No Guns Allowed at GOP Convention

No guns allowedLibtard policies” put good guys—stripped of their guns–at risk.

If the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun—or better yet, lots of good guys with guns—then it goes without saying that the contentious GOP convention should be prickling with weapons: rock hard glocks, pen-sized pistols, and a whole array of AKs strapped across the backs of brave men who are ready to spray anything that moves with a shower of lead.

With threats on all sides, from Muslims and Blacks to feminists and federal wildlife agents, the only way to make America safer again is more guns. So we are told after each mass shooting. Surely the GOP wouldn’t hold their convention in a place that fails to allow the kind of enhanced security that is so dear to conservative hearts, so core to the Republican political agenda, and so necessary to keep Americans safe.

Four months ago, a Second Amendment activist or troll going by the moniker Hyperationalist realized that Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, site of the GOP convention, bans firearms on the premises. It’s the equivalent of the Democrats holding their convention at a place that bans collective bargaining for its workers, and Hyperationalist was outraged. He created a Change.com petition, quoting the NRA about the dangers of “gun-free zones” and demanding that Quicken Loans Arena change their policy, at least for the convention.

This is a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk. As the National Rifle Association has made clear, “gun-free zones” such as the Quicken Loans Arena are “the worst and most dangerous of all lies.” The NRA, our leading defender of gun rights, has also correctly pointed out that “gun free zones… tell every insane killer in America… (the) safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.” (March 4, 2016 and Dec. 21, 2012)

Although it was unclear at the time whether the petition was the work of an aggrieved gun lover or a public safety advocate trying to make a point, it quickly gathered 55,000 signatures from folks on both sides of the aisle. If the point of the petition was to advance an expansive interpretation of Second Amendment rights, it failed. Republicans who show up at the convention next week with weapons will be stripped at the door of their arsenals, no matter how large or small.

In a July 14 letter to supporters, Hyperationalist conceded:

Apparently in Crooked Hitlary Clinton’s “politically correct” libtard America, some people would rather not be surrounded by high-powered semi-automatic assault weapons with high-capacity cartridges—and so the oppressive policies of Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s regime remain in place.

If the point of the petition was to show the public that Republican rhetoric about more guns making us all safer is utter bullshit, then it succeeded wildly, because the contrast between what Republican policy makers say they believe and actually believe couldn’t be on brighter display.

Republican leaders know full well that a convention hall teaming with mutually antagonistic adrenalin-jacked open- and concealed-carriers could be the safety equivalent of a convention hall decorated with gas cans and matchboxes. They may sell their souls for NRA dollars—they may be willing to sacrifice the 33,000 Americans a year who die from guns (interactive graphic here from Nate Silver), but they’re too hypocritical to actually put their own bodies on the line. Confronted with the prospect of their own mortality, they know that the right to life trumps the right to bear arms, even if they’re too candy ass to say it.

These are the people who have been demanding that guns be allowed on college campuses, in hospitals, in churches, in public parks . . . everywhere but the halls of Congress and the RNC. They have proposed that kindergartens would be safer if the teachers were all armed. They have fought for the right of suspects on the terrorism-watch and no-fly lists to stockpile firepower.

But they couldn’t bother to take on Quicken Loans or move their convention elsewhere because, in reality, they want the kind of safety they’re unwilling to grant to rest of us. They want to know that if someone around them is struck by a fit of rage or temporary insanity, or falls into a black hole of paranoia and decides he is surrounded by the hordes of evil, or wants to suicide in front of a bank of cameras, or aspires to go down in history as a hero or anti-hero—he’s going to have to pull off mass murder with his bare hands. They want to know that, to the best of professional standards, the crowd of strangers around them is unarmed, because they know that most bad guys with guns are good guys with guns until the moment they point at an innocent person and pull the trigger.

Originally published at ValerieTarico.com

Bundy, Sterling: GOP dream ticket for 2016

Deadbeat rancher Cliven Bundy, the new poster boy for the Republican Party.

Photo by George Frey

The radical right here in America now boasts two fresh heroes: Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. With their eager penchant for plainspoken hypocrisy and outright bigotry, they ought to be a swell choice for the Tea Party/Republican presidential nomination come 2016.

First, good old boy Cliven Bundy rode heroically onto the public scene, proudly waving the American flag and spouting anti-government propaganda—the kind of twisted nonsense that made the right-wing kings of talk radio sit up and take notice. In fact, Sean Hannity was so smitten by Cowboy Cliven that he vowed to stand with Bundy and his patriotic gun-wielding minions if the dastardly Feds should dare try to force those fine Americans to obey the law of the land.

