We’ve Lost On Gun Control

When semi-automatic guns became available for sale to American citizens, we lost on gun control.

The Las Vegas shooting introduced the bump stock to the uninitiated. There are countless websites and books available on how to convert semi-automatic weapons to automatic fire.

A machine gun is still illegal for sale and has been since the days of Al Capone and fellow gangsters of the 1930’s. Why are semi-automatic firearms, which can be modified for automatic fire, allowable?

Ah yes, that good ole Second Amendment and the “right to bear arms” thing.

I’ve discussed it in another post and proclaimed it ad nauseum on social media. The “right” to “bear arms” – is no longer a necessity.

We’ve got 5 branches of the armed forces now, with advanced technology.  There’s no need for citizens to run for their guns to protect this country. Those who proclaim they need to be armed because we’re vulnerable to an attack forget to realize our geography. Any strike would come in the form of a nuclear weapon. Their piddly guns would do nothing to stop it.  There goes that excuse.

Afraid of an armed takeover by the government?  Forget it, Bubba.  That same technology would obliterate you and every one of your gun-toting buddies to smithereens.  (P.S.-We’ve already been taken over by corporate America.  Shhhh!)

For the majority of Americans, meat comes wrapped in little packages available at these modern inventions called grocery stores.  Most people live within easy reach of them.   Although some rural dwellers augment their diets with wild game,  we don’t have to hunt for food any longer.

Testosterone dreams of many gun owners focus on protecting their home.  You need an AR-15 for that?  Balderdash!  Get a shotgun.  Depending on the shot loaded and the choke setting on the barrel you can either disable or kill an intruder. You can pretty much hit what you’re aiming for.  Nothing will give an intruder a case of brown underwear faster than the sound of a round being ratcheted into the chamber.  For a maximum surprise, keep one in the barrel (always with the safety on) and you’re good to go.

Hunters who insist they need semi-automatic guns to hunt – shame on you.  You’ve got the advantage of a scope.  It’s supposed to be a “sport,” not a massacre, right?

Oops – I forgot target practice.  You can have a handgun or rifle with limited shot capabilities.  There!  You can go to the range and play Rambo.

There’s no limit on the number of guns or amount of ammunition one can have as evidenced in the Las Vegas shooting.  Searches of homes of other perpetrators of mass killings revealed stockpiles far beyond the reasonable need of an average gun enthusiast.

There should be a limit.

That would not be an infringement of Constitutional rights.

We’ve lost gun control because too many people have these guns.

There’s no way to get them back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump’s Arpaio Pardon: “Presidential Endorsement of Racism.”

Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is an affront to the Constitution and our justice system.

“Trump’s pardon of Arpaio is a presidential endorsement of racism.” ~ ACLU

Less than 2 weeks after his shameful, half-hearted statement on the Nazis in Charlottesville, Donald Trump thumbed his nose at the justice system of the United States and the Constitution.

The federal court clearly found Arpaio in violation of civil rights of Latinos in his racial profiling tactics and slapped him with a contempt charge when he openly disregarded their order.

A true leader worthy of Presidential status – of which Trump is clearly not – would have spoken out to defend the civil rights of Latinos.

Instead, our “president” issued a pardon to Sherriff Joe and basically told the Justice Department to shove their contempt order where the sun don’t shine.

Yes, a president can pardon anybody at any time in the judicial process.

But this sends a clear message: Trump, as with Charlottesville, is pandering to his racist, conservative base, his last stronghold in shrinking approval numbers.

With this pardon, he also affirms the notion that he can do whatever he likes in the presidency, regardless of our federal judicial system and the Constitution.

This man continues to be an embarrassment to the office of the President of the United States with his obvious racist proclivities, indifference to the rule of law and blatant disregard for rights afforded to all people under the Constitution.

Trump and the Nazis: No Surprise

Trump failed to stand up to the Nazi ideology which killed millions.

 

 

On day 1 of his campaign, our “president” denigrated immigrants, Mexicans, specifically, calling them “rapists, drug dealers, and criminals.”

He spiraled deeper into racism & xenophobia in the coming months.  He attacked a Muslim Gold Star family, accused an American-born judge of Mexican ancestry of being “unfair,” because of his heritage,  praised the beatings of blacks at his rallies and defended the actions of his racist supporters as being “passionate.”  He promised to ban Muslims from entering the United States and never denounced the support of White Supremacists and Nazis.

In years prior to his campaign Trump further exhibited overt racism.  In 1973 the Justice Department sued Fred C. and Donald J. Trump for refusing to rent to Blacks. In 1989 he took out a full-page ad in the NY Times against the Central Park 5, who were exonerated of their crime by DNA evidence. Then, of course, there was the ongoing birther incident he launched against President Obama.

There are countless episodes where Donald Trump shows his racist side.

Why does it come as a surprise that he would stick up for the Nazis?

His statement following the Unite The Right event in Charlottesville, which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, was pathetic.  It was too vague and far short of a bold condemnation worthy of a president.   What followed two days later was a carefully scripted speech which anybody, who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last umpteen years, would know Trump had no hand in writing.  It’s been called a “hostage letter” by journalist Charles Krauthammer:

“What Trump did today was a moral disgrace.  What he did is he reverted back to where he was on Saturday and made it very clear that what he read on … Monday, two days later, was a hostage tape, clearly reading off a prompter, saying these denunciations by name of the KKK, et cetera,” he continued.

“That wasn’t Trump speaking. That was the aides speaking.”

Why would Trump jeopardize his standing with his cherished base? Clearly, the campaign, while directed at disaffected White America, also held sway with White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis.  Amidst the current Russian election scandal,  approval numbers sinking daily, & the GOP rats abandoning his sinking ship, he needs all the friends he can get.  I guess he’ll just hold onto those Nazis.

How much clearer can it get that Trump fed into the hatred of Whites regarding anyone not white, Christian American?  

Following the celebratory episodes of violence and hate crimes by supporters following his election, Trump issued a pitiful statement on 60 Minutes:

“I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together,” he responded. Told that they were harassing Latinos and Muslims, he added, “I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it– if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.” 

This is as far as our “president” will go in defending the morally reprehensible actions of his supporters.

“Stop it.”

Trump, as leader of this nation, is charged with acting on behalf of all citizens. He didn’t.

Donald Trump seems to forget that the United States fought in a war to defeat the ideology of the Nazis who slaughtered millions of innocents because they weren’t “pure enough.”   Millions more civilians & soldiers perished. (** See below) It forever impacted the lives of countless families worldwide and destroyed the infrastructure and economy of Europe.

He did not speak out about the similarities of the message of the Unite The Right rally and Hitler’s agenda.  He was silent.

Trump portrays himself as a tough New Yorker.  He’s not tough enough because he failed in his duty as president to stand up to the likes of the Nazis, the KKK & White Supremacists and stand up for the rights and safety of all Americans and for all those who perished in WWII.  The numbers below speak for themselves.

Shame on you, Donald Trump.

 

Source:  The National WWII Museum, New Orleans.

Country Military Deaths Total Civilian and Military Deaths
Albania 30,000 30,200
Australia 39,800 40,500
Austria 261,000 384,700
Belgium 12,100 86,100
Brazil 1,000 2,000
Bulgaria 22,000 25,000
Canada 45,400 45,400
China 3-4,000,000 20,000,000
Czechoslovakia 25,000 345,000
Denmark 2,100 3,200
Dutch East Indies 3-4,000,000
Estonia 51,000
Ethiopia 5,000 100,000
Finland 95,000 97,000
France 217,600 567,600
French Indochina 1-1,500,000
Germany 5,533,000 6,600,000-8,800,000
Greece 20,000-35,000 300,000-800,000
Hungary 300,000 580,000
India 87,000 1,500,000-2,500,000
Italy 301,400 457,000
Japan 2,120,000 2,600,000-3,100,000
Korea 378,000-473,000
Latvia 227,000
Lithuania 353,000
Luxembourg 2,000
Malaya 100,000
Netherlands 17,000 301,000
New Zealand 11,900 11,900
Norway 3,000 9,500
Papua New Guinea 15,000
Philippines 57,000 500,000-1,000,000
Poland 240,000 5,600,000
Rumania 300,000 833,000
Singapore 50,000
South Africa 11,900 11,900
Soviet Union 8,800,000-10,700,000 24,000,000
United Kingdom 383,600 450,700
United States 416,800 418,500
Yugoslavia 446,000 1,000,000

WORLDWIDE CASUALTIES*

Battle Deaths 15,000,000
Battle Wounded 25,000,000
Civilian Deaths 45,000,000

*Worldwide casualty estimates vary widely in several sources. The number of civilian deaths in China alone might well be more than 50,000,000.

 

Sharia Law Is Not Coming To The U.S.

 

 

Anti-Sharia protesters are ignorant of what Sharia actually is.

Sharia protests took place across the United States last weekend.  I find it pathetic that the anti-Sharia protestors, most of which probably were Donald Trump supporters, are largely ignorant of what Sharia really is.

I also find it amusing that these flag-waving  “patriots” are blind to one basic fact: Article 1 in the First Amendment of the Constitution which reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

This means that their twisted, ignorant version of Sharia can’t be forced on the citizens of the United States, just like Christianity cannot be mandated as the state religion, either. For all their ranting about the sanctity of the Constitution, you’d think they’d know this. No, their utter hatred of Muslims blinds them.

The U.S. Constitution is concerned with balancing conflicts between church and state, giving no religion precedence over another.   The anti-Sharia crusade is completely devoid of any constitutional principles. It’s outright discrimination and bigotry.

You have no clue what Sharia actually is, do you?

What IS Sharia Law?  Put simply, it’s a code of conduct, very similar to the tenets of Christianity’s Ten Commandments or Judaism’s teachings.  “It’s the principle of treating other people justly, of making sure that the financial system treats people fairly, and most importantly the basic principles of Islamic fate,”  says Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman. Additionally, Sharia is not a legally enacted body of law in the United States.

In translation, Sharia means “way” or “path,”  covering personal conduct and moral code and teachings from religious law.  It’s a broad term, but basically encompasses applications in daily life:  belief, character, and actions.

  • Belief in God, angels, prophets and other aspects of the faith.
  • Character, in relation to mankind, striving for humility, compassion, service to the community, kindness, & to avoid lying and pride.
  • Actions, which relate to prayer, fasting, pilgrimage & areas concerning other humans such as marriage, crime, and business.

Changes in society from its first implementation in the 10th century, Sharia scholars have been forced to look at it anew to update fatwas (religious edicts) and legal opinions.

Where US judges have made reference to Sharia law, they do so within long-established parameters in American legal precedent.   The court does not interpret religious law.  If and when religious laws conflict with American law, the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment prohibit American government, including the courts, from substituting religious laws for civil law or following religious laws that violate civil law. This prohibition applies to all religions equally. Additionally, Sharia must accommodate the law of the land; whatever country its adherents live in.

These Americans fretting about being subjected to Sharia Law are ignorant of Islam and religious freedom it affords from the Constitution.

Mark Twain once said:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

~ from Innocents Abroad

 

Trump’s Whack-A-Mole Presidency

“Make America Great Again” and “America First” are lies. Trump is putting the American people last.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about our “president.”  Like the rest of the world, I can’t keep up with the daily idiocies from Donald Trump & his cronies.

This entire “presidency” is a joke.  Note that I put quotes around the words president and presidency because I just cannot bring myself to call him a title he doesn’t deserve.  It’s a title he’s unfit to possess.  He’s a stain on America, a daily embarrassment to our democracy.

Never in my adult capable-of-voting life have I seen something like this. President Nixon is the only comparison and Donald Trump is leaving Tricky Dick in the dust.  Between the unfolding Russia conspiracy, deepening obstruction of justice revelations, Trump’s Lie Of The Day, his political ignorance and gaffes, deliberate tearing down of anything beneficial to our country, a catastrophic health care plan, nepotism, and outright flaunting of protocol and finally, this ridiculous budget proposal we’re asking, “When IS this shit going to stop?”

For the first time in history our president is under investigation by the FBI, CIA and DOJ.

How much longer can this go on?

To answer the above question: All this can and will stop IF more Republicans grow a set, realize this country is in terrible danger with this lying, inept poser in office, and get rid of him as soon as possible.  If they do their jobs and work in the best interest of our country, we can turn this around. If  (God help us) left in office for 4 years, Donald Trump will do irreparable harm to the entire planet.

But it has to happen now, not in 4 years.  We can’t wait that long.

 

What We Could Have Had Under Hillary Or Bernie vs. What We Have Now Under Trump

Our world would be so different had Trump not been elected.

This morning I watched a video of Bernie Sanders in McDowell county West Virginia which was filmed a few days ago. He was interacting with some of the poorest residents of this country whose lives are devastated by poverty, drug addiction and the loss of family members to mine-related health issues, as well as unemployment far topping the national average. The accompanying film clips made me cry, especially the last one, where Bernie Sanders consoles a woman who has buried many relatives.

McDowell county voted 74% in favor of Trump in the 2016 election.  Perhaps they were hoodwinked by Trump’s promise of reviving the coal industry.  The only thing which has come to pass from the Trump administration are the weakening of policies to protect miners.  Bernie Sanders, however, went to assure them that he’s in their corner.

Here is a compassionate man who has fought for the American people his entire public life.  You could tell that he was particularly affected by their stories.  Anyone with half a heart would be.

He listened as they told him of their health issues from working in the mines.  They expressed gratitude for Obamacare and how our new administration is going to take that away.  They were deeply concerned about the repeal of the Clean Streams Act by Donald Trump, which would poison their communities by letting mining companies dump sludge into their waters.  They wondered about the jobs that Donald Trump promised.

My mind briefly flashed over the past few weeks of Trump: The hijacking of our government by corporate America as reflected in Trump’s cabinet picks. The bulldozing of federal agencies which protect us and the lack of compassion expressed in the Muslim Ban. There’s the spectre of massive conflicts of interest and of course, the potential of Russian hacking of the election.  Trump’s undermining our First Amendment rights by screaming “fake news,” while his administration is handpicking news agencies to report on him.  Donald Trump has told so many lies to the American public, embraced conspiracy theories and has absolutely nothing to back up his claim that former President Obama wiretapped him. The daily parade of distracting antics from the White House or Trump’s accusing tweets is draining our government’s ability to function coherently. How many special investigations are going on now? I’ve lost count. The public is barraged each day by a new smoke and mirrors tactic . It’s very tedious, no doubt, but it’s probably intentional to distract from the fact that Trump is not fit to be president and is mired in impeachable scandal.

The proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) or now as it’s being referred to – Trumpcare –  is the utterly heartless Obamacare replacement. Millions like myself are now facing bankruptcy or premature death from preventable maladies.

It’s all too obvious that the Trump administration does not care. The GOP “party of no,” has gotten its clutches around the throat of America.  These leeches will bleed us dry while stuffing money into the pockets of corporate America.

Trump’s just-released  “America First Budget” calls for beefing up the military by 54 billion, building the wall and expanding deportation forces. The cuts include programs to help millions with heating assistance, Meals On Wheels, The EPA, training programs for workers, Habitat For Humanity, PBS, the science and research community, NIH, the National Endowment for the Arts, NASA – and just about anything which actually helps people – poor people especially.

Trump’s “America First” budget translates into “Put Americans Last.”

We had a chance at a government which would have promoted taking care of its citizens as the previous one did.  Under either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, we would’ve fared much better regarding human & civil rights, the environment, creating jobs rebuilding the infrastructure, fighting climate change or championing worker protections. We’d probably be facing a better standard of living for all Americans with gains on raising the minimum wage. Lastly, which is horrifically obvious, we’d be far better off regarding healthcare for our citizens than what awaits us under Trumpcare.

We could have had this, but what have we got now?

Slash and burn.

 

Why We Can’t “Make America Great – Again”

Christian, white people only – a time that can never exist again.

The Trumpsters envision a 1950’s utopia when they think of Donald Trump’s campaign promise, “Make America Great Again.”

In their dream, this country was made up entirely white people, all of them Christians. Blacks “knew their place,” Jews stayed hidden & certainly there were no Muslims, Mexicans or gays. Only Dad worked a 9-5.  Mom stayed home, had babies, making sure dinner was on the table promptly when the master of the house got home.  If Mom did work she was a teacher, a nurse or a secretary, certainly never making a play to climb the corporate ladder.  Things were simple.

The problem with the “again” in the slogan is that it never existed in the first place.  It looked good on paper, TV and in the movies.  The house with the white picket fence was propaganda. Disney movies promising girls of the 50’s that Prince Charming would come along, sweep them off to a land of love and adoration was a farce.  The good guys always wore white & cowboys always beat the indians.  Nobody ever got divorced. Husbands never beat their wives; “She’s just clumsy.”  There was no child abuse, drug addiction.

In truth, however, the fine, upstanding citizen was a closet alcoholic. The 6th grade teacher was a pedophile.  Gays lived in fear of being discovered. Blacks and other minorities were targeted, they kept low profiles because of rampant discrimination, Jim Crow laws & legal segregation.

All was well.

Air travel’s golden age in the 1950’s and opened up the world. Today it’s cheaper and faster, allowing people to emigrate from far-flung corners.

In reality, we can’t go back.  What Donald Trump’s supporters don’t understand (or want) is that cultural and human rights acceptance have made great strides in 60 years.  They are clinging to their discriminations, misconceptions and lies.  There never was any fairy tale America.  It was a sham.

Our world has changed drastically.  News which used to take hours (or days) to hit TV via teletype, readied for broadcast in the evening, now travels across continents in seconds.  Live feeds come from around the globe.  The internet’s instantaneous connection through social media & news agencies erupts simultaneously on an international scale. A single cell phone video can lead to an arrest or start a world-wide controversy. Our corruption in government had to be ferreted out by hand by digging in mounds of paper. Secrets were easier to keep. Documents could be destroyed, crusaders more easily silenced and no one would be the wiser. In other words:  now it’s impossible to hide.  There’s always some digital record somewhere.

America has always been a melting pot.  It’s in our Constitution, but this fact is something often overlooked by Donald Trump’s supporters.  They cherry pick. Just like the Bible, they choose what suits their agenda best, often subverting what is actually written. We are not a “Christian nation,” because the very wording of the Constitution forbids it.  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”  which means that Christianity can and never will be “the” religion of the United States. While the majority of our population may identify with Christianity, it is against the law to try to make it so. To the Trump supporters who ignorantly espouse that Sharia Law is coming to our shores to be “the” religion – that, too, is impossible.  Also, these citizens are uninformed about the true meaning of Sharia. Sharia law could no more be made “the” religion than Christianity could.  This is just hysteria used by the right to inflame hatred against Muslims.

Society will never let us go back.  There has been too much progress.  It’s delusional to think we can erase the civil and human rights laws of the last 50 years.

Trump supporters are afraid.  They’re angry at the changing world, not seeing that overall it’s truly changed for the better.  America IS great.  They are blind to the fact that the very people they support are not acting in their best interests.  Instead of seeing that their beloved Republicans have an agenda which IS clearly damaging their lives, they’ve been hoodwinked to believe that someone like Trump is going to save them.  Sadly, he’s only out to save others like himself.  It’s frighteningly obvious to the rest of us.

They can’t see this. They can only see their hatred of “the other,” their racist, hateful attitudes, white supremacy, and their perceived loss of what never was and can never be.