Thursday, May 31, 2012

Canada Laws prove that gun control works

In its drive to open the world to more guns, the U.S. has now decided that our neighbors to the north are ripe for the picking.  Mexico remains lucrative but why not invade a country with sensible gun laws.  U.S. gun runners see a rewarding market in Canada where certain kinds of guns are hard to get because of stricter laws.  Criminal groups and terrorists up north are finding a ready supply of weapons smuggled from the U.S. by “straw” buyers from Michigan to Florida.

In the years 2007 to 2011, Canada submitted  6,574 guns to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for testing; a small amount compared to the 99,000 guns sent by Mexico.  However, virtually 100 percent of Canadian guns were traced to the U.S. with over half linked to a retail purchase as compared to Mexico where two-thirds were traced to U.S. manufacturers or importers, one-third to a U.S. retail purchase. 

Not allowed in Canada
The difference in violence between the two countries is obvious with the Mexican drug cartels wanting AK-47 assault weapons and the Canadians looking for handguns.  They are used by drug rings, Asian ethnic groups, Mafia types and motorcycle gangs.  The Canadian government decries the “comparative ease of gun purchasing in the U.S.  Former Toronto mayor David Miller commented: “For us, it's a river of guns flowing north."

Canada gun laws are specific in their regulations.  As an example, in Canada the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law.  No automatic firearms or certain type of handguns and no automatic or assault weapons.  You must pass a background check, character references are required for a gun license, and records are maintained on gun ownership.  Also, you must re-apply and re-qualify for a firearm license every 5 years.  Training and testing are also required.

Now who could possibly find anything wrong with gun laws like this?  Easy, the thugs at the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) and their collection of a few million member bootlickers who bow to the organization like the Oceania subjects to Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984.  It’s pathetic but NRA head, Wayne LaPierre, has these poor souls right where he wants them.  Sitting at the kitchen table making out checks to his group of goons.

And get this…you cannot carry a concealed weapon in Canada unless you are a part of law enforcement.  What will all those helpless people on the street do when they have no NRA gun totin’ protection against the hordes of bad guys that are always lurking in the shadows to do them harm?  Should American concealed carry nutcases come across the border to rescue those in distress?  Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter.

And here are some figures that will blow your mind.  I would like to see you gun worshippers deny these facts.  In the last year that numbers are available, 2009, Canada had a total of 173 gun homicides compared to 11,493 in the U.S.  OK, you said the U.S. population is much greater than Canada’s and you are right.  Deaths per 100,000 people in the United States were 3.7 compared to only 0.5 in Canada.  Figures don’t lie.  Canada is safer with stricter gun laws.

There have been changes in the Canadian firearms program.  One, you no longer must register non-restricted firearms.  And it was decided to destroy all existing non-restricted firearms records.  In case you are not familiar with Canadian gun laws, non-restricted firearms are rifles, shotguns, and any not referred to in the restricted category.  Isn’t it interesting that these people have actually registered their handguns and no one has taken them away yet?

NRA storm-trooping membership
So we’ve covered all the bases when it comes to sane gun control and proved without doubt that you can have gun laws that restrict gun ownership and still not have all-out gun violence on the streets.  It is clear that a civilized country can still pass and maintain gun control laws that work, something that has to be initiated by its government.  Are Canadians just smarter than Americans, or is it just a higher level of common sense?  Whatever the case, it works.

If I had to put my finger on the U.S. problem it would be firmly pointed at the NRA.  With their lobbying expertise, gun manufacturers that keep the till full, and a slew of loyal, if neurotic, members, they have pushed this country to the point where killings by guns is an accepted daily occurrence.  All this is compounded by an inept Congress that is scared to death of Wayne LaPierre and his NRA bullies.  The final blow is the fact that these screwballs think they are right.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Will Arizona be the pulse of the Hispanic vote in November?

I raise this question because Arizona is the center of immigration reform on the state level with its first nationwide anti-immigration bill SB-1070 that is still before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Arizona v. United States was argued April 25, 2012, and the question presented was whether federal immigration laws preclude Arizona’s efforts at cooperative law enforcement and preempt the four provisions of S.B. 1070.  The high Court is expected to give its decision in June.

Arizona Federal Judge Susan Bolton blocked the most contested provisions of SB-1070 in July of 2010, shortly after the law was passed.  That is what sent the Arizona gang of autocrats gyrating to the Supremes.  There are no other officials in other states throughout the U.S. more vocal than those from Arizona, with their challenge to Judge Bolton’s decision as the centerpiece.  What the Supremes decide will have a definitive effect on Latinos in Arizona and across the country.

