When ISIS came to Texas

Starting in August of last year, Texas Governor Rick Perry began to hone a new message. In an effort to manufacture foreign policy credibility, Perry tried to repackage the policy challenges of a border state governor into a poor-man’s version of national security expertise. In a speech at the Heritage Institute he tied concerns (hysteria) over unaccompanied minors detained at the border into a terrorist threat. The cherry on that sundae was Perry’s vague claim that ISIS was trying to cross the Rio Grande.

In politics a claim can be patently stupid and ingenious at the same time. After all, can YOU prove that no terrorists have crossed the border into Laredo? By wrapping up phony concerns over immigration, terrorism, and Ebola into a fat little packet of white worry, Perry and other Republicans managed to overcome a mounting pile of good news. In 2014, an increasingly peaceful, prosperous and healthy country went to the polls in a frothing panic.

Perry’s idea picked up steam, fueled by categorical denials from every credible source. By October, Republican candidates were repeating the claim. Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton improved on the story by inventing the idea that ISIS was working with Mexican drug cartels. Congressman Duncan Hunter decided to take the courageous step of making up evidence to back the claims. On October 8, just a few weeks before early voting began in several states, Rep. Hunter announced on Fox News that ten ISIS fighters had been captured trying to cross the southern border.

Sometimes a claim is just too truthy not to be true. Right wing group Judicial Watch repeated the claim with slightly different details. The claim went viral, fueled by negligent journalism. Look at how this Southern California TV station covered Hunter’s claims and handled his utter lack of evidence:

“But have any been caught at all? According to a Department of Homeland Security representative, any suggestion of ISIS crossing our borders is “categorically false and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground.”

Bee says it is possible the Feds may want to keep the details – who was arrested, how they got in – quiet so ISIS will not gain an advantage.

A representative for Hunter’s office told 10News they are standing by their assertion.”

Priceless. Politician makes bullshit claim. Journalist establishes that there is no evidence for said bullshit claim. Lack of evidence is mentioned in the 12th sentence of a 14-sentence story, right next to comments from a random local “expert” dismissing the government’s denial. And the story ends with Hunter’s insistence that he stands by his lie. All the public hears is PANIC NOW.

On the other side of the election, Ebola is gone. The pace of unaccompanied minors appearing at the border has dropped by about half. The terrorists who haunted your local Dairy Queen in 2014 remain elusive. Somehow, with the election behind us, all of these terrifying, existential threats to the Republic have mysteriously resolved themselves. None of the people who invented or spread the lies about the ISIS threat have suffered any consequences.

What happened to the ten ISIS fighters that were apprehended on our southern border? They never existed, of course. A few days later, Hunter quietly “clarified” his lie, a move that gathered far less attention than the lie itself. He never apologized. Meanwhile Rick Perry is still trying to build a Presidential campaign on ISIS fears. ISIS is Rick Perry’s biggest ally in the 2016 Election.

Lying to manufacture fear worked in 2014. As long as it works, we can expect to see it again and again and again…

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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309 comments on “When ISIS came to Texas
  1. 1mime says:

    Great letter to editor in yesterday’s Houston Chronicle on subject of religious freedom, tolerance, and religious discrimination, co-authored by a Presbyterian Minister and a Rabbi. If you can’t open it, let me know and I’ll try to link to it another way.

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/letters/article/Saturday-letters-Religious-freedom-Dome-MD-6192406.php

  2. 1mime says:

    I’m offering up another OT post, but “carried interest” has long been in my cross-hairs. All of us talk about tax code reform, bur I don’t recall anything being said about carried interest tax changes. I think it is overdue. Here’s a reasonable solution to this unfair practice in today’s NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/08/business/dealbook/carried-interest-should-be-disclosed-on-tax-forms-and-to-private-equity-investors.html?rref=business/dealbook&module=Ribbon&version=origin&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=DealBook&pgtype=article

    I’ve got my bullet proof vest on for the onslaught of criticism (-:

  3. 1mime says:

    OT, on the environmental scene, this report (Daily Kos) highlighted the fact that TeaParty opponents to an Everglades project paid people to show up and hold signs at the meeting site as protesters. A FB notice was discovered which offered $75 for warm bodies at the Water Resource Board Meeting where the project was being discussed.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/04/09/1376605/–Tea-party-protest-against-Everglades-conservation-turns-out-to-be-just-a-bunch-of-paid-actors?detail=email#

    And, if D.Kos. isn’t your cup of tea, here’s another source validating the Facebook appeal for paid protestors:

    http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2015/04/big-sugar-pays-tea-party-protesters-to.html

    Protecting our environment should not be controversial, and it certainly shouldn’t be “for hire”.

  4. unarmedandunafraid says:

    I’m not sure if we’ve worn the gun safety/control/grabber topic out or not. I have a serious question.

    I would like to say that if I’m ever in a room and terrorists are working there way in, I would like to have a well trained gun carrying person in the room with me. The pro-gun people on the blog would do fine.

    IMHO, drug decriminalization would solve a good part of our gun problem. And IMHO, it is a problem. In the US, we kill more people accidently with guns that 30 other countries kill on purpose with guns.

    Can we accept as true that half of the population is below average in intelligence. And another subset is below average on the empath to psychopath scale? Can we agree that certain states are loosening the requirements for acquiring and carrying guns? With loosened requirements, more guns? In the hands of all types, not just serious, intelligent, practised defenders of freedom and public safety? If I’m wrong, please correct me.

    So the question is, what do you see for gun violence in the future. In 10 years, will we see more gun violence? Or do you believe that if most are expected to be carrying, peace will spread across the land?

    • johngalt says:

      You might feel better if there were an armed civilian present, but the outcome might be no different. It wasn’t when a pro-gun group recreated the Charlie Hebdo massacre with an armed person present. In not one simulation, in which the armed “good guy” knew what was coming, was he able to take out both shooters.
      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/texas-pro-gun-group-recreates-charlie-hebdo-attack-article-1.2081534

      Gun violence in this country will continue to escalate. If murdering classrooms full of kindergartners could not even motivate modest tightening of gun control laws, it’s hard to see what would. For the reasons you state, more guns will end up in the hands of people who should not have them and there is no good outcome possible from that.

      • JG, this one has been debunked somewhere in the 300-odd comments below. But really, it’s pretty simple. Which is better, a small chance of survival, or *no* chance?

      • johngalt says:

        It’s really not that simply, Tracy. A person with a gun in their house has about an 11-fold increase in the rate of suicide and this is largely put down to the ease with which someone can act upon a suicidal moment when an ideal tool is at hand. So one of my coworkers carries a gun in the workplace. What is more likely: that he (or she) stops the rare terrorist incident or armed robbery or that he (or she) snaps one day due to stress, anger, or mental illness and shoots someone themselves? I would submit that unless your workplace makes it a habit to insult fundamental religious nuts, the latter is vastly more likely. The ease of access makes it way too easy to act upon moments of irrationality. And that is why gun violence will continue to increase.

      • Doug says:

        JG, check this out:
        http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/01/foghorn/ttag-charly-hebdo-simulation-preliminary-results/
        It’s from the people who actually did the simulation and gives a fuller picture than the NY Times.

        As I think I mentioned earlier, success with a defensive weapon isn’t measured by how many bad guys are killed. In this simulation, one woman described as a “relatively new shooter” used the handgun simply to cover the escape of the co-workers. She didn’t kill the “terrorists” but nearly everyone got out alive.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Doug – the excuses used by this group were pathetic. They forget to mention that the “victims” here had the ultimate advantage, they knew the attack was coming. The element of surprise was lost to the attackers and the basd guys still won. Throw in the fact that people react much differently to live fire versus paint pellets.

        I do not want so hero wannabe trying to add more danger to a danderous situation. That cover fire the one person used could have easily killed others office workers. Bullets have a tendency of going through walls and striking unintended targets.

      • johngalt says:

        TR – absolutely. The non-real world part of this is that the defenders knew the attack was coming and the best case scenario was still that they maybe – in a few simulations – allowed a couple more people to escape or killed one defender a few days before the cops did.

      • johngalt says:

        There is another point that was not adequately addressed in these scenarios. When an inexperienced shooter can hold off the bad guys, it is because the bad guys were not acting like the real terrorists. The Charlie Hebdo killers absolutely knew they were going to die. Today, tomorrow, the next day – it was inevitable. In that scenario, which is not going to be modeled effectively by dipshits trying to prove a point, no cowering secretary with fluttering hands is going to deter a dedicated assassin – he’s just going to walk up and plug her in the chest.

      • Doug says:

        You guys crack me up.

      • JG, with respect to your first comment in this thread, in the 100 year history of my family in this country there has not (to my knowledge) been a gun-related suicide. I’ve been shooting firearms since I was 7 years old; there are literally dozens of guns in my gun safe. At no point in my life have I ever contemplated using one of those guns to do myself, or anybody else, harm. Apparently, the individuals of my bloodline are not particularly likely to “snap” under “stress” in this manner. In this I am blessed.

        I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but all individuals seeking to obtain a CHL in Texas are subject to an FBI background check that is intended to uncover any evidence of criminality or mental instability. (Basically, the FBI background check more thoroughly seeks out the same information you are legally *required* to voluntarily submit on the “instant” background form you fill out when purchasing a gun from a dealer – https://www.atf.gov/files/forms/download/atf-f-4473-1.pdf) Those of us with a CHL have been “vetted,” so to speak, and are quite unlikely to be subject to the unfortunate behavior you describe. (This is backed up by CHL crime stats – https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/reports/demographics.htm)

        Now, I understand fully that some are not so fortunate; if tragedy has struck your family as the result of an emotionally unstable individual doing something rash with a firearm, I sympathize and commiserate with you. However, I humbly submit to you that the limitations of you and yours, or those of your neighbors, do not give you license to abrogate the rights of me and mine. If you think you may be susceptible to committing suicide by gun, or shooting your loved ones or coworkers, then I very strongly suggest that you voluntarily *refrain* from owning a gun. At the same time, I humbly request that you *refrain* from seeking to use the coercive might of the federal government to keep *me* from owning a gun.

      • johngalt says:

        “individuals seeking to obtain a CHL in Texas are subject to an FBI background check that is intended to uncover any evidence of criminality or mental instability.”

        I laughed so hard at reading this this I spit out my drink.

        My primary point was that if you think having a gun around your house makes you safer, there is a great deal of evidence to say that you are wrong. If you need to hunt with an AR-15 with an enormous magazine, then you are a pretty crappy hunter.

    • Unarmed, there are several facts out there that perhaps bear on the discussion. Industry data indicates *very* clearly that we have more guns than ever in America, to the point where ammunition and reloading component shortages are simply part of life. (And many of our new shooters are women. Back in the day, it was pretty much a guy sport – not so anymore.) Along with the increase in guns, we have a *dramatic* increase in the number of CHL holders – we’re up to more than 6 million now, or roughly 3% of the adult, non-geriatric population. At the same time, gun ownership per capita is actually going down. We’ve gone from roughly 1/2 of all households owning guns in the ’70’s to roughly 1/3 of all households owning guns now. Concomitantly, over the last 20 years we’ve had a dramatic decrease in the rate of gun accidents, and a dramatic drop in the overall violent crime rate. In absolute terms, more guns, less crime, is simply a fact. But that’s not the whole picture.

      Correlation does not necessarily equate to causation. (And would that the climate change crowd grok that concept.) With respect to crime rates, common sense dictates there must be *some* linkage. Those who might otherwise be attracted to a life of crime might have cause to reconsider said career choice if they stop to ponder that they have a 1-in-30 chance of having a really bad day for every stick up committed. However, I suspect demographics is the primary driver. Violent crimes are mostly committed by young males, and as the baby boom generation grays, the percentage of the age cohort mostly likely to commit crimes grows smaller.

      I look at the numbers this way: The percentage of households owning guns has decreased, but in those households that do own guns, shooters are more engaged in the shooting sports (and they own more guns). I.e., fewer households have shooters, but those shooters are shooting more now than ever before, and they own more guns than ever before. The proliferation of organized competitions, training and safety programs over the last few decades has been simply astonishing to a person like me, who has been shooting pretty much my entire life (54 years and counting). We now have, on average, safer, better trained, more prolific shooters today than we had 20 years ago. And increasingly, new shooters are women. I think these trends are a good thing (for overall public safety, the future of gun ownership, and the future of the shooting sports).

      So, in short, I do not expect that we will see more gun violence over the next 10 years, despite the fact that there will be more people carrying, and more guns overall. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        TT – You present your views and information clearly and well, but it would be helpful if you could provide links to source information. There are so many divergent opinions and I like to read and compare them. If your statistics are correct, we are heading in the right direction, but it sure seems like we are still hearing of way too many gun problems, whether in the hands of a nut, or a policeman, or an individual making poor decisions with their weapons.

        If you link your sources, I promise to read them.

        What is your opinion on mandatory body cameras for law enforcement?

      • 1mime, yes, I do very strongly favor mandatory body cameras for police – it will protect both the public and the police.

        You are correct in stating there are “way too many gun problems.” As with any tool or technology, there will always be problems with misuse and abuse. Much like the poor, gun-related problems will always be with us. That’s not to say we shouldn’t take prudent measures to deal with such problems (and I believe education is the best approach), but let us not ignore human nature and the human condition. A perfect Utopia is not achievable in this world; abrogating our natural rights in vain pursuit of an illusory goal is a great evil.

        I’m going to point you to a handful of links that will get you *started* on the same road I have traveled. There are several sources of information that I have relied on over the years to inform my thinking. Unfortunately, you’ll have to do some digging, as none of these organizations do a great job of keeping up-to-date summaries.

        FBI crime statistics: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013

        FBI crime stats are the ultimate source of “raw” data. The link posted is to the most recent year of comprehensive crime stats; online stats are readily available back to 1995. You’ll have to be handy with Microsoft Excel to make best use of this data.

        The Pew Research Center: http://www.pewresearch.org/

        Pew does have, IMHO, a somewhat left-leaning viewpoint, but regardless does a great job of collecting raw and survey-based opinion data. Here’s a few specific links pertinent to our discussion:

        http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/07/gun-homicide-rate-down-49-since-1993-peak-public-unaware/

        http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/12/section-3-gun-ownership-trends-and-demographics/

        http://www.people-press.org/2014/12/07/gun-rights-vs-gun-control/#total

        The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is an industry group that provides a wealth of data:

        http://www.nssf.org/research/

        The NSSF exists primarily to provide actionable data to gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers. Their data has bottom-line financial impact for those involved in the business, so accuracy is at a premium. Unfortunately some of the data requires membership access. However, be aware that the NSSF funds Project ChildSafe (http://www.projectchildsafe.org/), a *very worthwhile* program. If you choose to join to get access to some of the industry data, some of that money will be going to a very good cause.

        The Crime Prevention Research Center: http://crimepreventionresearchcenter.org/cprc-research/

        CPRC is John Lott’s outfit. It is of course very pro-gun. However, most of CPRC’s efforts are directed at debunking misinformation promulgated by the anti-gun crowd. If you prefer, as I do, to never accept things a face value, CPRC is a good site to peruse.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks for the sources, Tracy. I am familiar with several of them and will read the balance. Those of us who are concerned about gun proliferation and crime need to be able to find common ground with those who support broader gun rights. Civil dialogue is a good beginning. I’ve learned a lot through your efforts and others on the blog. It needn’t be adversarial.

        The NRA has been a polarizing organization on gun issues when they have the opportunity to provide leadership. Their financial and political success in fund raising and membership expansion through inflammatory modus operandi has exacerbated the divide. Polls I have read show a much more moderate, reasonable mindset within the broad NRA membership than I see being acted out by NRA leadership. That might be an area where reasonable people could work within the organization to find common ground and achieve reasonable changes to existing gun laws that would calm the waters instead of the constant roiling.

        Your statement “A perfect Utopia is not achievable in this world; abrogating our natural rights in vain pursuit of an illusory goal is a great evil.” Let’s extend that thought.

        There is no question that a perfect utopia is impossible; however, in a civilized democratic society, reasonable abrogation of natural rights is necessary to peacefully (?!) co-exist. This is why we live under a system of laws, which should reflect our nation’s founding principles and a society which respects the rights of all people while necessarily constraining some of our individual rights. That is certainly not the atmosphere or situation that exists within our country today. I wholeheartedly seek goals which allow reasonable, equal opportunities for peaceful coexistence in a society that respects, protects and celebrates our differences.

