Tag Archives: gun control

Counterbalance: Polarization Can Be Good!

First, let me wish people a belated joyous Spring Equinox, and an early Happy Easter.

Aside #1: I wonder what all these fundamentalists in Walmart and elsewhere would think if they knew the actual origins of the Easter Bunny, eggs, and so on.  They’d have a fit!

Ok, now for today’s “good news” monthly post…

There was an enormous March for Our Lives last weekend, with hundreds of thousands of kids and their supporters marching all over the country, to advocate for gun laws.  Cable news had all-day live coverage, and the organizers (the Parkland school students) were being interviewed quite a lot.

As the country seems to move to opposite positions on gun control, I am actually pleased by this.  I am pleased because the contradiction between positions can’t stay at this heightened awareness for long, and change is coming.

We’ve reached a kind of tipping point regarding gun violence, and it’s about time.  Only the most hardened, stupid, reactionary people would argue against some firearms restriction now.

Those few folks…and the National Rifle Association – which is basically just a firearms manufacturing lobby group – might object, but it’s too late for that now.  No one buys their bs.

Also helping is the information that the NRA has apparently been laundering money from Russia (“Senator Seeks Documents on Russia Money Links to the NRA”, Desmond Butler, Associated Press via the PBS website, 2/2/18).  I’m fairly sure that won’t sit well with most Americans.

I’m not sure what kind of legislation will come out of all this, at least until the Democrats regain control.  I’m glad the dialogue has appeared to move from the “mental illness” emphasis to the “availability of assault rifles” focus.

So, that’s the first good piece of news.

Big news for Tool fans (and I am one of those) – the band is finally releasing a new CD in April.  It’s been 12 years since their last CD.   Also being released next month, a new CD from one of Maynard’s other bands, A Perfect Circle.  It’s been 14 years since they released all new material.

Maybe they’ll go on tour, too, though I doubt I could afford the tickets and if I am still in central PA they most likely won’t play at a venue near me.  Plus, I don’t know anyone who would be willing to take me – Tool has a cult following, mostly comprised of people far younger than I (though Maynard himself is 53).

Great news on the Russian investigation – Mueller’s team wants to interview 45 soon, and 45 doesn’t have decent legal representation.  Most of his legal team has quit, and two of the remaining lawyers – McGahn and Cobb – are attorneys for the office of the presidency, not the for the president himself.   Jay Sekulow is his only personal lawyer left (“Trump’s Legal Team is in Shambles. The Timing is Terrible.” Zachary Fryer-Biggs, Vox website, 3/27/18).

The Mueller investigation is also looking into Jared Kushner’s business dealings with Russia, China, and Qatar (amongst other places), and how these contacts and business deals might be connected to 45 and his election campaign (“Mueller is Taking a Closer Look at Jared Kushner”, Abigail Tracy, Vanity Fair website, 2/20/18).

Aside #2: I’m not going to comment on the “president and the porn star” news, because I don’t think it’s going to amount to anything.  I think there are much more important issues than 45 paying someone off to not talk about his disgusting sex life.  

Terrific news on the fight against cancer:  A Canadian woman is in remission from lung cancer due to a Cuban vaccine.  She had been given only one year left to live, and her husband went searching for a way to help her because the traditional chemotherapy she was receiving wasn’t working.  He found an organization called CubaHeal, paid $135 and submitted paperwork to the company, and his wife was approved for treatment.  So, off they went to Cuba, she got treatment, and now there is no evidence of cancer (“Woman in Remission After Treatment in Cuba”, Colton Wiens, CTV News Regina website, 3/13/18) .

It’s not cheap, this Cuba thing – a trip to Havana, plus injections, costs $14,500 (Ibid).

But, thanks to the Idiot-in-Charge, Americans can’t travel to Cuba now (“Trump Administration Sets New Restrictions on Americans’ Business Ties and Travel to Cuba”, Tracy Wilkinson, LA Times website, 11/8/17).  He’s just mad that they wouldn’t let him build one of his monstrosities of a hotel there, so of course everyone else has to suffer (“Trump’s Conflicts of Interest in Cuba, Carolyn Kenney and John Norris, Center For American Progress website, 6/14/17).

I am hoping maybe researchers/drug companies will look at this medication, and make it available here.

For those who can’t/won’t take fish oil supplements, some good news for you: A recent meta-analysis of 10 trials involving 77,917 participants published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found “no significant association with reductions in fatal or nonfatal coronary heart disease or any major vascular events” (“Associations of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement Use with Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Meta-Analysis of 10 Trials Involving 77,917 Individuals”, Theingi Aung, MBBS, FRCP, Jim Halsey, BSc, Daan Kromhout, PhD, et al, JAMA Cardiology, 3/18).

So don’t waste your money.  Hey, I think they are nasty-tasting things, anyway, so I am delighted to impart this news to my PCP’s intern, who keeps insisting I take them.

I scoured the internet for more good news, but I was OD-ing on human interest stories, cat and dog rescue narratives, and the like – so that’s all for this week.

Now for the weird news: From Punxsutawney, PA, this great quote – “It’s probably a misunderstanding on their part, because Phil is the messenger.  He doesn’t actually create the weather.”

The context? “Punxsutawney Phil Wanted by Police for Bad Weather Forecasting”, David Moye, Huffington Post website, 3/26/18.  Because the latest snow really pissed off some Pennsylvanians.

Pennsylvanians are weird.  Everyone knows this!

Recommendation for the week:  Are you old enough to remember the TV series “The Avengers”, starring Dame Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee?  I found episodes on Daily Motion!  Here’s the link.  For those of you not old enough, check it out – it was a very amusing, well-written bit of madness and you might enjoy it.

Be good. Be kind.  If you see Phil, don’t blame him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lives Ended, Nearly Everyone Offended, and a Wedding Unattended

This post was written over several days, so might seem a little choppy.  I am still really sick.

On Sunday, June 12, a gunman stormed a gay nightclub and shot 102 people, killing 49 of them. He called 911 and a tv station – and even posted a Facebook message – pledging his allegiance to “ISIS” and said he was killing people because of American foreign policy in Iraq, amongst other things.  I don’t want to get into specifics because I don’t think his “message” is anything more than the hateful ravings of an extremist.

He chose “Latin Night”, and there was some suggestion that he had some problem with Latinos. One of the survivors – Patience Carter, an intern at a Philadelphia Fox TV affiliate – was told by the shooter that she was safe because he wasn’t targeting African-American people (“Patience Carter: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”, Heavy website, Daniel S. Levine, 6/15/2016).

Other than that, no one is sure why the popular gay nightclub was selected by this creep.  His wife, who is cooperating with the FBI, has stated that she helped her husband “case” the nightclub and also Disney World, and apparently she knew what he was planning to do.

Her excuse for not telling anyone?  She was trying to talk him out of it, she says.

I think – and this is my opinion only – that she knew, she approved of what he was doing, and only after the feds traced the cell phones she and her husband used during the attack (because some self-absorbed young people, no matter how insane, have to jabber on the phone and post things online no matter what they’re doing) did she “cooperate” because she knew they had her dead-to-rights and she didn’t want to get the death penalty.

There is no excuse for not telling anyone when you know for sure that someone is going to kill another person (or 49!).  None!  Some have suggested that maybe she was afraid of him, a battered woman.  But there is no evidence of that, and let me tell you, that as a survivor of some horrific physical abuse…

…one thing – sometimes the ONLY thing – that we survivors have in common is that we are much more likely to run off and tell on the abuser if he is going to target someone else.  I don’t mean “maybe some future victim at some point”, I mean “this person is going to be hurt or killed if I don’t do something”.

Like our kids.  Like our pets.  Like someone the abuser has named to us as his target.  So I don’t buy that she knew but was too afraid to tell the police or the FBI.  I would bet others in his family knew, too.

And this guy was American.  He was born here to immigrants from Afghanistan.  What a way to pay back a country that took your parents in.

