I have another idea for a political cartoon. On the right hand side of the cartoon is a gate with the sign “Glue Factory”. A horse is on the left side of the cartoon, wearing a blanket that says “2nd Amendment”. A guy in a suit is pulling on the horse’s bridle, trying to lead it to the glue factory. The man in the suit has a voice balloon saying, “What are you worried about? No one wants to get rid of you. Just take one more step!”
“No one wants to take your guns” is bullshit, and everyone on both sides of the fight for and against that particular civil right knows it. We all know it’s a lie. It’s an insult to the intelligence of anyone that hears it, right up there with “separate but equal”.
The first segment, on the Philippines, illustrates the scenario that I think motivates some of the anti-gun hysteria in this country. Ironically, I think that divisive rhetoric and attempts to infringe on other people’s civil rights makes that scenario more likely rather than less. I hope, really hope, that Americans wake up to that and stop with the attacks on each other. Ignorance, hatred, and irrational fear are poor foundations for public policy.
The second segment, on the Taliban and Afghanistan… that’s almost too tragic. I have trouble even wrapping my head around it. It would be easy to blame religion, but the suicide bombers aren’t even being told what their own religion says. They are lied to and manipulated by their Imams and Muftis, who are distorting their own religion to use these children as weapons. The horror of it baffles me.
I am so grateful that I live in a relatively safe, relatively sane country. I hope it stays that way.
The author of this letter to “gun control” Democrats is a left-leaning supporter of reproductive rights “who participated wholeheartedly in the Occupy movement and in the national campaign to expose ALEC”. They make six suggestions on how to better present the argument for gun control in the USA. It’s worth reading.
An image or “meme” equating traffic lights to restrictions on firearm ownership has been showing up recently in the usual places. I find this disappointing, because it’s such an absurd analogy.
Let’s set aside, for a moment, the essential difference, that vehicles are for transportation (important, yes, but is it a basic human right?) while firearms are for defense of one’s life (an essential human right). Setting that aside, a traffic light’s purpose is to prevent an operator of a vehicle from driving their thousands-of-pounds of metal into the direct path of others’ rapidly moving thousands-of-pounds of metal, because this would be a direct and imminent danger to the lives of other people. This is completely reasonable. An equivalent (or nearly equivalent) analogy would be some form of signal intended to prevent a firearm from being fired at other people, or where other people are quite likely to be. And, in fact, we do have laws that serve this exact purpose, although they take the form of general prohibitions rather than signals. And these, by and large, are also reasonable.
The people who “like” and redistribute images like this one, alas, are anything but reasonable.
Folks, if you are fighting to infringe on the civil rights of other people, you’re on the wrong side. That means if you are for *any* of these, you are on the wrong side: “gun control” [sic], marriage discrimination, censorship, *any* religion being given preferential treatment by the government, warrantless wiretaps, warrantless searches at airports, warrantless surveillance, detention of civilians without a trial, assassination of civilians without a trial… I’m tired of typing. You get the idea.
Ten years ago, the idea of the US government spying on its citizens, intercepting their emails or killing them with drones was unthinkable. But now it’s business as usual, says John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent and torture whistleblower.
Kiriakou is now awaiting a summons to start a prison sentence. One of the first to confirm the existence of Washington’s waterboarding program, he was sentenced last week to two-and-a-half years in jail for revealing the name of an undercover agent. But even if he had another chance, he would have done the same thing again…
I am, by ancestry, as white as white can be. However, I grew up in a black neighborhood — I was *the* white boy on the school bus. My family was on food stamps from time to time, and I was on the hot lunch program at school. So it’s always struck me a little surreal when people brag or bitch about our “first Black President” when he had one white American parent and one foreign parent (not an “African-American”, but a plain old African — a senior governmental economist from Kenya), he was raised by his white mother and grandparents, and he lived a life of privilege that I never saw anywhere but on television. In every way that matters, I think Barack Obama (who was called “Barry” most of his life) is just an ordinary, affluent, career politician. I don’t think he has anything in common with any of the people I grew up with.
I am not supposed to say any of this, because, as I mentioned, I am as white as a slice of Wonder Bread. But on the eve of his re-election (he’ll get approximately 64% of the popular vote) (* see below), I was just thinking about all of the important things that I wish people were taking into consideration when they vote (like the erosion of our civil rights, the lack of accountability of corporations, the insane expansion of our military, the fact that we incarcerate more of our population than China does, and so on), and all of the trivial nonsense that they talk about instead. Like who the candidates’ ancestors are.
What is the controversy? It’s not his culture and upbringing. Is it because, like a great many completely ordinary Americans, Obama’s ancestors are from multiple continents? Is it literally the color of his skin that makes a difference? Is the big deal not that he’s our “first black President”, but that he’s our first President who isn’t as light-skinned as I am?
Apparently I am the only one who finds this obsession with Obama’s pedigree peculiar.
One thing I don’t expect from President Obama’s second term is a miraculous resurgence of our economy. The President is not the Wizard Of Oz. Despite the sound bites from both Romney and Obama, we have neither recovered from the depression, nor are we still at the bottom of it. Actual unemployment is around 14%-16%, but it’s getting better. The housing market still sucks, but it’s getting better. The price of gasoline is still over $3.00 a gallon, and it’s not going down by much, if at all, ever again. None of this is Obama’s fault. He didn’t break the engine of our economy, and he can’t fix it. He might deserve a little credit if he doesn’t do anything to disrupt the current recovery process. We’ll see.
* 2012-11-07: I was way wrong on the popular vote. I said Obama would get almost 2/3 of the popular vote, and he barely got 50%.
And here is a … not so much a rebuttal, because he doesn’t respond to any of the original article’s points… it’s a reply, I guess, from Russ Feingold. I don’t find it persuasive. “A new form of corruption”? Hardly. Matt Bai makes it amply clear that this form of corruption has been around since at least the 1990s (and in my opinion, since long before that). But this Feingold fellow was the ONLY Senator to vote against the so-called PATRIOT act during the first vote on it, so I’ll give his arguments my attention based on that alone.