Monday, December 31, 2012

Over the Fiscal Cliff

As expected, the Regressive republicans did their little soft-shoe, their little tap dance, their dog and pony show -- whatever you want to call it -- but they accomplished nothing. All the theater about coming this close to an agreement to keep from going over the "fiscal cliff" is now over. Curtain's going down.

Was anyone fooled by this bad acting for even a moment?

Epic Boner Fail
Thanks to the worst do-nothing Congress in American history, headed by Regressive republican and utter failure John Boehner, taxes will go up for all Americans beginning in a few hours (on Jan 1).  Orange John wouldn't allow the Senate bill -- which had passed overwhelmingly months ago, and would have extended the Bush-era tax cuts to continue for 98% of Americans -- to come to a vote, because he knew it had enough support to pass in the House as well. But he cannot control his far rightwing contingents, who have spent these last several weeks demanding he hold up tax breaks for 98% of the country for the sake of their millionaire friends. They held your tax breaks hostage for those of millionaires.  And poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans knows this.

In addition to taxes being raised, there will be automatic deep cuts to military and discretionary spending.

The spending cuts are the part of the fiscal cliff that the Congressional Budget Office says would be the most damaging to America’s economic growth. It also does not include an increase in the debt ceiling, setting up another fight over the coming months like the one that created the fiscal cliff in the first place.

The theatrics over the last several days were transparent. Regressives wanted Social Security cuts and then dropped that demand; Boehner tried to corral Regressives to vote to raise taxes on those making over a million a year but couldn't even accomplish that.

Of course, this can all be retroactively fixed within the first couple of weeks in the new year when the new Congress convenes. Whether or not these antics will damage the country in the long run remains to be seen.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

100 More American Gun Deaths In a Week

Since the Connecticut elementary school shooting, one week ago, where 20 six-year-olds and 6 adults were massacred by a crazed gun nut with military-style assault weapons and huge clips that could enable one to shoot and kill dozens of people in seconds, another hundred people have been killed by guns and gun nuts.

The National Rifle Association, which has only 4 million members yet holds Regressive republicans in congress in a choke hold, has done the typical cowardly thing: they hid in the closet for a week before peeking their heads out and making a statement.

Wayne LaPierre
And what a statement that was. It came yesterday afternoon, when Pepe LePew, or whatever the name of their CEO in charge of promoting gun sales, said that he could not back one more law to restrict gun ownership, and that the problem is that there simply aren't enough guns in circulation. This insane coward actually stated that the only solution to "a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." His ingenious idea? Have an armed guard at every school in the country.

Yes, let's make every elementary school a maximum security prison, complete with armed police, armed teachers and an arsenal of weapons in every classroom. That sounds safe.

If only the teachers and all those 6 year olds were armed, this could have all been avoided, right Pepe LePew?

So now the very same teachers that the far rightwing blowhards and Foxbots refer to as "union thugs," the very same ones who are "paid too much" and need to be fired by the thousands, these same teachers now have to take on the additional responsibility to act as SWAT team members and sharpshooters.

And since all schools have multiple entrances, there will need to be multiple armed guards. And what about movie theaters? What about shopping malls? Should there be dozens of armed guards at all those locations, too?

What the NRA's CEO in Charge of Gun Sales has conveniently forgotten in his insane rant carried by every cable news network yesterday, is that there was an armed guard at Columbine High School. That didn't stop a mass murder. Virginia Tech had its own police department. That didn't stop a mass murder. And most ironic of all, Fort Hood is loaded with guns and experts in their use -- it's a military base! And that didn't stop a mass murder.

Turning elementary schools into armed camps seems very reasonable to this insane rightwing gun nut, but background checks making sure the mentally ill don't get their hands on guns is not reasonable, right? Banning high powered, military-style assault weapons and large clips that can kill 100 people in 30 seconds is out of the question, right Mr. LePew?

The NRA is a lobbying organization that represents gun manufacturers, not gun owners. Reasonable, common sense gun laws are favored by the great majority in this country -- including most members of the NRA, according to recent polls.