The villains in this whole fiasco are easily identifiable and are at the source of many of Arizona’s many problems.  These three, along with a state Republican legislature that is clearly on another planet, can also be credited for most of the ridicule that is regularly thrown at the state.  The terrible three are Gov. Jan Brewer, former state senator Russell Pearce, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Together they resemble a very untalented Three Stooges.

Jan Brewer is laughable as perhaps the most incompetent governor to ever serve a state in this country.  Brewer is detested by most Hispanics for signing SB-1070.  Russell Pearce, the main supporter of SB-1070, was voted out as a state senator, primarily by Latinos because of racist and other extremist views.  Joe Arpaio has endeared himself to Hispanics with his regular sweeps that pick up illegals—and even legal citizens—for minor offenses of the law for ID.

NY Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer on Hispanic vote:
There are 1.8 million Latinos in Arizona in 525,000 households, just under 30 percent of the total population, with an average age of almost 26.  59 percent of this group is making more than $35,000 a year which puts them in a formidable position to determine the outcome of Arizona elections.  If they can be convinced to come to the polls.  But even some of the legal immigrants are scared to come to the polls because of the threats of Brewer, Pearce and Arpaio.

The fact that the Dream Act is still important to Hispanics is a recent protest in Phoenix, and it wasn’t against Republicans but aimed at democrats for not doing enough.  This only emphasizes what many Latino advocates have been saying of late.  It will make little difference if you get this group enthused over the November election if their concerns aren’t turned into priorities by both parties.  President Obama promised to overhaul immigration in 2008 and hasn’t fulfilled.

Another Hispanic concern is education, according to a poll from the American Federation for Children and the Hispanic Council for Reform and Education Options.  58 percent of Latinos in five battleground states want more on what the candidates will do, compared to 49 percent overall.  This parallels interests from African-Americans in the past because they wanted better educational standards for their children.  Jobs, the economy and federal deficit are also ranked high.

The NPR article above estimates that 22 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in November, with a potential voter turnout of up to 12 million.  This is a 26 percent increase over 2008 and would be a new record.  However, on Univision, the Velasquez Institute predicts that national Latino turnout this fall will be no higher than 10.5 million votes cast.  What makes all this important is the fact that President Obama was the first to win the office without the white vote majority.

Arizona is now a hub for protest for a pro-Hispanic ‘super PAC’ aimed at Mitt Romney.  At a fundraiser in Palm Beach, FL, Romney acknowledged the possibility of losing the Latino vote.  He said, “If its {Dems. momentum} not turned around, it spells doom for us.”  In the Los Angeles Times, a new national poll, conducted for NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and Telemundo, showed him trailing the president 61% to 27% among Latinos.

The liberal super PAC began airing TV spots in Arizona on May 24, where the strategy is to characterize Mitt Romney in the same light as two of the most “reviled” politicians in the Hispanic community: Gov. Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Brewer endorsed Romney just before Arizona’s February primary, Arpaio stayed neutral having endorsed Rick Perry who quit the race.  The ad runs several weeks in English and Spanish.

Arizona is clearly evolving from red to purple with the Latino population reacting to SB-1070 and the sweeps of illegals by Sheriff Arpaio.  That’s the best sign progressives have seen in Arizona for years but the question is whether they take full advantage of the situation.  There are non-Hispanic white and black populations that must also speak out in November.  They are there.  But apparently not as passionate as conservatives.  This needs to change now.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gun deaths versus car crash fatalities…who wins?

NRA philosophy

A lot of articles have been written about this new report by the Violence Policy Center, many simply documenting the number of deaths on each side with the conclusion that in ten states, more people have died from firearms than in motor vehicles.  It is the kind of study that the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) and its members cannot argue with, considering the recent increase in obstacle driving causing auto accidents, like texting, while you are on the road.

There is also a good analysis of the report on the New Trajectory site that goes into detail on the study findings with quotes that point out just how much new gun control regulations are needed.  The report accentuates that while auto deaths are on the decline due to years of education and injury prevention strategy, “firearm deaths continue unabated.”  In my view, entirely the result of NRA pressure on conservative state lawmakers caving to the sheer force.

I thought I would concentrate on just one state in the study to point out just how loose gun laws have led to more gun deaths.  The state is Arizona…where I live.  Yes, we have the loosest gun laws in the country and it is the result of a bunch of gun loving fanatics backed by a state legislature and Governor that bow to this group in order to be re-elected.  It is still the Wild West here and many residents are proud of it.  Others, progressives like me, look at these people with pity.

