Now can we talk about gun ownership?

It’s simple. Every gun starts its history as a legal device.

If it’s used in a crime, then the perpetrator – AND the last legal owner if the two are not the same person – need to be held accountable.

That’s what it means to be a responsible gun owner.

It’s technologically possible to track every gun, every magazine, and even every bullet. Every gun that has ever been used in a crime or in an accidental shooting has a history. There’s no reason we can’t know that history with precision from the moment it leaves the factory to the moment it becomes evidence.

It’s why I advocate for the registration of every single gun, every single magazine, and every single bullet.

It’s why I also advocate for testing and licensing just to own a gun. Any gun.

Will it stop every crime and every accident? No. Don’t be silly. Crimes will still occur. We’ll just know who the last legal owner was. That could help law enforcement to determine whether or not that individual played a role in how that gun came to be used in a crime. When it comes to accidents, surely the owner must be held accountable on some level especially when minors are involved. If your kid finds your legal gun and accidentally hurts or kills someone with it, whose fault is it? Shouldn’t you be held accountable? Aren’t there repercussions even when things happen accidentally?

Will the government know who owns what guns? You bet they will, and I’m perfectly fine with that. How can I say such a thing? Because I’m a realist. First of all, you and I are no match for the government. They can come and kill us anytime they like. Your Glock, his AR-15, and my shotguns don’t mean jack-shit no matter how many we have. Despite how badly out-gunned we are, our government doesn’t come and kill us I think mostly because there’s no money in it. So, I think it’s time we started thinking and acting like a more mature society. This ain’t the Old West, and we aren’t John Wayne. More importantly, we need to stop acting like and talking like we should be planning a takeover of our government by force. In case some of us have forgotten, we are our government. We are our military. Those institutions are comprised exclusively by our children, our friends, our family, and our neighbors. They have no reason to come and take your (or my) guns away unless we’re acting criminally. We need to de-militarize our culture and our society, not arm it even more. We need to stop buying into the bullshit the NRA is feeding to us straight from the gun makers and their lobbyists.

This is why I see tracking, registration, and licensing as simply the most logical way to hold gun owners accountable and responsible. Once again, every gun starts it history as a legal device. If it’s lost or stolen, it’s the responsibility of the owner to report it. If it’s sold to another individual, it’s the responsibility of both parties to “sign over the Title” once the new owner shows the license which makes them qualified to own it.

Why is any of this so unappealing to some people? If you say it’s because it’s your Constitutional right to own guns, I suggest you re-read the Second Amendment. This approach doesn’t infringe on your right in any way. It only codifies the conditions by which you may “keep and bear arms.” Nowhere am I saying to ban guns or gun ownership. I just want gun owners to be held accountable.

That’s how I define ‘responsible’ gun ownership.

(More of my posts on guns may be found here, here, and here)

Posted in gun control, gun registration, gun violence, NRA | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Maybe the middle class will wake up someday and realize they aren’t #Republicans

I have an answer to this question.

GOP slate
“So pathetic that an asshole like Trump apparently appeals to more Republicans than ‘august’ leaders like Perry, Santorum, and Cain who, incidentally, are also still being taken seriously while unmitigated failures like Jindal, Cruz, Paul, Christie, Rubio, Bush, and Walker (and Fiorina) are considered to be the ‘serious’ candidates.”

Yes, these guys and the entire slate of GOP candidates says a lot about what it means to be a Republican these days. How anyone outside the one-percenters finds common cause with them is a mystery to me.

Sharing the above on Facebook prompted this response….

GOP slate comment

 

I want to thank my friend for her strength and conviction, and for inspiring me to write this post.

Here goes……

Maybe, just maybe…

Maybe, just maybe, we can get those folks in the middle class who think they’re Republicans to wake up someday.

Maybe if……

….people started asking themselves what it means to be a Republican today 

….people shut off Fox and Limbaugh and paid more attention to organizations like Represent.Us and the work they’re doing to fight corruption 

….more people decided to end their willful ignorance and consumption of right-wing propaganda they’d come to realize that people like the current slate of Republican hopefuls are not only a complete disaster from a policy and leadership perspective, they actually are a danger to America and to a modern society

….the poor, working poor, and the disappearing middle class in America who think they’re Republicans stopped voting against themselves and the rest of us when they vote for a Republican, we’d be back on top as a nation and as a society

How did it come to this?

Let’s be honest. The only reason this pathetic and laughable slate exists is because they appeal to the Republican base; a base that can be counted on to vote.

That’s why we on the left need to show up to every election; from school board and town council, to federal elections. We need to show up so that we can outvote our fellow citizens who operate under the self-inflicted delusion that they are Republicans.

I say self-inflicted because in the 21st century the only way to be as misinformed as self-professed middle class Republicans are is to be so willfully. And, that’s how Trump gets more than scorn and ridicule as a candidate. Because people are willfully misinformed and too easily manipulated.

Silence is surrender

So, maybe, just maybe, if we on the left keep speaking out loudly and forcefully we’ll see rational Republicans  speak up.

Where are they? Where are the rational Republicans?

It seems reasonable to conclude they either agree with what their party has become, or they are content to hide in fear of The Base. We need to help them to find the courage to come out and criticize their party and people like Trump, Santorum, Cain, and all the rest, frankly. These candidates are complete frauds. They have only their undeniable track records of failed policies and leadership to show as their credentials to be President. All anyone need do is examine their records to know that to be true.

Take a stand

If my fellow citizens who consider themselves to be Republicans are offended by criticism like this, that isn’t my fault. If you’re offended, then I have to assume it’s because you identify with the ideology of present-day Republicanism.

If you think I’m wrong, then show me the inaccuracies. Show me the unfairness in my criticisms. Show me indisputable data from sources other than Fox, Heritage, Cato, or corporations. Defend your party and your candidates using logic and facts.

If you can’t, then you’re invited to agree with me publicly that, at a bare minimum, the obvious truth is that your party has been usurped by cretins, clowns, and charlatans like Trump, Cain, and Santorum.

Just as bad and perhaps worse is that your party is controlled more so than the Democratic Party by the kind of Big Money that is literally dangerous to people, the planet, and to the global economy.

A party which embraces people like these just can’t be taken seriously except when it comes to the ideological and political danger that present-day Republicanism represents to every socio-economic strata of our society except, of course, to the oligarchs in control.

It’s on liberals, too

We Americans on the left must stop being cowards. We must first show up on every election day for every level of office. We must proudly speak up and revel in our ability to outvote our fellow Americans in the GOP base. We must be forceful in order to inspire more Americans to come out from under their apathy to vote against candidates who would gladly turn over our entire democracy to the oligarchs who run Wall Street, corporate media, and multi-national corporations.

We liberals cannot be afraid to offend. We must raise up our voices and find the courage to point an accusatory finger at dangerous characters like these Republican candidates. Maybe it will help to wake our fellow citizens up to the truth. Maybe it won’t. Either way, it will reveal the truth.

That truth is a simple truth, and it is this: conservatism is a backward-looking and failed ideology, and the Republican Party of the early 21st century is the party in the lead when it comes to being of, by, and for the rich corporatists, not We The People.

Optimism over willful ignorance

One-half of America is willfully ignoring reality. If we on the left stay silent about that, we are just as culpable for the disappearance of the middle class and any opportunity anyone has for improving their lot in life as those who insist on voting against themselves by voting for a Republican. Any Republican.

I hope it’s clear by now that political apathy on the left is a challenge we on the left can solve. We can start to overcome that apathy by being outspoken about it.

We need to hear from more people like my friend who later added this….

GOP slate comment 2

I want to be optimistic like her. I want all of us to be optimistic. I think that optimism is contagious, but it must be nurtured and strengthened everyday.

That’s why I won’t stay silent. We need to inspire each other and give each other strength. That’s why I rail against conservatism, right-wing ideology, and Republican candidates who never really represented ordinary Americans and have completely stopped doing so now.

If you’re reading this, all of this applies to you, too. That is unless, of course, you’re either among the top one percent or you’re content in your role as a modern-day serf surviving off the scraps that fall from the unfettered and under-regulated corporatist’s table of trickle-down economics and failed Republican policy.

Posted in economy, GOP, politics, Republicans, trickle down economics | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Stop accepting the things you think you cannot change.

The meme expresses my feelings exactly.
Change
I’m starting with no longer accepting liberal cowardice.
For far too long too many liberals and self-proclaimed “progressives” and “trans-partisans” – yes, I’m looking at you, Join the Coffee Party Movement – are doing little more than wasting precious time and energy by pretending that every voice matters and that there’s more than one side to every issue. There isn’t, and the insistence that there is actually  looks like cowardice to me.
The Left in too many places demonstrates far too little commitment to recognizing and acknowledging right from wrong; good from bad, in terms of people, behaviors, beliefs, leaders and policies. By “engaging”, we execute perfectly on a strategy of surrender. By “engaging”, all we accomplish is NOTHING. We allow the more committed, better organized, more unified, and more forceful conservatives – and their shills – to control the conversation and the outcomes.
By always wanting to “engage in conversation” and “really listen to the other side” and “working to find compromise and middle ground”, we have surrendered, and in so doing we allow the center to move further and further to the right. That’s dangerous and wrong for everyone except the tiniest few, and it must stop. Now.
You say you want to speak truth to power? I say, “Start by empowering yourself, and start that by speaking truth to yourself.”
The truth is on full display everyday. All that’s required is the courage to look at it.
Conservatives, corporatists, and the rich are the ones who effed this country up. It wasn’t us liberals, or the poor, or the peaceniks, beatniks, or hippies; it wasn’t legal or illegal immigrants; it wasn’t minorities or Santorum’s “elitists” in the ever-shrinking middle class who struggle to find ways to send their kids to college.
It always has been, still is, and always will be conservatives and their so-called conservative “values” who wreak havoc on the rest of us.
And just like it always does, it falls once again and now to us liberals to clean up the conservatives’ mess.
I say let’s do it differently this time.
Let’s stop pretending we can “work” with them. That’s the formula that has failed us for the last 35 years. It’s they who must change.
Yes, this is about Us versus Them. To deny that is the cowardice that denies the reality of our situation and how we got into it. To deny that reality is the cowardice that only strengthens and emboldens conservatives and their duped minions to continue making society worse instead of better for more people.
We have long since passed the time for pretending we can work with conservatives. Instead, we need to start telling the right-wing that they are NOT welcome into the discussion because they ARE the problem.
This isn’t demagoguing. This is reality.
Prove it to yourself.
Ask yourself these questions. See if you aren’t feeling empowered as a liberal by the truth of the answers.
  • Who still wants to deny human rights to other human beings because they are LGBTQ?
  • Who wants to cling to the lie of in-person voter fraud just so they can make it harder for people they don’t like to be able to vote?
  • Who denies that everyone on Wall Street and in the financial services industry writ large doesn’t need regulators crawling up their asses every single minute of every single day?
  • Who wants to forcibly legislate their religious beliefs on the rest of us?
  • Who denies science and blocks policies that are rooted in and based upon science?
  • Who wants their racism and xenophobia to manifest itself in the form of walls, moats, electric fences, armed patrols, and drones on our borders?
  • Who screams at busloads of children?
  • Who seems perfectly content with the fact that we have become an imprisoned nation that applauds policing in poor and minority communities by para-military forces?
  • Who defends the abuse of police power?
  • Who thinks whisleblowers are the traitors and spies the patriots?
  • Who thinks the minimum wage is either fine as is and perhaps should be abolished altogether?
  • Who thinks that labor unions are still too strong in comparison to the people running corporations?
  • Who thinks health care is something only those with the means to pay for it should get, and who is warm and content in their unbridled selfishness when asked what alternatives they have to health care as a human right?
  • Who still votes for any politician anywhere who is still peddling the lies of trickle-down economics and smaller government?
  • Who believes that corporations are people and money is speech?
Look. There’s no excuse in modern America for anyone outside the One Percent to consider themselves to be a conservative or, for that matter, a Republican.
None.
And, here’s why this is so important. Anyone outside of that tiny sliver of the obscenely wealthy and powerful who is still allowing themselves to be duped into voting against themselves is also VOTING AGAINST THE REST OF US.
We don’t have the luxury of time to try and convince them to end their madness and to stop voting for people who consider them to be just another expendable resource. Instead, we need to stop them by no longer pretending that they can be part of the solution. We need to stop wasting time trying to find compromise. We need to stop pretending like enough facts will someday turn the light bulb on over their heads.
We outnumber them. There are more Liberals than there are Conservatives. We’re just used to being conciliatory and willing to compromise. No more!
What we need to do is exercise our strength of numbers.
Liberals must become lions. We must roar louder, longer, stronger, and more ferociously than those Americans who call themselves conservatives and who think they’re Republicans.
We must stop giving them cover by constantly engaging them online, in our living rooms, and in the coffee shops and polling places.
We must show up in greater numbers. We must be loud. We must be forceful.
And most of all, we must vote. Liberals – and people who call themselves moderates only because they think “liberal” is an insult – outnumber the truly lost and dyed-in-the-wool duped conservatives.
It is Us versus Them.
It’s time we stopped pretending otherwise. It’s time to work together as Liberals so that we can fix the fuck ups that conservatives leave every time they end up in power.
It’s up to us to change the things we can no longer accept from conservatives. And, that’s everything that is stamped with the “conservative” label. Everything.
Posted in politics, Republicans | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

#Fracking is literally killing babies in Utah, and local, state, and federal officials are helping to make that possible

fracking kills

What Paul Solotaroff’s expose in Rolling Stone, “What’s Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?” reveals is disturbing on so many levels.

It’s what happens when Big Money instead of We The People control government.

It’s what happens when voters stay home.

What are we Americans willing to sacrifice in the name of jobs and money, and when does that sacrifice become too much sacrifice?

When does an economic and energy system become dangerous enough for us to rise up en masse against it in terms of how we live our lives and how and for whom we vote?

When are we going to stop believing the lies of Big Money interests in both the private and public sector?

Except for the rare leaders who have said no to frackers — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin — Big Gas has been on a 10-year joyride unlike any in American annals. There are now more than 1 million active oil and gas wells in the country, and our oil companies posted profits of $600 billion during the Bush years. President Obama, who promised to cap and trade emissions while building out America’s post-oil future, instead has presided over the breakneck expansion of fossil-fuel drilling. Under his watch, U.S. production has risen each year — up 35 percent for oil, 18 percent for gas — and enabled the country to barge past the Saudis as the world’s lead producer of oil and gas. (He also broke his word to end tax cuts for oilmen; those subsidies are up nearly 50 percent since he took office.)

Whatever Cheney’s doing now, he must look upon his handiwork and smile. OPEC has lost its whip hand over oil prices, SUVs are selling off the lot again, and Obama takes victory laps because we now produce more oil than we import. Glad tidings for all – except the people in more than 30 states who wake up to the thump of fracking rigs. To them, the message from Washington has been tacit but final: You folks are on your own out there.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/fracking-whats-killing-the-babies-of-vernal-utah-20150622#ixzz3gGIWdirA
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Posted in economy, fracking, free market, gas | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Wealthy corporatists have been playing poor whites for fools since the founding. They still are.

Tim Wise says the “white” race was created by the wealthy elite to trick poor, landless Europeans into siding with them.

The corporatists, then as now, were selling the lies of racism, the American Dream, and of trickle-down economics. Then as now, they want poor whites to believe that they’re on the same side as the elites. The elites, then as now, want us to believe that “the other” is who is coming for our jobs. They want us to believe that if we just work hard, play by the rules, and persevere, we, too, can be just as rich as they are someday.

Bullshit. Unless you’re already among the richest 1%, you have basically zero chance of becoming one. You have nothing in common with them economically, and you never will.

We – you and I – are the modern-day chattel slave. We allow the wealthy elite to become more and more powerful because we – not all of us, but far too many of us – elect corporatists.

The wealthy and powerful have always gotten their privileged status because the masses allowed them to do so. That’s just as true now as it was in the Antebellum South when the “corporatists” were rich plantation owners who duped poor whites into fighting a war to protect slavery and the wealth of those rich elites.

It’s time we ended the modern-day version of this and the corrupting influence the wealthy elites have over our democracy.

It’s time to Be The Wave.

Posted in politics | 1 Comment