      • Well, 1mime, as you might guess, I am a lifetime NRA member. That’s not to say I agree with everything the NRA does, mind you.

        With respect to chasing Utopia, you’ll note I mentioned I had no problems with “prudent measures.” I grew up in Arizona, a “constitutional carry” state. No permit is required to openly carry a firearm in Arizona. Growing up, I can’t recall an occasion when hiking or car camping that my father didn’t have a firearm with us, even if only a little .22 “kit gun.” A gun was literally just part of our kit. Plinking sessions were often a part of our outings.

        Now, the Arizona of my youth was a lightly populated place; we could reasonably expect to go camping or hiking and not see another person. Arizona today is pretty much eastern California, and densely populated. Many of the outdoors haunts of my youth are now so thoroughly frequented that reservations are required. The habits and practices of my youth may no longer be “prudent;” a “plinking” session in an area packed with hikers would be grossly irresponsible. As you put it, “reasonable abrogation of natural rights is necessary to peacefully (?!) co-exist.”

        As I hope you realize, I am quite concerned about the interplay of our individual rights in the public space, and I spent a lot of time cogitating on this topic. As I have stated before, individual liberty does not mean that we are at liberty to abuse or infringe upon the rights of our neighbors, particularly when we interact with our neighbors in the public space.

        Based on my life experience, I was quite dubious when Texas instituted its CHL program. After all, why should I require a permit to exercise a natural, constitutional right? Well, after a bit of cogitation, the answer became pretty obvious: my neighbors have a reasonable expectation that when they are out and about in public, they should not have to worry about some yahoo shooting them as a result of a mishandled firearm. In that light, it’s not un-“reasonable” for the state to make sure that people carrying firearms in public demonstrate to some degree that they are capable of doing so responsibly.

        Although it may not come across that way, I actually believe that firearms law as currently implemented in Texas is pretty “reasonable.” I would support additional restrictions that I conclude are prudent and likely to have a positive impact on public safety. Likewise, I would support the relaxation of restrictions that do nothing to positively impact public safety.

      • 1mime says:

        You make a lot of sense, Tracy. I find no argument with your reply. I envy your childhood in the wilds of AZ. It’s an interesting, beautiful area….although I’ve only traveled in the southern part. Let’s hope civilization doesn’t do it too much harm.

      • 1mime says:

        Just getting around to reading yesterday’s (Fri) Houston Chronicle. There was an excellent op-ed by Philip Hilder, a white collar criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor who is an appointee to Houston’s Independent Police Oversight Board. He addressed two main points to protect privacy and citizens’ rights re: (1) Sting Ray Technology which the HPD uses to track cellular location and information, and (2) Body-worn cameras used by HPD. Hilder offers these suggestions for Body Cameras (Sting ray suggestions can be found by opening link):

        “Police body cameras require thoughtful guidance regarding their use. Citizens deserve to know if HPD has developed a body camera policy and if so, does it:

        Require training before HPD personnel can be equipped with body-worn cameras?

        Require officers to inform subjects when they are being recorded?

        Require the body camera to continue recording until the conclusion of an incident?

        Spell out the circumstances when an officer can turn off the recording?

        Spell out situations in which police should obtain consent to record?

        Allow officers discretion to keep their cameras off during conversations with witnesses and members of the community who wish to discuss criminal activity?

        Spell out specific measures against tampering with video including banning using video for personal use and social media uploading?

        Lay out clear and consistent protocols for releasing recorded data to the public and the news media?

        HPD has everything to gain by being open and transparent with the citizens who pay the salaries of its officers and fund much of this equipment. Openness would do a lot to allay fears about the trampling of individual rights.”

        http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Hilder-HPD-needs-to-explain-how-tracking-devices-6190100.php

      • 1mime says:

        Frank Serpico, of NYPD fame, has authored a piece for Politico on cops. It’s interesting reading and definitely speaks to current law enforcement issues.

        http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/north-charleston-shooting-116871.html?ml=m_pm#.VSm36vnF-So

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Since I it was a serious question, and was hoping for more than the usual conservative line. And Tracy did provide more. I hate to argue further although I do disagree.

      So, I’ll add this. Have you heard the theory that the drop in crime is due to a drop in birth rate among the poor? Caused by the pill and abortion?

      And one more thing, on education and training. Would it not be in the best interest of all if the best results of real studies be available to these trainees. It seems that the training organizations use their own studies that are suspect.

      • Doug says:

        Yes, abortion (not the pill) is a theory of Steven Levitt. The theory does make sense to explain part of the crime drop. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I don’t remember it being tied to poor people as much as unwanted kids.

      • To Doug,s point
        Abortion responsible for crime drop
        Like the gun theory it is only plausible if you only look at the USA
        If you consider other countries that have also had drops in violence (from much lower baselines) those ideas just fail
        The lead in petrol however matches the timeframes in other countries
        (some banned the lead earlier – some later)

      • unarmed, Doug and Duncan have pretty much covered it. Common sense does suggest some sort of linkage, but my guess is it’s secondary to the demographic trends I noted above. See my reply to 1mime, above, for sources of information I view as reliable, i.e. “real.”

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Tracy, when i referred to education and training, I was referring to the closing off of information that the CDC was gathering. You do know that after the CDC’s study that showed that you are statistically less safe with a gun in the house than without, the Republicans/Conservatives refused to fund studies related to guns. And when that study is brought up it is referred to as a “political” study. Again, the pro-gun side wants less information not more. If you are right about something, you shouldn’t be afraid of proving it. And if you fight against the information it is assumed you know it proves you wrong.

  5. texan5142 says:

    Well, there you have folks. Asking not to be discriminated against because of one’s choice of who they love is now a Jihad on christian’s.

    This fucker is flat out deranged.

  6. bubbabobcat says:

    On a serious side note, hope Chris and family are ok and not affected by tornadoes and severe weather around Fairdale, IL (80 miles NW of Chicago).

  7. 1mime says:

    Really good interview of an outspoken Republican. I have heard this man interviewed on Charlie Rose and other programs and he always tells it like it is. His succinct analysis of why America engaged in the Iraq War and the whole weapons of mass destruction was refreshing in its honesty. See what you think.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/04/10/the_gop_has_scores_of_racists_a_former_bush_official_condemns_modern_republican_orthodoxy/?source=newsletter

  8. RobA says:

    Salon doing so good work today.

    First up, a pretty scary article about guns (nut balls waving loaded weapons in front of families with kids chanting “you can’t stop us!!”…..is this what the founding fathers had in mind when they enacted the 2nd amendment?)

    http://www.salon.com/2015/04/10/the_nras_open_carry_clustermuck_how_its_annual_convention_highlights_the_hypocrisy_of_the_pro_gun_movement/

    This is why I support gun control. Not because I think guns are bad (I don’t. I grew up hunting moose and deer in my home province of Newfoundland all the time). And I don’t think that most gun owners are bad, evil people. It’s be a use when you allow such unfettered access to guns in a nation of 300 million, the unintended consequences are that because of a few idiots, nobody ever feels safe. How scary is it that if I cut someone off in traffic, I need to be prepared to face someone with a loaded weapon?

    You can keep the 2nd amendment without the absolutely insane things like loaded open carry. Keep your guns at home, like everyone else in civilized countries.

    And this is a great article abkut a Republican that seems to be kindred spirit with Lifer. Good read, and gives me a bit if hope for the GOP.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/04/10/the_gop_has_scores_of_racists_a_former_bush_official_condemns_modern_republican_orthodoxy/

    • 1mime says:

      Rob, sorry for the double post on the GOP interview. It was a good one. You stated: “How scary is it that if I cut someone off in traffic, I need to be prepared to face someone with a loaded weapon?”

      This situation is encountered daily and it is getting scary. It seems tempers are so short that it takes very little to provoke angry individuals. My question remains, why are so many people angry? What is going on in our society that is provoking such disproportional reactions?

  9. 1mime says:

    Lifer, you’re gonna love this reach back into McCain’s early campaign days in better times. I can’t stand this guy (Rick Reed) or anyone whose business depends upon dirty messaging. It’s sad that such despicable people seem to survive…guess the good guys never see him coming. It will be interesting to see whose money is paying Reed’s firm to target Rand Paul.
    Any guesses?

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/238407-meet-the-controversial-republican-going-after-rand-paul

  10. flypusher says:

    People who just don’t get the 1st Amendment:

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2015/04/09/iowa-wiccan-house-chamber/25512827/

    Either everybody get to, or nobody gets to- pick one.

    • 1mime says:

      Yep, religious freedom should be free for all. I thought Rep. Bennet’s statement summed it up well:

      “”When we say we believe in religious freedom and we believe in religious liberty, that means that we don’t endorse one religion over another as a government,” Bennett said. “And in fact, when you look at other countries who do show preference or endorsement for one religion over another, you can see it’s not a very good situation. That’s something the founders of our nation knew.” (Rep. Liz Bennett)

      And, this: “Quite simply, it is disingenuous for some legislators and conservative religious groups to create a public outcry against a minority religion when they often cry wolf about their own religious rights being under assault.” (Connie Ryan Terrell, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa). Note, to its credit, at least the Wiccan was invited and permitted to address the Iowa legislature.

      As the Wiccan completed her spiritual message (note – no anger directed at anyone like some relgious leaders), she concluded with this blasphemous entreaty:

      “Blessed Be, Aho, and Amen.”

      May the force be with you……………

  11. Doug says:

    Wow, white cops beat the hell out a white dude who ran. I thought this didn’t happen in America.

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Man-on-Stolen-Horse-Stunned-by-Sheriffs-Deputies-in-IE-299250951.html

    • flypusher says:

      If you’re trying to make that point that racism is no biggie deal because sometimes a white dude isn’t so lucky, you’re failing really hard here.

      • Doug says:

        Do you seriously think that was the point I was trying to make? Do you really think that a white guy usually can run from/fight with/shoot at cops with impunity?

        No, my point is that around the world, throughout history, no matter your skin color, those in charge of enforcing the law sometimes take liberties with their power. It should not be tolerated in the United States. On the other hand, we should stop castigating good cops who are doing their job when they have to take down a bad guy. It isn’t always about race.

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, I haven’t noticed anyone here castigating police in pursuit of guilty parties as long as the methods are appropriate. Have I missed something? My take is that the majority are upset about bad decisions by law enforcement that take either unnecessarily harsh action (white guy on horse who was beaten while down, 10 year old in park with toy guy who was shot within seconds, man who was shot in back who was unarmed…or anyone unarmed, etc.

        All of us appreciate the difficulty of a policeman’s job and value their service, but problems really do exist and it shouldn’t take an errant I-phone video recording to document an abusive situation, or a gun to defend oneself. (When would any citizen shoot a cop and not be guilty?)

        I think you know this and maybe it’s simply time to move off this topic. Gun proponents don’t appear to have changed many views and neither have those of us who have gun concerns met with a positive response.

      • flypusher says:

        “Do you seriously think that was the point I was trying to make? Do you really think that a white guy usually can run from/fight with/shoot at cops with impunity?”

        No, but I will claim there is a difference, on average, between the consequences of making poor lifestyle choices while White, and the consequences of making poor lifestyle choices while Black.

        “No, my point is that around the world, throughout history, no matter your skin color, those in charge of enforcing the law sometimes take liberties with their power. It should not be tolerated in the United States. On the other hand, we should stop castigating good cops who are doing their job when they have to take down a bad guy. It isn’t always about race.”

        Thinking about the cops who have been castigated on the blog (and on other online forums), would you characterize the cops involved in the deaths of Eric Garner or Tamir Rice or Walter Scott as “good”??? Because if you do, I have to wonder how you are defining that word.

    • 1mime says:

      Doug, police violence is never warranted, regardless of the victim’s race. Amazing footage. The man had been tasered, he was spread-eagled on the ground and the Rodney King like beating that ensued was horrible.

      One note of irony: one officer was injured when the horse kicked him. The only justice of the event.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Doug so a White guy beaten for running from the police is the same thing as a Black guy killed by eight shots to the back.

      ~facepalm~

      Shouldn’t the deputies be beating the horse too, it did kick one of the officers.

      • 1mime says:

        Aw, Turtle, I already spoke up for the horse (-:

        At least “some” justice was served. And, who knew horses could tell the bad guys from the good guys?! Hi Ho Silver, awaaaaay

      • Doug says:

        Yes, Turtles, it’s exactly the same, because white people are more valuable.
        ~facepalm~

    • texan5142 says:

      If it was a black man they would have shot him and the horse, cuffed the dead bodies and then beaten the proverbial dead horse and the dead man.

    • RobA says:

      The lesson learned is that cops should have no credibility in their official statement of an incident that directly impacts their culpability (or lackthereof) of a crime.

      All cops need body cameras, ASAP. They have proven that protecting the brotherhood is more important then serving the public. At thi point it’s not even abkut race. Black cops are clearly complicit (the murderers partner in SC was black, and he helped stage the frame job).

      It’s about those with a unique power over us abusing that power with impunity and a system that reflexively protects them .

      It seems like a race problem because it disproportionately affects black people. Anytime people wth power abuse those without, it is the most defenseless who suffer the most. And in a racially prejudiced justice system, that is black people.

      But this needs to stop being about race and start being about an entire system and culture that protects their own unless absolutely impossible (such as when a murder is caught on tape).

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, you are so right. We haven’t heard much recently about body cameras. I wonder if police departments are thinking this is something that will just “go away”. Body cameras are an important tool IF they are (1) turned on (2) audio up (3) comply with rules. FL has done some extensive research on how to properly use body cameras and their findings are valuable to law enforcement as this additional tool becomes a standard part of police equipment….if they want to make the commitment.

        I think it’s going to take more public outcry for body cameras to compel law enforcement to utilize them. Until then, make sure your I-phone batteries are fully charged at all times so at least there is a semblance of justice in the arrest process. It will be interesting to see if state legislatures will take the lead or passively (so as to not rile police/sheriff groups) wait for each enforcement agency to step up. So far, with the plethora of legislation focused on limiting video recording distances of crime scenes, it appears state legislatures are hewing to law enforcement interests. I don’t know if this could be mandated by the US Justice Div. Heaven help us if Congress gets involved.

        We are seeing more and more senseless violence in America, as the alarming statistics on irresponsible, dangerous arrests and our huge gun ownership attests. Why are Americans so afraid of one another? Why is there so much anger and violence in a “civilized Democracy”? Something is unraveling in our society and the intolerance, danger, and vitriol being unleashed is hurting us all.

      • Doug says:

        “But this needs to stop being about race and start being about an entire system and culture that protects their own unless absolutely impossible (such as when a murder is caught on tape).”

        Thank you.

      • flypusher says:

        Thing is Doug, the “stop being about race” has to start with the police and the judicial system. Your posts give the impression that the burden ought to be on the people who complain about bad and racist policing. That’s totally backwards.

      • 1mime says:

        Fly, “it has to start with police and judicial system”

        Absolutely this is ground zero, but let’s dig a little deeper. Racial attitudes are formed within families and communities (and now, sadly, in churches). Possibly the only real hope for lasting change in how each of us view those who are “different” is a dying off of old white folks. Would that time alone would make the difference. I know you realize this, but point is, we can’t change people’s basic attitudes once they are adults. We can make laws constraining bad behavior and poor choices, require body cameras and prosecute a rogue cop every now and then, but real change needs to happen when minds and behaviors are being formed – as children and young adults. We are seeing some generational change now as young people move away from the bigotry of their parents, but, as was pointed out earlier (by Righton?), we have a long way to go in that department, as well.

        We need to start where we can, and when we see law enforcement dragging their heels on instituting body cameras and instead, lobbying legislatures to enforce a crime scene perimeter against video, that clearly tells me we are not there. Then there is the TX Legislature that is transferring the investigation and prosecution of public officials from the long standing independent Travis County D.A. Division to the TX Rangers, from whence those charged will get to remand their hearings/trials/investigations to their chosen home county. So much for justice, TX style.

  12. rightonrush says:

    Can HUD Secretary Julian Castro make it in the big time? I think he can and will be a first tier VP pick for Mrs. Clinton.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/09/julian-castro-is-in-vp-training-camp.html

    • Turtles Run says:

      Castro would make a great VP selection. Intelligent, well-spoken, accomplished, and motivational, he would add spark to any campaign and also help pick up more Latino voters. His record in San Antonio is good.

      He also has a beautiful family. His daughter stole his thunder while he spoke at the Democratic convention.

