It’s Not Just Healthcare


This article outlines how one might break up a big bank, either legislatively or via Dodd-Frank. Neither is as easy (or likely) as Bernie seems to think it is.


God, I finally got around to reading this Bernie Sanders interview with the New York Daily News and it’s just as I’ve been saying for months now (here, here, here, to name a few): he just doesn’t seem to understand the fundamentals of the issues he’s most passionate about. Bernie’s most passionate supporters should really be concerned about this, but near as I can tell, they’re just writing off every negative story by attacking the messenger.

Look, it’s not enough to just say, this thing is bad. You’re running for president because supposedly you’re the guy to fix it. And to fix the stuff that’s broken, you need more than just a wagging finger and a pissed off message. You need to know how stuff works.

I don’t think Bernie Sanders understands the difference between being an activist and being a president. An activist can get away with speaking truth to power and calling for needed change, but a president actually needs to know how to do it. For example: I’m a good enough liberal to nod my head in agreement when Bernie says,

I believe that we can and should move to what Pope Francis calls a moral economy.

But how are you going to do that? What does that look like? How do we make that happen? What is the mechanism?

As his interview with the NYDN shows, he has no clue how Wall Street even works, let alone what needs to be done to reform it. For example, on his pledge to break up the big banks his first year in office:

Daily News: Okay. Well, let’s assume that you’re correct on that point. How do you go about doing it?

Sanders: How you go about doing it is having legislation passed, or giving the authority to the secretary of treasury to determine, under Dodd-Frank, that these banks are a danger to the economy over the problem of too-big-to-fail.

Daily News: But do you think that the Fed, now, has that authority?

Sanders: Well, I don’t know if the Fed has it. But I think the administration can have it.

Daily News: How? How does a President turn to JPMorgan Chase, or have the Treasury turn to any of those banks and say, “Now you must do X, Y and Z?”

Sanders: Well, you do have authority under the Dodd-Frank legislation to do that, make that determination.

Daily News: You do, just by Federal Reserve fiat, you do?

Sanders: Yeah. Well, I believe you do.

Okay, got that? Sanders seems very clear on his assertion that Dodd-Frank gives a president — and that means his administration — the authority to order a “too big to fail” bank to be broken up. But as to how you unpack that in the real world, beyond the grandiose platitudes about a stronger national economy … well, he’s a little muddy.

Daily News: So if you look forward, a year, maybe two years, right now you have…JPMorgan has 241,000 employees. About 20,000 of them in New York. $192 billion in net assets. What happens? What do you foresee? What is JPMorgan in year two of…

Sanders: What I foresee is a stronger national economy. And, in fact, a stronger economy in New York State, as well. What I foresee is a financial system which actually makes affordable loans to small and medium-size businesses. Does not live as an island onto themselves concerned about their own profits. And, in fact, creating incredibly complicated financial tools, which have led us into the worst economic recession in the modern history of the United States.

Daily News: I get that point. I’m just looking at the method because, actions have reactions, right? There are pluses and minuses. So, if you push here, you may get an unintended consequence that you don’t understand. So, what I’m asking is, how can we understand? If you look at JPMorgan just as an example, or you can do Citibank, or Bank of America. What would it be? What would that institution be? Would there be a consumer bank? Where would the investing go?

Sanders: I’m not running JPMorgan Chase or Citibank.

Daily News: No. But you’d be breaking it up.

Sanders: That’s right. And that is their decision as to what they want to do and how they want to reconfigure themselves. That’s not my decision. All I am saying is that I do not want to see this country be in a position where it was in 2008, where we have to bail them out. And, in addition, I oppose that kind of concentration of ownership entirely.


Daily News: Well, it does depend on how you do it, I believe. And, I’m a little bit confused because just a few minutes ago you said the U.S. President would have authority to order…

Sanders: No, I did not say we would order. I did not say that we would order. The President is not a dictator.

Umm, actually he kinda did. He says it at every campaign stop, too.

Daily News: Okay. You would then leave it to JPMorgan Chase or the others to figure out how to break it, themselves up. I’m not quite…

Sanders: You would determine is that, if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. And then you have the secretary of treasury and some people who know a lot about this, making that determination. If the determination is that Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan Chase is too big to fail, yes, they will be broken up.

And he just said it again. Okay, so moving forward:

Daily News: Okay. You saw, I guess, what happened with Metropolitan Life. There was an attempt to bring them under the financial regulatory scheme, and the court said no. And what does that presage for your program?

Sanders: It’s something I have not studied, honestly, the legal implications of that.

He hasn’t studied the legal implications? That’s troubling, to say the least. Even Obama, a professor of constitutional law, had to deal with legal challenges to Obamacare … and he didn’t always get it right.

Sanders does the same thing when asked about Israel, saying all the right things about Israel having a right to exist but recognizing the suffering of the Palestinian people, and saying,

[…] Israel is not, cannot, just simply expand when it wants to expand with new settlements.

But how that manifests in a real Bernie Sanders administration? We get more waffling.

Daily News: I was talking about something different, though. Expanding settlements is one thing; coming into office as a President who said as a baseline that you want Israel to pull back settlements, that changes the dynamic in the negotiations, and I’m wondering how far and what you want Israel to do in terms of pulling back.

Sanders: Well, again, you’re asking me a very fair question, and if I had some paper in front of me, I would give you a better answer. But I think if the expansion was illegal, moving into territory that was not their territory, I think withdrawal from those territories is appropriate.

Daily News: And who makes the call about illegality, in your mind?

Sanders: Well, I think that’s based on previous treaties and ideas. I happen to think that those expansions were illegal.

Daily News: Okay, so if we were to find Israeli settlements, so-called settlements, in places that has been designated to be illegal, you would expect Israel to be pulling them back?

Sanders: Israel will make their own decisions. They are a government, an independent nation. But to the degree that they want us to have a positive relationship, I think they’re going to have to improve their relationship with the Palestinians.

So what are we talking about here?

Bernie Sanders is a liberal Trump. It’s not enough to just talk about how you want to make America great again. You need to have a plan. So, what’s the plan for breaking up the banks? What’s the plan for Israel? What’s the plan for trade deals and taking on ISIS? When asked about what he’d do with a captured ISIS commander, Sanders said he’d imprison him. But where?

Daily News: Where?

Sanders: And try to get as much information out of him. If the question leads us to Guantanamo…

Daily News: Well, no, separate and apart from Guantanamo, it could be there, it could be anywhere. Where would a President Sanders imprison, interrogate? What would you do?

Sanders: Actually I haven’t thought about it a whole lot. I suppose, somewhere near the locale where that person was captured. The best location where that individual would be safely secured in a way that we can get information out of him.

Daily News: Would it be in the United States?

Sanders: Would it be in the United States? It could be, yeah.

Daily News: Yeah. I mean, some of these places are lawless lands. You’ve got Libya, you’ve got Yemen. If Special Forces…

Sanders: If the question is do I believe that terrorists could be safely imprisoned in the United States, the answer is yes.

Okay, but Obama tried that and failed. Imprisoning someone in a foreign country implies a whole level of global influence that seems at odds with Sanders’ more Libertarian streak where foreign affairs is concerned. Shouldn’t he have thought this stuff through? And why aren’t the Bernie babies more concerned about this stuff? Doesn’t substance matter to liberals anymore? Are we so enamored of someone who says the right things that we don’t care if it’s just empty rhetoric? That doesn’t make us any better than than the Trump people.


Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

Apocalypse Soon


Many of us in Nashville are getting a good laugh at the news that a survivalist company, called (hilariously) “4Patriots,” is opening its doors in the upscale, hipster neighborhood known as 12South. We’re all having a good time imagining shelves stocked with artisanal MRE’s, Chanel chemical toilets, or Gucci and Louis Vuitton gas masks such as those picture above (real, but created as an art project).