Arizona had 856 gun deaths in this study of 2009 data compared to 809 motor vehicle deaths.  Here’s another interesting statistic I calculated: although Arizona is 2.1 percent of the U.S. population, it has 2.7 percent of its gun deaths.  Arizona is number 2 in the country behind number 1 Michigan with 1,095 gun deaths to 977 motor vehicle deaths, with Virginia coming in 3rd with 836 gun deaths to 827 motor vehicle deaths.  You can see the other seven states in the report, above.

An interesting video on how gun ownership is diminishing:
Kristen Rand, Violence Policy Center’s legislative director, comments that firearms are the only consumer product not regulated by the federal government for health and safety.  Thanks to the NRA and its head thug Wayne LaPierre.  Americans are experiencing new safety regulations that protect them in their cars and from others on the road.  But not so with guns. 

Rand thought gun deaths exceeding motor vehicle deaths was “stunning,” considering that 90 percent of U.S. households own cars when only one-third own firearms.  More than stunning, it is tragic.

Members of Arizona legislature

Charles Heller of Arizona Citizens Defense League, a gun rights group, has his own figures.  To show you the inaccuracy of the NRA led, gun worshipping gang, Heller says there were 50,000 who died in crashes compared to 32,000 from guns, the latter close.  The VPC reports from their study that there were 31,236 firearms deaths in 2009, 36,361 motor vehicle deaths.  In Arizona there were 12.98 gun deaths per 100,000 residents versus 12.27 motor vehicle deaths. 

Arizona is hell-bent on allowing its gun toters to carry their weapons anywhere anytime.  They can already carry them into bars but were recently denied taking them on college campuses and in public buildings.  The state legislature has threatened to introduce both bills again.  State Sen. Ron Gould is running for the U.S. Congress and is firmly behind both pieces of legislation.  It is obvious that Gould is courting the gun-totin Tea Party that has a firm hold on Arizona politics. quotes VPC on tightened gun regulations and education: “Comprehensive regulation of the firearms industry and its products could include: minimum safety standards (i.e., specific design standards and the requirement of safety devices); bans on certain types of firearms such as “junk guns” and military-style assault weapons…”  Now this would sound reasonable to most thinking individuals but not to dimwit gun nuts.

Arizona’s own Charles Heller, who rejected calls for weapons design changes, said: "You want them to be dangerous or they're no damn good. Making them safer adds complexity, and that has unintended consequences.  The only true safety in firearms is the person using it."

And therein lays the problem.  Too many of those “persons” walking around the streets of Arizona and other states throughout the country with a weapon they hardly know how to use.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day origination loosely connected to Civil War vets who founded NRA

The Civil War had ended and the country was looking for a way to honor the dead.  There were several false starts but the end result was today’s Memorial Day holiday.  It was primarily guns, mostly rifles that were used to kill the other side in the War Between the States.  Soldiers were recruited to fight, some with little or no real instructions on how to use their weapons.  It was a war that was put together rather hastily.

But it was a couple of Civil War veterans from New York that were concerned about the state of marksmanship in the military and who decided to do something about it.  It was 1871 when the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) was founded by Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate.  The purpose was to promote and encourage rifle shooting.  The organization’s first president was Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, also a Senator and governor of Rhode Island. 

By the way, this comes right from an NRA site. 

Their goal was to establish a rifle range that improved marksmanship, and a site was built on Long Island, NY in 1873.  But the promotion of marksmanship met opposition from some New Yorkers—probably a Michael Bloomberg ancestor—which forced the range to move to New Jersey.  They got the youth involved and this is still a cornerstone of the NRA.  We are talking about gun education here, something clearly absent with most state gun regulations today.

So where is all this going?  The site, Common Gun Sense, posted an article last week on the celebration of Memorial Day and where we are today when it comes to guns.  It talks about the “stunning” number of lives lost to gunfire in our communities.   “Every year, 100,000 Americans are shot. Of these, about 30,000 die from their injuries. This includes homicides, suicides and accidental shootings.”  And much of this can be attributed to the NRA and the gun lobby.

In the years since inception, the NRA, headed by CEO and Exec. Vice President Wayne LaPierre, has managed to turn a worthwhile movement, originally designed to promote gun education, into a bunch of power-hungry thugs whose main thrust is to put guns in the hands of every person in the U.S. and make sure they can carry them anywhere they want.  Oh, and their political appetite for power has now exceeded guns and is into other causes like immigration, etc.

