enough, gridlock became more partisan, more pro-business legislation came to fruition and as these people ended up being term-limited themselves, just as they were getting to learn things on their own, another group of inexperienced legislators came in who were also dependent on party staffers and lobbyists to show them the way. This is why Arizona is now listed near the bottom in terms of governance in the country. We use to do pretty well before term limits came to play. Now it’s the lobbyists and party staffers fighting for a different agenda, using elected people as figure heads.

Many call for term limits in Federal office. Each election cycle the call goes out because people remain in office that others feel have an unfair advantage. If this was to go into effect, I promise you a continuous recycling of the 112th Congress every four to six years. Now although it wasn’t due to term limits, in 2010 due to the “Tea Party” revolution which itself was due in part to voter disengagement, a large number of extreme hard-line, right-wing, Tea Party representatives came to the House and Senate. Most of these elected officials had little to no experience in governance. So guess who they went to in order to learn the ropes? Like in Arizona, the staffer and lobbyists actually have more control over what’s happening in Congress. Again, the agenda wasn’t for the people, it was for the Republican Party (staffers) and big business (lobbyists) because they legislated for their agenda using the inexperienced people elected to sit in Congress as figureheads.

It’s true that some very bad in unproductive elected officials would be eliminated if we had term limits. Nut jobs like Jim DeMint and John McCain certainly come to mind. But by that same rule, imagine what good, experienced and productive legislators we would have lost before they worked much of their magic for the nation. Ted Kennedy and yes, even Mr. Conservative Barry Goldwater. Many accomplished representatives do leave when their time comes, either by retirement or death, but by remaining and honing their skills as legislators over time, that includes working with the other side for the common good of the people, they control the process, not the staffers or lobbyists, which is what we have in State Houses with term limits and due to voter frustration in recent years, the House and Senate. The issue in my opinion isn’t term limits, its’ voter engagement. If the people are not actively a part of the system, the system will fail them as it did in 2010.

I don’t expect all or even most of you reading this to agree with me, but from my perspective, regardless of the political leaning of any particular candidate in office, I would prefer one experienced and seasoned enough to do their own work and have the tact to work with those on the other side, than be almost completely dependent of professional party staffers and corporate lobbyists, using those people for their own agenda.

I leave you with one thought. After being elected to a fourth term as President, the Republicans (when they took over the Congress after World War II) pushed for the amendment limiting the President to only two terms. They did so because FDR was so good, so effective they feared another one taking his place. Imagine if that amendment was in place before FDR was elected, he would have been term limited just before the outbreak of World War II when we needed the most experience and political savvy man in the Oval office that we could get. If we had another president in office on December 7th, 1941 I shudder to think how we would have done afterwards with a new president just learning the ropes. We don’t force good experienced and productive employees from their jobs because they’ve been there too long (at least good businesses wouldn’t) so why should we with politicians?