Sunday Reads: B-52 Bomber, Sean Penn and El Chapo

Hello and good afternoon.

 

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 01/09/2016 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

 

This post will be a combination of cartoons and links. On Friday night my mom and I had a bout of food poisoning…and I was in no condition for putting up a cartoon thread that evening.

So sit back and take it in, here are your Sunday Links:

It sounds like a Hollywood movie:

Sean Penn reveals interview with fugitive drug baron El Chapo | World news | The Guardian

Actor and activist Sean Penn turned gonzo journalist and got an interview with the world’s most wanted man, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, just after the Mexican drug baron escaped from a maximum-security prison, it has emerged.

At his hideouts in the impenetrable hills of western Mexico, Guzmán told the Hollywood star about his drugs business, rags-to-riches life story and how he hired European engineers to help him to slip out of the prison.

Mexican authorities claim they monitored Penn’s movements after they found out about his meeting with Guzmán in October and that helped lead them to a ranch where El Chapo was staying.

Guzmán, fresh from his escape through anexpertly engineered tunnel, told Penn in a seven-hour visit and follow-up video for an article published in Rolling Stone: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world … I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”

There is plenty of articles on this story…

01/08/2016 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

The main thrust of the juicy tidbits comes from Rolling Stone, which broke the video interviews of Penn and El Chapo:

El Chapo Speaks | Rolling Stone

(By line is Sean Penn btw…)

Disclosure: Some names have had
 to be changed, locations not named, and an understanding was brokered with the subject that this piece would be submitted for the subject’s approval before publication. The subject did not ask for any changes.

“The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom.” —Montaigne

It’s September 28th, 2015. My head is swimming, labeling TracPhones (burners), one per contact, one per day, destroy, burn, buy, balancing levels of encryption, mirroring through Blackphones, anonymous e-mail addresses, unsent messages accessed in draft form. It’s a clandestine horror show for the single most technologically illiterate man left standing. At 55 years old, I’ve never learned to use a laptop. Do they still make laptops? No fucking idea! It’s 4:00 in the afternoon. Another gorgeous fall day in New York City. The streets are abuzz with the lights and sirens of diplomatic movement, heads of state, U.N. officials, Secret Service details, the NYPD. It’s the week of the U.N. General Assembly. Pope Francis blazed a trail and left town two days before. I’m sitting in my room at the St. Regis Hotel with my colleague and brother in arms, Espinoza.

 

It already reads like a pitch for a film…but please continue…

Espinoza and I have traveled many roads together, but none as unpredictable as the one we are now approaching. Espinoza is the owl who flies among falcons. Whether he’s standing in the midst of a slum, a jungle or a battlefield, his idiosyncratic elegance, mischievous smile and self-effacing charm have a way of defusing threat. His bald head demands your attention to his twinkling eyes. He’s a man fascinated and engaged. We whisper to each other in code. Finally a respite from the cyber technology that’s been sizzling my brain and soul. We sit within quietude of fortified walls that are old New York hotel construction, when walls were walls, and telephones were usable without a Ph.D. We quietly make our plans, sensitive to the paradox that also in our hotel is President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. Espinoza and I leave the room to get outside the hotel, breathe in the fall air and walk the five blocks to a Japanese restaurant, where we’ll meet up with our colleague El Alto Garcia. As we exit onto 55th Street, the sidewalk is lined with the armored SUVs that will transport the president of Mexico to the General Assembly. Paradoxical indeed, as one among his detail asks if I will take a selfie with him. Flash frame: myself and a six-foot, ear-pieced Mexican security operator.

Flash frame: Why is this a paradox? It’s paradoxical because today’s

 

Oh yeah…voice over commanding language like, “the owl who flies with falcons” and don’t forget the flash frame shot directions…definitely screenplay material.

Video tease here:

Watch Two Minutes of El Chapo’s Exclusive Interview | Rolling Stone

Sean Penn, who tracked down the fugitive kingpin, sent questions; Chapo videotaped his responses in his first-ever interview.

Okay, seriously though…the other links are interesting, I just can’t help laughing like hell at the Penn article.

(A note here, these articles are older, from 2011 and mid 2015)

A Timeline of El Chapo’s Close Calls and Narrow Escapes | Rolling Stone

Mexican drug kingpin once came so close to being caught that his coffee was reportedly still warm when authorities arrived

How the Cartels Work | Rolling Stone

Mexican drug lords have transformed the narcotics trade in America — and the DEA appears powerless to stop them

 

Obamacare Repeal Vote: 01/08/2016 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Obamacare Repeal Vote

‘El Chapo’: Sean Penn interview provokes scorn in US – BBC News

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told CNN: “One thing I will tell you is that this braggadocious action about how much heroin he sends around the world, including the United States, is maddening.

“We see a heroin epidemic, an opioid addiction epidemic, in this country… But El Chapo’s behind bars – that’s where he should stay.”

The Mexican authorities are reported to be considering whether to investigate Penn and a Mexican actress, Kate del Castillo, who apparently arranged the interview.

Mr McDonough declined to answer a question about whether the US would hand Penn over to Mexico for questioning.

“Well, it poses a lot of very interesting questions both for him and for others involved in this-so-called interview, so we’ll see what happens on that – I’m not going to get ahead of it,” he said.

Mr Rubio told ABC: “If one of these American actors who have benefited from the greatness of this country, who have made money from our free enterprise system, want to go fawn all over a criminal and a drug trafficker in their interviews, they have a constitutional right to do it. I find it grotesque.”

 

01/08/2016 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

 

This may be the best way to review the Sean Penn article:

5 craziest moments in Sean Penn’s El Chapo Rolling Stone story – Salon.com

“A secret visit with the most wanted man in the world” reads like an Elmore Leonard novel come to life

Saturday night, Rolling Stone published a story written by actor Sean Penn about his efforts to interview notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera — known as El Chapo — that apparently contributed to El Chapo’s arrest last week, following his tunneling-out escape from Altiplano prison last summer. It’s a wild tale of Hollywood connections, jungle hide-outs, military shoot-outs and BlackBerry messaging.

“Sean Penn interview led authorities to El Chapo” might already be the strangest headline of 2016 — but the story gets even stranger from there. This entire caper reads like a chapter from a lost Elmore Leonard novel.

 

Go check that out…

 

 

01/07/2016 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

 

Trump urged to apologise to Muslim protester ejected from rally – BBC News

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has urged Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to apologise to a Muslim protester ejected from one of his rallies.

CAIR said Rose Hamid’s eviction from the rally in South Carolina sent a “chilling message to American Muslims”.

Ms Hamid was removed after making a silent protest on Friday.

Mr Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the US has been widely condemned.

During the rally in the town of Rock Hill, Ms Hamid stood up wearing a T-shirt bearing the words: “Salam, I come in peace” – “Salam” is the Arabic word for peace.

When she stood up, the crowd around her began chanting “Trump! Trump!” as they had reportedly been instructed to do in the event of any interruption, reports the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher from Rock Hill.

Ms Hamid, a 56-year-old flight attendant, was then told by a security officer that she had to leave. She was booed as she was escorted out.

CAIR said that as well as apologising to Ms Hamid, Mr Trump should “make a clear statement that American Muslims are welcome as fellow citizens and as participants in the nation’s political process”.

No response from Trump.

 

LIFE IS SACRED: 01/07/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - LIFE IS SACRED

The latest shit out of the mouth of a fuckwad: via cnsnews . com… Rep. Chris Smith: ‘Planned Parenthood Dismembers or Chemically Poisons a Baby to Death Every 2 Minutes’

Rep. Chris Smith, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, said on the House floor on Wednesday that Planned Parenthood is “Child Abuse, Incorporated,” and that the group “dismembers or chemically poisons a baby to death every 2 minutes.”

What an embarrassment, he chairs the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Global Human Rights?

The crap spewed. That is a right-wing link so you can look up the title at the site if you must.

This is the actual quote:

Here is the transcript of Rep. Smith’s floor speech:

“Subsidized by over $500 million taxpayer dollars each year, Planned Parenthood dismembers or chemically poisons a baby to death every 2 minutes, killing over 7 million innocent children since 1973.

“Planned Parenthood is Child Abuse, Incorporated. Now undercover videos have exposed in numbing candor several high-level Planned Parenthood leaders gleefully talking about procuring children’s internal organs for a price, all while altering gruesome dismemberment procedures to preserve intact livers, hearts, and lungs from freshly killed babies.

“Far too many politicians, Mr. Speaker, including our Nobel Peace Prizewinning president and much of the media, continue to ignore, trivialize, and even defend these gross human rights abuses.

“So know this: We will not be deterred in exposing this Planned Parenthood scandal no matter how aggressive and misleading the cover-up.

“End taxpayer funding to those who commit these cruel and inhumane acts in this subsidy for Planned Parenthood.

Fucking hell!

What about the real human rights violations that have gone on in this country, specifically in a town called Flint:

Flint’s Water Crisis Is a Human Rights Violation | Al Jazeera America

On Jan. 5, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint and Genesee County, where lead in the area’s drinking water has been showing up at toxic levels in the bloodstreams of children. The water became toxic because of a decision by the government Snyder runs.

In 2014 the city of Flint’s emergency manager, appointed by the state, ordered that the city stop drawing water from Lake Huron and start taking it from the Flint River. However, the river’s corrosive waters stripped lead from the water system’s pipes, contaminating the drinking water. Though the city has switched back to drawing water from Lake Huron, the local water still contains dangerous levels of lead, and local officials are handing out water filters as they try to come up with a solution.

This emergency goes beyond simply a public health problem. (Lead is a potent neurotoxin, which can cause irreversible brain damage in children.) It is something much worse: a human rights abuse in an American city. In 2010, the United Nations declared that “ … clean drinking water … [is] essential to the realization of all human rights.” Flint’s contaminated water will prevent children from realizing their human right to health, enumerated in Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Had these basic human rights factored into the decision to switch Flint’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, Flint’s children might never have been exposed to tainted water. What’s worse, new reports say Snyder’s office found out about the contaminated water and did nothing. For as little as $100 per day the state of Michigan could have treated the water and prevented the life-long suffering that the children of Flint are now going to experience, but instead it prioritized fiscal savings over the health and human rights of children.

Once again, Rep Smith illustrates the perfect example of PLUB….Pro-Life-Until-Birth mentally. GOP pro-life basturds only care for the precious “life” before it pops out of the mother. After that point when it is an actual living person, they don’t give a flying fuck.

 

01/07/2016 Cartoon by Randy Bish

Cartoon by Randy Bish -

Case in point: LA-area residents implore officials to approve plan to mitigate gas leak | Reuters

 

At least it is starting to get more press…

 

01/06/2016 Cartoon by Randy Bish

Cartoon by Randy Bish -

Did y’all see this?

Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof running for Nevada senate – NY Daily News

It really is becoming a world like Idiocracy.

 

 

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Kim Jong-un’s ally: 01/07/2016 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Kim Jong-un's ally

On the other side of the globe, a show of old cold war tactics has been making headlines overnight.

US deploys B-52 bomber after North Korea’s nuclear test – Al Jazeera English

US bomber flies over South Korea amid standoff over North Korea nuclear tests | World news | The Guardian

U.S. flies B-52 over South Korea after North’s nuclear test | Reuters

 

A U.S. Air Force B-52 (C) flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A U.S. Air Force B-52 (C) flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A U.S. Air Force B-52 (R) flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A U.S. Air Force B-52 (R) flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

 

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Oregon Yeehawdists: 01/06/2016 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Oregon Yeehawdists

 

In Middle Eastern news:

US releases video of Iran firing unguided rockets close to aircraft carrier | US news | The Guardian

and finally:

Deal struck for aid to reach besieged Syrian towns – Al Jazeera English

And in Spain:

Catalan separatists to form regional government after president steps aside | World news | The Guardian

 

01/08/2016 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -

 

This is a big story, Over 200 Members of German Choir Were Abused, Investigator Says – The New York Times

At least 231 children who sang in a boys’ choir led for 30 years by the brother of former Pope Benedict XVIwere abused over a period of almost four decades, a lawyer investigating reports of wrongdoing said Friday.

The lawyer, Ulrich Weber, who was commissioned by the choir to look into accusations of beatings, torture or sexual abuse, said he thought that the actual abuse was even more widespread.

At a news conference in Regensburg, Bavaria, where the choir traces its roots to the year 975, Mr. Weber estimated that from 1953 to 1992, every third member of the choir and an attached school suffered some kind of physical abuse.

He attributed the beatings and other mistreatment mostly to Johann Meier, director of a lower school attached to the choir from 1953 until his retirement in 1992. Mr. Meier died suddenly later that year, Mr. Weber said. A 1987 investigation of reported abuse did not prompt the choir’s leaders to remove Mr. Meier or take other action, the lawyer said.

Asked whether Benedict’s brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, who conducted the Regensburg choir from 1964 to 1994, had known of the abuse, Mr. Weber said, “After my research, I must assume so.”

Those Fuckers!

 

MILITIA SNACKS: 01/08/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - MILITIA SNACKS

 

For a few updates on the militia nuts:

Ranchers’ Cause, Not Tactics, Gains Support in GOP Circles – ABC News

Republicans have widely condemned the efforts by a group of armed ranchers to reclaim federal land in eastern Oregon, but the ranchers’ goal of taking back some of Washington’s vast holdings in the West has gained traction in the GOP.

The decades-old idea could garner even more momentum should the party recapture theWhite House this year.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has proposed preventing the federal government from owning more than 50 percent of the land in any state, which would require changes, for example, in Alaska, Nevada and other western states.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has backed legislation to give states the ability to develop energy resources on federal land and told the Des Moines Register editorial board that “the federal government owns far too much land” in the West.

Both senators backed an amendment offered by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski last year that would make it easier for federal land to be returned to state control.

Experts: ‘Militiamen’ Live Hand To Mouth On Gov’t Disability And Their Wives’ Hard Work «

Jon Ritzheimer, infamous right-wing terrorist and incredible douchebag, barely squeaks by on his government disability check and has said that he is “thankful to have a wife who works.” As it turns out, experts tell us that this guy who spends his days fighting imaginary battles and sucking up a good man’s oxygen isn’t the exception to the demographics that make up a right-wing terrorist militia, he’s the definition.

“These guys are broke,” said Mark Pitcavage, who has been researching far-right movements for 22 years and has studied the Harney County occupiers. “Right-wing extremists, generally speaking, have very little money.”

How a right-wing extremist occupation like the one in Oregon would pay for itself isn’t exactly an issue there’s been a lot of data on. By referencing the research of people like Pitcavage, we can deduce that right-wing extremists are for the most part freeloaders, likened to teenagers who think they can take care of themselves but overwhelmed the first time they have to pay a bill or do a load of laundry.

“It’s quite possible that a lot of them will get tired and feel the pressure to go back and care for their families,” Pitcavage explained. Those families, left behind to care for themselves, are probably better off without their “patriarch,” the almighty man who controls everything and can make the decision to just pack up and leave on a whim to occupy a forest a thousand miles away that they’ve never heard of before last week.

Daryl Johnson, a former DHS domestic terrorism analyst, says militia members have a warped sense of priority where their “duty” is concerned. A video released by Ritzheimer showed him crying that he would probably be killed and how much he would miss his family just before he held up a copy of the Constitution and declared “But…I took an oath.”

“They’ll think nothing about taking half their paycheck and using half of it to buy ammunition and guns,” Johnson told The Oregonian.

The gist here is that these idiots aren’t just the worst the American gene pool has to offer, they’re also incredible assholes who are neglecting their families to go play soldier in the Oregon wilderness. They’re holed up in a facility they didn’t pay to be at, squeezing the taxpayer for their utilities and costing tens if not hundreds of thousands more in wages paid to employees who can’t go to work.

01/10/2016 Cartoon by Randy Bish

Cartoon by Randy Bish -

 

Zandar Versus The Stupid: Last Call For Here We Go Again, Day 7

The Bundy seditionists’ call for backup has been heeded by one of the more nasty armed insurrection/white supremacist groups out there, Idaho’s “Three Percent” movement.

Members of a group from outside Oregon arrived on Friday at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to “secure a perimeter” around the compound and prevent “a Waco-style situation.”

The arrival of the “3% of Idaho” was the latest development in the situation outside Burns, where an armed occupation of the refuge by an Ammon Bundy-led militant group entered its seventh day.

“They just keep an eye on everything that is going on” to make sure “nothing stupid happens,” Bundy said Friday afternoon outside refuge headquarters.

“If they weren’t here,” Bundy said, referring to the Idaho group, “I’d worry” about a Waco-style siege by federal officials.

The group’s website says it stands for “freedom, liberty and the Constitution. We will combat all those who are corrupt.” The website displays the motto, “When Tyranny Becomes Law, Rebellion Becomes Duty!”

As Dave Neiwert reminds us, these assholes are pretty deep into Islamophobia and armed insurrection.  They marched against settling Syrian refugees in Twin Falls, Idaho in October and again in Boise in November and the real danger is of course these jagoffs are national.

The Idaho group is only the local affiliate of a broader (though hardly numerous) national movement that takes its name from the notion that only 3 percent of the people living in the colonies took part in the American Revolution – thus, the name is intended to invoke the would-be combatants in a “second American Revolution,” as its proponents like to proclaim.

The movement is largely the brainchild of Michael Vanderboegh, the onetime militiaman who in recent years has been specializing in incendiary rhetoric supporting the notion that any attempts at federal gun control will spark a new civil war, or better yet, a new revolution.

As Boston Boomer noted yesterday, these dudes are using the internet and gaining access to federal employee records…when the hell is this going to end. Like the cartoon above, if the men were any color but white, you know it would have been over long ago.

0108mike luckovich: tears | Mike Luckovich

lk010816_color

 

From the freak department:

Idaho mountain lion deformity puzzles biologists – CBS News

This Dec. 30, 2015, photo released by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), shows a deformed mountain lion with teeth growing out of its forehead. Biologists are trying to determine what caused the strange growth on the animal, which was legally killed by a hunter in southeast Idaho near the Utah border.

IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME VIA AP

 

State wildlife biologists have been left puzzled over a mountain lion found with teeth growing out the side of its forehead in southeast Idaho near the Utah border.

CBS affiliate KBOI reports an unidentified hunter caught the yearling cougar last week near Weston. Idaho Fish and Game biologists say they’ve never seen such a “bizarre” abnormality before.

[…]

Biologist Zach Lockyer says the teeth were protruding from hard tissue on the left side of the mountain lion’s forehead.

Biologists speculate the animal’s deformity may possibly be the result of either a conjoined twin that died in the womb or a rare tumor. Another possibility is ateratoma tumor, which are tumors that allow teeth, hair, fingers and toes to grow, and are incredibly rare in humans and animals.

Could it be a sign…since those Idaho assholes have joined the Oregon dumbfarts in the “standoff”?

I don’t know. But if there ever was a symbol of a giant fucked up threat against peace…to me it sure would be some freakish deformed mountain lion from Idaho with nasty teeth protruding from the animals forehead.

Bad omen if you ask me.

 

 

 

 

Since the Thin Man was mentioned last week, I thought might as well give you all a Tired Old Queen video link….enjoy:

STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies – THE THIN MAN & AFTER THE THIN MAN – YouTube

 

And a bonus too:

STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies – THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL – YouTube

 

This is an open thread…


Monday Reads

Color-NRA-xmas-storyWell, it’s another Monday of  National Crass Consumerism Season and woe to us that have to do any normal errands in stores.  For that matter, woe to us that get mail, email, commercial TV stations, radio, and internet because it’s hard to avoid the onslaught of  the season of greed and guilt-laden obligation. It’s time to say WHOA!  to all of that. You can’t go any where these days and escape the pitch.  Whatever happened to just simply getting together and enjoying people when you have time off work or whatever.  Does it all have to involve ugly sweaters, really bad music, and people in terrible mood all in lines I’d like to just plain avoid?  Why is it the worst things about this country just keep getting worse?

Oh, wait, I can answer that.  Some rich old white guy is making a buttload of money out of making every one else basically stressed and miserable. Plus a couple other old white dudes think their liberty is at risk if we start trying to solve the problems they create with policy that works rather than enriches the other old white dudes.

So, speaking of things that keep getting worse, the President addressed the nation last night about our rampant gun violence.   Oh, wait, he only addressed our paranoid nation on the least likely form of gun violence.  But, that’s all one party in this country cares about.

We can’t seem to get a break from putting gun violence into the bin denoting the religion of the shooter.  It’s either terrorism from Mooslim TerroristZ or some crazy dude or black people that deserve to be shot because THUGZ!!.  Those are the bins.  That’s a pretty sad statement on the affairs of state.  You can find the transcript at the White House Website.

To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.  What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon?  This is a matter of national security.

We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino.  I know there are some who reject any gun safety measures.  But the fact is that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies — no matter how effective they are — cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual is motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology.  What we can do — and must do — is make it harder for them to kill.

Next, we should put in place stronger screening for those who come to America without a visa so that we can take a hard look at whether they’ve traveled to warzones.  And we’re working with members of both parties in Congress to do exactly that.

Finally, if Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists.  For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of airstrikes against ISIL targets.  I think it’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united, and committed, to this fight.

I still want to have a discussion on why so many Americans feel the need to shoot up the country.  I really could care less about their religion.   One thing I read this weekend that I really would recommend that younrapower4 read is the story of one of the survivors of the Oregon Community College shooter.  Like I said, we don’t need to really look at the religion of the shooter to know the damage it inflicts on our society.  We also know that it’s really difficult to predict and stop rampage shooters after they have access to weapons. We need to spend less time obsessing on the profiles of the shooters because we know there are so many of them now that just knowing who they are is not solving any of these problems.  ISIS-inspired, Police shooting, person with known emotional illnesses or right wing Racist … the out come is the same and their access to weapons remains the same.  There are other systemic things going on in this country we can and must address regardless of the profile of the shooter.

It had been 20 days since the last time Bonnie left Cheyeanne by herself — 20 days since she was shot along with 15 others in a classroom at Umpqua Community College. Nine people were killed that day, adding to the hundreds of Americans who have died in mass shootings in recent years. And seven people were wounded but didn’t die, joining the ever-expanding ranks of mass-shooting survivors. There are thousands of them. Fifty-eight gunshot survivors at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Three at the Washington Navy Yard. One at a church in Charleston, S.C. Nine in Colorado Springs. Twenty-one in San Bernardino, Calif. And seven more in Roseburg, Ore., where Cheyeanne had been sent home from the hospital to a flea-infested rental with reinforced locks and curtains darkening the living room.

A doctor had given her a booklet called “Creating a Safe Space to Recover,” and Bonnie had taken a break from waitressing to become a full-time caregiver. She had turned a $5 garage-sale recliner into Cheyeanne’s hospital bed and posted a sign on their front door: “No loud noises! Please do NOT knock.” She had set her alarm for every four hours to bring Cheyeanne her medicines and anything else that might make her feel safe again. Here came more Percocet to numb the pain and anti-anxieties to ease her panic attacks. Here came her purple blanket, her new puppy and her condolence letter from President Obama. Here came the old Little League baseball bats she wanted nearby for protection and the rifle she had used to kill her first deer.

From the parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooter to former Congress woman Gabby Giffords, we have survivors of our own American War Zone.  We have mothers whose sons were gunned down without much thought by the police. We have people who witnessed shootings on Bourbon street on Thanksgiving weekend. We know many people survived the San Bernadino shooters.  All of them stand in testament to the gun culture in the US.  The rest of the world simply does not get how we tolerate such a large body count.

But, we live in a divided country still. The civil war evidently solved very little but slavery in the long run.  Just look at the speech and the reaction to the shootings last week to see how very differently our policy treats the same essential problem.  The victims of the Planned Parenthood shooting have been all but forgotten.  We’re not getting a prime time address to the country on the uptick in attacks on Women’s Health Clinics.

50d1cfece1cc3.preview-620We have a lot of disgruntled, unhappy people that get easy access to guns then take the neighbors, family and co-workers with them when they finally decide to end themselves. The same process happens with the divorced father who goes after his wife and kids as it does with people driven by the inner demons of religious zealotry, bigotry, or mental illness. But, let’s make this all about reasons to bomb another country in the Middle East. Republicans ignore gun violence unless it’s been committed by some one who happens to be Muslim.  Then, we get a witch hunt akin to the 1950s search for communists. This really isn’t our major issue with rampage shooters at all let alone overall gun violence in the US.

While Obama doesn’t say it outright, he appears to be subtly referencing Robert Pape’s influential argument that the great driver of suicide terrorism is not jihadist ideology but occupation. Because Obama, unlike Bush and Rubio, believes the Islamic State is ideologically weak, he thinks America’s current strategy will eventually defeat it unless America commits a large occupying force, which would give the jihadists a massive shot in the arm.

The other unforced error America must avoid, according to Obama, is “letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want.” Because the GOP candidates see violent jihadism as a powerful, seductive ideology, they think that many American Muslims are at risk of becoming terrorists, and thus that the United States must monitor them more aggressively. Because Obama sees violent jihadism as ideologically weak and unattractive, he thinks that few American Muslims will embrace it unless the United States makes them feel like enemies in their own country—which is exactly what Donald Trump risks doing.

Obama is a kind of Fukuyamian. Like Francis Fukuyama, the author of the famed 1989 essay “The End of History,” he believes that powerful, structural forces will lead liberal democracies to triumph over their foes—so long as these democracies don’t do stupid things like persecuting Muslims at home or invading Muslim lands abroad. His Republican opponents, by contrast, believe that powerful and sinister enemies are overwhelming America, either overseas (the Rubio version) or domestically (the Trump version).

Read how our police respond to young black men and tell me that this isn’t a huge problem.   One officer just pulled a gun a shot 12 year old Tamir Rice for having his hands in his pocket based on some hysterical bramhall-world-nra-viewpointwhite person’s 911 call. A huge portion of our citizenry lives in daily fear of the people who are supposed to serve and protect.  Why do we only obsess on one cause that’s not even statistically up there with the causes of death by shootings. Toddlers with easy access to guns statistically do more killing than wild eyed Wahhabi sympathizers.

A 12-year-old boy killed by Cleveland police last year had his hands in his pockets when he was shot and wasn’t reaching for the pellet gun he was carrying, according to an expert hired by the boy’s family to review a frame-by-frame video of the deadly encounter.

Tamir Rice did not have enough time to remove his hands from his pockets before being shot and his hands were not visible to the officer, according to the report released late Friday night by attorneys for Tamir’s family.

The new report and two others from experts already used by the family are the latest analysis of evidence to be released as a grand jury considers whether to bring charges against the officers in Tamir’s death.

The boy was shot after authorities received a report of a man pointing and waving a gun outside a recreation center in November 2014. The rookie officer who fired at Tamir, Timothy Loehmann, told investigators he repeatedly ordered the boy to “show me your hands” then saw him pulling a weapon from his waistband before opening fire.

It turned out Tamir was carrying a nonlethal, airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets when Loehmann shot him outside the rec center. Tamir died a day later

Previous reports concluded that Loehmann shot Tamir within two seconds of opening his car door. The new analysis determined it happened even faster, within less than a second, according to the review by California-based shooting reconstruction expert Jesse Wobrock.

With the patrol car windows rolled up, Tamir could not have heard commands to show his hands, Wobrock added.

“The scientific analysis and timing involved do not support any claim that there was a meaningful exchange between Officer Loehmann and Tamir Rice, before he was shot,” Wobrock said.

Wobrock said comparing the location of a bullet hole in Tamir’s jacket with the location of the wound on his body indicated that the boy had lifted his arm – with his hand in his pocket – at the moment he was shot.

cg50e6f7a6a967fOne of the things that the press has been obsessing about is the bomb factory in the garage of the San Bernadino shooters.  Where were they when this happened in August?

An upstate New York man who blew his leg off in his garage making improvised explosive devices will be held in federal custody without bail because law enforcement found white supremacist paraphernalia and believe he’s dangerous,WGRZ reports.

Michael O’Neill, 45, a former Niagara County corrections officer, is accused of making seven bombs and was arrested two weeks ago after one of the devices accidentally went off. O’Neill was rushed to a hospital where his leg had to be amputated. He was the only one injured, WGRZ reports.

“Luckily, he is detained,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Alsup told Time Warner Cable News. “He is no longer at large in the community with or without some of the physical disabilities he’s going to have going forward, but luckily for the community, he only hurt himself.”

Pictures of the KKK, Nazi imagery and the Confederate flag were found inside his home, which he lives in with his stepfather, William Ross, who chairs the Niagara County Legislature, WGRZ reports.

Even with his leg now missing, prosecutors believed it would be too risky for the public if O’Neill was released from custody.

The explosives he created contained nails and BB pellets, according to reports. One was labeled “powder with nails.”

His attorney said O’Neill was just planning to blow up some tree stumps.

“The fact that there were some items that we described in court as consistent with, white supremacists, to include the Ku Klux Klan, and the Nazi imagery, some of the verbiage which was particularly on the Nazi picture, also the Confederate battle flag, means that law enforcement has more work to go,” U.S. Attorney William Hochul told TWC News.

O’Neill will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshalls while he recuperates, then will be transferred to a detention facility.

nrameanSo, this dude also got instructions from somewhere on how to build these things.  Why isn’t every one trying to track that down?

We really can’t find out much about the trends in gun violence because of this:  Quietly, Congress extends a ban on CDC research on gun violence.

In the immediate aftermath of the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee quietly rejected an amendment that would have allowed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the underlying causes of gun violence.

That has caused strange gyrations in research, such as this November report by the CDC into gun violence that manages not to be about guns.

Though gun violence and gun control has stayed in the forefront of the American conversation in recent months, most recently after Wednesday’s mass killings in a developmental disabilities center in San Bernardino, California, prohibition on gun research goes back decades.

Dr. Fred Rivara, a professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at the University of Washington at Seattle Children’s Hospital, has been involved with injury research for 30 years. He was part of a team that researched gun violence back in the 1990s and personally saw the chilling effects of the NRA’s lobbying arm. Rivara says that the NRA accused the CDC of trying to use science to promote gun control.

“As a result of that, many, many people stopped doing gun research, [and] the number of publications on firearm violence decreased dramatically,” he told The Takeaway in April. “It was really chilling in terms of our ability to conduct research on this very important problem.”

In 2013, some 34,000 Americans died from gunshot wounds. So Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich decided to ask House Speaker John Boehner why his party is trying to block research on gun violence.

“The CDC is there to look at diseases that need to be dealt with to protect public health,” Boehner said at a press conference last week. “I’m sorry, but a gun is not a disease. Guns don’t kill people — people do. And when people use weapons in a horrible way, we should condemn the actions of the individual and not blame the action on some weapon.”

There are a lot of good reasons to support studying factors that contribute to gun violence. The problem is that there is very little money to do such research and there’s actually bans on it when it comes to federal 129648_600research time and money. This is ridiculous.  This research ban and it’s impact are thankfully back in the news.  I’m going to use the West Virginia newspaper article as an illustration. It includes descriptions of the 2013 moves by Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin to change gun registration laws as well as a discussion on trying to get new research on the root causes of gun violence. It’s an interesting read and it’s from this week.

Since 1996, Congress has barred the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting research on gun violence. That restriction was extended to the National Institutes of Health in 2011.

What do West Virginia’s members of Congress, who represent the state with the 14th highest rate of gun death, think of this ban on research?

Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., supports it.

Jenkins, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, voted in June to continue forbidding the CDC from studying gun violence. The proposal to allow research never got past his committee.

“I will continue to be a strong advocate for protecting West Virginians’ Second Amendment rights,” Jenkins said at the time. “This language has been included since 1996 and for the past two decades, both Democrats and Republicans have been in the majority and both parties have chosen to continue it.”

The rest of West Virginia’s congressional delegation — Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Rep. David McKinley and Rep. Alex Mooney, all Republicans — refused to say this week whether they think federal public health agencies should be allowed to study gun violence.

On Wednesday, the same day that two shooters killed 14 people at a center for the disabled in California, more than 2,000 doctors petitioned Congress to end its prohibition on gun violence research.

“Gun violence is a public health problem that kills 90 Americans a day,” Dr. Alice Chen, the director of Doctors for America, a health care advocacy group, said in a prepared statement. “Physicians believe it’s time to lift this effective ban and fund the research needed to save lives. We urge Congress to put patients over politics to help find solutions to our nation’s gun violence crisis.”

The ban on researching gun violence dates back to 1993, according to a 2013 report by the American Psychological Association.

In 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine published a CDC-funded study called “Gun ownership as a risk factor for homicide in the home.”

The study found that guns kept at home didn’t make people safer, in fact it found the opposite.

“Rather than confer protection, guns kept in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance,” the study concluded.

The study garnered quite a bit of media attention and the National Rifle Association responded by pushing for the center that funded the study — the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention — to be eliminated, according to the APA report.

Congress didn’t eliminate the center but responded by pulling the CDC’s funding for gun violence research and passing an effective ban on future gun research, according to the APA report. That ban has been continually renewed ever since.

 

It really makes sense to understand the factors that contribute to gun deaths.  This is especially true when we see outsized focus on one small section of the deaths. Can we please have an address to the nation demanding money to study the root causes of gun violence?  The CDC felt so compelled to study this topic that it had to do so by actually avoiding the big questions and the Congressional ban. It’s not that scientists or doctors don’t demand the data.  It’s that politicians don’t want to see it. This particular study focused on Wilmington, DE. and was done through the back door.  Notice that we do, in fact, have an executive order to study it.

On November 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a 14-page report on gun violence in Wilmington, Delaware, a medium-sized city of roughly 70,000 residents that also experiences one of the highest murder rates in the country. To judge by the language in its title — “Elevated Rates of Urban Firearm Violence and Opportunities for Prevention” — the study might seem to have been an overlooked watershed: Despite a 2013 executive order by President Barack Obama to resume research on gun violence, the CDC has adhered to a two-decade-old Congressional restriction that effectively bans such inquiries. Now here was a document suggesting it was tiptoeing back in.

Read through the Wilmington report, though, and you get a different story — one about the strange contortions that result as the CDC seeks to fulfill its public health mission without violating Congress’s orders.

While the new study analyzed Wilmington’s 127 recorded shootings in 2013, it does not address how the perpetrators acquired their weapons, or if attempts to limit access to firearms might lead to a dip in crime. Instead, the Wilmington report outlines already well-established trends and risk factors: that 95 percent of city residents arrested for violent crimes are young men; that a history of violence is a strong predictor for being involved in a firearm-related crime; and that unemployment is often a risk factor for violence. The report concludes that “integrating data systems” across Delaware would allow social service providers to better understand the issue.

If the CDC wasn’t going to consider the role of firearms in Wilmington’s gun crimes, why do the study at all? The answer is in the research’s origins, which lie in a bizarro world of not-actually-about-gun-violence gun violence studies that are an outgrowth of the Congressional ban. “It’s not like the study was initiated by the CDC,” Dr. Linda Degutis, the former director of the center’s national injury center, tells The Trace. “It was a response to a request from the city.”

Specifically, the Wilmington study is a product of the CDC’s “Epi-Aids” program, which assists states and local governments with public health problems through the agency’s Epidemic Intelligence Service division. Because the CDC is under immense political pressure to avoid doing anything that might even appear to “advocate or promote gun control” (in the words of Congress), Epi-Aid requests like Wilmington’s — which revolve around firearm-related public health issues — put the agency in a difficult situation. In a proper epidemiological study, guns themselves would be treated as a risk factor for many types of violence or injury — just as mosquitoes would be treated as a risk factor for contracting malaria, for example. As it is, the agency is confined to rehashing social or environmental factors that have already been thoroughly studied by injury researchers.

“When a health department requests an investigation of something, that’s basically within the CDC’s authorization, because they’re not necessarily saying ‘Let’s do gun violence research.’ They’re saying ‘Let’s figure out what’s going on here,’” says Degutis, who says she left the organization last year in part because she was frustrated with the difficulty of conducting research on gun violence.

139731_600Again, we’re beginning to see smaller journalism outlets and doctors openly discuss this issue.  We can’t possibly have any practical, workable policies if all we have to on our pet political fetishes and the overwhelming presence of a terrorist-enabling lobbying group.  When doing panel research on varying situations, a good researcher never focuses on one variable.  Yet, we continually have public discussions on very few factors that contribute to gun violence.  This is a problem.

On the Wednesday of the shooting in San Bernardino, California, only a few hours before the event took place, doctors went to Capitol Hill asking Congress to end the ban on gun violence research. They presented a petition signed by over 2,000 doctors nationwide, protesting a 1996 ban that prevents the Center For Disease Control from studying gun violence.

The ban was made after a CDC-funded study revealed that having a gun in the home increases the likelihood of homicide and suicide. The NRA convinced Congress that the CDC was using its power to advocate gun control, and Congress quickly cut funding for gun-related research. It wasn’t exactly a ban on all research, per se, but the amendment wasworded in such a confusing and vague way that no one knew for certain what was permitted. This created a climate of fear and intimidation with CDC researchers, where “no federal employee was willing to risk his or her career or the agency’s funding to find out” if they could study gun violence. But why would the CDC want to study gun violence, anyway?

Take the time to read some of these links.  I know many of my links today actually go to in depth articles but it’s time to start contacting our congress critters and demanding money to study all of the sources of gun violence.  There are many good statistics and facts in those articles you can use to beef up your letters and calls. We need to look beyond the sources that Republicans find politically expedient.  This means that every time we have a rampage shooter the only thing we hear about our mental health issues and speculation about radical Islamic Wahhabi jihadists.  This is ridiculous and it needs to stop. The only way to stop it is to start pressuring Congress to give us information and not fetishist screeds.  This denigrates the deaths of every toddler shot by another toddler, every black man shot by a police officer, every woman and child shot by a domestic abuser, and the lives of mentally ill people and American Muslims that are blamed for shootings that are a small part of the large picture.  We need information and real policies and no more platitudes.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: “Passing prejudice off as faith” and other thoughts from the “internets” and shi…stuff.

fb_thumb_56543df80f712__700

 

Good Morning

Hey….
Since When Did Scapegoating and Taking Revenge Become American and Christian Principles?

I know I am beating a dead horse here, albeit a corn-fed…free-range horse at that…but this piece from David Mochel at HuffPo is coming from the direction I have been speaking of the past few weeks.

2b18613ea30f9abdce2951f8a69a7680I do not consider myself religious in any traditional sense, nor would I say that I am deeply patriotic, but I am tired of “American” and “Christian” being used as descriptors of what is happening in the popular discourse.

I am tired of letting the loudest among us be those who call for un-American behavior in the name of patriotism. I am tired of letting the dialogue be monopolized by those who pass off prejudice as faith. Compassion matters. Dignity matters. Exercising self-discipline when we are scared and angry matters.

Human beings are biological creatures with lots of biological impulses. But we also have the capacity to see beyond our temporary urges for violence and oppression. We have the ability to anchor ourselves in, and act out of, enduring and inspiring principles. If we do not use the wisdom we have access to, then what exactly makes us human?

75df5a8d5388d6bd7bae07c2e3bb48ecThis feels like a moment in time when we are collectively trying to decide how to move forward. In the face of terrorist attacks, racial tension and conflicting world views, where shall we go for guidance? Shall we just go with what we feel and call it what we want? Shall we lash out and call it Christian? Shall we segregate and call it American? Or shall we consult some principles that were written down precisely so that we would remember them in times such as these?

The second paragraph of the Declaration of the Independence begins with these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

3096f48b0de03236fc30f4b81af29d8fThe Constitution of the United States begins with these words:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

A plaque mounted on the base of the Statue of Liberty carries these lines from a poem by Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

3df58d98847161880eae5fa7149a5ffcEvery morning my son stands up in his public high school classroom and recites The Pledge of Allegiance, which ends with the words: “with liberty and justice for all.”

He also goes on to quote from the prayer of St. Francis and New Testament, only to ask…

 

What am I missing? Where is written that we should block access, imprison, blame and malign those who we do not understand, who look different, or who live outside our borders? Does being American or Christian represent any fundamental principles or are these nothing more than titles that we get simply by living in this country and going to a fancy building on Sunday?

9e9ca4589d8015fc89e2db0e4aaa7196I propose that these words which are thrown around quite a lot lately actually do stand for something. I propose that the privileges of living in this country come with the responsibilities of being inclusive, of speaking for those without a voice and representing the rights of those who are denied access. I propose that the privileges of being Christian come with the responsibilities of showing compassion and generosity for those in need and mercy toward those who have offended.

Uncertainty can trigger anxiety and self-defensiveness. We can respond by being reactionary, rigid, and exclusive. But this is not our only choice. We also have the choice of compassion, inclusivity, and peaceful resistance.

Of course, it is challenging to make this choice in the face of senseless violence and vehement disagreement. Standing for something worthwhile is rarely easy.

No it isn’t easy, and to quote someone who seems a bit strange to quote in this discussion…as “Dubya” said so often, “It’s hard work!”

I will get to the Planned Parenthood Shooting in a few moments, but in response to the link above, remember, these people are fleeing…the murder and terror. They are refugees.  Six children drown as refugee boats sink off Turkey – Al Jazeera English

More than 4,700 people arrived on the Greek islands on average each day in November [AP Photo/Santi Palacios]

More than 4,700 people arrived on the Greek islands on average each day in November [AP Photo/Santi Palacios]

At least six children have drowned in two separate incidents when boats carrying refugees to Greece sank off Turkey’s coast, Turkish state media has said.

6d5154d04575aed9d535859e56a409f3A vessel carrying 55 Syrians and Afghans capsized due to bad weather off the town of Ayvacik, a main crossing point for refugees trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, the Anatolia news agency reported on Friday.

Turkish coastguards have so far recovered the bodies of four Afghan children, it added.

Two more children, two sisters aged four and one, drowned early on Friday when their wooden boat carrying some 20 people to the island of Kos sank because of heavy rains and stormy weather, the agency said.

577f306ac5690aaaf6476588ce2c0978Turkey, which is hosting 2.2 million refugees from the conflict in neighbouring Syria, has become the main transit point for people fleeing war.

The European Union and Turkey have agreed in principle to a refugee action plan, which is expected to be finalised at a summit on Sunday.

 

I will put up some links in the comments on the details of this summit, but take a look at that link for a little info on it, there is also more discussion here:

EU, Turkey driving hard bargain before migration summit | Reuters

2693ddb551921f78845472c5bc6902f1Turkey and the EU: Old Routine and New Tensions – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Our View: Cyprus will not be able to call the shots in Brussels – Cyprus Mail Cyprus Mail

And two links from Irish Times:

EU-Turkey summit aims to tackle refugee crisis

Give Me a Crash Course In . . . Turkish-Russian-Syrian relations

For a video look into the refugee experience via Al Jazeera English: Why on earth would anyone do this?

Follow the journeys of three refugees who are risking everything in hopes of reaching Europe.

 

Why on earth would anyone do this 2

Why on earth would anyone do this

 

That title alone is sufficient enough to give you a picture of what the video is about.

Meanwhile back in the United States:

The question of Life is back in the news…

I think it must be said again:

 

Life begins at arousal!!!!

And to hell with fluoridation in water systems!

Who needs the “guvment” anyway?

d3367e609123f3ae4ccaaae429496f64As of Saturday evening: 2016 Republican Contenders Silent On Planned Parenthood Shooting

Republican presidential hopefuls were noticeably silent about a fatal shooting that took place at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

All three of their Democratic counterparts tweeted in support of the organization during and after Friday’s attack, which left three people dead and nine others injured.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the only one of the major GOP candidates to comment:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul instead tweeted about his own Black Friday sales:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush published an opinion piece about Obama’s foreign policy:

Donald Trump spent the evening (and Saturday morning) touting upcoming campaign eventsand complaining about a New York Times reporter.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted about his campaign’s new cold-weather gear:

Ben Carson was off Twitter and in Jordan visiting a refugee camp.

b9a6174d5a66c20ed7efd16f0dec9f36All of the major 2016 Republican hopefuls describe themselves as anti-abortion. Some, like Paul, Rubio and Cruz, have attempted to strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood, citing heavily edited videos that emerged earlier this year claiming to show the nonprofit’s employees selling fetal tissue for profit. A congressional inquiry into the videos did not find any evidence of wrongdoing.

Earlier this year, Rubio wondered why more Americans don’t get “fired up” about Planned Parenthood’s “dead babies.”

Ted Cruz breaks silence on ‘horrific’ Planned Parenthood attack | US news | The Guardian

3019096934_1123b97702_mSpeaking in Lamoni, Iowa, Cruz said that while the motives behind Friday’s attack were not clear “it was unacceptable, horrific and wrong”.

“We know that police officers and civilians have been targeted and lost their lives and our prayers are right now are with the families,” Cruz said.

Many of the party’s candidates have come out strongly against Planned Parenthood on the campaign trail as they seek to secure conservative votes.

 

2a0a3941b8ebf09d849bbed81b380f90No More Mister Nice Blog: REPUBLICANS HATE WHAT THEY HATE MUCH MORE THAN THEY LOVE WHAT THEY LOVE

Republican presidential candidates still haven’t said anything about the Colorado Planned Parenthood shootings, with the exception of Ted Cruz (in a tweet, as I noted in my last post) and now John Kasich:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the other GOP contender to discuss the attacks, offering his prayers for the affected families and saying “senseless violence has brought tragedy to Colorado Springs.”

This seems odd:

Republicans hate abortion and hate Planned Parenthood. They hate gun control, and 1e961bd32d777bfe32c762742f555dddthe shooting has already led to another call for new gun laws by President Obama. These hatreds are much more important to the right than love of the police, even when the dead police officer was also a Christian minister. In this case, blue lives don’t matter, and this wasn’t part of the war on Christianity. The killer wasn’t a member of any group conservatives hate, and his main target was a group conservatives absolutely hate.

So hate wins. Therefore, the right is never going to denounce this incident with any enthusiasm.

The Democrats did tweet there thoughts: 2016 Democrats React To Planned Parenthood Shooting

As usual, Hillary is on top of it…check out the time of her post.

121ae2a4c88a6961f479940c0ec9312bI wonder…what was tweeted after the news of this: Man Kills Waffle House Worker Over Smoking Ban, Cops Say

Johnny Max Mount, 45, was allegedly smoking in a Biloxi Waffle House when the 52-year-old employee  asked him to put it out, according to the Sun Herald. Mount is accused of refusing and instead removing a 9mm handgun hidden under his shirt, WMC reports. Police allege he shot the woman, who has not yet been identified, once in the head early Friday morning. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

8f5d58501d1f843f6451038c11deb647Mount was arrested for first degree murder, and is in jail on 2 million bond.

Back to the Planned Parenthood Shooting:

Siege highlights security used in abortion clinics | Tampa Bay Times

‘No More Baby Parts’: Shooter’s Words Prove Right-Wing Rhetoric Incited PP Attack « Addicting Info

Investigators: Shooter ‘politically motivated’ – Business Insider

c03f6957ed6c26c4c8318078b48cf218Colorado shooting suspect said ‘no more baby parts’: reports | Reuters

TBogg at Raw Story: Domestic terrorism and the evil that men do

at happened at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on the Friday after Thanksgiving was inevitable. After the deceptively-named Center for Medical Progress released the equally deceptively-edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal parts, someone had to die in the end.

75fc5c8507449411816e44cc7869b9c0Of all the phony attacks and accusations made against Planned Parenthood by a new generation of anti-choice activists like James O’ Keefe and Lila Grace Rose, the videos created by former O’Keefe confederate David Daleiden raised the bar — or lowered it depending on how you view them — on over the top accusations intended to fire up Christian conservatives and embolden lawmakers to do all they can to destroy Planned Parenthood.

Images of fetal tissue being sorted by technicians became a bloody flag to be waved by people who seem to believe that medical procedures are magically free of the kind of things most people are unfamiliar with because they’re not medical professionals who are undeterred by the sight of body fluids, viscera and bones. Those who view abortions as a repellent medical procedure became even more appalled by seeing people who deal with such matters on a daily basis act like … people who deal with such matters on a daily basis.

17af87ffde3b553d168bad4876b9875cWhere Daleiden really hit one out of the park for the anti-choice crowd was when he accused Planned Parenthood of selling  fetal tissue — used by researchers looking for cures for Alzheimer’s, among other things — and making a profit off of it.

Which turned out to be a lie.

[…]

On a certain level — with the aid of the media which uncritically ran with his narrative — Daleiden was more than modestly successful. Republican lawmakers in conservative states were able to cut some funding for Planned Parenthood, while GOP presidential candidates had yet something else to grandstand about in order to woo the evangelical base.

772e93db60bfcf3f0c3812cd8e804d9eWith so much heat thrown off by Daleiden’s anti-abortion project, it is no surprise — and it absolutely cannot be to him — that someone somewhere would take his lies to the extreme and try and do something about it. With extreme prejudice.

According to NBC, Robert Lewis Dear — who killed three people including a cop,making him a hero to these “pro-life” folks while shooting up a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood — reportedly told investigators “no more baby parts” after he was arrested.

As they say: Who could have predicted that?

f46f1001c2cec742b81a2cefa9e1ff92There is nothing anyone here can say, we all saw this shit coming.

To all appearances, Dear appears to be either mentally unstable or an anti-social kook who, despite a history of run-ins with the law including domestic violence, was able to easily obtain a gun or guns. For that you can thank the NRA later.

There is no indication that Dear was or is religious, but a predisposition to being either anti-choice or anti-woman certainly was a factor.

Unlike Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller in a Wichita church,  one needn’t act as the hand of God taking holy vengeance to “save the children.” You just need a motive –imagined or not — to pull the trigger.

5c0659ab4b11f48c781ac85dcc5cf4bfSo it appears that Robert Lewis Dear shot up a Planned Parenthood because he was familiar with David Daleiden’s videotape lies. This is not to say that this is something that Daleiden was hoping for. But when Daleiden published his videos with great fanfare, he primed more than a few future domestic terrorists to take the law — God’s or their own — into their own hands.

David Dalieden didn’t pull the trigger — he just showed Robert Lewis Dear where he needed to aim the gun.

Robert Dear, Suspect in Colorado Killings, ‘Preferred to Be Left Alone’ – The New York Times

Robert L. Dear Jr. was a man who lived off the grid.

On this lonely, snow-covered patch of land in a hamlet ringed by the Rocky Mountains, his home was a white trailer, with a forest-green four-wheeler by the front door and a modest black cross painted on one end.

cfe66a0bf34a92bc0c0905f6a7bb5070As police officers surrounded it on Saturday, looking for clues to what they said had sent its owner on a rampage at a Planned Parenthood center that left three dead and nine wounded, neighbors said they barely knew him, beyond one man’s memory of his handing out anti-Obama political pamphlets.

Van Wands, 58, whose wife owns a local saloon, said there were two types of people in the area: the old-timers who put in time getting to know their neighbors, and newcomers who wished to be left alone. Mr. Dear, he said, fell solidly into the second category.

That article has lots of background on Dear…

In Black Mountain, N.C., Mr. Dear had lived in a small yellow house reachable only after miles of driving on mountain roads and, ultimately, along an unpaved and winding street. Two sticks, forming a cross, were attached to a padlocked shed that was filled with bedding, gas canisters and worn boxes of beer. He bought it without running water.

More at the link.

f563b1171ef0965bc107324d96f0721dAs Dak said yesterday in the comment section of Boston Boomer’s post:

Colorado Springs, Site Of Planned Parenthood Attack, Is A Hub For Conservative Christians

Cannonfire-A brief discourse on faulty logic — or: Meet the Fukers!

The right-wing media has spent years demonizing Planned Parenthood, one of the most useful and virtuous institutions in this country. A white maniac from a Deep Red state shoots up a Planned Parenthood clinic, and what happens? The right-wing press instantly politicizes the situation, while simultaneously accusing the left of politicizing.

During Shooting, GOP Congressman Says He Expects Apology From Planned Parenthood | Mediaite

It was while that siege was still going on, though, that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger decided to take to CNN’s air and demand an apology from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, if the perpetrator turned out not to be an anti-abortion terrorist:

“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”

dfbae64991e62cffaaad0639ece12f6aThat was at about 6 pm, while there was still gunfire being reported at the scene. There is a long history of terrorism against Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers in this country, but the statement Kinzinger is referencing actually points out that the motive is as yet unknown, and yet is still true no matter what this shooter’s mysterious motive turns out to be. Here’sthat statement in full:

Statement from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains:

“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation. Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”

27a35e9d55c06abb17ce8c40fc281a6cAs with every tragedy, there will be lots of virtual ink devoted to chronicling the many stupid, crass, offensive things that people did and said as this tragedy was unfolding, but this one deserves a special mention, and here’s why.

Kinzinger, a “pro-life” Republican, has demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood if it turns outthat the women’s health organization was not the target of this apparent terrorist murderer. Therefore, if by some magical confluence of events it turns out that Planned Parenthood was the target, then Planned Parenthood does not owe Kinzinger an apology. Kinzinger has conditionally accepted the blame for this violence on behalf of the unhinged anti-abortion right. If he’s allowed back on CNN after that, it should be to ask him if he’s ready to apologize to Planned Parenthood.

The response: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Gets Shredded On Facebook After Planned Parenthood Shooting Comments (IMAGES) «

This past week, my cousin David visited us…he meets with the head Bishop of the Florida Archdiocese tomorrow…and finds out in January if he has been accepted into the seminary to become a priest. He mentioned the Pope calling this mess of a world…World War III in “piecemeal”.

10e935dadb4f9173b2552dde7d8c1dcfTake a look at these:

Pope Francis warns on ‘piecemeal World War III’ – BBC News – 13 September 2014

Pope Francis warns ‘piecemeal’ World War III has begun-NBC.news- Saturday, 13 Sep 2014 | 7:06 AM ET

Because according to CNN: How is this not World War III? – CNN.com-Updated 3:16 PM ET, Wed November 25, 2015

…it’s getting hard to avoid analogies to World War I — strange bedfellows, conflicting agendas, alliances of convenience

Remember this…because in a related op/ed on CNN: No, it’s not ‘World War 3’ – CNN.com-Updated 9:03 AM ET, Tue November 17, 2015

Note the dates on those links.

f7361e12c660e21636bf2a0f312bdce8Okay, this is getting long, even for a Sunday Reads. So the rest of the links are in Dump Fashion.

Donald Trump Rally Features Circus Elephant Owned by Man Who Was Repeatedly Arrested for Animal Cruelty

Ben Carson, visiting Syrian refugees in Jordan, says he ‘saw pain on faces’ – LA Times

‘Brave? Really?’: Demonstrators blast armed bigots who surrounded peaceful Muslims at mosque last week

Mom Refuses To Let A Gay Man Teach Her Kids – His Response Is LEGENDARY (IMAGE) «

Burger King manager says police erased video of Chicago shooting | Tampa Bay Times

Russian lawmaker killed by husband detonating hand grenade – NY Daily News

The jealous husband of a young Russian lawmaker killed himself and his wife after detonating a hand grenade as he forced her to have sex in the backseat of their car Thursday, according to local reports.

Dammit, that is, ugh…no words, but there are some assholes out there think there is no way to force sex when you are married to the woman. I wonder what that person feels about hand grenade murder/suicide? (Although I am sure because the woman was very modern and working as a law maker…he would find some way to justify it…to far? Possibly.)

But let’s move on to the poor, another one of said asshole’s champions: It’s simply harder to eat well when you are poor | Barbara Ellen | Comment is free | The Guardian

You can read about the austerity factor at the link.

211418a075d1476b943bd0bf8f0b9698

 

 

And we will end it with history:

82cf6368771c62cb7aa5be2cac89bbe3From Raiders to Traders: The Viking-Arab Trade Exchange

The Viking raids across Europe brought them into contact with other cultures, including Muslim Arabs. Although there are no known Viking settlements in the Arab lands, both cultures interacted with each other through their respective exploration of Europe. Contact between Vikings and Arabs occurred mainly in the area of what would become Russia. While there is scarce evidence that Arabs visited the homelands of the Vikings, or as they called them, the “people of the North,” artifacts found across Scandinavia, and especially in Sweden, point to an extensive long-distance trade exchange between the two very different cultures. It was the promise of access to much needed and coveted silver that set off the Viking exploration into Europe, and brought Viking raiders into contact with the Arabs. In their quest for silver, the Vikings discovered and accessed valuable trade routes to Constantinople that led to an extensive trade exchange with the Arab world. Seizing upon the opportunity to enrich themselves, the Vikings came into contact with Arabic wealth and treasures through their raids, and soon realized the potential of a peaceful trade exchange.

19a4e7cf3b864df543233ebe6a67d2adThe Vikings came into contact with Muslim Arabs during their exploration of the Iberian Peninsula. One of the first contacts occurred with Muslim Spain in 844 when a Viking fleet of fifty-four ships sailed from their base in Brittany to Spain in order to raid the Caliphate’s treasures. The raiding campaign was successful, as the Vikings conquered Lisbon and Seville, destroyed numerous other towns, and even threatened the capital of al-Andalus, Córdoba. However, the Muslims were able to drive back the Viking invaders and built “an effective coastal defence against new attacks.” Having seen the riches of the Caliphate, the Vikings were determined to return, and embarked on a second raiding campaign in 859, this time with a much bigger fleet of sixty-two ships. Again, the raiding campaign itself was a success, as their ships were “so fully laden with plunder that they sat low in the water.”

652593b4fe316bcc785a984e4640fcc8However, on the Vikings’ journey back to their home base in Brittany, the Muslim naval fleet attacked and destroyed the majority of the Vikings’ ships. With that, Viking exploration of and interaction with Muslim Spain ended. The two raids gave both cultures a first glimpse at each other’s military capabilities and characteristics. Prior to the Vikings’ invasion of the Caliphate, the Arabs had no interaction with the “people of the North.” To the Muslim Arabs, the Vikings appeared “as a sudden, mysterious, military threat.” The Vikings for the first time were confronted with an enemy that was well organized on land as well as on the sea, where Vikings were used to supremacy.

Click here to read this article from Saber and Scroll

Well, what are you all up to today? I will post those updates on the EU/Turkey Refugee Agreement below as they become available.

Refugee images from Pinterest: J.J. Lopez Minkoff on Pinterest

Otherwise, please post some of your thoughts today.


Monday Reads: Blood Sport Edition

gop carElection Season continues to close in on us with a number of national policies under consideration and under fire.

It’s time to focus on issues.

Hillary Clinton has introduced her policy prescriptions for sensible gun regulation. They include repealing laws giving legal protection to gun manufacturers and dealers.  Gun manufacturers and gun retailers are the only industry given protection from every circumstance of negligence in product design, sales, and use.  Dealers can sell to anyone and not be held to account.  On-line dealers and gun show dealers bear no legal responsibility for selling to felons or the mentally ill.  Clinton’s position stands in direct conflict with Senator Bernie Sanders’ voting record. Sanders–an independent–is Clinton’s closet challenger in the Democratic Party presidential race. Martin O’Malley–a former Governor and Democrat–also embraces sensible gun control. Of course, the Republicans support a weapons free-for-all.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday detailed new proposalsaimed at closing gun sale loopholes and holding accountable those who sell guns for violence committed with those weapons.

Seizing the moment following last week’s mass shooting in Oregon, Clinton called for the repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which gives legal protection to gun manufacturers and dealers whose guns are used for criminal activity.

As a senator from New York, Clinton voted against the law in 2005 and, the official said, would lead an effort to repeal it if elected president. Her closest competitor in the Democratic primary, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who served in the U.S. House at the time, voted in favor of it.

Clinton appeared viscerally frustrated as she spoke after Thursday’s shooting at Umpqua Community College, in which authorities say a student killed nine people before turning one of several guns he had with him on himself. “What is wrong with us, that we cannot stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby, and the gun manufacturers they represent?” Clinton said Friday at Broward College in Davie, Florida. “We don’t just need to pray for these people. We need to act.”

In staking out a hardline position on guns, Clinton is capitalizing on an issue where she stands to the left of Sanders. He has a mixed record on gun control—he voted against the Brady Bill in 1993 and for the liability protection law, but also in favor of restrictions on the size of gun magazines—that he attributes to the gun culture of his rural state. He responded to the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, and in Oregon with promises to implement “sensible gun-control legislation” and to improve mental health services, but has not yet offered specific proposals.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who is trailing Clinton and Sanders in polls, on Sunday in New Hampshire called on his rivals to “join me in building a new consensus” on gun control by supporting his four-point plan, his campaign said.

Could Clinton staking out a position make Gun Control an actual issue in the 2016 presidential primary?  Greg Sargent of the Plum Line discusses the question.124586_600

Clinton’s new plan, which she will discuss on the campaign trail today, includes a raft of ideas: closing loopholes in the background check system; more aggressive action to revoke the licenses of gun dealers who knowingly supply so-called “straw purchasers”; and repealing a law that protects gun manufacturers from liability for gun violence.

But the most controversial aspect of Clinton’s plan is this: She vowed to take executive action to partly close the loophole that allows private sellers to peddle guns without a background check if Congress doesn’t.

Clinton’s campaign says that this could theoretically be accomplished via a new rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that would more clearly define what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms. Gun control advocates point out that under federal law, those “engaged in the business” of selling firearms must perform background checks, but federal regulations defining that phrase are too vague, allowing too many gun sales to proceed without such a check. Such federal regs, they say, could be changed through executive action that, for example, would set a clearer threshold defining “engaged in the business” of selling firearms in terms of the number of guns sold.

Arkadi Gerney, a gun policy expert at the Center for American Progress, tells me what Clinton’s new policy proposal means:

“The statute says that anyone engaged in the business of selling firearms must apply for a federal license. Like any other statute where it’s vague, there’s the potential to define it further. You could update the regulation and have a more clear threshold. You couldn’t say, we define ‘engaged in the business’ as anyone who sells a gun ever. But you could change the regulation to be more focused, more narrow, and less vague than it currently is, which makes it very hard to prosecute people who abuse the law and are selling tens and hundreds of guns as private sellers.

“One way you could do this would be to have a clear numerical threshold on the number of gun sales.”

But if Clinton could do this as president, couldn’t Obama do this by executive action right now? Gerney thinks the answer is Yes:

“Clinton’s idea of clarifying further what kind of gun sellers are engaging in business and need to get a license to sell guns is a smart one.  She’s right that the President can do more to define the current law on what level of gun-selling activity triggers the requirement to conduct background checks. And, by putting this idea forward it is something of an implicit challenge to the current administration to move forward along these lines.”

More on this later, but this raises new questions: Is Obama, who has been visibly frustrated by government inaction, thinking of undertaking such an executive action? Will Clinton’s public vow to undertake such action raise the pressure on the administration to do the same?

961a7ef0dc8b6e8f29d4573dd6cf953bIt seems another Columbine-style school massacre was in the planning stage in California.  How can we put an end to these things?

An investigation into a planned shooting at a Tuolumne County school led to the arrests of four male students, deputies said Saturday.

“They were going to come on campus and shoot and kill as many people as possible at the campus,” Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele said.

Investigators with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said administrators at Summerville High School contacted them Wednesday about three students who were making threats against students and faculty.

The investigation included interviews with the students and several searches, and deputies said they were able to identify a fourth student who was also involved in the plan.

“The suspects’ plans was very detailed in nature, and included names of would-be victims, locations, methods in which the plan was to be carried out,” Mele said.

Mele said the students confessed to planning the mass shooting.

They were removed from campus Wednesday after other students at the school noticed suspicious activity and alerted administrators.

“Their willingness to get involved and report what they saw prevented what well could have been another needless tragedy,” Mele said.

Detectives plan to meet with the families of the children whose names were on the hit list to notify them. Among those listening at Saturday’s press conference were parents sick with worry.

Meanwhile, carly Fiorina appears to be challenging Sarah Palin for most stupid answer to a lack of foreign policy credentials.  Palin is well known for explaining that parts of Russia are close to Alaska which was later turned into the Tina Fey’s “I can see Russia from my front porch” lampoon.  Fiorina argues that her Medival History degree will help her contain ISIS.  I can see the political cartoons referencing The Crusades already.   Maybe her plans include holding Rennaisance Festivals in Syria.

For over three decades, Carly Fiorina’s bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in medieval history and philosophy has had little real-world application.

But as she mounts a presidential bid, the Republican candidate says her degree is finally of use as she considers how she would deal with ISIS as commander-in-chief.

“Finally my degree in medieval history and philosophy has come in handy,” Fiorina said Sunday night, “because what ISIS wants to do is drive us back to the Middle Ages, literally.”

Well, the Republican Party should know about policies that derive from the Dark Ages. That explains a lot of Fiorina’s management style at HP.

There is still speculation about a Biden candidacy.  It seems awfully late to get into the race, but the some members in the media seem to be dying for something resembling an internecine battle between CHsKHw0UwAAaJDYDemocrats.  Ed Kilgore haves some Tiger Beat on the Ptomac for breakfast.

It figures that the penultimate Biden’s Running!story comes from Mike “Win the Morning” Allen of Politico, who begins with the trumpet blare of a scoop:

He’s finally close. Confidants of Vice President Joe Biden expect him to make a decision next weekend, or shortly thereafter, on whether to launch an epic battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Several people who have visited Biden recently said he seems to be leaning “yes.”

“Nothing he has heard in the past couple of months has deterred him,” said one Democrat close to the process.

A former Senate colleague of Biden’s said, after visiting the vice president, “He loves what he does, and he has a great deal of confidence that he could contribute in a meaningful way. He’s willing to face, ultimately, having his final political expedition be a defeat.”

Ah, but then Allen starts hedging, and before you know it, the confident trumpets become the kazoo orchestra of mere rumors and guesswork:

One longtime friend said the long windup — and the fact that no staff has been hired — tells its own story.Huh. Didn’t I just read at CNN last week that campaign managers had been lined up for all the early states? Could it be that was just another assertion by the five or six Draft Biden blind quote machines who have been more or less making stuff up for months? But somebody didn’t get the memo:

“If you’re going to run, you run,” the friend said. “Every time he pushes back a decision, that’s the ultimate tell.”

A third recent Biden visitor said: “I can’t see how he can wake up one morning and think some big tidal wave sweeps him in. The raw politics just aren’t there.”

After describing their hunches, friends and advisers almost universally added that they remain unsure which way he’ll go.

But there will be a big announcement any day now, right?