NRA with blood on its guns

Memorial Day is now a celebration for all those who have served their country in war.  The time has come to establish a memorial for those who have fallen at the hands of gun freaks like George Zimmerman, now charged for the killing of Trayvon Martin.  We need a day that articulates the gun violence that is increasing in this country in a way that will illustrate to a public that has been brain-washed by the NRA that guns do kill people. 

It is interesting that the NRA initially supported the Gun Control Act of 1968 and even helped draft portions of the bill that was introduced by Senator Thomas J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut.  Then it later turned to its true nature and opposed the law.  Wayne LaPierre has served as the NRA head since 1991 and during his reign has produced the loosest gun laws ever enacted in the U.S., perhaps the world, which have resulted in a rapid increase in gun deaths.

I started documenting monthly shootings in the U.S. and resulting deaths in March; something you gun worshippers cannot argue with, and the results are frightening.  In March there were 38 shooting and 40 deaths.  Then April surged to 69 shootings and 66 deaths.  But the lunatic LaPierre raves on about the 2nd Amendment and how it protects gun owners.  Well, it is time to examine the “how” and consider completely revamping its meaning.  And now!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Obama must go to the trenches to win in November

During the middle of April, a CNN poll of registered voters showed the President leading Mitt Romney by nine points if the vote was held then.  Today, a Washington Post-ABC News poll reports that they are tied at 47 percent.  The latter does show that overall, 49 percent are actually in Obama’s corner with 46 percent for Romney.  The CNN poll was conducted just 2 days after Hilary Rosen said that Ann Romney hadn’t worked a day in her life.

Other polls found that the decision by President Obama to approve gay marriage could hurt him but nowhere is this proving to be a major barrier in voting for him.  Christians say he can have the gay vote and 2010 exit polls say he received 70 percent of it.  The GOP garnered 31 percent.  With 3.5 percent of Americans identifying themselves as gay/lesbian, that is just under 11 million potential voters that must be convinced that they can expect more from a progressive.

John Boehner
President Obama political strategy:
The CNN poll says that 55 percent of women are in Obama’s corner compared to 39 percent for Romney.  With an all-out assault against the ladies by the GOP, it’s hard for me to understand how any woman could vote Republican, except maybe Ann Romney.  House Speaker John Boehner continued the rage recently by pushing a House bill that “…seriously weakens the Violence Against Women Act.”  And there’s a lot more where that came from.

Abortion, the constant push to repeal Roe v. Wade.  Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law recently moving the ban on abortions from 20 weeks to 18.  Many of these laws “…omit reasonable exceptions for a woman’s health or cases of rape, incest or grievous fetal impairment.”  All include criminal penalties and fines that make doctors reluctant to do an abortion.  Republican lawmakers, with the religious right on their backs, think only of re-election, not the pregnant woman.

Jan Brewer
Access to health care is also threatened as evidenced by another stupid move by Jan Brewer to eliminate funding in Arizona for Planned Parenthood.  These funds were already blocked from being used for abortions, now this dingbat has cut off care to women for care like cancer screening and family planning.  This is the only place these folks had to go.  Last year the House GOP tried to limit PP funding for birth control, cancer screening and other preventive care.

Equal Pay.  President Obama has been attempting for three years to improve on the “…1963 Equal Pay Act to enhance remedies for victims of gender-based wage discrimination…”  He wants to “…mandate that employers show that wage differences are job-related, not sex-based, and driven by business necessity.”  It is beyond me what possible difference it could make to a man that his female counterpart is making the same as him.  Unless it’s a masculinity thing.

Domestic violence.  The Senate tried to renew the Violence Against Women Act, designed to protect victims of domestic and sexual abuse.  But the House version omitted protections for gay, Indian, student and immigrant abuse victims.  In some cases this will make the abused stay with the abuser, ultimately resulting in more violence.  Of course this isn’t a Republican voting block so why should they care.

Romney is still seen as one who will likely change his position on issues to fit the situation with more feeling that Obama will stand up for what he believes than Romney.  Now if I was looking for someone to depend on doing what they said they would do after the election, it would be hands-down-Obama.  The president will hopefully have a more favorably stacked Congress after November so he won’t have constant GOP opposition to everything he presents.

The economy is the thing.  80 percent of Americans still think it’s bad but 54 percent feel positive about the future and 58 percent think their financial prospects will improve.  Obama has promoted tax breaks for small business, wants to end oil and gas subsidies and wants to allow the millionaire tax breaks to expire.  Romney is against the latter two, has recently touted the 100,000 jobs Bain Capital, his former company, created.  And of course, cut, cut, cut taxes.

The President has an edge on Independent voters with a differential somewhat favorable in age/income, but these numbers are hard to confirm and maintain.  My guess is still that the Hispanics will get their act together and it will be this vote that helps re-elect Barack Obama, and give the Dems. additional seats in the House and Senate in states where they have the numbers.  The question is what kind of campaign will Romney run.  On the issues or Karl Rovish??? 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Are militia fanatics a real threat to America?

“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.”

That’s the 2nd Amendment, and although it is in grave need of updating, is nevertheless a part of the Constitution.  And the Supreme Court now says that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that weapon for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.  The question arises over just how far private militias can go in enforcement.

About half the states maintain laws regulating private militias.  Wyoming forbids them entirely.  In states that do not outlaw them, private militias are limited only by the criminal laws that apply to all of society.  In other words, many states and the federal government believe that these militias are not necessary for the control of law and order and discourage their formation.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm of these self-proclaimed gun-totin fanatics.

Schaeffer Cox

In Alaska three of these wingnuts are on trial for compiling a huge arsenal of weapons and plotting the murder of government officials.  Isn’t Alaska where another gun freak by the name of Sarah Palin comes from?  The leader is Schaeffer Cox and his two henchmen on trial with him are Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon. 

Their organization, Alaska Peacemakers Militia, was preparing to “…take up arms against the government, and ‘be sufficiently armed and equipped to sustain a take-over of the ‘government’ or become a new government in the event of a ‘government collapse.’”

In the process they would kill two government officials for every one militia member killed, or as they expressed it, “241” (2 for 1).  In the trial there’s the typical defense of ensnarement using an informant.  The three were portrayed as devout Christians only trying to defend their family and themselves.  And they have supporters such as Norm Olson, founder of the Michigan Militia, who finds nothing wrong with what the gang of three is doing.

Norm Olson
The next question is just how many of these lunatic groups are currently loose in the U.S.?  According to a special report, there are some 411 with the largest group the Michigan Militia with over 10,000 members spread out over almost all of the state’s 88 counties.  Now that’s scary for local residents when you consider the Michigan Militia agrees with the tactics of Schaeffer Cox and his Alaska Peacemakers Militia.  Cox also has a group called the 2nd Amend. Task Force.          

In 2010 Cox was accused of choking his wife and in the weeks following was arrested during a police interview with the residents of a home where he attempted to force his way in with a knife and a .380-caliber semiautomatic weapon.  During his pretrial hearing Cox “denied the legitimacy of the Alaska state court system.”  His statement was: “I am a sovereign, a man of peace, but capable of war.”  These people are completely off the spool.

Crackpot Schaeffer supporter:

In more twisted antics, Cox tried to serve papers on a Judge for being a criminal by serving the state, then told a state trooper that his (Cox) militia “troopers” being “outmanned, outgunned and we could probably have you all dead in one night.”  He took on the sovereignty position again claiming that according to the Constitution, he was now required to resist all means against him in order not to be a supporter of the government.  This is so far in right field it is chilling.

NRA militia
Last but certainly not least, where does the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) stand on militias like the above.  Brady Campaign V.P. Dennis Henigan says, “The militias' view that the Second Amendment protects our other rights, by ensuring the potential for armed insurrection against the government, is indistinguishable from the long-held constitutional ideology of the National Rifle Association.”

Henigan quoted an NRA official as saying, "the Second Amendment . . . is literally a loaded gun in the hands of the people held to the heads of government."  Not to be outdone, the NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre exclaimed to last year's Conservative Political Action Conference that our rights as Americans mean little unless we are ready to defend them against the government by force of arms.  This is even beyond terrifying.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

GAY MARRIAGE: do you want it or not? The Bible doesn’t oppose it

Caitlin Stark of CNN has “done the numbers” on gay marriage and has come up with the following results:

  • 11 countries worldwide have legal same-sex marriage
  • There are 646,000 same-sex couple households in the U.S., as of 2010
  • 3.5% of Americans identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual
  • Same-sex couple households have grown by 80.4% from 2000 to 2010
  • Only 48% of Americans oppose gay marriage in 2012, compared to 68% in 1996
  • 115,064 same-sex couple households in the U.S. have children
  • The District of Columbia has the highest percentage of same-sex households in the U.S. at 1.8%

These numbers all come from qualified sources like the Gallup poll.  And the most significant findings in relation to the November elections are the facts that there has been a surge of same-sex couples since 2000, and the opposition to gay marriage has dropped by 20 points.  That’s almost 30 percent.  That would seem to indicate that either the religious right has lost much of its influence over the issue, or just a lot of Americans have finally opened their minds.

In another Gallup survey taken the first of May, 50 percent of respondents want same-sex marriage compared to 48 percent who don’t.  And although the Dems. were solidly for and the GOP was mostly against, Independents approved at the rate of 53 percent with 44 percent against.  Interestingly, 40 percent of Americans said that President Obama’s decision to back same-sex marriage will have an effect on their vote in November. 

The President will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination in North Carolina in September.  That state just approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  The much needed Independent vote indicated 23 percent less likely to vote for Obama, 11 percent more likely.  However, overall 60 percent of Americans were unfazed.  Yet on the other side of the aisle, the Republican Party chairman claims most Americans agree with Mitt Romney’s stand against.

Barack Obama is the first U.S. President to come out in favor of the ultimate right for gays.  It will no doubt garner the gay vote, and he didn’t have the conservative religious right anyway.  So what’s the take down?  The question is just where does that 66 percent of Independent voters stand on the matter that haven’t indicated being for or against?  Also, there have been rumbles in the Hispanic community of dissent but probably won’t cost him their votes.

“According to a report released in May 2011 by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, same-sex relations are still criminalized in 76 countries, and in five of those countries the death penalty can be applied (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania and Sudan).”  From the GlobalPublicSquare blog, the Netherlands was the first to make it legal followed by countries like Canada, Norway, Sweden and Spain.
President Obama on gay marriage:

But in many issues such as this, whether you are a devout Christian or a confirmed atheist, in the U.S. it ultimately comes down to what is in the Bible.  Say what you want but we do put a lot of faith in the “good book,” regardless of our interpretations.  The Bible is well documented and if you ignore the reworking from generation to generation, the original substance usually survives.  So many will be surprised that, “Nowhere does the Bible actually oppose homosexuality.”

Shocked?  Southern Baptists are probably clicking off my blog right now, if I didn’t already lose them with the headline.  The above is a quote from Daniel Helminiak, who was ordained a priest in Rome, is a theologian, psychotherapist and author of “What the Bible Really Says about homosexuality.”  He is currently a professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia.  He says the Bible is “ho-hum on homosexuality” unless you talk of abuse and injustice.

In the above article link, Helminiak talks about biblical passages re. male-male sex, resulting in their women exchanging “natural intercourse for unnatural.”  Although the apostle Paul called this dishonorable and unseemly, he added that even he was held in dishonor for preaching about Christ.  Also describing homosexuality as an abomination, Paul did not condemn male-male sex, and he never used ethical terms in its description.

Just how the GOP will use Obama’s decision against him in November will say a lot about how low they will stoop to win an election.  I wonder what Karl Rove, whose father was gay, would do with the President’s decision to back same-sex marriage?  Rove recently accused him of politicizing it.  But there is one thing for sure, we know that the Tea Party will do everything in their power to turn this into a nasty attack on Obama.  Like all the rest of their unscrupulous tactics.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gun nuts claim gun control advocates espouse an American Holocaust

This charge comes from a site called Front Porch Politics who says they believe in America.  Maybe, but as it turns out in this post and others like it, it appears to me that they believe in a dark America shaded by radical conservative causes.  As an example, another recent post was, “Barack Obama’s Lawyer Admits Birth Certificate is forged.”  I Googled the title and came up primarily with a bunch of wacko sites that appear to have little credibility.  Sites like

The blame for this accusation goes to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) and its Exec. Dir. Josh Horwitz who is quoted as saying: “The concept of a ‘monopoly on force’ might sound foreign or even frightening to Americans that take great pride in our revolutionary beginnings, but it is the fundamental organizing principle of any political entity, including the United States.”  What could anyone find wrong with that with even a minimum trust in government?

But the Front Porch fanatics do by calling Horwitz’s statement “foreign” and “frightening,” then proceeding to rewrite the Revolutionary War to show why every individual in America should be allowed to own and carry a gun, anywhere they want, and with absolutely no training whatsoever.  With the gun worshippers it always comes down to that.  Don’t you brain dead people understand that we are no longer fighting for our freedom.  Like the Civil War, it’s over.

However, the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) has managed to embed in these peoples’ minds the fact that we are once again fighting the U.S. Government in a 21st Century reenactment of the Revolutionary War.  We aren’t.  As an example, FP compares Josh Horwitz’s citing of Max Weber, a German political economist and sociologist as an example of extreme right politics because of Weber having been associated with Karl Marx.  So has Barack Obama which is also absurd.

If you want to see who Max Weber was, see it here on Wikipedia.  According to Wikipedia, Weber is often cited, with Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.  The gun craze phenomena can certainly be considered an integral part of modern social science.  Horwitz is focused on his belief that if the Constitution is working, and we must admit it is except when we consider Congress, peaceful means should be used.

Arizona immigration sweeps

Horwitz’s opinion was in answer to a tweet that asked the question: “So govt rounding up citizens based on relig/ethnic id would not warrant armd resistance if courts bless as constitutional”  They do this every day in Arizona, at least pertaining to Hispanics, and so far I don’t see the gun lobby’s militia coming to their defense.  FP, quoting an writer by the name of Kurt Hofmann, would have Latinos in Arizona take up arms to fight their battle.

Arizona’s anti-immigration mess is tragic, but at least so far they have elected to take the peaceful way.  And that is in spite of the Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s and Russell Pearce’s who alone could provoke a revolution.  FP states that we have a “sacred” duty to check our government; there goes that biblical connection again.  We do and if we don’t like what it does, we vote to change things.  That’s where the Constitution works and if you don’t like it, change it. 

And of course no article about guns could be complete without waving the 2nd amendment in our faces.  FP says, “we possess a Second Amendment for a reason and it isn’t for hunting. It is for self preservation, for the protection of life and property and to keep tyrants in check.”  The last time I looked, we had a police department and the U.S. military to do that.  And where I come from they do it very well.

But here is a Front Porch statement that is alarming: “When they step outside of their bounds we must hold them accountable.  This is not that we take up arms against them every time they violate the Constitution. On most occasions, we simply seek to do it peacefully at the ballot box.”  It almost sounds like the initiation speech for a group of militants bent on overthrowing the U.S. Government.  Probably not but they bear watching.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Arizona competes with the Indy 500 in its race to ridicule

Laurie Roberts
Laurie Roberts, columnist for the Arizona Republic, said it best: “Aaaaaaaaand we're off to the races once again,” referring to Sec. of State Ken Bennett’s recent move to demand President Obama’s birth certificate before guaranteeing him a place on Arizona’s November election ballot.  Bennett says he is not a birther and actually thinks Obama was born in Hawaii.  What we’re talking about here is a group of crackpots called the Tea Party that have Bennett by the b*&%s.

Bennett just so happens to be the co-chairman for Mitt Romney’s Republican presidential campaign in Arizona, and Romney must be wondering now about his judgment in this matter.  Unfortunately, he’d have a hard time finding an un-looney Republican in Arizona.  On an Arizona looney scale, Bennett would come in around a 5 compared to the likes of Gov. Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce and former county attorney Andrew Thomas.

Ken Bennett, Pres. Obama
It is so pathetic that it is hard to figure out how the average Arizonan can live with this demeaning treatment by their friends across the country, yet still elect the same group of idiots to run the state government.  Just combine an inept and clueless Gov. Brewer with a bunch of Republican legislators who are only interested in lining their pockets, re-election, and loose guns and you have inane government.  Some of you Arizona residents must be smart enough to see this.

But wait.  There’s another factor involved in the mix of idiocy and incompetency.  Ken Bennett is considering a run for governor in 2014 and in Arizona, if you want to win anything politically, you’d better have the TP fruitcakes on your side.  But interestingly, it didn’t help former state Sen. Russell Pearce when voters booted him out of office.  Russell is running again which just takes Arizona’s comical political climate to a new level that he could still find serious supporters.

Ken Bennett was asked just why he decided to raise the Obama birther issue after it had been verified so many times before.  His answer was that he was acting on behalf of a constituent.  Who was the constituent?  He couldn’t remember.  Ludicrous. 

HILARIOUS Birther Madness in Arizona: The Movie

Can you believe that these people get away with this crap?  It’s been a while since Bennett requested the certification from Hawaii and he hasn’t yet received anything, according to his office.  The last word I heard from Hawaii was that they would fulfill the request but that the Sec. of State had not proved that he needed it.  The man filled out a form he got online and sent his $5 money order, and he still couldn’t get it right?  Based on his predecessor, he’d make a great governor.