And that’s one hallmark of right-wing ideology: law and order! Unless, of course, the law orders you to actually pay what you owe from grazing your cattle on land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the United States of America. So aw-shucks Cliven is really stealing from us. But he blames it on The Government, which is of course the ultimate evil in Tea Party extremist parlance.

It’s a bit convoluted, as blatant hypocrisy always is. You see, right-wingers “believe in” the Constitution. Or at least their version of it; the one that says government is bad. Not sure where the founding fathers wrote that, but it must be in that doggone Constitution somewhere, right? Right-wingers adore those “We the People” signs planted on their lawns. “We the People” being angry white folks who yearn for frontier justice, the days of the old west, or any other place and time where they weren’t forced to be part of civil society or look out for other folks. God forbid!

It’s all part of the cult of rugged individualism. Seems these flag-wavers have conveniently forgotten that communities built America. And that without the cooperation of honest, hard-working folks helping each other out, raising barns, building towns, caring for the less fortunate, the frontier would have been littered with the starved, lifeless bodies of countless rugged individualists. Without community and representative government there would be no United States of America. Which would probably suit this continent’s aboriginal population just fine.

But logic aside (which is where the Tea Party prefers it), Cliven Bundy’s racist ravings endeared him all the more to the right wing. Just a hard-workin’ rancher a-speakin’ his mind, right? Make that a deadbeat hypocrite who despises diversity and wraps himself in the flag of a country he doesn’t even believe in.

So Cliven Bundy would make a perfect presidential candidate for the reconstituted Republican Party. And who better to complete the ticket than a bigoted billionaire? Enter Donald Sterling.

A fellow hater of folks who don’t look or talk like he does, Don Sterling would bring an extra dimension to this right-wing hypocrisy fest. After all, who better to champion the Republican cause of “Family Values” than a brash billionaire bold enough to boast a mistress fifty years his junior in addition to a loving wife? Well, maybe not so loving. But picture this: a powerful leader with little sense of shame, a wife and a concubine? Why, it’s positively biblical!

A couple of old white guys ready and willing to espouse the thinly-veiled conservative gospel of hatred, anger, fear, and division? What’s not to like? Bring on Hilary, the Republicans are ready!

The party of dumb

The LA Times is reporting that, despite the overwhelming majority of the public who support tightening gun laws, the failure of Congress to pass gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook may, paradoxically help Republicans in future elections, because gun right supporters are more passionate about the issue.

“Those who said they felt “very happy” over the Senate action significantly outnumbered those who called themselves “angry” – 20% to 15%. Among those who had a negative reaction to the Senate action, most called themselves not “angry,” but “disappointed” (32%).”   Outrage over gun vote? Maybe not, poll indicates

What caught my eye was the following sentence, in bold:

People with postgraduate degrees, who have become a mainstay of the Democratic coalition, were among the most likely to say they felt “angry” about the Senate’s decision, with 31% giving that answer, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. Other demographic groups that were more likely than average to call themselves “angry” were residents of the Northeast (26%), self-identified Democrats (26%) and women (19%). That could indicate that the gun debate will create more headwinds for Republicans in the Northeast, a region where they have steadily lost ground in recent elections, and with highly educated voters.

Often it’s the less educated people who are more religious, more hostile to foreigners and gays, more jingoistic, and more likely to vote Republican.

Of course, this is old news: liberals are portrayed as elitist snobs who can’t relate to average folk.

Should we call gun nuts "gun nuts"?

The minister at my local Unitarian Universalist church said in a sermon that left-leaning folks should stop calling gun-rights advocates names such as “gun nut” and “moron.” She said that it sure is tempting to insult them, but it’s counter-productive.

Her words got me thinking.

After the sermon, I asked her about it. I said, during the civil rights movement of the 60s, didn’t protesters call their opponents names like “racist” and “bigot”? She said that during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s progress came from non-violent protest, not from name calling. Check your history, she said.

I discussed this issue with friends. One friend said, “I think name-calling is absurd unless your intention is to piss someone off. I think pissing someone off is absurd unless your intention is to escalate a conflict. I am a big fan of nonviolence.”

Another friend said

She’s right about the name calling being not productive. Still, when someone is stockpiling weapons to prepare for some apocalyptic event, or defend themselves against government tyranny or the UN, it’s kind of hard to pretend they are rational people with a legitimate point of view. I usually refer to them as “gun fetishists”, “paranoid”, and “delusional”. Sigh, I guess I will try to stick with terms like “gun enthusiasts” and “survivalists”.

Yet another friend said we should take the term “gun nut” seriously and treat these people as if they have a mental illness. We shouldn’t provoke them by calling them names. I responded, “Good idea! Let’s visibly and vocally treat them as deranged. That’ll really annoy them and make them look ridiculous. We can write condescending articles.”