His father supports the Taliban and has run for president of Afghanistan, all from the safety of his American home.  He has bank accounts in Germany, and has solicited funds online, according to investigators.  No one seems to know how he supported his family (“Omar Mateen’s Father ‘s Bank Records Eyed, Says Source”, Newsday website, Newsday Staff, 6/16/2016).

But we don’t arrest people for how they think, or for soliciting funds online.  That’s not how our country works.  We don’t hassle people for expressing political views, usually (many on the left might disagree, and I would be one of those I guess).  Some political views.

So there wasn’t really any way to prevent this event, law enforcement says currently.  A few people have stated they told the FBI that this killer was making “radical” statements, or expressing violent ideas and plans, but so far…we hear no response from the FBI.

Of course, this all just fuels xenophobia and anti-Islamic sentiment, both of which I do not feel/think/support.  And, of course, Trump uses this to crow about how he keeps warning the American people about “Islamic terrorists”.  He would just lock everyone up, according to what they believe.

And…the House and Senate argued over 2 gun control bills – and didn’t pass either one. Conservatives made the “slippery slope” argument, and also insisted that semi-automatic assault weapons are “recreational”.

I don’t think we ought to allow anyone – besides our military – to have weapons that are designed to be used in military conflicts.  The idea that the American people have to arm themselves because their own government is going to one day declare martial law and then somehow confiscate over 3 million guns is beyond ridiculous – it’s paranoid and scary that so many people (like the NRA) actually believe this.

Aside #1: Of course, I would prefer not to have any war, ever.  I don’t like the thought of war and I pretty much oppose all of it.  WWII was the only legitimate reason for us to go to war, and I wish we had gone sooner because we might have prevented the Holocaust.  I don’t think, though, we ought to have bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Every war since WWII has been for the sake of money, and I oppose that vehemently.  Life – all life – is too precious.

These “patriots” actually think that their government is going to attack them, militarily.  And take their guns.  And put them in some kind of camps.  Because the government is their enemy.

They have survivalist organizations.  They have training camps.  They are ignorant, scary people.

You want these people defending you in bars and other public places?  You want more people to die in the crossfire because these “Muricans” feel they have to kill everyone in sight?

Their supporters are Trump, the NRA, Mitch McConnell, and others who spout their support of such lunacy – though usually they couch it in different words.  They imply, they hint, but their crazy gun-nut fans know what they mean.

Why?

When did “patriotism” come to mean “hatred of our own government”, “twisting the constitution so that only certain people have rights”, and “stockpiling assault weapons to shoot anyone I deem suspicious”?

Who lives that way?  And why do people with money and power, i.e., gun manufacturers and politicians, care what these stupid yahoos think?  Certainly they aren’t a majority; most Americans do not want people to own assault weapons (57%, according to a recent poll by CBS news; “Poll: Majority Backs Assault Weapons Ban”, The Hill website, Jessie Hellmann, 6/15/20160).

This gunman got his assault gun (AR 15) and handgun legally, even after passing background checks and some kind of psychological exam (though I can tell you, those are useless) – so “stricter” laws won’t help with this.  The weapon needs to be completely unavailable.  There’s no legitimate use for it besides killing people.

But, despite some elderly Democrats staging a sit-in at the House of Representatives until they get some bills debated and passed, nothing’s being accomplished.  It’s painful to see this group of people – older than I am – sitting on a floor that you know is causing them a lot of physical pain (“A Sit-In on the House Floor Over Gun Control”, The Atlantic website, Nora Kelly, 6/22/2016).

The House has no filibuster rules as the Senate does, so this is what the politicians came up with.  I guess, for some, it’s a throwback to the old days of protesting.

Oh well, if it works…ok.  I will support anything that gets any kind of gun control laws passed.  I am sick of the NRA and their cult of death.

In the background of all this important stuff, we have Trump reading a speech off a teleprompter – part of his “improved, more presidential” so-called change – attacking Mrs. Clinton with no proof of anything he’s said. The only difference now is he yells less.  He is still trying to blame her for everything he thinks her husband did 20 years ago, calling her “lyin’ corrupt Hillary”, blaming her for every conflict the US has gotten into, bringing up things the Republicans have tried to indict her with but can’t (after many investigations and so on), and just making things up.