But we keed, we keed. This shop is the real deal, despite its location near hipster watering holes like Urban Lounge, artisanal ice cream shop Jeni’s, and Reese Witherspoon’s new preppy clothing shop, Draper James. It’s a weird choice of locations, I must say. I can’t imagine following my stop at the Cupcake ATM and the hip homewares shop owned by Hank Williams Jr.’s ex-fashion model daughter to a place selling “survival food rated to last 25 years” (and it’s Glenn Beck certified, so you know it’s good!)

Maybe I shouldn’t worry. After all, it’s “by patriots, FOR patriots,” which means it’s definitely not for candy-assed liberal capitulators such as myself. (I love the testimonial from “Mark,” who says he now feels more able to feed his family in a time of crisis, and only wishes he could afford more of them. Ummm ….. )

I don’t get any of this, I never have. Certainly not in a city like Nashville. I sorta get it for people who live out in the sticks, where one ice storm or tornado can cut you off from the real world for a few days. I do not get the “patriots hiding in a bunker” BS. What kind of paranoia makes someone think they need to set by a 25-year supply of dehydrated soup? I guess the kind of paranoia the guy hawking the desiccated foodstuffs in the first place is selling, with ludricous claims about FEMA trying to buy out his supplier because,

I think that the government knows something we don’t and is worried that they see a full-scale disaster about to hit. And I think I found the factors that will trigger it.

Okay, whatevs, dude.

When I was growing up in the ’70s I remember my mom setting aside a couple of 50-gallon bottles of water in our garage, the kind that go in an office water cooler. And then she started saving cans of tuna fish. Whenever we asked her what this was for she’d answer, “for the revolution.” Interestingly, I’ve talked to several friends my age, and they all say their parents did the same thing around that time. Maybe it was the Arab Oil Embargo and the campus anti-war protests. Somehow, our parents’ generation seemed convinced the end was near.

And I do sort of get it for that generation. Mom was born in 1930. She was a Depression baby in every regard. Her teenage years were colored by World War II and all of the rationing that came with it. These were people raised on hardship and bread lines. So sure, I can see lines at the gas station and Kent State sending the message that maybe it’s time to stock up.

But now? Why now? What makes people think that now is the time to prepare for the apocalypse? Is it our pop culture? “The Walking Dead” and 9/11 and all that? Is it the paranoia of right-wing talk radio?

Let me give you “4Patriots” people some advice. Forty years after my mom set cans of tuna fish on a dusty shelf in our garage, my sister and I were throwing all of that crap away as we readied the family home for sale. We never used it. The tuna fish outlived both my parents. The revolution never happened and the apocalypse didn’t come. Hell, we lived in Southern California — we didn’t even need to crack a water bottle because of a goddamned earthquake! I suspect in 30 years your own kids will be tossing this stuff in a dumpster too, shaking their heads at the folly of mom and dad.


Filed under end of the world, Nashville

Taxes & Presidential Candidates

It’s that time of year again when we all must render unto Caesar, so this seems like a good time to compare the candidates’ tax plans.

Not too long ago Vox and the Tax Policy Center teamed up to provide this handy tool where you can calculate how much tax you’d pay under each candidate’s plan.

Keeping in mind that these are estimates, I used the calculator and found that the Beale household would pay $270 more a year under a President Hillary Clinton and … wait for it … a whopping $16,000 a year more under a President Bernie Sanders.

(In the interest of fairness, let me point out that we’d evidently pay $14,340 less under a President Cruz, but in no way would I ever vote for Ted Cruz. The entire nation would pay in so many other ways, for a generation or more. It hardly seems worth it to give up the Supreme Court for that.)

The upshot is, we simply could not afford Bernie Sanders’ tax plan. When I mentioned this a while back, a Bernie supporter told me that we’d actually come out even or maybe even a little ahead because universal healthcare would magically happen somehow, and we’d save money in the long run because we wouldn’t have to pay monthly health insurance premiums.

Ignoring all of the very real questions about how universal healthcare could happen with a gerrymandered Republican House and recalcitrant Republicans in the Senate, I have another question nobody has asked. Let’s pretend for a second that Bernie gets his “revolution” and universal healthcare happens. Could someone explain to me how people such as myself realize this insurance premium savings in the real world? Our family, like most American households, gets its health insurance through an employer. We don’t pay out of pocket for it: it’s an earned benefit.

So for people like us, who represent more than half of insured Americans, how do we realize this supposed health insurance premium savings? Is the Sanders camp assuming that employers will just raise everyone’s salaries, dollar-for-dollar, the same amount they’re paying on employee healthcare? Does anyone seriously think this would happen? Are they expecting this to happen voluntarily, or is there some legislative hammer they would enforce implement, forcing private employers to pay their employees the cash amount of this earned benefit? And does anyone think this would pass a Supreme Court challenge?

It just seems to me that the more you unpack Bernie’s pretty little packages, the more you find they’re filled with sawdust.

I don’t mind paying $270 more a year in tax so that low-income families have Head Start classes and all the rest. But paying $16,000 a year on some unrealistic promise of universal healthcare which doesn’t seem possible, let alone reasonable, strikes me as a stretch.

What am I missing here?


Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, healthcare, taxes

You Don’t Know Nothin’ ‘Bout No Revolution

This week the internet lost its shit when Bernie Sanders supporter/surrogate Susan Sarandon indicated she might vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton (or perhaps not vote at all, or perhaps do a write-in) because a Trump presidency might bring about a much-needed revolution. Or as Raw Story summarized:

Asked about her own vote, Sarandon replied, “I don’t know, I’m going to see what happens,” before she added with a smile, “You know, some people think Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately. If he gets in then things will really, you know, explode.”

Given an opportunity to concede that a Trump presidency might be “dangerous,” Sarandon instead ticked off a litany of America’s ills saying it was more dangerous for the country to continue on the way it is going — but without noting that things would be far worse in Trump America.

These days I find it’s always best to go back to the original source material, as some media outlets have a tendency to spin these quotes to stoke maximum partisan outrage. You can hear what Sarandon actually said here. Having heard the whole interview, however, I do feel that Raw Story’s take was accurate.

Sarandon has naturally, and rightfully, been getting quite a lot of blowback for her comments. Let me also add here that Susan Sarandon is not just another Hollywood liberal. She’s been an activist on a number of issues for decades. She’s a person who gets her hands dirty, talks to people, and goes out and gets things done. She’s out in the field. She doesn’t just write a check and show up for the benefit concert. So her opinion, much as I disagree with it, is one informed by her experiences out in the real world.

Susan Sarandon has a right to her opinion and she has a right to her principled vote. But I also have a right to point out how wrong that is. Not just because I’m supporting Hillary Clinton, but because I, too, talk to people and have experiences in the real world. I, too, have been out in the field. And from my experiences with a diverse group of people in flyover states like Tennessee and Kentucky, I can assure you that people yearning for “revolution” have no fucking clue what they’re talking about.

She talks about farmers upset about Monsanto and fracking and whatnot. I have family members who are farmers. Most of them are Republican, and I can assure you, they will not join a revolution over fracking and Monsanto.

You also have to be living in some alternate universe if you think anyone in middle America is going to storm the Bastille over a $15/hour living wage. Yes, there are desperate people in this country, and a big chunk of them live in rural Red States. But those people aren’t joining any revolution. Nor are they “voting against their own interests.” Most of them don’t even vote.

America will not do a storm-the-Bastille style “revolution.” Ever. Much as the far right and far left may yearn for it, we won’t, because we don’t need to. Let me take this opportunity to channel my 7th grade social studies teacher and remind everyone that Americans are given an opportunity for “revolution” every two years when we hold our national elections. Imperfect though they may be, warts and all, voter suppression and two-party system be damned, the truth of the matter is, our democracy allows for a substantial — and peaceful — turnover in power, if the people demand it. That is our system. That is the system of most stable Western democracies. That is why we don’t have bloody, disruptive, revolutions in the UK and Canada and France and Germany and the like.

If Trump gets elected he will still have Congress to deal with. And if he tried to ignore Congress he would be impeached and removed from office. We’ve done it before, we can do it again. People will not take up arms and storm the White House. We’ll wait until we can vote the fucker out of office.

There will be no revolution, televised or otherwise.

I’d say people like Susan Sarandon who crave revolution need to stop looking for a silver lining if the worst President in American history took office and start thinking about how they can achieve their wish list of progressive ideas. Doing it within our existing system takes time and work, but that’s how shit gets done. Not by burning down the house and rebuilding from the ground up. Certainly the Tea Party did that, by taking over the Republican Party and then stomping it under their tricorn hats. If you really want the things you say you want then get busy and start working to elect like-minded people to Congress and state legislatures. Take over the Democratic Party, if you think you can. If that sounds too boring and establishment for you, well, sorry. That’s how change happens. Not by hoping things get so bad for so many that they finally “wake up.”


Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election

Tennessee Gun Report

I’m trying to get better about posting these once a week. Lots of juicy Gunfail this week, including one item from the national news today out of the Capitol. Speaking of Washington D.C., Marsha Blackburn has cooked up a bill requiring background checks for teachers. I love this. One for teachers but not for gun buyers? Okie dokie.

• March 28, 2016:

Keeping in mind that it’s still early, and early reports are often wrong, it appears an armed Tennessee nutball tried to storm the U.S. Capitol and got shot:

Washington (CNN) U.S. Capitol Police shot a Tennessee man Monday afternoon after he pulled out a gun at the Capitol Visitor Center, law enforcement officials said.

A female civilian bystander was injured by shrapnel, but no U.S. Capitol Police officers were injured.

“We believe this is an act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before, and there is no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act,” U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said.

He said the gunman, who law enforcement officials identified as Larry Russell Dawson, is currently in surgery at a hospital and that a weapon was recovered on the scene. Verderosa also described the woman’s injuries as “minor” and said she was transported to a hospital.

The gunman attempted to go through the metal detectors at the Capitol Visitor Center entrance. When those magnetometers beeped, he was stopped by security and then pulled out a gun. A Capitol police officer then shot him, sources told CNN.

Dawson was arrested on a charge of assaulting a police officer in October after an outburst in the chamber of the House of Representatives. Court documents from that 2015 incident describe Dawson as a 66-year-old man from Tennessee. In that incident, according to the documents, Dawson “loudly stated to Congress he was a ‘prophet of God.’ “

According to my Google searches, Dawson lives in Antioch, which is part of Nashville.

• March 27, 2016:

1- An armed man attempting to enter Memphis’ Bellevue Baptist Church just as Easter services started was stopped by security:

A security guard at the church apprehended the man, later identified as 31-year-old Marcus Donald, and took the weapons, Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said. She said Donald was carrying a loaded .40-caliber Beretta in his pants pocket and a .300 Blackout assault rifle in a backpack.

“The suspect stated that people in society are a threat to him and that he must be vigilant,” Rudolph said, adding that Donald was arrested for “emergency commitment” and was being evaluated Sunday evening.


Barnwell said church officials were unsure who the man was, or what he planned to do. He also doesn’t believe that many of the 3,500 or so in attendance Sunday morning realized anything was amiss.

What were the man’s intentions? We don’t know,” he said. “We are thankful for our security people. What a great job that they do.”

Hey, he could’ve just been exercising his Second Amendment rights. Who knows? Open carry or open fire? Who knows until it’s too late. Right?

2- A Nashville man’s AR-15 was stolen during a fight. Wait, I though this never happened?

• March 25, 2016:

In Memphis, an 11-year-old girl was accidentally shot by another child who was playing with a gun. She is in critical condition.

• March 23, 2016:

A CCW holder from Florida accidentally shot the sink in a Murfreesboro motel room. He then responsibly checked out of the motel and skedaddled, fleeing the scene without alerting motel management:

MURFREESBORO — A Florida man received a call from the Murfreesboro Police on Tuesday after it was discovered a sink in his hotel room had been damaged by gunfire.

According to the police report provided to The Daily News Journal, the Clarion Suites manager contacted officers and showed them the damaged sink.

The previous occupant of the room, Timothy Hamm of Mayo, Fla., was contacted by Officer Matthew Harvey. Hamm told police “he did his normal routine every morning by disengaging the magazine from the gun and pulling the slide back to empty the chamber before dry firing the weapon,” the report said.

Harvey said Hamm was surprised when the Glock went off and he had it pointed in the sink. Officers confirmed that Hamm’s conceal permit is valid.

Safest, most responsible NEVER!

• March 22, 2016:

In a shameful display of cowardice by Tennessee Republicans, the House Civil Justice Committee killed a bill that would have prosecuted those who leave guns accessible to kids.

• March 21, 2016:

In Murfreesboro, a bullet fired from outside someone’s house ended up going through a wall and ending up in a baby’s room. From the link:

When officers spoke to the neighbor, he told police that he accidentally discharged his friends Hi Point 995 Rifle. He told the authorities that he thought the bullet only went through the wall of his home and not his neighbors. Luckily, no one was injured.

Are we safer yet? Lots of close calls like this.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Congratulations, William Matthew DeHayes! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

He wasn’t arrested in 2014, and God forbid we should take his guns away because that time it was “just a tragic accident.” But this time? Lock this asshole up:

William Matthew DeHayes of Ridge Manor, who turned 37 on March 17, drunkenly fired a shotgun into the air several times while standing on his front lawn on the night of his birthday, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with discharging a firearm in public, a misdemeanor.

In July 2014, DeHayes, who was living in Brooksville at the time, accidentally shot a friend’s wife in the head while showing them a “Western-style” trick, twirling a loaded gun around his finger. He told police that he didn’t think the gun was loaded.

Katherine Hoover, 25, of Inverness was rushed to the hospital, where she died early the next morning. She was five months pregnant with a child the couple planned to name Rehlin, who was surgically removed from his dying mother in an attempt to save his life but lived about 30 minutes.

Authorities ruled the shooting an accident and decided not to charge DeHayes with a crime.

A misdemeanor. That’s like, what, a fine and you’re good to go? No mandatory safety training course? No losing your guns for a certain period of time? I mean, if it was a DUI after a fatal DUI accident, this guy would probably be in jail. Hell, I don’t know the law in Florida but I do know that this guy is a walking advertisement for gun control. I just don’t get it.

One of the reasons gun control advocates support stronger penalties for negligence like MaKayla’s law is that, while it can’t prevent every accident, it might help identify the negligent and irresponsible gun owners who shouldn’t have firearms in the first place.

Repeat after me: With rights come responsibilities. With rights come responsibilities. With rights come responsibilities ….


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

Yes, My Point Exactly


The above meme is making the rounds, related to this incident and Rep. Carter’s ridiculous pants-wetting when faced with military-grade firepower at his workplace.

Gee, kinda how the rest of us feel every dang day, isn’t it Rep. Carter?

To recap my post yesterday, Carter hilariously protested when Rep. Mike Stewart (a U.S. Army veteran) brought an AR-15-type weapon into a subcommittee to demonstrate the need for universal background checks:

Carter: Mr. Chairman, excuse me I don’t want to interrupt, but this gun could be loaded …

Stewart: No, it could not because —

Carter: Yes sir! You obviously don’t own one, you do not have it properly safe. Do not point that gun at me!

You can hear an audio clip of the exchange here. And as I’ve repeated since this incident first happened, Carter clearly has missed the point — perhaps intentionally, or maybe he’s just that damn stupid.

Because the point is, Rep. Stewart did own that gun. He just bought it. Without a background check, ID check, or any skills assessment, or any other requirement of any kind. Just like any asshole can go buy one of these weapons, thanks to Republicans who have allowed themselves to be bought by the NRA.

This is the landscape you people have inflicted on us, not just in Tennessee but all around the country. So Rep. Carter’s false concern about safety be damned. Fuck you, Rep. Carter. This is my reality every day as I go around my daily business, walk my dogs at Radnor Lake, go to the grocery, or do any of a hundred mundane tasks. In fact, the only place where I’m safe from this kind of bullshit is at the state legislature. Ironic.

This happened just a few blocks from my house:


I wonder how Rep. Carter would feel if he were going to Kroger and saw this guy walking down the street like it was no big deal? Or if his kid was a Hillsboro High School student who happened to glance out the math class window and saw this, knowing full well that schools have been targeted by mass shooters?

What the fuck is wrong with you people? What makes you think it’s okay for us to live with this, when you obviously can’t handle it yourselves?

Shame on you all. Hypocrites.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

How An AR-15 Ended Up At The TN State Legislature This Morning

Shockingly easily, I’m afraid. Last night Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, was able to purchase this knock-off AR-15-type semiautomatic weapon — and clips of ammo — for $750 cash, no background check, no ID, no questions asked. From search to actual sale, the entire transaction took less than an hour and a half.

Today Rep. Stewart brought his new purchase into the legislature where the Civil Justice Subcommittee was going to take up his bill that would require a background check for all gun sales.


The funniest part of the whole affair, which I watched on-line, was when Subcommittee Vice Chair Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, nearly wet his pants as Rep. Stewart showed his new purchase to those in the room. He then tried to get all, “you silly Democrats don’t no nuthin’ ’bout no weaponry” on Stewart, who happens to have served in the military:

Carter: Mr. Chairman, excuse me I don’t want to interrupt, but this gun could be loaded …

Stewart: No, it could not because —

Carter: Yes sir! You obviously don’t own one, you do not have it properly safe. Do not point that gun at me! If you can’t assure me that gun cannot shoot.

Stewart: Let me give you that assurance and I did it at the beginning of the debate so that you would not have that concern. Actually, as I said, I had a state trooper inspect this weapon to make sure it was not loaded before it came in here and then, I had him secure it.

As Rep. Stewart told the subcommittee, an hour and a half after visiting, he was equipped as well as he had been when he was a U.S. soldier patroling the DMZ in Korea. So yes, I think he probably knows how to load and unload these things. Funny.

By the way, this is the kind of gun that was used in the July 2015 Chattanooga shootings. Support the troops, y’all.

Committee Chair Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, said he was “disappointed in the show,” despite him having a career in Public Relations, so you’d think he’d have an appreciation for such things. Stewart explained that the point of his “show” was to dispel the oft-repeated NRA zombie lie that every gun sale in America is preceded by a background check. As I wrote back in January, this simply isn’t true. All you need is an internet connection and enough cash and you’re good to go. Or, show up at one of our infamous gun shows and hang out in the parking lot for five minutes. Don’t even need the internet for that, and it’s all perfectly legal.

So that’s the loophole Stewart was attempting to close, and you’d think with everyone on high alert over terrorist attacks, a simple background check to buy military grade weaponry would be a no-brainer. Aaaand you would be wrong. Fresh off yesterday’s cowardly display of fealty to the gun lobby, Tennessee House Republicans today killed this simple, common-sense measure in committee, too. Someone had a sad over grandpa being forced to undergo a background check to buy a hunting rifle for his 14-year-old to go squirrel hunting with. Awwww he’s so oppressed!

Also, too, respect the culture.

And also, there are no consequences for kowtowing to the NRA in this state. At least, not yet. I applaud Tennessee’s Democrats for keeping up the fight. Supermajorities don’t last forever and the more Republicans ignore public safety in the interest of their NRA ratings, the sooner their supermajority will end. The day will come when they will no longer be able to claim that all we need to do to protect ourselves from terror attacks and gun violence is to arm every civilian. That patently stupid and lame excuse to disregard public safety is not going to fly much longer.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Republican Party, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Tennessee Gun Report

Lots of gunfail in this report. Enjoy. Stay safe … if you can!

• March 20, 2016:

1- A Nashville 14-year-old accidentally shot himself in the leg. Kids today.

2- Here’s a twist: it’s usually a drunken man who has barricaded himself in his house with his guns. This incident in Oak Ridge involved an intoxicated woman:

Around 2:00 a.m. Akagi says police were called to the residence for a domestic disturbance. A woman had barricaded herself inside with weapons.

According to a release, police made contact with a man who said is girlfriend was intoxicated and had locked herself in a bedroom. She had multiple weapons on her.

Officers attempted to negotiate with her. She threw a gun out the window, so a tactical team was called in.

We’re seeing more and more of these incidents, at least two or three a week. I’ve posted a few more here.

You know, everyone is always a responsible gun owner … until they’re not. Wish there were some way of knowing ahead of time who’s gonna lose their shit with an arsenal at hand and who’s just a “collector.”

• March 17, 2016:

He was just a law-abiding gun owner, until he wasn’t: LaVergne man fires rifle inside his home, causes four-hour standoff before passing out. Ta da.

Lots of these cases of unhinged, drunken or otherwise unstable people having a mental breakdown and barricading themselves inside their homes with guns … and sometimes hostages. Here’s another one from March 18. Everyone’s a responsible gun owner, until they’re not. I feel so much safer.

• March 16, 2016:

A 19-year-old Chattanooga woman was accidentally shot through a wall. She died:

The 19-year-old woman who was unintentionally shot and killed Tuesday was hanging out with friends before a planned camping trip, her uncle said today.

Carly Ellis was killed when Aaron Randal, 22, unintentionally discharged a weapon in a home on Lewis Street and shot Ellis through a wall around 1 p.m. Tuesday. She was hit in the neck and mortally wounded.

She was hanging out with friends and preparing for a camping trip when she was shot.

• March 15, 2016:

In Memphis, a pregnant 15-year-old girl was shot in the head and killed. Although currently ruled a homicide, the defendant claims the shooting was accidental because he was trying to take the gun away from the victim.

• March 14, 2016:

A Chattanooga 15-year-old was accidentally shot in the chest when his mother was fighting with her boyfriend and “a gun accidentally went off.” All by itsownself.

• March 12, 2016:

A gun report update: the Greeneville building official who accidentally shot himself getting out of his car at the doctor’s office back in February has died from his wound. Chalk up another one for guns-in-cars.

• March 11, 2016:

1- A Madison man accidentally shot himself attempting to clean his gun. Some guns just won’t be cleaned.

2- Bullets from a Rutherford County gun range hit the outside of a home, smashing a homeowner’s window. High-powered rifles, who thought this was a good idea?

3- An arrest was made in a road-rage shooting on I-440 in Nashville. Guns in cars, now who thought that was a good idea?

• March 10, 2016:

A Nashville area student was expelled after a gun was found in his backpack. Kids today. Gun culture.

• March 9, 2016:

This Lawrenceburg man was convicted of 18 counts of a felon in possession of a firearm. Where did he get his guns? “A local flea market.” You know, where they don’t have background checks and all.

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Congratulations, Unidentified KS Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

In Kansas, where gun rights are a birthright, and no permit or training is required to carry a weapon, one of our safest, most responsible citizens evah just celebrated Wichita State’s win over Arizona by nearly shooting his 72-year-old neighbor as she read in bed:

A 22-year-old man grabbed his older brother’s handgun late Thursday night in west Wichita, stepped outside and fired a shot, Lt. James Espinoza said. The bullet struck the house next door, passing through the outside wall into a bedroom where it narrowly missed a woman reading in bed with her husband next to her.

A police report on the incident indicates the shot was fired from the back porch. Espinoza said there was no history of conflict between the residents of the two houses.

“Apparently, he had been watching the Wichita State game,” Espinoza said of the suspect, and the shot may well have been fired in celebration because the Shockers had just beaten Arizona.

“The timeline” for that explanation “would have been accurate,” he said.



Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns