"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Monday, December 31, 2012

House GOP is Worthless -- Beholden to Major Donors over 98% of American People!

UPDATE:  4:20 p.m., 31 Jan 2012 from CNN Email:

The House of Representatives won't vote on any plans to avert the fiscal cliff on Monday, leaders have told members.

President Barack Obama said earlier in the day that an agreement to avert some of the automatic tax increases and spending cuts appeared to be "within sight," and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said a deal was "very, very close."

There would be little practical difference in settling the issue Monday versus Tuesday, sources said. One exception: If lawmakers approve a bill on Tuesday -- after tax rates have technically gone up -- they can argue they've voted for a tax cut to bring rates back down, GOP sources said.


Today's House Republicans are proving they are the worst members of Congress in leadership ever as they obviously don't take their oaths seriously preferring to bow to big donors over the American people.  Vote them all out in 2014!  Never thought I would say that but the House Republicans are worthless and a drag on our economy.

Negotiations are ongoing in the US Senate after the House GOP abdicated their Constitutional responsibility to be the main force behind budget bills.  Guess the Senate GOP didn't get the word from the Koch Brothers and other big donors that they could not negotiate like the House who lined up with the wealthy donors.  In fact organizations from the Koch's like Americans for Prosperity are telling the House GOP to let the economy go over the cliff.  How much have the Koch's invested in seeing our Government go over the cliff.  They seem to be doing everything in their power to tank the economy and have a willing House to go along.  IMHO the Koch Brothers and other major donors should be investigated along with members of Congress on exchange of votes for money.  Am I accusing the Republicans in the House of selling out for donations?  You could say that -- call it a hunch but the way they are acting they are not putting the American people first.

Now those poor babies in the House got their feelings hurt because President Obama dared to go after the lazy, good for nothing Republican Representatives who have the distinction of being the worst House in over 70 years.  When you refuse as a House to pass a bill unless it has majority support in your Conference ignoring the Democrats as potential votes, then nothing should shock anyone out of these House Republicans except honesty which they have a problem with today.

Republicans Lash Out At Obama, Even As Fiscal Cliff Deal Close At Hand 
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the fiscal cliff, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington.President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the fiscal cliff, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington.

Republicans reacted immediately and with tremendous hostility to President Obama’s remarks at the White House Monday afternoon, and accused him of jeopardizing a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. 
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden had been nearing agreement on legislation to avert broad tax increases and spending cuts next year, say aides with direct knowledge of the negotiations. 
But the evolving framework is unsatisfactory to members of both parties, including members of Democratic leadership, and one Democratic aide described the whole process was “hanging by a thread.” 
That was before Obama’s remarks, in which he boasted that the nascent plan would protect major progressive priorities, and attacked Congress for threatening to derail it before the end of the day when all of the Bush tax cuts expire. Obama also issued a key demand regarding an issue at the heart of the remaining differences between the parties.
“Revenues have to be part of the equation in turning off the sequester,” Obama said
That may be a non-starter for Republicans. 
As of early Monday afternoon, the Dems’ latest offer, which is still changing, would lock in the Bush era tax rates for income up to $400,000 per individual filer, ($450,000 per family). It would set identical thresholds for capital gains and dividends taxes, which would rise from 15 to 20 percent. 
The estate tax would climb from 35 to 40 percent for estates worth $5 million or more. And two tax expenditure limitations — a personal exemption phase out and a limitation on itemized deductions — would be instated. The former would be set at $250,000. The deduction limit — called Pease, after the late Rep. Don Pease (D-OH) — would reduce the value of tax deductions above $250,000 in income ($300,000 for joint filers). 
Altogether this would raise about $600 billion in revenue above the current policy baseline, according to another source familiar with the negotiations. 
The key sticking point, however, is the sequester. Democrats have rejected a GOP offer to delay the sequester by three months. They want to extend that deadline by a full year. But Republicans have rejected Democrats’ request to defray the over $100 billion cost cost with revenue. President Obama, as he indicated at the White House, insists on at least splitting the difference and paying for part of the sequester delay with new revenue and the rest with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. 
It’s not clear whether Republicans can accept that demand. 
Negotiators hope to include a permanent patch to the alternative minimum tax, and extend a variety of business tax credits for a year. They also hope to extend emergency unemployment benefits — a $30 billion spending measure — and current Medicare physician reimbursement rates, but remain at odds over whether and how to pay for them.
But Biden’s latest offer does extend by five years expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit that were part of the 2009 recovery act. 
Senate Democratic leaders will have the final say over any deal amenable to McConnell and the White House. But it’s hard to imagine them rejecting an offer amenable to the President. If Senate Republicans and Democrats come to terms on a deal Monday, the real question will be whether House Republicans allow it to come to a vote, and whether it would pass. 

It is not going unnoticed even in Republicans circles that the House GOP are bought and paid for by rich donors with their continuing stubbornness in protecting the wealthy while at the same time could care less about the Middle Class who will face tax increases that would hurt much more including loss of  unemployment benefits then tax hikes on the wealthy Republicans.  

Are Republicans trying to tank the economy?  It sure looks like it from where I sit.  How much do the Koch Brothers stand to gain from this?  Did they short stocks in expectation of going over the cliff to make money and make sure the GOP House was going to do their bidding.  Shame on the spineless House GOP.  They have zero credibility to go with their zero ethics.  Only reason they are still in power is because of gerrymandering which was the worst over.

If you are a Republican, time to consider supporting a Democrat against them because this group of Republicans have proven they cannot govern and don't care about the majority of us.  This is a perfect example of the Koch Brothers taking over the House with the Tea Party who refuse to follow rules or do what is best for America.  They act like spoiled selfish brats instead as part of the 'my way or no way' crowd.  Nothing else matters as long as they get their way!

From Howard Fineman at Huffington Post:

Another reason for Global By Crisis (GBC) is the Tea Party GOP. No politician likes to raise taxes (or at least they don't want to be seen as liking to raise taxes). And it is true that tax cuts can stimulate the economy -- until they crush it with government borrowing. But the Tea Party has turned this fundamental truism into a fanatical, nihilistic dogma. Which means that the harder they are pressed, the harder they resist, because they think they are channeling Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams (the revolutionary, but perhaps also the beer), Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp all at the same time.
The Tea Partiers are giving checks and balances a bad name, but they can effectively use the Constitution and the rules of the House and Senate to gum up the works, which is another reason why we are now in a permanent state of "crisis" in D.C.

This perpetual state of crises needs to end and looks like it is going to have to wait until 2014 when maybe we can get some sensible people elected to the House instead of the spineless House GOP we have today who put donors over America.  Going to be tough with gerrymandering but Republicans can help make a difference by ousting Republicans from their seats which they think they own with all the big money flowing.  Tough job but it is worth a try and time to get started on identifying seats that can be picked up by Democrats as this group of Republicans have abdicated their right to govern by not governing and playing politics with the American people.  They didn't learn one lesson from the election as they high five themselves.  The House GOP risk the full faith and credit of the United States for their big donors like the Koch Brothers which should should label them traitors to the American people IMHO!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Will the Obstructionists House Republicans Keep Saying "NO" Pushing the US Over the Cliff?

Will the Republican House Compromise?

Jury is still out.  Back from vacation and ready to roll up the sleeves -- some things don't change and the GOP House being the Party of "NO" is one of those as witnessed with what we are seeing.  They couldn't even find the votes to pass their own plan last week.  Dysfunctional comes to mind along with a lot of other words to describe this House GOP membership.

As I looked around the net this morning following the President's interview with David Gregory on NBC's Meet the Press, I felt that Sam Stein of Huffington Post did the best job of recapping what happened in the interview about the fiscal cliff.  The abject failure of House Republicans by abdicating their Congressional responsibility for the budget with their stubbornness reminds me of a mule mentality.  As my brother said, someone needs to take a 2"x4" upside their head to get their attention.  

Here is the video of the David Gregory interview with President Obama on Meet the Press uploaded by NBC on You Tube:

Sam Stein's article on President Obama's interview by David Gregory on Meet the Press this morning:
WASHINGTON -- In his first Sunday show interview since his reelection, President Barack Obama admonished congressional Republicans for their unwillingness to compromise over debt-reduction and implored the media to cast aside its pox-on-both-your-houses coverage. 
With the deadline to negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff looming in the backdrop, the president took to "Meet the Press" to defend his efforts to try and find common ground. He noted that he had moved off his initial demands for revenue (once $1.6 trillion, now $1.2 trillion), agreed to entitlement reforms (reduced Social Security benefits) and already passed hefty spending cuts ($1 trillion as part of the Budget Control Act in 2011). And for that, he added, he was still waiting for Republicans to get closer to half-way.
“We have been talking to the Republicans ever since the election was over. They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers,” said the president, according to an advance transcript of the interview. He would add, later: “[S]o far, at least, Congress has not been able to get this stuff done. Not because Democrats in Congress don't want to go ahead and cooperate, but because I think it's been very hard for Speaker Boehner and Republican Leader McConnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthiest Americans should go up a little bit, as part of an overall deficit reduction package.”
The president's tone was tougher than usual. In the past, he’s been hesitant to directly rebuke congressional Republicans, choosing instead to attack the legislative body as a whole. 
But the last few weeks of negotiations have clearly frustrated both him and his staff. White House aides were particularly piqued at Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for shelving negotiations over a larger fiscal cliff deal in pursuit of a tax-rate-only option. That ended the legislative progress in the House and forced the Senate to pick up talks. With just days before tax rates rise on all income rates and $1 trillion in decade-long spending cuts go into effect, Senate leaders met on Saturday to find a way through the impasse. One knowledgeable aide said a deal didn’t look likely as of Saturday afternoon. A Republican aide said it would be impossible to know for sure until Sunday afternoon when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) brief their respective caucuses. 
Even as they talked, preparations were being made to manage the public relations fallout over the impending failure to meet the deadline. Part of that involved the president hitting the Sunday talk show circuit, where he urged the press to not resort to false equivalencies when assigning blame. 
And to try to work with everybody involved to make sure that we've got an economy grows. Make sure that it works for everybody. Make sure that we're keeping the country safe. And does the Democratic party still have some knee jerk ideological positions and are there some folks in the Democratic party who sometimes aren't reasonable? Of course. That's true of every political party. 
But generally if you look at how I've tried to govern over the last four years and how I'll continue to try to govern, I'm not driven by some ideological agenda. I am a pretty practical guy. And I just want to make sure that things work. And one of the nice things about never having another election again, I will never campaign again, is I think you can rest assured that all I care about is making sure that I leave behind an America that is stronger, more prosperous, more stable, more secure than it was when I came into office.
The only thing I would caution against, David, is I think this notion of, "Well, both sides are just kind of unwilling to cooperate." And that's just not true. I mean if you look at the facts, what you have is a situation here where the Democratic party, warts and all, and certainly me, warts and all, have consistently done our best to try to put country first.
When the President admonished the media for saying both sides were unwilling to cooperate, he was right.  There is one party to blame for this whole debacle and that blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the Republican Party in Congress or as some have tabbed them, "Party of NO!"   That is an apt description of a  GOP who refuses to acknowledge the results of the election in November or understands the American people have spoken on what they want which is tax hikes on the wealthy.  While the GOP continues to throw the middle class under the bus, they play up to their big donors, Tea Party, and lobbyists.

Despicable group of 'non-leaders; in the GOP House who seem to be scared of their own shadows so they placate the hard right.  GOP only maintained control of the House because of some of the most corrupt gerrymandering that anyone has ever seen.  If you add up the votes for House races, the Democrats actually had over 1 million more votes but because of the underhandedness and lack of ethics of GOP State Legislatures in drawing redistricting lines like in PA, they kept control.   The GOP has a real problem in 2014 when Republicans like me decide to throw in with the Democrats to defeat GOP incumbents and candidates as we have had it with their arrogance and attacks on Obama and minorities bordering on racism, plus their war on the middle class, women, veterans, teachers, police, fire, and civil service for starters.

Most do-nothing Congress ever in modern times in the last two years since the GOP took over the House.  Our Country would be much in much better shape and Americans even more back on our feet if not for the Republican Party in Congress where in the Senate they have filibustered bills before they even hit the floor for a vote.  They are nothing but obstructionist who have a penchant for lying to the American people about this President and the Democrats in order to make themselves look good.  Note to GOP -- American people are waking up and not liking what they are seeing out of the GOP.   Will the GOP be blamed for putting us through this nonsense to keep tax cuts for the wealthy -- you betcha!

Republicans in Congress have not gotten that through their "pea size" brains based on their words and actions that they work for all their constituents not just the wealthy Republicans, Tea Party, and social issue types.  The rest of us should be heard as well as we also have votes.

With that in mind, I sat down last night and wrote my Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) which is probably a waste of time but since he has been speaking out for the GOP with trying to blame both sides, I decided to let you see what I had to say.  I will be happy to post his response when I get it but not holding my breath because I said what I thought:

Having supported Republicans my whole adult life, find myself in the position of being thoroughly disgusted with the HOUSE GOP obstructionists with zero backbone.  Putting wealthy donors over the middle class of this Country is beyond disgusting.  The lies that come out of the House members continually make a lot of long-time Republicans want to scream.  The war on women has not stopped as witnessed with holding hearings concerning women's issues and not having women testify.  It is more of the white male dominated GOP House modus operandi.

When you take off the blinders and realize we have been lied to by the GOP over the last four years, you get madder.  Do the research and you discover that the gerrymandering to keep the House GOP was most likely the worst ever.  Hope Republicans in the House are all proud of of what you have become where wealthy are put over the middle class.

A lot of long time Republicans are embarrassed at what we see out of the GOP today.  The filibusters in the Senate are a bad joke and the Republicans have made a mockery out of governing in the House.

Don't know if I will ever vote for a Republican in the near future but do know that I met a lot of honest people who want what is best for America when I joined Republicans for Obama.  Pretty bad when you trust Democrats to look out for your well being more then Republicans.

Too many House GOP seem to agree with the 47% remark and it has not gone unnoticed.  Some of the comments coming out of the GOP and Preibus wanting to remain Chair show nothing was learned from the election -- not one thing as obstruction continues to the point of telling the Senate to act as the House won't on the cliff.  Way to go -- abdicate Constitutional responsibilities now.

The Tea Party can shove it in my book along with the wealthy donors.  You want an inclusive GOP, you may (not) be getting it.  Not one member of my family voted for Romney.  Now most are considering leaving the GOP entirely which my youngest daughter has already done in Colorado.

GOP in the House needs to take their blinders off and stand up to the Tea Party or see the GOP relegated to the scrap heap.  Seems being reelected trumps what is best for the American people.

