It is tragically ironic that I had a post I had been working on for today, about “Gun Violence.”  It is about an on-line conversation I had with a co-commenter on the news blog “Huffington Post.  As I was preparing to publish it, came “Breaking News.”  “A Shooting At The Empire State Building. ”  Multiple victims, the shooter killed by police.  So then, I go on-line and see that headline, and then down the page, “Gun Violence Ravages Chicago Overnight.”  My thoughts went to why even bother?  With this, and the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the shooting at the Century Theater in Aurora, Colorado, I wondered, at the rate these incidents are occurring, their might not be anyone left to care.  But then I thought, in the meantime, there are many, many reasons to care.  There are thousands of victims, and their family members and friends, who care, and should be cared about.  Something must be done for them.  Something must be done for us.  For this reason, this is a discussion we need to have.

One more time, sadly, I say, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy, and their family members and friends.

I’ve posted previously, on this site, about gun violence, as it relates to racial and ethnic violence in our country.  In my post “Let’s Ban Guns,” I try to explain, based on my understanding, some of the factors that lead to that “particular” type of gun violence, the how’s, the why’s, as such.  But the actual picture is much broader than that.  Gun violence and it’s collateral consequences are impacting virtually every aspect of our lives.  As it is, there is no safe place, there is no safe time of day.  The stress of day-to-day living has become almost impossible to bear.  We’ve got to, somehow, find our way back from the edge.  I’m not sure when or where the tipping point is, but I fear it’s near.

Here is the post I had planned for today:

Do you remember this line from an old L&M cigarette commercial?  “They said it couldn’t be done, they said nobody could do it.”  Well, borrowing on that theme, it’s been said that, because of the widely divergent feelings about 2nd amendment rights, gun regulation, gun bans, we cannot have a cogent, civil discussion about gun violence and the collateral consequences of gun violence in America.

Then last Friday happened.

I’ll begin at the beginning.  There was an article in the Huffington Post titled:  “St. John The Baptist Parish Deputies Killed In Shootout West Of New Orleans.”

LaPlace, LA. — Two sheriff’s deputies in Louisiana were shot to death and two others were injured in an early morning shootout west of New Orleans, authorities said Thursday.  Five people – both male and female – are in custody, and two of them are hospitalized, authorities said.  They said both wounded deputies and both wounded suspects are expected to survive.”

After reading the article, and some of the comments posted by readers, I, under my Huffington Post user name,”puffingsomehost,” commented:

puffingsomehost:  The fact that so many on this thread don’t see the problem, of gun violence, easy access to guns, and how these things are affecting us, speaks volumes about our maturity as a society.  Our society has got to take a hard look at who we are, where we stand, and decide if this is how we want to live our lives.  There are so many out there worried about the economy and the rising debt, and how these things are going to affect our children and grandchildren’s futures, but the way things are going right now, there won’t be much of a future [for them], for us to worry about.”

Assault weapons, not assault weapons, does it matter?  Fully automatic, semi-automatic, does anyone think the survivors of this insanity, and their families, really care?  That argument is akin to picking “gnat s#!t out of pepper.  Does it really matter when so many are needlessly dying?”

“I want to say grow up America, but kids can’t raise themselves.  It’s time for the grown-ups in the room to stand up, step up, and put an end to this madness.”

Well, as you might imagine, I came under siege from the 2nd amendment advocates.  Here is an example:

(User name not displayed): ( First quoting me),  “Assault weapons, not assault weapons, does it matter?  Fully automatic, semi-automatic, does anyone think the survivors of this insanity and their families, really care?  That argument is akin to picking “gnat s#!t” out of pepper.  Does it really matter when so many are needlessly dying?  Then saying, “It matters if you intend to take away legitimate instruments of self-defense.  If you even dream of disarming lawful citizens, you’d best know what you’re talking about.  And until you understand how often guns are used to STOP crimes by ordinary people, then you are in no position to fully appreciate the debate.”

My response was:

puffingsomehost:  “Debate?  You’re kidding?  Are you paying any attention to your own comments?  You’re not having a debate, you’re just attempting to lecture people.  A debate raises and discusses different points of view.  A debate considers points of view different from one’s own.  So at which ever time you want to climb down from your soap box and have that discussion, I am more than willing to have it with you.  Until then, you can just ramble on.

Then, the unexpected began.

A commenter, user name “jetjocki” came on the thread with this comment:

jetjocki: (Quoting me), “A debate considers points of view different from one’s own.”  Jetjocki then says. A point of view about an issue that is not based on fundamental knowledge is of marginal value at best.  You cannot even have a valid debate, let alone work to a solution, no matter what your point of view is unless it is founded in fact.”

“What appears that you do not realize, is that lawful gun owners in general do know the facts, they know the weapons and their capabilities, they know the law, and they know how to solve the problem.  Yes sometimes we do get a little ‘preachy,’ but understand we are tired of blatant distortion of facts, insults to our intelligence, and people that have absolutely no knowledge pontificating what should be done.”

“So the bottom line is ‘do your homework first’ and then a great many of us will be quite happy to sit down and civilly work to a solution.  Fail to do that and the result should be expected.”

My response:

puffingsomehost:  “Jetjocki, the only fact I can discern from your statement, is ‘Yes sometimes we get a little preachy,’ and I take that as your fact because ‘you’ wrote it.  The rest is pure supposition.  I’ve never stated that there are not responsible gun owners, out there.”

“There is not distortion of the fact that, within the last few months, there has been multiple occasions of mass murder and individual murder, using guns.  These events occur in cities and rural areas, they involve people of all races and classes.”

“I’ll offer this for the sake of discussion, when is enough, enough?  How many people have to die before we even begin to rethink this thing?”

You have a solution, let’s discuss that.  I know nothing of your intelligence (nor you mine) so I cannot insult it.  I am a military veteran, who has lived around the world, I have owned weapons, so I do know something of what I speak.  Asking a question is not ‘pontification.’  I’m living my homework, and I’m happily ready ‘to sit down and civilly work to a solution.'”

From there, we actually began a conversation.

jetjocki:  (quoting me), “These events occur in cities and rural areas, they involve people of all races and classes.”  Jetjocki continues, “Factually true, but are you truely willing to openly discuss who the killers really are?

  • 50% of them come from a very clearly defined 2.3% segment of the population, another 20% come from another equally well-defined 1.7%.
  • 80% of them are previously convicted felons.  60% of them are on court ordered supervision at the time of the killing; out on bail, on probation, or on early release parole.
  • 40% of the guns they used were provided to them by family members and close friends that knew they are prohibited from gun ownership.

“My point is that the very first thing that must go is ‘political correctness’ and deal with the facts as they really are.  If we cannot do that we have no chance in solving the problem.”

puffingsomehost:  “I agree that ‘political correctness’ has got to go.  You can’t truly solve a problem without the truth.  Here’s hoping we can, one day soon, find a common place, where we can find some common ground.  We’re limited hereby space, but there should not be any limits on our desire to find solutions (and I’m sure it will take more than one) to this problem.  Thanks for the discussion.  Peace.

I thought our discussion was over, but jetjocki continued:

jetjocki:  “If you want to begin with what will be effective start with:

  1. Make illegal possession a summary offense with mandatory sentencing.  No bail, no plea bargains, no probation – guilty you do the time.
  2. Make a “straw” purchase or provide a known felon a gun and you suffer the same penalties as illegal possession.
  3. Require all medical practitioners and educators to report suspected mental conditions that should disqualify one from gun ownership just as they are currently required by law to report suspected physical or sexual child abuse without regard to privacy issues.  It must then be investigated and if warranted, brought before the courts for a temporary restraining order barring possession or ownership of guns.  Then after an appropriate hearing that must be held within 30 days the courts would have the authority to issue a permanent restraining order.  This simple process dies not involve detention of forced treatment, it merely denies the right to possess or purchase guns, just like a domestic restraining order or child protection order do.

puffingsomehost:  “Jetjocki, you make good points and provide an excellent place to begin this discussion.  This is what I’ll do.  With your permission, I’ll post your initial 3 points (verbatim), as a starting point for this discussion, on my blog.  It would be improper for me to promote the site here, but give me a week (I’m knee-deep in politics for the next few days), and I’ll have this topic up.  Your user name is unique, so by doing a web search, you should be able to find it, and my site.  We can meet there.  My profile will contain my contact information.

This discussion is very important, and I appreciate your willingness to have it.  I’ll wait for your permission.

jetjocki:  “I will grant permission, however I would like to point out the 3 points I started with are described very briefly based on the limitations of this site.  I would also suggest that in time there are at least two other users on this site that would be exceptional contributors.  One is a specialist in constitutional law that has argued cases before the SCOTUS and the other is a well-respected law enforcement firearms expert.”

puffingsomehost:  “Outstanding!  I’ll meet you next weekend.”

So, it appears that we can, at least, begin a conversation, a discussion about gun violence, so let’s try.  Let’s begin by assuming that we can’t ban all gun’s and we can’t arm everyone.  The solutions are somewhere in the middle.

Let’s not get completely caught up in statistics, urban vs. rural, ethnic and hate vs. crimes of passion, premeditated vs. crimes of opportunity.  The truth is, that, all of America suffers when gun violence is present.  We are all less secure when gun violence is present.

Let’s discuss how the people caught in the middle can be made more safe, more secure.  Once again, the only thing these victims did, was, to get up, leave out, and set about taking care of their “own” business.  They didn’t deserve this morning, or this “mourning.”

It’s time for the people in the middle to speak up and have their say.  Use the comment section below to post your comments and possible solutions.  The most relevant, to this discussion, will be posted as articles for further discussion.

Remember, the topic is gun violence and it’s consequences.

We can have this discussion, the question is, will we?


UPDATE (posted 8-29-12):

This is the e-mail conversation I had with Jetjocki, between August 26 and August 28.

From:   Isaac Littsey  (Aug 26)

Jetjocki, how are you.  My name is Isaac Littsey (puffingsomehost).  Here is the URL for the blogsite.

Check it out and let me know what you think.  You can comment directly to the post or, if you rather, e-mail your post and I’ll post it as an article, with your by-line.  The same for other contributors, that you trust to stay on topic, and be civil.  We’re talking about the impact of gun violence and the possible solutions, for it.

E-mail me and let me know that you received this.  Then we’ll plan, going forward, what we want to do and how we want to present it.

From:  Jetjocki  (Aug 27)


I believe the best way to have the discussion is to have a series of articles that address specific issues rather than generic discussions.

I would suggest the first topic should be what control measures should not be  even open to discussion as they are already prohibited by constitutional law and court precedents.  For example, total bans, bans based on class, bullet taxes, insurance, excessive fees, contingent liability after lawful transfer, means testing (proof of a valid need), etc.  The point being that discussion non any of these topics is moot and does nothing but obstruct the process and can accomplish nothing.

In my opinion the second topic should address the “who” that use guns to kill and the circumstances when it takes place.  There are really only five generic circumstances ranked by rate of occurrence:  criminal activity, murder/suicide, accidental/unintentional, hate crime and rampage.  Note that I left out suicide on it’s own. agreed it is the cause of over 60% of annual deaths by firearms, but it is it’s own topic that has nothing to do with gun control.

Once the invalid control measures have been removed from the discussin and the major problems clearly identified the topics should address potential solutions.

Let me know what you think.


From:  Isaac Littsey  (Aug 27)


Great to finally be in touch.  I agree we should not get into bans on guns or the codifying of gun ownership.  My intent, with this discussion, is to call attention to the consequences of gun violence.  Perhaps working from there we can search for solutions relative to that.  Many times the discussions end when the perp’s are caught or killed.  Afterwards, the situation is mined for the relative data, date and time, ethnic identities of victims and/or perp’s, collaborators or supporters, and the number and identies of the victims.  But the victims and survivors have a stake in this discussion.  Them, their families, their neighbor’s and friends, they all [now] have to live with the real life consequences of these acts, and the emotional consequences, perhaps, for the rest of their lives.  Who speaks for them?

Again, great to be in touch.


From:  Jetjocki  (Aug 27)

I fully understand the perspective of concern for the victims and survivors and do not wish to be viewed as callused to their suffering and needs, but I truly believe the issue must remain dispassionately focused on how we can reduce the numbers of victims for tomorrow and next week and so on.

I know it sounds harsh, but there nis nothing beyond compassion and support for the victims that can be done about tragic events that have already occured.  The victims of the past must not be ignored, but if we are to solve the problem we must stay focused on the issues that can change the future.  The point being that the suffering of past victims must not be in vain, but used as a driving force to modify the future so there are fewer victims tomorrow.  I believe that in almost every case the victims would find substantial comfort in knowing that others will not have to go through what they have because we have taken steps today to modify the future.

To put it bluntly, I do not want anyone to have to explain to a victim of a violent incident occurring two years from now why did not take action today to prevent it.

You are absolutely correct that mountains of data have been dispassionately compiled from decades pf past events.  The problem is that as a society we have failed to learn what the data can teach us.  What truly angers me to no end is that the data provides the answers to radically reducing the carnage and yet they are ignored on the basis of political posturing.  Both “sides” of the issue pontificate useless talking points and ignore the fact that a violent act is always the result of a finite chain of events.  Break just one link in the chain and it is very unlikely that the event will happen.  Further, most violent acts have common links that can be clearly identified from the data.  It is on these links in the chain of events that we must focus our efforts without political bias if we are to solve the problem.

From:  Isaac Littsey  (Aug 27)


I’m going to set up a page for this discussion and post where we are, currently.  I’m going to e-mail to you my response before I post it.  I’m also going to open the discussion for other’s ato participate.  I’m curious to see what data you have and then we can see if indeed there are possible solutions, there.

Thanks for being involved.


The special page on this topic is being developed.  We’re going to continue to use this page for the time being.  Add your thought’s in the comment section below.

We need to have this discussion.


To the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Despite the lack of evidence of “voter fraud.”  Despite the fact, that for years people have voted with other “acceptable forms of identification.”  Despite the fact, that the stated objective of the “Voter ID Law,” passed by the PA legislature, is to insure a Romney victory in the Commonwealth, over President Obama, in the November election.  Despite the fact, that older citizens, college students and minorities are disproportionately affected by this law.  Despite all of these facts, Judge Robert Simpson of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has decided to uphold the PA Voter ID law.

This from CNN.com:  “Judge Robert Simpson, with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, on Wednesday issued an order expressing no constitutional reason to stop the law from taking effect, despite writing in his decision that he had “sympathy” for the witnesses.

‘At the end of the day, however, I do not have the luxury of deciding this issue based on my sympathy for the witnesses or my esteem for the counsel. Rather, I must analyze the law, and apply it to the evidence of facial unconstitutionality brought forth in the courtroom, tested by our adversarial system,’ Simpson wrote.”  http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/15/pennsylvania-judge-upholds-voter-id-law/

Though the ACLU and others have vowed to continue this fight, next, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and if necessary, beyond, the PA GOP has declared victory, and is sure that this legislation has given them a leg up, an advantage, in their efforts to retain control of the Commonwealth, and to defeat President Obama, in Pennsylvania, in November.  But, their celebrations could be a bit premature.

Let’s look at a few other facts:

There are 8,478,509 registered voters in Pennsylvania:
• 4,311,203 registered Democratic voters
• 3,132,039 registered Republican voters
• 38,031 registered Libertarian voters
• 997,236 registered all other party voters

(Note: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania’s voting age population is estimated at 9,829,635).

Since Jan. 2010, a total of 345,439 approved new voter applications were processed:

• 149,806 registered as Democrats
• 103,518 registered as Republicans
• 6,537  registered Libertarian voters
• 85,578  registered all other party voters

This data can be found at:  http://gantdaily.com/2010/11/02/nearly-8-5-million-registered-to-vote-in-pa/   More complete data can be found at: at www.dos.state.pa.us.

Now, it is projected that up to 10% of registered voters in PA could be affected by the voter ID law, perhaps as much 20% in urban areas.  Even if those projections are correct there is no guarantee that the objectives of the PA GOP can be met.  Indeed, due to the collateral consequences of their voter suppression efforts, it is more likely that those efforts will energize what might have been an apathetic, over-confident, Democrat base.  There is another collateral consequence that possibly wasn’t considered.  Independent voters are watching these efforts, as well.  It is not difficult to discern what is happening here, and American’s don’t particularly like to see people trying to game the system.  I don’t believe they are taking into consideration, that Americans want their competitors to “play fair.”

The Democrat Party has people working hard to get voters properly ID’d and registered, but what I find truly remarkable, is that groups like Rev. Al Sharpton‘s “National Action Network,” and Rev. Jesse Jackson‘s “Rainbow/Push Coalition are actively working to see that “all” eligible voters have the required identification, and are registered and prepared to vote.  Listening to the Reverend’s Sharpton and Jackson, I’ve not heard any talk about  party, except that one party is disproportionately affected by these efforts.  They, simply, want all eligible people to vote.  They “are” playing fair.

Notice, also, that Democrats are out registering Republicans, in the Commonwealth, by almost 50%.  This will have a significant impact on the PA GOP’s voter suppression efforts, as well.

All of that being said, let’s look at the worst possible outcome.  That the law stands, and all of its negative projections are met.  Based on the statistics, a 10% loss of the Democrat electorate would not give the GOP a majority of the vote in Pennsylvania.  (This is with voters voting along strict party lines.)  When you factor in the Presidents current lead among independents, and several other demographic areas, this entire voter ID episode could end up being, just an expensive charade.

But let’s not take anything for granted, Pennsylvania.  I’ve got a challenge for you.  It’s “EACH ONE REACH ONE.”  If each eligible, properly credentialed, voter takes a moment to insure that a person, a neighbor, a co-worker, a family member, has the proper identification, then, all of these PA GOP voter suppression efforts will be, nothing but, a waste of time and money, on their part.

That waste of time and money just may be the most important part of this entire episode.  I have deliberately stayed away from talking about the groups that stand to gain the most from these voter suppression efforts.  Groups like the people behind the Super PAC‘s, that are spending vast amounts of money to influence your/our elections.  When we stand up to them, when we let them know that our elections are not for sale, when they see [that] there is no return on this, and these types of investment(s)…., well they are businessmen and women, practical thinking men and women.  There is a better way forward for America, a “fairer” way forward for America.  When this episode is over, perhaps, we can direct our combined efforts towards finding, that better, fairer, way.

In the meantime, citizens of Pennsylvania, “EACH ONE, REACH ONE!”

And then, on November 6th, VOTE!!!!!


This was sent to me in an e-mail:

I visited the Snopes.com site to verify this information and found it to be rated partially true.  In fact, Snopes’ states that:  “Voting processes vary from region to region, and as far as we know this warning applies only to North Carolina, where straight ticket voting is available for all races except for presidential electors; voters in that state (regardless of party) therefore need to specifically select a presidential candidate in addition to voting a straight ticket.”   http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/straightticket.asp

As we get closer and closer to the November elections, there is going to be more and more bits of information and, unfortunately, some misinformation about the candidates, the elections, and the election processes.  This is the reason why, as voters, we have to be as diligent as we’ve ever been.

I spoke with Ms. Gloria Williams, formerly of the City of  Detroit Department of Elections, to get some clarification of the voting process, relative to Detroit, Wayne County, and Michigan.  She was able to verify that the information in the e-mail was not a concern for the voters of this state. A voter that selects a presidential candidate of a party and also selects the straight ticket for that party does not risk voiding their vote.  Also, if a voter selects the straight ticket box, then, that selection will include the top of the ticket, as well.

As the Snopes post states, though, “voting processes vary from region to region,”  It is important that each voter knows the laws in their particular areas.  (City, County and State)  For the voters in my area, here are the departments and their websites where you can get voter and election information:

It is every voters responsibility to know the laws for voting in their districts.  We need to know [them] for ourselves.  This election, like the last, is the most important election of our lives.  Each election carries that designation, and each requires the same level of respect.  As we continue in our quest to “form a more perfect union,” our vote, the freedom to choose how we are governed, and by whom, is by far the most important constitutional tool, in our “democratic” tool box.  Don’t let it be silenced, usurped, or otherwise manipulated, by rumor or unverified statements.   Take the time to know for yourself.

Here are a couple of quotations about voting:

  • “People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people.  Of course, that is not true.  Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.”  This  is quoted from William H Judd, a conservative politician, from a time when conservatism had a much different connotation.
  • “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve,”  This quotation is often attributed to Alexis de Toqueville.

These quotations speak volumes, but not more than your votes.  You must know, for yourselves [the] how, when and where, to exercise this right.



The “right” is upset, again.  The “right” has been outflanked, again.  The “right” has been out “strategized,” again.  The “right” has been out-maneuvered, again.

What has become painfully obvious is that the Romney campaign, indeed the entire Republican campaign, to unseat the President, is ill-prepared for the task.

At some point the Romney campaign strategists had to know this and other situations would arise to call into question the candidates’ past, his present, and to challenge his vision of the future for the nation, he desires to lead.  They were not ready, it seems, leading one to suspect that they are not ready for the questions and challenges to come.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, they whine.

You’ve got to at some point wonder are they upset at what the Democrat’s did, or are they upset that they did it?

Let’s start with what the Democrat’s did.

At the beginning of the week Priorities Usa, a Democrat leaning super-PAC rolled out an ad titled “Understands.”  The ad features Joe Soptic, a steel worker at a plant named GST Steel, that was purchased and then managed by Bain Capital, beginning in 1993.  The company took on hundreds of millions of dollars in debt while, at the same time paid Bain investors millions in dividends.  The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001 and ultimately closed it’s Kansas City, MO plant.  700 employees lost their jobs, their healthcare and portions of their pensions.  (Their pensions were partially protected by the federal government.)  Joe’s wife, Ilyona, was still employed at that time and maintained her healthcare. After later losing her job, and health insurance, Ilyona was diagnosed with cancer.  At that time, neither of the Soptic’s were covered and less than a month after her diagnosis, Ilyona succumbed to her illness.

The Republican’s, from the party to the pundits, were horrified.  The President was accused of accusing Romney of killing Joe’s wife.  Bill Burton’s Priorities Usa PAC was accused of lying.  Joe Soptic was accused of lying.  The President’s campaign was accused of complicity in the accusing of candidate Romney of being complicit in closing of the plant, and it’s subsequent consequences.  From the House to the Senate, from the Romney campaign to the pundits, all were up in arms [that] such an assertion could be made.  But, their assumption about the assertion, misses the mark.  For those who are upset, about the ad, I’ve got a “movie parable” for you.  This is from the movie “Enter The Dragon,” Bruce Lee’s character speaking:

Lee: …..It’s like a finger pointing at the moon.
[Looks at student who is looking at the finger; smacks student again]
Lee: Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory!
[Student bows; Lee smacks him again]

The right is so busy focusing on Joe Soptic, they are missing the entire point of the argument [that] the ad raises.  Actually there are two arguments raised, successfully.  First, had the “Affordable Care Act” been law at that time, both Joe and his wife would have been able maintain their healthcare after losing their jobs.  (A fact that was pointed out by a Romney spokesperson when she was challenged by a reporter about the ad.)  Second, the ad demonstrates what Bain Capitol did, and, does to workers and their communities.  What Bain does is by no means illegal.  But, let’s be clear, their purpose was/is not to save jobs.  What Bain does [is] try to save companies,  If jobs are saved in the process, good.  If jobs are saved at that job location, well that’s even better.  But that is not their purpose.  Even saving companies is secondary to making profits for their investors.  Now, again I say there’s nothing illegal with what they do, but what they do is germane to the discussion about Romney, because he touts his experiences at Bain as, an example of, his qualifications to be President.  We as citizens “do” get to ask, if the way Bain Capital operates is the way the country will operate, under a Romney presidency?  If so, then, is “that” the country we want?

The ad does not accuse  candidate Romney of anything other than being associated with, indeed the leader of a company that has had a profound effect on this individual’s life, and other’s at GST Steel.  The ad could have and should have gone further.  It should have told about the effect that losing 700 jobs out of a community, can have.  The effects on the dry cleaner, the corner store, and other small entrepreneurial business’ that depended on them to survive.  It should have told about the loss of revenues to the city, the county, even the state due to lost tax dollars.  How those lost revenues affect public safety, teachers, and community services.

Now the right can and will make all manner of nuance based arguments about the ad.  The timeline, the offered buyout from Bain, the fact that Joe’s wife had healthcare (after Joe lost his job), until she didn’t.  But, nothing in the ad is untrue.  Nuance can sometime be a tricky thing, though.  It can sometimes lead to truth and the truth can sometimes be painful.  Just ask, Romney spokesperson, Andrea Saul.

This ad is about a man, and a community, that was hurt by Bain Capital.  And that’s the TRUTH!

Can you imagine the surprise around the right-wing world when this ad was presented.  My guess is that their surprise matched or even exceeded their horror.  This type of attack is not what those, on the left, are known to use.  They’ve dropped their dichotomous passive aggressive nature, or at least the passive part, and have began to pursue answers to questions the right is not accustomed to being asked.  They are being challenged in areas that democrats past have feared to tread.  That’s where the real failure of Romney’s campaign rests.  Areas such as the economy (Congress’ failure, not the President’s), foreign policy (Bush’s wars, not the President’s), and taxes or should we say tax fairness are now off the table for Republicans.  Not that they won’t try, though.

What’s left is personal and personality.  Personality first.  Mitt Romney is no match for President Obama in this regard.  The Presidents “favorable” ratings are much higher than Romney’s, and among independents, the gap between the two is widening.

As for personal, well, there are some who will not vote for President Obama for any reason.  They didn’t before and they won’t now.  One can read into that whatever one choose’s.  We know, though, that it is not because he pulled us back from the brink of depression, that he saved the auto industry (saving more than a million jobs), that he passed financial reform, or the affordable care act.  It’s not because he gave everyone making under $250,000 a year, a tax break.  It’s not because he ended one war and is ending another.  We know it’s not because he killed bin-Laden (and about 20 other terrorist leaders).  We know he’s done these things, and many other’s, with little or no help from the republicans in the legislature.  There is a painful TRUTH in there, as well.

And that’s no lie!

Let’s Ban Guns!!!

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Aurora, I was going to sit down and angrily write about the need for some form of ban on gun’s.  After a few days I thought, well, maybe we only need to ban automatic and assault type weapons.  Then on reflection I decided that perhaps we need to do away with hand guns (pistols), and concealed weapon permits, the “whole schmear.”

Now before I get the NRA and other 2nd Amendment right’s advocates upset, let me continue.  I thought about this over several days, considered the pro’s and con’s, and came to the conclusion [that]  banning guns is not practical.  I was going  to say “we’re not going to be able to do that!”

Guns.  Guns. Guns.   Sure, some are used for protection.  They’re also used for hunting.  Even for Sport.  But more and more they seem to be misused as a tool to express prejudice and bigotry, fear, hatred, racism, and crime.

I was going to say, let’s try a different track.  Instead of removing guns from our society, let’s remove some of the reasons for gun misuse.

Let’s ban prejudice and bigotry.  Now, from what I understand, prejudice and bigotry are among the reasons that people hate.  With America being this “melting pot,” with so many cultures and creeds living, working, playing, socializing together, this is not the place for bigotry.  But then look around, look and listen to the rants.  Our born in America President is somehow foreign.  Muslims can’t be trusted, they are trying to infiltrate us, trying to convert us all to Islam.  Trying to impose Sharia Law on America (right, like any law could get passed with this “do nothing” congress).  Mexicans and other Latin Americans are invading our borders, taking our jobs.  Using our safety nets.  These people will never “learn what it’s like to be a real American.”  Ok, ok, we’re not going to be able to do that.

I was going to say, let’s ban hatred, then.  I don’t know, hatred has been around for an awful long time.  A lot of people have invested heavily in hate.  Some people have hated for so long, they are not even sure why they hate.  Hatred is fueled by fear.  Fear of the unknown and the known.  That something is unfamiliar or just plain different is no reason to fear, but we are kind of lazy and it’s easier to fear and denigrate than it is to learn and understand.   Hatred has two nature’s.  One is as a driver for racism.  What we saw back in 1957 at Little Rock Central High School was prejudice and bigotry fueling the hatred that drove some of the citizens of Little Rock to commit some racist acts.  As egregious as those acts were they paled when compared to the hate filled racist act of shooting and lynching Emmet Till,  the Birmingham church bombing, the shooting of Viola Liuzzo. and the assassinations of Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King.  The other is personal.  It is driven by the fear of retribution the hater has of the hated.  It is real, to the hater, simply because they know how they would feel were the situation’s reversed.  Ok, ok, we’re not going to be able to do that.

So let’s say [that] we ban racism.  Racism is the “action arm” for prejudice and bigotry.  Racism driven by hatred (imagine racism riding in the back of the limo, with hatred driving, chauffeur’s cap and all) strives to contain and control.  Empowered by prejudice and bigotry, racism limit’s opportunity for growth.  It creates laws that limit access to power.  Racism is “Dred Scott v. Sandford.”  It’s “Plessy v. Ferguson.”  Racism is “Jim Crow laws.”  Racism is “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,”  said by, Gov. George Wallace at his 1963  Alabama inaugural.  Racism is vigilante lynching’s.  Racism is Rosewood, Florida and the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Racism is colored only signs, it’s being forced to ride in the back of the bus.  Racism is attack dogs and fire hoses.  Racism is standing in the doorway at the University of Alabama, racism is the gauntlet of epithets and intimidation at Central High School in Little Rock.  From past Supreme Court decisions to the current  hearts of men, racism is so ingrained in our society, that banning it, well, we’re not going to be able to do that, either.

So now, we have racism, driven by hatred, fueled by fear, empowered by prejudice and bigotry, then you add guns to that mix and therein lies the rub.  Guns become a means of expression for these things. ( Hmm, I wonder if guns can be designated as people, and bullets protected as free speech?  Make’s about as much sense as “Citizens United,” doesn’t it?)  Anyway, banning these things has proven to be virtually impossible throughout our history.  Battles over property or treasure can be resolved with negotiated borders.  Battles over ideology seem to know no such boundaries.

Let’s ban crime.  Let’s make all crime illegal. Lets’s make any crime committed, that involves a gun, a special circumstance crime, with a specific set of penalties.   Oops, we’ve already done that.

Consider this, a group of people (any people) who have been institutionally excluded from significant segments of a society (any society), a people who have been ostracized and demonized by that society, do you see how that people would have a problem with respecting the rules of that society?  These exclusions could be a result of color, creed, culture or class bias’, or any combination thereof.   There are a number of thesis’ that speak to the fact that prejudice and bigotry, hatred and racism are driver’s (some say primary driver’s), of crime.  Specifically, crimes against person’s.  Prejudice and bigotry are used as justification for oppression.  At some point, the oppressed seek relief.  When relief is not found within the system, it is sought elsewhere.  Racism, is the tool used to deny an oppressed people even an opportunity to grow and succeed.  At some point, the denied seek redress.  When redress is not given within the system, it is sought elsewhere.  The elsewhere in these cases is sometimes found outside of the law.  One can argue that crime justified by prejudice, bigotry, hatred and racism is not rational.  That is true.  But, prejudice, bigotry, hatred and racism are not rational, either.

The truth is, these days there is no way to discuss guns, or race relations, for that matter.  Guns, like the Bald Eagle, have become emblematic of who we are as a society.  Any attack on the “right’s” of gun owners is deemed to be an attack on America itself.  That, though, is not true.  Owning and using gun’s, when viewed within the context of our history, shows their value.  Their value, though, is as a tool, not as a god.  We are allowing guns to define us, as opposed to us defining  them, and their utility.  As for race relations, well as long as we have prejudice and bigotry creating the fear, that is fueling the hatred, that is driving the racism…..

I was going to say all of this, and then this happened:


So now, again, I’m saying “LET’S BAN GUNS!!!!!”

To the citizens of Oak Creek, Wisconsin:

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those killed, injured and victimized by this senseless act.  (I’m getting so tired, so very tired, of saying that sentence.)  May God bless you, keep you, and give you peace.

The Week That Was – The Affordable Care Act

My pick for the story of the week is the August 1st implementation of a significant part of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare,” if you will.

47 million women in this country are now eligible for expanded healthcare services.

Think about it, for 47 million women, to quote Rep. Nancy Pelosi, “being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition.”  They will pay the same as an equivalent man for their insurance.

For 47 million women there will be no out-of-pocket payments for certain preventive and diagnostic care procedures.

47 million women will have access to contraception, with some religious exceptions, with no co-pay.

There are provisions made for needed maternity care, even counseling for domestic violence where necessary.

These provisions are now added to approximately 30 provisions already in place.  Provisions such as:  No discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions.  Insurance companies cannot drop coverage when a person get’s sick  No lifetime limits on insurance coverage.  Keeping an eligible child on parent’s insurance until age 26.

American’s are [now] better able to see the benefits promised back in March of 2010, when President Obama signed this Act into law.

This moment and those to come, more than a dozen provisions are yet to roll out, are moments some on the right hoped would never come.

Other than the complexities involved in implementation, which has stretched this process out, I can’t help but believe that there were delays built-in, by the right.  I believe that they were hoping that this bill, that became law, could be made unpopular, using distortions and outright lies. (Death panels???)  Or, by bringing multiple challenges before the courts, up to and including the Supreme Court, that the Act could possibly be struck down.

Those on the right knew that the more of the Act’s provisions that were made available to the American public, the more difficult it would be to overturn, repeal or replace.

Imagine what it must have been like, in March when the Act was before the Supreme Court.  Those on the right must have been feeling pretty good about the chance of the Act being overturned when Justice Scalia, and others, raised the “broccoli mandate” question.   Now fast forward to  June 28, the day the Court upheld the mandate (as a tax), keeping most of the Act intact, and they were left  scrambling to find a way to, again, bring down the law, in the court of public opinion.  (Back came the “death panels”)

They realize that with each roll out, with each provision implemented, the American people would appreciate, more and more, what this President’s administration has accomplished, with little or no help from the party on the right.  This legislation was passed, with not a single republican vote [for] in the House and only marginal help in the Senate.

I believe, given the expansive nature of the act, this signature piece of legislation is going to have significant impact, up and down the ballot.  The gains made by the right in the 2010 elections could quite possibly be recovered by the Democrat Party.  All that is required is that the party’s candidates remind the American people [of] what their lives were like before Obamacare.  All that is required is the truth.

Honorable mention went to Gabby Douglas, winner of 2 gold medals in gymnastics at the Olympics.  She won both for team performance and for the overall gymnastic performance.  Congratulations  Gabby!

Have a good week-end.


I hope you get this before you leave on your trip.  I’ve got some things you should think about before you go.

First the UK.  Now be careful what you say there.  If you’re asked about their olympics, don’t be too critical.  It’s kind of like weddings, nobody wants a recently married couple to critique their ceremony.  Just say something nice. If you must speak about how successful the 2002 Winter Olympics were, under your management (I know it’s agoing to be hard for you to resist), then be sure to tell them how, then president George W. Bush’s administration gave your olympic committee 1.4 billion dollars to complete the preparations.  It would, also, be a good idea if you were to support Ann’s horse, in the “Dressage.”  After all, they are representing America, too.

Now when you get to Israel, you’re going to have to be real careful there, as well.  Try to disguise your “real” reason for being there.  I know, I know, you will be meeting primarily with American’s there, and raising money, but the image of raising money for the “American Presidential Election” overseas is not a good one.  Make sure to examine where all the donations come from.  We don’t want any foreign money to invade our process.  It would be like hiring foreign workers to care for your property.  You wouldn’t want to do that, you’re “running for office, for Pete’s sake.”  With Israel being a divided nation, you will have to walk a fine line if you are asked to comment about the state of their country.  Try not to offend either side.  Whatever you do, don’t attempt to draw any comparisons between Israeli’s and Palestinian’s.  If you say something nice about one, then, say something nice about the other.  That shouldn’t be so hard, should it?

Finally, Poland.  This is the final leg of what should have, up until now, been an “awesome” trip.  I know you’ll be tired.  Your staff will be pretty tired, too.  So now will be the time to get a tight grip on your subordinates.  We know you are going to be “tight,” that’s your nature, but we can’t have somebody, probably fatigued, flying off the handle, losing it on camera, perhaps using profanity, bringing your whole trip down.

When you’ve finished this grande ch…I mean parade, you will have erased the memory of then Sen. Obama’s trip in 2008.  Who will remember that he went from Jordan to Israel, to Germany, to France and England without a serious gaffe.  That he was well received at all of his stops.  The images of candidate Obama standing in front of 200,000 cheering people in Berlin will fade away.

If you follow these simple steps, this will be an “awesome, awesome” trip.  The people of America will be thinking about this trip all the way to November.  If you don’t, well, the people of America will be thinking about this trip all the way to November.

Oh well, there’s always “his” birth certificate!

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