Obama lays out solution for mass shootings while right-wing gun craziness continues

Last night President Obama addressed the nation in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings. If you missed his twelve-minute talk, here it is (it’s not really the “complete” speech, as they left out a few words at the end–see below).

In general I think he did the best he could given the circumstances, though, with the exacerbated calls for gun control, it sounded a lot like “we’ll do more of the same.” It was basically a Presidential attempt to calm the country down. Here are the good and not-so-good bits:

The good stuff:

  • The call for Congress to make it harder for Americans to buy assault weapons and a call to ban those on the terrorism watch list from buying any guns (Republicans recently voted down that law)
  • A review of the relatively lax “fiancee visa” regulations that allowed the female shooter in San Bernardino to enter the U.S.
  • A review of our policy about visa waivers
  • A refusal to put American forces in a ground war
  • A call for Americans to resist the demonization of Muslims, and an emphasis on our law-abiding Muslim citizens and residents, many of whom serve in the armed forces. Obama said that this demonization is exactly what ISIS wants, though I hear the trope about “not doing what ISIS wants” all the time, and I’m not sure what they really do want. We shouldn’t demonize Muslims, but not because it plays into the hands of ISIS, but because treating Muslims as equal citizens, and avoiding personal or legal discrimination against them on the basis of their faith, are simply the right things to do
  • An implicit emphasis on maintaining Englightenment values, i.e., a refusal to abandon American principles when combating terrorism (then we should close Guantanamo, for crying out loud!)

The not-so-good stuff:

  • Obama’s emphasis that terrorists or members ISIS instantiate a “perverted interpretation of Islam” and that ISIS “does not speak for Islam.” Well, ISIS speaks for Islam just as much as Pat Robertson speaks for Christianity. But at least Obama said the “I” word.
  • The call for Congress to declare war on ISIS by authorizing continuing military involvement. I’m not sure exactly what that means, or how it would change our present strategy. I fear that American ground troops will eventually be involved, what with a Republican Congress in place and a more hawkish President, Hillary Clinton (or any Republican) in the wings.
  • The nod to God at the end: “God bless you and God bless America” (omitted in the video). The ritual invocation of the deity at the end of Presidential speeches is a relatively new development: the first President to use the phrase was Richard Nixon, during a 1973 exculpation speech on Watergate.  

In general, though, the only real change that will result from this talk will be is a stricter review of the U.S. visa program. Our military strategy in Syria and Iraq probably won’t change, Congress won’t pass laws tightening gun restrictions, and God won’t bless America, because he doesn’t exist.

But against the braying and braggadocio of the right-wing gun nuts, who use mass killings as a rationale for loosening gun regulations, Obama sounds like a saint. Here, for instance, is Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of the Matchbox and his successor as President of the fundamentalist Christian Liberty University, speaking at the University convocation. Fallwell fils called for more guns, implied he was carrying one in his back pocket, urged students to carry more legal, concealed handguns (nothing that the University has free courses on this), and added, “If more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they, before they go out there and kill.”

And listen to all those Christian students cheering Falwell on!

 

Seriously “end those Muslims”?

Finally, here’s Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican Presidential candidate, defending his vote allowing people on the “no fly list” to buy guns. His rationale: the majority of people on the list are there by mistake. This is of course a dismissal of President Obama’s statement, “Right now, people on the No-Fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane. If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun.”

h/t: GB James, jsp

58 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    That’s how I heard the President’s remarks, too.

  2. Merilee
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Sub

  3. Ken
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    “that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what religion you practice, you are equal in the eyes of God and equal in the eyes of the law.” To me this is not only ‘The not-so-good stuff’ but core to why terrorism and mass killings will continue.

  4. Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    “the son of the Matchbox”

    subtle Hitchens reference. Very well done!

  5. Historian
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Here’s some good news. Per the Washington Post article, the Supreme Court won’t review laws banning assault weapons!

    _______________

    The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review the ability of cities and states to prohibit semiautomatic high-capacity assault weapons that have been used in some of the nation’s most deadly recent mass shootings.

    The justices decided not to reconsider a lower court’s decision in a case from the city of Highland Park, Ill., near Chicago. But seven states — Maryland, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York — have similar bans, and all of the prohibitions remain in place.

    Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia said the court should review the ban, which “flouts” the court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence. They criticized lower court decisions that have allowed jurisdictions and impose what Thomas called “categorical bans on firearms that millions of Americans commonly own for lawful purposes.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-wont-review-laws-banning-so-called-assault-weapons/2015/12/07/b562678e-96fb-11e5-94f0-9eeaff906ef3_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_assaultweapon-950a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    _______

    As you will note, Scalia and Thomas objected to the determination. It’s truly disgusting.

  6. Brujo Feo
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    “I fear that American ground troops will eventually be involved, what with a Republican Congress in place and a more hawkish President, Hillary Clinton (or *any* Republican) in the wings.”

    I have to point out that “*any* Republican” would, at this point, still include Rand Paul, who, whatever his other flaws, would be unlikely to order U.S. ground troops into the Middle East…or anywhere else for that matter.

    But perhaps you meant “any Republican who actually stands a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting the nomination, in which case I would have to completely agree with your statement.

  7. Randy Schenck
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Declaring war on ISIS is just indication that the president has learned very little of history. And who cares about boring old history anyway.

    Even ignorant of recent history I should add. We declared war on Terrorism after 9-11 and what has that accomplished. About the same thing as the war on drugs or poverty. Wars should only be declared on countries, otherwise your military has no strategic base upon which to focus. They are just looking at bad people out there everywhere and nowhere.

    Also declaration of war along with the commitment not to put troops on the ground is a mixed and confusing signal to all. Instead, say you are going to use all assets to battle ISIS and eliminate the threat of terrorism.

    Also, it’s just stupid to declare war in speech when in fact, you are not declaring war. Last I checked only Congress can do that.

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      None of this touches on the actual question, IMO. The key question is not one of boots hitting the ground or not, but of boots staying there for fifty years. If you just want to drop in and take over for a few years that is probably not particularly difficult for us. But when we leave we’ll almost certainly just be back where we are now again. So to my mind it hardly matters whether you just bomb or if you invade if there isn’t a multi-decade commitment to stay. I don’t know, but I imagine that something like that realization is behind our reluctance to seen in ground troops: there is no point without a commitment much much larger than we are prepared to make.

      • Randy Schenck
        Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        I am not promoting the idea of going in anywhere with troops. I did say that declaring war while also not sending in any ground forces is very confusing to people (general public). We can commit to fighting bad guys (terrorist) without the actual need to declare war. We have been doing that for 50 years with very little to show for it.

        My question to you would be, when did it become necessary to make a commitment to years and years of ground troops on the ground in any location. The only thing you prove with that thought is that we should not be there with ground troops in the first place. That sounds very much like our ridiculous moves into Irag and Afghanistan. It is nonsense.

        What do you really think the military is for? To occupy countries and people. Wrong. The military is hired and trained to defeat an enemy and leave. Did we occupy Europe after WWI or WWII? Tell me what were we doing in Vietnam? I mean besides loosing. All we were doing was figuring out we should not have been there in the first place.

        If your definition of determining when to go to war is counting how many years you want to be there, occupying the place, then you have your answer…don’t do it.

        • Kevin
          Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          Not that I see anything useful happening in the Middle East invasions/occupations but there are some necessary conditions for ground troop support if a country, like the US, is to develop infrastructure like roads, schools, and desalination plants in places like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, etc.

          • Randy Schenck
            Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            Sounds very much like nation building to me. Maybe even empire building. The Romans did that. We even tried a little of it in central America. But why would we be doing these things in the middle east?

            We have even tried doing some totally useless things with our military by training forces in the countries we invaded. Another really useless idea. We did this in Vietnam, Iraq, now Afghanistan and it is total failure.

            How many times do you keep doing the same things that fail before we learn?

            • Posted December 7, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

              As one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different reault!

        • gluonspring
          Posted December 7, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          You are totally preaching to the choir about Vietnam and Iraq and any intervention we envision in Syria. I do not advocate sending in troops for the short or long term. I’m not disagreeing with you, just pointing out another dimension where the debate is kind of detached from reality.