MSNBC, normally a somewhat liberal channel, is gushing all over this “new Trump”, stating he now has a chance to win and so on.  Claiming that Mrs. Clinton is personally attacking him, rather than pointing out that she is merely exposing his history of failed businesses and quoting him verbatim all the evil that spews forth from his mouth.

Aside #2: It seems to me that MSNBC doesn’t really care who wins, as long as they can get entertainment value out of the candidacy (except maybe for Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, who really do seem to care). CNN is not much better, as it seems they have nearly doubled-down on the amount of Trump surrogates they have on their shows.  Really sickening.

Let this idiot pay for his air time, like every other candidate.  Oh wait, he can’t – he only has $1 million left, because he spent much of his campaign money paying himself and his family (“Donald Trump’s Self-Funding Includes Payments to Family and His Companies”, NY Times website, Alan Rappeport, 6/21/2016).  I guess he must still be manipulating the TV press for his own purposes.

And don’t expect him to debate Mrs. Clinton, ever.  I can’t see how he can do that, because she has knowledge about the world and how the US works, and he doesn’t.  He doesn’t even seem to understand the concept of the branches of government and what each one does.  He doesn’t seem familiar with the Constitution.  He doesn’t understand foreign policy or how to treat other world leaders with respect.

She will wipe the floor with him.  Unless he somehow can negotiate to have some aide standing right next to him, passing him notes or whispering in his ear.  Or maybe he can feign having a cold…for months.  Or laryngitis, so his surrogate has to literally speak for him.  I don’t know how he’s going to get out of debating her, but he will try, because he’s stupid.

Yep, he is. He’s not intelligent, he’s not savvy, he’s not educated.

He’s just a guy who inherited a shitload of money from his daddy, who only continues to be rich because he stiffs people, defaults on loans, and pulls his money out before the businesses he mismanages fails.  He also was an obnoxious TV “star” – one of those outrageous and disgusting individuals that a certain percentage of Americans find so amusing (I have never watched any “reality” TV like that, because I find people like that aggravating).

He is free market capitalism personified.  Why anyone, especially working people, would think this guy won’t exploit anyone and anything if he became president, is beyond me.  That’s what he does.  He is in it for HIM, no one else.  He has no love for the people.

Mrs. Clinton needs to keep pointing these things out, things Trump has done to hurt people.  If she and Elizabeth Warren continue to poke his sore spots this way, they will cause him to blow up again and again, until no one can stand to listen to him whenever he opens his mouth.

Already, 70% of Americans hate him.  And still he continues to take every criticism of him – his greed, his arrogance, his hatred of the poor – and says “Oh no, that’s HER, not me!”  As if just saying that makes it true.

I am so proud of Hillary Clinton.  She keeps her cool, her humor, and she hits back and hits back hard.  I cannot wait to see what our president does to Trump!  He will eviscerate him!

And finally…the wedding.  My lovely, wonderful daughter is getting married on Friday the 24th. In Seattle.  And I can’t go, because I am sick.  I am so sad about this, I can’t even express it.  But I can’t even go 5 minutes in a car without vomiting, let alone travel for hours on a plane.

She understands, of course, because she’s that kind of person.  I am, of course, beating myself up about it and crying as I read about her wedding preparations on Facebook.  I hate living so far away and would do anything to move to Seattle to be closer to her and my grandson (who is a teenager now).

This living far from your family really sucks…and to think one of the reasons I moved here from Memphis was because I couldn’t get healthcare to get a kidney stone removed (because Tennessee chooses to not participate in either the ACA or Medicaid).  Now I am stuck here…yes, the healthcare is decent, so is the mass transit, so is the low crime rate…but I miss my kids.  I miss working, I miss having a car, and now I am missing the most important thing of all – my daughter’s wedding.

Be good.  Be kind.  Don’t move far from your family, if possible.