Google Search

Custom Search

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Presidents gun plan, common sense gun control

So today president Obama released a 23 point plan of executive actions he can take to help curb gun violence. While calling on congress do pass legislation such a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

The freakout from the right is amazing. Going so far as to target Obama's kids.

This is an ad released from the NRA that calls president Obama an "Elitist Hypocrite" for not wanting to put guns in school.

The whole is premise of this dumbass ad is to say "well Obama's kids get secret service guards so we should get guards too."

This is stupid, for one the president gets over 30 death threats a day, thirty!

I don't know any person that gets thirty death threats a day. Is it such a stretch that someone would threaten his family? OF COURSE! Of course they would, there are some crazy people out there.

Speaking of crazy, NRA president David Keene went on Mike Huckabees radio show and said this about the 23 executive actions
“Make no mistake about it: Overall, this is an anti-gun agenda pushed by an administration that is a committed anti-gun administration,”
And Mr. Wayne LaPierre had this to say:

 “It’s not about protecting your children. It’s not about stopping crime. It’s about banning your guns … PERIOD!” 
So here we ago again. Yes president Obama proposed that congress pass an assault weapons ban, but I don't think he or the NRA have anything to worry about. Not with this congress.

The political reality is that congress will not pass an assault weapons ban, it's not even on their radar. Sure you have Diane Finestein calling to put a ban on the floor, but come on. Do you really expect the Republicans to pass this? I'd be amazed if they even put it on the floor for a vote.

Well at least without massive public pressure.

You can bet the NRA and the gun lobby will be fighting any legislation tooth and nail, so if progressives want to see action on assault rifles and high capacity magazines, get ahold of your congressmen and let your voices be heard.

The president has done all he can do.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Why anything but very modest gun control is out of reach.

Yesterday I talked about Alex Jones and his pro-gun rant on CNN. I mentioned that gun control laws are not likely to be passed.

 I want to explain here why I think that is, despite the continued use of guns in violent crime, the increase of mass shootings, the outrage primarily from the left and the polling data that shows that a great deal of Americans are open to some reform.

USA Today/Gallup Poll. Dec. 19-22, 2012. N=1,038 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 4.

"Please say whether you favor or oppose each of the following: A law which would require background checks before people -- including gun dealers -- could buy guns at gun shows."
"Please say whether you favor or oppose each of the following: A law which would ban the sale and possession of high-capacity ammunition clips that can contain more than 10 bullets."

We still have a deep partisan divide over the issue of 2nd amendment rights.

Pew Research Center. Dec. 17-19, 2012. N=1,219 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 3.4.
"What do you think is more important -- to protect the right of Americans to own guns, or to control gun ownership?"
right to
own guns

And there is the fact that the words gun control are always mistakenly linked to the idea of banning all guns, which is NOT what gun control means.

Nonetheless, according to the Pew Research polling data more people feel safe with guns in the home.

"Do you think that gun ownership in this country does more to protect people from becoming victims of crime, or does more to put people's safety at risk?" Options rotated
Put safety
at risk

Despite the data showing otherwise.

"Compared to homes without guns, the presence of guns in the home is associated with a 3-fold increased homicide risk within the home. The risk connected to gun ownership increases to 8-fold when the offender is an intimate partner or relative of the victim and is 20 times higher when previous domestic violence exists."

"Family and intimate assaults with firearms are 12 times more likely to result in death than nonfirearm assaults. This research suggests that limiting access to guns will result in less lethal family and intimate assaults."
-John Hopkins Bloomberg school of public health

And then you also have stories like this one. Also this one.

You also have the NRA now having a negative approval rating because it's stance on arming teachers which is proving to be unpopular. 

The NRA now has a negative favorability rating, with 42% of voters seeing it positively while 45% have an unfavorable view. That represents a 10 point net decline in the NRA’s favorability from the week before the press conference when a national poll we did found it at 48/41. Its image has taken a hit with both Democrats (from 29/59 to 22/67) and Republicans (71/19 to 66/18).
The NRA’s focus on putting more guns in schools is likely what’s driving the decline in the organization’s image. Only 41% of voters support the organization’s proposal to put armed police officers in schools across the country, with 50% opposed. Democrats (35/57) and independents (38/51) both oppose the push and even among Republicans only a narrow majority (52/39) supports it.
On the broader issue of giving teachers guns, only 27% of voters are supportive with 64% opposed. There’s bipartisan opposition to that concept with Republicans (35/50), independents (31/59), and Democrats (19/77) all standing against it. Gun owners (37/52) oppose it as well.
The holidays and the fiscal cliff took a lot of the spotlight off gun control measures, but in general 53% of Americans say they support stricter gun laws with 40% opposed.

So despite all this why do I continue to think that there will be little action on gun control laws? Well for one we have divided government. We could hardly get a deal on the fiscal cliff passed in time, and that had a deadline where all Americans were going to be hit with tax increases. 

Gun control legislation however does not have any imposed deadline, so the congress can continue to push it off until the general public forgets about it. That has essentially been the position of congress every time we have a mass shooting. Remember Columbine? Tuscon? Aurora? Wisconsin? Now Sandy Hook. 

Now President Obama and Joe Biden do promise some action on gun control, but Obama has also promised to close Gitmo, raise taxes on people making over 250k a year, and not put entitlements on the table in order to deal with the deficit. So excuse me if I don't have faith in his ability to do what he says he will do when you look at his track record. 

Another reason, and I'm going all philosophical on you now, is because we have a culture of fear. We have a media that sensationalizes tragedies to get ratings. We also have people like Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox news spreading fear. Fear of the government, they often use Hitler and Mao as examples as to why any regulation is bad. Some Americans also fear minorities, Blacks and Latinos. Trayvon Martin is a great example of this, I think if Trayvon had been a white teenager in a hoodie there is a good chance Zimmerman would have let him be. There is sense of needing protection from the government and other Americans, as Alex Jones demonstrates during many of his paranoid rants

So back to government, the gun manufacturers have a vested interest in making money, they are after all corporations, and with money they have the ability to spend that money on elections, influencing candidates. In 94% of congressional elections money determines the outcome. Gun manufacturers give money to the NRA, and the NRA uses it to give money to pro-gun politicians. If you take a stand on any type of gun control, your NRA funding is gone. 

With all of these factors, and the efforts of many conservatives and libertarians alike that do not want to see any restrictions on their right to bear arms and contribute to the NRA, I'm convinced and saddened that right now, we may only only see token reform. 

My advice to fellow progressives, if you want to see any movement on common sense gun regulation, you have to get the money out of politics so the people can decide, if a majority continues to want some tougher gun regulation than that is the only way. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why the bad fiscal cliff deal will lead to a worse debt ceiling deal.

So the full details of the Fiscal Cliff Curb deal are now known. I broke it down on my YouTube channel a few days ago. It's basically a long list of giveaways to the rich, and enshrining the Bush tax cuts into law for 97% of Americans forever.

Key Provisions include:

That's not really a great deal. This whole fiscal cliff was designed to help solve our deficit. This deal adds $4 Trillion to our deficit over the next 10 years. 

However, the unemployment extension is a great thing, and sorely needed because of the economic activity it provides, but it's merely scraps tossed out to the people who need it most. The clear winners of this deal are the corporations and the rich. 

This deal not only failed to raise any revenue or provide stimulus, it's also chock full of corporate socialism. Yes I said Socialism, you know the kind we don't like. 

These subsidies include some of the following:
  • $43 Million in tax breaks for NASCAR
  • $165 Million for Railroads to maintain their tracks. (Shouldn't the railroad companies be doing that?)
  • $150 Million for Hollywood studios.
  • Tax incentives for mining companies to buy safety equipment and train employees to mine safely. (Once again why are we paying the companies to not kill their workers?)
  • $1.6 Billion to Goldman Sachs in tax free financing from a 9/11 liberty bonds program. 
  • $9 Billion Off-shore financing loophole for banks. Encouraging outsourcing and keeping money in foreign banks
And the list goes on while the cost to taxpayers goes up. Remember this is our money. Taken right out of our pocket and given to Goldman Sachs. While the CEO Lloyd Blankfein, referring to Social Security told CBS,
 "You're going to have to do something, undoubtedly, to lower people's expectations of what they're going to get." 
While he rakes in a whopping $16.1 Million salary from Goldman Sachs and was the recipient of Federal bailout money under TARP. This is absolutely insane. The wealthy and corporations are robbing us blind and they're buying our politicians to do it.

The reason I bring up Lloyd Blankfein and Social Security is because of the coming debt ceiling fight. Remember we've kicked the sequester down the road and raised taxes, now comes the part where we really get robbed. The part where Republicans demand spending cuts, and where Obama will give it to them. The fight has already started with threats of a government shutdown.

Now the president could use the 14th amendment to raise the debt ceiling as many democrats have been calling for, but Obama himself has balked at the idea.

This leads to me think, based on Obama's record of folding on negotiations where he has the leverage, that we are going to end up with deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other social programs for the poor.

I'd love to be wrong about this, I really would, but with the horrible Fiscal Cliff deal, the fact that Obama has already said to have put Medicare on the table for cuts, and the fact that during the fiscal cliff negotiations he offered changes to social security benefits. I am really skeptical that we're going to get anything short of a grand larceny from the poor and middle class.

So if you think the fiscal cliff deal was a win for democrats because we got some tax increases, than you haven't been paying attention to the details.

When it comes to politics, always read the fine print.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Fiasco

The Senate has voted on a bill to avert the fiscal cliff, and as I write this the House is debating it on the floor.

Now I mentioned that there are some Democrats and Republicans that don't like this deal. But now it seems there might be enough support in the House for it to pass. It also looks like Joe Biden is the one that was able to make a deal with McConnel as opposed to Harry Reid, I'll get into the details tomorrow, it's awesome.

The reason congress has been in such a rush to get a deal now is because of the markets, they open tomorrow and they want a deal.

This shows the priorities that this congress has. Take the farm bill, congress just didn't want to make a new deal for another five years, instead they just kinda sat on it until finally to coming to an agreement to extend the 2008 farm bill. But when it comes to the demands of wall street, they work the entire holiday to hammer out a deal that ends up favoring the defense contractors and the Republicans anyway.

and they call this compromise?

It's very indicative of just who the politicians are really working for.

It's another cave by the president to the right wing extremist party and a set up to cut spending even more in the upcoming debt ceiling fight. After all how could the Republicans not be cocky when every time the president says he wont budge, he ends up folding.

Bottom line, the coming debt ceiling fight is going to be awful. If you're like me and think this is a bad deal, just wait. The worst is yet to come.