      • rightonrush says:

        That daughter is a real cutie! I like both Castro brothers, Mom did a great job raising them IMHO. It’s gonna be a long time until Nov. 2016 Turtles, I’m already bone weary of all the hype the GOP clown car is getting.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Maybe we could have a Quinceañera at the White House one day?

      • 1mime says:

        Si, Senor!

    • 1mime says:

      Can Julian Castro be Hillary’s VP?

      Emphatically, YES. He certainly has more creds than fellow TX Sen. Ted Cruz in real world administration which I think is important experience for the job of VP. Castro is a Stanford U. and Harvard Law Graduate and was elected to three terms as mayor of San Antonio. He’s popular and would indeed provide the spark to the Hillary campaign that will be needed. San Antonio is not only a large multi-cultural city (7th in U.S., 2nd largest in TX), it has a huge military presence (several bases), is home to six Fortune 500 companies and the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.

      His resume is interesting and diverse and in more ways than his Hispanic heritage. He is a real threat to the GOP effort to broaden their appeal to Hispanics (while excoriating them legislatively and verbally, I might add….always want to have it both ways, these Repubs.)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Castro

  13. 1mime says:

    Excellent articles on presidential delegate process with emphasis on Repubs (since Dems proportionality process is unchanged since the 80s), and Sabato’s updated rankings of GOP presidential aspirants.

    http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/2016-republican-nomination-the-race-officially-begins/

    http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/the-republican-presidential-primary-timeline/

  14. UG says:

    GOPLifer:

    I came across your excellent blog a couple of days ago and have been reading several posts relating to the 2016 election. The one titled ‘Why Jeb Will Lose’ particularly interested me because Bush remains the only minimally credible candidate after Romney decided not to run.

    And the analysis in this post seems pretty spot on, except for the possibility that the money could coalesce around Bush early on.

    With a potential wacko candidate, there could realistically be a repeat of ’64. This could happen despite Hillary being a distinctly underwhelming ‘check-the-box’ leader.

    As a neutral party (I’m an Indian who follows American politics), that might not be a bad thing. It may knock some sense into the party and bring them closer to the 21st century.

    Would appreciate your thoughts, on the updated field.

  15. 1mime says:

    OT, but this is so thoughtful on such a controversial subject (abortion) that I wanted to share it. Regardless of your personal views, I think you will be surprised.

    http://www.vox.com/a/abortion-decision-statistics-opinions

  16. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    There was a time (probably a better time), when the junior Senator from a state would stay behind the scenes, learn the process, and contribute quietly to progress for country and party.

    Now, we have junior senators running for president before they are ready (see Obama, Cruz) and/or shooting their mouths off when they should sit down and shut up (see Cotton and Cruz).

    Our young friend, Senator Tom Cotton, seems to have a …umm…how to say this…seems to have a bit of an erection when it comes to Iran.

    He seems to have a real strong need to bomb Iran, and he seems to have an overly rosy picture of how that would play out.

    Senator Cotton:

    “Even if military action were required…the president is trying to make you think it would be 150,000 heavy mechanized troops on the ground in the Middle East again as we saw in Iraq and that’s simply not the case,”

    “It would be something more along the lines of what President Clinton did in December 1998 during Operation Desert Fox. Several days air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities for exactly the same kind of behavior.”

    In the immortal words of Donald Rumsfield at the beginning of the Iraq war:
    “It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”

    Now, aside from the fact that this goofball thinks lobbing a bunch of bombs on Iran is going to solve this problem (rather than making it much worse) quickly, it was his party that used Clinton’s “weak response” to Saddam Hussein as justification for putting 150,000 heavy mechanized troops in Iraq.

    I understand that there is pandering to the base, but Mr. Cotton is the one way out there beating this drum. He’s not pandering. I think he really thinks this is a good idea.

    • Crogged says:

      All we have to do is make everyone do what we want or else. Wonder how many years long the time span on that headstone.

    • 1mime says:

      Cotton beating the drums for bombing Iran…

      He’s gotten a taste of “infamy” and is reading it as “respected leadership”. He is a fool. I blame the GOP for not shutting him the ….up. Where is the responsibility for a political party to take charge of renegade members?

      Bring back the draft and don’t exempt Congress (or their children) from service. Put their butts on the front line and see just how tough they are. This is disgusting and the Republican Party should be ashamed. It obviously is an environment of “every man for himself” so leadership (loosely used term) can engage or distance as they choose. So pathetic.

      Meanwhile six of the world’s biggest nations are plodding along trying to forge a diplomatic agreement that can make the planet safer for all. Cotton obviously hasn’t gotten the message.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Iran is a fairly large, fairly advanced, resource-rich nation run by a bunch of violent, Islamist nutballs. I assume here HT, that you are not going to take issue with this fact.

      The very idea that we should engage in a shooting war with them now is also a nutball notion. Is that what Cotton suggested we do? If not, was the error just, perhaps grossly, understating the commitment associated with such an enterprise?

      As a point of diplomacy in dealing with such a regime, nothing should be ‘off the table’. And no – I do not have a woody for Iran.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “nothing off the table”

        Exactly what would we gain by initiating an attack on Iran? If we launch air strikes it will not destroy their program and it will most certainly drive them away from the negotiating table. Invade? Yea right, because invading an area three times the size of Iraq spells cake walk. There is no military option that puts us in a better position and we will definitely be doing this one alone.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Oh come on, mi amigo Tortuga. Reread what I posted. You are refuting the second thing I referred to as “nutball”.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Certainly, I’m not taking issue with the fact that Iran is run by nutballs and is thus, at least a somewhat dangerous player on the world stage. I also can understand their desire to join the cool kids club and have the fun bombs that are all the rage right now.

        Mr. Cotton seems eager to toss some bombs, and if one is eager to toss bombs, one should have some notion of what plays out from there. Unfortunately, Mr. Cotton does not seem to have a firm grasp on the realities associated with the consequences.

        In terms of what is, or is not, “on the table”, is there some notion that we have decided that we will never, ever bomb Iran under any circumstances? Did I miss something in the news cycle?

        Does Mr. Cotton want us to start all discussions with, “Look, we are going to bomb you unless you do….”?

      • fiftyohm says:

        HT – I think he was arguing with the (perhaps false) notion that the administration was proposing a false choice of “it’s this deal or war”.

      • 1mime says:

        “Iran…..it’s either this deal, or war….”

        Obama’s record of keeping America out of war is one that I admire. I don’t want our young people and national treasury spent in the Middle East. That really hasn’t worked out well for America, has it?

        My understanding from following the President’s remarks on the subject of Iranian diplomacy is that it (diplomacy) should be tried as there really aren’t other good options. It appears that Russia, Germany, China, France, and England agree with Obama’s approach. That helps me put his efforts into a little broader perspective. Obama has said many times that diplomacy may not be possible, but he’s trying. That’s enough for me.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        50…I read that quote a bit differently.

        I don’t think Obama is saying it is this deal or a war.

        I interpreted it as Obama thinking military action is a phenomenally bad idea right now because it would ultimately end up with troops on the ground, dead soldiers, and various quagmires, while Mr. Cotton is saying that going to war would not be a that bad a thing because it would just be a few days of bombing without the need for ground troops.

      • johngalt says:

        Iranian public opinion is swinging away from the most radical elements. The nonsense of Ahmadinejad turned them off to the point that the ayatollahs almost lost it for a bit. They allowed a relative moderate to win the presidency (when they had specifically prevented it before). Sanctions have been working to increase the pain on ordinary Iranians just enough to make them grumble (about their leaders) without putting them on full patriotism mode. Is there absolutely anything to gain from bombing a virtually impregnable mountain? What are the chances that an attacked population rediscovers its resolve against the Great Satan that has ebbed in the last 40 years. Is there 1 chance in 100 that turns out well? 1 chance in 1000?

        Cotton is playing for the domestic audience. In doing so, he damages U.S. foreign policy and makes it more likely that we find ourselves painted into a rather awful corner. He is abetted by the Israel fetish in Congress that apparently is immune to the “boy who cried wolf” effect of Netanyahu claiming imminent, immediate, parlous terror from Iranian nuclear ambitions for 20 years straight.

      • 1mime says:

        Great analysis, JG, and boy do I agree with you about Bibi. As long as he’s in power, not only will the US be his puppet (and financier), but there will never be progress with the Palestinians. Good for Nancy Pelosi asserting early and loudly that she will oppose Congressional involvement in the Iranian diplomatic agreement. Should Congress see the agreement before it goes into effect? Probably so, but not for the purpose of altering it.

        As for Cotton, Republicans needed one more irrational spokesman to add to their TP chorus.
        Really, if China, Russia, England, Germany, and France agree with America in the diplomatic agreement, why would anyone, anyone in Congress do anything to jeopardize the outcome – even if it’s not perfect? Politics really sucks in situations like this. In their mania to deprive Obama any foreign policy achievement – even one that involves Iran, the Republican Party has clearly defined its motives as more important than the chance for a safer world. How partisan can things get.

      • 1mime says:

        Homer, “if one is eager to toss bombs, one should have some notion of what plays out from there.”

        Like in Iraq? Afghanistan?

        Repubs seem to enjoy their war games so much that the endgame is hardly important….until it is.

      • Crogged says:

        The description of Iran resembles Texas. But no, the Texas legislature may be only allowing everyone to carry a gun wherever and whenever they want, but most Texans will not do so, we aren’t like that!

        Hmmmm, wonder if every Iranian is a ‘violent, Islamist nutball’, even in their government and does saber rattling talk from any part of American government help moderate Iran?

    • RobA says:

      In the politico article about it, they have the same quote about mechanized troops, but an added tidbit that made me laugh a bit.

      “Even if military action were required — and we certainly should have kept the threat of military force on the table throughout, which always improves diplomacy — the president is trying to make you think it would be 150,000 heavy mechanized troops on the ground in the Middle East, as we saw in Iraq,”

      http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/tom-cotton-iran-targeted-attack-116768.html#ixzz3Wl19GE2n

      specifically, “we certainly should have kept the threat of military force on the table throughout, which always improves diplomacy”

      I’m not sure Mr. Cotton knows the meaning of the word ‘diplomacy’

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – I read the article, and listened to the sound bite. I’m not getting the idea that Cotton is advocating a (nutball) first-strike on Iran. And to his point of this president being substantially weaker than Bill Clinton on the foreign policy front, the guy is correct.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        50…good to see you back haunting these grounds a bit.

        Regarding Obama being weaker than Clinton on the foreign policy front, where do you think Obama has gone wrong in terms of being tough?

        I freely admit that I’m more of a domestic policy guy, so legitimately curious of your opinion.

        I tend to drift to the mindset of, if Saudi Arabia is that twisted about something, they can use our generously supplied weaponry to do some damage themselves. We’ll do what we need to keep the supply of oil flowing from the region, and we probably should assist Israel if needed (although they can likely handle things pretty well themselves), but I would venture to say a nuclear Iran will have almost zero effect on my life during my time on the planet.

  17. bubbabobcat says:

    Just in time for tax return season. IRS gutted and good luck with getting any kind of help online, over the phone or in person.

    Thank you anti-tax Republican wingnuts with your backwards “logic”. Cut taxes, yet you rail about cutting the budget deficit, then you cut the IRS’ ability to go after tax cheats and get revenue to reduce the deficit and their ability help people pay their taxes (or get their refunds).

    Yet we keep electing them to destroy the country. We get the government we deserve.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-standard-dejection-in-the-irs-help-line/2015/04/07/333594d6-d7f0-11e4-8103-fa84725dbf9d_story.html

    • 1mime says:

      GOP logic: cut the budget of the division that actually “makes” money for the federal gov’t. You’d think Repubs would want more money to play with, but I guess not. Meanwhile, employees within the IRS are overworked, and have primitive technology to help them do their jobs. I have two retired former IRS lawyers living nearby and they said the antiquated equipment and the staffing cuts (due to budget cuts) have made their ability to not only go after those who cheat but to also help those who don’t, has been horribly impacted.

      And, this is how Republicans govern…………….

      • fiftyohm says:

        The notion that IRS lawyers are employed to “help those who don’t [cheat]” is pretty interesting, that’s for certain.

      • 1mime says:

        “An IRS to help those who don’t cheat”

        Have you ever had a question about taxes that you would have appreciated being able to call the IRS? When staffing levels in any organization are cut below what allows them to efficiently do their jobs, that’s dumb. Right now the focus is improperly on “all government is bad”. It’s just like “all cops are bad”. Neither is true. Address real problems but give departments the funding they need to be able to do their jobs, and, yes, help honest people when they need to speak to someone more knowledgeable.

        What we have is a focused effort to give government agencies insufficient budgets so they have to fail, thus fulfilling the mantra that “government is inefficient and unnecessary”. That’s BS.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty: These IRS agents spent their careers mostly addressing corporate tax issues, so the nations tax code would be enforced. They are not part of the problem.

      • fiftyohm says:

        1mime – Listen: You suggested you know former IRS lawyers whose job it was to “help” compliant tax payers. That is an absolutely absurd statement.

        To your question, do I ask the IRS for tax advice? You’re kidding, right? Would I ask a plumber how to fix my toilet cheaper than he would?

        Mrs. Ohm spent her entire career as a tax accountant, beginning with the Big 8/6 out of university. How many of the top accounting graduates, let alone law school graduates elect to work for the IRS? Mrs. Ohm and her collegues used to call that going to the “dark side”. Nobody worth a flip did or does. Any ‘professionals’ at the IRS are essentially bottom 50%ers, (at best), over-empowered by law to effectively run roughshod over us were we to allow them. It is by design, an adversarial situation. To believe otherwise is so painfully naive it makes my hair hurt. Our only defense is large teams of private accountants and attorneys to balance the scales.

        And it’s that last point that JG was talking about. The tax code is an irretrievably broken, twisted, Byzantine labyrinth of special-interest influenced regulations that requires fantastic overhead not only to comply with, not only to stay in business under its weight, not to stupidly waste shareholder’s money overpaying, but defending against the agency empowered to enforce it.

        Unraveling this hairball is not going to be easy, nor necessarily popular, but you can take it to the bank that the IRS will not be leading the charge. Quite the contrary.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        It warms my heart to hear someone reference the Big 8, or even the Big 6, when talking about accountants. Nice to know I’m not the only old person in the room.

      • 1mime says:

        Homer – “oldest person in the room…”

        Not so quick, I’m 71, so I probably own the title on Lifer’s blog (-:

        It’s been interesting getting to this point in my life so no complaints. Still an opinionated, bossy broad who enjoys scrappin’ with you pups!

    • johngalt says:

      The IRS should be gutted (not eliminated), but only after a tax reform that simplifies the system to the point that an army of lawyers and accountants are not needed on either side.

      • 1mime says:

        “The IRS should be gutted”

        Tell me more, JG. What would you gut? What functions would you retain? Who would monitor those who cheat? I assume you’re thinking a flat tax would eliminate the need for an IRS, but what about corporations? Surely as well read and smart as you are (ingratiating here (-; ), you know about the abuses big business and small dishonest operators have perpetrated. It’s sad to need an IRS police force, but how would you keep people honest?

      • johngalt says:

        The IRS is huge and complex because our tax code is huge and complex. In today’s world, cashing checks and matching returns to electronically submitted verification documents (W-2s, 1099s and the like) should be relatively straightforward, even when dealing with hundreds of millions of returns. The tax code introduces so many wrinkles, exceptions, deductions, credits, etc., that this ceases to be straightforward so the IRS has to hire battalions of people to write, interpret and enforce the rules. This is largely the fault of Congress and therefore requires Congress to fix, but imagine a system in which your employer, banks, and other sources of income report this to you and the IRS. This is used to fill out an online form, which takes into account any personal exemptions allowed (maybe none) and calculates the tax owed based on modestly progressive rates. Yes, you still need the IRS to manage all this and to pursue cheats, but the system becomes much, much simpler and much more efficient.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty – You would like the IRS to be smaller and tax laws to be simpler. We can agree that a more sensible tax code will simplify the work of the IRS, in fact, it might radically change its focus and structure. I’m fine with that, but first tax reform has to happen and that is even more challenging than gutting the IRS. To state that tax lawyers who go to work for the IRS are only working there because their skills don’t earn them a “Goldman Sachs” type position, is too generalized an accusation and unfair. There are many lawyers who went to work for the IRS because it better met their personal situations and opportunities, especially females coming out of male-dominated law schools in the 60s, not because they weren’t top drawer material. Sandra Day O’Connor had a devil of a time finding employment at an attorney though she finished at the top of her class. It wasn’t an easy time for women in the field. Men had a more opportunities and they probably went where the money was.

