Nel's New Day

April 26, 2019

DDT: Week 118 – Dementia from Stress?

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:18 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Many people think the wandering speeches and tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) are used to provide diversion for the many lawsuits and investigations in all facets of his life. Yet his mental problems seem to be growing. His demented paranoia was on full display when Sean Hannity allowed him to host the Fox show last night—raving about the “coup” of the Mueller report to “overthrow the United States government,” the corrupt “top people” at the FBI, and the ways that Hillary Clinton “destroyed the lives” of people on DDT’s campaign. He proved himself an authoritarian, a dictator, operating outside the law, the Constitution, and the government. “I could have fired everybody. I could have fired Mueller. I could have fired anybody that I wanted to fire,” DDT said. He may even believe that about elected members of Congress.

Wednesday he gave a 40-minute speech at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit that meandered into praise about dogs as one of two acceptable pets, Melania Trump’s dress on the day he announced his campaign, the “rigged system,” and his traditional diatribe about immigration.

This last week, Mexico described the actions it was taking in its commitment to immigration control of the border; the next day DDT said, despite no communication with the Mexican government, he was closing the southern border if they don’t do more. He also threatened to send “ARMED soldiers” to the border—despite his already sending soldiers there. The Pentagon resolved the situation in which Mexican soldiers stopped ICE agents and U.S. soldiers south of the border fence—that the Mexicans thought they were on Mexico land—but DDT won’t accept the decision. Attacks on Mexican soldiers would violate the Posse Comitatus law and be an act of war which only Congress can declare. DDT also told reporters that only he is in charge of immigration after asked if the neo-Nazi White House aide Stephen Miller would be the new DHS director.

For over two years, DDT has been desperate for a state visit to Britain despite disapproval from over 70 percent of the country’s population. This week he got his wish for an invite in June—the day before he retweeted the same type of message that lost him an earlier visit accusing “United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” The conspiracy theory came from DDT watching an interview with Larry Johnson on One America News Network, more extremely right-wing than the Fox network. DDT’s tweet caused George Conway, husband of White House official Kellyanne Conway, to use his hashtag #DerangedDonald” in response to DDT’s conspiracy theory.

DDT insisted that people always obey his orders at the White House Easter Roll, the same time that he explained to small children that he got more funding for the military, the economy is good, and DACA is bad. Yet people are fully aware that he was rescued from stronger cases of obstruction of justice because his officials refused his commands to kill Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, attack the Mueller probe, and other times his officials ignored DDT.

In a “secret” meeting with Twitter CEO, DDT protested the loss of Twitter buddies after the company shut down over 5,000 accounts connected to bots denouncing Robert Mueller’s investigation and lauding Saudi Arabia. Targeted to the U.S. audience, the fake accounts focused on hashtags such as #RussiaGate used by Sean Hannity and other far-right DDT supporters. DDT wants more followers because he has less than 60 percent of President Obama’s 100 million. Before the meeting, DDT tweeted an accusation that Twitter was playing “political games” with his follower count and called for congressional intervention against the company. DDT is fortunate that Twitter doesn’t ban white supremacist content the way it does most ISIS propaganda. Twitter cannot control this content because some of it comes from GOP politicians.

On Easter morning, DDT tweeted about the people killed in the Sri Lanka bombings and referred to the terrorist attacks “that have killed at least 138 million people.” That number is almost ten times the entire population of Sri Lanka and far more than the 207 people killed in the disaster.

In just 90 minutes last Tuesday, he tweeted at least eight angry insults at Nobel-prize winning Paul Krugman, New York Times, Democrats, CNN, Joe Scarborough, tariffs on Harley-Davidson, and Twitter itself. The night before, he retweeted 24 items from 15 people in 30 minutes.

DDT ordered his officials to boycott the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, scheduled for April 27. He is the first president to command officials to not attend the dinner and the first person to not attend since his inauguration except for Ronald Reagan who missed the event in 1981 while he recovered from an assassination attempt. DDT will be rallying his troops in Green Bay (WI) during the dinner. After DDT was upset about Michelle Wolff’s comedy last year, the press organization decided to use biographer Ron Chernow for a blander featured speaker in an effort to pander to DDT.

