Middle Class Destruction Coincided With The Rise Of The NRA

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  • Reaganomics, without a doubt, was the beginning of the end of the American middle class, where one patriarchal income could actually support an entire family. A decent factory job could enable a man to raise a family while the wife helped raise the children and groom them for an eventual college education. Women, though paid less, are now forced to work. The jump in working women has been especially prominent among those who are mothers — from 37 percent in 1968 to 65 percent in 2011. If men were always the sole breadwinners and now rely on women to help a family to simply survive, a seldom-discussed consequence of this is emasculation and resentment of women. Misogyny, known best by the label  “Feminazis” (thanks Rush) has made many men turn to violence through guns, but not always against women.   Guns are a substitute for the emasculation of their earning power.

Right in the heyday of Morning In America, 1982, Senator Orrin Hatch teamed up with the NRA-ILA to make Americans reexamine the 2nd Amendment, which was almost as irrelevant as the Third (the government cannot force citizens to house soldiers in their homes). Hatch’s viewpoint was an insurrectionist interpretation, in which the Second Amendment is thought to allow for a militia of armed citizens to protect themselves against government, not the original framers’ intent of preventing uprisings against the government by the states. Slowly but surely, the conversion of the middle class to the working-poor took its toll on the masculine psyche.  There is no question, Reaganomics commenced the hollowing-out of the middle class.

From Reagan To Obama, The Middle Class Declined Sharply
From Reagan To Obama, The Middle Class Declined Sharply

The power and influence of the NRA, even after there was an assassination attempt on the Deity of the Republican party, Ronald Reagan, skyrocketed thanks to the Republican alignment with the gun industry. Gun ownership has always been fairly high for Americans, but the laws regarding gun-control legislation have become less and less popular.  Because of insane contributions from the NRA-ILA, gun laws have been relaxed, even though most (78%) Americans are for stricter laws for the acquisition of guns.

Party Determines Support For Stricter Gun Laws
Party Determines Support For Stricter Gun Laws

If you look at the history of mass shootings in America, coincidentally, the count begins in 1982.   Does this irrefutably prove the decline of the middle class causes more gun violence?  No, not entirely.  But it certainly seems suspicious the reinterpretation of the Second Amendment coincided with the evisceration of the middle class that began under Reagan’s tenure.

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Time To Revise The Second Amendment

As the casualties from America’s long love affair with guns continue to mount to levels unparalleled in other developed countries, the idea of vastly overhauling the Second Amendment is seldom considered . In 1982, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was commissioned to do a history of the Second Amendment in Strom Thurmond’s Senate Judiciary Committee. This is when the lost amendment (as it was known because no one ever wrote about it) was successfully manipulated to serve the bottom line of the profit-driven National Rifle Association. This was the beginning of the end of sensible discussion on guns. The NRA along with Reagan and Utah Senator Hatch helped usher in an era where hundreds of thousands Americans have needlessly been killed by a gun.

The facts are very clear: nations with stricter, almost prohibitive laws on guns have minute levels of gun deaths when compared with our country. The Second Amendment wasn’t designed to arm all citizens. Verifiable statistics and study shows states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides. This is fact. More guns equal more homicides, suicides and gun-related accidental deaths. Naturally, the gun-pushers will pawn the issue off as a mental health matter, but the prevalence of mental illness in a society is only weakly correlated with gun-related deaths. Guns are responsible, in the USA, for the deaths of more people, occurring more easily and more often than gun-free societies.

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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. This does not mean every Tom, Dick and Henrietta out there should brandish a lethal firearm. The big problem is we have over 270,000,000 guns in America. How can our nation change the insanely psychotic statistic that there are 88 guns for every 100 Americans?

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One way to vastly lower the number of weapons is to offer a gun buyback program. These events have enjoyed tremendous success for the gun owners and the community. In cities like Baltimore, Los Angeles and Phoenix gun buy backs were wildly popular and beneficial. What happens when the gun buy back becomes MANDATORY by law? How does that fare?
After the tragedy in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996, Australians collectively decided to outlaw casual gun ownership and made it extremely complicated to own a firearm. The buy back was a success and the country has not had a mass shooting in over seventeen years. By outlawing all semi-automatic rifles, along with semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns, and then created a restrictive system of licensing and ownership controls, the Australians enjoy a far lower gun homicide rate. It CAN be done in America, but no one will try to battle gun manufacturers who enjoy the fewest restrictions on liability and loosest regulations of any industry.