Am I disgusted?  You can take that to the bank!
To put this into more perspective, when Cong Cole ran for the first time in 2002, I spent hours not only in his office but in my home working for his election.  Some people here think he broke from leadership but if they really believe that I have swampland for sale in Arizona.  It is plan to make some in the GOP seem more reasonable if I was a betting person.  Cole has been a consultant for years and will try to play the odds IMHO which is why the Speaker and other leadership sent the Whip Cole out to talk to the media.   

Not sure the GOP in the House or Senate could lead if their lives depended on it as they have one word in their vocabulary which is "NO" to tax hikes on the wealthy.  They will gladly see tax hikes go up for everyone to preserve their 'we didn't vote for tax cuts on the wealthy' mantra.  It seems to this bystander they (GOP) are adverse to anything that President Obama offers preferring to trash him at every turn with their lies and innuendos.   

Today's GOP in the Congress in both Houses does not come to the table as honest brokers IMHO but to see what they can pull over on Obama and the Democrats to make sure only GOP ideas see the light of day.  They have totally missed the significance of the results of the November election where President Obama received 53% of the vote and Romney ironically received 47%.  You couldn't make that up -- poetic justice has been served.   The GOP lost big time including in the Senate where they only had ten seats to defend and the Democrats 23 seats and yet the GOP lost two of those ten seats.  The American people spoke and told the Republicans including in the House where 1 million more voted for Democrats that they wanted both parties to work together.  Obviously the GOP did not get the message.  Now the House GOP won't even do their Constitutional duty to be the home of the budget.  Do you want to know why?

Ever heard of the 'Hastert Rule?'  I didn't until recently -- talk about an idiotic and stupid rule out of the GOP Conference -- this one takes the cake -- guess it is their version of filibuster:
The majority of the majority is a governing principle (not a legal procedure) used by Republican Speakers of the House of Representatives since the mid-1990's to effectively limit the power of the minority party to bring bills up for a vote on the floor of the house.[1 Under the majority of the majority doctrine the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives will not allow a vote on a bill to take place unless the majority of the majority party supports the bill.[2] This is sometimes referred to as the “Hastert Rule”,[3] as its introduction is widely credited to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (1999-2007); however, Newt Gingrich, who directly preceded Hastert as Speaker (1995-1999), followed the same rule.[4] Hastert was vocal in his support of the rule stating that his job was "to please the majority of the majority."[5]
In practical terms this keeps the minority party from passing bills with the assistance of a small number of members of the majority party. It takes 218 votes to pass a bill. Even when there are 218 votes to pass a bill, the rule prevents votes from taking place when those 218 votes do not include the majority of the majority party. If the Democrats are the minority party and the Republicans are the majority party, under the majority of the majority rule it would not be possible for 170 Democrats and 50 Republicans together to pass a bill, because 50 Republicans votes is far short of a majority of the majority party, so the Speaker would not allow a vote to take place.[6] As an example, if the Republican Party is the majority party and has 234 seats in Congress, it would take 118 (117+1) Republican votes in support of legislation before a vote could take place. With less than 118 Republican votes the legislation would be blocked, even if 218 or more votes could be found between the two parties. 
discharge petition signed by 218 members (or more) from any party is the only way to force consideration of a bill or resolution that does not have support of a majority of the majority. However, discharge petitions are rarely successful, as a member of the majority party defying their party's leadership by signing a discharge petition can expect retribution from the leadership.
Thought the comments of the last three Speaker's were telling:
Dennis Hastert (Speaker from 1999 - 2007): "On occasion, a particular issue might excite a majority made up mostly of the minority. Campaign finance is a particularly good example of this phenomenon. [But] the job of speaker is not to expedite legislation that runs counter to the wishes of the majority of his majority."[5] 
Nancy Pelosi (2007 - 2011): "I have to take into consideration something broader than the majority of the majority in the Democratic Caucus."[7] 
John Boehner (2011 -): "I’m not interested in passing something with mostly Democrat votes."[8]
Out of three Speakers only the Democrat Speaker Pelosi believes as Speaker she should represent everyone not just Democrats so she did not adhere to the so-called 'Hastert Rule' which Republican Speakers try to follow 100%.  If Boehner strays from the rule, Hastert is there to take him on for ignoring the 'Hastert' Rule.

That is no way to govern the people's House of Representatives where the members are the House are elected and sent to DC to work for us the American people not the Republican Party.

The wealthy donors led by the Koch Brothers, Tea Party, and Social Conservatives are all totally opposed to anything the President offers and refuse to even consider compromise as they adhere to their 'my way or no way' rule which is destroying the very foundation of the Republican Party.  When President Eisenhower integrated schools, it was the Democrats who opposed him.  Today, it would be Republicans because that white, southern male racist mentality exists in a lot of today's Republican elected officials.  They will toss a bone to a minority or woman but that is about it.  It is a white male dominated party who have the respect of a gnat for women and their issues.  Truly believe that if Hillary had been elected, she would have had the same problem as President Obama as some in the GOP consider women the lowest of the minorities.

Fox News has been the willing participant to trash this President and outright lie about him as we have been witnessing.  Ethics in Journalism doesn't seem to apply to Fox News as well as some others.  They wouldn't know what ethics was if it hit them in the face.  Many members of the media along with the Republicans in the Congress and in the States will say and do anything to make this President look bad whether true or not  the expense of the American people and the Country.

As a lifelong Republican I find this whole group of Republicans in the Congress beyond disgusting and frankly reprehensible that they put the Party over what is good for the Country because they want big donors, lobbyists, and hard right Tea Party on their side as they are afraid to be primaried and lose their job.  They have the backbone of a wet noodle.  Do they not understand that a lot of us would roll up our sleeves and open our checkbooks if they would just stand up and say no to the hard right taking the party back to center right where common sense prevails?  A good start would be kicking out the Koch Brothers with the libertarian/John Birchers in toe, the Tea Party obstructionists who only know the word 'no' along the 2nd amendment militia types for starters but chances of that happening are zero, zip, nada as the GOP stays hard right IMHO.

If the Republican Party refuses to get some common sense, they will be relegated to the trash heap of history which will show they went too far hard right to where they could not govern.  America is a diverse country but this bunch of Republicans cannot seem to grasp that very idea as they pander to the wealthy and the hard right.

Any Democrat wants help in a Congressional race in 2014, sign me up.  This bunch of House Republicans needs to see the unemployment line as well as some in the Senate starting with Minority Leader McConnell.  Can you say Ashley Judd?

Can the GOP be rebuilt?  From what I am seeing, I have my doubts as they are doubling down on stupid.  That leaves a viable new party to rise from the ashes.  The GOP did it with the Whigs, but are there leaders out there today willing to put up with the garbage out of the mouths of Fox News talk people, Rush, Hannity, and the big donors like Koch in order to stand up for all Americans?  Are they willing to go out of a limb to provide those of us who are long time Republicans a Party with common sense ideas on how to make America a better place for everyone not just the wealthy and the hard right?  Are they willing to work and compromise with Democrats and Independents in order to make this Country better?  If not, the Republican Party is going to start seeing an exodus after what we are seeing out of our elected officials in Congress.

Must admit that I am shocked that the Republican didn't learn one thing from the election when they were repudiated big time.  Stubborn like a mule does describe this group in of Republicans in the House.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas is a Time to Reflect

This will be my last post for before Christmas as I am getting ready for the trip to Denver to spend with the two granddaughters.  Rotating Christmas now with our grandchildren getting older.