          As for occupying Europe, we never left Germany or Japan. We are still there, with military bases and tens of thousands of troops. One could dispute the word “occupy”, but we didn’t destroy the societies of Germany and Japan and then just leave. Ditto for South Korea. Of course, the cost of that “success” was staggering for all sides, so staggering that a fog of moral ambiguity must always hang over it. There is no neat fix as the neocons imagine. But that said, I think from even a purely realpolitik point of view nothing short of that kind of unending commitment has even a passing practical chance of success, and moral success seems even more elusive.

          • Randy Schenck
            Posted December 7, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            Well, the troops left in Germany or mainland Japan were not to do any long term rebuilding on our part. Money yes, but Germany rebuilt themselves and so did Japan. We filled Europe full of American Troops because of Russia. Same in the far east only there it was also China.

            Staying in Iraq was to protect themselves from each other. In other words, civil war. That is what Vietnam was. Anyway, there is nothing to build in a tribal society like Afghanistan or Iraq. We spent Trillions in these two places and have nothing to show for it.

            We look at a country like Syria or any of the others and think, how can we fix that. It is not even the question to ask.

            We had a reason and purpose to get involved in WWII and even in Korea. I haven’t seen one since.

            • Cliff Melick
              Posted December 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

              “We spent Trillions in these two places and have nothing to show for it.”

              Sure we do. Lots of dead and disabled soldiers.

  8. David Harper
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    As a British citizen who visits the United States regularly (my wife is American so I have family in the U.S.), my heart sinks at the President’s comments on the visa waiver programme.

    In the 25 years that I’ve been visiting the U.S. under the visa waiver programme, the whole immigration process has become steadily more unpleasant. I already have to submit my passport information and personal details to the U.S. government for pre-screening under a scheme called ESTA. That doesn’t guarantee that I’ll be allowed into the country, though. I still have to go through the same immigration procedure as every other foreigner at the airport, which includes being fingerprinted and photographed as if I were a felon.

    The irony is that of the 353 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, 352 of them were committed by people who would not be caught by changes to the visa waiver programme.

    • eric
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Yes I agree. Jerry has pointed out in the past that most of our terrorists are domestic right-wingers. We Americans are very good at focusing on the (relatively) miniscule danger posed by strangers while ignoring the much greater danger posed by our own families and neighbors.

      In this case its particularly ludicrous, given that the husband was a native born citizen with no criminal or mental health records. IOW an ‘ideal’ gun owner. So a change in the US visa laws might have stopped her from being there, but only gun control applied to normal citizens would’ve stopped him.

  9. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Seriously “end those Muslims”?

    That, in Britain, would run perilously close to “incitement to racial hatred”, which is a criminal offence.
    There have in the past been US politicians with such comments on their records, who have arrived at a UK airport to find themselves barred from entry as an undesirable person. I doubt this would be a heavy factor on Falwell’s neurones (“mind” has too many assumptions), but it is worth remembering.
    I think the same rules have thrown a few French and Eastern European politicians back onto the plane they arrived on too.

  10. HaggisForBrains
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Discussions on any law change to reduce gun ownership often falter on the problem of getting owners to hand in their guns. Here’s an idea: offer free penis enlargement operations in return for surrendering their guns. For Michele Fiore offer a strap-on.

    • eric
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      Nah, I take the long view on that problem. Just have the Feds maintain a trade in policy (guns for cash, though obviously not enough to create a black market). No, the gun collectors won’t give them up. But their children or grandchildren probably will. After all, when you inherit 5 Uzis and 20 handguns from crazy Uncle Bob, what are you going to do with them? So if the ability to “refresh the personal armory” is limited or gone, in a generation or two most of the stockpiles will disappear.

  11. Scote
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I agree that it is ridiculous for the government to enforce rules that say a person is too dangerous to fly, but just fine to buy all the guns and ammo they want. It’s a crazy double standard.

    However, I would say the issue is more complicated than that. The US is supposed to have due process, and being put on to the terrorist watch list is anything but. It is an Orwellian process with virtually no recourse, as one woman who sued to get off it found. The government wouldn’t even admit she was on the list, the only way to know was when Malaysian college professor Rahinah Ibrahim booked a ticket to Hawaii from San Francisco she was denied boarding and arrested. From then on she went through a Kafkaesque process of trying to find out why she was denied boarding and to get that right again. After an 8 year long lawsuit and as of 2014, she was the only person to ever get off the no fly list, a list she was put on, and kept on, through a cavalcade of errors which the secretive program presumes to be accurate, without due process.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/03/after-seven-years-exactly-one-person-gets-off-the-govt-no-fly-list/

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      I agree that is a complete travesty. It is shocking to me how little fear it takes for everyone to piss their pants and throw decency out of the window. I’ve never thought of myself as a brave person, but watching my fellow citizens panic since 9/11 I have to wonder.

    • Posted December 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      I would think the rational response to the problems of the “no fly list” would be to fix the f*ing list, rather than letting people on it buy a Kalashnikov because they might be on the list incorrectly. But I gave up expecting most politicians to do or say anything rational a long time ago.

      • eric
        Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Well the executive branch doesn’t seem inclined to do that at the moment, probably because the courts give them so much leeway on the 4th amendment that they don’t even bother to stop such programs when those programs make egregious mistakes.

        So *if* we could somehow pass this bill, it might kill two birds with one stone. Not only would it keep guns out of the hands of bad guys, but the moment Joe Citizen goes to buy a gun and can’t because he’s accidentally on the no-fly list, he sues and the courts issue a ruling that the executive has to fix the no-fly list (or at least create a workable error review and removal process).

    • Adam M.
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      And we know the list is abused to punish anti-war protesters and people that officials have a personal grudge against. The no-fly list is punishment without trial, which, like imprisonment without charge, should not exist in this country. If they want to keep the list, no punishment or deprivation of rights should attach until a person has been tried and found guilty by a court.

  12. Warren Bailey
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I would suggest a reading of Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution by Justice John Paul Stevens in order to grasp the real root of the gun control issue.

    All of the Bill of Rights are amendments to the Constitution. The 2nd was addressing the concerns of the signers regarding Article 1 Section 8

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    As well as Article 2 Section 2

    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

    Militias were a problem because the easiest way to avoid military duty was to simply not own any equipment.

    There followed Closely the Militia Acts of 1792 and the organization of the militia in the United States was perfected until after World War I

    So what did Justice Stevens have to say? Well that in there wisdom and foresight the founding fathers unfortunately wrote the 2nd exactly as the NRA reads it. Any manner of infantry weapon suitable for Militia use is in fact legal for keeping and bearing by private citizens

    • Randy Schenck
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      I have a hard time seeing the solution in this.
      Are you saying that the writers of the 2nd amendment or of the Militia Acts should have specified the weapon?

      I see part of the problem or misunderstanding in the second amendment as making something today out of what does not exist. The Militia is a relic of history. It does not exist today in any shape or meaning of colonial America. You could say the Army National Guard comes closest but is not the same. The citizen fighter who would grab his gun a go defend the state or country no longer exist.

      Also, the whole purpose for making a big deal about the Militia at the time Madison was drafting this amendment was to assure lots of nervous people in several states that the militia was just fine and we would have no need to establish the dreaded standing, federal army, which scared many away from support of the constitution.

      If you look at Virginia bill of rights I believe it talks about that militia as being the way to go for protection but does not mention the right of all to guns.

      In any event – everything that caused or may have had anything to do with the second amendment back in 1791, does not exist or have any reasonable meaning today. It is all manufactured politics.

      • Warren Bailey
        Posted December 7, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        The only real solution that will stick is a constitutional amendment. There is nothing simple that can be passed. There’s no sort of ban that would be immune to being overturned at some point.

        It can only be taken care of by a show of will by the majority of the States and the American people to change it

  13. gluonspring
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Are Rubio, et. al., working on reforms to the no-fly list? If not, well…

    • Scote
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Quite. If they can admit the no-fly list is unreliable and keeps innocent people from being able to fly, then they should be *fixing that* lack of due process rather than carving out a suspected terrorist exemption for gun purchases.

  14. Vaal
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    On another forum (that I have referenced before) the venom of numerous Americans to Obama, his speech, and “gun grabbing” in general is utterly toxic. Threads are filled with “Just to say F**K Obama and gun grabbing liberals, I went out and bought another gun.” With lots of “same here” chiming in.

    It’s incredible. The gun culture in the USA is like one of those indestructible sci-fi blob monsters – any time it takes a hit (from another massacre or gun control logic)
    it absorbs it and then swells in size.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      It’s weird because while a smaller and smaller proportion of USians actually own guns, those that do own more of them. Though increasingly vehement, they’re a dying breed. Which is ironic really.

  15. Posted December 7, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    At least two of the guns were shadow purchased and illegally modified by a neighbor.

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      So we have something to charge that neighbor with. If it weren’t illegal, all we could do is say, “Have a nice day.”

    • Kevin
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      I wonder what remorse, if any, the neighbor has.

      • gluonspring
        Posted December 7, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        I expect the operative emotion now is “fear”, since I imagine prosecution is a very real possibility. Perhaps, if they escape that, they will have time in the future to contemplate remorse.

  16. Derek Freyberg
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    The real problem with gun control in this country is, I think, that the people who control it already control guns in their proximity and don’t give a sh*t for guns in the proximity of anyone else.
    Can you take a gun into Congress? – nooooo; can you take a gun into your local statehouse – nooo; can you even take a gun into your local city hall – I’d bet nooo. Courts? – you must be joking. Airports – ditto.
    When the elected a**holes who think that they’re saving the Second Amendment by voting to allow guns in schools, and the judges who overturn reasonable efforts at gun control, have to spend time in classrooms and offices instead of in a protected bubble THEN maybe we’ll see some common sense made of this.

    • barn owl
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      That’s an excellent point. For some of the places you mentioned, the restrictions are tighter than those for getting through TSA screening at the airport, e.g. no knitting needles.

  17. rickflick
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    That’s how I heard it too. But what can you expect. This is the umpteenth mass shooting speech and nothing has changed. Not much can be suggested beyond this without creating even more gun lobby intransigence.
    The reference to congress not getting involved in the fight against ISIS may just shifting the blame. Obama is determined to have no ground troops.
    “Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of the Matchbox” – Let him always be known as ‘the matchbox’. It gives us a chance to think of Hitch and smile.

  18. Tom
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Mr Obama should suggest that Congress consider a new law so that every gun owner is called up for a month’s military training every year.
    …….just a thought.

    • Posted December 7, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Good idea!

    • Warren Bailey
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      That would be very close to the original intention of the 2nd amendment. How did those draft notices begin?

  19. Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    That video of Falwell at LU was a disgrace. But I wouldn’t expect less from him or the audience.

    And Rubio! OMFGA. These people have indeed all gone batshit freakin’ crazy. There is positively no hope for the a-holes.

    I sure do hope that Trump, Cruz or Rubio get the nod. This, I believe, might spell the end of the meddling in the affairs of sane people (at least for a while).

    One can only hope.

  20. drakodoc
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    “The call for Congress to declare war on ISIS by authorizing continuing military involvement. ”
    Heard a Republican lawmaker on the news this AM who opposed giving a new Congressional authorization specifically to fight ISIS. His reasoning was that the current post-9/11 authorization was open ended enough to allow flexibility for a President to conduct whatever operations he/she wanted, but a new authorization, like Obama was proposing, was much more directed and limiting, and would essentially tie the hands of a new President. I had not thought about this angle, but perhaps this proposal by Mr. Obama actually really is a clever idea, because, already pointed out, either Hillary or any of the right-wing nuts that ends up in the oval office really should not be given a blank check with our military might.

  21. Heather Hastie
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    This is a speech Obama should have made a few years ago. While I’ve mostly supported his positions since his inauguration, he hasn’t been that good at providing visible leadership of the kind that inspires the whole population, and not just those who support him.

    It’s easy to provide excuses for why he hasn’t – the extreme antipathy in the GOP opposition to him for example – but the fact remains he’s supposedly “leader of the free world” and possesses the bully pulpit. He could have brought his people along with him, and if he’d started at the height of his popularity, he’d have a better chance of wide support now.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Here’s a suggestion, ask the 80% of Americans who favor background checks to write to their congressional representatives.
      Another idea: arrest and charge the leaders of the NRA with inciting terrorism, along with a handful of politicians who bang the same drum.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted December 7, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        A lot of these problems would be solved if money and politics weren’t so strongly entwined. The NRA gives politicians too much money for them to stand up to them. There’d immediately be protests of government over-reach at least, and probably corruption, if a senior NRA member was arrested.

        There is, I understand, a poll that shows that in the USA more Americans favour more background checks than like kittens, and still the politicians are in thrall to the NRA. Disgraceful.

        • rickflick
          Posted December 7, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          There is more to it though. All things being equal, the money from the IRA can’t be enough to influence the votes of serious reps. After all, they get lots from other sources. They should not need the NRA all that much. I’m thinking the republicans and some Dems who vote down gun laws are responding to their base who are convinced gun control is evil. In any tight race, a few percent of their constituents who are gun nuts can make a difference come reelection time. And the gun nuts are guaranteed to show up and vote while the majority of voters stay home to watch football.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            I think you’re right – they do seem to be very motivate voters. The whole situation is one I struggle to understand, and I doubt I’m capable of coming up with a good answer from outside the culture.

  22. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I think that have a formal declaration of war will give the President more power to do what he sees fit. According to the ‘2nd War Powers Act’ in the 1940’s the relevant bit, according to Wikipedia, is that it “…created methods for war-related production contracting along with adjusting several other aspects of government affairs.”
    I think this means he can divert $ to the military. We are running out of bombs, btw.

    • Randy Schenck
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      I probably missed it but didn’t hear a request for a declaration of war. I heard – vote to demonstrate commitment to the fight.

      Anyhow…I would not vote to declare war on a bunch of moving targets. If you have actually land and official country, then we could talk about it.

      You could start your war in Iraq, move over to Syria, then Yemen, then start counting countries in Africa.

      We have already demonstrated how to loose war so why declare it. Lets just figure out how to destroy this Islamist virus and forget about conventional military solutions that just don’t apply.

  23. Posted December 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    “A refusal to put American forces in a ground war”

    Speaking of what ISIS wants, that seems, according to them at least, something they do want. The thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. Given their behavior with journalists, and the pilot they burned alive, I can only imagine what they would do to any captured Americans, and the resulting videos.

    • Posted December 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      I wanted to add that I expect that likelihood is part of the reason Obama isn’t considering ground troops. All it would take is one soldier being tortured, or burnt to death in a cage on video for things to go south pretty quickly. Half of the country will be calling for us to nuke them, and the other for us to pull out.

  24. Les Faby
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    “Son of Matchbox” is perfect.
    “If you gave [Jerry] Falwell an enema he could be buried in a matchbox.”
    — Hitchens, when asked what he thought about Falwell

    I miss Christopher Hitchens.

  25. Posted December 7, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    The no-fly list is unconscionable. If people are too dangerous to fly, they need to be arrested, charged with conspiracy, and put on trial. If there’s not enough evidence to convict them of any crime, we have no right to restrict their movements or otherwise harass them. Add in the fact that there isn’t even any pretense to observe due process with respect to the no-fly list….

    At this point, I have to see any proposals for expanding the scope of the no-fly list as a McCarthyesque compilation of Unamericans. If you’re too dangerous to be let on a plane and too dangerous to be permitted to own weapons, you’re too dangerous to be allowed in movie theaters, Federal buildings, school campuses, and even grocery stores. We have places for people that dangerous: prisons. And we’re supposed to be very careful about who we put in prison and why and for how long….

    b&

    • Scote
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      ^^^This.

      “At this point, I have to see any proposals for expanding the scope of the no-fly list as a McCarthyesque compilation of Unamericans.”

      Yes, the new group it is ok to break the constitution to save us from is “suspected terrorists” – a group so indiscriminately targeted by conservatives that it often includes all Muslims, all brown people, all immigrants and all Syrian refugees. In fact, Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said,

      “”What–are you kidding me? I’m about to fly to Paris and shoot ‘em in the head myself!” Fiore said she told Muth when asked why she didn’t join the statement on Syrian refugees.

      “I am not OK with Syrian refugees. I’m not OK with terrorists. I’m OK with putting them down, blacking them out, just put a piece of brass in their ocular cavity and end their miserable life. I’m good with that,” she continued.”

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/michele-fiore-syrian-refugees-shoot-em

      So, conservatives like Michele Fiore are willing to execute people (or deny them the right to fly) on the merest bigoted suspicion, but don’t dare deny anyone the right to a gun on that same merest suspicion. The cognitive dissonance is deafening.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      I’m reminded of the line from a hundred movies: “OK, you can go for now, but don’t leave town. Got it?”

  26. LawrenceT
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Have you considered changing the name of this site to:
    “Why Socialist Democratic Principles are True”?


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