1. A federal firearms trace database is off-limits to the public
.The ATF can’t require gun dealers to conduct an inventory to account for lost or stolen guns; records of customer background checks must be destroyed within 24 hours if they are clean enough to allow the sale; and trace data can’t be used in state civil lawsuits or in an effort to suspend or revoke a gun dealer’s license.
2. The military can’t impose additional regulations on service members who own guns. Less than one year after the Fort Hood shooting, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., introduced a bill prohibiting new regulations on Defense Department personnel’s private guns. It also prohibited commanders from inquiring into private gun ownership.
3. You can carry a gun inside a national park or check a gun when riding Amtrak. In 2009, Congress voted to allow visitors to national parks and wildlife refuges to carry a loaded firearm. (Previously, the guns had to be locked, unloaded and stowed away).
4. (Perhaps most importantly) The gun industry is shielded from many lawsuits involving criminal misuse of guns. The law has not stopped gun litigation, but it has created an obstacle for litigation, where judges are more inclined to dismiss suits of negligence filed against manufacturers and dealers for not taking proper safety precautions.
5. Congress has removed federal funding for firearms-related research. So in actuality, we don’t have accurate data reflecting the trend that a gun in the home makes you FAR MORE LIKELY to be a victim of gun violence than those in households without a gun.

The lower 48 states are all connected to one or more states. Prohibitive gun laws in one state will not change the rates of gun homicides if an adjacent state has much looser laws. The entire country must be united to achieve the goal of lessening the unacceptable levels of gun-violence. With a mass shooting almost weekly, we have yet to hit the tipping point where people are fed up enough to change the gun culture. The lawmakers are far too well financed by gun companies to be motivated to change policy. The myths that more guns indicate a safer society are believed by far too many.

It’s time to stop the malicious, calloused and irresponsible people from twisting the Second Amendment and put sanity back in our legal system. Senseless gun proliferation is the problem, PERIOD! Guns kill, statistics don’t lie and Americans don’t need to die needlessly from senseless gun ownership. No small change will make a difference. It’s time to apply the Second Amendment as it was intended. If only outlaws have guns, wouldn’t their chances of ownership be a hell of a lot smaller if the Black Market price of a gun approached $10,000+? Couldn’t the problem be mitigated by charging exorbitant prices on ammunition? Of course these ideas all could work, but without the country coming together to achieve this goal by taking drastic measures, these gun-induced nightmares will continue.

Gun Shows: Breeding Grounds For Right Wing Extremist Views

Las Vegas is an attractive destination for all sorts of expositions; with its abundance of convention space as well as the shows, gambling and adult entertainment. The weekend of November 2-3, 2013 was no different. This was one of the three Rocky Mountain Gun Shows, held each year in Sin City. Based out of Salt Lake City, held at The Southpoint Hotel, the show attracts a heavily conservative crowd with self-professed Libertarian values. In other words, these are not just gun collectors, these are radically right-wing ‘patriots’ wishing to stockpile weapons and ammunition. After all, President Obama is ushering in the End Times, and what better way to prepare for the battle between good (gun-toting, Republican patriots) and evil (any Democrat or supporter of liberal causes) than to arm oneself to the teeth.

I thought it was a a great opportunity to get a look into the minds of these folks by asking what they thought of the Second Amendment, Obama and guns in general.  I wrote down some questions for a friend working at the gun show and, not surprisingly, she found a few folks more than eager to share their opinions on these topics.

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More guns does not equal more security

Tables and tables of ammunition and powerful weapons fill the ballroom where folks can come and sell their guns and purchase others with only a minimum of scrutiny.  The NRA and GOP seem to follow the same playbook, through their magazines, talk radio and internet publications, they provide stock answers to typical questions.  I must mention the questions were geared to comply with the mindset of the typical gun show attendee.  Here are just a few examples of the marching orders they receive from NRA-sponsored sources. It’s no surprise, these gun shows are a hazard to a functioning society as they legitimize armed insurrection against a democratically elected government.

The first question:  I am concerned we are becoming a nation of big government.  Are you afraid our gun rights will be revoked? 

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Millions of rounds of ammunition
  • The government’s mindset is control.  (except the government has not passed one new gun-control measure)
  • The only thing keeping big government in check is the (proliferation) of guns. (Can the average citizen seriously compete with a Hellfire Missile or a Stealth Fighter Jet?)
  • Crime rose in Australia 300% after revoking gun rights.  (crime did not rise more than any other year in 1997, the year of the gun buyback)  
  • The anti-gun groups hated the Bill of Rights (how in the hell could they possibly know that? The guns at the time were muskets and bayonets)
  • The Second Amendment was designed to keep the government in check.  (The Second Amendment reads: “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.”  This means owning a firearm is designed for the purpose of forming a well-regulated militia. With the help of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R), the NRA successfully marketed the second amendment to suit the greed of the gun manufacturers for whom they answer. He helped form the NRA-ILA
  • Gun owners often compare gun deaths to other causes of death. They feel baseball bats and cars are valid comparisons to gun deaths.  
    Since some people have been beaten to death with a baseball bat and many have perished in auto accidents, why don’t we remove the right to use these items as well? Last I checked, there are millions of Americans who play baseball and millions more who somehow manage to drive every day without intentionally running someone over.  This is a ridiculous comparison since a firearm is brandished only to render lethal force to harm and/or kill someone.  

 Next question asked: Why would an average citizen need a semi-automatic weapon? 

  • Naturally, the first response was ‘self-protection.’  A family must protect themselves from home invasions.  Because when you want someone dead, they’d better be really, really dead. 
  • The media is giving these weapons a “bad name.”  This statement is laden with so much stupid, I don’t know where to begin.
  • If you want to go hog hunting, you can kill many more hogs in a shorter amount of time.  Apparently, wild hogs travel as a family unit, rarely seen in large groups of that would justify 3 rounds a second.  If you need a semi-automatic weapon to kill hogs, you must be feeding a large village.  Don’t we have supermarkets in America?
  • Every gun owner needs to have proper training on each gun they own as each gun has unique features. That statement unfortunately omits the thousands of untrained children who find a firearm and accidentally kill or injure someone.  

Finally, most folks refer to the Democratic Party as the “Democrat Party,” which is an insult started by Senator Joe McCarthy to make sure they implied the party was anything but democratic. Every gun owner interviewed at this show said they were afraid the “Democrat Party” was interested in grabbing their guns.

It completely blows my mind how people think a Black President hasn’t sparked a resurgence in gun violence.  When Right Wing Hate Radio encourages people to forget about calling 911 and try to handle emergency matters on their own or by urging listeners to take up arms against their government, we will most assuredly see an uptick in gun-related homicides. They are pathological psychopaths and they are a danger to society. The acquisition of lethal weapons by an angry, bitter segment of the population surely won’t result in a peaceful, logical society. Simply consider the George Zimmerman types who frequent these gun shows and what they have in their personal arsenal. Hate groups have doubled with the election of President Obama peaking at an all time high in 2012.

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Dangerous Fundamentalism: The Taliban and the American Tealiban

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Irony can be defined by the incongruity which occurs when actions of a group mirror the behavior of a people whom they fear and despise most. Following the 9-11 tragedy, our united front was focused mainly on eliminating the terror breeding grounds established by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Taliban imposed a form of government that was unacceptable and offensive to most Americans. Absence of democratic process, equality, Islamic law and the utter subjugation of women in their culture were the antithesis of what we deemed a free society. Their total domination of media, organized rebellion against a government they considered tyrannical and Islamic ideological purity seemed so unpalatable to the Christian crusaders of the mighty USA and the George W. Bush military machine.

Yet, as the Republican Party slides down the slippery slope towards Old Testament principles, the Conservative movement mirrors the Taliban more than they realize. The Teaparty can often be referred to as the Tealiban

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The dangerous policies and religious doctrinal mandates are far more similar than either group would willfully acknowledge. In the areas of vaccination and vital medical care, religious denial of science and the subjugation of women and the proclivity towards a culture obsessed with guns, American Fundamentalists and Taliban Extremists are hardly discernible.

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The Koran and the Old Testament treat women as sinful creatures by nature. The image of Eve as temptress in the Bible has resulted in an extremely negative impact on women throughout the Judaeo-Christian tradition. All women were believed to have inherited from their mother, the Biblical Eve, both her guilt and her guile. The Koran has many quotes such as this Al-Tirmidhi 3272 – “When Allah’s Messenger was asked which woman was best he replied, ‘The one who pleases (her husband) when he looks at her, obeys him when he gives a command, and does not go against his wishes regarding her person or property by doing anything of which he disapproves’.”

In the eyes of the Draconian religious zealots, women are simply vehicles for reproduction, and should only provide enjoyment and servitude for men. The unbelievably chauvinistic and restrictive fundamentalist laws of both the Taliban and the disregard for equal protection for American women by Judicial Magistrates are becoming hard to decipher.

The American Fundamentalists are very much against science and medical progress much like the Islamic government of Afghanistan. Recently, a Pennsylvanian couple who believe in the power of prayer over medical care lost their second child by eschewing medical attention. States like Washington and Oregon are seeing a resurgence in Pertussis due to a fundamentalist-driven hysteria against vaccines. The fallacy of autism being caused by vaccines plus the unwillingness to interfere with god’s plan are beyond dangerous and should never be acceptable in modern America.

Because women are simply unclean and sinful beings, they have far less protection than men in Taliban society. Laws regarding the healthcare and well-being of Afghan women are so restrictive, they suffer much higher mortality rates due to pregnancy and childbirth. In Afghanistan, perhaps the only thing more dangerous than being a woman is being a pregnant woman in need of medical care. A 2002 survey counted 1,600 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The cause of death was most often hemorrhaging or obstructed delivery, both preventable if skilled health care is available.

To make matters worse, foreign aid administrators, who provide vital vaccinations are treated with suspicion and unwarranted violence by the Taliban. Ten foreign medical workers were murdered because they were believed to be spies, while simply trying to administer polio vaccines to the very poor. Americans simply choosing to ignore the proven scientific benefits of vaccines and willfully putting their children and others at risk is certainly a step in the wrong direction as well. If vaccines and science are viewed as suspicious and interfering with “god’s will,” society is well on its way to massive medieval medical malpractice.

The American leaders of megachurches and fundamentalist sects often rally against their perceived threat of a tyrannical government by encouraging more gun ownership within their congregations. “Blessed are the Peacemakers? Absolutely. Make mine a .45 Colt with a 5 1/2 inch barrel.” This comment and many like it have been commonly overheard in sermons all over the Bible Belt where guns and god go hand and hand. The Taliban often sacrifices children by using their religion to justify violence.

I’ll just say it in plain English. Most of all the world’s plight of inequality, violence and atrocities committed against humanity are attributed to RELIGION. The societies who enjoy the highest standards of living and happiness are the LEAST RELIGIOUS. As a country founded upon the principles of separation of church and state, one of the most important steps to averting misery in this country is to stop kowtowing to the demands of fundamentalist insanity and stop the madness of Biblical thought that so greatly resembles those who we are fighting against halfway across the world.

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CPAC 2013 and Selective Mandates Show Republican Ignorance

A few weeks ago, I ran into an old acquaintance from Connecticut, who was in our fair city for a few days. The first thing he told me was how absolutely bizarre Las Vegas seemed as to display numerous gigantic billboards advertising the opportunity to fire an automatic firearm. For someone from the eastern seaboard, this is rather anomalous.

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Billboards like this one are very common in Las Vegas, Nevada

In light of the obvious mass shooting tragedy that has rocked the civilized world, especially New England, any reasonable person visiting the City of Sin would find it callous and objectionable to glorify this type of weaponry. I told him this is rather de rigueur here and it doesn’t even phase most residents. Las Vegas has much the same attitude as many Red State (or purple in Nevada’s case) attitudes where guns are considered a right and a necessity for the über paranoid who have been hypnotized to believe President Obama is on a Marxist bender to disarm the nation. The Obama administration and his Leftist Army is trying to make the government so invasive, he wants to demand everyone must eat broccoli or arugula and join the New Black Panthers while paying for lazy welfare queens to go to Planned Parenthood for weekly abortions.

As utterly irrational as this may sound, it is not much of a stretch for a few towns in the South. Nelson, Georgia, population 1,300 is labeled “a liberal’s worst nightmare” because they have mandated every head of household own and maintain a firearm. Republicans hate big government and despise any invasion into their personal freedoms. But let’s look at their record of trying to mandate their way into our private lives. If they are offended by government simply trying to keep Americans safe from all-too-frequent massacres, one would think they’d be outraged at the government controlling religious freedom, reproductive health and interpersonal adult relations, right? A reasonable, logical person would think so, but we are talking about the GOP.

Indiana, one of the most Republican states in the country, has put forth a bill to mandate praying in the classroom. The recitation of The Lord’s Prayer has been proposed by an Indiana State Senator. “…The governing body of a school corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school may require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. The prayer may be recited by a teacher, a student, or the class of students.” Obviously the precious First Amendment would be completely dismantled by this idea, but as long it doesn’t restrict an American’s right to own weapons that can shoot 152 bullets in 5 minutes, it’s “on the table.”

New kid on the block and Republican heckler, Senator Ted Cruz (Tx), had the audacity to suggest restricting the types of guns one can own is equivalent to outlawing certain types of books. The false equivalency of the lethality of guns versus possession of certain books elucidates the perverted machinations of Cruz’s mind, which clearly is lost. In case you missed his pernicious exchange with the Democratic Senator, Diane Feinstein (CA) yesterday, here it is:

None of these small government advocates have a problem mandating teachers be armed in the classroom as well. They discard studies that show an increase in firearms is directly proportionate to an increase in firearm-related homicides. Several states have proposed laws to arm teachers and one has even passed legislation practically demanding teachers be armed, as is the case now in South Dakota.

On the issue of women’s health and reproductive freedom, the GOP has been incredibly diligent at legislating their way into the bodies of women, who comprise roughly half the population, no big deal. The anti-abortion bills put on the floor for a vote in the House alone exponentially outnumbers the jobs proposals by Republicans. But it’s even worse in the state governments run by Republicans where they’ve virtually wiped out affordable and safe abortion for poor women, especially in Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota and Michigan. Lest we forget the redefining of a violent act like rape and the transvaginal ultrasound probe requirement many Republicans have supported as mandatory to any abortion procedure, even when the woman is a victim of a sexual assault. This gross interpretation of freedom cost many Republicans their seats in the 2012 election, but it seems these folks have a very short memory, much like a goldfish I presume.

Today, Ohio Senator Rob Portman proclaimed his support and reformed attitude towards marriage equality. He professed how his support for love and acceptance as depicted in the Bible supersedes the traditional definition of marriage also known as DOMA, which was signed into law in 1996 but is slowly becoming highly unpopular and downright offensive to forward thinking Americans.

Do not despair, CPAC 2013 has a unique way of portraying America as hate-filled and intolerant as some of the fine speakers they showcase every year. Florida Tea-party darling Senator Marco Rubio (R) preached his usual science-denying climate change is unproven and a zygote is more important than the mother who carries it garbage. “The people who are actually closed-minded in American politics are the people who love to preach about the certainty of science with regards to our climate but ignore the absolute fact that science has proven that life begins at conception.”

 

Mandates like trying to keep people from drinking too much sugary soda and insurance companies paying for contraception have the right wing in a frenzy. But if you force an Atheist, Hindu or Muslim to recite a Christian prayer, force a woman to have an unwanted child, prevent two loving adults from marrying or allow a mentally unstable individual the right to purchase assault rifles, you are simply following god’s law and doing the work of Republican Jesus. Mandates are only wrong when they don’t make Wayne LaPierre wealthier. Perhaps this is why these guys are outraged over the shut down of White House tours; because deep down inside, in that last microscopic shred of humanity, the GOP realizes they won’t ever see the inside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue any time soon. Elections will be theirs to lose if they continue on this path, and I’m sure not going to stop them!

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Dividing the Progressive Movement by Standing With Rand Paul Insanity

Drones were devised for the purpose of conducting strikes and surveillance over territories deemed too perilous for our own pilots. Unpleasant as it may be to imagine, we have many enemies, through much fault of our own, who wish to harm Americans worldwide. Since their invention, the American military has utilized drone technology in countries like Yemen and Pakistan because the countries are a safe-haven for terrorist activities and they’re very remote. Manned military strikes are exceptionally treacherous. The mere existence of drones is simply for the purpose of launching these offensives in areas that are foreign, so by design, they’re not for domestic use. Perhaps on rare occasion, if a foreign combatant threatened the U.S. and there was no other way (which is quite outlandish) a president could use any means necessary to protect our citizens. However, it never was an issue which an economically hampered America should concern itself with, especially in light of all the other threats which endanger Americans, like teachers in South Dakota legally allowed to carry firearms while instructing children. This is a smokescreen, nothing more, and it is embarrassing progressives fall for such nonsense.