Doing background checks to make sure guns don't end up in the hands of the mentally ill is a common sense gun law. Banning high powered, military-style assault weapons that can -- with huge clips -- kill 100 people in 30 seconds, is a common sense gun law.

Nobody's taking guns away. Nobody's infringing on the Second Amendment. But there are necessary, reasonable restrictions.

Even the First Amendment -- you know, that "free speech" thing -- has RESTRICTIONS, dealing with inciting violence, slander, lying in a court of law, etc.

You can't do that.

The Second Amendment DOES NOT give you carte blanche to own just anything you want. You can't have grenades, rocket launchers, tanks, drones or nukes. And you can't have military style semi automatic weapons.

If you like, you may own as many muskets as you want. Those weapons, which allowed you to shoot once or twice in a minute, are what was available when the Second Amendment was written.

Last night's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell summed it up perfectly:

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Friday, December 14, 2012

2 Separate Gun Massacres in One Week

Three days ago it was a mall in Oregon; this time an elementary school in Connecticut. This time 27 were killed.

NBC News says the guns used in the Connecticut shooting were purchased legally. This is part of the problem.  If someone like this maniac, who executes the second deadliest school shooting in the country's history, can get his hands on this kind of weaponry legally, then the law must change.

President Obama, this afternoon: "We're going to have to come together to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

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So what now?

Are we going to do what we usually do -- wring our hands, shake our heads, say "how awful," and then do nothing?

We are a barbaric country with a Regressive republican congress wholly owned by the NRA. Until we kick out every last one of them, nothing will change.

And I don't want to hear another meaningless platitude from a far rightwing gun nut.  I've heard them all.

"Now's not the time to discuss gun control."

So then apparently we have to make an appointment. How's June 29, 2035? No good. There will probably be a shooting on that day, too.

"Too bad everybody wasn't armed. Everybody could have been shooting at everybody else and it would have been so much better."

That's essentially what these idiots said after Virginia Tech. "If only every student was armed..."  And that's what they said after the Colorado movie theater massacre. "If only everybody in that theater was armed..."

Can you imagine if a shot is fired in a theater or classroom, and everybody whips out a gun, sees everybody else holding a gun, and starts blasting away?

"Guns don't kill people; people kill people."

Yeah, by the thousands, with guns.

 "If guns are outlawed..."

I don't even want to continue with the meaningless bumper sticker platitudes that these righties regurgitate every time this situation comes up.

I think talk show host Mike Malloy said it best:

I will not be on the air tonight. I can't do it. I cannot sit behind a microphone and talk about yet another incomprehensible act of gun violence - this time against the complete innocence and vulnerability of children.

There are no words that can be said to provide any sort of comfort to the parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers of the children murdered in the sanctuary of a school class

room. The pain they will feel is beyond description - there is no way to express this sort of horror.

As for me . . . I am choking on the tears and anguish that other parents - those whose children were not murdered this bright Winter's day - must be feeling.

So . . . 

The "best of" program Kathy has for tonight dealt with a different shooting, not quite one year ago. I will try to be back on the air Monday. 

Today's mass murder of children and their adult caretakers can be - and should be - seen as the NRA's holiday gift to America. How else to comprehend any of this?

- Mike

Friday, December 7, 2012

Another Big Month of American Job Growth

Congrats to President Obama and to the American worker! Forward!

From NBC News:

Job Growth

Unemployment rate drops to lowest in four years

The unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in November, the lowest in four years, as the U.S. economy generated a stronger-than-expected 146,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday.

The Labor Department added that Superstorm Sandy, which many had expected to dampen job creation, did not have a substantial impact on the national data.

“It looks like the job market is holding firm,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “That’s encouraging in light of all the fiscal uncertainties.”

Economists had expected non-farm payrolls to rise about 93,000 and the jobless rate to hold steady at 7.9 percent.

Fox management is scrambling to figure out how to present this as terrible news.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rightwing Backlash Against Bob Costas

Another great "rewrite" from Lawrence O'Donnell, this time about the irrational rightwing meltdown over another gun tragedy.

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