Decided today I was going to answer the Mike Huckabee's of the Country who seem to believe only their evangelical churches have all the answers and the rest of us are not 'true' believers.  Former AR Governor Mike Huckabee has been trying to walk back his comments after a backlash on what he said about the massacre in CT, but IMHO his true feelings haven't changed as I see the same thing out of other evangelical leaders:
During his own Fox News program over the weekend, Huckabee also spoke about the massacre, tying the supposed removal of God from society to the increased instances of violence. "We’ve escorted [God] right out of our culture and marched him off the public square," Huckabee said, according to Inquisitr. "And then we express our surprise that a culture without him actually reflects what it has become.”
The Huckabees of the world can talk all the want about the reason that all these massacres are happening is taking God out of our lives.  Just because someone doesn't attend Church, doesn't mean they don't believe.  To emphasize prayer being taken out of the schools was the reason for the shootings shows a vengeful God of the Old Testament not the loving God of the New Testament.

As a Christian, I am sick and tired of the hard right acting like they are the only one's who believe in God and  if you don't believe like them, then you cannot be a 'true' Christian.  When the Supreme Court ruled that organized prayer in the schools was against the Constitution using "freedom of religion," the hard right evangelical community missed the interpretation preferring to get publicity and donations for their campaign to put prayer back in schools.  Prayer never was removed from schools -- it was organized prayer by the administrators that was stopped.  It didn't stop schools from having a moment of silence where students could choose to say a prayer or not.

You cannot remove God from a building or a Town Square no matter what you do because I believe he is everywhere and in our hearts.  My biggest problem with the religious hard right today is that evangelicals in so many areas refuse to acknowledge other people's faith and beliefs.  They want clones of what they believe which was brought home to me right here in Norman several years ago:

When I was the Vice Chair of the County GOP, the local Parade Committee decided to rename the Christmas Parade to the Holiday Parade to be inclusive as we have many different religions and beliefs with students and professors from all the world here in Norman.  The uproar coming from the evangelical community was so far over the top that I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I was dumb enough to write a letter to the editor saying I didn't see a problem as we are a diverse community and not having 'Christmas' in the name didn't change the parade.  I was not prepared for the nastiest that ensued with a lot of it coming out of the faculty of the local Christian school.  Some of the threats were so far over the top, they were reported.

That's when I learned to know members of the City Council who had no input into the name change but like me didn't see a problem.  The instigator of all the hate towards us was the same person who was the distributor for bracelets "Keep Christ in Christmas" all over the Country.  Put 2+2 together and you have the obvious answer for the uproar.

Imagine between told someone wants you to die and go to hell over a name change of a parade -- finally disconnected my phone but looking back that may have been the start of my splitting with the Republican Party because I couldn't believe what happened next.

Our County Party had a float in the parade and because the theme was about toys, I thought it would be a great idea to have our float based on Toys for Tots and then give all the toys on the float to the Marine Corps Reserve for their campaign.  Because of my standing up for other religions who wanted to participate in a Holiday Parade, the County GOP members did not donate very many gifts so I was approached by four businessmen who wanted to give money anonymously to buy the toys.  That soon grew and I had $1,200 to spend on toys along with smaller donations which added up to $1,500 after I rounded it off with a donation of my own.

I ended up on local TV as I was coming out of a  toy store for an interview why I thought the name change didn't matter and I told the reporter I didn't think changing the name of a parade was going to  change anyone's belief in Christmas and the birth of Christ.  Went on to tell him it was only the name of a parade that hundreds of kids look forward to every year.  Toy store gave me a 20% discount on everything as they had been following the story and then the manager threw in two dolls with outfits and several trucks as her donation.

Our float was a real hit with the kids with some asking to throw them a toy instead of candy.  After the parade, people came up to me to thank me for standing up and then made donations for more toys to purchase after the parade.  A week later I was still getting checks for toys from people of the community which I turned over to the Toys for Tots campaign.  I received donations of toys from several different religious groups who do not celebrate Christmas after being on the news.  As one student from the Jewish Center on campus told me -- this is about children having a toy to open on Christmas morning.  It is about the children not the adults and then thanked me for standing up.

After I delivered the presents to the Marine Corps Reserve across from Tinker AFB and saw the disbelief on their faces that we had so many toys and then turned over the checks, I knew I had done the right thing in not pulling our float out of the parade,   When I first contacted them I figured a couple bags of toys, but it was much more than that as they kept taking bags of toys out of my car and then I handed them checks for $432 to buy more toys.  All the toys we collected were distributed back to the children of our County who would not have had a Christmas present.  I told the Marines that the toys and donations came from people of different faiths in Norman.  The Lt told me that they had read about me in the paper and how I stood up for the children as the Religious Right wanted to cancel the parade because of a name change.

The following year the parade committee caved to use both Holiday and Christmas in the name but the parade is the same no matter what the name -- people in the parade pass out candy to children as the floats go by, the children dance to the music from the marching bands, and then get so excited when the last float with Santa Claus appears.  The parade is about how much the children enjoy the parade not what the parade is named.  .

When my term was over, I never ran again and the GOP never did a Toys for Tots campaign again -- their own self importance ruled the day not what you could do for children.  It was a lesson I will never forget.

If I had one moment in my life where I stood up and said enough is enough out of the Republican religious right, it is that moment where I wrote a Letter to the Editor which I knew would set off a firestorm but I wanted to help rescue a parade for the children.  In the end, the children won because they had presents to open and the Scrooges of the GOP lost.  I would do the same thing all over again.

The massacre of innocent children, teachers, and administrators in CT followed by the ridiculous and stupid comments from the hard right religious leaders along with the gun lobby, made me think back to that parade and all the hate that was spewed at volunteers, city leaders, and myself for a name change.  It is the same mentality I see today in people like Huckabee that want to blame everything on lack of God in buildings, in parks, or in town squares where you cannot put up a manager scene on city property.  Churches put up manger scenes all over the country and so do private property owners.  God is everywhere and how a person chooses to worship is a private matter.

This Christmas season is a time to pray for all the families who have lost family members to gun violence this year and pray that the cycle of these mass killings come to end by giving our elected leaders the courage to stand up and do something about getting so many violent weapons off the streets.  Pray this Christmas season that the hate rhetoric stops and we come together as a Nation.

At this Christmas season, remember all the children and hug your kids and grandchildren a little tighter and thank God for every day you have with them.  My three children are grown but it doesn't mean I stop worrying about their well being and happiness.  Have three grandchildren who I love deeply and Thank God for them and their parents every day when I wake up in the morning.

God Bless and have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

President Barack Obama's Speech at Memorial Service at Newtown, CT

This excerpt from the President's speech which he wrote is asking the tough questions all of us have to be thinking.  If you are honest with yourself, you will agree that we are not doing enough to protect all our children across America.  Time our voices stopped being silent and became involved in taking our Country back to where you feel safe to go to church, send your kids to school, and walk in a mall.  Each of us has a part in making America safer.

Time we all start by contacting our elected representatives in Congress and State Government to tell them to support reasonable gun control.  It is way past time to act so TODAY is the beginning of a turn-around in the gun culture of America IMHO.  The video of the full speech is below these comments from the President that are an excerpt of the transcript of his speech:
"And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children. 
This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?
Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?  
Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return? 
Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? 
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims. 
And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose -- much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time. 
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.
We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this."
When I watched this speech last night, I saw a President who was not only a President but a Father who did  not shy away from tackling the hard road ahead to get some common sense gun restrictions that most Americans agree need to happen.  The President took on the gun lobby and those in Congress who refuse to vote for any gun restriction legislation.  The task ahead is huge but I believe in my heart this President is up to that task and it is up to all of us to support him on sensible gun legislation.  The President spoke from his heart last night in this speech and has garnered respect of so many Americans:

Read the following and ask yourself why the Assault Weapons ban was allowed to expire and has not been reinstated:
What Law Enforcement Says About Assault Weapons  
Following several high-profile mass shootings and attacks on law enforcement involving military-style assault weapons, Congress enacted the federal Assault Weapons Ban in 1994. The ban expired on September 13, 2004 without any consideration or action by Congress, despite the pleas of law enforcement officials across the country. Today, our nation's police find themselves increasingly outgunned by criminals armed with sophisticated firearms and detachable, high-capacity ammuniton magazines (the manufacture of magazines holding more than 10 rounds was prohibited under the federal ban). The following timeline examines law enforcement's experience with assault weapons since the federal ban lapsed:

March 2, 2011—"There is no reason that a peaceful society based on the rule of law needs its citizenry armed with 30-round [ammunition] magazines," states Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck during a news conference." Such magazines transform a gun "into a weapon of mass death rather than a home protection-type device," Beck notes.

February 26, 2011—Referring to increasing seizures of semiautomatic assault weapons that are trafficked in from outside states,  Brockton (Massachusetts) Police Department Captain Emanuel Gomes says, "We're literally outgunned. You're talking about the kind of firepower that can go through vehicles, through vests, and that can literally go through a house."

January 16, 2011—After one of his officers is ambushed by a teenager wielding a semiautomatic AR-15 and fired at 26 times, Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty tells The Oklahoman, "There are just more and more assault rifles out there, and it is becoming a bigger threat to law enforcement each day. They are outgunned."  Citty states that he sees "no practical reason" why a civilian would need an AR-15 or similiar military-style weapon.

Read More of the Timeline at CSGV.org
Have our members of Congress and State Legislatures not been listening to law enforcement since the Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004?  Yet, they listen to the gun lobby who helps fund their campaigns or horror of horrors, they get someone to run against them who is more pro-gun.  Absolutely despicable and time to vote them out in 2014 since they put gun ownership of high powered weapons and large clips over the safety of the American people all for their selfish interest.

We mourn with the parents, siblings, children who lost family members in this tragedy and pledge to get behind the elected officials who are set on making America safer.  We heard the President's call last night and time for all of us to act as One Nation Under God to right this ship called America.  We owe it to our children, grandchildren, and future generations to make America a safer Country.

God Bless President Obama and the United States of America as we begin the long road to return common sense policy to our Nation.  

God be with the families and friends who lost so much when a madman shot and killed 26 innocent teachers and young students at Sandy Hook.  Nothing can fill the void they are experiencing, but they need to know that they are in the hearts and prayers of all Americans.  We can honor their memory by passing reasonable gun legislation and start listening to law enforcement.

Time for All Americans to Join Together to Work on Sensible Gun Legislation

NRA Members are breaking from their leadership on what needs to be done for common sense gun control but will Pro-Gun members of Congress listen?  

This morning as I was viewing comments coming from the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT,  I was struck by the last sentence of this paragraph from Think Progress:
In the aftermath of the tragedy, gun safety advocates have called for Congress to vote on banning assault weapons and high capacity clips, closing terrorism loopholes, and requiring background checks for all gun sales. Yet the NRA has yet to issue a public statement about the elementary school shooting. One wonders if will listen to the views of its supporters, or continue to represent the business interests of gun manufacturers, once it does. 
Then there is also this about gun manufacturers:
Connecticut has a statewide ban on certain types of assault weapons, but in the decade since the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban, gun manufacturers have devised numerous ways to get around state bans like the one in Connecticut by making small alterations. 
Was ending the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004 so manufacturers could make more money and put more of that money into the gun lobby headed by the NRA and GOA?  Is greed the answer to the high capacity clips they are selling because those clips could never be used for hunting -- there would be no deer left?  When I read the article last night about the gun culture surrounding Newtown, it sent chills up my spine.  Some of these gun owners scare the living daylights out of me.  It is one thing to use a shotgun and/or rifle to go hunting but it is another to have a high powered assault rifle with some holding clips up to 100.  As my son said this morning -- go after ammunition which is not protected by the 2nd amendment.

This headline shocked me last night, In Town at Ease With Its Firearms, Tightening Gun Rules Was Resisted, which described the gun culture of Newtown, CT:
People in the rural, hilly areas around Newtown, Conn., are used to gunfire. In one woodsy stretch, southeast of downtown, the Pequot Fish and Game Club and the Fairfield County Fish and Game Protective Association, where members can fish in ponds and hunt pheasant, lie within a mile of each other, and people who live nearby generally call them good neighbors. 
But in the last couple of years, residents began noticing loud, repeated gunfire, and even explosions, coming from new places. Near a trailer park. By a boat launch. Next to well-appointed houses. At 2:20 p.m. on one Wednesday last spring, multiple shots were reported in a wooded area on Cold Spring Road near South Main Street, right across the road from an elementary school. 
Yet recent efforts by the police chief and other town leaders to gain some control over the shooting and the weaponry turned into a tumultuous civic fight, with traditional hunters and discreet gun owners opposed by assault weapon enthusiasts, and a modest tolerance for bearing arms competing with the staunch views of a gun industry trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which has made Newtown its home. 
The place that witnessed one of the worst mass killings in United States history on Friday, leaving 20 schoolchildren and 8 adults dead, is a bucolic New England town comfortable with its firearms, and not an obvious arena for the nation’s debate over gun control. But the legislative battle right here shows how even the slightest attempts to impose restrictions on guns can run into withering resistance, made all the more pointed by the escalation in firepower. 
“Something needs to be done,” said Joel T. Faxon, a hunter and a member of the town’s police commission, who championed the shooting restrictions. “These are not normal guns, that people need. These are guns for an arsenal, and you get lunatics like this guy who goes into a school fully armed and protected to take return fire. We live in a town, not in a war.”  
Read More at NY Times  

There seems to be a common theme developing from this tragedy that is splitting hunters from the NRA and GOA gun lobby.  No one in this Country is trying to take someone's guns they use for hunting or defending their homes or even target shooting.  The majority of gun owners in a poll don't understand the big clips holding up to a hundred bullets any better then the non-gun owners.  My Dad had a shotgun and a rifle to go hunting.  Finally we are seeing a move to reinstate the assault weapons ban once again along with getting high capacity clips off the market:
Meanwhile, lawmakers plan to introduce a renewed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Advocates have also called on states to post their mental health records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and additional legislation requiring full background check on all gun transactions. Polls show that even NRA members back these reforms. 
Who are these 31 Senators who refused to go on Meet the Press?  I am still looking after being to 11 websites.  Will post an update when I find it out the names of the 31 Senators:
Yet, even as right-wing pundits continued to name gun control as a reason that the killer took so many lives, producers at NBC’s Meet the Press were unable to get a single pro-gun senator to appear on the show the Sunday after the tragedy. All 31 gun-loving senators who will have seats in the new Congress were invited, according to executive producer Betsy Fischer Martin. 
Think it can safely be said that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was one of them but he was on a hunting trip this weekend and reason for his unavailability.  The Senator told the Joe Scarborough show this morning that everything is on the table.  Envision this would have been a Teddy Roosevelt response by the Senator.  Called his office and thanked him for his comments on Morning Joe.  The aide I talked to was very nice -- you could tell he agreed with the Senator's stance.
Manchin’s comments followed Joe Scarborough’s declaration of support for gun safety. The former Florida Congressman received the NRA’s highest ratings over his four terms in Congress, but on Monday he opened Morning Joe with a monologue in which he admitted that the tragedy “changed everything.” Scarbrough called for a comprehensive approach that addresses what he called “the toxic brew of a violent popular culture, a growing mental health cris, and the proliferation of combat-styled weapons”:
SCARBOROUGH: I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington’s old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. Entertainment moguls don’t have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across america. And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-styled, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want. It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas. It’s time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our school yards than putting together their next fund-raiser.
Joe Manchin: Time to act on guns 
Posted by Rachel Weiner on December 17, 2012 at 8:40 am 
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), a conservative Democrat and National Rifle Association member, said Monday that after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, it’s time to discuss new regulations on assault weapons.  
“I dont know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle,” Manchin told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”  ”I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.” 
Twenty children and six adults were killed Friday by a man firing a military-style semiautomatic weapon. The massacre, Manchin said, “changed the dialogue, and it should move beyond dialogue. We need action.” 
“Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered,” the senator said. “Anybody that’s a proud gun owner, anybody that’s a proud member of the NRA, we’re also proud parents. We’re also proud grandparents.” 
He said the gun lobby should be part of that conversation. Manchin got an “A” rating and an endorsement from the NRA in both the 2010 special election and 2012 general election. In a memorable campaign ad, he shot a copy of a cap-and-trade bill with a rifle.  
“I want to call all our friends in NRA, and sit down,” he said. “Bring them into it. They have to be at the table. We all have to.”  
On Twitter Monday morning, Manchin emphasized his desire for action:
Senator Joe Manchin@Sen_JoeManchin
This awful massacre has changed where we go from here. Our conversation should move beyond dialogue.
  17 Dec 12
Can truthfully say that former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough speaks for me on the issue of gun control.  Believe there are a lot of us who have evolved on the issue over the years as we have seen what guns in the wrong hands can do.  Innocent people are getting killed every day but looks like this tragedy and murder of 20 innocent children is the tipping point with a majority of Americans to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban and stop the sale of the large capacity clips for civilian use.  No civilian should have a military/law enforcement type weapon and magazine.

We are protected by our military including the National Guard which is the organized Constitutional militia.  We do not need a citizen militia -- same type of militia that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were members.  The unauthorized militia frankly scare me with their rhetoric against minorities.  Many of their websites remind you of Nazi's not Americans.  These sites give you the creeps when researching.

Then there is this from the morons of 'hate speech' who objected to the President's speech last night being carried when there was a Sunday Night Football game on the TV.  I am this huge football fan but I watched the President's speech and the Memorial Service on MSNBC which I thought was much more important to find out exactly what the President had to say.  These people couldn't just say they were mad that the President interrupted their viewing of the football game between the 49's and Patriots, they had to go off in using derogatory language against a sitting President.  How much of this language has been perpetrated by the hate emanating from conservative pundits and talk radio/TV?
“Take That "N....." Off The TV, We Wanna Watch Football!”: Idiots Respond To NBC Pre-Empting Sunday Night Football Timothy BurkeNBC pre-empted the first quarter of tonight's 49ers-Patriots game to show President Obama's speech at the Newtown memorial for victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. As you might expect, many football fans didn't take kindly to this. (So, too, some Bob's Burgers fans.) Here are those idiots, led by someone who claims to be a Division II football player in the state of Alabama. [Update: The Birmingham News reports he was a walk-on long snapper and is no longer on the team.

From Salon comes the five examples of the hard right and their not facing reality on guns -- same hard right that fosters the hatred against the President:
Here we offer five examples of the stunning lack of compassion and twisted logic expressed by right-wing leaders in response to a slaughter of children by the son of a gun enthusiast. 
1. Ann Coulter: Everybody should carry a concealed firearm.  The killings took place in the morning, and by 11:07 a.m., Ann Coulter, the publicity seeker whose big, bad mouth gives the little black dress a bad name, was touting concealed-carry laws as the answer to America’s massacre problem. Coulter’s first tweet on the subject came so soon after the killings, that there was no definitive count yet of the number of people who had perished: ”Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws. - bit.ly/VGDNBo
Well, that seemed to do the trick for a woman who never found a tragedy she couldn’t exploit, for by 11:30, she tweeted this: “I’m on Hannity radio today, talking about the 1 public policy that provably reduces the incidence of, and deaths from, mass shootings.” 
And that, boys and girls, is how to work the Twitter machine for self-promotion on the backs of slaughtered children. 
It’s not the first time that Coulter has expressed her love for guns in the wake of murder. At a Florida church in 2007, I heard Coulter describe the assassination of a doctor who performed abortions as “a procedure performed on him with a rifle.” 
2. Mike Huckabee: Massacre the result of church-state separation.Apparently, former Arkansas governor and pastor Mike Huckabee thinks that if only the Constitution had been rewritten to allow for the mandatory worship of his God in public schools, the massacre would not have happened. It’s unclear from Huckabee’s remarks, made on the Fox News Channel’s Your World show (Huckabee also has his own show on the cable channel), whether he was saying that if only killer Adam Lanza had gotten religion during his public school education, he wouldn’t have killed, or if Huckabee was suggesting that God was punishing a public school for not allowing organized worship in the classroom. 
“We ask why there is violence in our schools but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee told host Neil Cavuto. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”
Media Matters has the clip
3. Bryan Fischer: God let massacre happen in public school because he’s not wanted there. Bryan Fischer, the noxious radio-show host and spokesperson for the anti-gay hate group known as the American Family Association, put the blame for the massacre squarely on the Supreme Court, which outlawed organized public school prayer in 1962, as seen in this clip captured by Right Wing Watch. 
“I think God would say to us, ‘Hey, I’d be glad to protect your children, but you’ve got to invite me back into your world first,’” Fischer told his listeners. “‘I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted; I am a gentleman.’” Fischer continued in his imagined voice of God. So much of a gentleman is Fischer’s God that the Almighty would await an invitation before rushing in to protect 20 children from being gunned down. Thank goodness the police and firefighters who responded were so terribly rude. 
4. Glenn Beck: Killings caused by soul problems. Taking to his Twitter stream, Glenn Beck was quick to tweet, at 12:24 p.m.: “Our communities are suffering and it is because of the ever expanding lack of self control & personal responsibility.” 
Tweeter Val Farrelly replied: “It’s nothing to do with self control and everything to do with a lack of gun control.” 
Another Beck gem about the shootings: “It is not the gun. It is the soul.” 
5. Louie Gohmert: If only Sandy Hook principal had an assault rifle, everyone would have been saved. Speaking to host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, the Republican congressman from Texas let loose with this, as transcribed by the Huffington Post:
“Chris, I wish to God she had had an M4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out … and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,” Gohmert said.
The M4 is the rifle favored by the U.S. military; you can view its specs on the site of its manufacturer, Colt. Yeah, that’ll fix everything.
This is only a sampling of what has been said by the hard right gun rights community.  Huckabee tried to walk his comments back but then I think made them worse on his show on Fox yesterday:

On Friday, Neil Cavuto asked me, “Where was God?” And I said that for 50 years, we’ve systematically attempted to have God removed from our schools, our public activities. But then at the moment we have a calamity, we wonder where He was. 
Well, the predictable left lit up the airwaves and blogosphere with a vile and vicious reaction and jumped to the conclusion that I said that if we had prayer in school, the shooting wouldn’t have happened. Well, I said nothing of the sort. 
It’s far more than just taking prayer or Bible reading out of the schools. It’s the fact that people sue a city so we aren’t confronted with a manger scene or a Christmas carol. That lawsuits are filed to remove a cross that’s a memorial to fallen soldiers. Churches and Christian-owned businesses are told to surrender their values under the edict of government orders to provide tax-funded abortions pills. We carefully and intentionally stop saying things are sinful. We call them ‘disorders.’ Sometimes, we even say they’re normal. And to get to where that we have to abandon bedrock moral truths, then we’ll ask well, where was God. 

And I respond that, as I see it, we’ve escorted him right out of our culture and we’ve marched him off the public square and then we express our surprise that a culture without him actually reflects what it’s become. As soon as the tragedy unfolded, I think God did show up. He showed up in the lives of teachers who put their lives between a gunman and their students. He showed up in policemen who rushed into the school not knowing if they would be met with a barrage of bullets. He showed up in the form of hugs and tears for children, parents and teachers who would live through the slaughter. He showed up at the overflowed church services where people lit candles and prayed. And he showed up at the White House where the president invoked His name and quoted from His book. And in a few days or weeks, we’ll probably ask God to excuse himself from view and we will announce, in our arrogant pride, that we’re now enlightened and educated and we’ve evolved beyond needing him. And somebody’s going to suggest that we pass a law to stop all this kind of thing. 
I might want to point out that we don’t have to pass a new law. There’s one that’s been around a while that works if we teach it and observe it: Thou shalt not kill. Oh, there are about nine others. But to tell you about ‘em would require bringing God back and we know how unacceptable that might be.
I don’t know… It seems to me that at a time like this, an ordained Baptist minister like Huckabee might be thinking more about reaching out and doing his best to comfort the afflicted. After all, some of those directly affected by this massacre might well be the kinds of people who don’t believe in having religion or religious symbols in a public square and support President Obama’s mandate that contraception be covered by health insurance. Instead, Huckabee is doubling down on his evangelizing – and sounding downright resentful while he's at it.  
Read More at Newshounds
The bottom line is that we can no longer put our heads in the sand and bow to the gun lobby by staying silent.  Too many people have been killed with legally obtained high powered guns with large magazines.  It is legal to buy a high powered rifle with large capacity gun magazines from a non-registered gun dealer and not have to have a background check or anything recorded.  Those rules put in place on gun/ammunition sales are only for registered gun dealers.  Even some of those have been watered down by the Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures over the years to where the rules are a joke.  The joke time is over and many Americans like me are demanding action out of their elected officials for common sense gun control.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Will Congress Pass Reasonable Gun Legislation or will the NRA/GOA win again?

This morning I attended my grandson's Christmas program at St. Joseph's where the pre-K were brought on stage to join with the older students to sing two songs.  He had been practicing at home for this morning and was so happy.  As I was sitting there watching the Christmas pageant put on by K-5th graders, I was reminded of what happened in Newtown, CT, on Friday which is too horrific for words.  No one except a deranged person walks into a school and shoots children five and six years old along with their teachers.

Know that increased gun laws would not have prevented this tragedy since the guns were legally obtained by his Mother who he shot before heading to the school, but the fact the gun lobby of NRA and GOA came out with such ridiculous statements talking about arming teachers is ludicrous.  They don't have the training and you cannot have a loaded gun in the classroom.  What happens if the teacher leaves her class and a student gets the loaded guns and shoots?

These comments from the Gun Owners of America (GOA) made my blood boil:
"Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands. Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones."
— Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, responding to Friday’s tragedy.

Attitudes like GOA and NRA leadership doesn't even match that of a lot of its members who have more common sense in their little finger then leadership of either organization.  I found this editorial this afternoon which I have excerpted from Politicususa which details what so many of us are finding so hard to understand why the NRA and GOA are pushing guns for everyone with basically no laws.  Please visit the site to read the entire editorial.

Every society develops characteristic features based on values, accepted social practices, and patterns of knowledge shared by people in a place or time they pass on to succeeding generations. Culture includes customary beliefs, social norms, and material traits of a group that identifies a society whether for good or bad outcomes. Over four years ago, conservatives and gun-rights advocates began taking advantage of hatred for an African American man the people elected as President to advance the culture of guns by claiming Americans should fear the President ‘s secret intention to disarm the nation. In part, the right promoted the concept that individualism and freedom to express that individualism through gun ownerships has helped divide the nation and prevent communal principles that are necessary for a successful society. 
The mindset among so-called individualists that their right to keep and bear arms defines what it means to be an American was embraced early on by conservatives guilty of promoting the idea that there is a movement afoot to rob them of their individualism by taking away their guns. 
The tragic and senseless slaughter of 20 children and six adults in Connecticut yesterday is a reminder that America’s culture of guns, when coupled with the antagonism from conservatives that gun ownership is under threat, contributes to divisiveness preventing America from moving away from  the Wild West mentality plaguing our culture. A firearm is an inanimate object, and not in-and-of-itself guilty of crime, and the shooter in Connecticut obviously suffered from a mental disorder to open fire on innocent 5 to 10 year old children, but if he had not been heavily armed, the tragedy may have been prevented. 
The concept of a well-armed populace is being pushed across America and reinforced by ALEC-inspired Stand Your Ground laws with fervent support by the National Rifle Association, and despite the rise in gun violence, a contingent of conservative gun rights groups promoting individualism is contributing to the proliferation of guns in America. The move to arm every man, woman, and child in America has inspired legislators to transform so-called “gun free zones” into war zones based on an individual’s right to keep and bear arms; even in innocuous environments like elementary schools and churches. 
Shortly after news of the tragedy in Connecticut, evangelical maniac and alleged follower of Christ, Bryan Fischer, commented on social media outlet Twitter that Shooters attack an elementary school in CT. – another “gun-free zone.” Makes children sitting ducks.” 
Leave it to a sick bible-thumping, conservative mind like Fischer to politicize a tragedy, which is precisely the argument conservatives use to attack gun-control advocates in the wake of tragedies like the one in Connecticut on Friday. Instead of addressing the proliferation of guns in America, every new tragedy inspires gun advocates to expand public areas where Americans can carry weapons. It appears their goal is to eventually eliminate gun free zones to get America back to its rugged individualistic roots as a “gunfighter nation” making any attempt at reasonable gun-control legislation impossible. For many, many Americans, and especially  to 2nd Amendment devotees, any gun-control is acutely un-American. 
Gun-rights activists point to the 2nd Amendment as proof it is a right to be armed and dangerous at all times, and in all places, however, they omit the phrase, and reason, the founders included the amendment in the Constitution to begin with; “A well regulated Militia,” that for over two hundred years has meant the Army, Navy, and the Marine Corps, has shifted to mean an unregulated gun-toting populace. It is an unfortunate omission that has reinforced what so many in this nation believe; their right to own and carry arms supersedes reasonable restrictions on weapons typical of battlefields, but are becoming prevalent in homes, cars, and public places and if conservatives have their way, schools, churches, and shopping malls as gun-free zones will be eliminated to make every American a member of an unregulated militia.
Read More at Politicususa

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (AP) — Hours before a gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school, police in Oklahoma arrested a teenager for allegedly plotting to attack his high school and trying to recruit classmates to help him.
Police in Bartlesville, a community about 40 miles north of Tulsa, arrested 18-year-old Sammie Eaglebear Chavez shortly before 5 a.m. Friday on charges of conspiring to cause serious bodily harm or death. He remained in Washington County Jail on Saturday on $1 million bond, and he is due in court Jan. 11.   
Read More:  The Oklahoman

Doubt if Chavez is going to be leaving detention any time soon with a $1M bond, but it is scary to think they had make it an order that he stay away from Bartlesville schools and weapons.  Still has not been realized what they found at his home when they did a search warrant and made an arrest early Friday morning:
Police arrested Chavez at his home in the 100 block of Southwest Adeline Avenue about 4:50 a.m. Friday on a warrant signed by Special Judge John Gerkin, Bartlesville Police Capt. Jay Hastings said. 
Chavez, who was arraigned Friday afternoon in court, is in the Washington County Detention Center. As a condition of his bond, DeLapp ordered Chavez to stay away from Bartlesville schools and from weapons. 
Read More at Tulsa World
If the Bartlesville incident wasn't enough in Oklahoma, last night it was released that someone left a loaded handgun in the bedroom where a three-year old could get the gun and shot and killed himself.  What is a loaded handgun doing within the reach of a little boy? 
Oklahoma 3-year-old dies in accidental shooting, authorities say 
This article from Alternet appeared this summer which shows five ways the laws can be changed and there is no confiscation of guns by Obama no matter how much the NRA, GOA, and the hard right say the Government wants to take their guns.  This is an outright lie and they know it, but it is good for gun sales.  When I saw the loophole for gun shows, I went through the roof.  If you don't buy from a registered gun dealer at a gun show there is no background check or anything else.  Then I learned Oklahoma is one of the states that still allows guns and ammunition to be bought on line.

Alternet has done the reasearch to come up with  five key issues that divide the LaPierres at the top of the NRA food chain from their 3 million (or 4 million, depending upon the press release that day) members:

1. Gun Show Loophole
Currently, in over 30 states, one can walk into a local gun show and purchase a weapon from a “private seller,” who does not have to conduct any kind of background check. For example, a .50 caliber sniper rifle, which can take down a helicopter. The NRA has fought to block any and all efforts to pass a federal law closing this infamous gun show loophole, as well as any efforts in the states. (But remember, they are anti-crime!) 

Timothy McVeigh was once one of these “private sellers” on the gun-show circuit, and everyone from the Columbine killers to members of Hezbollah have obtained firearms this way. Not surprisingly, just like most other sentient beings (including 85% of gun owners not in the NRA), 69% of NRA members, when polled by conservative Republican Frank Luntz, think this loophole should be closed. 

2. Terror Gap
If you are put on the U.S. terror watch list you cannot board an airplane. You can, however, still purchase guns and explosives. According to the Government Accountability Office, “From February 2004 through February 2010, 1,228 individuals on the watch list underwent background checks to purchase firearms or explosives; 1,119, or 91 percent, of these transactions were approved." 

NRA members understand this even if their leadership stubbornly tries to protect the gun-ownership rights of terrorists (but they’re patriots, I tell you!). Eighty-two percent of NRA members think this gap should be closed. 

3. Tiahrt Amendments
Named in honor of all-around clod, former Kansas Republican Congressman Todd Tiahrt, this is part of the NRA’s constant effort to hamper, harass and harangue any government effort to get to the bottom of how guns came to be used in a crime. These amendments, attached to federal spending bills, do their best to severely limit law enforcement's ability to access, use and share data that helps them enforce federal, state and local gun laws. 

Not surprisingly, while these are a big hit at NRA HQ and among those members of Congress so graced with their campaign contributions, 69% of their own members have come to the logical conclusion that this is a pretty bad idea, as have 74% of non-NRA gun owners who think there should be no barriers to information-sharing between federal agencies and police when it comes to gun crimes.

4. Reporting Lost and Stolen Guns

Supporting provisions requiring this would seem to be only common sense. But there is not much of that present among the NRA’s leadership. For example, the NRA has not only fought all efforts to make reporting lost or stolen guns to the police a requirement, but in Pennsylvania, where scores of cities and townships have picked up the slack by passing these measures themselves, the fine Americans and conservative-lawsuit-abuse haters at the NRA have actually threatened to sue to overturn these laws. Yes, you read that correctly, our friends who love state and local rights when it comes to allowing a kid to stay on their parent's healthcare policy until they are 26, don't feel so much the same way about guns.

NRA members would seem to disagree: 78% of them think this provision would be a good idea, as do 88% of non-NRA gun owners.

5. Sharing Records With National Instant Background Check System (NICS)
The Fix Gun Checks Act, modeled on ideas developed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, was introduced in the wake of the carnage at Tucson by, among others, Senator Chuck Schumer in March 2011. Besides closing the gun-show loophole (see #1), it also sought to fix a huge problem in the current federal background check system--a lax attitude by many states and some federal institutions in sharing records of those ineligible to buy firearms due to criminal record or mental health defects.

For example, Seung-Hui Cho, the mass murderer at Virginia Tech, had been declared mentally unfit by a judge in Virginia, and Jared Loughner had been rejected by the military for admitted drug use. Both of these men never should have been able to get anywhere near buying a gun legally. But these records were never shared.

The Fix Gun Checks Act would provide both incentives and penalties to states so that all these records are shared in as timely a manner as possible. But NRA leadership has gone to war with this bill, as with all other efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unfit. 

Yet, a poll of swing-state voters taken around the time the bill was introduced showed overwhelming support for this concept among gun owners. In Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Arizona and (most ironically, and sadly) Colorado, more than 82% of gun owners believed states should be fully funded in their efforts to share these records, while 91% supported requiring federal agencies to share information on potentially dangerous persons such as Loughner.
So there you have it. Five measures, none of which would violate the very broad reading of the Second Amendment recently given by ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; all of which would have an immediate impact in terms of making our families safer, in a country where 34 people are murdered by guns every day–or one Virginia Tech every single day of the year.   
Read More a Alternet
Time for change to take place and NO MORE LOOPHOLES that people could drive a Mack Truck through.  This is the time for common sense Americans to tell the NRA and GOA leadership to go pound salt along with some conservative commentators like Mike Huckabee, Rush, Ann Coulter, and others who comments made me ill to think people could be so callous.  The facts don't lie:
In just the past four years, the NRA has helped pass weaker gun restrictions in 37 states, making the weapons easier to own, carry and conceal. At the same time, the number of mass shootings has increased in America.
Don't you think it is time we acted responsibly to protect our children and every American citizen as much as humanly possible to strengthen some of the laws that have been weakened to the extent we might as well not have any gun laws which is what NRA and GOA leadership seem to want.   Time for those of us who oppose the stands of the NRA to quit being silent and speak out that we want reasonable gun laws.  A lot of us are not looking to take anyone's guns but there is no need for large magazines that can shoot off 30-100 rounds before reloading.  Close the Gun Show loophole and require a national database to be kept current.  If a soldier is dishonorably discharged, that should be in the data base.  If someone is treated for mental illness, add them to the national data base.  Not all military should be carrying guns.

Time to vote out anyone opposing reasonable gun laws because those do not hurt common sense gun owners.