Finally, Bill Moyer warned me that name-calling can backfire and generate sympathy for the target.

Is the minister correct about history of the civil rights movement? Are the minister and my friends correct about name calling being counter-productive?  Moreover, are gun nuts really nuts?

Let’s start with the last question.

The psychology of gun obession

Are gun enthusiasts REALLY mentally deranged?  It depends on which ones we’re talking about. Some gun owners are just hobbyists.

Who are the gun nuts?  I’m referring to gun enthusiasts who collect weapons and who oppose restrictions on assault rifles, waiting periods, and ammunition. I’m referring to gun enthusiasts who imagine waging war against the US military. I’m referring to gun enthusiasts who treat the Second Amendment as if it’s foundational to our freedoms and a justification for easy access to assault-style weapons.

Back now to my question. Are gun nuts REALLY deranged?  Well, are skinheads or the Taliban deranged? I rather think they’re just wrong-headed. They’re caught up in a toxic ideology. They may be somewhat paranoid and aggressive. I doubt that most of them are paranoid schizophrenic. Is the psychology of political zealotry akin to the psychology of religious extremism? Such extremism is different from individual psychosis. I bet, though, it shares some features.

I’ve heard gun nuts called gundamentalists. The name is apt, because to outsiders their obsessive devotion to an unreasonable ideology seems odd and extreme.

A psychologist friend said that gun obsession is “more likely a mood or anxiety disorder than a thought disorder like schizophrenia.”

There’s a huge range of ways that people can be stupid or mad, especially in crowds.

The best analysis of the psychology of gun enthusiasts I know of is by Peter Michaelson. In The Psychology Behind Mass Shootings, Michaelson describes the paranoia and violence of mass murderers. His description gives insight into the psychology of gun fetishes.

Negative emotions accumulate inside them, producing bitterness, anger, despair, and, finally, rage. Their rage, even when hidden from others, produces a third-rate sense of power that covers up their emotional entanglement in hopelessness and passivity. They crave power because they feel so powerless, yet in their dark negativity they can express only negative, destructive power. They seek death because they feel so powerfully overwhelmed by life.

Because their weak self-regulation compels them to continually recycle negative emotions, they hold on to grudges. These grudges and grievances accumulate in them, giving them a feeling of substance, a place of being to which they cling in the chaos of their inner conflict.

In a later, even more incisive analysis, The Double Barrels of Gun Mania, Michaelson says that guns “provide two psychological defenses–the double barrels of self-defeat–that make their ownership so desirable. One barrel discharges the illusion of safety and the other the illusion of power. Why do so many gun owners grasp at these illusions or inner defenses?” He goes on

Such gun enthusiasts are unconsciously determined to validate their inner fears. Rather than resolve the inner conflict that produces their fears, they make them seem legitimate by emphasizing emotionally the dangers and menace that might exist in their towns, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

Guns don’t represent true power. If America were taken over by an immoral force–a financial elite, for instance, that bought off and corrupted our politicians–gun enthusiasts would be standing around casually, blithely ignorant of non-violent dangers, fondling their weapons only for the defense of their self-image.

Hold onto that image of gun lovers fondling their guns. Michaelson concludes:

This nation’s preoccupation with guns is not so much fear-based as passivity-based. We don’t connect well enough with our better self and the higher values of integrity, courage, wisdom, and compassion. On an inner level, many people allow their inner critic to be the master of their personality and to pass judgment on their worthiness. Inwardly, they’re emotionally weak and defensive, familiar with feeling helpless and overwhelmed, yet desperate to exhibit some pretense of assurance and power.

This is neurosis, not mental illness. A neurotic person is prone to being negative, defensive, fearful, anxious, and reactionary. Too many gun advocates are seeing the world through their neurosis. In many families, it’s often the most dysfunctional or neurotic individuals who set the tone for the family and hold sway over it. Only determined intervention by healthier members of the family can save the situation. The American family needs our intervention in many areas of national life, beginning with the enactment and enforcement of wise gun regulation.

Another consideration is the insanity defense: if we said that gun nuts really are insane, we’d presumably have to resolve them of responsibility for the ill effects of their obsessions. But I don’t think we want to take that step. Gun nuts need to be held accountability for the irrationality and harmfulness of their obsessive devotion to guns.

On bad ass name-calling

So, since gun nuts are just neurotic blockheads, they’re fair game for name-calling.  But if they were truly deranged (psychotic) then, yes, we should medicate and hospitalize them.  The problem is that there’s a huge range in the middle.

In general, I think we progressives emasculate ourselves and fail to take advantage when we have a leg-up on a situation.  We’re inappropriately passive, in view of the viciousness of our political enemies.

Consider how effectively right wingers eviscerated liberals like Mike Dukakis and Jimmy Carter, and how they Swift-Boated John Kerry.

Consider how Rush Limbaugh successfully badmouthed liberals to the point that we now call ourselves “progressives.”

And it was all based on lies and distortions. We’re correct about these gun nuts, and yet we’re still are hesitant to call a spade a spade — or a nut a nut.

Why is it that conservatives’ criticisms, slanders, and insults stick, but when we go on the attack, our words bounce off or revert back onto us? Their arrows hit the mark. Ours bounce off. They win, we lose.

Consider how much damage our ideological opponents did to the nation and the world.

They start senseless wars, sell off the US Treasury to crooks, threaten the world ecosystem, enable massacre of helpless children, turn the country into a police state — and we’re not allowed to call them names, because we might hurt their feelings?

In 2008, when Bush and the Republicans were at the nadir of their popularity, it seemed possible that the Republican Party and their crazy, destructive ideologies would be out of favor for years to come. Instead, Obama’s bipartisanship helped revive them, and the Tea Party went on to win the 2010 midterm elections. What a disaster!

We progressives need to get some balls! We need to stand up for ourselves, not in a paranoid way, but in a self-assertive realistic way.

I’m not calling on us to attack our opponents with violence and guns. I’m calling on us to loudly and clearly speak truth to power and violence.  There’s a risk that we’ll demonize them and become oppressors ourselves.  But there’s also a risk that we fail, due to passivity, to stand up for what’s good and reasonable.

I’m also not calling on us to just use name calling.  To be effective, you have to first present a reasoned argument why someone’s ideas are bad or silly. Then, if they persist in holding them and if the ideas are harmful, call them names.   We call someone who’s very smart “a genius.” We call someone who’s very dumb “stupid.” Why not use the label if it fits?

Gun nuts’ paranoia and unreasonableness threaten our safety.  They are allied with some pretty unsavory people — gun manufacturers, for example.

Let’s everybody carry a gun — to work, to school, and to shopping — then we’ll all be safer, right? :)

Right wing policies threaten our economic and environmental well-being and the safety of people throughout the world.

Gun nuts

Special stupid if you think Obama and the UN are coming to get your guns

Why do you need an assault rifle?

The Canberra Times published a copyrighted cartoon by Pope showing gun lovers in a playground taking care of their guns as if they were children. “You don’t realize how precious they are ’til someone tries to take them away…” one guys says as he cuddles his gun in a blanket.

See this link for more images about gun nuts and their stupidities.

I bet gun nuts sleep with their guns.  They fondle their guns and make love to the barrels with their tiny dicks. lol.  No wonder they’re called “gun lovers.” He he he he! See this video by Bill Maher for some more ridicule of gun nuts: The Home of the Brave.  Guns seem to be phallic fetishes that compensate for inner weakness and rage.   As Bill Maher says, both gun nuts and the Pentagon have too many guns and want even more.   The obsession with violence, militarism and guns seems endemic to America’s ideology of exceptionalism and aggressive individualism.

We need a multi-pronged attack on conservatives, utilizing almost all weapons in our arsenal, including logic, shaming, humor and insult, but excluding violence and guns. The aim is to repudiate their ideas in the marketplace of public opinion and to “disarm” them by showing that their ideologies are based on unhealthy emotions and attitudes.

I plan to do more research about topics brought up in this article.

There are actually significant, interesting issues here, about the psychology of mass movements, mechanisms of political change, and methods of marketing and propaganda.

Addendum: I’ve been looking for articles concerning the topic of political name calling.  Despite the promising name Does Name-Calling Politics Improve Your Argument? doesn’t give useful arguments, in my opinion.

More on guns

The Hitler gun control lie: Gun rights activists who cite the dictator as a reason against gun control have their history dangerously wrong

As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler’s, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. … The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. “The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” Harcourt wrote.

The [Russian] Red Army lost 7 million men fighting the Wehrmacht, despite its tanks and planes and artillery. The Jews with pistols and shotguns would have done better?”

[Concerning the Warsaw uprising] In reality, only about 20 Germans were killed, while some 13,000 Jews were massacred. The remaining 50,000 who survived were promptly sent off to concentration camps.

Meanwhile, much of the Hitler myth is based on an infamous quote falsely attributed to the Fuhrer, which extols the virtue of gun control….

As Brendan Williams says,

Stupidest NRA argument: Jews couldn’t resist Nazis because they were unarmed. You know who WAS armed? The French Army (considered the world’s finest). Didn’t help them. For that matter when the French were routed the British Expeditionary Force had to be evacuated too. Further, the idea individual armed resistance alone could have overcome Nazis ignores their brutal use of reprisals. It’s such a grotesque, ahistorical, simplistic, effectively anti-Semitic argument, and it also implies we should stop being positive forces for change in our U.S. democracy and instead hole up in our homes with guns awaiting tyranny.

Was Hitler Really a Fan of Gun Control?

Five Reasons Why the NRA Must Be Stopped

  1. NRA leaders’ immoral interpretation of the Second Amendment presents a serious public health risk.
  2. The NRA does not represent the views of most NRA members and gun owners.
  3. The NRA represents gun makers, not gun owners.
  4. The NRA lies to the public and its members.… by saying that a ban on military-style weapons with massive magazines would mean the government will come for hunting rifles next.
  5. The NRA uses its power to silence responsible politicians and quash constructive efforts to reduce gun violence.

“The NRA is primarily a front group for the nation’s gun manufacturers. But you wouldn’t know it from reading the major media outlets.” (source)

CA gun show draws 10,000 people ‘getting ready for the next revolution’.

US House wants laxer gun laws

Mayors against Illegal Guns is reporting:

Before he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman had been arrested for assaulting a police officer and subject to a court order for domestic violence.

But thanks to Florida’s lax gun standards, he was still able to get a permit to carry a concealed, loaded handgun.

Now, the U.S. Senate is considering legislation that would give Zimmerman and other violent offenders a free pass to carry their hidden and loaded firearms nationwide. The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed this dangerous legislation.

Please join Mayors Against Illegal Guns in telling the Senate: Don’t give gun-toting vigilantes a nationwide free pass!

Scouring the News for Signs of Intelligent Life

Lots of coverage of the republican primaries out there. Few signs of intelligent life in that pile of smoking offal. Going to move on. There must be more important stuff going on. Mr. Fish strikes again

Oh, here we go: Chris Hedges has a good piece in Truth Dig about the NDAA – National Defense Authorization Act – and what a dangerous piece of legislation the NDAA truly is. Like the presidential authority to use drone weaponry to assassinate US citizens or our “enemies” anywhere in the world, this NDAA piece of legislation may look less scary to some in the hands of President Obama (I don’t know why that is? He’s pretty aggressive.) than it might look in the hands of a President Palin, but once presidential authority is asserted, it is seldom relinquished, so you have to look ahead at how the NDAA would work with President Santorum or the like. I don’t like.

Indefinite military detention. Hmm…

On another front SCOTUS Inc. came out with another 5-4 decision that says if you are arrested for any offense, no matter how minor, the jail is entitled to strip search you for a close visual inspection. A bid Thank You to the 4 who voted against, but you lost and so did we.

The plaintiff in the underlying case Florence v. County of Burlington was strip searched twice after he was arrested for failure to pay a fine. The fine had been paid, the arrest should not have occurred, but two strip searches later, Albert W. Florence (a black man) was released. He was a passenger in his BMW when his wife was pulled over for speeding and the records search produced the erroneous arrest warrant matter.

hmm… sometimes the authorities simply get it wrong, right? Those things happen. No harm, no foul, says Justice Anthony Kennedy. At least no harm that he can see.

I monitor a national police oversight listserv and caught this story regarding the Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman shooting death that continues to build public outrage: The Elusiveness of Police Accountability.

There is something particularly scary about a cop wannabe packing a 9 mm weapon and patrolling a neighborhood. Judgment, training, – there are a lot of things missing in this community security package. Bu, the Atlantic Cities story tells the story of 18 yo Ramarley Graham, who was chased into his house by NY police and shot dead in the bathroom. He is reported to have been unarmed and in possession of a small quantity of marijuana. The point of the Atlantic Cities piece is that if Trayvon had been shot by a police officer instead of a cop wannabe, there would be a lot less news coverage of the event. That’s probably true. There is something really disturbing about the fact that Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after dispatch advised to stop. With Ramarley Graham and Trayvon Martin we appear to have two deaths that just didn’t need to happen.

We don’t know if Ramarley was wearing a hoodie when he was shot. That seems to be scary attire. I am wearing my hoodie every day now.

Here are some facts that I think are inescapable:

Justice is elusive. Handguns are ubiquitous. Armed men who think they need to keep the peace are dangerous to young black men.

My solution? Reduce the number of weapons in the community. Gun control. Buy back programs. Interference in the realm of handgun commerce. A big government type solution to a big public problem.

Yep, a like a little big government from time to time, but I am not too crazy about the NDAA and Scotus Inc.