Meanwhile, the real internecine battle is in the Republican House leadership race where right wing extremists are out winging each other.  Who votes for these people?  Oh, never mind.  Steve Scalise–164799_600representative for David Duke Land (aka Jefferson Parish)–is one of our neoconfederates.  Representative Scalies (KKK) says he has the votes to win majority leader.  

The Louisiana Republican held a conference call with backers Sunday evening during which he indicated he’s locked up support from more than half of the 247-member GOP conference. Closed-door voting for the majority leader post is expected on Thursday, though some Republicans are pushing to delay it until after a new Speaker is sworn in.

“I’ve been making calls all day. I haven’t stopped working, and I know you haven’t stopped working either,” Scalise said, according to a source on the call. “In this race, the winning number has always been 124. A couple of days ago, we actually hit that number and we’re continuing to add to it each day.”

Scalise, the current No. 2 Republican in leadership, is squaring off with Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) in the race for GOP leader, a post occupied by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is running for Speaker. Both Scalise and Price are red-state conservatives who previously have served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

Last week, several Republicans tried to draft Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) into the majority leader’s race, but he said he was focused on leading the House panel investigating the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Did I mention he likes to mention he’s “David Duke without the baggage?”
One of the major Congressional whackados is going for Speaker.  You had to know Jason Chaffetz of Utah was after something given his embarassing performance in the Planned Parenthood witch hunt.  Embarassing, non-reality based witch hunts are a Republican Leadership speciality these days.

The bid by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, comes amid unrest from conservatives driven by doubts that McCarthy (Calif.) will be any more inclined than Boehner to embrace the right flank of the House Republican Conference.

Chaffetz said on “Fox News Sunday” that he was “recruited” by members displeased with McCarthy’s ascent and that he would “bridge the divide” in the House GOP

“You don’t just give an automatic promotion to the existing leadership team,” he said. “That doesn’t signal change. I think [House Republicans] want a fresh face and fresh new person who is actually there at the leadership table in the speaker’s role.”

Chaffetz’s remarks not only reflect tensions between conservatives and establishment Republicans, but also concerns about McCarthy’s ability to communicate with the GOP base and the public at large. Those concerns grew after McCarthy made comments last week suggesting that a House investigation into the 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound and a CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, stemmed from political motivations.

“We need somebody who’s out there who is actually going out there and making the case to the American people, talking to the Senate about what we need to do, and going on the national television shows and winning that argument,” Chaffetz said. “We don’t seem to win the argument, and that’s a problem.”

Some one needs to tell Mister Chaffetz that they don’t win the argument because the majority of people in the Senate do not think the Moon is made of Green Cheese because Satan!!!

The frontrunner is no peach either. Remember, this position is third in line to the President.

In spite of the rapid dumbing-down of the GOP (see also Mr. Trump), they continue to churn out more dummies.

Enter Kevin McCarthy. The Bakersfield, California Republican is the most likely conservative white-guy to ascend into John Boehner’s post as Speaker of the House. And he shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near Congress, much less a leadership post.

By now, we’re all aware of McCarthy’s admission that the congressional select committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks is almost exclusively designed to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

They say gaffes are merely the truths spoken out loud. This was certainly the case with McCarthy. By the way, we should underscore at this point how McCarthy isn’t just another ambitious member of Congress. He’s the House Majority Leader. So, yes, the House Majority Leader accidentally spilled the beans on one of the longest running scams in congressional history — one of the biggest wastes of taxpayer money since Ken Starr’s probe into President Clinton’s pants-parties.

That’s pretty bad. But McCarthy’s bad week didn’t end there.

Either McCarthy is incapable of reading, or he has the worst speech-writing staff in the history of American politics — and that includes Sarah Palin’s self-authored Patriotic Mad Libs. Three days after Boehner announced his resignation from Congress, McCarthy was propped up for a foreign policy speech before the John Hay Initiative. The ostensible goal was to burnish McCarthy’s political heft, but the exact opposite happened and, frankly, even the dumbest Republicans ought to be embarrassed to caucus with this idiot.

So, that’s my round up of what passes for politics in our country.  To me, the choice couldn’t be clearer.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads

1bee80ac1bfdffef45df1a686a62cbecIt’s a great autumn weekend down here in New Orleans!  I hope your day and weather are splendid too!

There’s a lot of news up today but the first thing I want to cover is the clarification made by the Vatican on the Kentucky Bigot Brigrade and the supposed papal visit.  It looks like we have a case of extreme exaggeration or “telling a whopper” as we like to call it in my neck of the woods.

According to the Vatican, Pope Francis did not invite Kim Davis to meet him. There was no secret meeting, and the Pope had no idea who she was when he met her.

In a statement, the Vatican clarified that Pope Francis didn’t even know who Kim Davis was:

The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points:

Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.

The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.

The Pope briefly met Kim Davis as part of a group, had no idea who she was, said hello to her, and moved on.

The Vatican’s version of events is the opposite of what Davis’s supporters are claiming happened. The anti-gay marriage crowd claimed that the Pope met with Davis in secret and expressed his support for her bigotry. The right has been using the imaginary meeting as an endorsement of their out of step views.

The extremist conservative movement’s attempt to use Pope Francis for propaganda purposes has fallen apart. Davis’s invitation had been extended by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the envoy in Washington. Viganò is well known to have gone further than others in the church in his campaign against gay marriage. The Pope did not invite Davis to meet him. In fact, according to the Vatican, Pope Francis had not been briefed on the situation and knew nothing about Davis.

The fact that the Vatican took such pains to distance themselves from Davis could logically be viewed as a rejection of her beliefs.

So, hopefully the Archbishop will be called to the Vatican woodshed and there will be a great big huge discussion on rending unto Caesargrid-cell-18637-1405708438-24 that which is Caesar’s.  Either way, the Kentucky Bigot Brigade appears to following the usual tradition of lying your way to to what you think gawd wants.

Yet another abortion advocate is the target of death threats from the “pro-life” set.  I’ve had all kinds of run ins with these folks over a period of about 30 years and it always ends in threats of violence.  Lies and violence are their trademarks.

A few weeks ago, writers Amelia Bonow and Lindy West began the hashtag campaign #ShoutYourAbortion to encourage the one in three women who have had an abortion to speak out about their experience instead of being shamed into silence. Then came the death threats.

Bonow told the New York Times that the idea behind the campaign wasn’t to glorify the procedure, but instead to destigmatize it during a time when people are so angry about the topic they’re setting Planned Parenthood clinics on fire.

“A shout is not a celebration or a value judgment, it’s the opposite of a whisper, of silence,” Bonow told the Times. “Even women who support abortion rights have been silent, and told they were supposed to feel bad about having an abortion.”

In a social-media world that’s this upsetting and dangerous, no wonder some celebrities hire Twitter surrogates.

Increased violence against Planned Parenthood Clinics is on the FBI’s radar and has come about as the result of the intense lying of Congressional Republicans and idiots like Republican Presidential Wannabe Fiorina. Nothing ever good comes from whipping up a bunch of religious fanatics.  Check the Middle East region if you need further proof.

As the national conversation on Planned Parenthood has become louder and more heated, politicians have warned that it could ignite acts of violence against clinics and neighborhood facilities.

Late Wednesday, for the second time in weeks, a Planned Parenthood center in Thousand Oaks came under attack, this time by an arsonist or arsonists who authorities believe smashed out a window, splashed gasoline inside the clinic and then ignited it.

Authorities say there’s no evidence the attack was related to the larger debate on Planned Parenthood, but said the West Hillcrest Drive facility was previously attacked by vandals six weeks ago.

No direct theats had been made to the facility or clinic workers before the fire, said Ventura County sheriff’s Capt. John Reilly.

A few plants near the window were blackened, but the small fire had been extinguished quickly because of a sprinkler system, Lohman said.

a57489e8e9b51705244f3519fadb76dbA fire in a Washington State Planned Parenthood that happened in early September was already ruled arson.  As previously mentioned, the FBI is warning local law enforcement of the possibility of increased domestic terrorist activites aimed at Planned Parenthood.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned of an increasing number of attacks on reproductive healthcare facilities. “It is likely criminal or suspicious incidents will continue to be directed against reproductive health care providers, their staff and facilities,” an FBI Intelligence Assessment reads,according to a CBS report Friday.

The finding comes after a July video from the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, which releasedsecretly taped footage of Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they use tissues from aborted fetuses for medical research.

Since then, federal investigators have reported nine criminal or suspicious incidents at reproductive health centers across the country, which included cyberattacks, threats and arson. The FBI believes the incidents were “consistent with the actions of lone offenders using tactics of arsons and threats all of which are typical of the pro-life extremist movement,” sources told CBS.

12277179b4bd15de4070b1c14c3f6d83So, this is in keeping with the latest mass shooting whose perpetrator is a self-confessed NAZI and “conservative Republican” who disliked “organized religion”.   Chris Harper Mercer is yet another example of a lone wolf, young white male shooter with mental illness issues. 

Mr. Mercer appeared to have sought community on the Internet. A picture of him holding a rifle appeared on a MySpace page with a post expressing a deep interest in the Irish Republican Army. It included footage from the conflict in Northern Ireland set to “The Men Behind the Wire,” an Irish republican song, and several pictures of gunmen in black balaclavas. Another picture showed the front page of An Phoblacht, the party newspaper of Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the I.R.A.

A picture of Mr. Mercer also appeared on a long-dormant dating website profile registered in Los Angeles. On it, he described himself as an “introvert” with a dislike for “organized religion.”

In the offline world, Mr. Mercer’s mother sought to protect him from all manner of neighborhood annoyances, former neighbors in Torrance said, from loud children and barking dogs to household pests. Once, neighbors said, she went door-to-door with a petition to get the landlord to exterminate cockroaches in her apartment, saying they bothered her son.

“She said, ‘My son is dealing with some mental issues, and the roaches are really irritating him,’ ” Julia Winstead, 55, said. “She said they were going to go stay in a motel. Until that time, I didn’t know she had a son.”

We’ve said this before, but American’s gun fetish is causing our country to look like some kind of throwback to the Stone Age.  Except, 06b00848ebc42841b77839ed82e51815stone axes can kill one person. Sophisticated guns kill millions of Americans.  Here’s “America’s fucking awful, truly unique gun violence problem,visualized” per Ezra Klein.

Whenever a mass shooting occurs, supporters of gun rights often argue that it’s inappropriate to bring up political debates about gun control in the aftermath of a tragedy. For example, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a strong supporter of gun rights, criticized President Barack Obama for “trying to score cheap political points” when the president mentioned gun control after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

But if this argument is followed to its logical end, then it will never be the right time to discuss mass shootings, as Christopher Ingraham pointed out at the Washington Post. Under the Mass Shooting Tracker’s definition of mass shootings, America has nearly one mass shooting a day. So if lawmakers are forced to wait for a time when there isn’t a mass shooting to talk gun control, they could find themselves waiting for a very long time.

We’ll undoubtedly see more stories blaming mental illness.  But is it the real issue in these domestic terrorist situation?  Read this great rant by Arthur Chu on Salon.

I get really really tired of hearing the phrase “mental illness” thrown around as a way to avoid saying other terms like “toxic masculinity,” “white supremacy,” “misogyny” or “racism.”

We barely know anything about the suspect in the Charleston, South Carolina, atrocity. We certainly don’t have testimony from a mental health professional responsible for his care that he suffered from any specific mental illness, or that he suffered from a mental illness at all.
We do have statistics showing that the vast majority of people who commit acts of violence do not have a diagnosis of mental illness and, conversely, people who have mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.

We know that the stigma of people who suffer from mental illness as scary, dangerous potential murderers hurts people every single day — it costs people relationships and jobs, it scares people away from seeking help who need it, it brings shame and fear down on the heads of people who already have it bad enough.

But the media insists on trotting out “mental illness” and blaring out that phrase nonstop in the wake of any mass killing. I had to grit my teeth every time I personally debated someone defaulting to the mindless mantra of “The real issue is mental illness” over the Isla Vista shootings.

“The real issue is mental illness” is a goddamn cop-out. I almost never hear it from actual mental health professionals, or advocates working in the mental health sphere, or anyone who actually has any kind of informed opinion on mental health or serious policy proposals for how to improve our treatment of the mentally ill in this country.

There are so many ways to see how our country is marching backwards from modernity that it sometimes makes my head 18536e6732f186631f4e82093ab9a17dhurt badly.  This is Hillary on Alabama’s attempt to remove DMVs and access to picture IDS in their counties that are majority black. Alabama is trying to reinstate Jim Crow just as every Republican in Congress wants us back to the days before Birth Control and Abortion was legal and acessible.  

Hillary Clinton slammed the closure of 31 driver’s license offices in Alabama — many in majority-black counties — as “a blast from the Jim Crow past.”

The closures, announced this week, hit majority-black counties especially hard. Under Alabama’s new tougher version of its voter ID law, voters must have a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, to vote. Every Alabama county with at least 75 percent African American registered voters will lose its DMV office, according to local reports.

“This is only going to make it harder for people to vote,” Clinton said in a statement Friday. “It’s a blast from the Jim Crow past.”

Clinton has made voting rights a major platform of her presidential campaign. Alabama has defended the DMV closures, saying that there are other options for residents to obtain an ID that will enable them to vote.

Read Clinton’s full statement below:

“I strongly oppose Alabama’s decision to close driver’s license offices across the state, especially in counties that have a significant majority of African Americans. Just a few years ago, Alabama passed a law requiring citizens to have a photo ID to vote. Now they’re shutting down places where people get those photo IDs. This is only going to make it harder for people to vote. It’s a blast from the Jim Crow past.


“We’re better than this. We should be encouraging more Americans to vote, not making voting harder. As President, I’ll push for automatic voter registration for every American when they turn 18, and a new national standard of at least 20 days of early in-person voting in every state. And I’ll work with Congress to restore key protections of the Voting Rights Act.

“African Americans fought for the right to vote in the face of unthinkable hatred. They stood up and were beaten down, marched and were turned back. Some were even killed. But in the end, the forces of justice overcame. Alabama should do the right thing. It should reverse this decision. And it should start protecting the franchise for every single voter, no matter the color of their skin.”

It may be time to take to the streets again.

The cell phones in the pockets of the dead students were still ringing when we were told that it was wrong to ask why. As the police cleared the bodies from the Virginia Tech engineering building, the cell phones rang, in the eccentric varieties of ring tones, as parents kept trying to see if their children were OK. To imagine the feelings of the police as they carried the bodies and heard the ringing is heartrending; to imagine the feelings of the parents who were calling — dread, desperate hope for a sudden answer and the bliss of reassurance, dawning grief — is unbearable. But the parents, and the rest of us, were told that it was not the right moment to ask how the shooting had happened — specifically, why an obviously disturbed student, with a history of mental illness, was able to buy guns whose essential purpose is to kill people — and why it happens over and over again in America. At a press conference, Virginia’s governor, Tim Kaine, said, “People who want to … make it their political hobby horse to ride, I’ve got nothing but loathing for them. … At this point, what it’s about is comforting family members … and helping this community heal. And so to those who want to try to make this into some little crusade, I say take that elsewhere.”

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Late Sunday Reads

16195811-standardGood Afternoon!

Sorry this is so late.  JJ’s mother-in-law passed so she will be taking the week off.  It’s my turn today to fill those big shoes!  However, my A/C went out yesterday afternoon late. I thought it was only struggling to keep up with the heat when I left for a cocktail hour gig.  When I got home from that gig last night, I opened the door on a very hot home and three very miserable animals. It was obvious that the A/C wasn’t just struggling.  It was pretty dead.  I spent the night trying to get to sleep and only did so at about 4am with the help of Benadryl. Fortunately, I got some relief at 8 am when the owner of the local repair shop got to me and fixed it quickly! I was lucky to meet Julian Marin at my local watering hole awhile back because he ended our suffering here at the KatHouse. I went back to sleep and didn’t get up until around 2 my time.  Fortunately, it’s a bad capacitor that’s still under warranty.  It turned out to be a quick fix.

So, I’m not letting this mass shooting in Lafayette go for awhile.  Several things stand out to me.  First, the killer was a rabid misogynist who went on Talk Radio shows screaming about the Biblical roles of women. It shouldn’t be lost on any one that he chose an Amy Schumer movie which was going to have a larger than normal number of women in attendance and that a solid majority of his victims–including the dead ones—were women.  Second, there are mass shootings in New Orleans all the time.  Gun Violence is a near every day occurrence here and many victims are innocent children playing in the street and elderly people sitting on porches.  Where is the national news media on those instances?  Third, Louisiana’s gun laws are among the loosest in the country and our deaths attributable to guns are the second highest.  Our governor is eager to show the NRA and the state his gun fetish.  His policies of disabling whatever few gun laws the state had are exactly why these kinds of problems happen.  He can pray to his imaginary friend as much as he wants and focus on the victims.  But, he needs to realize that the blood of every gun victim in this state–since he’s started disabling the few reasonable restrictions that we’ve had–is on his hands.  If he and others only say “no one could imagine” then he and those others join the ranks of the deliberately avoiding the obvious club.

A governor issuing a call for prayers in the wake of a fatal mass shooting is almost boilerplate by now, but what good does it truly do? Prayers will not pull the bullets out of those people, nor repair their flesh. The frequency of these terrible events has somehow numbed us, and the lack of political courage on the right (and at times, on the left) to do anything to stem the flow of guns into our country is staggering. But can it help, somehow?

“Prayer in these moments serve two basic functions in my opinion: one as a sincere attempt at showing sorrow and hoped for comfort for the deceased, and second, as a hope the violence will stop,” Butler told me. “However, these prayers, while sincere, tend to be diffuse, non focused, and often are not prayers that are about the root cause of the situations: usually people’s actions, changes in gun laws, or repentance—sorrow for being a part of a culture that promotes the violence. Personally, I think it is more about soothing of those who have lost loved ones, and a way to forget the real issues at hand that need to be addressed.”

Jindal is asking us to comfort ourselves in this moment, which sounds right. There he was in Lafayette on Thursday night, recommending prayer as the first recourse and saying,“We never imagined it would happen in Louisiana,” and expecting to be taken seriously. Having now suspended his presidential campaign, he’s going back to being just the governor of the state with perhaps the nation’s weakest gun laws and definitely its worst gun violence. Jindal uses guns as campaign props, frequently touting his hunting acumen, A+ grade from the NRA, and enthusiasm for firearms in speeches, interviews, and in his Twitter feed. “In Louisiana and all across America,” Jindal told the CPAC audience in 2012, “we love us some guns and religion.”

Both came into play on Thursday night in Lafayette. But comforting people after mass shootings, by definition, makes them comfortable after mass shootings. Praying may make you feel better in the moment, but Jindal is essentially asking that citizens do nothing to solve the actual problem of gun violence. People can talk to God if they want, but someone had better be calling Wayne LaPierre at the National Rifle Association. A few members of Congress, too.

As Slate writer Jamelle Bouie noted Thursday night on Twitter, we live in a country willing to accept dozens of murdered children—in a tony Connecticut suburb, no less. Also, we seem to be able to swallow a child and five others being killed in an assassination attempt on a sitting member of Congress, Gabrielle Giffords. Urgency on this issue seems to be out of style, but I’d think that perhaps even out of sheer boredom, this nation would not simply shrug its collective shoulders in grief and resignation for nearly a hundred times in the last several years, and join those actually trying to make our national gun policies make sense. In the absence of any faith that can be done, it will take work.

The words “well-regulated militia” are always the ignored parts of the second amendment when you’re around the gun nuts.  Their answer to gun violence is always more guns.  Let me ask you something, if you sawguns mental illness a child throwing rocks at other children in a playground would you give those other children rocks and expect the problem to be solved? And, what would you think about arming every one in a dark crowded theater then calling for a virtual shoot out at the OK Corral? Certainly, responsible gun owners know that kind of environment is not likely to produce a positive outcome.  However, white male apologists like Rick Perry always blame mental illness and are blaming “gun free zones”.  It’s never about the issues of right wing extremists and their racist, misogynist, radical christianist screeds. It’s always about mental illness and not enough guns.

Rick Perry said in an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, earlier this week shows why gun-free zones are “a bad idea” and said he believes people should be able to take their firearms to the movies.

“I think that it makes a lot of sense to send a message across this country,” Perry said when asked by host Jake Tapper if the former governor believed a way to prevent such violence would be to allow moviegoers to take guns inside. “If we believe in the Second Amendment, and we believe in people’s right to protect themselves and defend themselves, and their families.”

John Russell “Rusty” Houser on Thursday shot 11 people, killing two, in a theater using a handgun he legally purchased from a pawn shop, authorities have said. Houser, who authorities say had a history of legal and mental problems, then turned the gun on himself.

“I will suggest to you that these concepts of gun-free zones are a bad idea,” Perry said. “I think that you allow the citizens of this country, who have appropriately trained, appropriately backgrounded, know how to handle and use firearms, to carry them. I believe that, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity, or stop it before there’s as many people that are impacted as what we saw in Lafayette.”.

Perry said shootings in gun-free zones like movie theaters and churches — such as the one in Charleston, South Carolina, the scene of a racially-motivated bloodbath that killed nine last month — happen because of a failure to enforce existing gun laws. He said current laws should have prevented Houser from obtaining his gun.

“I think we have the laws in place. Enforcement of those laws is what seems to be lacking, both in Charleston and here in Lafayette, Louisiana,” he said. “We see individuals who are obviously mentally impacted. These are individuals who I think that somewhere, somebody didn’t do their job in the standpoint of enforcing the laws” that are already on the books.

Governors like Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry aren’t about enforcing laws already on the books. They are about eliminating them and installing some Hollywood version of the Wild West in every state in this country. Blogger Julian Drury discusses the steps Jindal’s taken to appease the NRA and to remove any sensible gun regulation.  Remember, even the constitution uses the worlds “well-regulated”.

Why does New Orleans have so much gun violence? Yes, many nuances and history of gangs and crime are to be taken into account. City crime is always complex to certain degrees. Yet, one of the major contributing factors in Louisiana is the fact that the availability of guns is much higher than in states like New York, Illinois, and California.

Louisiana has one of the most lax gun laws in the country. Gun sales are hardly regulated properly. You can buy a gun at a pawn shop quickly, provided you are 21 years old and have a Louisiana state ID. If that doesn’t work, well there are the gun shows that Louisiana has held.

The gun show loophole is problematic, and allows anyone to buy military grade firearms without proper background checks. As long as the cash is in hand, many retailers at these gun shows will sell guns if the buyer has proper ID or not.

Now who would show up to a gun show with thousands of dollars in cash, and not want a background check? Hmmm? Criminals, perhaps?

Then factor in Bobby “Louisiana Loves Guns” Jindal, governor of the state, who seems to sit deep in the NRA’s pocket. Under his terms in office, Jindal has regularly weakened gun safety regulations, and often appears at gun stores during his campaigning, to have pictures of himself with whatever the shop’s biggest rifle is.

bobby_jindal_gun_ap_imgIn 2013, Bobby Jindal signed six gun laws.   Most of these laws made it easier for criminals and mentally ill people to obtain laws.  He should’ve known he was setting the state up for more mass shootings but as usual, he’s more concerned about things that would contribute to his presidential ambitions.  He did sign bills into laws to increase the ability of state and federal agencies to share information on people who should not have access to guns.  However, the gun show loop hole alone means that nothing will ever be done with that information. The Lafayette shooter is perhaps a textbook example of some one that should not have access to guns, yet he legally acquired one.

The most discussed piece of legislation in the batch signed Wednesday was House Bill 8by state Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City. The new law will enforce penalties on the intentional publication of the personal information of concealed handgun permit holders.

Citizens face penalties of up to six months in jail and $10,000 for those who “intentionally disseminate for publication” the personal information, such as names and addresses, of permit holders. Law enforcement or public safety employees who share such information will face up to six months in jail and a fine of $500.

Thompson, who helped found the pro-gun group Defend Louisiana this year, said the legislation was introduced largely as a reaction to the publication of New York gun permit holders’ names and addresses by The Journal News last year. He said permit holders’ lives and property were put at risk by the release and he wants to ensure such publication will be penalized in Louisiana.

“It is a great day in Louisiana and across this nation for those of us who refuse to give an inch when it comes to defending our right to protect our families and we will stand strong in the defense of the Second Amendment,” Thompson said Wednesday.

“Responsible, law-abiding citizens should not be villainized simply because they are concealed carry permit holders,” he added.

The bill received significant push-back from journalists, including Baton Rouge Advocate Executive Editor Carl Redman and Louisiana Press Association Executive Director Pamela Mitchell. Penalties will not be imposed if the permit holder had approved the information release or if it was already in the public domain. Publication would be allowable if the permit holder committed a felony involving a gun or if the information is subject to a court order.

jindal gun shopBobby Jindal says “Lousiana Loves us some guns”.  That’s not exactly obvious to any of us that live in a city where gun violence costs many lives every day.

“We love us some guns,” Bobby Jindal once said of his fellow Louisianans. Two of them were killed, and nine others wounded, on Thursday night when a man walked into a movie theater in Lafayette, sat for a while, and then fired more than a dozen rounds from a .40 caliber handgun.
“We never imagined it would happen in Louisiana,” Jindal said afterward, though the state has the second-highest rate of gun deaths in the country, more than twice the national average. Louisiana also has some of the laxest firearm regulations, for which Jindal bears much responsibility. During his eight years as governor he’s signed at least a dozen gun-related bills, most intended to weaken gun-safety regulation or expand access to firearms. One allowed people to take their guns to church; another, into restaurants that serve alcohol. He broadened Louisiana’s Stand Your Ground law, and made it a crime to publish the names of people with concealed carry permits. At the same time Jindal has pushed for cuts to mental health services.

Jindal treats guns not as weapons but political props. On the presidential campaign trail he’s posed repeatedly for photos cradling a firearm in his arms. “My kind of campaign stop,” he tweeted earlier this month from an armory in Iowa. After the Charleston massacre, he called President Obama’s mild comments about gun violence “completely shameful.” The correct response then, according to Jindal, was “hugging these families,” and “praying for these families.”

So, today on MSNBC, imagine my shock and surprise when I heard that Jindal said the Layfette shooter should’ve been denied access to guns.

The gunman who opened fire in a Louisiana movie theater should not have been allowed to legally buy the gun he used to kill two people and injure nine because of his mental history, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Sunday.

Shooter John Houser “should have never been able to buy that gun,” Jindal told NBC News. “That should have never been able to happen.”

Houser had been involuntarily hospitalized for mental conditions in Georgia and denied a concealed weapons permit in Alabama in 2006 because of a domestic violence complaint and a previous arrest connected to an arson plot.

Jim Cavanaugh, a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and now NBC News security analyst, said those red flags should have kept Houser from buying a gun in any state.

“If he’s adjudicated as a danger to himself or others, or not able to handle his affairs due to his mental capacity, he is also barred from having a firearm,” Cavanaugh said.

Still, Houser was able to legally buy a Hi-Point .40-caliber handgun in Alabama in 2014. And that is the gun he used to fire more than a dozen shots into a Thursday night movie audience of about 25 people before killing himself, officials said.

It is unclear whether officials in Georgia filed records about Houser’s involuntary hospitalization, which would have been funneled to the FBI’s database and therefore surfaced during a background check in any state, according to The Associated Press.

“Obviously somebody with this kind of history should have never been able to buy a gun,” Jindal said, noting that Louisiana laws would have prevented Houser from legally buying a gun.

In order to acquire a concealed handgun license in Louisiana, an applicant must “not suffer from a mental or physical infirmity due to disease,” according to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. But private owners and gun show sellers aren’t required to perform background checks to determine the mental health and arrest history of prospective gun buyers.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, Jindal, who is running for president and is generally known as pro-gun (the NRA last gave him an “A+” rating), declined to speak on gun policy, saying he wanted to give Lafayette a chance to grieve.

Authorities have yet to determine a motive for why Houser chose to attack people at the showing of “Trainwreck,” why he chose to target Lafayette and why he picked a Thursday evening.

So, let me address the mainstream media and police confusion about Houser’s “choices” of victim.  These are the same groups of people that rarely address the daily violence against and murder of women by the rick perry gunmen in their lives.  This is from a blog that tracks and monitors male misogyny called “We Hunted the Mammoth”.  The author is David Futrelle.

Police in Lafayette, Louisiana are evidently struggling to understand why the outspokenly misogynistic, racist and anti-Semitic John Russell “Rusty” Houser murdered two women and wounded 9 other moviegoers at a showing of “Trainwreck,” a film written by and starring Amy Schumer, a feminist comedian with a Jewish father, known for joking frankly about sex.

[For more, see my latest post on Houser: “Did right-wing attacks on “Trainwreck” inspire John Russell Houser’s shooting rampage?”]

Col. Michael D. Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, wondered aloud about Houser’s motives at a press conference: 

Why did he come here? Why did he do that? … We may not find a motive.

It seems to me that Houser’s likely motive is staring them in the face.

Because it turns out that Houser was pretty well-known, at least to regular viewers of one local TV talk show in Columbus, GA, as an angry right-wing fanatic who hated women. As one former host of the show recalled,

He was anti-abortion. … Rusty had an issue with feminine rights. He was opposed to women having a say in anything.

Houser evidently appeared on the live show dozens of times as a “gadfly” whose appearances “would generate calls.”

When Houser’s career as a loudmouthed crank on local TV apparently came to an end years ago, he moved to another medium, leaving a long trail of hateful comments on assorted websites, many of them openly praising Hitler and talking ominously about the future of what he saw as a deeply “immoral” culture.

Yes. “Men Kill Women in the U.S. So Often that It’s Usually Not Even Newsworthy.”

When news emerged that a middle-aged white man in Lafayette, Louisiana opened fire at a showing of the Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck, I immediately had this sinking feeling that the movie choice wasn’t a coincidence—that this was, like theElliot Rodger and George Sodini killings, an act of rage at women. While Trainwreck is a fluffy rom-com, it’s also a popular topic of chatter in the feminist-sphere, and therefore likely to be noticed by the seething misogynists who monitor the online activities of feminists with unsettling obsessiveness.

That fear is now moving from the uneasy-feeling column to the likely-possibility column, with Dave Weigel of the Washington Post reporting that alleged shooter John Russell Houser was a rabid right-winger—he even went to one of those unranked conservative Christian law schools—who had particularly strong anger towards women for their growing independence and rights. Former talk show host Calvin Floyd had Houser on as a frequent guest, knowing that his off-the-wall opinions would generate audience interest: “The best I can recall, Rusty had an issue with feminine rights,” Floyd said. “He was opposed to women having a say in anything.” Houser also had a history of domestic violence.

It would be nice, as Jessica Winter argued in Slate after the Charleston shooting, if this country could have a grown-up conversation about gun control in the wake of crimes like this. Instead, we’re just going to hear a bunch of ridiculous rhetoric about how more guns will fix this problem, as if Lafayette isn’t one of those parts of the country where every and their poodle is packing heat. But since that’s not happening, maybe we can talk about the continuing role that misogyny plays in the relentless drumbeat of gun violence in this country.

My colleague Ben Mathis-Lilley noted today at Slatest, there were 14 other gun-based murder-suicides in the past week in this country, resulting in the loss of 36 lives. If you look down the list of the killings, an unmistakeable pattern pops out: “shot and killed his 37-year-old wife… shot and killed his ex-wife… shot and killed his 62-year-old wife… shot and killed his 23-year-old girlfriend…” and so on. Most of these killings involve men killing women that they were in a relationship with, had lost a relationship with, or likely wanted a relationship with, but were rejected. This last week also featured a bizarre story of a woman who not only survived beingkidnapped and raped by a man but also saw her boyfriend and a random other man killed in the rapist-murderer’s rampage.

So much of this stuff seem clear to us and it escape our policymakers, the police, and the media who are co-conspirators in the gun deaths that impact so many women and racial minorities on a daily basis.  I can only shake my head at the amazing lack of self evaluation by those basking in the glow of  white male christianist privilege.

The Advocate says Jindal has wound up in a “controversial spotlight”.  Well, it’s about time some one write about this.

The day after the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine people in a church June 17, Jindal said it was not the time to discuss gun control but rather an occasion for prayer and hugs.

Jindal officially announced his entry in the campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination a week later, but he was regarded as a candidate for months before then — and it was in that light that he was asked to respond to President Barack Obama’s suggestion that the Charleston tragedy fit a distinctly American pattern of firearms violence that should be addressed.

Jindal characterized Obama’s comment as a “completely shameful” attempt to “score cheap political points.”

In the hours after the Lafayette shooting, in which a gunman fatally shot two women and wounded nine others before taking his own life, Jindal again said prayers and hugs made for the appropriate response.

“There’ll be a time; I’m sure folks will want to jump into the politics of this,” he said. “Now is not the time.”

That didn’t prevent gun control advocates from landing on Jindal with both feet. The New Republic accused Jindal of enabling gun violence in Louisiana — a state with one of the highest rates of firearms violence and least-restrictive gun regulations — citing his enthusiastic pro-gun record and support for legislation that permits guns in churches and creates lifetime concealed-carry permits. In the Daily Mail, commentator Piers Morgan was particularly vehement, saying the blood of the victims was on Jindal’s hands.

But such attacks are unlikely to faze Jindal, said Bernie Pinsonat, a veteran Louisiana political pollster.

“That’s like throwing him into the briar patch,” Pinsonat said. “Democrats or anyone else who is anti-gun, they’re not voting for Jindal anyway.”

Like some one on Twitter said, once you allow a mass murderer to come in and gun down innocent children and you can still do nothing as a policymaker but talk about more guns and prayers, you’ve pretty much lost the battle to the gun industry.  You’ve also conceded to the moral high ground to greed and political ambition.

What’s on you reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: Here We Go Again …

stop-gun-violenceA movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana became the latest mass shooting site last night.  The shooter was a 58 year old man whose identity is known but has not been released. He plus two of his victims are dead.  There are more folks in surgery and in critical condition that will hopefully survive.  The police were on the scene rather quickly because one of the victims–a teacher–pulled the fire alarm.  The state is in shock and the Governor lost no time making political hay on site.

Three people, including the shooter, are now dead after a shooting at the Grand Theater on Johnston Street.

Brooks David of Louisiana State Police says the shooter was a 58-year-old male white male.

Lafayette Police Chief Robert Craft tells KLFY that the shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shooting happened during a showing of the movie ‘Trainwreck”

Photo Gallery:  Grand Theater Shooting Scene

Photo Gallery: Grand Theater Shooting Scene

Nine people were injured in the shooting. Three of the victims are being at treated at Lafayette General Hospital, three are being treated at Lourdes Hospital, and two are being treated at Acadiana General Hospital.

Investigators say the shooting appears to be random. The shooting happened around 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Theater on Johnston Street.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is currently visiting victims and families at Lafayette General.

Here are some of the details. 

» Gov. Bobby Jindal visited with a pair of teachers who were in the theater when the shooting started. One teacher was shot as she threw herself upon the other. She then pulled the fire alarm.

The injured teachers have been identified as Jena Meaux and Ali Martin from Iberia Parish, via a Go Fund Me page set up by educators’ groups.

» Col. Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police, said late Thursday that investigators would work in the theater throughout the night collecting evidence.

He said some bodies remained inside the theater, as did items of interest that police dogs had “hit on.” They included a backpack.

He said although the suspected shooter was dead, investigators still needed to process the scene to determine what happened.

The investigation would include a review of the shooter’s background and his family history, he said.

» Former Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown told The Daily Advertiser The Grand Theatre is part of Southern Theatres. The company is headed by his brother-in-law, George Solomon of New Orleans, who was on his way to the scene Thursday night.
Brown, who was on the scene of the theater, said it would be closed for the indefinite future.
“He’s devastated, obviously,” Brown said.

» At 10:33, KATC reported that police were investigating a bomb threat at Greenbriar Condos on Doucet Road, across the street from the theater. The threat caused media to be pushed back from the area. Haz-Mat crews were responding.

» Unconfirmed reports indicated that Aries Marine CEO Bo Ramsay and his wife Gerri were among the wounded. Bo Ramsay was reportedly shot in the leg, and his wife grazed by a bullet. Neither injury was considered life-threatening.

This comes as the same day President Obama admitted in a BBC interview that American Gun Laws were his biggest frustration.  The President will once more be in the position of calming the families of victims of a mass shooting.

President Barack Obama has admitted that his failure to pass “common sense gun safety laws” in the US is the greatest frustration of his presidency.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Obama said it was “distressing” not to have made progress on the issue “even in the face of repeated mass killings”.

He vowed to keep trying, but the BBC’s North America editor Jon Sopel said the president did not sound very confident.

However, Mr Obama said race relations had improved during his presidency.

Hours after the interview, a gunman opened fire at a cinema in the US state of Louisiana, killing two people and injuring several others before shooting himself.

In a wide-ranging interview, President Obama also said:

  • The UK must stay in the EU to have influence on the world stage
  • He is confident the Iran nuclear deal will be passed by Congress
  • Syria needs a political solution in order to defeat the Islamic State group
  • He would speak “bluntly” against corruption and human rights violations in Kenya
  • He would defend his advocacy of gay rights following protests in Kenya
  • Despite racial tensions, the US is becoming more diverse and more tolerant

Mr Obama lands in Kenya later on Friday for his first visit since becoming president.

But with just 18 months left in power, he said gun control was the area where he has been “most frustrated and most stymied” since coming to power in 2009.

“If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands,” Mr Obama said.

You can read the full transcript of the President’s Interview here.   The President expressed frustration at race relations and guns in our country.bbc Obama

OBAMA: There will be. Look there was never a promise that race relations in America would be entirely resolved during my presidency or anybody’s presidency. I mean, this has been a running thread – and – and fault line in American life and American politics since its founding.

And so some of the most recent concerns around policing and mass incarcerations are legitimate and deserve intense attention. And I feel that we are moving the ball forward on those issues. What I will say is that – eight years – well, after eight years of my presidency, that children growing up during these eight years will have a different view of race relations in this country and what’s possible.

Black children, white children, Latino children. America is becoming more diverse, it’s becoming more tolerant as a consequence there’s more interactions between groups. There are going be tensions that arise. But if you look at my daughters’ generation, they have an attitude about race that’s entirely different than even my generation.

And that’s all for the good. You mentioned the issue of guns, that is an area where if you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws. Even in the face of repeated mass killings.

And you know, if you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands. And for us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing. But it is not something that I intend to stop working on in the remaining 18 months.

Anyone reading headlines these days know these are major problems.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

UPDATE:  Here’s a profile of the shooter who pretty much fits the perfect description of a home grown terrorist but of course, we’re getting the mental health issues angle.

Houser is also known as Rusty Houser, and apparently has a presence on social media as an outspoken conservative.

The last thing someone posting as Rusty Houser posted on Facebook was in 2013, when he linked to an article called “A woman’s place in the church and the weak church elder.”

He wrote, “The bible doesn’t ask me to like what it says, only to obey it. Death comes soon to the financially failing filth farm called the US.”

He only had two things liked on Facebook, among them “I hate liberals!”

Police called Houser a drifter and said he had only been in Lafayette since early July.

A man identified as John Russell Houser on Twitter tweeted only twice. He wrote, “If you don’t think the internet is censored, try reading a newspaper from a country that hates liberals the way I do,” in June 2013.

A little earlier, he wrote, “The Westboro Baptist Church may be the last real church in America members not brainwashed.”

A man identified as Rusty Houser also posted on the website http://www.politicalforum.com.  His last post, dated March 27, 2013, refers to the state of the American and world economies and says, “It is true that the US is about to fall. I will be in fear at that time as will everyone else, but not in a fear which resembles that of the leaders of foolishness and the brainwashed that follow.Truth carries with it an understanding of death. Rather than live without it,I will take death.” [sic]

According to his LinkedIn profile, Houser claimed that he was an entrepreneur.  The profile claims he owned and operated two bars and was a real estate developer.  However, his last listed job is in 2006.

In addition, a John Russell Houser from Phenix City, Alabama, is listed as a member of a group called the Tea Party Nation.  However, KATC could not confirm if this John Russell Houser is one in the same with the shooter.