 (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)

DDT has a lot to upset him:

Deutsche Bank is sending its financial records about loans made to DDT and his business to New York state’s attorney general. That probe started after DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen testified that DDT inflated his assets and gave copies of financial states provided to Deutsche Bank.

DDT’s best friends Kim Jong-Un and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin are meeting in Russia without DDT at a time when the North Korean president has cooled off on DDT. (They look happy together.) Another accusation against DDT comes from a $2 million bill that the U.S. received for the healthcare of Otto Warmbier, the captive who died soon after his release, who was unconscious for 15 of the 17 months of his imprisonment. Warmbier’s father said that the charge might be a ransom.

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees is investigating DDT’s purge of the DHS to determine if DDT’s neo-Nazi aide Stephen Miller orchestrated it. Former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen offended Miller and DDT by pointing out legal barriers to the continuing family separation plan. House Democrats are asked acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan to give them communications about the officials’ departures and with Miller. DDT has already told Miller not to testify before a House hearing.

The news about the White House blocking former DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen from organizing cabinet secretaries for a strategy combating election interference in 2020 hit the headlines this week. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told her not to talk about the situation around DDT because it makes him feel bad although he denied doing so later. John Bolton’s reorganization of the National Security Council dropped the position of U.S. cyber-security czar.

Recently de-classified documents show that 32 years ago Australia turned down DDT’s bid to build a casino there because of his connections to “organized crime,” according to recently de-classified papers. The bid was also rejected for being “not financially viable.”

A federal court invalidated unconstitutionally partisan districts in Michigan and gave the legislature until August 1 to redraw the maps that must be used in the 2020 election.

A federal judge, who said that “lies went on for months,” told Flint (MI) residents they can sue the EPA for waiting too long to do something about the city’s water crisis.

A federal judge ruled DDT’s Interior Department acted illegally in trying to life a coal mining moratorium on public lands. Former Secretary Ryan Zinke failed to provide adequate environmental effects of mining in 2017. Within the coming months, the judge will issue another legal decision about reinstating the mining ban. The judge’s decision followed other rulings giving the EPA 90 days to decide whether to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to brain damage and overturning DDT’s executive order to life oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast.

DDT continues to babble about “no collusion” and “no obstruction,” but Congress doesn’t need crimes and demeanors to impeach him. He pretends he is innocent because Robert Mueller did not indict him, but the report states that he was not indicted only because of current DOJ guidelines for not indicting presidents.

DDT bragged about his 3.2 percent growth in GDP for the first quarter of 2019, he ignored February’s addition to the national debt of $234 million, the largest one-month deficit in history.

Joe Biden’s candidacy announcement featuring the neo-Nazi protest at Charlottesville (VA) in 2017 caused DDT to again defend white supremacists by claiming that they were just Civil War enthusiasts who “felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general.” Lee was indicted for treason after he led a war against the United States. DDT did defend the white supremacists although he denied doing so. Biden didn’t get a lot of points from Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer who was killed by a neo-Nazi at the protest; he didn’t bother to tell Bro that he was using her daughter in his launch video. Bro said, “I don’t think we’ve seen him in town. It was just sort of a feeling of, ‘Well, here we go again.’”

[Note: Those who wish to read more about the news above and/or factcheck the material may wish to use the links.]

April 25, 2019

Biden: The Nation Deserves Better

Filed under: Presidential candidates — trp2011 @ 9:30 PM
Tags:

Two more white men—one young, one old—joined the tribe of Democratic presidential candidates this week to make the total 20 for 2020. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), an anti-Nancy Pelosi candidate like his colleague Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), came into the wannabes just before former VP Joe Biden, involved in politics for almost 50 years, declared that he is the one to unify a divided nation.

Of the pack, Biden is the closest to being a Republican, not only because he “likes” them—even helping on get elected last fall—but also because of his GOP positions. Three weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, Biden got $200,000 for a speech in Michigan given in the name of GOP House candidate Fred Upton and called him “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.” The vulnerable GOP candidate won. In the 115th Congress, Upton’s votes matched the positions of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) 94.7 percent of the time. This year, Upton opposed net neutrality and supported the U.S. involvement with Saudi Arabia in the Yemen War.

Biden’s first planned fundraiser is with David Cohen, executive VP and main lobbyist for Comcast, who opposes net neutrality and broadband privacy protections. According to Biden, some of his major donors are “major Republican folks.”

In his love for Republicans, Biden called VP Mike Pence a “decent guy.” Criticized about his praise for the man who wants to take rights away from LGBTQ people, Biden did agree that “there is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the Vice President.” Yet Biden ignored Pence’s opposition to women’s rights and work to make the United States a Christian theocracy.  Cynthia Nixon wrote:

“The fact that Pence does vile, hateful things while well-coiffed and calm doesn’t make him decent; it makes him insidious and dangerous. Respecting each other’s rights and humanity is what makes us civilized — not keeping a civil tone while doing the opposite.

“It’s easy to say nice things about Pence when you’re not personally threatened by his agenda. If Biden were being directly attacked in the same way that our community is, I think he would see Pence from a very different vantage point.

“When politicians of a certain age reminisce about the “civility” that used to define Washington, it’s telling that the old guard conveniently forgets that this decorum has never been extended to all.”

During Biden’s two terms as vice-president, he benefited from GOP decorum as President Obama was given racist disrespect, going so far as incessantly refuting his citizenship. Minorities and women still suffer from Biden’s decision to be collegial with his GOP colleagues and Clarence Thomas in the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Thomas while attacking witness Anita Hill. Thanks to Biden, then chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thomas kept his dignity and achieved the prize while Anita Hill’s humanity was stripped and no other women were allowed to testify about Thomas’ sexual misconduct. Biden’s determination to silence women and avoid the truth has saddled the nation with one of the worst Supreme Court justices for decades until Biden’s GOP friends confirmed two DDT appointees.

Considering a run for president, Biden said a few months ago about the Thomas hearings, “I wish I could have done something.” He could have; he just didn’t. A few weeks ago, Biden called Anita Hill to express “his regret for what she endured.” Not really an apology and certainly not contrition for his part in the fiasco. Biden promoted Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall, one of the finest justices in modern history, and Thomas is still sitting on the court driving human rights into the ground after 30 years while building up his personal fortune and helping his wife in her far-right activism.

Biden consistently voted against women’s reproductive rights from his anti-abortion vote with Republicans in 1981 to banning federal funding for international nonprofit groups providing abortion counseling or referrals in 2005. He cited his Catholicism as a reason in his vote for Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) 2003 abortion ban with no exception for the woman’s health.

Another Biden “woman problem” is the controversy about his uninvited touching and kissing women. Seven women have spoken out against him. The defense of just being a nice man trying to comfort women doesn’t work for those who feel that his behavior intrudes on their personal space. [Right: Biden on the 2012 campaign trail in Seaman, Ohio – AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster] People who claim that women should be strong enough to object fail to understand that Biden wields power over female politicians and other women afraid of losing their positions. When several women finally complained, Biden said that he understood his behavior might have made some women uncomfortable. Yet he proved that he doesn’t “get it” after joking about touching people during a speech. After the speech, he claimed that he had never been “disrespectful intentionally” to people and also said:

“I’m not sorry for any of my intentions. I’m not sorry for anything I have ever done.”

Biden’s harsh anti-drug legislation in the 1980s was followed by “tough-on-crime” criminal justice policies. The result was mass incarceration focused on blacks. His staffers stated that made flimsy excuses for weekly hearings about drugs and crime combined with ensuring police at every public meeting.  He did apologize for his legislation but never took leadership in overturning racist crime laws during the eight years when he was vice-president. Biden also apologized for his support the poorly named “Defense of Marriage Act” in 1996 after LGBTQ people had lost their rights for 16 years.

In 1986, Biden voted in favor of the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986, which the NRA has called “the law that saved gun rights.” Creating a legacy for the gun rights movement, the law overturned six Supreme Court rulings and other regulations by permitting dealers to sell rifles, shotguns, and ammunition through the mail and limited inspections of firearms dealers who were then allowed to sell weapons at gun shows.

