First, We Have To Admit To Ourselves: There Is No Such Thing As “Responsible Gun Ownership”

Ten people died yesterday in Boulder, CO after a guy his own family thought was intensely paranoid and delusional attempted to use a military assault weapon to assuage his symptoms. A few days before, eight people (six of them women of Asian descent) were shot to death by a white guy who was “having a bad day”. Like a cliche, in the immediate aftermath of yet another gun-related tragedy, Texas Senator (and human coronavirus) Ted Cruz got up on the Senate floor and brayed about how horrible it would be if the Democrats were to use this (or any) shooting-related tragedy to try and take the legal guns from regular, law-abiding Americans — you know, the “RESPONSIBLE” gun owners. Why, THOSE PEOPLE would NEVER allow THEIR guns to do such terrible things — that’s cos they’re “RESPONSIBLE”! That’s the pitch. The bloodbath we endure in America isn’t because of all the responsible gun owners, it’s because of a handful of “bad apples”, mostly non-white so take their guns away, absolutely!

For starters, Ted Cruz is a stone cold traitor. But never mind that. He’s also a regular apologist for the fiction that “responsible” gun owners — like Ted — exist to begin with. Hey, remember Ted demonstrating just how responsible gun owners use their machine guns to cook bacon?

Yeah — that happened. Ted Cruz “keeps happening”…

I’ve fired guns. When I was a kid going to camp up in Maine in the 60’s, riflery was one of the activities. I enjoyed it though I really wasn’t very good at it (I’ve got an astygmatism in my right eye that messes with fine focus). Like I said — I enjoyed riflery. Hell, I even scored a few NRA gun safety awards. That was back when “gun safety” was what the NRA did. Before they turned into a political operation walking point for the gun manufacturers. Back before the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre-ification. Gun safety was the mantra.

Then, when riflery’s time was up — swimming was next — we campers moved on but not before the riflery counselor went through the whole ritual of putting the guns away, back in the locked gun shed where they were kept (the camp’s “gun locker”). To be honest? That’s really the only time a gun ever felt truly “safe” — when it was put away. But, let’s be real — sitting in a gun shed or a gun locker is NOT what the gun was designed to do. It was designed for a very specific purpose — to send a piece of hot metal speeding through the air at a living target, ideally in order to kill it. “Boom”. That’s it. That’s the gun’s entire purpose — to be a literal death machine. From the cutest-as-can-be single-shot derringer to an AK-47 burping death, the point of the exercise is lethality. You may only want to maim the person you just fired at, but, honestly, if there’s no way for you to control a bullet once you’ve fired it? You’ve already cast your vote.

Remember Nancy Lanza — mother to Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter? Nancy Lanza bragged about being a “responsible gun owner”. And I’ve no doubt she was — up until the very second she wasn’t — when her son killed her in cold blood with one of her own legal guns. Just like that, Nancy Lanza went from being “responsible gun owner” to “crime statistic”, having been murdered using her own weapon. I wonder if the irony hurt worse than dying did.

See, the measure of whether or not any gun owner is “responsible” or not can’t be taken when their gun is safe inside its locker. The gun wasn’t designed for that. Go ahead — look at the design specs for any gun you like. Not a one was “designed” to sit in a safe or a locker. They were all designed to kill something. So, let’s dispense with the first fiction — that guns have any practical function beyond one thing: death. Guns are hand-held death machines.

That means the the question we’re asking to gage any gun owner’s level of responsibility is, how responsible are they when their weapon is out & about? To be fair, most gun owners will be passably responsible their entire lifetimes. They or their weapon won’t kill or maim anyone. They’ll call themselves “responsible”. The fact is, they were lucky. That’s all. WHY does anyone need to have a death machine in their house or in their hands? Fear of home invasion? Gosh, how “White Guy!” To protect the family? Even whiter as excuses go. The wonderful blogger and Twitter goddess Gabrielle Blair wrote a terrific Twitter thread about men using the “I’m protecting my family!” excuse for having guns in the house.

The thread goes on. Man doesn’t make any better arguments for guns. What’d ya expect? Clarity of vision from these pirates?

Every gun is an accident or a tragedy that just hasn’t happened yet. It might not ever happen — a good thing — but that doesn’t diminish its impact on the people guns do hurt or destroy. And it never, EVER means it “can’t” happen.

Look, I support the second amendment. That is, I support the amendment’s original intention, not the ludicrous monstrosity the gun lobby turned our reading of the amendment into. Usually, it starts with some horse shit about how the term “well regulated” meaning “in good working order” which, apparently, is then code for “have all the damned guns ya want!” The second amendment’s language isn’t that tricky to parse and yet parse it the gun lovers have.

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. That’s what it says. The amendment frames guns from the point of view of “a well regulated militia”. Yes, the militia plays a vital role — securing a free state. But, where guns are concerned, per the amendment, the militia must be “well regulated”. Regulated = rules. In fact, clearly, it’s the militia’s role here — among its regulations — to decide which people will get to “keep” and “bear” the arms in question. The amendment does not say “own” the arms — “own” being a perfectly good word back then. Yet the framers wrote “keep” and “bear”.

For the record, “keeping a thing” is not the same as “owning” it.

America’s gun policies all flow from a pool of racism, irrational fear and bullshit. The whole point is to arm as many white people as possible. To make this insane idea sound less insane, gun culture invented the idea of “the responsible gun owner”. White people therefore weren’t arming themselves to the teeth because they’re hopelessly racist, they were doing it because they were “incredibly responsible”!

Do you suppose it occurred to Nancy Lanza as her son Adam was drawing on her what a good and responsible gun owner she was? I don’t think so either.

Now We Will Get To See: It Was NEVER Just Donald Trump Betraying America; It ALWAYS Was The Entire Republican Party

People around the globe felt the dark cloud lifting from America yesterday as Donald Trump returned to his Florida swamp and Joe & Kamal were sworn in. Ding dong, the witch is dead! Hit the road, Jack — don’t ya come back no more, no more! People are still talking today about how good yesterday felt. I bet we’ll still be talking about it tomorrow. Donald Trump was the equivalent of America getting cancer — nearly dying from it — but surviving, if just. But, the thing is, cancers like Trumpism are rare. They may infect parts of a body politic like ours, but killing the patient entirely? That suggests our body politic had other co-morbidities undermining our health at the same time.

Republicanitis, you could call it. Our Republicans are all infected and they came shockingly close to killing us with it.

In their defense, most Republicans tried to protect themselves from Trump at first. They supported other candidates in 2016. Yet, one by one even the other Republican candidates all succumbed — Ted Cruz (whose wife Trump called ugly and whose dad he accused of conspiring to assassinate JFK)… Marco Rubio (who honestly HE could win the nomination — HA!)… Even Mitt Romney who was just a Republican eminent gris

Want to know what it looks like when your soul flees your body, its hair on fire? Look at Mitt Romney’s eyes. You can practically hear the sound of Mitt’s soul: “Feets, don’t fail me now!” Mitt, to his credit, was the only Republican Senator to vote FOR convicting Trump during his first impeachment trial. That’s worth a lot. But so is the fact that Mitch still keeps plenty of Republican secrets. Mitch doesn’t have to KNOW for a fact that his fellow travelers are corrupt, seditionist traitors, but if he so much as suspects it, he’s obligated by the law — OBLIGATED — to say something to someone who might could stop it.

Strangely, Moscow Mitch McTreasonTurtle decided to zip it up good and tight.

Some time just as the Reagan years were ending, the Big Republican money (the Koch Brothers, the Mercers, etc) came to a stark realization: their day in the sun was done. In a generation or so, white, Christian males would be a minority in America and, they feared, likely to lose the political power they’d held onto since the republic’s founding. It never occurred to them that they might share political power with the growing, diversifying majority of Americans. Maybe they doubted they could learn. Instead, America’s right wing declared war on the rest of us.

Newt Gingrich himself said as much out loud. During the Clinton years, the Republicans committed themselves to NOT working the Democrats, to doing everything they could to deny the majority its voice and engineer a state of permanent minority rule. To do this, they first went after the judiciary. After Reagan, the Republicans have lost pretty much every single popular vote. If not for the Electoral College’s weighting our presidential elections toward slavery’s vote, Republicans would never win another presidential contest. Imagine presidential campaigns that didn’t focus on states like Ohio or Florida because there’d be no point. Every Floridian’s vote has the same weight as a Californian’s vote.

The reason Republicans can’t bear the thought of losing the EC is because the Republican Party (ironically) NEEDS slavery’s vote in order to stay relevant.

Without extraordinary measures, the GOP muckety-mucks realized, a Republican winning the presidency had become unlikely bordering on impossible. That left the Congress and the judiciary. The House is too tricky to try and control. Everyone has to run every two years. The Senate is easier to control and maintain. Like the EC, the Senate is weighted toward real estate rather than people. California with its almost 40 million people (39.78 million to be exact) gets the same number of US Senators as North Dakota which (hooray for them) just broke 800,000. See how much political power that gives each North Dakotan relative to each Californian? Hey, ever wonder WHY there are TWO Dakotas? It wasn’t because one Dakota wasn’t enough to contain all the Dakotans.

Republicans have been gaming our system for years. It’s WHY DC is not yet a state. Ditto Puerto Rico. And Republicans have been suppressing Democratic voters (especially the Black and brown ones) pretty much forever. You’d think Republicans have NEVER had faith in what they were selling and ALWAYS had to resort to cheating in order to win elections.

Democrats taking the Senate this election was a shocker to Republicans. Mitch has been playing forever with the electronic voting machines padding his numbers. There’s simply no other reasonable way to explain how Mitch McConnell keeps winning elections by a ton in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans and where Mitch is only slightly more popular than herpes.

Mitch knows how to steal elections. He knows how to run the Senate to his corrupt advantage. When his right wing money task masters decided the only way forward was to hijack the judiciary and fill as many lifetime posts as possible with young, delusional, conservative minds, the loopier the better, they turned to Mitch and said “Do it”. And damned if the Treason Turtle didn’t say “Yes, sirs!”.

While a handful of Republicans — Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney again — have forcefully condemned what the rest of their co-religionists have done, the overwhelming majority of Republicans haven’t. The Ted Cruz’s, the Josh Hawley’s, the Devin Nunes’, the Jim Jordan’s and the Matt Gaetz’s are all in for the long haul. They’re riding the crazy train all the way off the cliff and all the way down onto the rocks below.

I suggest “I Alone Can Fix It” for Donald Trump’s tombstone. Unfortunately, Trump has no sense of humor so the irony will be wasted on him. The biggest punch in the line is how staggeringly untrue it is. “I alone can fix it” isn’t true of anyone, least of all Trump. That includes how Trump “fixed” America.

Trump alone did not do this to us. He had plenty of help. Granted, plenty has a Russian accent. But the “R” next to MOST OF the names on the list of Trump’s co-conspirators stands for “Republican”.

Dear American News Media: Why Do You Always Mark Republicans On A Curve?

Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign took a hit when she was cornered into showing receipts for how she would pay for getting every American health CARE. The grinding irony — this is never a question Republican candidates ever have to grapple with. How we’re gonna pay for the next Republican tax cut is always obvious — it’s coming from what’s left of the Middle Class’s hide. It’s coming from the poorest of the poor.

Maybe I’ve answered my own question already. Why doesn’t America’s news media ever hold Republican candidates (or working politicians) to the same standards of proof as they do Democratic candidates? Perhaps it’s because our MSM knows going in that Republicans never have receipts. They want everyone to take what they say as gospel truth.

For instance — that America is a “center-right country”. Perhaps the people who’ve shown up at the polls until recently (around 55% of the total electorate in 2016) leaned center-right. Historically, older people vote in larger numbers than younger people (which is a terrible reflection on us — they should be motivated to maintain our Democracy, not made deeply cynical about it!) But there’s a reason why Republicans — historically — do everything they can to suppress as much of the vote as they can: they know that when more Americans vote, they vote for Democrats.

Beto O’Rourke’s near success in taking Ted Cruz’s senate seat was an object lesson in 1) how to beat Republicans in seemingly impossible places and 2) when you get more Americans out to vote, number 1) becomes a lot more possible. That’s because America (when it actually votes) is a center-left country. Beto didn’t go after the red necks and rich shitheads who always show up to vote, he went after those who don’t normally show up (in large part because they’ve felt disenfranchised — which they were). And they were disenfranchised with purpose — to wipe out their vote — to make their NOT showing up to vote as reliable as RWers showing up. Then — the icing — we told ourselves that THIS was written in stone: just how it is.

The American public has been bamboozled by bullshit.

What conservatives and right wingers are good at is “marketing” (aka “stoking fear” — “Be Afraid” is very much the Republican Brand). They’re good at selling messages: “Americans love their health insurance” (no — they love the doctors they love & going through the insurance company is the only way to get those doctors — not the same thing). “Mission Accomplished” (no, it wasn’t — not by a long shot).

Do Republicans ever have to pay for their bullshit — or even explain it? Have you watched any of the last three years? Donald Trump has gotten away with “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” and having his head so far up Vladimir Putin’s ass he could be Putin’s uvula. And yet — when the White House press corps gets their shot at Trump (and they get LOTS of shots), do they EVER challenge him on the obvious treachery?

No — they don’t. In fact, when they then talk to the hosts in the studio, they act as if treason, too, is just how it is now. They look at poll numbers — wondering if maybe a misinformed, disinformed & propagandized American public doesn’t care about “maintaining their Republic” anymore. Talk about shitty framing!

Our news media ask if Democrats are over-stepping — wanting to maintain The Rule Of Law and the Constitution. That’s because the news media insists that the Democrats standing up for The Rule Of Law and the Constitution is just “politics”. No. No, it isn’t. And that’s the news media’s problem. “Both Sides Do It” journalism insists on seeing everything as political. They insist that politics motivates everything.

Nothing could be further from the truth of course. Hey, look — I answered my own question again. The news media marks Republicans on a curve because they’ve bought the Republican lie — that just because Republicans do everything for calculated political reasons, the Democrats must be doing it for the same reasons too. The news media isn’t marking Republicans on a curve — they’re dropping Democrats two grades just for sitting down to take the test.

Then acting like everyone’s being graded the same.

Our Retail Politics Are Killing Democracy

In theory anyway, Democracy’s simple:  In self-government, the majority of the people get to call the shots.  It’s understood that the majority is made up of a multiplicity of views because it includes so much of the citizenry.

“What do the citizens want?”  That’s the first question.  But it needs to be accompanied by ‘But, what do the citizens KNOW — do they understand what they want in its proper context?’  A citizenry yearning for Unicorns and Jetpacks for all might be a little too hopeful for their own good.  We count on our elected representatives — we expect their perspective to be better than ours,  In order to do their jobs representing us, they simply need to know more of the nuts and bolts details about how we run things.

Can we assume they went into that line of work because they liked it — and thought themselves good at it?

Some people go into politics for genuinely altruistic reasons.  Yeah, sure — everyone wants to ‘make things better’.  The question’s always ‘for whom?’  Guys like Beto O’Rourke — you can hear it in their voices and see it in the way they practice politics: He’s in it because he actually cares — about people, about the commonweal — about the whole notion of what ‘America’ is supposed to be.

Ironically, Beto’s opponent Ted Cruz is the cynical opposite.  Ted thinks he’s smarter than the rest of us — and knows better.  He doesn’t know better what WE need — but he knows damned well what HE needs — and what those giving him money need.  Ted Cruz is ‘clearer’ than an Upper Thetan Scientologist on that.

American Retail Politics isn’t about doing what’s best for anyone.  It isn’t about believing in anything other than getting more votes (however you need to accomplish that end).  It is, by its nature, an exercise in anti-democratic cynicism.  And yet — every two years (on a national level), we demonstrate to the world how little we value actual Democracy and how much we value money.

Our media loves the horse race.  They ADORE it.  They see it through the most narrow Horse Race-y lens.  A zero-sum game where one group of Americans wins while another loses.  Then they wonder — after crowing about winners and losers — whey Americans are perpetually at each others’ throats.  Elections don’t take place in vacuums.  This one certainly isn’t.

Yet the News Media wants to tell THIS story as if it’s happening in a world where the President of the United States — and his political party — aren’t TRAITORS.  When indictments drop — whenever they drop — the News Media will act as if the crime started to be committed AT THAT MOMENT.

No — all the time the News Media behaved as if this was Normal World, a CRIME was being committed — right in front of them.  They even asked some of the perps questions — and got lied to.  The TRUTH didn’t matter, the ‘correct answer’ did.

It’s the ‘correct answer’ that drives Retail Politics.  It ain’t about what anyone believes.  It’s about the getting and keeping of power.

That’s NOT how Democracy works.

We are living inside PROOF that THIS — what we’re living in — is how Democracy dies.