As People Die From Gun Violence We Aren’t to Speak About Gun Violence

Sunday’s mass shooting at a Sikh Temple by a white supremacist follows the James Holmes shooting in Aurora, Colorado and urgings by mainstream media to not discuss the epidemic of gun violence striking our nation.  Don Lemon of CNN kept saying Sunday that this isn’t the time to discuss these issues.  If not now when Mr. Lemon?  How many more men, women and children have to be mowed down before you accept the fact we need to discuss what is happening?  Please tell me, how many?  Ten, twenty, a hundred or how many more thousands?  Thousands of Americans are murdered each year by guns.  We allowed the assault weapons ban to cease and then James Holmes uses one to mow down 70 people inside a movie theater.  He also used what used be an illegal 100 bullet ammo canister to insure he wouldn’t need to stop and reload.

We went to war in two countries because 3000 Americans were killed on 9/11 yet we ignore the war on our citizens with arms.  Where’s the outrage and why aren’t people like Lemon using their pulpits to preach about gun violence and the necessity of dealing with it in a mature, common sense manner?

Perhaps if we made buying a gun as difficult as getting an abortion we could reduce this level of violence.  Nations which ban or seriously restrict gun ownership don’t have this level of violence so don’t sit there pontificating that guns don’t kill people, people do.  People with guns kill people.  People without them don’t on any comparable level of frequency.  Guns are the problem.

News & Notes July 23, 2012

Is climate change convincing you yet that it’s real?  How much more extreme weather is necessary to convince the deniers?  Farmers in the Midwest are now culling their herds because there won’t be enough corn and soybeans to feed them.  A rise in meat prices will inevitably be blamed on Obama instead of the culprits who have fought policy changes to forestall the effects of global climate change.  Conservatives never accept personal responsibility for their failures.  Isn’t that interesting?

Cronyism in Reading City Hall continues.  One Term Vaughn hasn’t learned his lessons.  Cronyism almost always leads to corruption.

State Rep. Kevin Murphy was arrested in a domestic beating incident.  The rap sheets for our lawmakers gets longer and longer.

Former Speaker Bill DeWeese, his hubris never ending, even from prison, remains on the ballot.  As a convicted felon he cannot serve even if he won the election from his prison cell.  PA Dems are now going to court to get him off the ballot so they have some hope of keeping the seat.  

Someone explain to me how what the mob did in this case is different from what Mitt Romney did at Bain?

I felt I was in a parallel universe this morning watching the NCAA sanctions against Penn State.  Never in my life did I expect to see my alma mater penalized so harshly for the sins of its football team.  We still haven’t gotten answers from Tom Corbett about why he allowed just one Trooper to investigate the case for 18 months.  Even then the two OAG investigators were narcs and had no experience in child abuse cases.  He refuses to answer questions.  Maybe someone needs to investigate him.  He’d better start answering soon or his chances for a second term go the way of Penn State football.

Boycott any company which is financing right wing attack ads.  Voting with your dollars sends a distinct message.  Look at all the negative attention being targeted at Chick Fil-A for example.  Here’s a guide to some of the worst corporate offenders.

School districts are now facing another huge financial hurdle:  funding their pensions.  The state keeps putting off making these payments and soon the shit will hit the fan.  As Corbett keeps strangling their budgets schools may need to use their nuclear option:  renege on their long term debt bonds.  Since these are backed by the state the legislature would be on the hook for the billions in long term debt used to build and renovate school buildings.  Serves them right if it happens.

Rachel Maddow devoted a program last week to Sheldon Adelson and the corrupt methods he used to build his gambling mecca in Macao.  He could be convicted of a felony for bribing Chinese interests to make his fortune.  That’s a serious crime.

More evidence that privatization leads to corruption.  The FBI is investigating Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.  Its web of corruption is interesting.  These are your tax dollars at work funding corruption.

A friend recently lamented that she didn’t have employment benefits and said union members shouldn’t either.  Her logic was that since she didn’t have a pension no one else should either.  I just looked at her and said that wasn’t the problem.  The problem was that her workplace wasn’t union and she should fight for those same benefits instead of condemning those who have for themselves.  Union bashing seems to be a favorite pasttime for some people who forget what unions have done for everyone.  This letter in the Bucks Courier Times reminds us:

First, instead of condemning unions, we should extol their historical accomplishments. Unions have brought us laws against child labor. Unions have brought us the 8-hour work day and overtime pay. Unions have brought us safer workplaces, so that getting sick or maimed was no longer “just part of the job.” Unions have brought us pensions, employer-paid health care, vacation pay, sick leave, etc. Though currently under attack, these same benefits are enjoyed by nearly all full-time, nonunion employees, too.

Second, as so many Vent writers have rejoiced, union membership is in substantial decline as powerful companies and now Republican-controlled governments attempt to break any semblance of union power. But such union critics also should notice and acknowledge that as unions have declined over the last 30-plus years, the income of the entire bottom 90 percent of all Americans has stagnated. Notice that I didn’t say that just the income of blue-collar Americans has stagnated; instead, even as the top 10 percent (and even more so, the top 1 percent) has flourished, EVERYBODY ELSE has stagnated or declined. Instead of consistently raising the bar for labor compensation, so that the benefits of increased technology and productivity are shared between labor and management/capital, unchecked corporate power is keeping virtually ALL of these benefits for shareholders and top management.

The NRA has been curiously silent following the latest gun massacre.  It’s Tweet last Friday morning was frighteningly tragic:  “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” James Holmes did.  Isn’t it time we banned assault weapons and 100 bullet clips for them?  SCOTUS says we cannot infringe gun rights but there’s nothing in the Second Amendment about ammunition.  If bullets cost $1000 apiece Holmes wouldn’t have bought 6,000 of them.  Right wing morons keep talking about infringing the rights of gun owners but what about the rights of those they kill?

A judge says disrobing as a protest of TSA regulations is protected free speech.  A movement is underway for a mass stripping protest at airports.  I may need to apply to work at an airport, this could be interesting.  My camera is all charged up.

The Vice Chair of the PA GOP admitted she lied about President Obama last week.  The only thing unusual about this is the fact she fessed up.  Republicans are so used to lying they’re shocked when they’re exposed.  This moron, someone named Renee Amoore and she didn’t even know her company’s layoffs were overseas.  Some boss.

Mitt wants to take away your internet porn.  Yea, that’ll get him a lot of votes…

Dan Miller, the openly gay Controller in Harrisburg, is marrying his partner.  Of course he has to leave Pennsylvania in order to make a commitment to his lifetime lover.

One constant mantra of the right wing noise machine is that government doesn’t create jobs.  This is yet another of the myths with which they use to brainwash people.  Now that defense spending is on the table as part of Taxaggeddon they’re suddenly changing their tune.  The potential loss of jobs from  Pentagon cuts is exposing this lie.

Michele Bachmann is channeling Joe McCarthy.

The Dark Knight Has a Dark Night

James Holmes, a 24 year old med student at the University of Colorado Denver entered a movie theatre and shot randomly.  He killed 12 people and wounded 50 others attending the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises.  The Batman epic has been derided this week on right wing radio by morons who claim its villain (Bane) is a Hollywood attack on Mitt Romney.  The character was invented in 1993 and the plot of this film was set four years ago.  There’s as much evidence it was inspired by Romney than Michelle Bachmann’s McCarthite attacks on a State Department official.

We have no knowledge of Holmes’ motivations, know very little about the man other than he is from San Diego and booby trapped his apartment.  An ABC News report he was affiliated with the Colorado Tea party was erroneous and removed.  One right wing web site is alleging he was part of the Occupy Movement.

No one knows what his motivation was or what his political affiliations, if any, were.  He might have been a crazy man with four guns who targeted a random theater filled with people.  We must wait for the facts.

President Obama released this statement this morning:

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me, first of all, say how grateful I am for all of you being here, and how much we appreciate everything that you’ve done.  I know that there are a lot of people here who have been so engaged in the campaign, have sacrificed so much, people who’ve been involved back since 2007. (Applause.)  And so I want all of you to know how appreciative I am.

And I know many of you came here today for a campaign event. I was looking forward to having a fun conversation with you about some really important matters that we face as a country and the differences between myself and my opponent in this election.  But this morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family.

By now, many of you know, many of you have heard that a few miles outside of Denver in a town call Aurora, at least 12 people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater, and dozens more are being treated for injuries at a local hospital.  Some of the victims are being treated at a children’s hospital.

We’re still gathering all the facts about what happened in Aurora, but what we do know is that the police have one suspect in custody.  And the federal government stands ready to do whatever is necessary to bring whoever is responsible for this heinous crime to justice.  (Applause.)  And we will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all of our people.

We’re going to stand by our neighbors in Colorado during this extraordinarily difficult time.  And I had a chance to speak with the Mayor of Aurora as well as the Governor of Colorado to express, not just on behalf of Michelle and myself, but the entire American family, how heartbroken we are.

Now, even as we learn how this happened and who’s responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this.  Such violence, such evil is senseless.  It’s beyond reason.  But while we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living.  The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved.  They were mothers and fathers; they were husbands and wives; sisters and brothers; sons and daughters, friends and neighbors.  They had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled.

    And if there’s anything to take away from this tragedy it’s the reminder that life is very fragile.  Our time here is limited and it is precious.  And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives.  Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another.  (Applause.)

    It’s what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose.  That’s what matters.  At the end of the day, what we’ll remember will be those we loved and what we did for others.  That’s why we’re here.

    I’m sure that many of you who are parents here had the same reaction that I did when I heard this news.  My daughters go to the movies.  What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our kids do every day?  Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I’m sure you will do the same with your children.  But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation.

    So, again, I am so grateful that all of you are here.  I am so moved by your support.  But there are going to be other days for politics.  This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection.

    So what I’d ask everybody to do, I’d like us to pause in a moment of silence for the victims of this terrible tragedy, for the people who knew them and loved them, for those who are still struggling to recover, and for all the victims of less publicized acts of violence that plague our communities every single day.  So if everybody can just take a moment.

    (Moment of silence.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  I hope all of you will keep the people of Aurora in your hearts and minds today.  May the Lord bring them comfort and healing in hard days to come.

I am grateful to all of you, and I hope that as a consequence of today’s events, as you leave here, you spend a little time thinking about the incredible blessings that God has given us.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Obama!  (Applause.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.