Biden put young people in deeper debt by blocking student debt forgiveness. In 1978, he wrote a bill to keep students from seeking bankruptcy protections for a specific time after graduation although it would affect fewer than one percent of educational loans. Throughout time, he kept making the law more onerous, adding vocational schools to higher education and then lengthening the time for no bankruptcies. Despite a recommendation in 1997 from the National Bankruptcy and Review Commission that student loans be treated like all other private consumer debt, Biden stayed on the side of the loan industry to limit bankruptcy. In 2001, Biden pushed legislation stripping bankruptcy protections from all student loans including those from private industry, and George W. Bush’s Congress got the bill through in 2005.

To defend his punitive legislation, Biden called borrowers irresponsible or criminal, much like Ronald Reagan’s accusation of “welfare queens.” Biden voted against protecting mothers who failed to receive child support or alimony, voted against setting a limit of 30 percent on loan interest, and voted against special protections for bankruptcy among former military, victims of identity theft, and those with unmanageable medical debt. Elizabeth Warren’s book, The Two-Income Trap, criticizes Biden’s role in stripping out consumer protections for families and single mothers.

Delaware, Biden’s home state, is comparable to the Cayman Islands in providing tax havens for Fortune 500 companies, and one of its sheltered corporations, lending firm MBNA, was Biden’s top donor from 1989 to 2010. In 1996, Biden made a tidy profit by selling his home to MBNA executive John Cochran and continued to pride himself on his “business-friendly” legislative and deregulatory efforts during the decade. Biden’s relationship with MBNA made money for his son Hunter, who kept getting paid as a “consultant” while Biden supported legislation that benefited the credit card despite opposition by consumer groups. Biden likes the wealthy. Last year, he said, “I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble.” He has no solutions for income inequality.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 that led to the 2008 recession, and Biden was part of the crew that gave this law to Wall Street. Through the overturn of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall legislation separating investment banking from commercial banking, institutions could legally gamble with people’s money. By late 2016 Biden admitted it was the “worst vote” he had cast, but again failed to address the consequences during his time as vice-president.

Another Biden “success” was the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. As chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, his hearings were sham—experts opposing the invasion were shut up while all the war hawks took the spotlight. In summer 2002, Biden declared that the U.S. was going to war and then sold the invasion to colleagues and the public. Biden’s support for Nouri al-Maliki as Iraq’s prime minister exacerbated the disaster of the invasion. During his time in power, $500 billion disappeared from the government, the country’s security forces deteriorated, and ISIS developed greater power.

As a senator from Delaware, Biden led the fight in the 1970s against integrating schools through “busing” by playing down racism and demanding a limited government role in integration. He said about slavery:

“I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”

Siding with conservatives on the issue, Biden received praise, such as Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) welcoming him “to the ranks of the enlightened.” Biden called the integration plans “just quota systems.” Biden refuses to be interviewed about the issue, but his spokesman said that Biden still thinks he was right. Sen. Edward Brooke (R-MA), the chamber’s only black, called one of Biden’s amendments “the greatest symbolic defeat for civil rights since 1964.” Later, Biden extolled the virtues for and common cause with his friend Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-) in his 2003 eulogy for the virulent racist.

After considering a run for president at least six times beginning in 1980, this campaign makes Biden’s third presidential candidacy. In 1988, Biden, then 45 years old, dropped out after a plagiarism controversy. Twenty years later, his departure came after winning only one percent in the Iowa caucuses—fifth place. If elected in 2020, Biden would be 78 years old on his inauguration day. That eliminates a second term unless voters want an 86-year-old president.

Biden is part of the past: presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was five years old when Biden first ran for president. His announcement, a video, mentioned nothing about today’s problems such as jobs, health care, or education. His opening shows only a campaign against DDT without any goals that elected Democrats in 2018.

“I’ve got the most progressive record of anyone running,” Biden said in March. Young people, women, and minorities—all important Democratic constituencies—might differ with his statement. Democrats deserve a candidate who will do more than run against DDT. Unity is one thing; sellout is entirely different.

October 24, 2015

Dem Pool Shrinks by Half; Bush in Trouble

The presidential candidate pool of 2016 is more shallow now after the loss of a few men running from both parties. The one causing the most excitement was a man who never declared his candidacy but kept people dangling from hints that he might. I always felt that Vice-president Joe Biden wasn’t going to be a candidate. By the time he got initiated, he would be 74 years old—definitely a one-term president and a lame duck from the get-go. Pushed by supporters and waiting for Hillary Clinton to be a disaster on the Democratic side, he kept making presidential statements, such as lambasting Clinton for declaring the GOP as her enemy.

Biden came away from the Democratic debate preaching bipartisanship with the party of Donald Trump and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), late of the 11-hour hearing debacle from the Benghazi select committee. President Obama went into his first term advocating a bipartisan approach with GOP members who were not as extremist as now (hard to believe!) and lost three years. GOP congressional members promised to vote for bills if the president watered them down. He did, and they didn’t. That’s why the country is stuck with the mish-mash of the Affordable Health Care Act giving money to private insurance companies instead of a successful single-payer plan. After three years in office, President Obama finally understood that the GOP is not to be trusted. Clinton understands the vicious motivation of the GOP before the final months of her campaign, and the conservative party made their position very clear by threatening to impeach Clinton on the first day of her presidency.

With many faithful followers, Biden looked like a good possibility to take over the Dem race. His poll numbers were also up, but looking like a success is easier if a person isn’t actually competing. He has a good background in some areas such as authorizing the Violence against Women Act, but Biden comes with baggage. there’s also some baggage to Joe Biden. His banking ties a representative of Delaware, the state with loose laws surrounding corporations, may have put him too close to credit-card companies before the past few years. In 1988, he dropped out of the presidential candidacy after accusations of plagiarism in a speech.

The hearings for Clarence Thomas, possibly the worst Supreme Court justice ever, may also come back to haunt Biden. He chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee when Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment and failed to call on three other witnesses who would have given the same testimony as Hill. Although Biden has evidence regret about the hearing, he has not apologized for subjecting Hill, a black woman, to public humiliation. Those hearings are over 24 years in the past, but a new movie coming out will definitely revive memories of those dark days.

Before the Thomas hearings, Biden voted against legal abortion in 1982 by supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. During the next two decades, he received mixed marks from NARAL Pro-Choice America with a 36 percent rating in 2003, 0 being total disagreement. Biden did defend women’s rights to abortions during his 2008 presidential run but always claimed that he is opposed to abortion and always supported the Hyde Amendment, claiming that people opposed to abortion shouldn’t have to pay for them. Biden accepts his Catholic faith’s position that “life begins at conception.” He also voted in favor of the Iraq War, believing that people opposed to war should still have to pay for it.

The most recent candidate to drop out of the Democratic race is Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee. This step was a given after his failure to defend a vote at the first Democratic debate, but it became pretty definite when someone overheard him talking about it in the frozen foods section of a Dave’s Marketplace on Thursday night. Chafee made his official withdrawal during a speech to the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington the next morning.

Jim Webb’s change in status from Democratic candidate to a possible third runner in the final election reduces the Democratic field by one half to three people. Less known than any other candidate unless perhaps GOP Jim Gilmore, who hasn’t qualified for any debates, Webb’s record shows a short attention span—Secretary of the Navy for Ronald Reagan for only one year and senator for only one term, both by his choice. Those watching the Democratic debate may remember him for whining about not having enough time to talk and bragging about killing a North Vietnamese soldier. He also complained about his party leaving him—probably because he’s a Southern Democrat, another term for Republican. He defends the Confederate flag and the Confederacy, opposes gun-safety legislation, and rejects the Black Lives Matter movement. A descendant of Confederate officers, he has voiced sympathy for state sovereignty leading to the Civil War and suggested that the states were justified in trying to secede.

Webb is the only Democratic candidate to appear on the Fox network where he criticized Democratic policies in an interview with Bret Baier. Webb said that the Dems is their failure to champion the working people, using people with no health care for an example. In fact, it is the GOP that tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act fifty-plus times. Twelve years ago, he wrote an op-ed that supported Swiftboating Republicans who attacked John Kerry for opposing the Vietnam War by saying that Kerry didn’t deserve his Purple Star. Webb has said that women are biologically unsuited to fight in wars and poison male cadets with their presence.