Brewer finger wagging on another issue

Gov. Brewer, in one of her few lucid moments, vetoed legislation last year that would have required presidential candidates to confirm that they are a “natural-born citizen.”  She didn’t want to give the Sec. of State—that would be Ken Bennett—the authority to decide a candidate’s eligibility.  Brewer probably had more delusions of doing this herself.  But now we have to decide whether Bennett did what he did for the TPers or is he just pissed at the Gov?   

Laurie Roberts confirmed that Kenny-boy had not asked the other candidates, including his close pal, Mitt Romney, for their verification of citizenship.  But in President Obama’s case she laments: “So if the state of Hawaii decides that the state of Arizona is certifiably insane and refuses to comply, will Bennett refuse to put the president of the United States on Arizona's ballot?

“That’s possible,” Bennett said.

Roberts adds, “Yes, because it's been 10 minutes or so since we were a finger-wagging, militia-loving, gun-toting, sovereignty-seeking circus sideshow on the national landscape.”  God, don’t you love this woman?

And it’s off to the races again!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The NRA’s imaginary world of guns for self-defense

The National Rifle Assn. (NRA) has repeatedly cited the 2nd Amendment and the need for firearm protection in self-defense issues.  It’s even gone so far as to push its “Stand your Ground” law that allows the cowboys to shoot first and ask questions later.  A recent post I did on these points out the fallacy in the legislation with the result that even more will die unnecessarily from stupid laws like this if the NRA isn’t stopped dead in its tracks.

NRA weapons training

Wayne LaPierre, the wacky head of the NRA, had nothing more to say about the Trayvon Martin killing by George Zimmerman than deriding the American media for “sensational reporting from Florida.”  This bunch of thugs has no remorse for a black teenager who just wanted to be left alone.  Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and a doctor confirmed that he had a broken nose, bloodied, and had bruises. You can see his police booking video, below:

Dennis Henigan, Vice President of the Brady Campaign, comments on the surveys the NRA uses to prove the “good guys” need their firearms for protection but calls our attention to the ambiguity of their findings.  The Harvard School of Public Health conducted two telephone surveys asking about the self-defense of guns.  This was submitted to a panel for their opinions of the legality of claimed self-defense use.

Brady Campaign's Dennis Henigan

It found that, “…over half were rated as probably illegal by a majority of the judges.”  Further that, “…over two thirds of the self-defense gun incidents were reported by only six respondents, with three respondents claiming fifty, twenty and fifteen self-defense uses of guns each within the previous five years.”  These gun bubbas are so proud of their weapons that they feel obligated to pump up the figures.  But it is an indication of the credibility of what the NRA uses.

Additional analysis of the survey showed that the respondent’s response was suspicious in that it sounded like it might have been aggressive rather than defensive.  And research by the University of Pennsylvania provided the fact that gun-toters were 4 to 5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those without a gun.  Data from the FBI find that less than 3 percent of annual gun homicides are justifiable self-defense killings.

And in another Huff Post article by Jess Coleman, “How the NRA hijacked America,” he reminds us of all the mass school shootings from Columbine to Oikos University.  He laments that both Congress and the NRA have kept silent.  The White House did react after the Tucson shooting that injured former U.S. representative Gabby Giffords, but then also fell silent.  Americans live their everyday lives in potential fear while lawmakers, including Obama, do nothing.

Coleman reiterates that due to the NRA’s efforts, the United States is home to almost 300 million privately owned guns.  That is close to one for each individual in this country, although we know that many NRA households are more than adequately stocked.  He continues over how the NRA ramrodded the “gun show loophole, which currently makes it possible for criminals and fugitives to purchase guns without a background check.” 

Lee Harvey Oswald
Because there was a period in the past where the NRA was more cooperative, Coleman asks what happened?  He answers this through Jill Lepore’s book, “Battleground America,” and the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was able to buy his rifle through a magazine and have it delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.  This prompted the Gun Control Act and scared the hell out of the NRA.  From then on it was to the trenches led by the 2nd Amendment.

The Supreme Court has agreed with the right to bear arms but seems to be guarded as to whether that means just in one’s home, or outside that domain.  But it was Chief Justice Warren Burger who said, this interpretation is "one of the greatest pieces of fraud ... by special interests groups I have ever seen in my lifetime."  We’ve all heard the arguments over what James Madison referred to in the creating of a militia for protection.  We haven’t defined just what he meant.

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