A Kentucky Republican launched a filibuster for what he considers a noble Libertarian cause, emphatically asserting domestic drone strikes should be illegal because they violate due process in a land founded on Constitutional principles. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky/Teaparty) droned on for almost 13 hours over this pressing issue. Paul filibustered the Senate, in protest of ANOTHER Obama cabinet appointment for simple self-aggrandizement and shameless political posturing. He received the following letter a few hours hence from our Attorney General, Eric Holder:

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Courtesy of The Huffington Post

The incessant references to Hitler, the mentions of tyranny, liberty and freedom were numerous and based in fantasy and paranoia, as per usual with this Teaparty caucus. Paul also managed to defend awful Supreme Court decisions which were blatantly racist and abhorrent. Nevertheless, he was lauded by progressives who agreed with Senator Paul’s “brave” filibuster, including Van Jones. Much to my dismay, this man aired his pro-Paul sentiments on “CNN Newsroom,” and called the senator “a hero” for “sticking up for civil liberties.” Similar praise erupted from Senator Ron Wyden (D-Or) and Code Pink. On Friday March 8th, Arianna Huffington appeared as a panelist on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO and said: “I want to defend Rand Paul…I think what Rand Paul did was fantastic…What he did was incredibly important. First of all, it completely scrambled that right-left way of looking at politics.” She critiqued Democrats (aside from GOP ally Wyden of course) for not taking a similar stand. Really Arianna? Domestic drone use is a pressing concern? More pressing than another fiscal cliff, environmental insanity and gun violence? Sorry, ma’am, you’re costing us time and money for contrived threats which benefit the GOP by allowing them to divide Democrats and skirt the real issues. President Obama has never once threatened ANYONE domestically with these highly technical killing machines and he has no intention of doing so.

Naturally, the Right Wing couldn’t thank Paul enough for his obstructionism. Fox’s favorite immigrant-loathing “Anchor Baby” Michelle Malkin heaps praise on Rand Paul for singlehandedly saving the Republican Party.

 

Ironically, immediately following Holder’s letter, which negated his entire thirteen hour charade, Mr. Paul fell in line and confirmed the new CIA director at once. After the dramatic episode concluded, we learned that the whole charade was staged for the purpose of showboating and fundraising. Obviously Rand is unconcerned with the threats to American citizens and real civil liberties as he feels it is more important to allow manufacturers of lethal weapons to sell their products unchecked to a nation incited to violence by none other than the racist agenda he promotes.

The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates over 1200 anti government patriot groups in existence today, where the anti-Civil Rights Act agenda of Mr. Paul along with others like Teabagger Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) operate in perfect symbiosis. Not only is he opposed to the 1965 law which is THE cornerstone of anti-racism legislation in America, but he opposed VAWA, denies abortion as a right and believes Biblical Law should replace the U.S. Constitution. He believes in low taxes for the rich and wouldn’t hesitate to cut funding for the poor woman he forced to birth a baby (after he defunds all women’s care facilities), because this is what Jesus would do. Maybe I forgot how Rand Paul sees Jesus: A White, Southern, GOP, and male chauvinist Jesus, not that Aramaic Semite from the Middle East who preached tolerance, humility and poverty.

Heaven forbid the first black president, or any president, chooses to use a weaponized drone on a person or group threatening the safety of the United States from within. We have an audaciously well-armed police force, FBI, ATF, CIA and four branches of the world’s largest military to defend our citizens. If at any time, a president chooses the drone option for domestic use, we are in so much trouble, I think Rand Paul’s freedom (to wear any animal on his head) is the last thing we need to worry about. Things are about to get real. I’m sure his outlandish soliloquy gave President Obama plenty of time to contemplate a domestic drone-strike option. He is far more tolerant than I would have been, as he dispensed with Senator Paul’s histrionics with a simple NO. Progressives and supporters of Democratic principles should have done the same thing. History will not be kind to the Rand Paul grandstanders of these tough times. This should be the last we hear of this nonsense, but I’m sure it will drone on ad nauseum.

The GOP’s “Concern” About Mental Health Is a Diversion From Their NRA-Inspired Gun Policies

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The invocation of Ronald Reagan’s legacy is a tactic utilized by the Right to more or less humanize their devastating Draconian cuts to basic health and human services, including mental healthcare. This is quite astonishing as Reagan was, perhaps, the most inhumane leader with regards to caring for the least among us and those with legitimate mental health issues. The party of Jesus, (GOP) as we all know, acts quite contrary to his teachings. Monies are always cut in mental healthcare (ESPECIALLY FOR WAR VETERANS) and redirected to fund more private, for-profit prisons instead of properly helping those in need. The unfortunate consequence of defunding such programs have a dire impact on the afflicted and their families. The lack of stable housing and work will certainly exacerbate and create depression and mental illness, substance abuse, family break-up, and crime.

Here are the facts:

•In 1978, HUD’s budget was over $83 billion.

•In 1983, HUD’s budget was only $18 billion.

•In 1983, general public emergency shelters began opening in cities nationwide.

•In 1987, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Act, providing $880 million in homeless assistance funding (2004 constant dollars).

•In short, Reagan deliberately created “homelessness” by cutting $65 billion of housing money and replacing it with $880 million in shelter funding.

The lost funding has never been replaced, and the percentage of low-cost/subsidized housing has been dropping ever since. 100,000 units of low-cost housing have been lost since 1996 alone. When Reagan defunded mental health care and threw the mentally ill onto the streets, he was saying it was not his problem and the American people went along as he de-railed what was an improving situation for those with mental health issues. Now, more than thirty years hence (and countless massacres by those possibly afflicted with mental illness), the GOP/NRA is suddenly saddled with immense concern for the mental well-being of Americans.

The NRA and most of the GOP is obsessed with trying to minimize all the devastation caused by military-style, high ammunition-capacity firearms. They pervertedly believe this problem will be alleviated by fewer restrictions on guns, and accessories which facilitate mass killings. Add this to their shameful history of defunding, defrauding and devastating mental healthcare and we can predict exactly what they’ll do for those needing psychological care and protecting the innocent: absolutely NOTHING.

Another issue the pharmacy-subsidizing GOP (and often Democrats too) won’t address is the over-medication of our children for behavior issues. The pharmaceutical industry has profited immensely from these psychostimulants readily prescribed for ADD and ADHD diagnoses. Without long-term study and the lack of reporting on the matter, we don’t know how adversely they will impact brain chemistry into adulthood.

Maybe it’s not video games or movies that cause these unfathomably egregious acts of violence. Maybe it’s because, according to the United Nations, the U.S. produces and consumes about 85 percent of the world’s methylphenidate (Ritalin). Also commonly prescribed, SSRIs (Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or serotonin-specific re-uptake inhibitor) are a class of medications which have been shown to be a commonality among those who commit violent acts in schools. People who have used these medications might not be the best candidates for ordering a personal arsenal of military-grade weapons and ammo. Perhaps the NRA’s definition of someone who should pass a background check needs some work. As proposed by our President, maybe no one should own weapons the military uses which are specifically designed not just to kill, but to obliterate other human beings en masse.

Studies with regards to mental health issues and guns must include the socioeconomic factors of poverty, the insanely unfair for-profit prison system and the highly subsidized pharmaceutical industry that receives an obscene amount of corporate welfare. Restrictions and regulations are the enemies of Republicans, as they firmly believe both impinge on capitalism and “job-creation.” Since this tenuous concern of the GOP is so very obvious both historically and currently in the areas of mental healthcare matters, shouldn’t they be omitted from the decision-making process? As one who firmly believes history repeats itself when the lessons are not learned from the past, I believe the GOP/NRA-ILA is the last group who should debate and legislate this matter. We all know how anti-education they’ve proven themselves to be as they have embarrassingly omitted unpleasant facts and re-written history in our children’s textbooks. They’ll do the same thing to our mentally impaired citizens as they did to the Iraqi people: attack and destroy them simply because they have the power to do so.