The question now is who will be the next candidate to drop out on the GOP side. At this time donors are showing disillusionment with everyone except the top runners, and Jeb Bush is not in that top three. An average of 194 recent polls puts Bush at 7.3 percent, not far above Carly Fiorina at 4.7 percent. A recent poll puts Donald Trump ahead of Bush by 59 percent to 41 percent. Only two U.S. representatives—no senators or governors—have endorsed Bush within the past two months.

Worst of all, he raised only $13.5 million during the past three months, instead of the hoped-for $25 million, and spent $11.5 million of it. He has less cash on hand than Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson, forcing Bush to reduce expenditures. Bush cut staff salaries by 40 percent, reduced staff members in Miami by one-half, and uses cheaper hotels. Money problems drove Scott Walker out of the race; Bush’s SuperPAC raised $103 million in the first six months, but the lack of money coming into the campaign does not bode well.

While Bush goes down, Marco Rubio goes up, perhaps because he has more to talk about than a brother who caused the United States great disaster while president. Rubio has similar positions to Bush, but he’s younger and more charismatic, especially since the “joy” that Bush touted in his campaign has disappeared. Bush can brag about more experience, but the GOP, who put Trump and Carson at the top of the list, seems to consider experience a liability instead of an advantage. Walker claimed to drop out of the race for “the good” of the party; the question is whether Bush will do the same.

The next few days may indicate a direction for Bush, the candidate, as Bushes descend on Houston en masse—Papa Bush, little brother George, and sons, Jeb Jr. and George P. The events include a Monday breakfast, a Tuesday evening reception, and a program later for younger donors at beer distribution company Silver Eagle.

The next GOP debate is October 28, 2015—just four days from now.

January 12, 2013

A Letter about Gun Control to Rep. Kurt Schrader

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:29 PM
Tags: , , , ,

schraderThis past week Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) cited the two usual myths of providing safety for people in the United States through gun control: (1) there are already unenforced laws on the books that would take care of the problems; and (2) “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I take particular offense at his ill-conceived statements because he is the representative from my Congressional district and purports to be a Democrat.

Here is my response to Rep. Schrader:

After Vice-President Joe Biden met with a number of groups from pro-control victims and public health officials to the NRA, he released these seven points for reform that will be presented to President Obama next Tuesday. It is to be noted that none of these are existing laws and therefore cannot be enforced.

  • Close the so-called gun show loophole. Congress passed a law in 1986 that allows people to buy firearms at any of the thousands of gun shows without licensing, background checks, waiting periods, and reporting sales to authorities. Today, 40 percent of gun sales annually across the county occur at gun shows, and by some estimates 80 percent of weapons used in crimes are bought at gun shows.
  • Require universal background checks for gun buyers.
  • Improve background check database. The second and third points are connected. Although Congress has passed various laws to bar felons, the mentally ill, and drug addicts from owning guns and instituted a federal system of background checks and a five-day waiting period, three-quarters of the states refuse to share information about felons and the mentally ill with federal authorities. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that states did not have to comply with the reporting requirement. Even after a 2007 law creating federally administered grants for states to send information to the Justice Department, only a dozen states account for most of the data six years later. Nineteen states have each submitted less than 100 mental health records to the FBI database, and another 19 states have policies allowing someone who has been found to be mentally ill in court to get a gun.
  • Limit high-capacity bullet magazines.  In 1934, when Congress passed the first federal gun-control law, they severely taxed machine guns because gangsters used these for the worst mass killings at that time. Modern semi-automatic weapons fed by high-capacity bullet clips are as deadly as machine guns.
  • Allow federal research on gun violence.
  • Remove gag orders on federal agencies that collect gun data. Like the background check hurdles, these two proposals are intertwined. Starting in 1996, the NRA lobbied Republicans in Congress to restrict key federal agencies’ ability to conduct research on gun-related violence. Not car accidents, just gun-related violence. In 2003 Congress barred the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from sharing data in its records that traced gun sales. The result is no information on what kind of weapons are used to kill most people, how many weapons are trafficked, does gang warfare use firearms, are guns used in crimes legally purchased—none of that information is available because of the 2003 law.
  • Target purveyors of violence as a cultural norm. For decades the NRA has been encouraging people to fight government with armed insurrection, an attitude particularly notable since the most recent shooting. Two years ago Sharron Angle, Nevada’s candidate for U.S. Senate, used the Second Amendment as a talking point for retribution if people didn’t like government’s actions. Media accounts showed that former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ shooter in Arizona was obsessed by this Constitutional “by-any-means-necessary” fantasy. Trained Marine veteran Joshua Boston claimed that he would not obey a law to register his guns because he might have to fight “against a government that had overstepped its boundaries.”

One more excellent idea, again that the NRA opposes, is the requirement for “smart guns” that can be shot only by their owners. One alternative is a fingerprint key on the trigger, and another is a magnetic ring. The trigger has a magnetic block that doesn’t allow it to be pulled back unless the shooter is wearing the matching ring for the gun. That system usually has an override function as well; once the ring is ready to fire (wearing the right ring) you can disable the ring function, allowing anyone to fire.

The New Jersey Institute of Technology is also working on a Dynamic Grip Recognition technology, which would track the owner’s hand size, strength and grip style. This system has a 90% recognition rate or higher. New Jersey already has a law that future handguns be “smart guns,” but all the states need to require this for effectiveness.

Although laws are currently being enforced, they are weak, and SCOTUS has said that states are not required to comply with federal mandates. Federal law and the laws of most states allow anyone who can pass a Brady Act record check to walk into a gun store and leave with as many guns as they can pay for. The guns are not registered, and purchasers don’t need a license. Because the Brady Act covers only federally licensed firearms dealers, purchasers who are not licensed dealers can legally resell or transfer ownership without doing a record check and without reporting or registering the change of ownership.

Some states limit aspects of this essentially open market. A Pennsylvania law channels resales through licensed dealers, but provisions inserted at the NRA’s behest make the law nearly impossible to enforce. Because owners don’t have to register guns or report transfers of ownership or thefts, law enforcement cannot identify who owns a particular gun. Federally licensed firearms dealers must report large-quantity sales to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (AFT), but authorities can do nothing unless they monitor the purchasers and catch them doing something illegal, which requires an inordinate expenditure of time and resources.

People actually oppose NRA’s positions of no licensing, no registering, no background checks. An example is Wisconsin where almost two-thirds of the voters oppose the legislators in their determination to pass a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons in public places. Even gun owners want gun control: 82 percent support requiring a criminal background check of anyone purchasing a gun.

Rep. Schrader, I realize that the NRA gave a higher contribution to your campaign than to the one GOP representative in the state, but I ask you to look at Vice President Biden’s points and seriously consider them. In response to your comments, (1) laws have to exist for them to be enforced; and (2) if people have to have guns in order to kill other people. Those who voted for you want to feel safe, and that doesn’t mean keeping an armed guard on every school, business, mall, street, mall, etc. It means legal management of weapons.

Please support your constituents instead of the conservative GOP who wants to continue the Russian roulette of our lives. If you can’t, then I would suggest that you change your affiliation to Republican, because that is what your policies currently reflect.

September 10, 2012

Congress Returns–Briefly

The conventions are history, and Congress returns from its five-week vacation to go back into session today, at least for a few days. With almost 500 federal lawmakers up for re-election in 56 days, they’ll be gone in October to campaign, but they may disappear for part of September too.

Well-known for their procrastination and lack of commitment, Republicans need to get cracking on their six-month stopgap spending bill to keep the government functioning. House plans are to start today with a vote by Thursday. They can waste more time by discussing this again in another six months.

Federal farm programs are also due to expire on September 30, 2012, unless Congress does something about renewing them. The spending bill could include this extension, but food stamps are part of farm bill which might cause another stalemate. The Senate passed a five-year agriculture program last June, but as usual the House Republicans are dragging their collective feet especially with the disagreement about how much to cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Republicans may also let the farm bill expire so that they can blame the Democrats—as they do for everything—hoping to get more votes from farm states like Iowa.

Everyone might be better off if Congress does nothing about the farm bill. With no formal extension, food stamp and other nutrition programs continue, and most farmers will not be affected because the current farm bill covers 2012 crops no matter when they are harvested.

At the end of the week, the House Republicans will waste more time with a promised vote on the “No More Solyndras Act” bill which eliminates loan guarantees for solar and wind energy companies. The Senate probably won’t vote on it, but the House Republicans can look as if they’re doing something.

Meanwhile, the Senate may vote tomorrow about whether to debate a bill from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) to get jobs for veterans. It includes a veterans jobs corps to employ veterans as firefighters and police officers and in fields of conservation, recreation, and resource management projects on public lands. Republicans will push for an open amendment process for this bill to add everything including tax cuts. If they don’t get to do this, they may sulk and filibuster.

Some economists have warned of a recession without any Congressional action on a combination of the expiration of all Bush tax cuts and the impending across-the-board spending cuts. Again the two parties have opposing views. Republicans say they want everyone to have tax cuts, and Democrats want to renew them only for households netting less than $250,000 a year.

Another potential amendment could be replacing automatic defense spending cuts, known as sequestration, set to begin in 2013. Both parties agreed to these cuts last summer during the debacle of the debt ceiling crisis if a committee could not come to agreement regarding how to fix the deficit. Mitt Romney said yesterday that the Republicans were wrong to vote for this and blamed it all on the president. Romney’s VP pick, Paul Ryan, was one of those “wrong” voters although he’s tried to lie his way out of the situation. In an interview, Ryan said that he voted for the bill that did the cutting, but he did not vote for the cuts.

While disturbed about the defense cuts, military leaders, unlike Republicans, understand that the budget needs revenues as well as cuts. “I hope we can find a way to address the sequestration threat of Jan. 1,” Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said in Charlotte, N.C., where Democrats held their convention last week.  “It has to be done on a bipartisan basis … [and] it has to include revenues as well as spending cuts.”

Other pressing business for the lame-duck session include averting a 30-percent cut in physicians’ Medicare fees, passing the annual Pentagon policy bill, improving cyber security for the nation’s critical infrastructure, a Russia free-trade bill, and legislation to reform the Postal Service which may have to default on a $5.5 billion payment into its pension fund to cover people retiring 75 years from now.

Congress this year has managed to pass just 61 bills, the fewest number in more than 60 years. Last year, they passed 90 bills, down from 258 during the previous year. The average worker in the country has a median household income of about $50,000 compared to lawmakers’ salaries of $174,000 or more. At the same time, the average worker has 13 days of paid vacation; lawmakers have more than four months of recesses this year.

I’m waiting for the next anti-women bill from the Republicans. They’ve tried one each week during the 112th Congress.

Asides: On Meet the Press yesterday, Ann Romney said, “Mitt and I do recognize that we have not had a financial struggle in our lives. But I want people to believe in their hearts that we know what it is like to struggle.” This is a very different struggle from her description of it just two weeks ago in her speech at the GOP convention.

According to a study by Harvard economics professor David Cutler, the increased costs for seniors in the changes of Medicare would move as much as $16 to $26 billion to profits for insurance companies. Romney tried to discredit the study by saying that Cutler was once an advisor for President Obama.

The Associated Press FactCheck failed when it evaluated Joe Biden’s statement that 4.5 private-sector jobs have been created during the past 29 months. They agreed that this information was true but gave it a half-true because it omitted the time before that and didn’t include the 500,000+ jobs lost in the public sector. If fact checkers can’t based their opinions on facts, they should quit. Also small-government advocates complaining about unemployment should realize that they are getting what they ask for. Smaller government means less employment; the loss of public sector jobs during the current president is equivalent to the jobs that George W. Bush added during his eight years.

Ideally voting should be based on information, which makes the level of ignorance throughout the country truly frightening. A prime example of this comes a question in a recent Ohio poll about whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney deserves more credit for killing Osama bin Laden. (Some people may remember that Romney sneered at President Obama for his decision to find bin Laden, indicating that it was a waste of time.) Only 63 percent of possible voters gave the credit to the president; 6 percent thought Romney did it, and 31 percent didn’t know. The women were 2 percent more knowledgeable than men, and 86 percent of African-Americans knew it was the president compared to only 60 percent of Anglo-Americans. Only 38 percent of likely voters gave the president credit for killing Osama bin Laden, and the North Carolina percentage was lower at 29 percent. Frightening!

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily 60 Second News

Transformational News; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

GLBT News

Official news outlet for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of ALA

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: