Giving Thanks

Our friend Jeff takes this opportunity to tell us a little bit about how & why he and Greg started On the Fence Voters, and what direction they plan for the coming year. I am looking forward to working with Jeff on a project or two in the coming months … thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

With news coming at us at blinding speed, it’s tempting to do a rant on HIM today. I’m not going to do it, though. There will be plenty of time for that in the coming weeks. We have turbulent waters ahead, and it’s going to take all of us to stay focused so that we can exile the current President of the United States to one of his failing properties. We cannot allow the man to win a second term.

But today, I’d like to veer in another direction. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and well, I’d like to take the time to give thanks.

When my long-time pal Greg, aka Ohio Realist, called to ask if I’d be interested in doing this project in early 2018, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Both of us had remained in contact with each other after I moved to the West Coast in 2004…

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If You Give A Kid A Gun …

In this era of Trump, we’ve heard some pretty stupid things, but something I read just this morning takes the cake.  With the subject of gun control back in the headlines in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton a couple of weeks ago, the NRA is spewing their message once again about “a good guy with a gun”, etc.

Florida is one of the states considering a ban on assault weapons, so the NRA jumped into action, sending one of their leading lobbyists and former president of the NRA (1995-1998), Marion Hammer, to speak to a group of economists. marion-hammer.pngMs. Hammer’s first argument against the proposed amendment to ban assault weapons was that Florida Governor Rick Scott “solicited and offered significant financial incentives to gun manufacturers to come to Florida to bring more jobs”.  And now, the poor gun manufacturers may suffer a financial loss if assault weapons are banned.  They’ve got my deepest sympathy.  Hey!  I’ve got an idea … let’s send them “thoughts and prayers”, shall we?

But, Ms. Hammer’s second argument for why Florida should drop the ridiculous notion of saving lives by banning these guns that were intended only for use by the military, is even more ludicrous …

“How do you tell a 10-year-old little girl who got a Ruger 10/22 with a pink stock for her birthday that her rifle is an assault weapon and she has to turn it over to government or be arrested for felony possession?”

pink-assault-riflePick your jaws up off the ground now, take a deep breath.  Yes, she actually said that.  What sort of an idiot gives a 10-year-old child a damn assault rifle???  Anybody … ANYBODY who would give a child a gun of any sort, let alone an assault weapon, deserves to be drawn and quartered!!!

This is not the first time Ms. Hammer has come onto my radar.  About a year ago, I dedicated an entire post to her when she asserted her power to force the state to issue certain questionable gun licenses.  I was appalled that someone who doesn’t even hold a position in government had the sort of power she had, that she was able to browbeat and intimidate government officials to do her bidding.

Lest you think that most of the nation has better sense than to place firearms in the small arms of children, read this excerpt from an article in The Guardian last year …

A 2012 report by the Hunting Heritage Trust and the National Shooting Sports Foundation states: “It is important to consider more hunting and target shooting recruitment programs aimed at middle school level, or earlier.”

The report lays out a “Youth Hunter and Shooter Ambassador Program” strategy, in which kids are encouraged to influence their friends to get into guns. “Youth ambassadors and others should focus on getting newcomers to take a first step into target shooting through any means … The point should be to get newcomers started shooting something, with the natural next step being a move toward actual firearms.”

Young children looking to get into shooting have plenty of options when it comes to guns designed just for them. A 2014 article on NRA Family, an NRA-run website, profiles Marlin’s “new kid-friendly rifles”. The writer enthuses that Marlin’s “new XT line of .22 rifles … are not just sized for kids; they’re completely designed for kids”.pink-gunsAnother article on the NRA Family website suggests kids might also think about using Thompson/Center HotShot rifle, “a tiny gun intended for the very youngest shooters”. A company spokesman explains that gun targets “the six- to 12-year-old range”. These come in a variety of fun colour options.

Ms. Hammer was instrumental in the passage of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law that allowed George Zimmerman to get off scot-free after murdering an unarmed young black man, Trayvon Martin.  And, while Governor Scott was happily giving tax incentives to companies like Colt and the Russian Kalashnikov (makers of the notorious AK-47), there was the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in 2016 that killed 49 people and wounded 53 more.  And then in 2018, the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people died and 17 more were wounded.

gun-ad-kidOh yeah, folks, the answer is not only more guns, but let’s start ‘em off as soon as their old enough to hold one in their hand.  Right out of the cradle, so that by the time they are teenagers, they will already own an arsenal that includes at least 3 or 4 assault rifles and maybe even a grenade launcher or two, eh?

emma gonzalez

On February 14th, 2018, seventeen students and staff members died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students were heartbroken, and they spoke out, letting us know that this was beyond tolerable, that they were fed up with we “adults” allowing these things to happen … think Columbine, think Sandy Hook and many, many others. One of the young activists was Emma Gonzales, a courageous young woman who said, “No more!” And still today, the government and the people of this nation are letting our young people down.

Every time there is a mass shooting, especially a school shooting, we are horrified … for a few days … and then, while we don’t exactly forget, we let other matters take precedence and we put it out of our minds. How many of our children must die before we wake up, before we force our legislators to put our children ahead of the profits of the all-powerful gun lobby?

Our friend Larry has written an excellent post featuring a tribute song by Madonna. Thank you, Larry, for this post and your permission to share it.

QUEST

4k-wallpaper-beautiful-flowers-clouds-1266810

photo by SIMON MATZINGER

“So we are speaking up for those who don’t have anyone listening to them, for those who can’t talk about it yet, and for those who will never speak again. We are grieving, we are furious, and we are using our words fiercely and desperately because that’s the only thing standing between us and this happening again.” EMMA GONZALEZ

We rise every morning anticipating a great day filled with joy, happiness and safety in our daily endeavors.  We hug our loved ones as they go out the door about their day’s agenda.  We expect to see them later, don’t we?

We know life has no guarantees, but we trust in goodness and mercy.  Emma Gonzalez chatted with friends before classes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas not knowing that there were a few whom she would never again see alive.  Shots rang out, young people were murdered and…

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The Heartbreak of a Nation

Last week was a sad one, not only for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community, but for the entire nation.  Two students, survivors of the mass shooting at the school in February 2018, have ended their lives in the past week.

Sydney-AielloThe first was Sydney Aiello, the second an as-yet-unnamed male student.  These two are victims just as much as the 17 who died on that fateful day.  How many more will there be?

In the wake of the Parkland shooting, many of the students who survived the attack rallied in protest of the United States’ current gun non-laws, and they did a fine job making their voices heard.  Those of us with live cells in our heads applauded their efforts and hoped their resistance was only the beginning.  I thought their protests would help them, knowing that they were doing something positive to try to change this nation, to try to make sure this never happened again.

But while most of us were applauding these young people’s efforts, others were putting them down.  Representative Steve King was one such … you’ll remember I wrote about his bigotry and racism just a couple of days ago.  Mr. King put down Emma González, one of the leaders of the protests, in a Facebook post whereby he criticized her for having a Cuban flag on her denim jacket.

“This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self-defense.”

What. A. Jerk.  Senator Marco Rubio from Florida … the state where the shooting took place … jumped on the criticizing bandwagon, as did many conservative media outlets.  Could it possibly be that all the criticism played a role in the deaths of the two young people?  First, they were traumatized by a classmate shooting up their school.  Then, they found that they had lost dear friends and teachers.  Then, they try to take positive action to ensure others won’t have to go through what they went through, and they are criticized by the very people who should be helping them!  Gee, I wonder why they were depressed?  I wonder why they felt that this nation had let them down.  I wonder why they gave up hope?

For months, the name-calling and trolling of these young people continued, even crossing into conspiracy theories when it was suggested that these students were paid actors.  Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, all nationally syndicated television personalities, jumped on the bandwagon criticizing the kids, not the NRA, not lax gun laws, not even the shooter, but instead the kids who are sick and damn tired of living in a country where guns are more important than human lives.  In my book, every single one of these people have the blood of the two who died last week on their hands.  That includes every single member of the NRA.  That includes every member of Congress who has taken NRA money in exchange for voting against a ban on assault weapons or other gun safety regulations.  That includes Donald Trump, who has been bought and paid for by the NRA.  That includes every single person who puts his “right” to own a gun above human lives.  These are the ones that killed these two young people.

The NRA and the gun lobby supporters in Congress keep telling us that “now is not the time” to discuss gun regulation.  Our young people, the future of this nation, if indeed it even has a future, are being killed, and the idiots who put their 2nd Amendment “rights” before human lives have the unmitigated gall to tell us that it isn’t appropriate to discuss gun safety regulation???  To hell with the 2nd Amendment!  THIS was not what the Founding Fathers of this nation intended when they wrote the Constitution.  The damn fools have interpreted it to mean what they want it to mean.  And why?  Because a bunch of men cannot feel like a ‘real man’ unless they are carrying a weapon that can kill.

Meanwhile, children are dying … needlessly … senselessly.  Think about it.

Just One Snarky Snippet …

I mentioned in yesterday afternoon’s post that there had already been 510 gun deaths in the first 37 days of 2019.  Last year saw an increase in gun deaths to the highest level in more than 20 years, with almost 40,000 people killed in shootings.  This represents a total of 12 deaths per 100,000 people – up from 10.1 in 2010 and the highest rate since 1996.

Given the above figures, it only makes sense that our government would be looking into the situation and determining ways to reduce the number of deaths by firearms, right?  Right.  And they are.  Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on gun violence in eight years, since the republicans took a majority in 2011.  Republicans, you see, do not like to talk about gun control.

The hearing room was packed with advocates who had lost family members, friends or classmates, or had survived gun violence themselves.  And, of course there were the members of the Judiciary Committee – both democrats and republicans.  It didn’t get off to a good start, for when Representative Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary’s chairman, attempted to swear in the panel’s speakers, Republican Mike Johnson of Louisiana objected that Nadler had omitted the words “so help me God,” and asked him to repeat the oath.  Seriously???  Apparently so, for the speakers were forced to stand again and take the oath again, with the inclusion of “so help me God”.  Nadler had a bit of a smirk on his face, and who can blame him?

But wait … for it gets even better.

The discussion was about guns, the consistently high rate of gun deaths, and what sort of legislation might make our streets, our schools, shopping centers, public venues a bit safer.  Out of the blue, Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz seemed to lose sight of the topic and uttered …Gaetz

“If we really cared about safer streets, we would build a wall and secure the border.  I hope we do not forget the pain, and anguish, and sense of loss felt by those all over the country who have been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens. [Firearms background check legislation] would not have stopped many of the circumstances I raised, but a wall, a barrier on the Southern border may have, and that’s what we’re fighting for.”

Say WHAT???  Who invited this lunatic to the party, anyway?  Obviously, he is incapable of focusing on the topic at hand.  And he lies, for there are few who have “been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens”, as compared to those who have been victims of violence, particularly gun violence, at the hands of American citizens.

Now, it so happened that among the people in the hearing room were two men, Manuel Oliver and Fred Guttenberg, both fathers of Parkland shooting victims.  As you might imagine, they were offput by Gaetz disjointed, out-of-context outburst, and uttered a few words of protest.  Gaetz requested that the two men be thrown out of the hearing for “taking up [his] time”.  The rules of the hearing are that the public is not supposed to comment, but Nadler simply warned Mr. Oliver and Mr. Guttenberg, and they acquiesced.  But, Gaetz was not satisfied, saying …

“I’d observe three interruptions of my time by the same individual, and the chair is not exercising his discretion to remove that individual.”

What, exactly, did the two men say to Gaetz?  According to Mr. Guttenberg, “Manny told Gaetz his comments were not true, and I said our loved ones were killed by an American male.”  True statements of fact, but they didn’t seem to fit into Mr. Gaetz’ agenda, and anyway, facts have little relevance to many in the Republican Party, it seems.  Mr. Guttenberg also made note that a number of the republican committee members left after about the first fifteen minutes, including Steve Chabot (Ohio), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Arizona), and Tom McClintock (California).  Time to start the letter-writing if any of these jerks are in your state … let them know we expect them to take gun control seriously!

Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol

Even neoconservative political analyst Bill Kristol was disgusted by Gaetz’ behaviour, tweeting …

“The Founders were well aware the people would sometimes make unfortunate choices for their representatives. But even the Founders with the lowest expectations for popular government would have been astonished at the spectacle of @mattgaetz as a member of Congress.”

Gaetz mug shotMr. Gaetz, it would seem, has a few skeletons in his own closet.  First, here is his mug shot from a 2008 DUI arrest.  Even though he refused the breathalyzer test, he did not have his license suspended for a year as Florida law mandates.  Between 1999 and 2014, he received no less than 16 speeding tickets.  I hope his colleagues in the House never take him up on the offer of a ride to lunch!  Oh, and Mr. Gaetz keeps some really respectable company, too!  Take a look …

Gaetz-Stone

Roger Stone (left) and Matt Gaetz 

It’s gonna be a fun two years, folks.  Better buckle those seat belts for part two of the Voyage of the Trumptanic.

Good Guy With A Gun??? Guess Again …

According to Wayne LaPierre, all members of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and most gun-toting civilians in the United States, there is a mantra, almost a religious chant, that goes something like:  The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Well okay, I don’t buy it for a number of fact-based reasons, but then there are a lot of things I don’t believe that many others do.  But here’s the thing … if those who chant this mantra almost religiously truly believe it, then why has the NRA said they will ban guns from their annual convention during  Mike Pence’s and Donald Trump’s speeches on Friday?  What are you guys afraid of???  I mean, this is the NRA, so surely there will be at least one hero, one ‘good guy’ with a gun to stop the baddies, right?  And … aren’t guns supposed to make us ‘safer’?  And didn’t you say that ‘guns don’t kill people — people kill people’?  So … wouldn’t it make more sense to ban people?

The notice on the NRA website reads …

“Due to the attendance of the Vice President of the United States, the U.S. Secret Service will be responsible for event security at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. As a result, firearms and firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior to and during his attendance.”

‘Prohibited items’ include selfie sticks, backpacks, signs, drones, laser pointers, toy guns and weapons of any kind.  Since when is a sign, a selfie-stick or a laser pointer considered a ‘weapon’? My, but it seems that ol’ Pence and Trump are afraid of a lot of things, doesn’t it?  I wonder why?  I mean, they will be at the NRA’s annual convention.  Surrounded by all their NRA friends (read: donors).  What could possibly go wrong?

They can talk the talk, but they cannot seem to walk the walk. The NRA claims, probably correctly, that the rules were imposed by the U.S. Secret Service, the agency charged with protecting the president, vice-president and their families.  However, if any other event were being held, and the event organizers tried to ban guns, the NRA would be screaming “FOUL” so loudly that they would be heard in Central Africa!

The administration, starting with Trump himself, has quite vocally supported near-unregulated gun ownership for all in the U.S. And Pence is a life-long member of the NRA.  And yet … they now seem to be saying they want all of us exposed to the risk of being shot and killed, but that it is a risk they themselves are not willing to take.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jaime, was among the 17 people killed in the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting on February 14th, said …

“On so many levels, this is enlightening. According to the NRA, we should want everyone to have weapons when we are in public. But when they put on a convention, the weapons are a concern? I thought giving everyone a gun was to enhance safety. Am I missing something?”

One member of a Texas gun rights advocacy group said …

“If I was a [Democrat], I’d have a field day with this. Obviously even republicans and so called leaders don’t trust the ‘good guys.’ I realize it’s the VP, but still makes our whole argument look foolish. You may disagree … but in my opinion the very people that claim to protect the 2A should never host an event that requires disarming the good guys. Sad. No excuses for this … it makes us look stupid.”

Now, before you think I’ve lost my bloomin’ marbles, NO, I do NOT think that guns should be allowed into the convention during Pence and Trump’s appearances.  I have no desire to see the vice president shot.  BUT … I do not think guns should be allowed into any public venue, and am merely trying to point out the hypocrisy of both the NRA and Vice-President Pence.  Obviously, this shoots down the tired old ‘good guy with a gun’ theory, doesn’t it?  Next time somebody spouts that one, remind them of this.

And one last thing, that has nothing to do with the banning of guns during the speeches … Why are Donald Trump and Mike Pence using the time that we are paying them to govern the nation,  to attend the annual convention of the NRA, a lobbyist group that should have nothing to do with governing this nation?  Think about that one for a while.

Push … and Push-Back

We have all been so encouraged by the young people, led by the survivors of the Parkland, Florida, mass school shooting, and we should be encouraged, we should be proud of these young people.  They are the first generation, with the possible exception of the Vietnam generation, to take a firm stand, to make their voices heard, to say, “ENOUGH!!!”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch … er, the National Rifle Association, commonly known as the NRA, guess what?  Donations to the NRA have more than tripled since February!  In February, the group reported donations of $779,063, and in March, $2.4 million.  That is more than they have raised in any month since at least the year 2000.

bubba with gunWhy, you ask?  It’s what I call the push/push-back.  The students are the ‘push’, the momentum that is having a real impact, their voices have already led to new controls on gun ownership in Florida.  And those who cherish their right to own guns more than they value their own children are the ‘push-back’, scared that they may lose the right to own an automatic weapon.  They might well be in danger of losing the ability to plow down hundreds of people in just a minute or two.  They might even … gasp … have to submit to an extended background check and wait 3-5 days before taking possession of their newly purchased gun.  And God forbid that their 18-year-old son, Bubba, might have to wait until he is 21 years of age to buy his first gun. And because they are scared of losing their right, they are turning to their protector, Wayne LaPierre and the NRA.

gun freakThe NRA is short on morals and values, but they are by no means short on marketing skills, for they knew just how to play their cards.  They used the protests of our youth to their advantage, used them, just as Donald Trump used terrorism and terrorists, to instill fear into those gun-lovin’ fools.  “The threat to our freedom has never been more real,” reads one social media post that includes a link to its membership page. Another post says that gun control proponents “are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment.”

And their marketing campaign worked.  $1.9 million of the $2.4 million the NRA reported as donations in March came from small donors, those giving $200 or less.

Want to know what you likely haven’t seen in your local paper or heard on the nightly news about school shootings in the U.S. since the February 14th shooting in Parkland?

  • February 24: Savannah, Georgia — A person was shot on the campus of Savannah State University and taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.
  • February 27: Itta Bena, Mississippi — A person was shot in a rec center at Mississippi Valley State University. The injury was non-life-threatening.
  • February 27: Norfolk, Virginia — A student at Norfolk State University was shot from an adjacent dorm room while he was doing homework. He was not seriously injured.
  • March 2: Mount Pleasant, Michigan — Two people were shot to death at a dormitory on the campus of Central Michigan University.
  • March 7: Jackson, Mississippi — A student was shot inside a dormitory at Jackson State University. His injuries were not life-threatening.
  • March 7: Birmingham, Alabama — One student was killed and another critically wounded after an accidental shooting during dismissal time at Huffman High School.
  • March 8: Mobile, Alabama — One person was hospitalized after a shooting at an apartment building on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
  • March 13: Seaside, California — A teacher accidentally discharged a gun during a public safety class at Seaside High School, injuring a student.
  • March 20: Lexington Park, Maryland — An armed student shot two others at Great Mills High School before a school resource officer fired a round at the shooter. The shooter was killed. One of the students, 16-year-old girl Jaelynn Willey, was taken off life support two days later.
  • April 9: Gloversville, New York — A student shot another student with a BB gun in Gloversville Middle School.
  • April 12: Raytown, Missouri — A man was shot in the stomach in the parking lot of Raytown South Middle School during a track meet.
  • April 20: Ocala, Florida — A student at Forest High School was wounded and a suspect taken into custody.

In just two short months, people!!!  Two months, twelve school shootings!!!

Those who place such value on the ability to own a gun, especially a weapon that can kill hundreds inside of minutes, do not belong to the same branch of humanity to which I belong.  And just how many of these who will take their grocery money to support the NRA and keep their precious guns … how many of those are “evangelical Christians” who scream at the tops of their lungs that every abortion is murder???  But killing people with guns is okey-dokey, hunky-dorey???

Need I say more?

The Face of Evil 👿 — Alex Jones

When I wrote a post yesterday about two of the Sandy Hook families suing Alex Jones for the damage his 5-year-long conspiracy theory had done in the wake of the deaths of their children, I simply took for granted that everyone knew of Alex and his long, sordid history of conspiracy theories.  So, I was caught off guard when several people commented that they had either never heard of Jones, or had only a vague idea who he is.  Perhaps I should have made him Idiot of the Week, but I try to save that honour for people who are simply idiots, and not taint it with the face of evil.  Long story short, I decided to do a brief post summarizing some of his more heinous episodes.  There are video clips out there … you can find them easily enough, but I will not give him the courtesy of including any of his clips on this blog.

Alex Jones is most famous for his website/media outlet, InfoWars, his platform for his wide-ranging variety of conspiracy theories and fake news.  The Southern Poverty Law Center describes him as “the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America”, a title which he has said he is proud of.  Jones briefly attended college at Austin Community College, but dropped out soon after starting.  He got an early start in the conspiracy business … as early as 1996 he proposed his first one, that the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, was a plot by the U.S. government in order to put down a growing states’ rights movement.

Now let’s take a look at where he went from there …

  • Jones first came onto my radar in the aftermath of 11 September 2001 when terrorists flew airplanes into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, as well as the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 2,753 people directly and thousands of rescue workers in subsequent years. On the day … the very day that those 2,753 people died … Jones was busily blaming the U.S. government of complicity, at the very least:

“Well I’ve been warning you about it for at least five years. All terrorism that we’ve looked at from the World Trade Center to Oklahoma City to Waco has been government actions. They need this as a pretext to bring you and your family martial law. They’re either using provocateur Arabs and allowing them to do it or this is full complicity with the federal government. The evidence is overwhelming.”

He later added that he had “smoking gun evidence” that Osama bin Laden was “a CIA asset” and “a CIA hireling doing his job” for the government.

Seven weeks later …

“I went on the air and said, ‘Those were controlled demolitions. You just watched the government blow up the World Trade Center.’ I lost 70 percent of my affiliates that day. Station managers asked me, ‘Do you want to be on this crusade going nowhere, or do you want to be a star?’ I’m proud I never compromised.”

In 2005, Jones produced a film, Martial Law 9-11: The Rise of the Police State.  An excerpt:

“In summation, it’s important to note that we only covered a tiny portion of the facts and evidence that clearly shows that 9/11 was an inside job. Number one, the official story of 9/11 has been completely disproven. At every point we’ve caught them lying, manufacturing evidence or covering up evidence. From high-level government inside sources and publicly available facts, we now have a very clear picture of how 9/11 was carried out.

Number one, we know that the men who were on board the aircraft who were supposedly the hijackers had their houses, cars, credit cards paid for by the U.S. government. They were in truth agents taking part in drills and nothing more. Supposed computer malfunctions at American and United [Airlines] ensured that all four planes only had 20 percent occupancy on board on a day when flights on the East Coast were an average of 80 percent full. Once the decoys, known as hijackers, were on board the planes, a gas was released knocking out the occupants of the aircraft. Then a small criminal group in control of remote control systems patented for over 20 years took control of the aircraft and flew them into the World Trade Centers and Pentagon. The CIA controlled drills that morning, confused NORAD for over an hour until it was almost too late for them to shoot down the hijacked planes. I said almost too late. When they did find out, Dick Cheney wouldn’t let the planes fly over 350 miles an hour so three of the aircraft were able to hit their targets. The fourth wasn’t able to because our sources in the Pentagon have told us generals didn’t follow their orders and had Flight 93 shot down. If it would have hit its target, the capital, the government would have been completely decapitated and the president could have declared total martial law.

  • When James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012, Alex Jones claimed that Holmes was an agent for the government. Jones stated: “He was totally set up, on government payroll, said he was drugged, told people in the jail — that was even in the local paper. Then they came out and said it was never said. He’s a patsy. He was set up. He was drugged outside.”
  • Remember 20 April 1999 when students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado? Yep, Jones was on that one like fleas on a dog, saying he had evidence that it was “100% false flag”.  Add to the list that he used the term ‘false flag’ on, the mass shootings in Tucson, San Bernardino, and Orlando.  Same story, only the names and places are changed.
  • Of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing: “This operation is a false flag. It is a staged event. These guys are definitely patsies that were set up and they’re manipulating our tribalism that, “Hey, the guys from the other tribe bombed us but we got them.” When the truth is they were young men recruited by globalist intelligence agencies and set up horribly. And they could do it to any of us. We’re all in grave danger.”

The list goes on and on.  Most recently, of course, he targeted the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting and its survivors.  Of Parkland student David Hogg, Jones said he and his activist classmates were “crisis actors,” or paid actors who pretend to be victims of a tragedy to advocate for gun control.

But beyond the conspiracy theories, there are other acts of evil attributable to Jones:

  • Jones said that being gay is a “destructive lifestyle, but I don’t hate these people. But the reason there’s so many gay people now is because it’s a chemical warfare operation. I have the government documents where they said they’re going to encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don’t have children.”
  • Jones claimed that the push for transgender protections is actually “the collapse of civilization, it’s the destruction of the family, it has nothing to do with somebody’s sexual preference. It is about messing with everyone and making everyone adopt this particular lifestyle.”
  • Jones has claimed that President Obama is obsessed with transgender rights so he entered into a “completely fake” “arranged marriage” with Michelle Obama. He purported to explain of the Obamas’ marriage: “I think it’s all an arranged marriage, it’s all completely fake and it’s this big sick joke because he’s obsessed with transgender, just like some weird cult or something. I think Michelle Obama is a man. I really do. I really do. I believe it.”
  • On vaccines: “They’re testing to see how many children they can give neurological disorders and see if the nurses and doctors and public don’t notice. They’re testing soft kill on the public to see if they can manage massive numbers of dead and dying and maimed children.”
  • Jones has claimed that the government possesses a weather machine that can create floods and tornadoes. He said in 2013 that “of course there’s weather weapon stuff going on — we had floods in Texas like 15 years ago, killed 30-something people in one night. Turned out it was the Air Force.” He added that while there are some “natural tornadoes,” the government “can create and steer groups of tornadoes.”
  • Ever wonder where that rumour that passes around every so often about the government running prison camps … FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) camps? Yep, ol’ Alex started that one too: “The military industrial complex is transforming our once free nation into a giant prison camp. A cashless society control grid, constructed in the name of fighting terrorism, was actually built to enslave the American people. Body scanners, sound cannons, citizen spies, staged terror and cameras on every street corner — it’s only the beginning of the New World Order’s hellish plan.”
  • When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in Texas in February 2016, Jones suggested that Obama murdered Scalia so he could push gun control legislation.

All of this is only a partial list of the sheer hate, bigotry, and ignorance this man spews on a daily basis, but I think you have a pretty clear picture now of the evil that is Alex Jones.  And the really scary part?  People believe his garbage and act on it.  And finally, why does he do it?  Money, plain and simple.  The InfoWars website receives approximately 10 million monthly visits, making it more visited than some mainstream news websites such as The Economist and Newsweek.  10 million viewers = 10 million potential customers for the junk he peddles.  Jones sells videos, books, T-shirts, dietary supplements, and even subscriptions videos. In 2013 alone, Alex Jones was estimated to be making $10 million/year from all of his merchandising sales.And if you aren’t already disgusted enough, in February, two of Jones’ employees accused him of anti-Semitism and sexual harassment.  And now, though you do not know all there is to know about Alex Jones, you know enough to understand that his is indeed … The Face of Evil.

Blue Wave Fading to Aqua?

As a non-republican … an independent voter who, at this point is leaning heavily toward the democratic platform … I have been buoyed by the confidence of many in the “blue wave” that many see as sweeping the mid-terms.  At first, I was skeptical, thinking we were perhaps becoming cocky, over-confident, and that there were yet many hurdles to be either knocked down or jumped over.  But, I eventually became a bit more optimistic and felt certain the democrats will take over at least one of the chambers of Congress in November.  Turns out, my skepticism was justified.  According to a piece in The Washington Post yesterday …

“With the Republicans’ House majority at risk, 47 percent of registered voters say they prefer the Democratic candidate in their district, while 43 percent favor the Republican. That four-point margin compares with a 12-point advantage Democrats held in January.”  — 16 April 2018

Where did the other 8% go???  I wrack my brain, such as it is, trying to think why this should be the case.   The republican candidates in a number of races are notably bad candidates with sometimes outrageous views and histories.  Surely there hasn’t been any bright shining light from our current Congress, nor from the executive branch that would have driven a push to the right.  So … WHY???

According to the analysis in the Post article, one reason is that Trump’s approval rating is hovering at right around 40%, as compared to 36% in January.  Let us make note here that 40% is not a great approval rating by any standards, but it would seem that Trump set himself such a low bar to begin with that 40% now inspires the masses … somehow.

One issue that is almost certain to play largely into the equation in November is that of gun regulation.  In the wake of the February 14 Parkland Florida mass school shooting, young people have taken the proverbial bull by the horns and made their voices heard around the nation.  They want something done … now … before more of their friends die such a tragic death.  And they are a force, for certain.  But … before we become too cocky over that one, remember that there is also a push-back factor among those who see their right to own guns … any and all guns … as sacred.  From the Post article …

“… three-quarters of voters who prioritize enacting new gun laws support Democrats for Congress, while 8 in 10 of those who give protecting gun rights greater significance support Republicans.”

So yes, more people, especially those who will be eligible to vote for the first time in their lives, will turn out to vote and will likely vote for a candidate who supports stricter gun laws.  But at the same time, more people who might have let a mid-term election pass them by, will turn out to ‘protect’ their 2nd Amendment ‘right’.

It is the way of political campaigns to find a chink in the armour of the ‘enemy’ and blow it into a full-size chasm.  The democratic party is not without its Achilles heels, one of which is Minority House Leader, Nancy Pelosi.

“Pelosi has a negative image, with 32 percent of Americans holding a favorable view of her, and 44 percent unfavorable. Among Republicans, she is well-known and widely disliked, with 74 percent holding unfavorable views of her, 63 percent strongly.”

CNN Politics has referred to Pelosi as ‘the Republicans’ secret weapon in 2018’.

As I noted in my three-part project last week, one of the biggest hurdles we face in November is getting people to the polls.  I firmly believe that if we could get 85% of eligible voters to actually vote, the Democrats would sweep the mid-terms, but that is unlikely.  Still, it behooves us all to work toward getting more people to vote, getting more people interested, reminding them what is at stake.  We also face hurdles of gerrymandering, and while I applaud the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for their firm stance on re-districting, I don’t see other states following suit as I had hoped they would.

The Republicans are poised to play a dirty game of pool, and they are likely to continue to have the help of their friends, the Russians.  Although it has been proven that the Russians did, in fact, interfere in several ways in the fairness of our democratic processes in 2016, the Trump regime has declined to take aggressive steps to avoid such interference this year.  The Democratic Party must proactively counter the falsehoods and mud-slinging that is sure to start in earnest any day now, but it must do so without lowering itself to those standards.  We must show the public the face of integrity, the face of values, ethics, compassion and intellect.  Rather than engage in a mud-fest, we must prove why our candidate is the better one for the job.

So, why are the Democrats losing ground in the polls?  Why is the ‘blue wave’ fading to aqua?  I don’t have the answer, but we need to be finding it … SOON!  There are 203 days left until election day.

The November mid-terms are too important for us to sit back and assume that anti-Trump sentiments will carry the Democratic candidates into a majority position in the House and/or Senate. It is said by many that Trump, himself, will doom the Republican candidates in November, and it is a comforting, appealing idea, but … it would be a mistake to become overly-confident.  Remember 2016?  We were so sure that a ‘man’ with no experience, no knowledge, and a big, loud, obnoxious mouth could never be elected to the most revered office in the land.  Well, guess what, folks?

Mr. Trump, Here’s a Teenage Hero; It’s Your Turn!

Long an admirer of Nicholas Kristof’s work, I try to catch his column as often as possible.  His latest column touched a chord and I realized that his thoughts echoed mine, but his were much more eloquently stated than mine could ever be.  With that said, I am sharing Mr. Kristof’s column of 07 March 2018.When a gunman rampaged through a high school in Parkland, Fla., three weeks ago, a 15-year-old soccer player named Anthony Borges showed undaunted courage.

Anthony, who is of Venezuelan descent, apparently was the last of a group of students rushing into a classroom to seek refuge. He shut the door behind him and frantically tried to lock it, but in an instant the gunman appeared on the other side. Instead of running for cover, Anthony blocked the door to keep the shooter out. He held his ground even as the attacker opened fire.

“I asked him why he would do that,” his lawyer, Alex Arreaza, told me. “He said, ‘What’s so hard to understand about what I did?’ He had no issue with risking his life.”

Shot five times in the legs and torso, Anthony phoned his father to say that he had been wounded. He was rushed to a hospital and survived: Photos show him with wires and tubes snaking from him. He still can’t walk — it’s unclear if that is just temporary — but fellow students say he saved their lives. No one else in that classroom was shot.

The world turned upside down: Armed law enforcement officers dawdled outside during the shooting, but a 15-year-old kid without any weapon at all used himself as a human shield to protect his classmates. More broadly, the Florida high school students have argued maturely for sensible gun laws, while Florida state legislators have acted like frightened toddlers, first passing a two-year moratorium on sales of AR-15 rifles and then undoing it 15 minutes later.

And now it seems that the grown-up world is again going to fail Anthony and other young Americans. Congress and President Trump have stalled on a push to pass meaningful gun legislation that has overwhelming public support. The grown-ups are once more loitering in a crisis, leaving kids to be shot.

President Trump said that if he had been on the scene, he would have rushed into the building to confront the shooter. “I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” he said.

Really? Even though when he is armed with the power of the White House he still doesn’t have the guts to confront the N.R.A. in a sustained way?

Given that gun owners largely trust Trump, he could hammer out a bipartisan deal for universal background checks — the single step that would make the most difference, one supported overwhelmingly even by gun owners — but the White House is AWOL on the issue.

Congress may pass “Fix NICS” legislation to improve the F.B.I. database used to screen gun buyers, and maybe the federal government will ban “bump stocks.” But those are baby steps that probably won’t have a measurable impact on American mortality (right now, one American dies every 15 minutes from a gun, including murders, accidents and suicides).

Incredibly, Congress seems as likely to ease gun laws as to tighten them. One measure backed by Donald Trump Jr. would legalize silencers, which have been rigorously controlled since the 1930s. Advocates had the gall to call it the Hearing Protection Act.

“It’s about safety,” Trump Jr. explains in video“It’s about hearing protection. It’s a health issue, frankly, for me. Getting little kids in the game.” In fact, the unmuffled crack of a gunshot is a warning of danger and draws the police; silencers would be a gift to criminals.

Even worse, the N.R.A. is pushing concealed-carry reciprocity, allowing people to carry concealed guns with them from places that permit them, like Alaska or Wyoming, to any other part of the country, regardless of local prohibitions.

This measure has already passed the House of Representatives, but attorneys general are fighting it. They warn that it would let a stalker, domestic abuser or suspected terrorist from a low-regulation state tote concealed weapons at will around the country.

All this is infuriating. But even if the federal government won’t pass meaningful new gun laws, states are doing so. Polls show that voters overwhelmingly favor universal background checks, a 21-year-old age restriction on buying firearms and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

Since the 1970s, the U.S. has engaged unintentionally in an international experiment, relaxing gun laws as the rest of the world has tightened access. Gun advocates argued that more guns would make us safer, but instead the U.S. now has 25 times the gun murder rate of other advanced countries.

Indeed, since 1970, more Americans have died of gun violence, including murders, suicides and accidents (1.4 million), than in all the wars in American history (1.3 million).

Whenever there is a mass shooting, there are inspiring individual stories like Anthony’s. But the larger picture is disgraceful: the president and congressional leaders dillydallying on the sidelines, sending “thoughts and prayers” and nothing else.

This will change only when politicians are more afraid of voters than of the N.R.A.