        Some might make the same silly assertion about accountants who work for large consulting firms as being “lesser” qualified or they would be in small elite private firms or independent practice. I think there are many reasons why people work for the government , but, I’m not “all knowing” so I could certainly be incorrect. My friends were in corporate tax law and I’ll bet they would have helped people as they could. Frankly, if someone is stiffing the government on taxes, I hope the IRS will be adversarial as I want fairness in the tax process.

        Our personal and small business experience with the IRS may have been different than yours. When we were in business we did contact the IRS when questions arose that our accountants couldn’t answer adequately. We were audited many times but usually came away with more deductions than we lost. Did we love paying taxes? No, but we liked making profits and understood that one was the consequence of the other.

        I may indeed be naive, but I am not stupid. And, occasionally, I am, well, right. If my career was as an IRS employee, I would probably want to fulfill my retirement goals. But as long as the IRS is charged with collecting taxes and enforcing the tax administrative codes, I want the department to be properly funded and staffed so they can succeed in their mission, not struggle.

    • 1mime says:

      Homer, I, too would like to see an answer to your question about where Obama has gone wrong in his foreign policy “toughness”/efforts. Having a “dovish” position on military aggression is a guarantee of GOP criticism, when the over-arching goal should properly be “keep America out of all unnecessary wars and military engagements”.

      Maybe 50 and others will respond. I hope so as I really want to understand the criticism of Obama’s policies.

  18. texan5142 says:

    Rand Paul is an asshole, this is the second time he has shown his ass when asked a question by a female reporter.

    • BigWilly says:

      Run a GOP campaign and your attitude towards the media will do a 180. That was a prime example of a set up. Before Rand even opens his mouth the interviewer has attempted to establish him as a vacillator.

      I watched them do this to a friend of mine who ran for Assembly in WI. He told the local paper that his late Father was a union member and a Democrat, and that most of his family voted Democrat. The local paper proceeded to label him a party switcher. So when I went out to campaign there were a few people who had read the article and they said something like “Ain’t he the party switcher.”

      In the grand scheme of things this is why we have a Fox News. Now I get both sides of Yakkity Yak.

      • texan5142 says:

        Don’t you mean Fox Skews?

      • Crogged says:

        I’m not snarking here, wasn’t the right answer-“Yes” without elaboration?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        BW…no doubt the media will alter one’s attitude, but if you are this prickly over a pretty softball question this early in the campaign, I’m not sure I’m going to be too high on your overall chances of success.

        Rand’s libertarian playground within the GOP is going to require some mental gymnastics and thoughtful explanations. No way he shouldn’t know this is coming, and if he doesn’t know it is coming, he’s going to flame out very quickly.

      • BigWilly says:

        Rand Paul is a promising candidate. I’m sure that his team will find a way to help him answer these types of questions.

        The Assembly campaign was 19 years ago. I think we did a pretty good job with it, in spite of our very limited resources. There was really no way for us to counteract the assertions made by the local media, and it was a transparent attempt on their part to damage a Republican candidate.

        I think the RPW has been extremely effective in shutting down the “Liberal” media, and the liberal machine in general in Wisconsin. Though I have to tell you Milwaukee is one of the most unhappy places I’ve ever been in in my life.

        I’ll try to be drier in the future, lest I lead anyone to believe that I am unduly prickly-I prefer testy by the way for obvious reasons.

        You missed yesterday on Bingle Rd and Westview. As I sat in my car waiting for the light to change I looked at the car in front of me. I read the bumper. “Brat Kid” driving a Rogue. Hmmm.

        Then Brat Kid exits the vehicle, and it Brigitte Bardot still wearing her soccer uniform. She proceeds to produce her Android, or whatever it is, and starts to take pictures of the car behind mine. All the while there’s a running commentary of four letter words, accompanied by the wailing horn of the car behind me.

        Brat Kid then gives the lady behind me the double bird and a few other choice profanities. Jesus, I thought, this kid looks like an angel. I suppose its fitting. The light changes and I watch her drive away, somewhat erratically. She must have gotten pretty fired up.

        Estrogen rage on the Houston roadways.

      • 1mime says:

        “Estrogen rage on the highways….”

        Thank goodness she had a phone and not a gun (-:

      • 1mime says:

        OK, “Testy”, since you live in Wisconsin, what’s your personal view of Walker?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        BW…my use of “you” and “your” were rather generic (or I guess specific to Dr. Paul rather than to you).

        I was suggesting that Rand was a bit too prickly about some pretty obvious questions.

        I don’t generally mind you being a prick(ly)!

      • 1mime says:

        Homer, you do have a wicked sense of humor (-:

        I’ve decided to call BW “Testy” for a while until he tells me to buzz off….

      • 1mime says:

        BW “Testy” (-:

        It’s one thing to manage a campaign, quite another to run as candidate. Anyone who seeks the office of President of the United States, better be able to stand the heat. Paul bristles, easily. He’s like John McCain in that regard. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but after viewing this entire interview, I don’t think the interviewer was out of line. After all, SHE was the interviewer; HE was the one who agreed TO BE interviewed. So, as long as the interviewer is courteous, let them do their job and rebutt as necessary. It’s going to be a long campaign, and I hope Paul improves his communication skills, especially with female journalists. Can you imagine if this was a Laura Ingram interview, or, Rachel Maddow? How do you think they would have treated his condescending, testy (sorreee) interruptions? No doubt Paul will improve over time, and I think his candidacy will elevate the discussion of important issues. But, he had better learn to “cool it” or he is going to turn off lots of little wemen voters. It’s early, he’ll learn or he won’t. His choice.

      • BigWilly says:

        I moved back to Milwaukee after living in Houston from 1999-2013. In August of 2014 I moved back to Houston.

        I lived in Milwaukee from 1986-1999. I refer to these years as the “Terrible Twenties.” It was during these years that I was most heavily involved in the GOP. I volunteered for Scott Walker’s first campaign and made a few phone calls. I used to run across him all of the time at local GOP functions. I never made an attempt to connect with him personally, though I made good friends with the current chair of the RPW.

        Milwaukee just seemed dead when I was there. Back in the 70’s I can remember it booming and then the long collapse began when the OPEC oil embargo occurred. So, you know, I drove around town and looked at the lot that used to have an AMC plant and is now a WalMart.

        From a Milwaukee standpoint Walker thinks he’s Van Helsing pounding the stake into the undead heart of Socialist/Union Milwaukee. Don’t forget Milwaukee, WI had a Socialist Mayor until 1960.

        FYI Testify, testament, and testy all have their root in one Latin word Testis-or if you likeTesticles. The Romans used to swear by them.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s interesting, BW. (I’m dropping “testy” after learning its root word (-: )

        Scott Walker is not someone I admire, but you have better knowledge of him than I do. Coming back to Houston I hope has been a happy move. Must be quite a difference from Wisconsin. Sounds like your participation in the state’s GOP process was positive though.

    • Crogged says:

      Hmmm, finally watched the posted video (my initial question was really directed at BW). One, the ‘title’ is misleading, I don’t understand usage of the word ‘attacks’. Second, nor do I feel Mr. Paul indicated any sort of antipathy towards ‘female’ reporter. I know grumpy, I inhabit it without inhibition. Just my opinion on a viewing, I categorically reserve judgment about the wisdom of allowing our terrible hasn’t ever gone away in history, deficit spending, for driving foreign policy. He would negotiate and not be have the last name ‘Obama’, which pretty much describes all Republican political thought.

  19. RobA says:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/walter-scott-shooting-police-officer-faces-murder-charge-in-death-of-black-man-1.3024036

    “well, if he didn’t want to get shot in the back, he shouldn’t have run away!”

    Seriously though, at least there is some justice in this case. Unfortunately, it is 100% due to the fact that someone with a phone happened to be at that exact moment. If he had been even 5 seconds later, there would be no evidence, and no doubt the officer would have been exonerated.

    almost makes you think maybe this happens more then often then we might think.

    By no means are all cops like this. I do believe most cops are good ones. That said, I also think it’s every citizens civic duty to film a police officer if they come across a police/civilian altercation. For the protection of both. And society itself. When the police lose legitimacy and cops start looking at civilians as enemy combatants, all of society is harmed.

    • Turtles Run says:

      “Unfortunately, it is 100% due to the fact that someone with a phone happened to be at that exact moment.”

      The real scary part is that many areas and police departments want to make it illegal to film police officers. With shootings like this I can understand why they want to do so.

      I am glad that South Carolina seems to be taking the lead in holding officers accountable for their bad decisions.

      • 1mime says:

        Ever the cynic, I’ll be watching to see how the justice mill works in the SC murder charge. Lots of time/space between the video and the grand jury. But, like you, I hope the policeman is held accountable. The dead man will be just as dead, however.

        I’m hoping Apple et al develop a reeely good zoom lens to encourage more and quality crime scene video. Sadly, the I-phone is becoming as important to victims as having a weapon…..but, of course, that is “after the fact” self-defense.

    • 1mime says:

      I recall that there is a bill filed before the TX Legislature which requires no cameras within 25′ of crime scene. Kind of hard to pick up detail with an I-phone from that distance, which is the point, right?

      Agree not all police are bad, but those who make bad decisions need to pay for them. Usually their victims have already paid the ultimate price – as you said – those we know about – those who are fortunately videoed by chance. America has a gun problem and a police problem dealing with blacks. Surely, unarmed black suspects should be given at least the same chance to respond as whites. And, why the taser for the man? Was he arguing too much with the cop? Being pulled over for a broken tail light shouldn’t result in an altercation like this, and if the individual had been white, it wouldn’t have. You can take that to the bank.

      • johngalt says:

        What I don’t get about some of these situations, whether it be cops and the “blue wall” or teacher’s unions, is that everyone knows that there is a small minority in both groups who are incompetent, power-hungry, or sadistic and they give the entire profession a black eye. I have no problem with unions protecting due process rights, but at the end of the day, aren’t the large majority of police (or teachers) who are competent and dedicated better off by ridding the truly terrible ones from their ranks?

    • texan5142 says:

      Something to think about, I read that there were 209 police shootings in SC with a justifiable rate of 100%, that is statistically impossible. How many of those shooting would be found un-justifiable if there was footage of each incident. Cops lie. I was asked a question for jury duty about who I would believe to be more truthful, the cop or the defendant, and I said neither the cop or the defendant, police lie too I said…….I was excused.

      http://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article17779277.html

      In South Carolina, it’s rare that an officer who fires in the line of duty would be charged at all, much less convicted. A murder charge is unprecedented in at least the past five years, The State newspaper found in its analysis of 209 suspects in officer-involved shootings across South Carolina between 2010 and 2014.

      • Crogged says:

        It’s hard to be in the police and some officers just aren’t good people. Why wouldn’t it be better if we were all the police? Forget Iphones, if that guy had a gun he could have stopped the officer after the first shot!

      • RobA says:

        To give you an idea how much pressure exists for cops to keep to the party line, the murderers partner was black.

        Pretty shocking when black cops can’t even speak out against racist cops.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, I had the exact same thought, Rob. Divide and conquer. The black community should be all over him if he tries to defend the white policeman.

      • Crogged says:

        So to Mr. Policeman’s current situation of being a ‘first responder’, we add the fact that many locations are encouraging more people you don’t know to be armed as you are when you roll up on them or stand in line for popcorn at the movie theater. An abstraction of a right becoming a real physical thing and since it’s in the Constitution, it must be a good idea. Relax, we all believe in our guns and our Constitution Mr. Officer. I read “More Guns Less Violence”-is there a missing word?

      • 1mime says:

        More guns less violence, is there a missing word?

        Try: fewer guns more tolerance; fewer guns more justice

      • Turtles Run says:

        texan – At least in this case the SC city mayor publicly supported the arrest and another officer was recently arrested for shooting an elderly gentleman. Of course they still need to be prosecuted and sentenced to jail.

    • Doug says:

      Rob, would you run from a cop at a traffic stop? Why or why not? Would you fight a cop? I’m guessing not.
      Yes, absolutely there are bad cops. They should be held accountable. In the mean time, if you do stupid shit you increase your odds of getting shot by one, no matter what color your skin is.

      • Crogged says:

        In what fucking world does anyone deserve to be shot for ‘running away’ from the police?

      • texan5142 says:

        Dougs world I am guessing.

      • johngalt says:

        You might choose to run from a cop if you had never in your life had a positive interaction with a police officer. Wouldn’t be a great choice, but not one that warrants the death penalty.

      • Crogged says:

        Episodes of “Cops” would get really short. Let those without stupid shit in their life shoot the first one fleeing from them.

      • texan5142 says:

        “Episodes of “Cops” would get really short.”

        Yup! But then again on the “Cops” they know they are being recorded, therein lays the difference.

      • Doug says:

        Crogged, quit twisting my words. You know that’s not what I said.

      • Crogged says:

        You’re right Doug, in essence I ‘shot from the hip’ and missed. My apologies.

  20. RobA says:

    a little old, but relevant. And people are talking about cutting education and the social safety net to lower the deficit?

    How about stop putting people in jail for absolutely insane reasons. If he serves all 20 years, that will likely cost LA around $2 million.

    For one pot smoker. Unbelievable.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/09/26/27_year_old_gets_20_years_for_half_an_ounce_of_pot_partner/

  21. A wonderful example of unintended consequences
    You have your “Second Amendment” – to prevent a “Police State”
    Having the “Second Amendment” then causes a “Police State”

  22. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Way off topic, but I found it interesting/sad:

    We may have to wait a longer time than we had hoped for the bigots and racists to die off.

    There is a General Social Survey that has been done every couple of years for a long, long time. It tracks a whole bunch of stuff, including a few nuggets regarding race. The findings are somewhat less than hopeful.

    Whites were surveyed with the following items (percentage of people saying yes):

    Blacks are lazier/less hardworking than Whites:
    Silent Generation (born 1928+): 46%
    Boomers (born 1946+): 35%
    Gen X (born 1964+): 32%
    Millennials (born 1981+): 31%

    Blacks are less intelligent than Whites:
    Silent Generation (born 1928+): 32%
    Boomers (born 1946+): 24%
    Gen X (born 1964+): 19%
    Millennials (born 1981+): 23%

    Blacks less well off due to lack of motivation:
    Silent Generation (born 1928+): 56%
    Boomers (born 1946+): 43%
    Gen X (born 1964+): 40%
    Millennials (born 1981+): 38%

    Oppose a relative marrying a Black person:
    Silent Generation (born 1928+): 38%
    Boomers (born 1946+): 21%
    Gen X (born 1964+): 11%
    Millennials (born 1981+): 9%

    While there are improvements, they are small with Millennials. It is almost as though bigots are raising bigoted children. Go figure.

    • 1mime says:

      Homer, it is discouraging to see that so much work has yet to be done to change environmental shaping of bigoted views. If you read my post from Salon on “Why I Left the GOP”, this story could have provided the narrative for the statistics you list above, yet this young man was able to break out. I hope his story is finding lots of traction among those who may be quietly having doubts about their familial-influenced belief system.

    • Doug says:

      Those crazy millennials:
      “He’s lazy, stupid, unmotivated…PERFECT for my sister!”

  23. rightonrush says:

    OT but very interesting.
    A Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation Sharp Differences by Race, Gender, Generation, Education
    http://www.people-press.org/2015/04/07/a-deep-dive-into-party-affiliation/

    • 1mime says:

      Righton – Fascinating study. In a nut shell, the more brown, younger, female, better educated, less religious one is, the more likely they vote Democrat. The whiter, male, older, religious, less educated, the more likely they vote Republican. Interestingly, the percentage of people (males mostly) who claim to be independents, is growing, although most align with the Democrats when they vote.

      Lots of good information in the Pew Study. I’ll bet the campaign widgets are pouring over the detail, plotting their strategies. I would, if I were in their shoes.

  24. 1mime says:

    Today in the Houston Chronicle highlighted the Koch Bros multi million dollar effort to convert latinos to the conservative movement. People for the American Way brought up the changes being sought by the GOP in “blue” states regarding electoral college delegate distribution.

    I’ve been waiting for this to become more openly discussed. It’s starting. White population decline? Revise the Electoral College Process. Need greater Latino voters in the GOP? Organize accordingly. Both are smart, predictable moves by Republicans who know they need to shift the paradigm to grow their party.

    People for the American Way reports: “…some Republican state lawmakers in “blue states” are pushing to divide their states’ electoral votes between presidential candidates…

    Right now, the focus is still on Michigan, where proposed bills could give as many as nine of the state’s electoral votes to the losing candidate. Just do the math…”

    The “hanging chad” is so passe. Already tapped out SCOTUS. Done about everything possible to make voting more difficult. On to the next new thing.

    • Crogged says:

      So if ‘proportionality’ is necessary and ‘fair’-do the Dakota’s, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska et al get, what, maybe 2 electoral votes in total?

      • 1mime says:

        Crogged: If proportional is fair…..Now, I’m not THAT naive, Crogged! The GOP will conveniently select those blue states which will help them meet their delegate total in order to win in ’16. There are many things I might say about the GOP, but “fair” isn’t one of them.

    • Crogged says:

      Or, of course, simply eliminate the “Electoral College” which would then make every vote of every citizen, regardless of geography, equal, but that’s too fair and simple by far…..

      • 1mime says:

        Elect a president by “popular vote”? Heresy! No way Repubs are going for that. They are not that stupid. How do you gerrymander the entire United States!

    • Crogged says:

      There is an odd thread through the last several posted blogs. All this talk about how much better we are going to feel with more public display of armament, yet if you ask about methods which make for more participation in the simple act of voting, how to make it easier, what would be the problem with that, you receive complete f____g silence. I need Keenan Thompson singing, “What’s up with that?”

      • 1mime says:

        What’s up with that? (voter suppression)

        It’s a dirty little not so secret Republican maneuver to make it so difficult to vote (in “certain” areas) that people just don’t or can’t. CONTROL the turnout – reduce the number – make it hard, really hard, for people who don’t have much time to vote, to vote.

        That’s what it’s about, and, it’s dead wrong. America’s voting record is abysmally low (25% or so) and we as a nation should make it easier, not harder, for people to participate in the process of elections.

      • Crogged says:

        Many of our conservatives writing here are ‘first principles’ kind of people. Make a generic first principle, a premise, “You have the right to defend your life”, arble garble some Western history, doesn’t matter if it is some from some pre-Industrial Revolution farmer from France, and hey presto-automatic weapons and ‘training’ support your premise. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just as long as the guy who thinks France is a suburb of Paris, Texas gets every opportunity to vote too.

      • Crogged says:

        And 1mime, let us just go down where this leads us. If everyone votes, I don’t care how much money anyone spends on anything regarding an election. Since we are in a ‘safely’ Red State, you and I have no idea what it’s like to try to watch television in Ohio, Florida (the ‘battleground’ states) in national elections where a kagillion dollars are spent in advertising and really annoying people constantly calling you and asking you to vote for their candidate. If you don’t want ‘money’ to contaminate politics, then all you have to do is eliminate money? Well, since we can’t get rid of money, free enterprise and the nice things we receive because everyone believes a piece of paper is worth a gallon of milk, we have to live with it and the emphasis is on the ‘we’. Fine. Your favorite rich guy can invest in advertising for political purposes. Every year, on a date certain, we have a national holiday for voting where the participation rate of adults aged 18 to 80 is ninety percent or greater for national and statewide offices. We all participate, we vote our prejudices, our beliefs, our ‘who the hell is this guy for what office?’. We have a constitution which is surprisingly hard to change despite its anachronisms, if we believe in it as we do in the reality of a dollar bill, I’m all good with the results.

  25. Turtles Run says:

    At work I need to send my people to different training classes. So I ended up on a email list of different companies sending their course offerings. Most are the standard nonsense but today I received this course listing:

    Active Shooters & Workplace Víolence: How Do You & Your Employees Respond?

    The number of Active Shooter incidents had quadrupled since 26 died at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT 22 months ago. Thirty percent of Active Shooter incidents occur at campuses; 70% occur at businesses like yours. Almost all Active Shooter incidents are over in less than eight minutes. (FBI and NYPD analyses).

    The Department of Homeland Securíty (DHS) has always stressed on’whole community’ based preparedness against active shooters, workplace víolence and incident response through a series of traíning, products and resources. Most shooters don’t have any patterns of selecting their victims and these conditions are unpredictable and evolve quickly.

    It really ticks me off that workplace shootings are a reality that we must deal with. The ease of accessing weapons, particularly military style weapons has made our nation a more dangerous place. Other 1st world nations have figured out how to protect their populations without resorting to flooding the nation with firearms.

    • Doug says:

      I blame it on USPS. They were into office shootings when office shooting wasn’t cool.

      • 1mime says:

        Nice to hear someone say something positive about the USPS. What this service has had to put up with from the likes of Darrell Issa is unforgivable. So underappreciated and so broadly maligned without justification.

        Thanks Doug. I agree with you. Maybe I’m a “classical liberal” too (whatever the heck that means (-: )

      • Turtles Run says:

        Doug – That was pretty funny.

      • 1mime says:

        Wait! I thought Doug was serious? I remember when there were shootings inside postal centers when they were located in federal buildings, and this brought about a lot of discussion about guns on federal premises, etc.

        Did I get this wrong Turtle/Doug? I can be incredibly naive sometimes…..

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        1mime, that one was so far over your head it left a vapor trail.

      • 1mime says:

        Unarmed, shame on me (-: Always the optimist!

      • Turtles Run says:

        1mime – I believe there was some tongue in cheek with Doug’s comment. If he was really serious then that makes it even funnier.

    • Well, turtles, maybe you ought just stay home. 😉

      BTW, the September FBI report has been pretty thoroughly hammered. See, for instance: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2524731

      For those of us who study such things, it’s kinda sad to see the politicization of FBI crime stats. It used to be that the data was reliable, and we’d argue about the meaning of the numbers; the FBI was very impartial in the collection and publication of data. Of course, we live in a transformed America, so there’s really no such thing as impartial government data anymore.

      Nonetheless, there does seem to be a certain copycat element in the violent nutball community. Back in the day, shooting politicians and activists was en vogue. These days it’s gun free zones (workplaces, movie theaters, etc.) that draw the crazies. For the nutballs, the cool thing about gun free zones is that they’re gun free, *except for the crazed nutball*. How convenient!

      One does wonder what’s next, when any grad level biochem student can re-sequence nasty viruses at will.

      • 1mime says:

        TT, we can disagree all day about who the “crazies” are. I will say this – those who are concerned about gun proliferation are not crazy because of our different viewpoints related to guns. We may lack the depth of information you have about guns, and we may disagree on open and concealed carry and multiple gun ownership along with multi-round clips, but it doesn’t make us “crazy”, it simply is a different perspective on the subject. Since I am not in a position to legislate on guns, only to voice my opinions, I’m no danger to gun lovers. I simply don’t share the concern about personal safety nor the need to arm oneself. It’s not fear or lack of education, it’s a personal choice, just like yours.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        ahh, the good ole days when we didn’t have “Gun Free Zones”. I remember when most of America was a gun free zone. I remember when it was dishonorable to pull a weapon when getting your ass kicked in the middle of Main Street. And most would not.

      • johngalt says:

        The epidemiological evidence shows that people are not statistically safer owning guns. On the contrary, having a gun in one’s house is one of the most dangerous things one can do, as the routine media reports of kids being shot by guns they found illustrates.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        1mime – You say “Since I am not in a position to legislate on guns, only to voice my opinions, I’m no danger to gun lovers.” You are more of a danger to the pro-gun movement than you realize. In your polite disagreement with their dogma, you are voicing the “emperor has no clothes”. This means you will continue to disagree in print and voice. It also means that if a politician finally takes a stand on gun violence you will probably vote for him. The gun lobby knows this.

        One more thing, if you see a study done by John R. Lott Jr., you should read the study carefully. Mr. Lott has done some materials that are considered slanted by some. Note that the FBI and the CDC are now too political to take serious, but a study by Mr. Lott is not noted as political and is the final word on the subject.

      • 1mime says:

        “More Guns, Less Violence” – John R. Lott, Jr. I read a brief summary of his book and theories. He does offer some compelling statistics but I will need to read more deeply before I trust his use of data.

        Regardless, I am not “militant” in my views on the subject, but have a well formed position for myself that I usually don’t blather about. It’s what I feel comfortable with and that’s it.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        err, if a politician… you will vote for him (or her)

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        1mime, I didn’t mean to speak for you. You do quite well.

      • Turtles Run says:

        TTHOR – The whole gun-free zone myth is just that a myth. there is no evidence that people that shoot up an area pick that place because it is a gun-free zone. It is mainly because they have some connection to the scene of their crime.

        The whole good guy with a gun is another myth that has been proven to be false as well.

        part 1

        part 2
        https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=rLN6_s66wTg

      • 1mime, the “crazies” I was referring to are the individuals who perpetrate the actual crimes, not gentlefolk like yourself with whom one can have a civilized difference of opinion. You are, if I may be so bold, the very antithesis of crazy. Sorry for not being more explicit.

        unarmed, jg, 1mime, I have a *serious* question for you. I try to follow what I view as a consistent set of principles in developing my POL (that’s Philosophy of Life). Sometimes the application of said principles leads me to a position different from that of the party whose candidates I mostly end up voting for. I have basically concluded that the planks of both parties are logically inconsistent, and probably based more on accident of history than purity of principle. (Actually, I think these logical inconsistencies will eventually lead to a political earthquake, with a massive realignment of parties.)

        As I think you know, I generally stand for individual liberty, especially those liberties stemming from basic natural rights such as free association, free expression, and self defense. I could no more speak out against the 2nd Amendment than I could against the 1st Amendment, or the Civil Rights Act of ’64. You folks, on the other hand, seem to strongly support free speech and free association, but abnegate self defense. While this collection of political positions is certainly consistent with those of the Democratic Party, in my view they are *logically inconsistent*. You are all obviously very bright, so I must ask: How do you square that circle?

      • 1mime says:

        “We seem to abnegate self defense”

        I don’t agree. I completely agree with self defense, but I don’t feel comfortable with your chosen method involving guns. I don’t know if this is logical, but I would fight to the death to protect myself and loved ones, but choose not to own guns. Guess I’d just die quicker and more traumatically. This probably seems illogical to you as guns are more deadly and certain, but the concept doesn’t work for me. I don’t reject my general right to self defense, or, yours, only “specifically” as it relates to me using guns. Does that make more sense?

        I think I have been pretty clear that I am not on a rampage or vendetta insofar as denying others the right to carry, but I would be lying if I said I was comfortable being around those who do.

        Hope that at least clarifies what I believe. If ya want to arm wrestle with me, let me know (-:

      • 1mime says:

        TT, Ever the diplomat…..

        I wanted to add this postscript: You state, “…..I view as a consistent set of principles in developing my POL (that’s Philosophy of Life). Sometimes the application of said principles leads me to a position different from that of the party whose candidates I mostly end up voting for…”

        Now, let me ask, are you guilty of inconsistency with your core principles? If yes, you have a lot of company. Lifer has written several posts focused on just this contradiction between one’s circumstances and one’s voting choices. Somewhere along the way, logic yields to emotion, and that makes the personal journey so very interesting. I’ve reached an age where I pretty well know what I believe and don’t really care if it’s an outlier view. It makes life a little less dull and less complicated. Of course I can be incorrect but I manage to overlook my inconsistencies (-:

      • Doug says:

        “The whole good guy with a gun is another myth that has been proven to be false as well.”

      • 1mime, I’ll choose discretion as the better part of valor, and pass on the arm wrestle. In my misspent youth I a little time in the ring down at the ‘Y.’ My trainer once told me that I might could end up a pretty good boxer if I could learn not to block punches with my face. 😉 Seriously, prior to the invention of firearms, all other things being equal, in conflict the bigger person generally prevails over the smaller person. (And that’s the reason why, in so many societies over time, women have been treated as chattel.) Firearms change all that; they are truly the great equalizer. If you can shoot, it doesn’t matter if your assailant is bigger and stronger than you. 230 grains of jacketed hollow point scooting along at 900 feet per second trump big muscles and evil intent every time.

        It’s good that you recognize that you would fight to the death to protect your loved ones. (That’s that whole natural right thing playing out.) The next step in that chain of logic is to recognize that if you find yourself in a position where you must fight, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to fight as *effectively* as you possibly can. It serves no purpose to sacrifice your life, and have your loved ones die anyway. And even if your loved ones survive at the cost of your own life, you have left them to spend the remainder of their lives without your care, help and love.

        I have concluded that I owe my loved ones more than the potentially empty promise of being ready to die for them. What I owe them is the very best protection I can provide; I owe them being willing to fight not just to die, but to preserve my own life, too, so that I can continue to provide them that love, care and protection. Firearms, for all their intrinsic problems, simply provide the best available means to achieve that end.

      • 1mime says:

        TT, you get an A+ in discretion (passing on my arm wrestle challenge) – Whew – that was a close one!

        I’ll take my chances without guns, allow you yours, and won’t feel I am short-changing my family in the defense department. To each – his/her own. Carpe Diem!

      • And 1mime, let us never forget the immortal Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…” 🙂

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Well, since you asked, Tracy. You say – “As I think you know, I generally stand for individual liberty, especially those liberties stemming from basic natural rights such as free association, free expression, and self defense. I could no more speak out against the 2nd Amendment than I could against the 1st Amendment, or the Civil Rights Act of ’64. You folks, on the other hand, seem to strongly support free speech and free association, but abnegate self defense”

        I believe that self defense is a natural right. But where is this in the amendments you speak of? Not this, surely. “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.” It doesn’t say to protect oneself from ticked off native Americans, or to keep the family safe from bears and wolves. It doesn’t say so you can blast your punk neighbor kid when he breaks in to feed his drug habit. No, the last half of the sentence depends on the first. It doesn’t say, my right to shoot targets, competition or not. I doesn’t say I have a right to hunt for trophies. It doesn’t say I have the right to caress a finely made Italian shotgun. A shotgun that has absolutely perfect fit and finish and as I run my hands over the smooth figured stock …. un unh. I need a cigarette.

        Remember, it is an amendment to an fine but imperfect document. And amendments aren’t always the last word, are they? And the decisions of Supreme Court justices sometimes are reversed. I assume I don’t have to provide links for this blog.

        As to the video of the attempted robbery in Ocala, Fl. If you live somewhere where they stick up internet cafes. No, if you live where they have internet cafes. I will contribute to a fund to move you elsewhere or buy you a gun.

        Found this while looking up Ocala. https://www.odmp.org/officer/22457-police-officer-jared-forsyth For the reponsible gun user, gun free zone meme.

      • Turtles, Doug covered it pretty well, but you may also want to google GunTalkTV First Person Defender – two seasons now of ordinary people from all walks of life being trained in basic firearms self defense and placed in force on force scenarios not unlike the goofy ABC hit piece, but with somewhat different results. What the Sawyer piece does illustrate is the importance of getting appropriate training. Real life is not a video game, and in a life or death gun fight there is no second place winner. For video of an ordinary citizen doing just about everything right, see:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOq7iUFiXR4

      • johngalt says:

        Tracy, I do not have a gun in my house because of a lot of reasons, one of which is that most studies demonstrate that a child (and I have two relatively young ones) is vastly more likely to die in a house that contains guns than one without. You can protest about “responsible gun ownership” versus carelessness; my experience is that responsibility is one innocent oversight away from tragedy. This does not mean I abnegate my rights of self defense. If you wish to test that assumption, enter my dark house at night and see what the baseball bat and samurai sword do to you. Notably, my kids and their friends are unlikely to murder each other with these implements.

        There exists in this country of exceptionalism a bizarre notion that Spaghetti Western depictions of the “good guy” countering the “bad guy” thanks to his six-shooter are non-fiction. Regardless of the anecdotes you might post, the number of bad guys thwarted by the average good guy with a gun is vanishingly small. When we read about these incidents, in which actual heroes protect their fellow citizens, we later find out that almost all of them are ex-military or off-duty cops; in other words they’ve spent quite a lot of time training, rather more than the joke requirements of the Texas CHL.

        In Friday’s Houston Chronicle a former Marine named Troy Conrey wrote this: “Based on my combat experiences, I firmly believe that people do not “rise to the occasion”; they default to their level of training. The more openly carried guns that are present, the more difficult it is to assess the intent of the people who are armed, further complicating the scene for law enforcement in an active shooter situation.”

        Own a gun if you think you are better than the average. You might be. I don’t feel a need to test that question.

      • Crogged says:

        And I looked at the link posted about the ‘hammered’ September FBI report- Here’s the result of this particular parsing of data.

        “We corrected the FBI data and only looked at cases where at least two people have been killed. Doing so cuts the annual increase in deaths from mass public shootings in half. ”

        So hopefully you are in the bar where the gun jams and/or the shooter is completely incompetent. Or you’re just hit in the arm with a metal object traveling at a great rate of speed, or glass. You aren’t in a mass killing then! Nice to be just a ‘criminal’ statistic. Everyday, just what to expect in America kind of thing.

        Keenan Thompson sings, “Good luck with that, good luck with that!”

      • Crogged says:

        Because the WSJ is a great newspaper with a separate, and terrible, subset of editorial writers. The newspaper would publish the FBI report, it’s verifiable, if not an absolutely perfect rendering of the data of everyday, just tens of thousands murdered, normal American life. I trust the paper completely (wish I could afford the subscription along with the NYT).

        The editorial page, not so much, it is pure Murdoch. Thor thinks and writes better than they anyway, so I get a better version of it here.

      • Turtles Run says:

        TTHOR – As JG stated the times an armed person has stopped a crime is not astonishingly low. You seems to discount anything that counters any belief you hold. FBI publishes the amount of mass shooting has risen, obviously it is only politics and the numbers cannot be relied upon. A demonstration of how people react in a high stress shooting environment must be goofy because the shooter was never stopped by the good guy. But a couple of you tube videos of the very few times an armed person stops a crime well obviously the argument is over and you are completely vindicated. Sorry it does not work that way.

        My guns are now kept at my Fathers house now because my wife and I understand we are safer with them gone with three young boys in the house.

        Maybe this will help you believe. A group of people in favor of people “packing” tried to recreate the Charlie Hebdo shooting that occurred a couple of months ago. These people even when they knew the attack was coming still failed after at least a dozen attempts to stop a mass shooting. I am sure you will find fault with this recreation as well.

      • Crogged says:

        Not everyone who plays golf in a thunderstorm gets hit by lightning, so hit ’em straight.

      • Doug says:

        “As JG stated the times an armed person has stopped a crime is not astonishingly low.”

        I think you mean *is* low, but I believe you’re correct the way you wrote it. One problem coming up with accurate statistics is that unless the good guy kills the bad guy it often goes unreported. Often just the display of a firearm is enough to stop the crime. A personal anecdote:

        As I mentioned before, I was once robbed at gun point. Two guys, two revolvers. I saw it coming but was unarmed and had no options. If you haven’t had this experience, let me assure you it is not fun to have your life in the hands of someone who doesn’t have your best interest in mind. This robbery got reported.

        Shortly thereafter, I was the target of another robbery and/or car jacking. I’m not completely sure which, because by the time the guy was at my window he had a 1911 pointed at his head, and in his haste to leave he failed to fully explain his intentions. I drove on…crime stopped but no statistic.

        ==============

        “A group of people in favor of people “packing” tried to recreate the Charlie Hebdo shooting that occurred a couple of months ago. These people even when they knew the attack was coming still failed after at least a dozen attempts to stop a mass shooting. I am sure you will find fault with this recreation as well.”

        You really should go to TTAG and get it from the horse’s mouth:
        http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/01/foghorn/ttag-charly-hebdo-simulation-preliminary-results/

        Here are a few quotes:
        “The biggest problem reported by the volunteers was that their masks were constantly fogging up….Many volunteers complained that they were unable to see the attackers at all when they finally entered the room, and were forced to simply shoot in their general direction.”

        “[I]n this scenario …we used two extremely well trained individuals as attackers, and as a result the defenders were placed in what might be described as a “no win scenario.” Two heavily armed individuals against one person with 18 rounds is definitely not a fair fight, especially when the attackers do this as a job every day and are highly trained.”

        If you don’t believe a gun would help you, then don’t arm yourself. I’ve been on both sides and definitely prefer it the other way.

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, you’ve had two bad experiences and it is understandable that you feel more comfortable “packing”. I don’t know where you were when these problems occurred but hope you’re in a safer environment now. Gun decisions are highly personal and I understand and accept that. Thanks for sharing your story.

      • Gentlefolk, rest assured, I would not presume to thwart any of you in your choice of implements for self defense, be it a baseball bat, a samurai sword, or your bare hands and gnashing teeth. As you wish.

        I merely humbly request that you extend the same courtesy to those of us who lack ninja skills, and prefer firearms. 🙂

  26. RobA says:

    Watching Rand Paul’s speech and I’m struck by the thought that he’s the kind of Republican I could get behind if only he would just be himself and stop worrying about pandering to the whacko birds of the party.

    • 1mime says:

      “If” Rand Paul would stop pandering…”

      That is THE problem, RobA. We don’t know who or what these GOP candidates are or stand for (except Cruz whose beliefs are clearly stated but repugnant to me). That’s what you need to think about when you hear a stump speech. Not what they say, but what they WILL do.

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s one take on Rand Paul’s policy positions. I’m sure others will follow (for all candidates – hopefully).

      http://www.vox.com/2015/4/7/8361219/rand-paul-issues

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Rob…I’m not sure it is pandering.

      He is a long-time, “life begins at conception” kind of guy, and he would obviously like to get rid of Plan B birth control, but it would also get rid of IUDs. The dude went to medical school, he should understand how the parts work, so he did not come to this position out of confusion. This was long before he started running for president.

      The “kind of Republican” you can get behind is a Republican that would like for the Civil Rights Acts of ’64 and ’91 to not apply to private businesses. His position is:
      – Restaurants should not be required to serve food to Black folks,
      – Apartment complexes should not be required to rent to Hispanic people,
      – Banks should be able to give smaller loans at higher rates to single women with the same credit ratings as married men, and
      – ExxonMobil shouldn’t have to hire women or minorities if they don’t want to

      Although these might be little nuggets floating around in the minds of the GOP, not even the whacko birds bring this up. Rand is on his own little island with these issues.

      Rand has said he is “offended” by gay marriage, and he fears a slipper slope, saying things like this: “This is a conundrum…And it is difficult, because if we have no laws on this, people take it to one extension further. Does it have to be humans?”

      He’s moderately anti-war and wants to legalize pot, so there is that, but there is a whole lot of ugliness going on in there (and it is not just his hair).

      • 1mime says:

        Ooooh, Homer, don’t forget momma’s cakes and pizzas! I wish I could concur that having a medical education made one “smart”, but then I look at TX Rep. Spitzer who pulled $3M from HIV/STD prevention into abstinence education, Rand Paul’s vaccination stand, etc. Guess that just leaves the lawyers (-; and we know how smart they are!

  27. Thank goodness Dems never lie to manufacture fear. Can you imagine how bad it would be if *both* parties did such things! [sarcasm font off]

    When contemplating the means by which evil doers (like the ISIS JV squad) might seek to do us mass harm, it’s good to keep in mind that simpler is better. You know, like box cutters on commercial air flights. When considering almost any scenario involving overland infiltration from Mexico, it’s ludicrously easy to come up with something simpler. Bio-weapons? Buy a ticket to any major U.S. airport, and then just hang around in baggage claim whilst shedding virus. Road-portable nuke? Why, a container vessel piloted to within 100 miles or so of the east coast will do very nicely as a launch point for an EMP strike, or to take out Washington, D.C. There’s really no need to mess around with infiltrating not one, but two countries.

    There are any number of reasons why we ought to get a better security handle on our borders, but fear of terrorist infiltration should be nowhere near the top of that list.

    • 1mime says:

      Tracy, you don’t disappoint.

      I don’t worry about things I can’t control (which should mean I don’t worry at all, right?) What I do worry about is leadership that is not governing. Infrastructure I travel that isn’t being maintained. Sick people who can’t afford health care. Budget battles that ignore the danger posed to not only the US but the interconnected world. Laws that are passed for vindictive purposes, not to move the business of America forward. Senators who step outside the realm of protocol and jeopardize multi-nation diplomacy. Schools that are not educating our youth. Families that are struggling to make ends meet despite working more than one job. Students who graduate college with huge debt before they even have a job. Young men and women who are sent to wars America shouldn’t be in, risking lives and enormous American treasury. An environment that is in danger, regardless of one’s beliefs. A nation that is divided where people in the same family can’t talk civilly at holiday gatherings because of intolerance of differences. People who are discriminated against because of color, gender or sexual orientation.

      THESE are the things I worry about. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our elected officials and the American people put these basic needs at the top of the agenda?

      • Ah, 1mime. If you really want to make your head explode, do what I do. Divide your listening time between Rush and NPR. Your watching time between Fox News and MSNBC. Read the WSJ and the NYT. Do that for a while, and you’ll see a pattern emerge. It’s not about doing the right thing; it’s about *winning* (or if not winning, then at least losing in a way the fires up the base).

        To revisit a recent topic for just a moment as an example, consider the Indiana Religious Freedom Law brouhaha. Did you notice that *every* media outlet pitched it as a battle of one freedom against another? Religious freedom vs. freedom from discrimination. Or, to put it a little differently, my baby is prettier than your baby. Nobody can win that kind of debate (except, temporarily, the largest, noisiest mob). None of that discussion was about seriously considering the circumstances under which one freedom ought to take precedence over the other (as I tried to do). Nope, it was all chest thumping and shouting. My side wins; your side loses. And heck yeah, let’s fire up the base.

        Stop the merry-go-round. I need to get off before I hurl.

      • 1mime says:

        Yep, trying to be objective is hard work. Thinking is hard work. Deciding what’s most important to you, is hard work. It doesn’t matter what you listen to, see, or read. What matters is what you do with the information you have. You are a stronger person than I if you balance with Rush and Fox. Can’t do it. In fact, I have largely stopped watching opinion shows in favor of listening to NPR, reading (online and print media) and selective DVR programming. I don’t have enough time to read as widely as I like but try every day to read a different source. Still, I worry about how our country is being run. It doesn’t matter who is right, the nation’s business is not getting done. There is a reason the FF established a system with checks and balances. It’s unfortunate that it’s such a messy process.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        TT: “Or, to put it a little differently, my baby is prettier than your baby. Nobody can win that kind of debate.”

        Uh…my baby is definitely cuter.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Dude, with your fertile mind I’m glad you’re on our side. Now let’s hope we don’t have any ISIS apprentices lurking on Chris’ blog….

      But seriously, you have the best point yet about the silliness of an ISIS Mexican rear rearguard:

      “There’s really no need to mess around with infiltrating not one, but two countries.”

      As for Democratic fearmongering, the most egregious example in my mind would be FDR wholesale rounding up and locking up Japanese Americans (whole families, including children) during WWII. But not German Americans or Italian Americans. As for more recent instances? I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

      • Actually, bubba, examples abound. Consider the run of the mill “the streets will run with blood” arguments that attend every discussion of 2A carry rights – it’s going on right now in Austin. Or the hyperbole flung around by both sides in the Indiana religious freedom law mess. Not to mention, “hands up, don’t shoot!” The police are out to get you! The thugocracy is running amok! You’re racist! No, you are! You hate women! No, you do! Etc., etc., ad nauseum.

        Both parties (and their various media surrogates) do everything they can, all the time, without cease, to manipulate us, to make us choose sides. It’s well to remind ourselves there is really only one side: us.

      • RobA says:

        with regards to “hands up, don’t shoot” I doubt any white male is qualified to comment on the relationship between cops and black males. I have never personally had a problem, but again, I’m white.

        What iI DO know is that the stats of black males killed by cops are of such a ridiculous disproportion that it definitely implies there is something to it.

        Then I see things like the Tamir Rice video, where a 12 year old was shot and killed in Cleveland playing with a realistic looking gun. The police report was that they demanded he drop the gun three times, and then he weent to point it at them, and then was killed.

        Sounds logical. No one can blame a cop for shooting someone pointing a gun at them. Unfortunately for them, there was a video shot of it that shows them rolling up on the kid like they’re in Iraq, and shooting the kid within 2 seconds. It was basically a hit.

        And it doesn’t seem like this is all that unusual a case. Seems a little dangerous to just assume that it must be all in the heads of the black community and that a significant portion of cops aren’t actually racists pieces of excrement.

        As for “blood in the streets” that’s obviously hyperbolic and not helpful. That said, “blood in the streets” is a relative and subjective concept. Compared to every other developed nation in the world, there already IS “blood on the streets”. In the figurative sense, at least.

        Contrast that with things the GOP is saying re: ISIS which is just made up fantasy out of whole cloth.

      • Doug says:

        “What iI DO know is that the stats of black males killed by cops are of such a ridiculous disproportion that it definitely implies there is something to it.”

        Is there? I guess it depends how you look at it.

        Absolutely, more whites are killed (by about 80%).

        Proportionately, more blacks are killed.

        If you look at how many are killed by cops compared to how many murders (and other violent crimes) they commit, blacks are way underrepresented.

      • 1mime says:

        Actually Doug, I agree with RobA here on the “hands up, don’t shoot”. There is no way that we as white people can understand what the black experience in Ferguson is/was like. Black people have been persecuted and white people need to try our best to understand their anger and fears.

      • Anse says:

        Regarding the issue of gun rights/open carry/conceal carry, etc, I’m interested in what transpires in terms of every day criminal activity. I’m not expecting a sudden burst in mass shootings, but I find the correlation between our declining crime rate and the plethora of guns to be tenuous. It would be easier to know the truth if we had gun registration, because then we could nail down precisely how many guns are in circulation and exactly how many Americans own them. Right now this is very hard to do. We don’t own any firearms in our household (when I tell some of my conservative acquaintances this, they look at me like I’m positively nuts for not having a means of self-defense), and I know a lot of people who own a shotgun or maybe a couple of hunting rifles but do not carry handguns for self-defense. My point is, I’m not convinced that mass gun possession is directly linked to our declining crime rate. It would be nice to study exactly what is causing it, but as long as gun rights people block attempts to study the trends in gun ownership (or block those means that would give us a better picture, such as mandating storage of gun sales receipts and regulating private sales), all we’ll be able to do is make guesses.

      • 1mime says:

        Good points, Anse. The gun crime stats on the FBI website link I posted earlier provide insight into understanding who/where these events are occurring. (Paraphrasing) poor, minority neighborhoods experience higher levels of gun crime than other areas, predominantly those of younger ages, and it is most often intraracial, i.e., Hispanic/Hispanic, Black/Black. (For detail, visit the FBI Crime Statistics site.) There is information on police shootings and the much greater arrest/incarceration rates of minorities….which documents the discrepancy for same crimes committed by White criminals. The young, poor, minorities go into the system, are incarcerated and come out hardened criminals, dumping more guns and repeat offenders back into communities.

        It’s a complex issue, and tho TT & Doug are correct – people kill, not guns – but, for me, that’s way too simple a response for the gun issue. The atmosphere and scale of personal fear and personal control that permeates the American psyche on guns is uniquely an American phenomena, and U.S. gun ownership vastly outweighs that of other major industrialized countries. I could accept it if this were Israel, Iraq, Yemen. My question is, why do so many Americans feel afraid in their own surroundings? I understand if one lives in or must travel into a known dangerous environment, but I do not understand (not that I am correct) why so many feel they need to carry and/or own so many guns, even as I don’t question their right to do so.

        There is to be something deeper going on here. My personal choice is to live in a safe area and try to be aware of my surroundings and not own guns. If something happens to me than it just happens. That’s my choice. I am sad that so many feel the need to carry, but, that is their right even though I am uncomfortable being around people who carry because guns ratchet up the opportunity for harm. As I said, I am probably the outlier here.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, Bubba, at least Dems did repeal prohibition under FDR. We’re not all bad (-:

      • bubbabobcat says:

        TThor, I guess it’s a matter of perception but I don’t consider “the streets running with blood” hyperbole or fearmongering with all the gun violence committed in the US and the ensuing resulting bloodshed. I think it’s a quite accurate assessment of our infantile fear based cowboy gun culture and ensuing consequences.

        Doug, your statistics are again misleading and conflating unrelated issues to boot.

        More Whites may be killed by police officers. I still would like to see those statistics though. What are the statistics for unjustified or questionable killing of Whites by police officers?

        And just because a large number of Blacks are committing crimes, that somehow justifies police officers shooting and killing unarmed and non threatening Blacks? For no good reason?

        Here is yet another incident of a police officer shooting and killing an unarmed Black male. And caught on video. The article also runs through a disturbing litany of RECENT incidents of police officer killings unarmed Black males.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/08/us/south-carolina-officer-is-charged-with-murder-in-black-mans-death.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

      • 1mime says:

        Wow, Bubba, this is unbelievable. Black people have a right to fear police. These scenes just keep happening.

      • Doug says:

        “And just because a large number of Blacks are committing crimes, that somehow justifies police officers shooting and killing unarmed and non threatening Blacks? For no good reason?”

        For no good reason? Absolutely not. But it’s common sense that the more violent crime you commit, the more likely you are to come into contact with cops. And how you act when that contact occurs largely determines the outcome. The cop in the video you posted was wrong to shoot, and it looks like he will be punished. But you have to be a moron to think you can run from and/or fight with a cop without consequence.

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, running from a law officer in the posted video was the wrong thing to do, but shooting the man in the back and killing him then trying to stage the scene was criminal. The policeman has been charged with murder as he should have been. The likelihood of him being convicted is less than the black unarmed man being killed by him.

        Then there was the 12 year old black kid with his toy gun who was killed within seconds…no talking to the kid who had to be frightened (of the police) and confused. And, so many others. Sorry, you will never convince me that we don’t have a police/black problem and that black people aren’t treated radically differently by not only police but by many homophobic white people. Locking car doors when a black man approaches, crossing the street to avoid a common sidewalk, assuming any black kid in a sweatshirt w/ a hood is a thug….

        We see this issue differently, and I am sorry for that.

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, I thought this piece in Vox offered special insight into “black on black” crime/police violence.

        http://www.vox.com/2015/4/9/8370417/police-violence-black-on-black-crime

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And Doug you are ok that the “consequences” for running from an officer (totally unarmed and with no threatening action to the officer) is to be shot dead in the back 8 times?

        Spoken like a White man who knows statistically he won’t be shot in the back for running away from an officer.

      • Sorry not to reply earlier on the thread, bubba. Several good points made here by all. Yes, statistically, violent crime is much higher than average for the black population. Yes, this is related directly to inner city poverty and all that goes with it. Yes, the police, consciously or unconsciously, probably conduct themselves differently when rolling up on a black person as a result. Yes, as a result of this discrimination, blacks have ample reason to fear police.

        What’s not OK is when the media perpetuates a lie (“hands up, don’t shoot”) just because it fits a preferred narrative. That’s not reporting; that’s race baiting propaganda that serves only to destroy innocent lives. Sadly, events all too often provide *real* examples of egregious police misconduct (e.g. the recent shooting of Walter Scott); the media should rightly concentrate on those instances. There’s no need to manufacture (or simply repeat) lies – it does only harm.

        With respect to the tragic killing of Mr. Scott, it’s worth noting there are circumstances under which an officer is justified in shooting a fleeing perpetrator. I *very much* doubt *any* of those circumstances applied in the tragic case of Mr. Scott, and I expect (former) officer Slager will spend the remainder of his life behind bars.

      • Doug says:

        “And Doug you are ok that the “consequences” for running from an officer (totally unarmed and with no threatening action to the officer) is to be shot dead in the back 8 times?

        Bubba, I want to apologize to you for previously questioning your reading comprehension. It’s apparent to me now that you really do have a serious problem. So I’ll use little words:

        Bad. Bad cop. Very bad cop. Doug no like.

        “Spoken like a White man who knows statistically he won’t be shot in the back for running away from an officer.”

        100% certainty. You may find this hard to believe, but I don’t place a lot of trust in cops I don’t know. They have guns, and power, and radios to call for more cops. Some of them have attitudes, and in my experience those from certain federal agencies can be worse than locals. So when I happen to interact with one, I’m very polite and comply with their wishes. I don’t necessarily like it, but I believe it’s the best way to avoid getting arrested, or beaten, or worse. Why is this a difficult concept?

        BTW, police interactions are another good reason to have a CHL, even if you don’t carry. You definitely gain a measure of respect.

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, I know you directed your comments to Bubba, but I’d like to make an observation.

        The incessant intimidation and abuse of Black people by bad cops and bad white people, is so pervasive that the normal response when stopped by police is way different than yours would be. For one thing, the odds of the cop giving you the benefit of the doubt is far greater than a Black person. The odds of a Black person being physically restrained, or harmed is far greater than a White person. History is replete with so many examples of Blacks being targeted and abused for just about any reason. The odds of most Black people having the courage to apply for a CHP are not good either.

        There are bad Blacks just like there are bad cops and bad Whites. I know that. The difference is the degree and the magnitude of abuse that has been perpetrated on Black people for generations. Black people are angry, Doug, and as hard as it is to understand their fear and anger, we need to make the effort.

        Bubba is trying to be a more constructive commentator, don’t make it harder by being small. All of us can do a better job in communicating.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Doug, I’ll let this one go. Just keep in mind that self policing “decorum” is not an opportunity for you to have free one sided reign without repercussions or a response. I complied with people I respected. However at a certain point, I don’t give a shit who is not enamored of my writing style and will only comply with the only censor and final authority that matters which is the blog author Chris.

        Oh, and you are still consummately fact challenged as you never clarified as to what YOU think is “underestimation” in your own source regarding the Arctic ice nor rebutted the FACT that you have been proven to continue to willfully misread your own data source to support an irrational and unjustifiable and willfully ignorant position.

    • johngalt says:

      Exactly, Tracy, on both your points about the likelihood of terrorists infiltrating from Mexico (they’ll come on a British Airways flight from Heathrow, or do any of the other things you mentioned), and on the media mess in Indiana (but at least Indiana gave us one good thing this week).

    • RobA says:

      Key point, these are homegrown terrorists, ostensibly American citizens and people who definitely did not enter via a porous Mexican border.

      The real ISIS is not coming from Iraq to America, which is the GOP’S position.

    • Crogged says:

      And as per the usual method with which Americans deal with public mental health issues, call law enforcement……

    • johngalt says:

      This is a far cry from ISIS invading across the Mexican border with drug cartels.

      • objv says:

        All I said was that it was interesting!

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Threw another poop bomb and pretended it wasn’t you eh OV? Or insist that stinking pile of poop isn’t poop? You need to up your game a bit OV. I know it’s pretty easy slumming it with your fellow ignorant wingnuts and all….

      • objv says:

        Oh, put a sock in it, bubba. 🙂 We were on the subject of ISIS.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        So was I OV. And your poop bomb regarding that topic.And I would rather keep my socks clean and leave you to clean up after yourself.If you were taught properly growing up.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        No that anyone cares about my anonymous internet feedback, and it is not my blog, but the personal stuff between you two is awfully boring.

        Worse that being boring, it makes it harder to sift through to find the real discussions.

        Last year for Lent, I decided not to respond to or comment about a particular contributor to this forum, and I realized I was happier for it and it probably made the blog better. It carried over beyond Lent, and never again did he and I have any back and forth discussion.

        Although Lent is over, I humbly suggest that such a plan might be beneficial for you two.

      • objv says:

        Homer, Sounds like a plan. Believe or not, I do take your opinions seriously.

        I hereby, henceforth, and forevermore promise not to reply to bubba unless it is in a positive way.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Well Houston, I respect your opinion and your approach to dealing with fact challenged posters, but I have to disagree for myself. Particularly with the far right crazies that have posted in the past and that continue to post, I feel that not calling crap for what it is legitimizes the lies and crap of the far right. If you’re not going to be factually, intellectually, or morally honest, why should I treat you with kid gloves and pretend you have a valid point? As with the general media, not asking the hard questions or pressing for a direct answer when they deflect and change the subject only allows the subject to say his/her crap unchallenged to have the last word and as “acceptable” factually or logically “for the sake of decorum”. Which I find maddeningly manipulative on the part of the willful distorter and just plain cowardly weak and simpering of the interviewer that just allows the clearly distorted or incorrect point to be stated and/or repeated unchallenged and beaten/bullied into the mainstream until it becomes a numbingly “acceptable/valid” point in the debate, no matter how crazy or illogical or downright no basis in reality it is.

        What I saw with George Stephanopoulos’ direct questioning of Mike Pence in his interview on signing the anti-gay law is how I feel (literally) shit should be addressed and challenged.

        Respect is earned. With honesty and decent valid points regardless of where on the political spectrum it falls. I have no patience for flat out lies and willful distortions. And don’t pretend it has any legitimacy. And there are conservative and decidedly right of center posters here I have no issues with because they make their points with well thought out and supported clarity and yes, facts even though I may disagree with their conclusions or nuanced interpretations of the data. At least they don’t blatantly misrepresent the data and attempt to insultingly flip and distort (or just plain lie about) the information 180 degrees from their factual basis to fit their viewpoint.

      • johngalt says:

        Homer and I must have been on the same wavelength today, because I posted something less thoughtful somewhere below. Bubba, you do yourself no favors with these personal attacks. It gets old and I have largely ceased reading your posts because of it.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Bubba…you gotta be you…that is fine. I’m just some schmuck on the internet.

        However, I would suggest that you can take apart a misguided and fact-challenged contributor by doing just that. Take apart their posting with information, data, facts, and/or logic rather than “poop”.

        The person about which you are commenting may never accept your information or your logic, but other people will, and everyone can benefit from the information and the discussion.

        Like JG, I find myself just skipping through your posts now without reading them, and what is the fun in that?

      • Crogged says:

        These ‘far right crazies’ are your neighbor and family and the style of argument is about you, not them.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Bubba

        I have to agree with the others. Your style of argument is on you and you alone. It is great that you counter these wild claims but I believe you can do so without resorting immediately to personal attacks. You make very good points when you post in a reasonable and rational style and I enjoy those posts so much more.

        Like Homer said you gotta be you in the end but I hope you take this constructive criticism under consideration.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Thank you Houston, JG, Crogged, and Turtles for your honest assessments. I will take your constructive criticism and feedback to heart and adjust my responses. I will make a concerted effort to tone it down and stick to the subject at hand.

      • 1mime says:

        (-: (-: Good for you, Bubba! Looking forward to more Bubba posts.

  28. Crogged says:

    But see, I don’t think the conclusion is ‘scared’ people vote. Voting is a responsible act, not one of fear. And if you watch the visual presentation of the information about ISIS, one doesn’t see darting eyes, or sudden body movements of the paranoid looking over their shoulder.

    Certainly ISIS makes announcements and videos which are far more harrowing than what is reported, sometimes daily, in our media. You could have a reporter at your television station talk to Charles Manson every day too, and deliver much more bad news about the impending doom which would surely happen unless Mr. Manson’s parole is denied for only the 67th time. And it’s not outside the realm of possibility that ISIS will find a way to make pickup trucks fly, or worse, discover more ways to make bad information which can be widely broadcast every day to people who can’t discover anything else to do but walk away from televisions and computers. Responsible people keep up with the news, responsible people vote. Responsible people tell you what is happening in the world, unless they are paid with public dollars, then their word is suspect.

    For the average consumer of political news the disclaimer used for investing, (past performance is no indicator of future performance) should be more liberally used whenever a public purveyor of ‘opinion’, or a politician, speaks of the future.

  29. bubbabobcat says:

    Jeb Bush taking pandering to its extreme and claims to be Hispanic himself……

    http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/04/06/jeb-bush-listed-himself-as-hispanic-on-voter-form/?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    Obviously a simple mistake. No left wing conspiracy theorists asking for HIS birth certificate.

    Meantime, wingnuts still think Obama was born in Kenya and OV still beating one of her many dead horses that Elizabeth Warren “lied” about her Native American heritage.

    Yup, it’s allllll the same on both sides of the aisle.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Now Bubba, I am sure that OV will spend an equal amount of time berating Jeb Bush for his false claim like she did with Elizabeth Warren.

      • objv says:

        Oh, pish posh, Turtles and bubba. Jeb may not be a Hispanic but his wife is Mexican-American and his kids could be considered Hispanic. Since this is the only time he checked the Hispanic box on a form, you need to cut him some slack. It was probably a mistake.

        On the other hand, Warren claimed to be Native American numerous times with absolutely no proof except a family rumor of “high cheekbones.”

        Speaking of minority status, I can now say that I am in a mixed race marriage. My husband’s 23andMe DNA results came in, and he is verifiably Sub-Saharan West African. Well, at least 1% of him is. 🙂

      • RobA says:

        lol how progressive of you OBVJ

      • bubbabobcat says:

        OV, do you have your wingnut faux victimization whine on autopilot or something? Or just proving YET AGAIN your persistent reading comprehension problem? Most likely both in conjunction.

        And your kneejerk doubling down on your ignorance.

        Hey OV, boo! ELIZABETH Waaaaaarreeeeeeeen.

        Reposting my comment verbatim:

        “Obviously a simple mistake. No left wing conspiracy theorists asking for HIS birth certificate.”

        You wingnuts (yes, both of you Doug and OV) are a running punchline. But thank you both for posting and illustrating the point of Chris’ current blog topic.

      • johngalt says:

        You’re also in a mixed species marriage objv, since you admitted to being 2+% Homo neanderthalensis in a previous post.

      • objv says:

        Yup, JG, true. 🙂

        I wasn’t able to get health related from 23andMe, but I found a company called Promethease that takes the raw information and spits out a report. The information isn’t organized all that well, but provides lots of in-depth information on specific SNPs.

        Well, you guys have fun. I haven’t started on taxes yet. My African-American husband might be a little upset if he comes home and finds I haven’t don any work yet. (He has some Neanderthal in him as well.)

      • bubbabobcat says:

        johngalt says:
        April 6, 2015 at 3:05 pm
        “You’re also in a mixed species marriage objv, since you admitted to being 2+% Homo neanderthalensis in a previous post.”

        You do know she “courageously” sacrificed herself for the wingnut cause JG? Now she can offer herself up as proof positive of the wingnut meme that allowing same sex marriage will lead to bestiality.

      • johngalt says:

        Can it, Bubba. The vitriol with which you respond to the conservative posters does no favors to your opinions.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        In fairness to Jeb, he was confused because normally, once you check “Republican”, all the other response options except White and male disappear.

      • Turtles Run says:
      • 1mime says:

        Homer – “once you check “Republican”, all the other response options except White and male disappear”

        (-: (-:

    • bubbabobcat says:

      JG, refer to my response to Houston Stay at Homer above regarding my “vitriol”.

      • 1mime says:

        Bubba, I always read your posts and though I get frustrated with some of the things that are said, I realize that I may aggravate others with my posts, too. It’s hard to stay positive when I am pissed off but I know I don’t advance my point when I am don’t offer an effective counter argument. Keep posting, Bubba, I need all the Dem support I can get on this blog (-:

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Thanks 1 mime. I appreciate your feedback and support also.

  30. Anse says:

    The assertion that drug cartels are working with ISIS is spectacularly weird. One wonders what kind of common cause would exist between drug cartels and Islamic radicals. I should think they’d make a stab and constructing some connecting logic here.

    • johngalt says:

      It works because it connects two visceral fears – drug violence in Mexico and religious violence (or, at least, what is claimed to be religious violence) in the Middle East.

      It is spectacularly illogical. ISIS would have only one reason to enter the U.S., which is to cause whatever mayhem they could stir up. This, of course, would eventually be caught and halted and it would become clear that the perpetrators entered through the southern border. Inevitably, that would lead to a further tightening of that border, making the cartels’ main business harder. For the cartels to help ISIS enter the US, they’d have to be a paid a sum that would recoup losses from tightened security. ISIS doesn’t have anywhere near the kind of money needed to compete with the drug trade.

      • Anse says:

        It obviously doesn’t matter if it makes any sense or not, I’m just amazed at how crazy the fear-mongering gets. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      “One wonders what kind of common cause would exist between drug cartels and Islamic radicals.”

      Great Mexican food brings everyone together

    • Doug says:

      Tom Clancy covered this a while back. The terrorists opened up new European markets for the cartels, who smuggled the terrorists into the US. Maybe that’s what Hunter was thinking of.

    • RobA says:

      Because in the simplified American mind, there is only good guys and bad guys. Hero’s and villains.

      And once something or someone is establish as a “villian” they are evil simply fo the sake of evil and do evil things simply because that’s what villains do.

      In that context, of course ISIS and the Mexicans wpuld form a partnership of evilness.

      In reality, ISIS would behead every Mexican cartel member of they could, and I highly doubt the cartels have any desire, ability or motivation to have anything to do with ISIS.

      It’s a patently silly thing to say, and even more so to believe.

  31. frank nostril says:

    Another great post. Thanks.

  32. flypusher says:

    I missed Cotton’s ISIS lie. He’s giving Inhofe some stiff competition in the egregious bullshit department, and he’s just a n00b! He’s be truly frightening if the voters don’t wise up and replace him next time.

  33. BigWilly says:

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. However, you can fool all of the people on occasion, and if the people that you fool all of the time happen to derive from your most loyal voters, well that’s pretty much the way it’s gonna go.

    Tom Cotton-Boo scary
    Ted Cruz-I’m so frightened
    Mike Lee-Utah-scary Mormon
    Curt Gowdy-When did he get into politics

    Plus we control most of the Governorships and State Legislatures in the country.

    It’s not a good time to be a Liberal, because it’s over.

    Get used to being nobody.

    • Crogged says:

      Tis true, BW and I’m quite used to it now.

      I very rarely watch the Sunday opinion fests anymore, but tried yesterday. Caught the tail end of a couple of “Middle Eastern experts”-ISIS, panic. We need to let our friends know we don’t like them. Haven’t done enough of that. Get serious about dealing with the threat. No real questions from the host, I guess because they are ‘experts’, or had a job as an ‘expert’.

      Next, the Israeli PM and the problems with the Iran deal, which isn’t a ‘deal’ but is something to describe as a deal and to be discussed further. Why mention Israeli nuclear capability, defer to another ‘experts’ opinion I suppose. Iran, scary. Sanctions forever, beatings continue until morale improves. The guest representing the other 99 percent of the population in the self described ‘Middle East’ somehow didn’t appear.

      Jerry Brown, though, exempted California agriculture from water restrictions. Press him, this is political, didn’t you read the Economist about market pricing with water and isn’t California agriculture only 2 percent of that states GDP? Why Jerry, why? Two percent? Don’t you know the market will enforce efficiency with use of water if we just let it?

      The ’round’ table discussion.

      Hillary is unpopular, again, those emails, not ‘nimble’ enough. I tuned out.

      I’m missing the good ‘ol days, when the President was popular because the world wide financial market was about to collapse because the market was inefficient.

    • briandrush says:

      You can always tell someone who’s clueless because he capitalizes the word “liberal” when talking about America.

      FYI, Big Willy, there is no Liberal Party in the United states, so it was “over” for “Liberals” a long time ago. However, it’s far from over for liberals, any more than it was in 1980, when some people said the same thing.

    • 1mime says:

      BW: For Liberals (Dems), it’s over………

      Thankfully, “we don’t occupy the same zone and quadrant” (your statement, prior post), but I am impressed with your prescience about the infallibility of the Republican Party and the certain demise of the Democratic Party. Your self-confidence is exceeded only by your ability to see the future.

      I take a different view (surprise) as I think it’s a “bad time to be a Republican”. Your party has lost its way – badly. We can debate which political philosophy is “best” but we can’t debate the fact that the GOP has cornered the market on doing stupid things.

      “Get used to being nobody,” you say. I don’t care where you live or what you think, you do not have the right to call me or anyone else, a “nobody”. But, you were just kidding, right?

      • BigWilly says:

        Of course I’m kidding. I’m just reformulating some of the nonsense directed at me (a hologram, no less).

        Remember 1996? The Democrats got over it. Unfortunately 1998 brought us the impeachment, which I think is a signal event regarding party strategy. I like TR’s walk softly, but carry a big stick idea.

        A good conservative element in the political system serves as the caboose for the train. Just don’t let Casey Jones be the Engineer.

      • 1mime says:

        “A good conservative element serves as a good caboose on a train”……

        Would that there still were “good conservatives” and cabooses. Both are becoming extinct.
        Otherwise, as I’ve posted many, many times, a strong two party system benefits democracy. The Republican Party now is irrational.

  34. Doug says:

    “Lying to manufacture fear worked in 2014.”

    It’s worked for decades (centuries?), from both sides of the aisle. Some say terrorists are going to kill us, others say we’re all going to die because a certain plant nutrient has risen from 0.03% to 0.04% in the atmosphere. Guns, drugs, gays, Alar, communists, booze, nuclear winter, bird flu, killer bees…people love to be scared, and that’s good for government. Nothing new here.

    • Yes
      And it works because some of those things are likely to hurt you!
      CO2 is heating the planet – it was predicted to do so over 100 years ago – and it’s doing so
      Guns are killing people – the USA has a murder rate 4 times the rate in the civilised world
      Some real problems – lots of unreal problems
      On one of the other sites I visit I bet that the US cops would kill more people in the USA per week than Ebola and ISIS combined in the next two years
      I bet that lightning strikes in the USA will also kill more people in the USA than Ebola and ISIS combined

      • Doug says:

        “Guns are killing people”

        People are killing people.

        “I bet that lightning strikes in the USA will also kill more people in the USA than Ebola and ISIS combined”

        Probably. And Ebola and ISIS will kill more people than global warming. At best it will be a three-way tie at zero.

      • johngalt says:

        And, in the United States, where guns are more available and prevalent than in any civilized country in the history of the world, people do tend to kill an awful lot of people.

      • Crogged says:

        The police have guns, they keep the peace. Guns enforce peace, more guns, more peace. Mutually assured destruction kept us from nuclear holocaust, so why wouldn’t it work for public safety? Nothing wrong with 60 thousand people with concealed weapons permits or ‘open carry’ automatic weapons at a football game, just watch the game at home.

      • BigWilly says:

        60,000 open carrying at a football game…Gleek, Squawk, Burp…and then DARPA flips the kill switch on 60,000 Androids and open carry becomes the largest voluntary circular firing squad ever.

      • Crogged says:

        Nothing was better than electronic solitaire.

        http://www.wired.com/2013/05/pentagon-cyberwar-angry-birds/all/

      • bubbabobcat says:

        The Somaliazation of the US. All we need is having the populace chewing Khat while open carrying. And getting worked up about taking back the country, fighting ISIS in middle America, the anti-Christian agenda/movement/conspiracy theory, too much Federal government, too many lazy poor minorities who are living high on the hog on welfare, and oh yeah, not enough guns. I guess alcohol will suffice as a worthy substitute.

        You know, alcohol doesn’t kill people. People kill people.

      • RobA says:

        Yes, Doug. People DO kill people. We are murderous by nature. That’s why it’s imperative to restrict the use of tools that can facilitate killing in a much more efficient way.

        With that logic, everyone should be able to ha e their own nuclear weapons. Because it’s not nuclear weapons who kill people. It’s people who kill people.

    • flypusher says:

      “…others say we’re all going to die because a certain plant nutrient has risen from 0.03% to 0.04%”

      So do you think having the oxygen content of the atmosphere increase by a third would be a good thing?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Beware of quoting statistics with Doug. He will see what he wants to see regardless of what math was taught to him in the second grade. Ain’t that right Doug?

        And before you start whining, don’t want to be called a fact and math challenged wingnut?

        Don’t BE a fact and math challenged wingnut. And get caught making shit up.

      • Doug says:

        I’d get 16 mpg in my truck? And giant bugs.

        But you’re talking about a change that’s orders of magnitude higher. Not really a fair comparison.

      • flypusher says:

        The point is that amounts matter. Claiming that CO2 couldn’t possibly be a pollutant because it’s already there or because plants use it is just dumb.

    • Doug says:

      Lying to manufacture fear (and increase grant money): http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/02/white-house-arctic-ice-death-spiral

      Apparently mass starvation is imminent now. That’s much scarier than ISIS.

      • texan5142 says:

        What are they lying about, please do tell.

      • Crogged says:

        Yeah, that’s it, only climate scientists are peculiarly motivated to lie due to government grants and somehow, that most pure science in this country is to some degree funded via grant, doesn’t effect those particular branches of science, medicine, industry or whatever. I mean, your doctor could be getting incentives from cholesterol medication suppliers, have another cheeseburger.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Seems like the US Military is filled with a bunch of chicken littles since they seem to be very concerned about climate change. Per Doug’s article

        “US national security officials have taken an increasing interest in the destabilising impact of climate change. In February this year, the US Department of Defense (DoD) released its new Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, which noted that global warming will have:

        “… significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to greater competition for more limited and critical life-sustaining resources like food and water.”

        The effects of climate change may:

        “Act as accelerants of instability or conflict in parts of the world… [and] may also lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response, both within the United States and overseas … DoD will need to adjust to the impacts of climate change on its facilities, infrastructure, training and testing activities, and military capabilities.”

        The primary goal of adaptation is to ensure that the US armed forces are “better prepared to effectively respond to climate change” as it happens, and “to ensure continued mission success” in military operations – rather than to prevent or mitigate climate change.”

        Doug – Climate change affects us all and even though you prefer to ignore that 97% of climate scientists agree it is an issue, responsible adults understand that it is best to deal with problems before they have grown out of hand. Feel free to keep you head buried in you favorite spot.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes Doug, what are climate scientists “fearmongering” about?

        Nowhere in the article is there a mention of “mass starvation is imminent now”.

        No, that was YOU misparaphrasing and, fearmongering.

        And yes, arctic ice is declining rapidly. At record levels. That is a fact. Something you willfully don’t seem to have neither a clue nor care about.

        http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

      • flypusher says:

        As yes, here comes the conspiracy theories. If you’re going to run a scam, there’s far more lucrative places than research, especially since the funding is getting scarcer these days. Also, for this alleged scam to work, you would have to get thousands and thousands of people in on it, from a subgroup of people who are naturally inclined to question and explore and value the truth. You really think that a scam in such a high prolife field is going to have a long duration? Science has this way of self correction.

      • Doug says:

        Bubba, thanks for proving my point. “The lowest maximum on record” weeks before it reached the maximum, which was actually higher than several recent years. http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/old_icecover.uk.php

      • texan5142 says:

        The old sea ice canard. Sea ice expansion has diddly squat to do with the glaciers melting. The sea ice expansion has been explained, you just will not except it .

        https://www.skepticalscience.com/increasing-Antarctic-Southern-sea-ice-intermediate.htm

        http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/08/3577610/antarctic-sea-ice-record/

      • bubbabobcat says:

        You actually have a point Doug? That’s fact based? Um, no.

        If you look at the charts the current season has the lowest spread of arctic ice in the last 4 years up until the current date. And furthermore, the last four years are ALL lower than the past two decades. No misrepresentation there.

        You and OV are just embarrassing yourselves. That is, if you had possession of any sense of shame.

      • Doug says:

        “Nowhere in the article is there a mention of “mass starvation is imminent now”.”

        It’s called reading comprehension, bubba. You should try it. You’ll need it when you take the SAT in a few years.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Doug says:
        April 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm
        “Bubba, thanks for proving my point. “The lowest maximum on record” weeks before it reached the maximum, which was actually higher than several recent years.”

        Doug, are you another one of those pathetic needy wingnut types that thinks any attention (negative or otherwise) is better than no attention?

        Did you even bother to read ALL (or any) of the disclaimers on your precious little chart?

        Particularly THIS little tidbit:

        “However, the total estimated ice area is underestimated due to unclassified coastal regions where mixed land/sea pixels confuse the applied ice type algorithm. The shown sea ice extent values are therefore recommended be used qualitatively in relation to ice extent values from other years shown in the figure.”

        And if you should somehow (willfully) ignore that corrective disclaimer, how about this more direct and clearer disclaimer in bold, and RIGHT BELOW your precious little chart?

        “Please notice, that the sea ice extent in this plot is calculated with the coastal zones masked out. To see the absolute extent, go to this page.”

        And what do we see if one should say, “go to this page”? Why none other than THE SAME DAMN (ACCURATE) CHART I had linked to.

        With this further clarification noted as if to somehow anticipate wingnut deniers willfully misreading and misunderstanding their data:

        “The plot above replaces an earlier sea ice extent plot, that was based on data with the coastal zones masked out. This coastal mask implied that the previous sea ice extent estimates were underestimated. The new plot displays absolute sea ice extent estimates.

        Nice try Doug. But YOU (and OV) proved MY point. Yet again.

        Thanks for playing Doug.

      • Doug says:

        “The old sea ice canard. Sea ice expansion has diddly squat to do with the glaciers melting. ”

        [sigh] I didn’t mention glaciers or assign any value to sea ice. I merely pointed out that bubba’s article claiming record low max extent was a lie. What do you want to bet that all the media outlets who repeated it will publish retractions?

      • Doug says:

        bubba, if you’ll stop with the childish name calling, I’ll be happy to debate you. In the mean time, you might want to look up the word “underestimated.” I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Okay Doug, I’ll try this one more time. You do understand that when you claim ” ‘The lowest maximum on record’ weeks before it reached the maximum, which was actually higher than several recent years.” the period where the ice extent is typically largest has now passed and with the warmer weather, it is highly unlikely that the ice will GROW with the weather getting warmer? And my source did caveat that the possibility does exist but is statistically unlikely. Just like below freezing temperatures in Houston in April. It may happen once or twice in a century or maybe even a half dozen times, but I’m not holding my breath for it occurring any time this month.

        So they were safe to say the peak ice mass period has passed now and “the monthly average Arctic sea ice extent for March [this year] was the lowest in the satellite record.” I don’t see what you are disputing there and how “I proved your point” as both your charts and mine show it being the lowest peak in the past decade and mine further notes the past decade was way lower than the previous 25 years (since the start of satellite measurements).

        As for your chart’s definition of “underestimated”, again I think you have it backwards yet again but yet you continue to see what you want and insist you are “right”.

        One more time, YOUR first chart with the “underestimated” ice extent values compensated shows 2015 with the lowest value at its PEAK in the early part of the year. It does show several years at best, relatively equal to (but NOT lower) than 2015’s peak ice extent. So I have no idea what you are looking at.

        And then your second chart which doesn’t compensates for the underestimation, shows 2015 as not even being tied with other years except for possibly 2011 but significantly lower and the lowest of all the years on the chart.

        So, regardless of how you interpret “underestimation”, BOTH of your charts show 2015 as either the lowest or tied as the lowest peak sea ice extent for the past 35 years.

        I hope you’re not going to pathetically parse and claim the summer months are the “lowest” of the season (duh) just to say you were “right” as you know that is not what we are talking or concerned about.

      • 1mime says:

        Good, solid rebuttal, Bubba, not that you’ll change Doug’s mind (-: but well done!

    • RobA says:

      The difference between the two examples is that one is making up verifiable false statements in any attempt to manufacture fear.

      The other comes from overwhelming scientific consensus based on hard data, and peer review.

      What’s more likely Doug? That Big Pil and ppl like the Koch Bros are telling the truth when they say that CC is not a valid thing, even though if it WAS it would have sever adverse effects to their business or personal wealth? Or that NASA, the UN, the EPA, and 97% of independent scientists in peer reviewed papers are all lying and all involved in some ridiculously massive conspiracy hoax all for the reason of hiking your taxes a few percentage points?

      http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

      This is what we mean by “the party of stupid”.If one chooses to believe the latter over the former, how did they even graduate from middle school?

  35. 1mime says:

    Scared people vote. That’s all that matters to the GOP. Forget legitimate issues, keep firin’ up the panic machine to keep folks riled up and talkin’. The level of stupidity and lack of individual responsibility by those who ought to know better, is keeping our nation in a state of hyperventilation over bogus issues. Even when confronted with fact – otherwise rational people bristle and deny. To thinking people, it’s disheartening because rational thought is being abandoned by people who are educated. How do you penetrate this level of denial?

    As for Rick Perry, watching him govern Texas for 3 terms has provided me with more than enough reason to shake my head. The question is: how can people of his “ilk” even think they have a shot at being a presidential candidate, much less attain the office? What has happened in America that the most important position in our government is being sought by such incredibly unqualified candidates? What is happening in America that outright lies are not only being told, but doubled down on and believed!

    • RobA says:

      Politics is a uniquely unusual animal in which it is often more desirable to be average then exceptional.

      the “common man” or “man of the people” trope is often directed at popular politicians. Ppl seem to want someone just like them even though most people are (by definition) decidedly average. “Elites” (I. E. really smart people) are often derided.

      I even remember when Obama caught flak from Rush and Co because he was spotted using grey poupon on his food (“what, he can’t eat regular mustard lIke the rest of us?”)

      In pretty much every other discipline, we want the best and brightest. The best surgeon, we watch the best athletes, the best lawyers.

      But we want the people who run our country to be regular joe’s.

      Weird.

  36. briandrush says:

    Well, as bogus as those claims were, the constituents of politicians like Perry and other Neo-Confederates do, in fact, have cause for alarm. White people represent a declining majority, and before long won’t be a majority at all. White people of their sort are already a minority (young white people are mostly “race traitors”). That we have a black president is symptomatic of this decline — it could never have happened when they were young.

    Indeed, the world — or at least their world — is coming to an end, and panic is entirely warranted.

  37. RobA says:

    Keep em scared and they’ll do whatever you tell them too.

    It’s a well worn script. Everyone knows the playboOk

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