How To Stop Mass Shootings The Republican Way

Come on, you know you want to.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

Marketed Patriotism

Patriotism as a marketing ploy is something we haven’t seen since the Bush years, but it appears to be making a comeback. We’ve got two local ads here in Nashville that exploit patriotism, and I’m trying to decide which is worse: Marathon Petroleum’s super-serious country song, “Full Tank of Freedom,” or the campy Eagle Steve character brought to us from U.S. Pest Protection.

Check out Marathon’s “Full Tank of Freedom”:

Can you say cheesy? Wouldn’t “freedom” mean not having to buy any gas in the first place? And considering how we’ve gone to war in the Middle East to secure that supply of “freedom”, this just strikes me as completely tone deaf. All I can say is, this song makes me glad I drive an electric car.

Eagle Steve, on the other hand, is pure, undiluted camp:

Cheesy, yes, but in a self-aware, Colbert Report sort of way. My favorite part is when the man shakes hands (wings?) with the eagle.

Any super cheesy local ads in your town?

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Filed under Housekeeping

Tweet Of The Day

From Tennessee State Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Democrat (of course), of Nashville:

JRClemmons

Clemmons is referring to the anti-GLBT counseling bill our Republican state legislature recently passed and which our Republican governor signed into law. Two counseling groups pulled conventions out of Nashville over the legislation, even though the Nashville delegation to the legislature overwhelming opposed the bills, in effect punishing those who agree with them.

And God, I am so sick of the hypocrisy. I’m sure the GLBT community really appreciates the thoughts and prayers of Republicans who have devoted the past few years to telling them who they can marry, where they can pee, which counselor they can see, which bakery and pizza parlor to do business with, etc. In fact, enter the search terms “TN anti-gay bill” into any search engine and you’ll find a long list of “thoughts and prayers” from Tennessee Republicans.

Oh lookie, here are some:

tn anti gay bill

Take your thoughts and prayers and shove them, you transparent, phobic, phonies. And stop telling me the enemy is “radical Islam.” The Orlando shooter didn’t need to go to Syria to learn how to hate gay people, we’ve got plenty of assholes spouting that shit right here at home. Some even have friends in very high places. The fact that the Orlando shooter was Muslim, not Christian, seems to be more a matter of time zones and determination.

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Filed under Current Events, GLBT, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

There’s Always Something We Can Do

Another day, another mass shooting in America … but this time, our worst ever. At least 50 people dead (a number expected to rise), more than 50 injured. Yay, Murrica! We beat our own record. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The Orlando shooting is set apart by its brutality but in every other respect it’s par for the course. Gun control advocates are left with our rage, our tears, our pleas for gun control laws; gun “rights” people shout back that “there’s nothing we can do” and “nothing we could have done,” as if we are to accept as normal that which never happens anywhere else in the modern world. To which I say, bullshit.

A new meme surfacing on the right is that it’s not the weapon, but the hate. Ah yes, if only we could get people to love one another. Let’s get right on that, shall we? This particular piece of nonsense is the kind of Kumbaya bullshit lefties usually get accused of spouting. You know, don’t focus on the AR-15 the guy was able to get his hands on, let’s focus instead on getting people to stop hating gays, women at Planned Parenthood clinics, black people at Bible study, etc. etc. etc.

Alrighty, then. I’ll just wave my magic wa– … oh wait. Jesus Christ was crucified trying to get people to stop their hate, didn’t seem to work. But you know, fine. As a Kumbaya leftie, I appreciate the sentiment. Let’s see where we are in the effort to get people to stop hating. I bring you Texas ‘ notorious anti-gay Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who hours after the slaughter at a prominent gay nightclub Tweeted (then deleted) the following:

DanPatrick

To be fair to the notoriously homophobic Lt. Governor, he claims the Tweet was scheduled in advance and was not a comment on a mass shooting at Orlando’s largest gay nightclub on the eve of Pride Week festivities. Well, if that’s case, let me say: God certainly has a sense of humor, doesn’t she? Funny how karma catches up with one, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States also took to Twitter, and the notorious narcissist had this to say:

TrumpTweet

Are y’all feeling the love? So yes, it would be nice if we could eradicate hate, just like that. Indeed, the Islamophobes are out in full force. Never mind that despite hundreds of mass shootings in the past year, only three by my count have been committed by Muslims: this one, the San Bernardino shooting, and the July 2015 shooting in Chattanooga.

As it’s been a defining aspect of the human condition for thousands and thousands of years, I’m going to say, good luck with getting rid of hate. Here’s an idea: clean up your own house. Next time a Republican Tweets something hateful and offensive, instead of staying silent or rushing to his/her defense, try calling them out on it. No? You can’t do that? Well, that explains a lot. Haters gonna hate, isn’t that what the kids say? In the meantime, let’s not arm them to the teeth with military weaponry.

After the last mass shooting I wrote this post, “Yes, There Is Something We Can Do About Mass Shootings.”

In nearly every case, via hindsight, we find something that we could have done to prevent tragedy. Our failure to act is our own national tragedy. Because we all know there are things we can do. The shooter in this case used an AR-15, the same gun used in several previous mass shootings. Republicans in Congress voted down an assault weapons ban in 2013; well THAT might have done something, right off the top of my head.

The facts are coming in on this shooting. What we know: shooter Omar Mateen was a natural-born American citizen; not a refugee, not an immigrant. He was a person of interest to the FBI for at least five years; his ex-wife said he was physically abusive and mentally unstable; despite all of this, he held a statewide concealed-carry permit.

I’m sure we’ll find more things that slipped through the cracks as information is revealed. I wonder how it’s possible that a person with a history of domestic violence and mental instability who was being watched as a “person of interest” and even had an active FBI file opened on him was somehow able to get a concealed-carry permit? And got his hands on an AR-15 and a handgun? That should tell you something is seriously wrong right there. Something we can fix.

There’s a funny meme going around about how anyone wanting to buy a gun should be forced to go through the same rigamarole women seeking abortions must endure:

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Funny, sad, and also true. You really lose the right to call yourself pro-life when you refuse to take action on the wholesale slaughter of adult human beings trying to go about their business, enjoy a night out at a club, go to a movie theater or a shopping mall. Seriously, just shut up already about how pro-life you are. You aren’t.

Don’t tell me we need to get people to stop hating. That is not happening. We need to stop allowing haters to get their hands on guns so easily.

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Filed under gun control

Congratulations, FL Teen! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Proving yet again that guns are the stupidest form of self defense:

Deputies say the 15-year-old told them he was in the area when he heard gunshots and took out a gun to defend himself.

Investigators say when he tried to run away from the gunfire, he accidentally shot himself.

Brilliant!

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

Rep. Martin Daniel: Worst Person In The World

[UPDATE]:

Martin Daniel tried to delete his racist Twitter rant. Sorry, buddy. The internet never forgets. Ha ha ha ha:

 

DanielDeletes.jpg

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Tennessee Republican State Rep. Martin Daniel of Knoxville took to Twitter last night to spout a string of racist Tweets about Muhammad Ali, whom he insisted on referring to by his given name, Cassius Clay. Some examples:

Daniel 2

Martin Daniel 1

Interestingly, Daniel is a big supporter of Donald Trump, who received a whopping five deferments, and then lied about it until he got busted by ABC News. Daniel also does not appear to have served. But hey, nothing says “support the troops” like using them as shields for your racism.

The response on Twitter was swift and severe, prompting Daniel to dig even deeper:

daniel 3

Yes, some anonymous person saying something mean on Twitter is totally the same as a member of the state legislature being racist and offensive about an American icon.

If this social media shit storm plays out in the usual manner, I predict Rep. Daniel will claim he received death threats, because of course he’s the real victim, right? Republicans always are.

By the way, Rep. Daniel was recently in the news for expressing his outrage over a Civil Rights reading exercise his fourth-grader brought home.

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Filed under racism, Republican Party, Tennessee

Why The Berners Are Wrong

There’s been a long discussion about Bernie v Hillary in the “This Is Just Sad” comment thread, and while I’m sure everyone is sick of the conversation, this is my blog, so I get to have the last word. Tee hee.

Bernie has obviously lost the nomination, but there are still some true believers out there, the folks I call the Stalwarts. Most of those, I maintain, are people who never intended to vote for Hillary anyway and probably never will. They call themselves #NeverHillary for a reason. Alrighty, then. I really don’t see the need to play nice and give Bernie all sorts of concessions and basically coax and coddle the Stalwarts along. They call themselves #BernieorBust for a reason, too.

But here’s where I get to tell those folks why they’re wrong.

I’ve seen the Berner arguments against Hillary here, there, and everywhere. It’s all the same exact stuff, verbatim, whether it’s on my blog, on Bernie Twitter or in Facebook groups. So, let’s unpack this, shall we?

The Stalwarts’ main arguments come down to three basic things:

1) Hillary is corrupt/a corporate puppet/Wall Street whore;
2) The system is corrupt and only a “non-establishment” person can overhaul it;
3) I live in a Red State so my vote doesn’t matter anyway, so I’ll lodge a protest vote.

These are the most common arguments; I know there are others. Some Stalwarts may have a pet issue they deeply care about — Keystone XL, pensions, Wall Street reform, Israel, etc. If you are one of those people, then you do not want to vote for Bernie. You want Bernie in the Senate where that stuff actually gets addressed. I would maintain that Bernie has a very poor record of accomplishment during his tenure in Congress, but YMMV. The point is, Congress makes the laws and holds the purse strings. Not the White House.

Let’s look at the other arguments.

• Hillary the corrupt/puppet/whore. Facts not in evidence. And can we please stop calling powerful women “whores”? That is some sexist shit, and it needs to stop. Now.

These are the same Republican arguments I’ve been hearing for decades. I find it really amusing that people who call themselves left-wingers are so eager to parrot Breitbart/Broadside Books when it suits their needs. But I’m not surprised. The right-wing has turned hating the Clintons into a cottage industry for over 20 years. Remember “what will we tell the children?” This is what they told the children: the Clintons are sleazy, corrupt, whores, thieves, yada yada. This is how the conservative machine delegitimizes successful Democrats. I eagerly anticipate the coming smear campaign against Barack and Michelle Obama. God forbid either of them should aspire to achieve anything beyond the White House, right? Gotta poison that legacy.

Many of the Stalwarts were in grade school during the Clinton impeachment hearings. They internalized this messaging without even realizing it; it was fed to them with their morning Fruit Loops. So they drank the right-wing Kool-aid without even being aware of it. No wonder.

(Let me say: I am relishing how all of the main players from the impeachment days have finally gotten their come-uppances. The Clintons, however, have done just fine. Interesting, that.)

• The system is corrupt and we need a “non-establishment” person to overhaul it. Ah yes, this is a very popular talking point among the Stalwarts. After all, “I voted for hope and change and all I got was the same old stuff.”

Well, that’s not EXACTLY true, we did get the biggest advance on healthcare coverage in my lifetime. Obamacare has actually saved lives. We also got marriage equality for my gay and lesbian friends. We got pulled out of the worst economic depression in my lifetime. We got a lot of stuff: a changed relationship with Cuba, a deal with Iran, etc.

But if you’re one of these purity trolls who thinks that wasn’t good enough, that it was only half an enchilada not the whole enchilada, then pay attention: Obama ran for president because he wanted to change the way business was done in Washington. That was the big theme of the 2008 campaign. And he failed. He concedes that he failed. He promised what he could not deliver. And Bernie, too, will fail at this.

A big reason why is because the damn young people failed to show up to vote in 2010. Until the whiners and complainers remember that change happens when people show up to vote IN EVERY ELECTION, not just every 4 years, they will always be disappointed and change will always be a pipe dream.

The other reason is that these are deeply entrenched, long-established systems and institutions. Changing them will take a long, long, long time. No one candidate, no one president, no one election will do that. Change happens slowly and incrementally. That is reality on earth. Your not liking it doesn’t make it any less true. Take it from an old person who knows.

But the main point is, if you were disillusioned by Obama because reality didn’t match up to the campaign promises, then you would be extremely disappointed in Bernie. He cannot deliver on his promises. Obama couldn’t, and he can’t, either.

• I can lodge a protest vote because I live in a Red State. Just, no. Oh, how tired I am tired of hearing that. Yes, my state is deep red, but every vote still matters. Excuse me for pointing this out, but Donald fucking Trump is the Republican candidate, in case you hadn’t noticed. The Republican Party’s weakest, most divisive candidate in a generation. Republicans are fleeing the “look at my African American over there!” guy like rats off a sinking ship (a tired metaphor but unfortunately apt).

Trump is poised to give the Republican Party its final shiv, something which has been coming since the disastrous W presidency. This is an electoral game-changer, and there’s no doubt that some Red States could turn Blue this time around. Et tu, Utah?

This is truly unprecedented. The fractured Republican party has handed Democrats a big opportunity. Anyone who thinks they have the luxury of a protest vote at a time when any state could flip is a selfish idiot that I have no time for. Also, too, those “Clinton is the same as Trump” people. That is too stupid for words. If that is what you think, then crack a book sometime. Maybe read up on what happened in 2000 when 500 Stalwarts could have kept George W. Bush out of the White House.

So yes, I am right and you’re wrong. It’s my blog after all.:-) Also, I’m going to be super busy the next week or two so this may be my last post for a while. Thought I’d make it a meaty one.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton

troncitis

This is why we can’t have nice things, everybody:

Tribune Publishing, the parent company that owns several storied and proud newspapers in the US including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, announced on Thursday that it would be changing its name to “tronc Inc.”

That’s with one lowercase t and one uppercase I.

In a press release, the company said that tronc Inc would be “a content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels”.

The name, according to the release, is a shortening of Tribune Online Content.

“tronc pools the company’s leading media brands and leverages innovative technology to deliver personalized and interactive experiences to its 60m monthly users,” the release continued, using the lower-case t despite the word coming at the beginning of the sentence.

Ooooh “content curation and monetization”! Just what consumers have been clamoring for! Call me old-fashioned but I don’t want “personalized and interactive experiences.” I just want the fucking news. Is that so hard?

Twitter, of course, went apeshit.

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Filed under media, Media

This Is Just Sad

[UPDATE]:

He’s gone from sad to sadder:

Sanders could skydive into Calif. rally

Bernie Sanders could make quite the entrance at his rally Friday in Cloverdale, Calif.

Jimmy Halliday, the president at NorCal Skydiving, said he was told by Sanders staffers Thursday that they would offer the Democratic presidential candidate the option of parachuting into his rally, according to The Press Democrat.

“I’ve been told they will run the idea by Bernie,” Halliday said. “I can’t confirm that’s the plan. I know that’s a possibility.”

Halliday said a staffer for Sanders on Wednesday asked about the use of his facility. On Thursday, Halliday did a tandem jump with a Sanders campaign team member.

What the actual fuck? Your campaign donations at work.

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Watching the steady decline of Bernie Sanders has perhaps been the most disappointing political drama of the 2016 presidential campaign. This is what happens when you stay at the dance too long: your makeup starts to run, you get holes in your stockings, the corsage wilts.

Bernie started out with a tremendous amount of good will on the part of pretty much everyone, myself included. We all respected him, admired his stance on issues of income inequality and reigning in Wall Street and the big banks. But man, shit got ugly, fast.

It started with the attacks on the presumptive nominee, and his ludicrous claim that he was only losing because the primary was rigged. Now he’s just outright lying.

I just can’t respect anyone willing to squander their reputation, their career in public service, and their supposed belief system on what has clearly become an exercise in ego-gratification. And it makes me really sad, because six months ago I really liked Bernie Sanders. I respected him. Now, I’m ready to donate to his Democratic opponent for the Vermont Senate.

I went from “I like Bernie Sanders, I really do,” back in January to advising Bernie supporters to

…stop looking for a silver lining if the worst President in American history took office…

and instead

…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.”

But that was back in March. By May I was saying that Bernie’s campaign is “increasingly resembling a cult, a dangerous and creepy one.”

Six months in I’ve gone from calling myself a proud progressive to saying I want nothing to do with progressives, who by all appearances are thin-skinned, reality-challenged denizens of a cult of personality.

Stephen Stromberg nailed it when he observed,

But the truth is that Sanders does not deserve a movement, and his losing campaign does not deserve unusual deference and concessions. His tale about American oligarchy is simplistic, his policy proposals are shallow, his rejection of political reality is absurd, his self-righteousness and stubbornness are unbecoming. And, yes, he has lost.

You’ve lost, Bernie. And the longer you and your supporters stay in denial about this, and try to eke out concessions over some non-existent leverage you think you have, the more of a national joke you become. That doesn’t just affect you. It affects your supposed “movement,” the left-wing of America’s liberal party. You’re doing real damage with this nonsense, the kind of damage that sets back the progressive agenda for years. I predicted this back in March and it appears to be happening.

Stop it.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Bernie Sanders

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

A responsible Utah gun owner went camping with his wife over the holiday weekend, as one does. And he heard that there were grizzly bears in the area, as one does. So he decided to start indiscriminately firing off his gun, as one does:

“The individual heard that there were bears in the area and he thought that he was supposed to make noise,” Grand Teton park spokeswoman Denise Germann said Monday. “But my understanding is that they did not see any wildlife or shoot any wildlife. He shot at a tree twice.”

If he was camping in the nearby Bridger-Teton, the Utah man would have been legally firing his weapon. But the couple wasn’t clear on their location.

“They thought they were in the national forest camping,” Germann said, “but they were actually in the park.”

The incident happened within Grand Teton’s boundaries along Bailey Creek Road, she said.

While making noise when moving around in grizzly country is standard best practice, discharging a gun as a deterrent is not advised. Come fall, gunshots actually have a dinner-bell effect that attracts some grizzlies that have learned to feed on gut piles from hunter-killed ungulates.

Grand Teton’s avid wildlife watching community didn’t hesitate to berate the Utahn’s decision-making.

I’m going to guess alcohol was involved in this one. What really amazes me is that if he had been camping in the national forest, this kind of gun idiocy would actually have been legal.

Shaking my head.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns