Sunday, July 29, 2012

Understanding the Second Amendment

The following was posted on and is an easy to understand, slightly tongue in cheek, common American English unveiling of the Second Amendment to our Constitution, its meaning and rationale. Please bear in mind the writer wrote this as a comment, and I think it stands strongly as it is. I post it here with a big THANK YOU to the original writer! To find the entire story and conversation please follow the link and look for the picture of the blonde below:

["Portrait Of Beautiful Young Angry Blond Woman With Revolver In Hand" on Shutterstock]

### sorry, rather long but hopefully worth the read ###
Dictionaries and Thesaurus are wonderful things.
define - control or supervise by means of rules and regulations
similar - SUPERVISE, police, monitor, check, check up on, be responsible for, manage, direct, guide, govern.
origin - late Middle English (in the sense 'control by rules')
Perhaps you're just a bit slow.   Lets take the 2nd Amendment one word at a time.
A                    - used when referring to something
well               -  to a great extent or manner
regulated     -  governed, supervised, monitored...
militia          -  a military force that is raised form the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency... all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.
Perhaps if we say this in a less eloquent way it will sink in.
-   Because the security of a free state requires a closely governed and monitored civilian military force, the people have the right to own firearms.
There are two crucial parts to the 2nd Amendment, one so crucial they begin the Amendment with it separated by a comma to denote it is a truth that stands on its own.  It is the point of the amendment.   "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state"  .. therefore.. "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Because it's accepted as fact that the US required a militia for it's safety, for this specific reason, the 2nd amendment ensures the populace who would make up said militia are allowed to bear arms.  It doesn't say 'Because you might want to bring a deadly weapon into a political convention, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed'  or 'because you have manhood issues or hero fantasies or you're afraid your slaves might one day walk free, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'
Since Conservatives just LOVE to claim we can only look at the Constitution to mean exactly what the founders intended it to mean in the 18th century or at the point amendments were ratified.. let's go with that and ignore the fact The Founders could never have imagined reliable tear gas grenades, semi to full automatic weapons with high capacity magazines, or body armor....
Where did they draw their inspiration for the 2nd Amendment?
The English Bill of Rights of 1689 is often considered an inspiration for the 2nd Amendment.  It guarantees Protestants specifically the right to keep arms to protect themselves from "Papists" after King James II attempted to take their guns.  However, it literally states "the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law"
First thing you may notice, the right to bear arms in the English Bill of Rights is very specifically granted to one group.  Further, it's only granted "as allowed by Law".  This is not a so-called 'god given right', it's a right regulated [there's that word again] by other Laws.
So.. it's generally considered a given that the 2nd Amendment was built upon a limited, regulated right granted to a sub-set of English citizens.
What was their motivation for ratifying the 2nd Amendment on Dec. 15, 1791?  What was going on?
The Continental Army was disbanded after the revolution and the security of the nation was handled by.. wait for it... state militias.  Militias that were raised from civilian ranks.. specifically white males of fighting age.  We didn't have a standing Army when the 2nd Amendment was drawn up , debated, and ratified.
We [the state militias] also just happened to be getting their butts handed to us by Native American tribal forces.  General Arthur St. Clair was routed in the Battle of the Wabash by the Blue Jacket and Little Turtle's tribal confederacy in Nov. 1791.   That was such a big event that it directly lead to the creation of our 2nd standing army, the Legion of the United States in 1792.
So..  Why did we get the 2nd Amendment?  Because the rag-tag state militias were getting crushed [of 1000 Militia at Wabash only 42 escaped unharmed].  It was so bad that the very next year, in direct opposition to the Founders well-known distrust of standing armies, George Washington raised another standing army.
What did we do before allowing the creation of another standing army?  We passed an amendment intended to strengthen our state militias.   
### .. almost done, I swear..
Want more evidence the 2nd amendment was enacted to strengthen militias and not to give military weapons to socio/psychopathic and/or paranoid wanna-be warriors?  In 1792, a Congress with 17 Framers passed a statue that required all able-bodied men to buy firearms.*
Right-wing gub'er'ment haters like to claim the real motivation of the 2nd amendment was to arm us in case we ever need to overthrow a tyrannical government.  If this were the case, it wouldn't specifically mention the right to bear arms was required for the existence of "well regulated militia[s]".  And a "well regulated militia" in 1791 wasn't a bunch of hicks in the wood shooting at Obama targets, it was a force of 1000 commanded by a General appointed by the state.    The framers gave us better ways to stop Tyranny.. checks and balances, and Judiciary not depended on populace or political pressure (life terms), and most importantly the right to vote.   And, of course, they didn't Force the populace to buy weapons to overthrow the government when They were the Government.
*  What's this?  The Framers mandated the populace buy guns from private industry!?!  Washington signed it into law !?!?!  That's tyranny!  It's Socialism!  I bet they were Kenyan-Muslims from the Muslim Brotherhood!!   Even more Framers [20 of them] also mandated ship owners buy.. get this.. INSURANCE! for their seamen in 1790.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

McCain Spins for NRA

John McCain speaks to CNN
“So, I think the strongest Second Amendment rights people would be glad to have a conversation, but the conclusion that this was somehow caused by the fact that we don’t have more gun control legislation, I don’t think has been proved.”

In later comments McCain stated he was not "at all certain" that water is wet.  He actually did say the first thing. No really....he DID! The quote under the picture is NOT a's a real quote and you can find the video if you follow the link. Honest! In answer to that quote, by the way, I can only say, yeah....rrrrriiiiigghhhht!  I'm SURE the strongest Second Amendment rights people would be just THRILLED to talk about gun long as the discussion were about banning it! Johnny, Johnny,'re losing your touch. Or maybe you've just finally "lost it." 

I mean...I really do wish John McCain could live up to the image he has built up of himself over the years, but the fact of the matter is that it's all just a carefully crafted facade. In every vote, as in his personal life, where he used his influence to protect his wife from the consequences of drug offenses for which ANY OTHER  PERSON would still be in PRISON, he's as much a right wing vulture as the rest of his party. He just pretends to be a good man of great personal character while making the same damnable decisions with the same damnable consequences as the rest of 'em. It is this behavior that earned him the insider nickname "Spinmaster," after  all. It is this behavior that also has him up front and media-whoring away for one of his favorite customers, the NRA, in the wake of the Aurora shooting...and to make sure Romney's taxes stay out of the news until the beginning of the Olympics, of course. They'll ALL be putting that foremost in their minds in the wake of this well-timed tragedy ...which puts me in mind of Bush Jr. gleefully calling 9/11 "hitting the trifecta." History does seem to repeat itself.

The linked article below, which you can find part-way down the page, details Cindy McCain's struggle with drugs and shines the bright light of truth on her abuse of her personal charity, which existed to score political points for her husband and as a front to obtain large quantities of prescription opiates. Of relevance politically, it details McCain's efforts to black-ball an employee/whistle blower who went to the DEA when his name was illegally used to obtain prescriptions for McCain's wife. Ironically, Cindy McCain's former employee, a registered republican, never intended to "go public" with any of his concerns regarding her addiction, overdoses or family concerns regarding her medicating their then-young children with prescription medications. The whole thing blew up in McCain's face (as much as anything ever does) when his legal team, in efforts to intimidate the employee, interacted with now-infamous Maricopa County law enforcement:

John McCain is no noob to professional media spin either; just look at McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform legislation. In direct contrast to John McCain, Russ Feingold's entire Senate career was based on strict adherence to his "no large donors and absolutely NO lobbyist money" beliefs. In short, Feingold, now working on the Obama campaign, truly believes, as do I, that campaigns should be minimally financed, with no favors owed. It just makes sense. Professional lobbyists and uber-rich donors are a plague on politics of  by and for the people because they ELIMINATE  we the people from the process. Sure, we get to vote, but when we are bombarded literally 24/7 with dishonest commercials paid for by the Koch brothers, voters are no longer making informed decisions. 

McCain and Feingold were a very odd couple, one a jaded master of manipulation pretending at bipartisanship and one an ethical idealist. Guess which one got over on the least so far.Tragically for our democratic republic, McCain won that round and what started out as good legislation could not survive with only one true believer.  As soon as it became clear that lobbyists were not liking it, good ol' Johnny M. allowed that legislation to be dismantled piece by piece in committee. He still got the political glory for the effort, and the GOP still got to please their corporate puppet masters. Long live the Spinmaster

McCain is so addicted to the spin, he spins himself! Even when it comes to his refusal to admit any ill effects, such as flashbacks or nightmares,  from his P.O.W. experience, he slaps every other former P.O.W. in the face when he stands before the American people and says he's "never had a single one." That is such clear B.S. ...but he will do anything, he will even turn on fellow past prisoners of war, to keep up his image of "John McCain, War Hero." I respect and honor his service as a fellow veteran, without question, but he's so full of crap when he says he's never given it another thought since coming back.  That's not denial, that's a blatant lie. He's no more special than any other man or woman who served and survived over there; he's just quite literally banking on it now.

So now, in true McCain fashion, he's spinning away again in the wake of the Aurora tragedy, pleasing his masters in the NRA by saying there's no proof that regulations against assault weapons and huge ammo clips would save lives. It needs to be researched, he says. Really. THAT is the line the NRA is feeding them on this one. It has not been sufficiently proven to the NRA that ASSAULT weapons with HUGE ammo capacity being available to virtually any psycho on the street is a danger to society. Seriously. 

Shocking statistics on deaths by violence in the United States, including gun deaths. In 2010 approximately 600 people were murdered in the entire UK. That is six hundred, no typo. In comparison, in that same year, nearly thirteen thousand people died by gun violence alone in the United States. That is an average of over 35 people per day shot dead. 

McCain is once again trading on his "Honest John" reputation (which some people still find plausible even after the Sarah Palin fiasco) to be ever-faithful mouthpiece for that quite literally UNBELIEVABLE line of bull from the NRA. Our murder rate in the US is 15 times that of other "western" nations, but McCain needs more proof. Of course the tea-party will find this need for more proof very soothing to their collective psyche in the wake of this tragedy in a military town  of all places. (Never mind the other 35+ people who die every single day in the United States by gun violence--after all they're probably mostly poor or not white.) 

Please note I say psyche here because I cannot say conscience when it comes to current-day republicans. Clearly conscience as well as common sense, decency and honor, are seriously lacking in the GOP these days.  The republican party has become a parody of some kind of evil twin of itself, with John McCain spinning faster than ever in his efforts to remain relevant and above all, marketable.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rush Limbaugh, Words Hurt

Today people are reliving a tragedy in Aurora Colorado. For all we know maybe some of the same people were involved, given Columbine is only twelve miles away. Have we become any more humane in thought or deed in the intervening years? Absolutely not. Our weapons have become even more lethal, and our speech even more filled with hate and vitriol. People still haven't figured out that Bambi doesn't wear Kevlar and that different doesn't mean wrong, or "the enemy." And of course hate radio thrives, with the same singularly repulsive voice out-oinking the rest of the pigs seeking prime-time scraps from their corporate masters.

Case in point, Rush Limbaugh's rant this week against the vast left wing conspiracy surrounding the release of the Batman movie with "Bane" as the bad guy, which is pronounced the same as "Bain," Mitt Romney's notorious job outsourcing corporation/person. Rush would have us believe that decades ago, when the Batman series was being written in comic book form, or perhaps just several years ago, when it was being written in movie form, someone had traveled to the future and reported back that Romney was likely to be running as the republican candidate for President in 2012, so the film was then timed for release at that time with the bad guy named after his, at the time unknown corporation/person. This makes perfect sense in Rush-world. 

Infinitely more troubling, it may have made complete sense to a tortured young man surrounded by his republican-red painted walls, waiting for "a sign" that it was time for him to make his assault-weapon attack on innocent Americans. This is often the case with the gravely mentally ill; they wait for some "signal" that it is the right time for their fantasy plan to unfold. Was Rush's rant this 24 year old doctoral student's undoing? Was it his final straw? Does he, himself even know in the mixed up chemical soup his brain has somehow become? We will never know. What police are likely to get from him is a mixture of rant and pure logic, as he is clearly horrifically damaged somehow yet was able to make his way into a doctoral program.   

We would tend to think "something snapped" but it took time to gather all these weapons and the gear he has. It is becoming clear as I write this that this was not an impulsive act and that the man in question was extremely well prepared in advance. He owned several police/FBI-style assault weapons, probably perfectly legally, as well as black police/FBI-style riot gear. His apartment was booby-trapped. At the time of the attack and murders he reportedly had red or orange hair and he called himself "the Joker" to the police, so the Batman movie was not random. We do not know how long he was fascinated by the franchise or for how long he planned this attack, but that trigger was clearly primed.

My concern here is that in a nation where literally anyone can get his or her hands on assault weapons, we do not need radio comedy show personalities like Rush Limbaugh (or politicians like Michele Bachmann) spewing hate, even if they are laughing at their gullible listeners all the way to the bank. He knows and we know he's just a buffoon, but ludicrous at is may seem, all too many people take his words as absolute Gospel. Some of these people are otherwise sane, even educated professional people. My late brother was a respected medical professional and even gay and as much of a bigot as Rush is, even he listened to the guy and agreed with him! How does that's all about the Benjamins? Money talks, and in some cases it also kills.

To me it would seem that any rational person knows two things about Rush: 

1. He cannot possibly be serious. His comments are just way too over the top. He plays to his audience for the money, plain and simple. It's despicable and irresponsible, but perfectly legal. It's immoral and unethical and may now have driven someone that one final step to murder a dozen people and maim seventy-some more, but in his view, beats working for a living. "Medical care" doesn't come cheap. 

2. Whatever he's taking is not doing him any favors. Rush is clearly still using, and it is my strong suspicion abusing, some form of mind altering substance(s). My professional observations lead me to suspect a combinations of the drugs Methadone and Xanax, given his history of long-term Oxycontin (O, oxy, o.c., 80's) abuse, fluid retention, massive percentage of adipose (fat) tissue, memory lapses, mood swings, and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). This could also be supplemented with sleep medication. 

Could you sleep if you did what Rush does for a living? This would also explain his many memory lapses. Like many liars, he has trouble remembering what he's said in the past, which often catches him up when he tries to "walk things back." It's like he forgets he's on tape, but actually he's just numbed himself emotionally. If he weren't such a monstrosity, I'd feel sorry for him. I do NOT mean monstrosity in the physical sense, for the record. That can be changed. What Rush is, I'm afraid, is beyond repair, as much as I wish it weren't so. There is no Wizard to give him a heart, a brain, or the even just the courage to try to be a better man.

No, indeed, do not expect any apologies from Rush. In fact, expect him to behave like a rabid attack dog. He will know that people are out here, naming him and Michele Bachmann and people like them for what they're doing. 

It's a very fine line to tread, to confront what they do honestly and forthrightly without becoming what I so despise. I stumble from time to time. I get carried away into hyperbole on occasion, but I've never called for violence against anyone, and I try to remember there are real human beings involved in these tragedies. In fact that is exactly what drives me. It is the innocent who so often suffer from the excesses of the powerful and the loud. 

The far right wing and their owners, the NRA and other big money power buyers, are so distanced from anything resembling a conscience, this will not be a personal tragedy for them. It won't matter to them that living, breathing, for the most part very young human beings at the very beginning of their lives, are dead. This will be a call to even MORE arms. This is what's so troubling about what I've seen so far. 

Most of the comments I've seen from that side of the political spectrum so far are about "oh great, now they're going to try to take away my guns." PEOPLE ARE DEAD! At least mourn them before you start worrying about the next murderous conspiracy theory!

Ann Romney's "You People" Remark

Poor Ann Romney. Someone sent her into battle with no weapons. I would not make the mistake of comparing her to Sarah Palin however. This was no "deer in the headlights" moment. Willard (Mitt) Romney's woman is well armored. That armor consists of an utter elitist's surety that we, the unwashed masses (upon whose votes her husband's future depends) are so beneath her notice and so ignorant of how the "real" people of the upper classes live, that neither she nor her husband need give us a thought, and that's all there is to the matter. Add a look like one has just smelled something slightly off but is smiling politely if condescendingly anyway and a blink of blocky black false lashes on an otherwise matronly face and you have the most important nugget from Ann Romney's interview today on ABC.

I was shocked.

Now I know how the French peasantry would have felt had Marie Antoinette actually said, in the lead-up to the French Revolution, "let them eat cake."

Prior to this interview I had heard talking head after talking head speak of Ann Romney as being the kinder, gentler Romney. Given Willard's creepy high school history of leading a gang of prep school bullies in an assault against a sad, nonconformist and *gasp* presumed homosexual (no homophobe like a gay homophobe unless perhaps it's a religiously indoctrinated one) it's not hard to picture a kinder person. Then, of course, there's poor Seamus the dog. 

Surely, I thought, Ann Romney must be a true milque-toast woman. I was certain sugar wouldn't melt in her mouth, so I watched the interview, ready to be very sympathetic for her having put up with such an emotionally stilted, to be kind, person for all these years. What I saw instead was an elitist bitch! This woman was literally unbelievable! I worked with cutting edge doctors and their perpetually pampered wives for years, but Ann Romney makes them seem like purring kittens.  If we make the mistake of electing this guy, we will not be able to count on his wife for a "softening" influence. She is just as overtly self-entitled as he is.

When she said her husband had given "you people" ...meaning US, all they were going to, "And that's just the answer," as if she were the queen making a proclamation and full-well expected to be obeyed, I was so taken aback I had to rewatch it several times to make sure I'd really seen and heard what I thought I'd seen and heard. This was another jewel, “We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.” YOU PEOPLE? Are you effing kidding me? Did she REALLY just say that on national TV in THAT tone of voice with THAT look on her face? THIS is the nice Romney? What kind of Mormons are they growing these days? I served in the Army with a Mormon girl of 19 (yeah, I know, her parents were not pleased about it either, but she was there) and she was so sweet and soft spoken. Ann Romney is walking proof that power corrupts!

But Mrs. Willard Romney wasn't finished. In an amazing example of circular reasoning, given more information about finances is exactly what "we the people" she so disdains are seeking, Mrs. Romney said, “You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially, ” then added later, "We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year." I had to laugh out loud. I mean seriously. You are withholding that VERY information! I understand, better than most, what MS does to the human brain, but this is just pure lack of concern or care about what we the "little people" think one way or the other. She is SO uncaring about what we think or what information we want that she totally FORGOT that it's his FINANCIAL information at the root of the problem! Ugh...

Poor clueless/careless Ann gave away more than she realized and more than I've heard anyone on the talking head shows bring up too. When she made SUCH as issue of her husband's church contributions, she didn't mention it was the MORMON church. Apparently she DID remember that one all-important talking point, which is THE BIG ONE. Why? Because there is a very large group of voters who tend to be southern and tend to vote based on abortion and/or bigotry who would NOT vote for Romney if reminded too often that he's not the "right kind of Christian." They are the voters at whom "dog whistle" words like "different" and "not like us" and "possibly muslim" and other nice ways of expressing the "n" word are aimed.

Also, and this is important, where were all these generous donations to the church which shall not be named directed? For instance, was a large amount of it directed toward California's Proposition Eight and other homophobic legislative action? Just where has this "tithing" gone, and how much "tithing" has the family done in comparison to taxes paid? 

Think of it. Is someone who wishes to be the leader of our nation more dedicated to his church than his country? 

Has he actually given more money to his church than he's paid in taxes? 


I know that's a charge usually thrown around by the right, but I think it's perfectly pertinent to question just where on the ever sliding scale of Romney's value system "country" lies! 

I think it's VERY possible our republican candidate for president has paid more to the Mormon Church and it's various legislative actions, say perhaps efforts to defend bigamy and child marriages within sub-cults in the church, than in taxes to the country over which he is making such an overt liar of himself to preside. 

Think of it. This tax issue has, as one commentator stated, reached critical mass, and yet Romney will not budge. He's been more than willing to make an absolute buffoon of himself on virtually EVERYTHING else he's ever said, every single stance he's held on every issue from abortion to xenophobia, yet on the taxes he WILL NOT YIELD. He says it's because it's too complex, yet the taxes were already compiled when McCain vetted him  for VP and chose Sarah Palin instead. Whatever is in those taxes isn't just bad, it's RADIOACTIVE! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Scott Walker's Snit

Poor Scotty Walker is in a snit, and he's going to make the most helpless people in Wisconsin pay...with their very lives...literally. If that doesn't show immaturity, blatant cowardice, gross negligence and despicable disregard for human life I don't know what does. In other words, yes, boys and girls, he's an absolute darling among the tea-bagging republican obstructionists. 

Yet this goes beyond politics as usual. Upon learning that Chief Justice Roberts did SEEM, after all, to have a conscience (this will be debated later) the ranting and raving and character assassination began. Somehow I think it was overkill, and I mean that literally and figuratively, because in the end, while  Roberts did indeed rule the individual mandate legal, meaning about ONE PERCENT of people in the United States MAY have to pay a small penalty, which is offset by the money they receive from the government and choose not to spend on insurance, he left the Governors of each state a HUGE loop-hole as far as compliance goes.

Our wonderful Governor, in all his wisdom, has decided to take advantage of this loop-hole. Despite the fact that for three full years the Federal Government would pay 100% for a Medicare expansion which would save the lives of thousands of Wisconsin children and disabled persons (like me, a disabled veteran who does not receive benefits from the Veteran's Administration because my exposure to Agent Orange, etc. happened stateside so apparently doesn't "count") Governor/Dictator Walker is refusing to enact that life saving expansion. He is also refusing to create the insurance negotiation pools which would make health insurance so much less expensive for Wisconsin's workers, but at least the Federal Government can take over that role. 

So yes, you have understood me correctly. To get back at Obama, or to make sure people don't get to LIKE the health care bill Walker and his owners have spent multiple BILLIONS of dollars spreading misinformation about, Walker is willing to continue to make people with insurance continue to pay for "free riders" (the people who just go to the ER when sick rather than getting insurance, which causes people who DO have insurance to pay outrageous premiums). He is also willing to see innocent people, most of them unable, not unwilling to work--many of them actually working poor--risk DEATH just to make a political point. 

If you don't approve of these tactics, make your voice heard in the next election and vote against the republicans who are lying to you, treating you like you have no common sense, and are literally willing to let people in your state DIE. Forget your prejudices and your ONE issue and think of the broader picture here. There is more than the unborn at stake here. Life includes the CHILD too. Can you really call yourself pro-life and vote for someone willing to let people DIE to score political brownie points? I'm not just a veteran. I was also a Newborn Intensive Care RN for many years. I voted for Ronald Reagan and Toby Roth. I too am pro-life, but the republican party can no longer claim to be.