Tag: gun control

Trump hints at declaring martial law in Illinois’s largest city, even though seven cities have higher murder rates

A few hours ago, President Donald Trump took to Twitter and hinted at possibly declaring martial law in Chicago over the city’s high murder rate:

I really don’t know of any presidential powers at Trump’s disposal that could be used in regards to a city having a high murder rate outside of two presidential powers: one would be to declare a state of emergency in Chicago, and the other would be declaring martial law in Chicago. Unlike a state National Guard or a state militia, the President cannot take over a city police force.

States United, part of the Mike Bloomberg-aligned pro-gun control political network that has been known to support far-right Republicans, has a couple of infographics about the actual state of the Chicago murder crisis:

As you can see, guns originally purchased in states like Indiana, and, to a lesser extent, Wisconsin and Mississippi, all three of which have weaker gun safety laws than Illinois does, have played a large role in Chicago’s murder crisis, and seven U.S. cities (St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Newark, and Memphis) all have higher murder rates than Chicago does. Despite the facts, Trump and his Republican allies haven’t hinted at martial law in cities with a higher murder rate than that of Chicago, and Trump and his Republican allies want to make it easier, not harder, for people to take guns across state lines.

While murder is a serious problem in this country, declaring martial law is going to do absolutely nothing to solve the murder crisis of Chicago or any other city.

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Hillary is about to go extremely negative on Bernie

It’s official…the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and their allies in the Democratic establishment and the corporate media are about to go extremely negative on Bernie Sanders in the lead-up to the Wyoming Democratic caucuses and the New York primary:

Even worse, Hillary’s henchpeople have gone as far as to say that they regard party unity as being completely irrelevant right now, and they’ll worry about party unity once the race for the Democratic nomination is settled. That is an extremely dangerous move for Hillary, as there are many Bernie supporters who already have nothing but contempt for the Democratic establishment, and going extremely negative on Bernie would only further outrage them.

Personally, I believe that the Sanders campaign needs to go as far as to openly question Hillary’s patriotism. Already, the corporate media, as if they got the cue before most of us did, is wasting no time launching blatantly unpatriotic attacks on Bernie by attacking his staunch opposition to free-trade giveaways as hurting the economies of third-world countries. Contrary to what imperial and corporate-minded politicians like Hillary, Paul Ryan, and Ted Cruz believe, it’s not the responsibility of the federal government to stimulate the economies of third-world countries or any other foreign countries. It’s the job of the federal government to ensure that America’s economy is strong.

If Hillary is going to attack Bernie on guns, then it’s best for Bernie to attack Hillary on her complete lack of economic patriotism.

NRA-supporting DINO Ron Kind finally gets a primary challenger

For the first time in a very long time, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of the 3rd Congressional District of Wisconsin is facing credible opposition within his own party. That’s because Myron Buchholz, a retired history teacher from the Eau Claire area, is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 3rd District of Wisconsin.

Very little is known about Buchholz, outside of the fact that he is politically aligned with Bernie Sanders and considers himself to be answering Bernie’s call for ordinary Americans to take back our country from big-money special interests. No information is available as to whether or not Bernie actually recruited Buchholz to run against Kind (I highly doubt that is the case).

Ron Kind, on the other hand, is well to the ideological right of Hillary Clinton on many political issues, including guns, where Kind has taken money from the NRA and received their endorsement in 2010. On gun issues, Kind has voted for, among other things, allowing guns in national parks and wildlife refuges. On other issues, Kind has voted the corporate Democratic line, including supporting President Obama’s free trade deals that have shipped Wisconsin and American jobs overseas.

I strongly encourage Democrats of the 3td Congressional District of Wisconsin to take a serious look at Myron Buchholz.

Right-wing extremists are the biggest threat to America

It’s become inherently clear to me that right-wing extremists are the biggest threat to America today.

Last night, President Barack Obama gave a rare speech from the Oval Office about ISIS, national security, gun control, and the recent San Bernardino shooting. In his speech, Obama said that letting the right define America’s fight against ISIS and other Islamic fundamentalist terror groups as a fight between America and Islam is exactly what ISIS wants. He’s right.

Republicans running for president, such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, as well as Republican elected officials and right-wing blowhards, support launching a full-scale war against ISIS, spying on American Muslims, and other extreme measures. The truth of the matter is that those type of measures would do little more than play into the ISIS narrative that America is at war with Islam, thus emboldening ISIS and leading to U.S. involvement in yet another long, drawn-out war in the Middle East. Furthermore, Republican and NRA opposition to efforts to ban those on U.S. no-fly lists encourages terrorists to buy guns in order to carry out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

It’s not Islamic fundamentalists that pose the biggest threat to America today. It’s our own country’s right-wing extremists, who want to aid and abet ISIS and other similar terror groups.

New York Daily News cover on San Bernardino shooting: “God Isn’t Fixing This”

God Isn't Fixing Gun Violence - NY Daily News Cover
December 3, 2015 cover of the New York Daily News (image courtesy of New York Daily News)

Earlier today, a mass shooting took place in San Bernardino, California. The mass shooting occurred at the Inland Regional Center, a facility for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California. As of the writing of this blog post, at least 14 people were killed by the perpetrators of the mass shooting.

This is yet another example of lax gun laws in this country allowing people with violent intentions to carry out a mass shooting in America. As someone who has a developmental disorder (Asperger’s syndrome), I find it sickening that a mass shooting was carried out at a place designed to help those with developmental disabilities.

At the other end of the country from San Bernardino, in the New York City metropolitan area, the cover of tomorrow’s New York Daily News will feature the headline “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS”, as well as tweets from three U.S. Senators who are seeking the Republican presidential nomination (Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)) and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). As an atheist, I fully understand that prayers aren’t going to do a damn thing to prevent mass shootings in this country. Only implementation of common-sense gun safety and gun control measures, such as universal background checks on all gun sales, closing the gun show loophole, and banning the sale of assault weapons will prevent mass shootings from occurring in this country.

 

Hillary Clinton suggests going too far on gun safety

Hillary Clinton, whether she knew the fact that Australia instituted a mandatory confiscation of assault weapons in the mid-1990’s or not, stated that “Australia is a good example” to model a federal gun buyback program after, and that a federal gun buyback program is “something worth considering”.

I want to make two points about this.

First, the gun proliferation lobby is, not surprisingly, attacking Hillary over her remarks right away. However, they’ve distorted Hillary’s words to make it look like she fully supports a mass confiscation of guns in this country. In reality, she’s not yet outright supported a mass confiscation of guns, but she did say that she would be open to the idea of supporting a federal gun buyback program of some kind. If the NRA starts running ridiculous spoofs of the “How to Speak Australian” Foster’s beer commercials, you’ll know that the NRA has no fucking clue as to what the fuck they’re doing.

Second, if Hillary does decide to fully support an Australian-style mandatory assault weapon confiscation, she would be running head-first into opposition from virtually the entire Republican Party and a large chunk of the Democratic Party. There’s two reasons for this. First, supporting taking legally-obtained firearms from law-abiding Americans is extremely unpopular in this country, even among Democrats and with gun safety being a major political issue in this country. Second, unlike the Australian Constitution, which has no provision banning the Australian Parliament from enacting a mandatory gun buyback program, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution would be interpreted by most judges, even many liberal judges, as banning the enactment of a mandatory gun buyback program in this country.

Make no mistake about it, I am not a gun nut or a puppet for the gun lobby. I support universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, banning the sale of assault weapons, requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to law enforcement, and enacting a gun registry. These are my views, and they do not necessarily line up with those of any presidential candidate.

While my political views may not line up 100% with those of Bernie Sanders on every single issue, he’s the only reasonable person running for president when it comes to gun safety, and his views on guns are the closest to mine. He supports background checks, ending the gun show loophole, and banning the sale of assault weapons. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has suggested the idea of taking legally-obtained firearms away from law-abiding Americans, something that I think goes too far.

My thoughts about the first Democratic presidential debate

Having watched last night’s Democratic presidential debate, I’ll begin by saying that I believe that Bernie Sanders won the debate, with Martin O’Malley having the second-best performance, followed by Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee.

My thoughts about Bernie Sanders’s performance

The Good – He upstaged Hillary Clinton on an issue directly affecting HRC (the private email server “scandal” that has been concocted by the GOP). He also defended himself very well, especially on gun safety and on the Veterans’ Affairs health system scandal.

The Bad – He mentioned his campaign website twice during the debate.

My thoughts about Martin O’Malley’s performance

The Good – He came across as the strongest candidate on gun safety, invoking the story of a family who lost one of their own in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre.

The Bad – He tried to defend his zero-tolerance policing policy from his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, which was one of several factors that have led to distrust between the police and the public in Baltimore.

My thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s performance

The Good – She came across as very professional during the debate without coming across as scripted or boring. She also cracked a joke at a very inappropriate remark from lead moderator Anderson Cooper about her bathroom usage.

The Bad – She twice invoked the fact that she’s a woman during the debate. She also gave weak answers on a number of issues, most notably marijuana legalization and financial regulation.

My thoughts about Jim Webb’s performance

The Good – He used his wife’s story on immigration very well.

The Bad – He used the NRA’s talking points on guns.

My thoughts about Lincoln Chafee’s performance

The Good – Nothing about his debate performance was especially good.

The Bad – He blamed his father’s death on his vote for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in the late 1990’s. Furthermore, he made an odd remark comparing himself to a block of granite at one point in the debate.

The big winners (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

The Democratic Party – All in all, the debate was a great showing that Democrats can have an intelligent, civil discussion about actual political issues between candidates representing various factions of the party.

Civic engagement – CNN’s telecast of the debate received the most viewers of any Democratic presidential primary/caucus debate in television history.

The internet – For the first time since the 1960 presidential general election debates, there appears to be a major disconnect between two media platforms on debate performance. In 1960, it was between radio (whose listeners viewed Richard Nixon as the debate winner) and television (whose viewers viewed John F. Kennedy as the debate winner). This time, it’s between television (which has been trying to spin a Hillary Clinton debate victory) and the internet (most people on social media view Bernie Sanders as the debate victor). I’d expect the newer platform (in this case, the internet) to come out on top.

The big losers (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

Anderson Cooper – Cooper, CNN’s lead moderator for the debate, tried to use his position to smear Bernie Sanders on a number of GOP talking points against him and failed, and he also made a very inappropriate remark about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom usage after one of the commercial breaks.

The mainstream media – See my remarks about the internet being a big winner above.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee, one of many Republican presidential candidates, took to Twitter during the debate and made downright racist remarks about Korean people while attacking Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden – With Hillary Clinton giving a strong enough debate performance to calm down those in the establishment who were fretting about Hillary, and Bernie Sanders solidifying the progressive base of the party, there’s not really a path to victory for Biden if he were to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

Debate fairness – CNN shut out Lawrence Lessig from participating in the debate despite the fact that Lessig is a Democratic candidate for president.

Unlike what Mike Bloomberg and the media want you to think, Bernie Sanders is not a gun nut

Pro-gun control groups backed by former Republican-turned-independent New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the corporate media are not going after any of the many Republican gun nuts who are running for president. Instead, they’re going after Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and trying to paint him as a frothing-at-the-mouth gun nut, which is not true at all.

In reality, Bernie Sanders supports increasing background checks on gun sales, closing the gun show loophole, banning assault weapons, and banning high capacity magazines. In fact, in recent years, Bernie has received very high ratings from gun control groups, such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and very low ratings from gun rights groups, such as the NRA and the Gun Owners of America. Bernie believes in protecting the rights of responsible, law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, while, at the same time, doing everything possible to prevent guns from getting into the hands of people who want to carry out mass murders. Additionally, Bernie supports increasing access to mental health care in this country, which would prevent thousands of murders every year.

Also, many, but not all, groups supporting gun control measures are financially supported by Mike Bloomberg, whose views on many other issues are not in line with progressives at all. For example, Bloomberg openly made offensive remarks comparing teachers to gun nuts and supported efforts to privatize public education in New York City, most notably supporting the creation of 139 charter schools in New York City, when he was mayor. Additionally, Bloomberg has staunchly opposed efforts to decriminalize and legalize marijuana despite having smoked marijuana himself when he was younger. Bloomberg also supported George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, who, in his second term as president, badly botched (for lack of a better term) the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and saw the collapse of the American economy on his watch.

While Hillary Clinton, Bernie’s main rival for the Democratic nomination, is emphasizing her support for gun control measures on the campaign trail, Hillary had no problem attacking supporters of gun control measures for speaking their mind the last time she ran for president. During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) remarked that right-wing extremists “cling to guns or religion” when they “get bitter”, which is the truth about the vast majority of right-wing extremists in this country. Hillary responded to Obama’s remarks by calling Obama an “elitist”, which the right-wingers swiped from her and used as one of their favorite anti-Obama talking points, and talking about her dad teaching her how to shoot a firearm when she was a child. Guess who won the Democratic nomination and went on to get elected president that year…

As much as Mike Bloomberg and the corporate media want you to think otherwise, Bernie Sanders is no gun nut.

ENDORSEMENT: Nancy Rotering for 10th Congressional District of Illinois

While I live in a different Illinois congressional district, I’m proud to endorse Nancy Rotering in the U.S. House race in the 10th Congressional District of Illinois, which includes much of Lake County and parts of northern Cook County.

Prior to entering electoral politics, Rotering earned college degrees from three of the most well-respected universities in the country, two of which are located in Illinois, and worked as a finance executive for General Motors. As Mayor of Highland Park, Illinois, Rotering helped establish a legal aid clinic to, among other things, help apartment renters take on bad landlords who wronged them. Rotering has long been committed to empowering voters and protecting the environment, as she is an active member of the League of Women Voters and the Sierra Club. Rotering is also a strong supporter of common-sense gun safety measures.

Rotering’s Democratic primary challenger, Brad Schneider, is a D.C. insider who has the backing of his fellow political insiders, including failed Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Schneider is part of the same failed Democratic establishment that wants to implement a corporate, pro-Wall Street agenda in this country. Schneider has used dirty tricks to win Democratic primaries before, and that’s because he and his insider buddies don’t care about the people of the 10th District of Illinois.

I strongly encourage voters in the 10th Congressional District of Illinois to vote in the Democratic primary for Nancy Rotering. You can view Rotering’s website here, and her campaign also maintains Facebook and Twitter pages.

The last progressive victory of 2014: Far-right Obama judicial nominee Michael Boggs will NOT be confirmed or re-nominated

Michael Boggs, a former right-wing Democratic Georgia State Representative (yes, there used to be right-wing Democrats in office in Georgia and other Southern states), will not be confirmed by the U.S. Senate and will not be re-nominated by President Barack Obama to a lifetime term to a federal judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

While this isn’t a pretty victory by any stretch of the imagination, since there’s still a large number of federal judicial vacancies, this is a progressive victory because Boggs would have been a rubber stamp for the Republicans’ far-right agenda had he been confirmed as a federal judge.

When Boggs ran for and won a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, Boggs campaigned as an ultra-conservative, supporting the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda, the Confederate flag, and school prayer and opposing openly-gay Boy Scout leaders, reproductive rights, and marriage equality. During his 2000 campaign, Boggs’s campaign distributed this flyer touting his pro-discrimination and anti-equality views on social issues and stating that he was running as a Democrat simply to get a committee chairmanship and advance far-right legislation (at the time, Democrats controlled the Georgia House of Representatives). More importantly, as a Georgia State Representative, Boggs built up a right-wing, pro-discrimination, and anti-equality voting record that is far out of line with what is expected of Democrats of today’s Democratic Party.

Michael Boggs’s bid to be a federal judge is, at least for the next two years, is over, and this is the last progressive victory in 2014. While I expect very few progressive victories in 2015, given that Republicans will have increased power in Congress and in numerous state governments, I hope that us progressives score some victories, and I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year.