A DISCUSSION ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE, PART II

As I was taking a break between the two party conventions, I took a moment to watch the week-end political shows on the various networks.  While doing so, one of the programs I watched was the “Melissa Harris-Perry” program on MSNBC.  During a continuing discussion about healthcare, and the Affordable Care Act,  [she] had a segment about a specific healthcare problem, one called “bullets.”  Though not the normal track that gun violence discussions take, it adds another, a different, perspective on how we view this problem, and ultimately how we may find a way to deal with it.  You can find the segment at this URL:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46979745/#48878328

We’ve discussed the collateral consequences of gun violence as it affects the victims and their survivors, but this is the first time, I’ve noticed, where the conversation was directed to the impact that it has on our overall healthcare cost.  Ms. Harris-Perry asked, during the segment, “what if we make it a public health issue?”   Emergency room visits, surgeries, rehabilitation, and the sociological/psychological cost to our neighborhoods and cities have, certainly, got to be factored into any consideration of solutions to this problem.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a segment taken from “Meet The Press” spoke about the fact that, though overall crime in his city is down, gun violence, especially gang-related shootings, is up.  In fact, MHP pointed out that, in one 30 minute period, there were 13 shootings, and, during the week between August 23 and August 30th, there were 82 victims of gun violence.  Now, Mayor Emanuel has asked for, and will get, support from the Department of Justice, including 50 agents from the FBI, to help stem the tide, but the total consequences remain, yet, to be addressed.

Allentown PA Mayor, Ed Pawlowski, a panelist on the show, was asked what he thought of Mayor Emanuels’ statement, and he added, “there are so many weapons on the street, it’s almost impossible to be able to put enough cops [to] really address this issue.”

Mayor Pawlowski went on to say, “It’s a whole network of social problems that come together, whether it’s poverty, whether it’s the access to illegal weapons, whether it’s kid’s – the devaluation of life that seems to have occurred within this whole generation – within our society.  All these things combine, it creates a combustible mixture that ends up with a lot of violence within our neighborhoods, whether it’s Chicago, or whether it’s Allentown, or whether it’s Philadelphia, or whether it’s New Orleans.  [And], I mean it’s even rural areas…”

“We have to have an honest discussion about guns in this country, and you know what?  No one wants to have that discussion,” he says.

Well, this is where I believe the mayor is wrong.  In fact Mayor Pawlowski, at that moment, you and the panel were doing  just that.  Having it.  We are having “that” discussion here, as well.

In many areas there are actions behind the words.  Right here in Detroit, just recently, there was a gun amnesty program where “street weapons” were turned in.  Across the nation “Funds for Guns” programs are being implemented successfully.  Several of my associates, staunch 2nd amendment advocates, have participated in these programs and voiced their support for the reasons [that] they exist.  To them, this is not about disarmament, this is about common sense.

I, personally, have turned in, to the local police, an unnecessary weapon.  It’s not that the sale of that weapon didn’t cross my mind, it’s about the true cost of having one more weapon on the street.  The cost, indeed, the value of my peace of mind, knowing that there is one less, out there.

I want to know, what do you think?  Use the comment section below, or e-mail me at:  ilittsey@gmail.com.

WHEN IS A LIE NOT A LIE? WHEN IT’S THE TRUTH!

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!

Premature What?????

This is from the Huffington post:  

“Chris Collins, GOP Candidate, Clarifies Controversial Cancer Comments”

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted: 07/08/2012 5:47 pm Updated: 07/08/2012 5:52 pm

“Republican congressional candidate Chris Collins, who last week caused a stir when he claimed that “people now don’t die” from prostate and breast cancer, clarified his comments Saturday, stating that his criticism of Obama’s health care law was taken out of context.”
To read more:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/08/chris-collins-cancer_n_1657723.html
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It seems that candidate Collins is suffering from a condition that is becoming far to common among republicans this campaign season.

The condition is called “premature extrapolation.” To extrapolate is to “infer (an unknown) from something that is known.” To do so without thinking is to do so “prematurely.”

There are techniques available to limit the possibilities of this occurring.

There’s the stop and start technique. Now this is for the more advanced types, those more experienced with miss-speaking and gaffes. (Mom used to tell me that “if you stop and think, you’ll think and stop.)

Then there’s the squeeze technique. This is for those with moderate mind-management skills. When you feel something stupid about come out of you mouth, put a hand on each side of your head and squeeze. Squeeze until it hurts, or until the pain takes that thought away.

For the least experienced of you, well, just think about baseball (line-ups, averages….)!

Finally, if all else fails, “Moonwalk.” The whole republican party is getting to be pretty good at it.  They are becoming so adept at walking back(wards), that even Michael Jackson would be proud of them.  The problem is while they are backtracking, looking backwards, they can’t see where they are going.

Neither can we. Let’s go FORWARD!

OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

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