She Does NOT Belong In Congress!!!

Has the GOP completely lost its bloomin’ mind???  I am typically happy to see a long-time incumbent of either party replaced by new blood.  Mitch McConnell, for example, age 78, is the current best poster boy for why we need term limits.  Before him, there was Democrat Harry Reid who spent thirty years in the Senate, retiring only in 2017 at the age of 77.  So, typically I think it’s a good thing when a long-term member of Congress steps down or is replaced by the voters.  There are, however, exceptions.

scott-tiptonScott Randall Tipton has been serving as the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district since 2011, nearly a decade.  Long enough, in my book.  He has opposed LGBT rights, opposes abortion, opposes immigration, and in short has been outspokenly opposed to anything with President Obama’s name tied to it.  Other than that, I know little about Mr. Tipton, but ten years in Congress is long enough.  So, at first glance I was pleased when a younger woman won the Colorado Republican primary on Tuesday night.  Until I learned a few things about that woman, that is.

Tipton lost to Lauren Boebert, a 33-year-old mother of four boys.  Boebert is a Trumpian up one side and down the other.

“Colorado deserves a fighter who will stand up for freedom, who believes in America and who is willing to take on all the left-wing lunatics who are trying so hard to ruin our country. We are in a battle for the heart and soul of our country. I’m going to win this November because freedom is a great motivator.”

‘Left-wing lunatics’???  So that’s what I am, eh?  Perhaps I can get a t-shirt made.  But, bad as that little speech sounds, Boebert is even worse.  She not only supports the 2nd Amendment, but is a staunch, outspoken gun-rights activist.  She is also a businesswoman, owner of a restaurant called ‘Shooters Grill’ in Rifle, Colorado, where she encourages servers to openly carry firearms … while serving the public.  What do you expect in a town called “Rifle”, eh?  And in March, when Colorado’s governor ordered bars and restaurants to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Boebert apparently thought he didn’t mean her or her restaurant, and she refused to close.  Even after receiving a ‘cease and desist’ order from the Garfield County Sheriff, she still refused to close her restaurant!

But wait … I still haven’t gotten to quite the worst of it.  Boebert is a supporter of QAnon, the far right wing conspiracy theory group that has made up so many fantasies about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros that I’ve lost count.  They claim that there is some great “deep state” conspiracy to topple Donald Trump and all of his supporters.

Ideologically, Ms. Boebert is to the right of far right.  She claims that she would not have voted for the relief package that helped both individuals and small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic shutdown, and she has said that if she wins in November, she will align herself with the House Freedom Caucus, made up of conservative and Libertarian politicians in the House.  Oh, and she plans to attend a ‘Bikers for Trump’ event near Mount Rushmore over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, where she will ride her motorcycle wearing her maga hat.  Need I say more?Lauren-BoebertLast year, when Beto O’Rourke was considering a run for the Democratic nomination for 2020, he once claimed that he would seize all the assault rifles in the nation.  Personally, I think it’s a great idea, for nobody but fools and idiots have them, and they have proven themselves unfit to own any sort of gun, much less one that can mow down a crowd in under a minute.  However, Ms. Boebert took umbrage, saying …

“I am here to say: Hell, no, you’re not!”

Although Trump had previously endorsed Scott Tipton, he got fairly excited over Boebert’s primary win on Tuesday night, and tweeted his congratulations “on a really great win!”  Oh, my aching head.

If, after all this, you’ve got the stomach for it, watch a bit of this interview with Ms. Boebert, especially the part where she speaks about Trump, which starts at about the 2:40 minute point.

diane-bush

Diane Mitsch Bush

The Democratic candidate, also a woman, is one Diane E. Mitsch Bush, and currently she holds about a 5.5% lead over Boebert.  Come on, Coloradoans … pull your heads out of your asses and vote for Ms. Bush!  I am going on record as saying that Lauren Boebert is a grade-A selfish, pistol-packing bitch who we absolutely do NOT need sitting on Capitol Hill making the decisions that affect our lives and the futures of our children and grandchildren.  More than 58,000 people voted for this abomination of a person!  Is there something toxic in the water in Colorado that has killed off people’s brain cells???  Are guns really so important that they are willing to send this sorry specimen of the human race to Washington, to give her the power of … life and death?

It’s the Guns, Stupid

I did not intend to post a fourth post tonight, but … on reading Jeff’s post, I felt I had to. His words speak for themselves, and for the record, I am in 100% agreement with every word. We are the creators of our own doom … the love of guns in this country is greater than the love of life. Thank you, Jeff … great post!

On The Fence Voters

I was never a fan of President Ronald Reagan and can proudly say that I never voted for him. But he did possess an ability during his time in office for communicating a hopeful tone to the American people. They used to call him “The Great Communicator.”

One of his most famous rhetorical flourishes focused around his belief that when he thought about America, he felt that it was that “shining city upon a hill.” Reagan borrowed the analogous quote from John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, who upon setting sail for New England in 1630, reflected on his hopes for what would come to signify American exceptionalism; that we would be the moral compass and example for the rest of the world.

Let’s say that these days, that “shining city” is beginning to look more like an abandoned town, with rubble and burned out facades dotting the landscape…

View original post 1,241 more words

The Supreme Court Speaks … or Doesn’t

The Supreme Court made a number of decisions and non-decisions yesterday.  Let’s start with the good news first!


As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does provide protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  About damn time!  It was a no-brainer to start with!  Nobody should be fired for anything other than poor job performance … not because of skin colour, religion or lack thereof, gender or gender identity, or any other superficial criteria.  But, in the United States of Bigotry, far too many people did not understand.

But one of the things that makes this decision by the Court so amazing is that Justice Gorsuch, a justice hand-picked by Trump, was on the side of right.  In fact, he wrote the majority opinion which in part reads …

“An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

So, who were the three Justices who thought otherwise, who are such homophobes that they cannot abide the idea of a gay person being treated fairly?  Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and predictably, Trump’s crybaby pick, Brett Kavanaugh. And what was their rationale?  I read parts of Justice Alito’s dissenting opinion, and found it to be rambling rubbish.  A few snippets …

“A more brazen abuse of our authority to interpret statutes is hard to recall. The court tries to convince readers that it is merely enforcing the terms of the statute, but that is preposterous.  After today’s decision, plaintiffs may claim that the failure to use their preferred pronoun violates one of the federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination.  For women who have been victimized by sexual assault or abuse, the experience of seeing an unclothed person with the anatomy of a male in a confined and sensitive location such as a bathroom or locker room can cause serious psychological harm.”

Bullshit!  It seems that a number of people in this nation share Alito’s, Thomas’, and Kavanaugh’s opinion and still haven’t awakened to the fact that LGBT people are … PEOPLE.  Human beings just like any other who have the right to an education, a job, and all the other rights and privileges enjoyed by others.  It’s not surprising to see which political party has the most homophobes …LGBT-caseAt any rate, this is justice as it should be, and for once, fairness won the day.


The Court sometimes speaks as loudly in the cases they don’t hear as the ones they do.  In three notable cases yesterday, such was the case.

The first notable case the Court decided against hearing was a compilation of nearly a dozen cases that gun rights groups claim violate their 2nd Amendment rights.  Among them were cases involving restrictions in Maryland and New Jersey to permits for carrying a handgun outside the home.  For now, at least, the restrictions put in place by the states are allowed to stand.  Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh, of course, disagreed, with Thomas saying …

“This Court would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need before exercising their free speech rights. And it seems highly unlikely that the Court would allow a State to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion.”

Sorry, Thomas … not a valid comparison.


Next, the Court declined to hear a case concerning a California state law that prohibited state authorities from assisting federal immigration agents (e.g., alerting the federal government when someone in custody was to be released or handing off an undocumented person to federal authorities). The Trump administration, in its never-ending hunt to harass and deport undocumented immigrants (regardless of the danger they pose to society and their roots in the community), sued.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed with the district court that the California law was constitutional.  Thus Trump’s lawyers took it to the Supreme Court, who has now refused to hear it.  Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito noted publicly that they would have granted the government’s petition, and I can only assume that Kavanaugh would have, also.  This is a win in that it leaves in place California’s law, which reaffirms that states cannot be dragooned into performing services for the federal government.


And now for the bad news …

The court declined to hear eight cases challenging the doctrine of qualified immunity, which acts to shield police and others acting from lawsuits.  It is this qualified immunity that has enabled so many officers to walk away without punishment after killing unarmed black men in situations that did not require the use of excess force.

In response to the Court’s decision not to hear the cases, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, and Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Chair Steve Cohen released a statement reading, in part …

“Qualified immunity has repeatedly barred victims of police brutality from having their day in court, and it has been criticized by liberals and conservatives alike.

The Supreme Court’s failure to reconsider this flawed legal rule makes it all the more important for Congress to act. The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 does just that: it makes clear that qualified immunity cannot be used as a defense in civil rights suits against federal, state, or local law enforcement officers. It is long past time to remove this arbitrary and unlawful barrier and to ensure police are held accountable when they violate the constitutional rights of the people whom they are meant to serve.”

I fully agree … in my book, it was unconscionable for the Court to refuse to review these cases, where their review might have ruled that police are, in fact, accountable for their actions.


Well, there you have it … a summary of the most important cases, decisions and non-decisions of the Supreme Court yesterday.  The first, of course, is a huge win and should be celebrated.  I am pleased that Justice Neil Gorsuch took a stand on the side of right, as did Chief Justice Roberts.  I’m also pleased that the Court upheld California’s right to protect its immigrant population from draconian federal agencies directed by Trump.  I’m less pleased by the final non-decision, but given the current situation, the protests that have come as a result of decades of police brutality against people of colour, I think change is going to happen, despite the Supreme Court refusing to be the agent of that change.

A Bit Of Lighter Fare …

Of late, nothing Trump says makes any sense.  Oh wait … he never did make any sense!  But he seems to go off on tangents that are signs that his mind is deteriorating before our very eyes.  In an effort to be fair, I must admit that it is surely difficult to be in a position of so much responsibility, so many important decisions to be made, when you really haven’t the knowledge, education, or intelligence to make any of those decisions wisely.  One of his stupidest statements in the past week or two was this …

“We’re going after Virginia with your crazy governor. … They want to take your Second Amendment away. You know that right? You’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes.”

Who knew that potatoes ranked right up there with the gold at Fort Knox as being under threat and needing constant guarding … with guns!  I need a break from the dark posts that are my norm, and I suspect perhaps you do too … just a little break.  Alexandra Petri, a columnist for The Washington Post, had a bit of fun with that one.  Take a look …


I am a simple potato guardian who needs my Second Amendment rights

Alexandra-PetriBy 

Alexandra Petri 

Columnist

May 20, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. EDT

“We’re going after Virginia with your crazy governor. … They want to take your Second Amendment away. You know that right? You’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes.”

— President Trump, to farmers assembled at the White House

I am a potato guardian. This is the only life I have known. Here is my tale, one no doubt familiar to you, just as the concept of a person who guards potatoes in Virginia is familiar.

Day 1

It is a cold February day, and the new crop of potatoes is just in the ground, an average of six weeks before the last frost. I am in Virginia, the well-known home of potato farming. To guard the potato is a sacred duty, which I have studied since my days at Au Groton, a boarding school for people who aspire one day to protect potatoes. I have my weapon, and I have my training. I settle at the edge of the field with my carbine on my knees and prepare for a long spring.

Day 2

It rained today. I kept my eyes on the potatoes, just as I knew that they would be keeping their eyes on me.

I walked the perimeter of the field. This will be a good crop, if I can only keep it safe for the 75 to 135 days that potatoes require. I must keep it safe.

Day 3

As I walked today, I saw something move just at the corner of the field. But by the time I got there, it was too late. There was a footprint in the soft, slightly acidic soil. A boot, not mine. I think the potato raiders will be here soon. I think they are making their preparations. I must make mine.

Day 4

No sign of the raiders today. At midday, the farmer’s daughter brought me a glass of milk. “You looked thirsty out there,” she told me. I took it from her hands and thanked her. “And you have been sent to guard the potatoes?” she asked. I shrugged. I am a potato guardian of few words. I let my eyes speak for me. “What an interesting life,” she said. “Do you get lonely?” I told her I did not.

But the question has stayed with me. Lonely? Do I get lonely? No. I have the potatoes. And I have my Second Amendment rights. I do not need anything else.

Day 5

The farmer’s daughter brought me another glass of milk and watched me as I sipped it. I think it is too late to tell her that milk is not a good drink when you are hot in the middle of the day. I think we have gotten into a pattern now, which I regret. She is nice. She has kind eyes, like I imagine a potato would have, though she only has two, which is low for a potato.

After drinking the milk, I dozed a little, and when I awoke there were more footprints at the edge of the field. I must be more vigilant. If I do not protect the potatoes, who will?

Day 6

I planted a trap at the corner of the field where the footprints keep appearing. It was hot and tiring work, and the farmer’s daughter brought me another glass of milk. “I guess all you have is milk,” I said, in what I hoped was a pointed way, but she did not seem to understand what I was getting at. “Yes,” she said. “We have lots of milk, thank heaven.”

“Good,” I said, but I did not really think it was good.

Day 7

Last night there was a frost. I am glad the potatoes are sleeping sound and warm below a blanket of two inches of soil. I went to check the trap at the edge of the field. There was something in it, a boot. The boot was bigger than mine, but not by much. I followed the tracks as far as they went, to the edge of the woods. I should mention that there are woods here in Virginia, where I guard potatoes. That must be where the potato raiders come from.

“Did you catch him?” the farmer’s daughter asked, at midday.

“No,” I said. “But be on the lookout for someone with a very muddy sock.” I took a sip of the milk she had brought.

I bet the raider comes back tonight. You can’t get far with one boot. Not here in the potato fields of Virginia. I reset the trap and put the boot next to it. As bait.

Day 8

No movement at the trap. But there are footprints at the edge of the field. New ones, with sneaker treads. This potato raider must own multiple sets of footwear, which complicates matters a little.

I got a call from an old friend from potato guardian training. He washed out; people were always taking potatoes from under his nose, and he was a laughingstock among us. Now he works in finance. He asked if I had heard the news about the governor and what he was planning to do. I said I hadn’t, so he told me. I can’t believe the governor would come for our Second Amendment rights. No potato will be safe then. It’s monstrous.

The farmer’s daughter brought me my milk right after this conversation, but I told her in a forbidding tone that I was not thirsty.

Day 9

A small success! I spent an uneasy night after the news about the governor, tossing and turning at the edge of the field of my precious charges. Toward dawn, I saw a shadowy figure prowling at the edge of the field. I got up, and he did not see me creep toward him. I leaped at him and caught him by the leg. As we tussled, several potatoes fell out of his jacket. Jacket potatoes. He wriggled his foot free of his boot and ran away. Now I have two boots. I do not know what his footwear situation is; it seems complicated.

I was very glad to have my Second Amendment rights, although, come to think of it, I did not use my carbine at all in this encounter.

Then I woke up. I am bewildered. Was it all a dream, or did I catch a potato raider, however briefly? I went to look for the boot, but there was nothing there.

Day 10

I am still unsure what is reality and what is dream. The potatoes will slumber another two months, but I cannot rest. The farmer’s daughter did not bring me any milk today. Instead her father came out to my corner of the field and said that I had to get off his property and that there was no such thing as a potato guardian.

“Don’t be like that, Cyrus!” I said. “The president knows about me. I am for sure a real thing that exists.”

He said his name wasn’t Cyrus and I had to get away from there. I packed up my things and slung my carbine over my shoulder. I said goodbye to the potatoes and set off.

Day 11

When I was almost to the Maryland border, I received a call from Cyrus. During the night, someone took all the potatoes. Cyrus was sobbing so hard I could scarcely make out his words.

“I should not have doubted you,” he said. “You are real, and the need for you is real, and the need for protecting your Second Amendment rights is the realest of all.” I could tell that all the starch had gone out of him. “I will be sure to write to my governor at once! Please, come back, and guard the new crop.”

“I would like that, Cyrus,” I said. “But I go where the potato calls.” And I continued over the border toward another state, with a new motto. Live Frite or Die. The spuds needed me, and I could not look back.

The Solution Is NOT Guns!

Back in 1787, the Founding Fathers drafted a brilliant document that would become known as the Constitution of the United States.  Unfortunately, they also made some mistakes, one that has cost hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of lives, unnecessarily.  You see, the nation was a fledgling, only a few years past gaining their independence from England after a bloody war that they damn near lost, so the framers of the document were leery that a foreign power might see the nation as vulnerable and try to take it while it was still learning to stand on its own.  So, after ratifying the original document, they added a “Bill of Rights”, the 2nd Amendment of which gave citizens the “right to bear arms”.  This, my friends, was a lethal mistake, one that every one of us have paid for in one way or another.

Now, the Founders figured the best way to protect the nation from foreign interference was to maintain a militia … everyday men … farmers, shopkeepers, etc., who could grab their rifle or musket and march off to defend and protect the nation if the need arose.  Thus they wrote the Second Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

That’s it, folks, the entire text, all 27 words of it.  Sadly, though, the Founders only familiarity with ‘arms’ were muskets and such … never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined AR-15s and AK-47s, weapons that can mow down hundreds of people in less time than it took me to write this sentence.  And because of that lack of foresight, the U.S. Supreme Court has been trying ever since to define just what ‘arms’ are to be protected and to what extent.

Unfortunately, long ago common sense flew out the door of the Supreme Court and Congress when the word ‘gun’ is mentioned, and the elements that have determined the ‘law’, such as it is, are those with a vested interest in the weapons industry.  Public safety is entirely overlooked in the debate over guns.  The only consideration is … $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.  I won’t bore you with the lengthy list of cases that have first teetered, then tottered, back and forth, regarding what, if any, regulations should be placed on who can own a gun, how many, what type, etc., but suffice it to say that the U.S. is the only nation on the globe where a person’s right to own a gun is more protected than his right to drive a car.

And as a result …

One week ago yesterday, on May 9th, a sunny afternoon in the small town of Griffin, Georgia, a 12-year-old boy was killed … shot dead by his 5-year-old brother who found a gun that had been tossed into the bushes the day before by three men eluding the police during a chase.  According to neighbor Tom Whitehead …

“The little one found a gun, had to be right here… somewhere in these bushes he walked over here, found a gun. Turns around. Thinks he’s playing, says ‘bang bang’. It was loaded and killed him.  Think about that mother. The next day, Mother’s Day, and one boy is dead by the hand of his younger brother.”

And as a result …

The total number of deaths by gun violence in the U.S. as of May 16th is 14,815 … a number that is sure to have already increased by the time you read this.  84 of that number were children under the age of 11, and 322 teens under the age of 18 are also included in the number. gun-violence-5-2020

And as a result …

In March 2017, a mother and her two-year-old toddler were sitting on the bed, while the nine-year-old was sitting on the floor, playing a video game.  The mother had a loaded gun in her hand, but couldn’t find her holster, so she placed the gun (loaded with a round chambered) on the bed next to the two-year-old while she got up to look for her holster.  The two-year-old then picked up the gun, pulled the trigger, shot and killed his nine-year-old brother.  The mother had, in the past, allowed the toddler to pull the trigger on the gun when it was unloaded.

I could go on, but you get the picture … this is happening every day in the United States. Look at the chart above … already this year, not even five months into the year, we are on track to tie or beat previous years.

The gun culture in the U.S. is beyond crazy.  This is not in any way, shape, or form what James Madison meant in 1791 when he proposed the Second Amendment as a way to empower state militias.  Today, there are no state militias.  None.  There are juveniles in grown men’s bodies who believe that they must own a firearm in order to feel like a ‘man’, but these men do not belong to militias and they are doing not one damn thing to keep this country safe, but instead are making it the most dangerous nation in the industrialized world.  People in other nations are aghast … “What are you Americans thinking???”, they ask.  What are we thinking, indeed?

The wealthy arms manufacturers fund the National Rifle Association who in turn *buys our legislators, thereby ensuring that guns will continue to be a part of what they call “The American Way of Life”.  What a joke!  “The American Way of Death” would be more apt.  And thus it happened that in March, while people were beginning to die by the thousands from the coronavirus, it was the single biggest month for gun sales.  WHY???  WTF are people thinking?  In April, gun lobbyists convinced the federal government to list gun shops as “essential services” so that while people in some states could not purchase a bottle of wine, or a pack of toilet paper, they could go out and buy a gun.  Five states’ governors had the cojones to order gun shops closed anyway, but April’s total was still the fourth highest ever. In three of the five states where gun stores were supposed to be closed, the numbers were higher than they were in April of 2019.

The United States is facing more problems of a greater magnitude today than since the end of World War II, the coronavirus pandemic obviously being at the top of the immediate list.  I would rank numbers two and three as racism and gun violence … problems that far outweigh even the sinking economy.  And yet, Donald Trump wastes every waking minute ranting, calling out his imagined enemies, denigrating the press, dreaming up conspiracy theories, and patting himself on the back for successes that exist only in his own mind.  We’re in trouble, people, and guns are not going to solve the problem, for they ARE a big part of the problem.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken NRA donations of $1,267,139 during his congressional career, but the leader of the pack is Mitt Romney, who has taken $13,647,676 during his time in Congress.  Interestingly, the 2nd highest in NRA donations is Senator Richard Burr, who is currently under investigation for insider trading violations.  Senator Burr has collected a handy $6,987,380 in his twenty-five years in Congress.  Source:  Brady United Organization

America’s Gun Culture On Display

Look at the picture below …

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-PROTESTThose are not National Guardsmen, nor are they law enforcement nor military.  They are armed … heavily armed … protestors at a rally in Michigan.  Would you be comfortable anywhere near this group of rabblerousers with guns?  I certainly would not!  I have planned for several days to write about this very ominous situation that was repeated in cities around the nation last week, but today I came across an OpEd by a contributor for The Washington Post that summed it up nicely.


We cannot allow the normalization of firearms at protests to continue

Michele-NorrisBy Michele L. Norris 

Opinions contributor and consultant

May 6, 2020 at 5:23 p.m. EDT

This we know: Black or brown people gathering in the streets or at the statehouse with rifles and body armor would not be tolerated.

They would not be allowed to yell in the face of police officers.

They would not be referred to as “very good people” by a sitting president.

There would be no debate about First or Second Amendment rights.

There would be arrests. Lots of them.

Let’s just admit that.

And let’s admit this, too: We’ve gotten far too accustomed to the image of white protesters carrying paramilitary-level firearms in public spaces. The presence of guns — often really large guns — at protests has become alarmingly normalized. It is time to take stock of what that means.

Accepting and even expecting to see firearms at protest rallies means that we somehow embrace the threat of chaos and violence. While those who carry say they have no intention of using their weapons, the firepower alone creates a wordless threat, and something far more calamitous if even just one person discharges a round.

If someone were to go rogue, it would be difficult for police to identify a shooter while facing a phalanx of protesters who all have rifles strapped to their shoulders. Distinguishing law enforcement from people dressed as “enforcers” could be tough. During the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, the Virginia National Guard tweeted that its troops were wearing “MP” patches on their uniforms so people could sort the military police from the rifle-wielding paramilitary groups that showed up wearing helmets, camouflage and tactical vests.

Accepting the open display of firearms at protests means we can expect an increased militarization of state and local law enforcement agencies seeking to protect their troops.

Accepting the open display of firearms at rallies means we must also admit this confirms a significant cultural shift that collides with norms and current laws. The protesters that stormed the statehouse in Michigan were within their right to carry guns inside the state Capitol under open-carry laws. But their actions were far outside of the comfort zone for many people who work in that building and who dedicate their lives to finding civil solutions to disagreements.

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey is a Republican and Second Amendment champion who initially supported challenges to the state’s shutdown order. But in a statement last week, he condemned the use of “intimidation and the threat of physical harm to stir up fear and feed rancor.” There are now discussions about reviewing the laws that allow citizens to carry and display guns inside the Michigan statehouse.

Almost every state has legal tools to crack down on armed militias under laws that prevent the formation of private paramilitaries that are not answerable to civil authorities. Such groups cannot falsely assume police or military roles and are not allowed to provide military training to prepare members for civil disorders. But when heavily armed protesters show up in formation at rallies, they certainly flout these laws.

Is this brazen display of force about the right to own firearms or the right to make armed threats for political purposes? Just asking, because the latter is not a “right” that can be equally asserted. The protests are purportedly about reopening America. A parallel goal is realignment — using the Second Amendment to conduct regular and routine shows of force to intimidate elected officials into enacting a political agenda.

Accepting the display of firearms at protests by some and not others means that we must also accept that some are rewarded with a kind of special citizenship that allows them to be seen as patriotic instead of threatening, and aggrieved instead of aggressive.

If we accept this as normal, it means the country collectively is shrugging its shoulders and co-signing a skewed social contract, in which white-nationalist groups grow in size and influence, as threats against politicians and journalists escalate, and as gun violence and mass shootings continue to rise.

Accepting this increasingly brazen display of guns as normal means an armed political movement is flourishing outside the guardrails of our political system.

This didn’t happen overnight. Advocates for open-carry have been carrying handguns and rifles to department stores, Starbucks and state capitols since 2013 in an effort to normalize firearms in public. The movement is coincidentally aligned with an entertainment trend in which paramilitary forces take center stage in popular video games and TV shows such as HBO’s “Watchmen” and Showtime’s “Homeland.”

Polls show that most Americans prefer a go-slow approach to reopening most businesses. The armed protesters in places such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and North Carolina represent a tiny minority. Some surveys put the most insistent open-now crowd at less than 10 percent. But the weapons make their influence seem larger — and they know that. We see protests punctuated by guns almost every day. It has become routine. We have normalized something that should be shocking.

Da Snarky Snippets Keep On Coming

I bet you guys thought I had relieved all the angst and snark yesterday afternoon, didn’t you?  Well, think again.  I had hopes of posting something less acerbic this morning, but as fate would have it, the idiots in this nation just keep getting more and more ridiculous and … that low growl has started up in my throat once again.  So … more snippets of snark are in order.


Only in the U.S.

Okay, we’ve all seen the results of the hoarding swine who bought up all the toilet paper and bottled water the first day the word ‘coronavirus’ hit the U.S. news.  Last weekend, it was widely reported that the sales of spirits and cannabis was doing a booming business with revenue 500% to 800% higher than normal.  But guess what the latest item to be snatched up in a surge of panic buying is?  Guns and ammunition.  WTF???????????

guns-lineDo these nutcases honestly think they’re going to have to take to shooting people over a roll of toilet paper?  They cite the potential for ‘social unrest’ as the reason for their fear, and the ‘need to protect themselves and their families’.  Bullshit.

Sales were especially pronounced in North Carolina and Georgia, which experienced a leap of 179% and 169% respectively. Other states with large increases included Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New York.  And guess what kind of guns they’re buying?  They’re not buying hunting rifles, or 6-shooters … noooooo … they’re buying mostly AR-15s and other semi-automatic assault-type rifles.  So apparently, they plan to be able to take out their entire neighborhood if they feel justified in doing so.

Some people (not the gun buyers, obviously) expressed concerns for the safety of children. A sudden increase in guns and rifles in domestic homes could put children at risk through lack of safe storage. Firearms are already the second most prevalent killer of children in the US after car crashes.

Surely the Founding Fathers are now kicking themselves for writing that damn 2nd Amendment into the Constitution.founding-fathers-eyeroll


Ohio’s Dictator DeWine

The governor of the State of Ohio has decided to strip U.S. citizens living in this state of their right to a representative government by postponing the Democratic primary scheduled for today.  Governor Mike DeWine announced yesterday afternoon that he would postpone the primary until June, but he was struck down by Ohio Judge Richard Frye, who said that DeWine waited too late … less than 24 hours before the polls would open. The judge also said that DeWine’s postponement until June was arbitrary at best, as there is no reliable evidence that the coronavirus crisis will have ended by June.

DeWine, however, apparently believes he has some sort of dictatorial executive privilege (perhaps he listened to Trump brag that he can do anything he wants to do) and has decided that the polls will not open today after all.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

And like his role model, he made the announcement via tweet …

“During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus.  As such, @DrAmyActon will order the polls closed as a health emergency. While the polls will be closed tomorrow, Secretary of State @FrankLaRose will seek a remedy through the courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted that opportunity.”

This is unacceptable!!!  It’s our choice, Mikey, not yours!!!  If I’m willing to risk sickness and possibly even death to preserve the few democratic principles left in this nation, and I am, then it isn’t your place to rob me of that right!!!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Yes, folks, I know this pandemic is serious, but so is our right to a representative government!  If people cannot be bothered to carry hand sanitizer with them and use it as they leave the polling place … if we are thought to be so effing stupid that we cannot take responsibility for taking precautions in order to exercise our RIGHT to cast a vote, then we have lost our nation.  We no longer have any semblance of a democratic republic, at least not in Ohio.

The three other states with primaries today are, sensibly, going ahead, trusting people to look out for themselves.  How many other states are going to usurp our Constitutional rights?  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


Department of Injustice strikes again …

Concord Management and Consulting is a Russian-owned company charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by orchestrating a social media campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.  The evidence against the company was meticulously detailed in Robert Mueller’s report about Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.  However, yesterday the Department of (In)Justice under Attorney General William Barr dropped all charges.  WHY???

Because … wait for it, you’re gonna love this one … the company failed to comply with trial subpoenas and the submission of a “misleading, at best” affidavit by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a co-defendant and the company’s founder.  The company refused to provide the information requested in the subpoenas, so the prosecutors dropped the charges!

Now let me tell you the real reason the charges were dropped.  Because Vladimir Putin, Trump’s soul brother, told Trump to make it happen, Trump told William Barr to make it happen, and it happened.  Next time you are subpoenaed to testify in any trial, just don’t bother to show up, and all the charges will be dropped, right?  No, folks, there are two sets of laws in this country … the ones that apply to Donald Trump and his cronies, and the ones that apply to all the rest of us.

In a somewhat related story, Trump is “strongly considering” a presidential pardon for Michael Flynn, who has twice pled guilty to lying to the FBI in the case of Russia’s meddling with our election.  Recently, Flynn asked the judge if he could rescind his guilty plea.  If Trump pardon’s Flynn, he will come into a great deal of criticism, but … when has that ever stopped him from doing precisely whatever he wishes?


Okay, folks, I’ve shared my angst with you for now, but I’m betting there will be more by this afternoon.  If not, perhaps I can share something nicer, but … don’t hold your breath.

The Majority of the People Want Better Gun Governance

One of my biggest pet peeves, as most of you know, is the gun culture in this nation. Were it within my power, I would revoke the 2nd Amendment, and I’m fairly certain that the Founding Fathers would kick themselves if they could see what a misinterpretation we have made of it. Our friend Keith has written an excellent post pointing out that the majority of the people in this nation actually SUPPORT stricter gun legislation, yet … our legislators ignore us. Thank you, Keith, for this excellent, eye-opening post!

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From an article called “Polls find Americans mostly are supportive of stricter laws on guns” by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughn of the Raleigh News and Observer, please note the following cited survey results. Note these results have been fact checked by the paper’s Fact Checking Project.

– Gallup’s poll from August, 2019 noted “61% would support a ban on semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles.”

– The Civitas Institute (a conservstive policy group) poll from September, 2019 showed “58% of respondents saying gun laws were not strict enough.” Note of the Civitas poll respondents, “48% either owned a gun or had someone in their home who owned a gun.”

– A Quinnipac University poll from May, 2019 showed “61% of Americans support stricter gun laws. The same poll showed 94% of Americans support required background checks for gun buyers. And, 77% of those polled support ‘requiring individuals to obtain a license…

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You Can Do WHAT Online???

A couple of weeks ago, November 20th to be exact, I received an email from a group called Concealed Online.  The email read …

“It was penned like this in December 1791…’A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’

Today, almost 228 years later, The World Has Changed… I am writing to urge you to GET YOUR CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT!

This week we celebrate our nations birthday… 243 years old (using the average human lifespan that’s just over 3 lifespans ago).

In that short period of time we have fought in 5 major wars, elected 45 presidents, and have passedover 20,000 laws…

Unfortunately, many of those laws have moved us further and further from freedom all in the name of order and protection. The truth is protection starts at home and our forefathers knew it… they knew this day of BIG GOVERNMENT would sneak up on us all…

This is why I encourage you fellow patriots exercise your right to bear arms HERE AND NOW!

I just wanted to encourage you that you should Get Your Concealed Carry Permit while it is still legal and easy… California Democrats has already made it nearly impossible to get one there and the Liberals are slowly advancing their agenda in Congress.

This site helps people get their CCW Permit through online certification… They are truly patriots, they are available by phone as well if you just want more information.

There may not be an option for you to legally carry next year. Tomorrow may be too late. Get your permit while its still legal to do so.”

And then they provided a link where I could “Start the online process”.  It wasn’t the first such email I had received, but it was the first one I decided to take note of … for I was curious … is it really so simple for a person to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon as simply logging onto a website?  And so, I did a bit of digging.

When I followed the link, their website begins with an introduction that said all I had to do to obtain a Virginia (note that I don’t live in Virginia, but Virginia has a reciprocal agreement with 28 other states) concealed carry license was to watch a short video, answer 12 multiple choice questions, fill out an application, send them $65 and PRESTO!  I could go around with a gun stuck in my waistband, pocket, or maybe even a holster under my shirt.  Wow, huh?

No, I didn’t watch the video or take the 12-question test, for the simple reason that I don’t want to be on these people’s radar.  I don’t know how they got my email address, but I have no intention of giving them a reason to keep bothering me with such emails.  But, I did do some digging and found that in last year’s election cycle, this organization spent mega bucks … some $2 million … advertising on Facebook.

Its ads warned about the “blue wave.” “MOB RULE IS COMING!” read one series of ads before the midterm elections.  And after: “IT’S ALMOST OVER! The Gun Control Dems are IN.”ConcealedCarryAd-01Concealed Online launched in 2016, three years after Virginia started allowing people to take online courses to qualify for concealed carry permits. Those permits are recognized in states across the country, and even nonresidents of Virginia are eligible. The company’s owner saw a business opportunity in that. So, he developed an online training course, where people can watch a video on gun safety, take a test, and instantly download a certificate of competency with a handgun for a fee. You can take the test as many times as you need, making it nearly impossible to fail.

A writer for WIRED, Issie Lapowsky, says she took the test and intentionally answered a few questions wrong, and still passed – though she had not even watched the ‘safety’ video!

The Better Business Bureau gives Concealed Online an F rating, in part because it has received 25 complaints—primarily from people who paid for the certificate only to find out that Virginia’s permits aren’t recognized in their state.  The company’s owner says Concealed Online sells certificates to people living in states like California and Colorado, which don’t accept Virginia permits, because they can use them when they travel to states that do.

Think about that one, folks.  John Doe can decide to go on a shooting spree and get permission to carry a concealed gun in 28 states within a matter of minutes, and for only $65.  Is it any wonder that the U.S. has the highest rate of deaths by gun in the world?  Is it any wonder that as of November 19th, there have been 45 school shootings in the U.S.?  Is it any wonder that as of October 31st there had been 370 mass shootings, killing 441 people and injuring another 1,466?  And is it any wonder that as of today, December 8th, there have been 36,734 gun deaths in the U.S. this year – 14,162 murder/homicides, and 22,572 suicides.  And those so-called “prolife” people worry about abortion???

Oh, and by the way … you can also buy a gun online.buy-guns-online

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Two Children Died — They Shouldn’t Have

Well, folks, there has been another school shooting.  This time, the shooter, Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, was a sixteen-year-old student at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California.  His mother dropped him off at school, he went into the school, pulled a gun from his backpack, fired all but one of the rounds in the gun, then turned it on himself and shot himself in the head.

Now, according to the New York Times, investigators are trying to understand why he took the gun out of his backpack and shot his fellow students.  I think the more basic question becomes, “Why did this sixteen-year-old boy have access to a gun to begin with?”  Police say there is no indication that his mother knew he had the gun in his backpack, but police also say they found six other guns, some not even registered, in his home.  It seems to me that the mother (his father is dead) should be under investigation for a) having what qualifies as an illegal arsenal in her home, b) leaving guns unsecured and able to be accessed by children, and c) child neglect/endangerment.

Of the five students he shot, two died from their wounds, three others are hospitalized.  The shooter did not immediately die but was rushed to the hospital where he died a day later, Friday afternoon.  The two students who were killed are Gracie Anne Muehlberger, a 15-year-old girl, and Dominic Blackwell, a 14-year-old boy.  One of the three injured students has been released from the hospital, the other two are expected to be released sometime this weekend.  All three are expected to survive … thankfully.

Police say they have no motive … the shooter did not leave behind any manifesto or letter, though it was obviously a planned attack.  The FBI are combing social media, looking for some clue as to what may have caused the boy to commit this horrendous crime.

Those are the facts, as they are known today.  The story made the news, but it seemingly paled in comparison to the impeachment news, Donald Trump’s hate-filled tweets, Roger Stone’s trial, and Rudy Giuliani’s stupidity.  Perhaps it was because this time, only 2 students died?  Perhaps the people in this nation are becoming inured to gun violence?  Perhaps there is a new feeling of hopelessness, in light of the fact that the National Rifle Association (NRA) appear to control enough of our legislators to keep any gun regulations from passing into law.

So, you are probably asking yourselves why I am even writing about this one, given that I have said it all before, time and time again, and that there is not much that can be added at this point.  Well, I’ve asked myself that, as well.  Why bother?  I’ve said it all before, I’m preaching to the choir because my readers are 99% in agreement with me on this, my words won’t reach the ears of those who need to hear them, and even if they did, they wouldn’t heed my words.

But, it seems to me that if we allow ourselves to fall into that trap, if we throw our hands up in the air and say, “Why bother?”, then we have lost the battle … the good guys will have given up and turned the nation, the lives of our children and grandchildren, over to the thugs.  At the very least … the very least … Gracie Anne Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell deserve to be recognized, to be remembered, to be honoured.  But, I believe we owe them more than that.

I believe we owe Gracie Anne and Dominic and the other 842[1] children under age 18 killed by guns so far in 2019, and the other 2,447 children injured by guns thus far this year, to make our voices heard, to keep on shouting loud and clear, to work to bring about an end to the corruption of our politicians and the NRA.  WE OWE IT TO THE CHILDREN!!!

Only in the United States is there free and unfettered access to guns by every man, woman and child, bar almost none.  Only in the United States do we send our children to school, never knowing whether they will return at the end of the day.  The people who could stop the madness, won’t.  Their children haven’t been affected … yet.

Please, friends, vote out the bastards in Congress who take donations from the NRA.  Let’s start using some good sense.  Find out who in your state is taking NRA money [2] and get them out!  Surely the lives of our children matter more than our right to own a killing machine?

[1] Gun Violence Archive 2019

[2] Open Secrets database … searchable by state, party, election cycle, amount

Note to readers:  Saturday Surprise is on hiatus for this week … I felt this was more important.  Apologies, and Saturday Surprise will, hopefully, return next week.