"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“The Cries Of Tyranny”: Hey, NRA And Republican Stoolies: Obama’s Not The Tyrant Here

On Tuesday, after three years of trying to convince recalcitrant Republican legislators frozen in perpetual genuflection before arms dealers to pass responsible gun-safety legislation, President Obama did the next best thing. He offered a well-thought-out, well-vetted series of executive orders to expand background checks on gun sales, clarifying who is “in the business” of selling firearms.

Additionally, these measures aim to expand research on smart-gun technology, require reporting of guns lost in transit between manufacturer and dealer, facilitate the hiring of more FBI agents to process background checks, and improve the NICS background-check system.

You know, some real Pinochet-level, authoritarian shit.

Or at least you’d think that from the reactions of Republican stoolies running for president and American Politburo members cowering in fear that the 99 percent reelection rate of their ilk might somehow forget to include them. In other words, those craving easy National Rifle Association campaign checks like a quick fix behind the Capitol and/or future shovel-ready NRA jobs and/or speaking fees for past sucking up.

Their reaction—in a degeneration of Cesare Beccaria’s theory on crime and punishment—was swift, severe…and stupefied. Sure, it’s no surprise to anyone paying even the scantest attention to politics. Even impartial and conservative observers have wondered whether this once great party can continue to operate when its leaders seem to have mass-shotgunned The Blood of Kali. But coming from these poor (mostly) white souls, the cries of tyranny when the president is doing something 90 percent of Americans (and 85 percent of gun owners) support are rich indeed.

For if you’re looking for real tyranny, look no further than the NRA. Recent weeks have made clear that as it becomes more embattled—i.e., loses—it is moving past mangled euphemisms and apocalyptic prediction to straight-up threatening and encouraging violence against opponents. Sedition, domestic terrorism, call it what you will, but a group that already was about as cuddly as the characters on Fury Road has now shifted into first. For example:

Just four days before the fifth anniversary of the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the NRA targeted a pair of Brooklyn lawmakers Monday with a menacing image of bullets next to photos of the two gun control advocates.

America’s 1st Freedom, an NRA publication, tweeted the image of state Sen. Roxanne Persaud and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, both Democrats, weeks after they announced legislation aimed at controlling the sale of ammunition.

The two lawmakers and other local supporters—including Mayor de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams—condemned what came across as a veiled threat.

Cute, right? In case you are feeling charitable, thinking those 1st Freedomers didn’t mean any harm, the NRA promoted another article—decorated with a picture of nooses—suggesting “radical” Democrats will be hanged after they start a civil war over gun rights.

I know, maybe NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre just drank a bit too much cough syrup the night before. But then why, after some faculty at Bowling Green State University chose to exercise their actual first freedom by petitioning their state representative to oppose a loony open-carry bill, did an NRA affiliate in Ohio choose to do this:

Recently, the Buckeye Firearms Association went a step further and blasted criticism at Bowling Green State University faculty members who had written to State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, asking him to not support legislation allowing concealed carry of firearms on Ohio college campuses. House Bill 48, which has since passed the House, allows hidden loaded weapons to be carried on college campuses, school safety zones, day care facilities, public areas of airport terminals, police stations, and certain government facilities…

The Buckeye Firearms Association went on to publish the names and email addresses of BGSU faculty who contacted Brown with their comments, plus a photograph of [geology professor James] Evans, who had used his private email to send his comments. The result, at least for Evans, was a rush of emails to him from the association’s members, with wording that he characterized as threatening.

Let’s not even bother with NRA board member Ted Nugent’s public threats against the president of the United States, after which the Secret Service felt it necessary to pay him a visit. And notice we haven’t even touched upon the Fabulous Bundy Boys, who’ve chosen to go through their midlife crisis not by buying a Porsche or going to a strip club but holing up in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon waving guns and crying government tyranny.

Obama has done what any human president would do, upon watching the slaughter of his country’s civilians in the real world, while Y’all Qaeda and Yokel Haram stockpile guns for the coming episode of The Running Man because they’ve run low on Olanzapine. These are background checks, plain and simple, and they still won’t go as far as needed without Congress.

Tyranny would be letting terrorists, criminals, cowardly domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill continue murdering and maiming scores of people every day because the most puerile, thick-skulled 10 percent of our society can’t understand statistics and fear the monsters on Maple Street.


By: Cliff Schecter, The Daily Beast, January 6, 2016

January 7, 2016 Posted by | Gun Violence, National Rifle Association, Tyranny | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“If I Only Had A Gun…”: It’s Clear To Me Now, Jewish Civilians With Revolvers And Hunting Rifles Would Have Made All The Difference

Of course. It makes perfect sense. Why couldn’t I see it before?

There could never have been a Holocaust had the Jews been armed. Granted, the Nazis swept aside the armies of Poland and France like dandruff, and it took six years for Great Britain — later joined by Russia and the United States — to grind them down. But surely Jewish civilians with revolvers and hunting rifles would have made all the difference.

Much as I’d love to take credit for that insight, I can’t. No, it comes from presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson in a recent interview with CNN. “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson said.

This has become a recurrent theme on the political right, the idea that unarmed victims of violence are to blame for their own troubles. And not just in the Holocaust. Rush Limbaugh said two years ago that if African Americans had been armed, they wouldn’t have needed a Civil Rights Movement. The founder of so-called “Gun Appreciation Day” said, also two years ago, that had the Africans been armed, there could have been no slavery.

There’s more. When nine people recently died at a mass shooting in Oregon, Ted Nugent declared that any unarmed person thus killed is a spineless “loser.” Carson seems to agree. “I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” he said. Or, as Clint Eastwood says in Unforgiven when Gene Hackman complains that he just shot an unarmed man: “Well, he should’ve armed himself…”

It’s so clear to me now. Guns don’t take lives, they save them. Guns make everything better. Carson is a surgeon, not an optometrist, but golly gosh, he’s sure opened my eyes.

As a friend recently observed, what if Trayvon Martin had had a gun? Then he could have killed the “creepy-ass cracker” who was stalking him. Surely, the court would have afforded him the same benefit of the doubt they gave George Zimmerman, right?

And what if the men on Titanic had been armed? That tragedy might have had a happier ending:

Iceberg dead ahead!

No time to port around it. Get your guns, men! We’re making ice cubes out of this sucker!

Jack, is that a Colt in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

It’s a Colt, woman. Now, stand aside.

Hey, what if Jesus had been armed?

“Thou wisheth to nail me to what? I think not. Come on, punks. Maketh my day!”

The possibilities are endless. So I’ve taken the liberty of composing a new campaign song for Carson, to the tune of “If I Only Had a Heart” from The Wizard of Oz:

When a man’s an empty holster, no courage does he bolster
No confidence is won
What a difference he’d be makin’, he could finally stop his quakin’
If he only had a gun

He could stand a little straighter with that ultimate persuader
And wouldn’t that be fun?
He could put an end to static with a semiautomatic
If he only had a gun

Can’t you see, how it would be?
Woe would avoid his door
The crazy guy would pass him by
Or else he’d shoot — and shoot some more

Oh, the shootin’ he’d be doin’, and all the ballyhooin’
The way the folks would run
His life would be so merry in a world of open carry
If he only had a gun

If you think Carson might like the song, I would not mind at all if you shared it with him:

What’s that? You think I’ve lost my mind? You’re calling me crazy? Boy, that makes me so mad I can hardly control myself!

If I only had a gun…


By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, October 19, 2015

October 20, 2015 Posted by | Ben Carson, Civil Rights Movement, Gun Violence, Holocaust | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“NRA Mad House Of Mirrors”: The Scandalous Dirty Laundry That Will Not Get Hung Out To Air


We live in a post 9/11 society that has harnessed an ability to employ every technological means along with unleashing legal restraints to fortify unparalleled security measures in our war for safety. Several wars and presidents later, and now with a new incursion into Syria, the cost and sacrifice for our security continues to spiral. Paranoia runs high. Police are militarized. Citizens are militarized strolling streets and store aisles “jewelried” by firearms strapped to their bodies as if in some futuristic apocalyptic movie. And then, despite all of this heightened security, some guy in daylight freely hops over the spiked White House iron gates, jogs across the lawn and enters the White House through an unlocked front door where he is finally tackled and apprehended. This is an unprecedented and historical event that has been made by the lowest form of the biggest security breach at the highest asset of our society. It is incredible and incredulous.

The media machine is chomping down on this as a secret service institutional dysfunction. There will be Congressional investigations, soul-searching, protocol reforms, sound bites, and political grandstanding, but the other equally scandalous dirty laundry part of this story will not get hung out to air. The NRA will see to it. Why was the obviously mentally unhinged perpetrator, a known-known to law enforcement, Omar J. Gonzales, 42, a two tour Iraq war veteran able to own a personal firearms arsenal, some of which he had loaded in his car parked near the White House. Luckily, he was not intent on using it on that day in that moment in that setting.

Our society is very sick but not yet sick enough of guns. Sick with a warped second amendment epidemic guided by the likes of the National Rifle Association under the leadership of Wayne Lepierre and Ted Nugent who want to hand out guns to everyone, even and especially to kids as if it was candy. This is like the old mantra of McDonald’s, “get a kid early and you have them for life.” Whereas it would be unfair to blame our gun sickness entirely on the NRA, it is this organization that stands front and center with the money, tactics, power, politicians in their pocket, and symbolism that could immediately change the destructive trajectory that our gun culture costs to human life, to our way of life, and to our desire to walk free and brave in our own play areas free from senseless slaughter. Recent F.B.I. reports confirm what many believe, there is a clear and significant rise in mass shootings in America. This despite every slickly packaged argument for more gun amusement the NRA makes behind their house of reality distorting mirrors in defense of and advocacy of more guns for everyone. America has a greater daily security threat from folks with guns than deranged terrorists abroad. In the convoluted world of NRA mirrors the lies and deception cloud over the ugly truth that our gun culture fosters the economic health of the “mourning-grieving industry.”

But rather than be a reasonable broker to balance rights with real safety, the NRA has been grossly negligent and hostile to even the slightest retreat from out of control gun promiscuity. After each high profile gun slaughter episode that causes a societal wink, nod, acknowledgement and obligatory notion that maybe now change can occur, the NRA goes into damage control mode by disappearing into silence, until the news cycle moves to the next big headline, then it emerges from their dark corridors of power and influence with some nutty pro gun candy coated taunt aimed to defuse reasonable dissent.

The latest episode that sparked this artist out of numbness and reached down into my second amendment mental abyss to pull me back into the light happened on August 25, 2014. A nine year old girl in Arizona lost control of her Uzi firearm and shot and killed her gun instructor, Charles Vacca, 39, at the Last Stop Shooting Range, also known as “Bullets and Burgers.” The little girl was learning to shoot an Uzi? When did this become part of the American gunscape? It truly was a “last stop” for the parties involved. How much more perverted can it get than changing behavior with a conditioned pairing of burgers, “kid candy,” with the danger of firing exotic, rare and powerful guns. Is this the McDonaldization of guns and is it really supposed to be amusement?

I am pleased that Mr. Vacca’s family is praying for her without contempt. But this little girl’s summer vacation became a needless life changing tragedy. Sadly and incredibly, she was of legal age in Arizona, set at eight to shoot this weapon. Mr. Vacca leaves behind a wife and four children. That makes five lives multiplied by two entire social circles devastated by this tragedy. For what? Ultimately this was ruled an”industrial accident.” Incredible! And the NRA after-the-dust-settled response, “kids just wanna have fun.” Incredulous!

There are thirty gun deaths a day in America. I ache when I consider how many lives have been lost and ruined over senseless perverted NRA interpretations to the right to keep and bear arms. I ache when I hear of little kids, mentally disturbed folks and veterans, and for each relative of perpetrators and victims that become part of the slaughter. I began to think about a mountain of shoes of the dead from gun violence and how that would compare to the scenes of shoes from victims of the Holocaust at the hands of Nazis. This reality motivated me to paint “NRA Mad House of Mirrors.” The only way out of this is to see through the NRA’s mirrors.


By: Allen Schmertzler, Political Artist Specializing in Figurative, Narrative and Caricatured Interpretations of Current Events; The Huffington Post Blog, September 26, 2014



September 29, 2014 Posted by | Gun Control, National Rifle Association, Public Safety | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Calling It What It Is”: Holder Sees Racism In Obama Opposition — He’s Right

Right-wing pundits are jumping all over Attorney General Eric Holder for daring to suggest on Sunday that “racial animus” plays a role in the “level of vehemence” that’s been directed at President Obama. They’re denouncing him for “playing the race card” and “stoking racial divisions.”

Who do they think they’re fooling?

The rhetoric is what’s hateful. Calling people out for it is not.

The racism Holder described has been obvious since the 2008 campaign, when Obama was portrayed as someone who was not a “real American” — a Muslim, a Kenyan, a communist, even a terrorist sympathizer.

Since then, an entire movement has been built around the thoroughly discredited notion that the president’s birth certificate is a fake. And that’s just the beginning.

Newt Gingrich has called Obama the “food stamp president” and referred to his “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.”

Rush Limbaugh has said Obama — and Oprah Winfrey, too, by the way — have reached the pinnacle of their professions only because they’re black. He added this week that “so-called conservative media types” praised Holder’s nomination only because he’s black.

Glenn Beck has said the president, whose mother was white, has a “deep-seated hatred for white people, or white culture.”

Conservative hero and former rock star Ted Nugent, who was invited to campaign with the GOP nominee for Texas governor, called the president a “subhuman mongrel.”

A Confederate flag was waved in front of the White House during last year’s “Million Vet March.”

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina screamed “You lie!” during the president’s address to Congress in September 2009. When has that happened to a president before?

All manner of overtly racist posters have been seen at tea party rallies, including one depicting the president as a “witch doctor.”

We’ve repeatedly seen stories about conservative politicians sharing racist jokes about Obama.

And, we’ve seen an explosive growth of radical-right groups, including armed militias, since Obama was elected, and repeated threats that violence is needed to “take our country back” from the “tyranny” of Obama. This is part of a backlash to the growing diversity in our country, as symbolized by the presence of a black man in the White House.

I grew up in rural Alabama during the Jim Crow years and lived through the civil rights movement, when white supremacists did everything they could, including committing violent atrocities, to turn back the tide of progress. And I’ve stared across the courtroom at some of America’s most vicious hatemongers — men like neo-Nazi Frazier Glenn Cross, who recently killed three people and once targeted me. I know racism when I see it.

No one, of course, is suggesting that merely disagreeing with Obama is evidence of racism. That’s clearly not true.

But we have a political party and a right-wing media machine that pander incessantly to the racist reactionaries in our society, often through code words. It’s been going on since Nixon implemented his “Southern strategy” of appealing to white resentment in the wake of the civil rights movement.

I wish it weren’t so. But it is simply undeniable. We should call it what it is.


By: Morris Dees, Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center; The Huffington Post Blog, July 17, 2014

July 18, 2014 Posted by | Eric Holder, Racism, Right Wing | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Texas Strikes Again”: Whatever Happens In Texas Has A Way Of Coming Back And Biting The Rest Of The Nation In The Butt

Election season in Texas! They’re voting right now in the primaries. And I know you are interested because whatever happens in Texas has a way of coming back and biting the rest of the nation.

For instance, Gov. Rick Perry is retiring and threatening to run for president. (He’s been to Israel!) So is Senator Ted Cruz. And now, in answer to the great national outcry for more candidates named George Bush, Texas Republicans appear ready to nominate George Prescott Bush for land commissioner.

“My friends and family call me George P, so feel free to call me P,” the 37-year-old energy consultant and son of Jeb told CNN. This was one of his more expansive interviews during a campaign that has mainly involved driving around the state in a bus while keeping as far away from reporters as humanly possible. P’s genius for avoiding the media is so profound that, in a primal moan of despair, The Austin American-Statesman endorsed his primary opponent, a businessman who advocates barring children of illegal immigrants from public schools.

Texans really love elections. Well, not the voting part — turnout is generally abysmal. But they have a ton of elective offices — land commissioner, agriculture commissioner, state school board. (There are a couple of conservative-versus-crazy Republican school board primaries, and the results may influence a pending war over requiring social studies students to learn how Moses impacted the founding fathers.)

Also, it’s really easy to get on the ballot. There are 12 Republicans running to replace Representative Steve Stockman, who is in a field of seven Republicans running against Senator John Cornyn. You may remember that Stockman is the one whose campaign office was condemned by the fire marshal. We suspect Cornyn will survive. In an editorial endorsing the incumbent, The Dallas Morning News wearily listed the other alternatives, including a businessman who “told this editorial board that ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight anyone illegally crossing the border on to their land, referred to such people as ‘wetbacks,’ and called the president a ‘socialist son of a bitch.’ ”

Well, it’s not boring. And on the positive front, experts in Texas say there’s absolutely no chance that the guy who legally changed his name to SECEDE is going to win a nomination for governor.

The primary voting culminates on March 4, after which there will be run-offs in May for the races in which no candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote. Conventional wisdom holds that by March 5 the world will know that the race to succeed Rick Perry will pit Democrat Wendy Davis against Republican Greg Abbott.

Abbott, the current attorney general, recently made national headlines when he appeared at a rally with Ted Nugent, the right-wing rocker who once referred to President Obama as a “subhuman mongrel.” Nugent, whose last hit record is older than Beyoncé, has recreated himself as a celebrity ranter. Mostly, he rants about gun rights, which is as difficult in Texas as taking a strong stand in favor of oxygen. But his vow to be either “dead or in jail” if Obama was re-elected earned him a visit from the Secret Service. One of his more printable references to Hillary Clinton was “two-bit whore for Fidel Castro.”

Abbott told The Houston Chronicle that he was unaware of what Nugent “may have said or done in his background.” Since Nugent is as impossible to ignore in Texas politics as the heat, this may have been a fib. Otherwise, Abbott is an attorney general with an astonishing lack of interest in the world around him.

What we are seeing here is a microcosm of the national political scene. Texas Republicans are terrified of two things — the angry white, mostly male Republican far right and the state’s huge population of young Hispanics. Nugent is a sop to the first. George P. Bush, whose mother is Mexican-American, is a Hail Mary pass thrown in the general direction of the second.

Although Texans as a group are not particularly crazy when it comes to the immigration issue, the Tea Party folk have been pushing it hard. Dan Patrick, a state senator who’s currently one of the leading candidates for lieutenant governor, has been campaigning against the “illegal invasion,” which he once claimed was threatening Texas with “Third World diseases” like “tuberculosis, malaria, polio and leprosy.” (Patrick, an equal opportunity offender, also once boycotted the opening prayer in the Senate because it was being delivered by a Texas cleric who happened to be a Muslim.)

Immigrant-bashing is a shortcut to a runoff in a Republican primary. Meanwhile, it’s a continuing offense to the voter base of the 2020s. What do you do?

P! We have seen the future, and it’s running for land commissioner.


By: Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, February 21, 2014

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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