Is it terrorism?

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.14.00 PM“Although I’m certain that no politician or terror expert would agree, I suspect that this kind of chronic low-level terrorism may be a permanent feature of metropolitan life.”
Author, Michael Mewshaw

An explosion rips through a bus on a highway. Several off-duty soldiers are onboard, but the dead include civilians, many of them women and children. A badly wounded driver successfully brings the careening vehicle to a stop, saving the lives of dozens of other wounded survivors.

That’s the only available information. Is it terrorism?

Our answer carries enormous weight. Terrorism can transcend the boundary between crime and war. When an organization launches otherwise criminal acts toward a political end, dealing with them effectively may require resources and tactics that extend beyond the capabilities of law enforcement. In fact, a well-organized campaign of terror would generally include attacks on police targets sufficient to weaken their capacity to respond.

Once the public is persuaded that a perpetrator is engaged in terrorism, political leaders enjoy a remarkably free hand to respond. That usually includes a burst of public support for whatever group or cause was allegedly targeted, and the de-legitimation of the assumed perpetrators. A classic terrorist campaign intentionally elicits this response.

In a campaign of terrorism, acts of shocking violence are intended to create a cleaving effect in society. An overreaction by the targeted group against innocents who share some ethnic or class tie with the terrorists pulls otherwise comfortable or indifferent civilians off the sidelines and into the fray. Terrorism is designed to provoke an enemy into foolish choices, undermining itself at little cost to the attacker.

Complicating our response is a strange problem, an emerging feature of our globalized world. Terrorism has evolved in an odd direction. Much of what passes for terrorism, or even claims to be terrorism, is nothing more than window dressing for murder. Those crimes sometimes coalesce around a semi-definable goal, but they are missing any coherent political dimension. Responding to this climate in a manner befitting a targeted terror campaign will lead to mistakes, sometimes deadly and enormously costly. And it won’t work.

According to federal law, terrorism:

Involves acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law; Appear intended

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping

Should this definition apply to a lone perpetrator? What if the terrorist was insane and his “cause” was imagined? Our official definition of terrorism was expanded under the Patriot Act in response to the 9/11 attacks, specifically to extend their coverage to domestic activities. However, the reasoning behind this definition goes back to a much older model of terrorism, one that is virtually extinct.

Let’s return to the incident described in the first paragraph. That bus bombing was carried out in 1974 by Irish Catholics, killing 11 people and wounding another 50. It was the IRA’s first major terror attack in England. The M62 attack launched a new, far more deadly phase in the IRA’s campaign for a unified, Catholic Ireland. For the next three decades the organization would move away from guerilla attacks on British military targets in Ireland, concentrating more and more on a campaign of indiscriminate civilian slaughter inside England.

It is important to remember that throughout this period Northern Irish Republicans were an organized political force, maintaining an official political party, Sein Fein. While the IRA waged a violent campaign of terrorism, Sein Fein consistently elected a member to the House of Commons. There was always a clear, coherent political objective behind the terrorist campaign. IRA murders carried a weight beyond criminal jurisprudence.

An international reconciliation effort launched by the Clinton Administration in the 1990’s eventually led Sein Fein and the IRA to renounce terrorism. Today Sein Fein is a legitimate political party partnering to sustain a tentative, but deepening calm in Northern Ireland.

Our understanding of the role and meaning of terrorism evolved under the nearly forgotten influence of the Irish Republican Army, the PLO, Baader-Meinhof, Black September, and the Red Brigades. Much of what we learned in dealing with that mode of terrorism has become an obstacle to sound policy today. Today, treating terrorism as an extension of politics is a mistake. By militarizing what is increasingly a criminal matter we are unleashing dangerous forces inside our political process and undermining our own interests abroad.

In that historic mode, terrorism was explicitly political. Though international, it enjoyed internal sponsorship and support, usually organized to abet the goals of an active, otherwise legitimate political party. People committing these acts might be sociopaths of some sort, but they were sociopaths with organization, leadership, and definable goals. Acts of extreme violence in pursuit of an authentic political purpose created a serious challenge to the rule of law too large for police alone to confront.

Contrast this older model of terrorism with what we see unfolding from the Middle East and the problem becomes clear. ISIS, like Al Qaida before it, is the opposite of a political movement. ISIS is what happens when a political system collapses.

All over the world, the nation-state system is facing pressure from a massive devolution of power away from traditional centers of authority. Where that system is otherwise healthy and vibrant the result has been a surge of personal liberty and new emphasis on human value. Where that system has been brittle and autocratic, central authority is fading away, often replaced by smaller mafia-style entities that control the remaining artifacts of government while chaos swallows provincial backwaters.

Violence in those places coopts whatever local cultural symbols are most familiar and fashionable. In Syria, that means Islam. One book describes the logic behind this violence, and it isn’t the Quran. Lord of Flies outlines in horrifying detail what happens to human beings when we are removed from the constraints of civilization.

So-called Islamic terrorism in the West has no political dimension. It is a spillover effect from chaos abroad, like Zika or Ebola. When a mass shooter in Orlando or San Bernardino claims to be killing for ISIS, does it make sense to treat this as an act of terror? In political terms, what’s the difference between a lone psycho killer shooting people for ISIS and a lone psycho killer shooting the President to impress Jodi Foster? Neither of these incidents call for the same response as the kidnapping and murder of the Italian Prime Minister by the Red Brigade. These are not related activities. They will not respond to the same tactics. The act reflects our own internal struggle with crime and chaos, not any political challenge or foreign influence.

Even when credible members of ISIS strike abroad, it is tough to determine any political implications. There is no ISIS political party in the West, nor will there ever be. There isn’t any such entity anywhere under the control of an organized government. Nothing similar to ISIS can be found among previous terrorist groups. To find a comparison we have to leave politics behind.

We hear very little about the violence engulfing Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. However, the comparisons between ISIS and MS13 are impossible to ignore, from the shape of their violence to their absence of any coherent political objectives. As with MS13, violence not politics, is the center of their appeal. They are fueled by anarchy rather than ideology.

Both ISIS and MS13 have become international magnets for ambitious sociopaths. Both organizations revel in violence for the sake of violence. Both organizations survive on revenue from criminal enterprises. Both organizations recruit on their violence, particularly the opportunity for sexual violence. Either would happily replace a political authority if they could, but neither hold any capacity to govern, either ideologically or materially.

Neither of these organizations have negotiable political goals. Neither could be defeated, or even meaningfully challenged on a battlefield. There is no capital to capture, no head to sever, no strategy to disrupt. Kill every member, destroy every symbol, eliminate any semblance of structure. Fail to create some civilized order in the geography from which they emerged, and another version would emerge within weeks. They live in chaos and thrive when our ill-considered reactions spawn more chaos.

There is no more ideological consistency to Al Shabaab in Somalia than there is to the street gangs in abandoned corners of Chicago. Their relative scope is determined by their distance from organized authority. Despite garbled mission statements by ISIS and other groups none has any credible ambition to replace, reform, or even challenge our political order. We are props in their drama. We are not fighting an ideology. We are fighting chaos. Our response must evolve in response to this reality.

Is it terrorism? Without a definition relevant to modern circumstances, an answer is elusive. And the answer matters. Treating criminals as terrorists elevates them while undermining our counter-measures. Paranoia may be a more potent enemy than the terrorists we love to fear.

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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267 comments on “Is it terrorism?
  1. Miry says:

    Hi, sometimes I get a 404 server error when I arrive at your page. I thought you may wish to know, cheers

  2. fintaann says:

    Really interesting

  3. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    Not that we need many reminders, but aside from trying to avoid a gold plated Trump marquee on the White House, a GOP presidency would greatly impact the Supreme Court, which ruled today to allow (4-3) UT’s affirmative action program (would have tied with Scalia there) but tied (4-4) on Obama’s immigration reform, which essentially blocks the reforms.

    We can probably roll with few real effects if my taxes go up 3% or whether the rest of the world laughs at our President, but the SC has some pretty real and tangible effects on a lot of people.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Today, that same court delivered a slap to the administration’s immigration policies, it should be noted.

      • 1mime says:

        The carrot and the stick, Fifty………

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Politically, Republicans probably aren’t popping the champagne corks at this ruling. It just makes the SC that much more of an election issue for Hispanics and encourages them to go to the polls. Not that they needed THAT much more of an incentive with Trump at the top of the ticket, but hey, what’s a little extra motivation

      • 1mime says:

        I had the same thought, Ryan. Today I must be on parallel brain waves with you and Homer (-;

  4. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    Off topic, but just to celebrate that it is not just American prone to xenophobic idiocy that leads to really poor political decision making, England has the “Brexit” vote coming up to leave the EU.

    Irrational political behavior that actually hurts the economy? Why, we could tell them something about that.

    Sadly, it looks like it will be a squeaker, but happily polling suggests they will vote to not leave.

    I suspect the movement is fueled by many of the same feelings we see in the US with fear of a more global economy and large groups of people being left behind as the economy changes, and then couple that with a convenient target of foreigners, and low and behold, you get a “Brexit” vote and a Donald Trump candidacy.

    • Stephen says:

      I am reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. The author is writing about how our species is different than other hominids. Over history humans have organized into larger and larger groups and sometimes broke into smaller units. But the over all trend is to become larger and more organized. The larger units have been the more successful. The Brexit vote and Trump nativism are both running counter to history.

    • fiftyohm says:

      HT – It is fascinating to me that those on the side of “Exit” are seen as British analogues of Trumpies – that their entire reason for wanting out of the EU is simple, bald, xenophobia. I’ll leave the consequences already experienced by those EU members who have accepted the brunt of the immigration wave for another discussion.

      Britain dodged the first bullet when it rejected the Euro and monetary union. There can be no rational discussion that this decision was not to the nation’s substantial benefit. Consider if you will the circumstance where something like half of all UK laws are dictated by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, and the the citizens have *absolutely no recourse*. And I speak here of asinine crap like prohibiting water bottles from claiming the contents can prevent dehydration, and a prohibition on driving for those suffering from diabetes. Other transient foolishness like regulating the curvature of bananas, and the like suggest the penchant for regulation so loved by the continental politicos.

      The issue is far more complex than racism, and characterizing it so, while providing a convenient, (albeit self-righteous), interpretation is at best reductionist to the point of inaccuracy.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Fifty,

        Re- the Euro
        There are problems with a single currency – like Greece
        But they are fixable – and should have been fixed
        Yes they were not fixed but that is an issue with the stupid Neoliberals

        The thing that people forget is the MASSIVE costs of separate currencies,
        Cost to business
        Companies (like Cummins) work across borders –
        I would have suppliers in several European countries and customers in nearly all of them

        Every time I had to deal with a different currency there would be two drains –
        The exchange mechanism and a buffering mechanism (for exchange rate changes)
        Together they would take at least 2% off my overall profit margins
        Not too bad
        BUT with an overall margin of 6% that was 1/3 of my profit!!

        Staying out of the Euro COST the UK far far more than they have saved

        As far as regulations are concerned – when you actually look into the regulations you find that they are 99% sensible – the stuff reported in the papers is just WRONG most of the time

        The EU regulations are much much BETTER than the US equivalent BECAUSE they were written by Bureaucrats and NOT by lobbyists

      • fiftyohm says:

        Duncan – Well, the pound has retained value, while the Euro has not. That difference is absolutely huge. The UK dodged a bullet. The European economy sucks, and the UK relatively does not.

        Now, insofar as exchange mechanisms are concerned, yes – the banks profited. I’m with you.

        On regulation, I worked with the CE process, and ISO, and all that crap. It added nothing at all to real quality or value, and was really a hidden tax on everything without benefit to anyone except regulators and compliance managers. (My! Don’t I wish we here in the US should be as well protected! Are you kidding?)

        I don’t trust politicians. I especially don’t trust unelected bureaucrats who work for themselves and their own employment longevity, and give a shit about anything else. That’s human nature. Deny it at your peril.

        What is your line on the vote? I think if will lose by w wider margin than anticipated – sort of like the Scottish referendum.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Fifty
        As a Quality Manager/Engineer I can tell you that if you do the ISO stuff right you can save an absolute ton of money

        It is simply impossible to get to modern levels of quality without a decent quality system

        If you think of process improvement as like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the hill – the Quality System is the guy with the wedges following him up the hill

        At Cummins we saved literably Billions by getting the system in and improving our manufacturing systems

        As far as the incredibly stupid decision in the UK – we have now seen the end of the UK

        Within two years Scotland will be independant

        And more from my point of view as my pension is in pounds I have just lost about 30% of my income

      • 1mime says:

        You will probably be correct about the endurance of the pound long term, but short term it’s in the commode….along with the dollar……..For those who have gold in their portfolios, or cash, “cheers”….for most investors, it’s gonna be a long slog back up the road. That’s harder to accomplish when you’re retired than working, so at least for those of you who are still working, you still have time to plug the dike.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Holy shit, was I wrong!!! The world changed a bit today. Hopefully for the better -but we’ll see…

      • Griffin says:

        Yes we see… that your economic ideas are crackpot (still respect you as a person though).

      • 1mime says:

        When Fifty starts telling us Hillary is going to win, we should be scared….the world’s greatest handicapper !

  5. flypusher says:

    A possible angle to consider instead of “no-fly, no-buy”?

    • 1mime says:

      As much as I detest the semi-automatic assault weapons, I am totally convinced that the more important issue is expanding background checks. Get that in place first. For all the males who comment here, note the fact that the vast majority of these murders by gun are committed by men. If you have never known a woman who is in an abusive relationship with a spouse or partner, you might not understand the fear they live with. I don’t know why so many males have such a great need to dominate – eachother and females – but they do. VOX is right – this is the fire beneath the violence.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I agree Mime, that the nuts and bolts of this legislation is not overly effective. But it will be somewhat effective, and to not do anything because we can’t do it all is bad strategy.

        Not to mention, it would be a great symbolic victory and give funds and energy to groups who will fight to keep pushing.

        Enough is enough. The NRA has held the country hostage long enough. People are sick of it, and they may have e waited too long. If this leads to more and more gun control, the NRA doesn’t have much leverage to influence the process at this point.

      • flypusher says:

        I hope that this doesn’t come off as male bashing, but a common ingredient in both terrorism and criminal chaos is angry, disillusioned, constructive-purposeless young men. They are the fuel that gets flung on these fires. What is it in our social structures and/ or in our DNA that produces these people?

        This comes comes back to one of the two reservations I have about the whole UBI scheme- the “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” theme. There are some people who truly do need to be kept occupied. A Dylan Roof who is employed is probably still a horrible human being, but is he less likely to lash out violently if he at least perceives that he has some control over his life?

      • 1mime says:

        I can assure you that I am not “male-bashing”. I like men – those who are centered and treat other people with respect – males and females. But, too much of the time, violence is begat at the hands of men – young and old. And, if not violence, there is too much belittling and condescension of women. It lies at the heart of the fight over womens’ rights and on gun issues. Men and women who are secure within themselves and respect other people simply don’t behave in a derisive manner. They don’t need to stoke their egos.

      • johngalt says:

        It’s not male bashing if it is true, Fly. We have plenty of angry disaffected young men here who cause plenty of problems. The Middle East has a lot more, and they cause far more problems. China and India will face this problem in the next few years, as their grossly distorted sex ratios dump a bunch of unmarriageable young men into society.

      • Stephen says:

        My oldest daughter is a gifted animal handler. She raises very large dogs among other things. When she gets a puppy she has to socialize the animal with people and other animals so it is safe when it is all grown up and potentially very dangerous. Human kids have to be socialize too. And can be much more dangerous than any other animal. The break down of families is part of the cause of violence. And cutting the social safety net is not helping . I am not really conservative or progressive here but just practical. Curiously my daughter says females are the most dangerous because they are the most protective. You put a woman’s children or grandchildren in danger then watch out. She can be the most cunning and dangerous of all. Women and men have often different motives but both can be highly dangerous. Both have to be properly socialize and in older vernacular you would use the words properly raised.

      • flypusher says:

        “Both have to be properly socialize and in older vernacular you would use the words properly raised.”

        A very good point, and there is a lot of failure going on in the socializing if children. I think the recent story about the ex-Stanford swimmer and his slap on the wrist for sexual assault is a very pertinent example. The excuses that family and friends made for his crime were absolutely sickening. The letter written by a female friend was especially discouraging. I’m a pragmatist at my core. While I totally endorse warning young women about the dangers of drinking too much, I see a huge failure in the teaching of an even more important lesson to young men: that women are also human beings, with rights and feelings, and they do not exist solely for your pleasure. Also you shouldn’t drink too much either, as you can wreck your ability to recognize the lack of consent.

  6. Rob Ambrose says:

    Powerful speech.

  7. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Interesting poll out of Texas. Trump currently leads Clinton, but only by about seven points. More interesting, over half of the Republicans in the poll say they may vote for down-ballot candidates OUTSIDE the party. Keeping an eye on the Lone Star State.

  8. Rob Ambrose says:

    Anybody watching this Libertarian Townhall? You may be watching the birth of the first legitimate 3rd party in American politics (as far as I’m aware). I disagree with key parts of the LP platform, but do agree whole heartedly on others. That said, I can see this appealing to a whole lot of people and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the LP polls high enough to make the debates over the next few months.

    Perhaps more then the message is the messengers. It was satisfying to me to watch politicians who seemed like they actually had principles and the conviction of them. It would have been very easy for Johnson to get mealy mouthed or weak about drugs when the woman with the brain dead kid berated him. Instead he was pretty firm in that drugs need to be decriminalized, harm reduction policies in place. Drugs need to be treated like a public health problem, not a criminal one.

    In any case, these two seem like sane, reasonable people of integrity. I could see that alone being enough to appeal to an awful lot of people this cycle.

    • 1mime says:

      I’m watching history be made in the House. That “trumps” the libertarian meet and greet for me.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Yeah thats amazing. Looks like something may have changed with regards to guns. We all knew gun control polled highly. Just a matter of time that would boil over into political action. Apparently the Congressional offices have been getting lit up since Orlando. Kinda ssems like that’s how democracy is supposed to work.

        I don’t think any assault weapons bans are happening in the next week or anything. But once they start the controls, it may surprise how fast they go with it. People are probably just sick of being cowed by 2A gun nuts.

      • 1mime says:

        I know I am tired of hearing it and absolutely don’t buy it. I have to believe I am one of many, but I have a voice, however limited, on this blog, and I intend to use it.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        It sure feels different this time, Mime.

        Acts of proof that Democracy ain’t dead yet. Gun control is the clear willof the people, with some form of it supported upwards of 70+%. The GOP ignores that at their peril.

      • Sir Mapie De Crow says:

        Well, Bill O’reilly says he wants to slap the face of Rep. Jim Clyburn.

        Why? Because he commited the cardinal sin of trying to turn the aftermath of the Orlando massacre (and the many mass shooting incidents prior) into a productive debate about the issue of gun control (or keeping devastating weapons out of the hands of disturbed people) instead of… terrorism.

        Well this is interesting.
        I have a counter proposal.

        Rather than having the spectacle of a white arch-conservative pundit from Fox News slapping the face of a respected, elderly African-American elected official from the former heart of the Confederacy and a recent racist church massacre (South Carolina) for having “uppity” ideas about gun control, Bill can try and slap me instead.

        And then he can see what he gets when I respond in an equally appropriate manner.

        Don’t worry Bill, I’m relatively young.
        I can take it and I can most certainly dish it out.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        The dam of obstruction on gun control feels like it just got a few more cracks in it. This is unprecedented.

      • 1mime says:

        Last night’s action by Dems to hold a “sit in” to force a vote on 2 modest gun bills, will have consequences. It clearly shows how deeply Dems feel on this issue, and how frustrated they are with years of Republican dismissal of sensible legislation. More important, it supports Rauch’s points in the Atlantic article that our institutions are breaking down. That is both good and bad. Bad because our government is not working “for” the people; rather, it is working “for” party. Good because for the first time in a very long time, Democrats are standing up for what they believe. They are not grumbling and accepting, they are speaking out and risking. Sometimes you have to do this in life – when the odds are continually stacked against you and when the cause is so important that to remain submissive and silent is no longer possible.

        I am sorry it came to this for Democrats and especially on an issue that should unite our leaders rather than divide them. There is a groundswell of support for reasonable gun control and it’s about time it became a highly visible, public movement.

      • rulezero says:

        It may be because I live in Georgia and I’m inundated with it, but I’m going to be the odd man out here. I have a feeling that this will gloriously backfire on the Dems. If the Dems could play dirty like the Pubs have a tendency to do, it might have some effect.

        All the NRA will have to do is come out and start their slippery slope arguments (what will they restrict next? they’re coming to take your guns) combined with the Pubs (look at these Dems, they’re using the floor of the House for political gain in offense to this ancient institution). They’ll figure out some way to get a sound bite or a bumper sticker message, put out to talk radio, and the Dems could very well be crushed.

        Honestly, I’d use the same argument that Tom Cole used. He stated that this sit in is to force a vote. What’s stopping them from just sitting down at everything they don’t like or want to move on?

        Dems seem to have a spectacular ability to politically shoot themselves in the foot and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

      • 1mime says:

        I hear you rulezero, but here’s the thing: what has quietly accepting their “lot” achieved? I understand there will be negative consequences for flouting the rules. But, I think something bigger is happening. I hope it is happening. I see Democrats finally becoming assertive about issues that matter to Americans. There is passion and conviction and yes, there is mutiny. Remember the Boston Tea Party when people finally had “enough”? We will have to see how the public responds to this but at the very least, what is more important to me is that Democrats are starting to fight back. Being one of six children taught me many valuable lessons. One was, to stand your ground on the big stuff. The stuff that really mattered to you because most of the time the majority got their way. Kind of simplistic but true. There simply is a point at which one has to stand up and speak out and the forum may not be ideal but the time has come for honesty.

      • 1mime says:

        Rulezero, here’s what’s at stake and this is why Dems are so frustrated with Republican tactics. I hope Obama vetos this legislation. Note the cuts to the ACA and women’s programs. I have not read the bill language but this article provides a summary.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Rulezero – think about that for a second: over 90% (!!) of Americans want no fly/no buy. You can’t get that kind of support for Mothers Day. You think then demanding Congress do its job and simply HOLD A VOTE on this issue is going to backfire on Dems? That, to me, seems insane.

        The NRA can trot out its slippery slope arguments all it wants. First of all, they e been doing it for decades. Nobody in 2016 is going to say “ya know, they’re right”. Secondly, “Slippery slope” arguments only work when the place where that slippery slope leads is a place people don’t want to go. Most Americans want gun control. A “slippery slope” argument that leads to more gun control will bolster the Dems, not hurt them.

        And for what? Dems are not demanding PASSAGE of the bill. They are merely asking for the eminently reasonable request of VOTING on a bill. Do you really think the American people are going to turn on Dems because they are demanding a simple VOTE on an issue that has more then 90% support? You think they’ll support GOP who doesn’t have the courage of their convictions to hold a VOTE? They know the public overwhelmingly favors these measures and they’re too afraid to put their name beside a yes or a no. At the same time, they’re too cowed by the NRA.

        That kind of political cowardice will not play well.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “Honestly, I’d use the same argument that Tom Cole used. He stated that this sit in is to force a vote. What’s stopping them from just sitting down at everything they don’t like or want to move on?”

        Well, because if they did that again and again, at some point it would become counterproductive as Dems got the rep as obstructionism (that the GOP currently has). The very fact that they DONT make this a habit gives power to the time they DO. Some hills are worth dying on and some are not. This is one, and the Dems are doing the will of the People. They will be rewarded for this.

        “Dems seem to have a spectacular ability to politically shoot themselves in the foot and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

        This is a peculiar statement. Can you give even one example? Seems the Dems have won political victory after political victory since Obama came in. Granted, progress has been slowed immensely and those victories are not as frequent, but what major political defeat have the Dems suffered? What major victories have the GOP won?

        From O’care, to the Iran deal, to the TPP, to Obergfell etc, seems Obama has stolen the GOP’s lunch. The GOP Congress has historic polling lows. The shutdown by Ted Cruz fell on them, not the Dems. The GOP is unable to pass even the most basic of functioning spending bills.

        Where are these Democratic defeats? This will be another Dem win, because they saved their bullets for an issue that actually matters. And if they can force a vote, it will pass. The GOP cannot vote against a measure with such overwhelming support. That’s why they don’t want to even hold a vote.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I should add, the optics are going to favor the Dems. They look like principled dissenters, willing to do what it takes to pass laws with overwhelming support. The GOP looks like cowards who ran away in the middle of the night with their tail between their legs. The Dems will sit there for two weeks (in shifts, of course). I truly believe that, there will be at least one Dem on the floor until they reconvene. That kind of commitment to a cause makes for powerful symbolism. The GOP is going to look really bad if they continue to hold off a vote.

      If they’re so sure of their opinions, why not just hold a vote? It takes a few minutes and they can call the Dems bluff. The very fact that they are afraid to put their name on a yes or no vote, whike the Dems feel so strongly about it theyre holding an unprecedented sit in is all the evidence one needs that they are on the wrong side.

  9. Stephen says:

    This blog post reminds me of the remarks my high school German teacher said. She was a war bride and told us it was remarkable how we ( Americans ) organize and generate order spontaneous. Self governance is a centuries old tradition with us. This is one of our greatest strength and a main reason why so many others want to join us and become part of us. With out order Capitlism fails and society degenerates into strong men , war lords fighting for domination. Exactly what we see in the middle east and in many places in Latin America. Yes we have problems but compare to many other places are not that bad.

  10. 1mime says:

    OT, but Speaker Ryan just released his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”. I won’t spoil the intrigue by summarizing it for you. Let me just note that millions more will be without health care if this plan succeeds.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Be interesting to see what Trump says Mime.

      I swear, Medicare (or Medicaid) must have killed his father when he was young, or beat his mother or something. He has a blood feud against them.

      He’s sneaking Medicare “reform” (aka voucherization) into his Plan, and Trump is clear on not touching them. Be interesting to see how their Ryan’s tepid endorsement goes if Trump says he’ll veto it.

      • 1mime says:

        I fully expect Hillary to respond to Ryan’s proposal, which is really not much different than his old proposals. Making major changes to Medicare especially right before an election may appeal to conservatives, but most of my conservative GOP peers are pretty set on not touching medicare. I think HRC will be all over this as will her campaigner in chief, Obama.

      • 1mime says:

        It gets better. The Republicans are now playing games with funding for the Zika Virus….insisting that the allocation be paid for by cuts to the ACA….speak of the devil…
        Instead, they’ll adjourn and let nature take its course…….

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I just feel like Ryan and like minded thinkers are so laser focused on Medicare, theyve long stopped aski g themselves if it’s actually good policy.

        As they say, good policy makes good politics. I don’t know where Ryan thinks the constituency is that’s going to get excited about cutting M’care/M’caid, but outside of right win think tanks and billionaires, I don’t think they exist.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, he’s put it out there. If he’s included enough details so that it can be properly scrutinized and priced, we’ll see. I am not opposed to positive changes to the ACA – it can be better. But, things can be a whole lot worse with a new plan. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until I read the fine print, but let me acknowledge that I am not expecting to be impressed. Do you think maybe that Dems can rally all the folks who will be cut loose from health care again? These people must feel so abused, toyed with. Of course, I believe health care should be a right, not a privilege so I am coming from that POV.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      From the link:

      Developing a comprehensive alternative requires engaging in difficult trade-offs to balance the Republican goals of decreasing costs and deregulating the insurance market against a potential decline in coverage rates and the demise of popular Obamacare provisions such as ending insurer denials for “preexisting conditions.”

      As if deregulating insurance companies won’t increase costs. What is Ryan smoking?

      Krugman frequently mentions the asterisk place-holders for unknown numbers in Ryan’s budgetary efforts. This is kinda like those asterisks.

      They don’t know how much it will cost. They don’t if it will provide enough and appropriate coverage. However, the one thing it will do is not be Obamacare.

      It’s a jerk proposal.

      • 1mime says:

        I have to feel it’s being thrown out there now to motivate their base who hates the ACA….But, as I mentioned above to Rob, most seniors I know do not want Ryan’s voucherization of Medicare, thank you very much. Even Republican seniors don’t trust that they won’t lose big time under this major change.

        Once the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) vets the proposal, it won’t look too good. However, I don’t look to Ryan or the Repubs to request the vetting, but Dems will. Supposedly the plan retains the mandatory coverage for pre-existing but it’s kind of squirrely….What I ‘ve read in the past is it’s a “one time pass on pre-existing”, but need to read the fine print which I honestly haven’t done yet.

    • lomamonster says:

      We don’t even need the GOP for ruining health care. United Health Care has decided to terminate individual policies in the next six months, leaving exact tracks in the wake of the Blue Cross Blue Shield disaster here in Texas. Our insurance agents are at a loss right now and conferencing to see if there might be a way to replace those lost policies. So far, there is nothing out there – whatever the price for a PPO past that termination date.

      • 1mime says:

        I have felt for a very long time that the major problem with America’s health care can be laid at the feet of: health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Together, they have raped the citizens of our country, made obscene profits while denying coverage for millions. That Republicans can and do support this business model is obscene.

        You know what? I am cynical enough to believe that these two companies are gaming the system…..IOW, they are taking their marbles and going home. If there is one issue that I think Bernie got right, it’s health care should be a right, not a privilege. Expensive? Certainly, but if it is a public need, and if it is the public’s priority, shouldn’t the Congressional budget priorities reflect that?

        Don’t get me started, Loma. It’s sickening. All over this land there are Americans insured by these two monster corporations who are scared to death they will lose their coverage. And, you know what? They should be scared.

        We need a revolution in this country alright. It’s time people did stand up and make a scene.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        loma, united health care can’t both be a responsible health insurer AND pay its CEO so far off the grid its staggering.

        In the early 2000s, they paid a guy over $1B. Yes, that’s a B. The IRS and the SEC forced him to pay some of it back because he was manipulating stock options.

        Last year, they paid their guy $66M.

        They’re a disgusting company.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, don’t wail because you’re not making your “normal” profits when you’re dishing out this kind of dough for your CEO. Like I said, big Pharma and big insurance are calling the shots in health care We won’t get a solid, responsible health care system in this country until we deal with these two players.

      • johngalt says:

        To be fair, the problems with our health care system are much deeper than just the insurers and big pharma.

      • 1mime says:

        “Our problems with health care go a lot farther than big pharma and insurance….”

        Yes, it’s a very complex problem but these two parties are such major contributors that I singled them out. The list is much longer, but, you have to start somewhere.

    • lomamonster says:

      1mime, you are right, it is damned scary. Our county hospital only accepts PPO’s and that is where the train wreck will occur. No one can afford the emergency room in the end…

      • 1mime says:

        Not even “we the taxpayers”, because that’s where ALL uninsured people will have to go for care…….

  11. tuttabellamia says:

    I think it would be really cool and helpful if a Trump supporter or two would make an appearance here, even if only a cameo appearance, and explain why you support Mr. Trump, to explain his appeal.

    This is not a call to come here to be eaten alive. The invitation is sincere. Otherwise, we will all continue to sit here speculating ad nauseum about why we THINK he appeals to so many people, to the point that this place has become an echo chamber, at least as it relates to Mr Trump.

    I extend my hand in peace and welcome a peaceful response.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      If this gentleman has the possibility of becoming our next president, then I truly welcome a serious and sincere presentation about his positive qualities.

      I am tired of the outrage I see in the media, and the idea that the end of the world is near should he become president.

      • Well, his hair defies the laws of physics. That’s gotta be worth something…

      • Sir Mapie De Crow says:

        A comment by Trump from his glorious past in which he confirmed he likely made back in his illustrious past (source: Rolling Stone).

        “I have black guys counting my money… I hate it. The only guys I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes all day.”

        Also, Donald Trump’s legal and political mentor back in the day was Roy Cohn.
        Yeah, the right hand man of Joseph McCarthy (the godfather of McCarthism).

        Also, why was Roy Cohn the legal advisor to the Donald? Well he and his dad got in trouble for racial housing discrimination toward African-American and Hispanic tenants back in the day… when they were effectively slum lords in New York City. (source: Politico)

        If Donald Trump is president that means he will call the shots over many sectors of government (like signing off on administrative appointees), including the civil rights division of the Justice Department.

        Does anyone here doubt a President Trump would inviscerate that vital part of govermental oversight that helps prevent the worse kind of discrimination from re-occuring in our society?

        So I am sorry tuttabellamia,
        who thinks “If this gentleman has the possibility of becoming our next president, then I truly welcome a serious and sincere presentation about his positive qualities. I am tired of the outrage I see in the media, and the idea that the end of the world is near should he become president.”

        And I am sorry Tracy Thorleifson,
        who has indicated he will likely vote for Trump because Hillary is just too awful in comparison because… guns.

        I just don’t have the luxury or maybe your PRIVILAGE of enduring the minor side effects of a Trump presidency, that are pehaps less threatening to you.

        So please… forgive me for my alarmism.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Dear Sir, in what way am I privileged? Do you know me? Does anyone truly know anyone just from reading their online comments?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Sir, I have no intention of voting for Trump, but I don’t like the way in which he has my fellow Hispanics terrorized, how he is getting the best of us. The best way to handle him is not to let him get to us, to just dismiss him and vote against him.

      • 1mime says:

        What’s sad and dangerous about Trump are those who actually believe him that he will “fix” their problems. That voting for someone who is saying “things” that reflect your deepest fears and anger will actually change your situation if they are elected. It’s a duping of an electorate that have far more to lose by electing him than living under the presidency of a woman they find so unacceptable.

    • vikinghou says:

      My father is going to vote for Trump. He would have preferred Kasich as the GOP nominee. He thinks Trump is just awful, but he can’t abide Hillary. So his vote will be a “lesser of two evils” statement.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        So, the only thing Mr. Trump has going for him is that he’s not Mrs. Clinton?

      • vikinghou says:

        Precisely that.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        May I ask your father’s age range? I think you mentioned once that you’re a baby boomer.

      • vikinghou says:

        Dad is 92 and watches way too much Fox News.

      • texan5142 says:

        “Dad is 92 and watches way too much Fox News.”

        My sincere condolences for your loss vikinghou.

      • Dittos with your Dad, Viking. I think they’re both absolutely, positively *awful* – instant gag reflex with either. That said, I *cannot* vote for Hillary based on 3 items:

        1) History of corruption.
        2) Egregious lying (even for a politician)
        3) Radical position on gun control and 2A

        I could maybe get past 1) and 2), but I simply cannot vote for somebody who has pledged to attack the Constitution from the day she takes office.

        I’d vote for the hash-brownie eater, but that would effectively be a vote for Hillary. So I’ll end up voting *against* Hillary by pulling the lever for Trump. What a sad and disgusting state of affairs. 😦

      • tuttabellamia says:

        With Hillary, at least you know what you’re getting. Trump is unpredictable. Better the devil you know.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Unless you’re willing to take your chances with the devil you don’t know.

      • texan5142 says:

        Tracy you do know that Trump is a liar also, and a crook, and a deadbeat, and a rapist.

        CLAIM: Hillary Clinton “is a world class liar”

        The facts: According to PolitiFact, 59% of Trump’s checked claims have been deemed false or “Pants on Fire” false, versus 12% for Clinton.

        Donald Trump:

        True: 2%
        Mostly True: 7%
        Half True: 15%
        Mostly False: 17%
        False: 40%
        Pants on Fire: 19%

        Hillary Clinton:

        True: 23%
        Mostly True: 28%
        Half True: 21%
        Mostly False: 15%
        False: 11%
        Pants on Fire: 1%

      • texan5142 says:

        “1) History of corruption.”

        Please list the charges of corruption, prosecution and conviction, or is due process only for those on no fly list who want to buy a gun

      • 1mime says:

        There are liars, and then there are LIARS. I hope you have time to answer TX’s question, Tracy. Here’s a fact-check of just today’s speech by Trump.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Who knew that conservatives could be such risk takers, throwing caution to the wind and choosing someone so unpredictable? Isn’t that the opposite of the meaning of the word conservative? 🙂

        What I take from this is that perhaps libertarian-leaning conservatives hope the vacillating, inexperienced, and inwardly engrossed Mr. Trump will by default turn out to be a laissez-faire president, which is preferable to a controlling Mrs. Clinton who knows exactly what she wants and how to achieve it.

      • 1mime says:

        You are on to something, Tutta. Note that Trump just fired his original campaign manager in favor of a traditionalist. He is already hewing more to the center and following the party line in his tactics. More than anything else, I don’t believe Trump wants to be embarrassed. He has laid it all bare and he would lose more than just ego – he would lose his brand.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi tutta
        The GOP stopped being “conservative” a long time ago – the correct term for GOP policies is “Radical”

      • fiftyohm says:

        Hey Tracy – Vote for Johnson. We live in Texas, after all. The R candidate is going to get those electoral votes no matter what. At least in doing so I can live with my conscience!

      • johngalt says:

        Hillary’s “radical” position on gun control is pretty close to where 90% of the American public is. There is a radical about gun control here, but it’s not her.

        And I’m with Texan here. Hillary’s history of lying and corruption appears almost entirely made up by right wing media. Ken Starr had to begin obsessing about what Bill was doing with interns precisely because he could find utterly nothing else to based charges on. She’s run a pretty clean campaign (twice) and, with the exception of the email thing (which was boneheaded but not criminal) there’s really just not that much factual dirt against her, if you are willing to live in a fact-based world.

      • texan5142 says:

        I wrote a reply about the second amendment also, but figured I was talking to a brick wall so I cancelled the reply, bottom line, the constitution is a living document and people will have to amendment it. Too many guns in this country, accept a few feel good bills, or expect a constitutional amendment. Times are changing, or you could use your constitutional rights, the left has guns also also I might remind you.

        The government is occupied by Americans just like you or me, don’t be so quick to scapegoat them.

    • formdib says:

      I am not a Trump supporter but I know a couple-few. I have paid attention to their arguments and will try to be honest about representing their viewpoint as I understand it. I also want to reiterate, guys, that when I talk about ‘I know a few people’ and ‘my friends say’, I mean real, true life people I spend time with and not message boards. You guys ARE the political message board I talk to, and I only started talking here because I had to get political thoughts and anxieties out of my head to anonymous people who seem to be understanding. I don’t make a habit of talking politics IRL, and instead try to listen and ask questions.

      So first off, I know one balls-to-the-wall straight up Trump supporter. We’ll call him M. He is not a Trump supporter this year, he’s been a Trump supporter as long as I’ve known him. He and I worked together for a couple of years from 2010-12 abroad (long story), and he’d tell me a lot about Trump and his other political beliefs back then. For one thing, he loves this one story about Trump:

      “A new real estate developer working under Trump ended up making a bad investment in a building that cost the company $3million. Trump invited the newbie up to his office to talk about it directly and the guy thought he was about to see his career end forever. Trump asked what happened and the developer talked through what he thought was buying and when he realized it was a bad investment. Trump nodded his head and said, ‘You may think you’re fired, but the way I see it I just spent $3million training you to never make a mistake like that again.'”

      Now I can’t confirm, but I’m pretty sure that story is right out of inspirational / self-help book lore about Rockefeller. I have no idea whether Trump wrote this story into one of his books, or where my friend M heard this story. I do know I’ve heard the story before, and Trump was NOT the billionaire industrialist in it the first time I heard it.

      Anyway my point is that M loves Trump. He also thinks Obama is a socialist, Hillary is a socialist (he calls Hillary a ‘Hildebeast’) and Bernie Sanders is a ‘pinko commie faggot.’ Apologies for the terminology but that’s what he says, with no sense of remorse or self-awareness.

      I could write volumes about this guy’s political rants but to keep it brief, basically he’s a Michael Savage audience member who argues people down and never lets go of an argument, to the point that people around him just don’t bother arguing with him at all, which he literally perceives as, “I was telling them about this, and they did not disagree.” He doesn’t realize that his behavior like that makes people uncomfortable and causes him to lose jobs / friends, so in a lot of cases he feels isolated and marginalized, which extends his anger and feeling of victimization.

      Nevertheless he is my friend and someone I’ve worked with, he’s hard to deal with but a lot of my friends are for various reasons political, behavior, or otherwise. He’s been very helpful and encouraging to me and I’ve helped him out with quite a few projects, so I just ignore his politics and keep doing my thing once he raises it.

      My next friend who is definitely voting for Trump is B. B is more straightforward. B does not care who wins as long as whoever wins is not ‘establishment’. B is definitely sold on the narrative that our freedom and representative government is more an illusion that we have accepted while the government apparatus moves to funnel money and property from the poor to the rich. Every political argument with him keeps focused on that specific narrative and he is adamant that Hillary is worse than Trump in every sense of corporate greed, government lies, fraudulent behavior, and elitist disdain for common sense. He registered Democrat this year to vote for Bernie but it was never because of recognizing representation in Bernie: he just wanted to make Hillary’s road to the White House as difficult as possible. Unlike Bernie bros threatening Hillary with Trump votes, he will absolutely follow throw with voting for Trump because he wants to see the government deal with Trump the way 538 writers want to see a contested convention: he knows it’ll probably be a shitshow, but he wants to watch.

      I have a lighter variant of that friend, D, who is my age and points out that if Hillary wins, he’ll have spent 70% of his life under either a President Bush or a President Clinton. Whereas he keeps talking about voting Trump as a protest vote, I’m pretty sure he’s going to end up not voting at all. Don’t know if that counts.

      As I’ve mentioned before, I know of at least two die-hard Bernie bros threatening Clinton with Trump votes. At this time they are currently posting data analytic research papers from that that one Stanford guy who claims the chances of Hillary winning the primary without fraud are 1 in 70billion or whatever. They also keep repeating that the Democrats ‘deserve’ Trump and if Trump is what is necessary to break the Democratic party apart for not listening to ‘the people’, then maybe he’s a necessary tool to force change.

      People here keep telling me they’ll ‘come around’, and I keep telling them that at best, if they come around at all they’ll vote for Jill Stein rather than Clinton. They will not vote for Clinton, but they are very engaged in voting down-ballot, so they will vote. But they will not vote for Clinton. They’ve set too much of their identity on the established fact that she’s cheated, so to vote for her would constitute betrayal of their beliefs.

      Lastly there’s one guy I know, H, who gets darkly silent whenever people start talking shit out loud about Trump. He puts on the same Mona Lisa smile and attention-diverting gaze I get when people talk politics to me. Hence I conclude he probably intends to vote Trump, but I don’t really know why. He’s the one I’m most curious about, but neither he nor I discuss politics publicly, so ….

      That’s the best I can do at least. You could always try to find another forum where Trumpeters talk and ask questions.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thanks, Form. My boss will sometimes venture to say we need Mr. Trump because he’s “business friendly,” but then I will say that I could never vote for Mr. Trump, and then we both go silent, unwilling to start an argument about politics, which is probably wise. One of my in-laws voted for Mr. Trump in the primary, because he supposedly had the best chance of leading the Republicans to victory in November. I hear she now regrets her earlier vote, but I doubt that means she will vote for Mrs. Clinton.I don’t dare bring up the subject, because it’s not a good idea to argue with your in-laws.

        So, I guess when presented with the possibility of a real-life discussion about why Mr. Trump is so great, I avoid the topic, so maybe I don’t really want to know. I definitely don’t want to hear what’s bad about Mrs. Clinton, because I don’t consider that to be a legitimate response to what’s good about Mr. Trump.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Fortunately, both my boyfriend and I hate Mr. Trump, although for different reasons.

        I’ve heard of couples experiencing a major strain on their marriages over this man,

  12. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Huh, so Rubio decided to go back on his word and run for reelection after all. I’m shocked. Spoiler: No, I’m not.

    In all seriousness though, even though it’s still early, we just had a poll come out showing Trump losing badly to Clinton in my home state by almost ten points. With its large Hispanic vote, which will almost surely turn out in strong numbers to vote against Trump, does Rubio think he can somehow buck the trend of an anti-Trump wave and keep his Senate seat? Best of luck, kiddo.

    • vikinghou says:

      Plus, the opponent will certainly cite Rubio’s negative remarks about being a Senator, and Rubio’s absenteeism there.

    • Ryan,
      i live in Florida. Rubio is not all that well liked down here. He got trounced by Trump! I have a feeling he is going back to the senate because the pickings for him in the private sector are not all that great, at least not what he thought they would be.

      • 1mime says:

        Let us hope that his constituents remember his stated disdain for the workings of the Senate as well as his record of missed votes, of which he is the record holder.

  13. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    I claimed in the comments of the last article that an assault weapons ban would be a lot of political will spent on something that will produce little effect, and if gun control is your aim, show people that it doesn’t work.

    Here’s a link that furthers my position

    The data is important. Kneejerking away into idiotic laws never ends well. Reality always strikes back.

    • fiftyohm says:

      PR – And just think of all those suicides committed by “hands, fists, feet, and other”.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        This data is for homicides. I’ll see if I can find data on suicides.

        I suspect that long “assault” weapons don’t play a huge role in suicides either.

      • fiftyohm says:

        PR – I know. I was just being a jerk. I had this mental image of some guy kicking himself to death.

      • 1mime says:

        Suicide is always tragic and as one who has known someone who committed suicide, it’s a very sad thing all around.

    • 1mime says:

      Pseudo, isn’t one of the main reasons to ban assault weapons due to the large ammo clips that can be attached? I do want sensible, enforceable, effective handling of this problem.

      • fiftyohm says:

        OK mime. Every time I hear “ammo clip”, I barf in my mouth a little. Please, please use the proper term. They are called “magazines”, or “mags” if you like. They can also be high-capacity. You see “ammo clip” is first of all redundant. Secondly, no firearm has been fed by a clip since the M1 Garand in WWII.

        Thank you, and good morning!

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct, Fifty. If I am going to publicly state my objection to semi-automatic assault weapons and the high capacity “mags” that accompany them, I should at least be accurate in my wording. Point well taken.

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct, Fifty. If I am going to offer my opinion on this matter (assault rifles/mags), I need to use correct terminology. Point well taken. For the record: I believe semi-automatic assault rifles and high capacity magazines should be restricted to military and law enforcement entities.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Mime – you have just been gunsplained. May I suggest that when you refer to semi-automatic weapons with high rate of fire and high capacity magazines as, “” bang bang tissue shredders that go bang quick and for a long time.”

        Hope I helped.

      • 1mime says:

        There is no need for personal use of such weapons. Keep them in the hands of military and law enforcement. I can handle the criticism.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Unarmed – *Big smile*!

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Mime – I was trying to get my tongue into my cheek through my clenched teeth. Kinda reacting to a couple of articles and threads elsewhere, where the writer implies that someone that does not know the terminology of guns are not competent to comment on guns or to make decisions on their regulation.

        Fifty – Not to imply any such motive to you.

      • 1mime says:

        No way we’re gonna give Fifty a pass (-;

      • fiftyohm says:

        Gotcha, unarmed. I didn’t take it that way. The comment was really for my own ‘dental health’!

      • 1mime, in my view high capacity magazines are the *only* remotely legitimate reason to consider banning MSRs. If you watched the videos I posted here recently, you’ll quickly realize there is effectively *no* difference in rate of fire between a semi-auto, and a lever or pump action rifle in the hands of anybody with a modicum of skill. (Heck, my dad could work a bolt action rifle at a rate that would curl your hair.) However, a detachable magazine enables rapid reloading, unlike fixed tubular, rotary, or en bloc magazines. If you are going to ban something functional, look at banning detachable magazines in rifles, regardless of action type.

        Note, however, that banning rifles with detachable magazines really would have no discernible effect. California already effectively bans readily detachable magazines; weapons of this type were used in San Bernardino. Multiple shooters, or a single shooter carrying multiple weapons, effectively negates magazine restrictions. Note that Civil War mounted raiders often carried not one, but two *braces* of revolvers (4 in total; 24 rounds in total), and a Henry or Spencer rifle (14 and 7 shots, respectively). That Civil War load out is quite a bit heavier than the modern load out of a single rifle and pistol with multiple magazines, but it’s just as effective in a shootout. And so there you are, back at square one.

      • 1mime says:

        The videos you posted were impressive for the speed and skill of the shooters. I can respect their skills without being impressed at all that anyone cares to develop a skill like that. ‘Nuff said about that.

        You mention that a single shooter could arm themselves with several different types of guns, effectively negating the benefit of prohibiting “detachable magazines”. In fact, in most (not all) of the mass killings, hasn’t the weapon of first choice consistently been the semi-automatic with high capacity mags (T U Fifty)? Were the other guns even fired or needed given the carnage the shooter achieved in short order with the semi-automatic with high capacity mags?

        I know I lack expertise in the area of weapons. That is by choice. What I do possess is a deep personal repugnance for weapons that are legally available that can kill so many people in seconds – “unless these weapons and their accessories are in the use of the military and law enforcement”. I fear we will continue to talk past one another on this issue.

        At least I will make a concerted effort to save Fifty’s dental health and keep him from barfing by using correct terminology. I owe the conversation that much.

      • Yes, 1mime, “high-capacity” magazines were used. The reason they were “high-capacity” is that the 5.56 NATO is a diminutive (and relatively anemic) round. You can fit a lot of them into a magazine that’s short enough not to interfere with you while shooting prone. Hence, the *standard* magazine capacity for AR-style rifles chambered in 5.56 NATO is 30 rounds. It’s just a matter of ergonomics. Note that 20 and 10 round magazines are also available, but they cost the same as the 30 rounder, and don’t offer any ergonomic advantage under practical shooting conditions. So the vast majority of people just buy the 30 rounders.

        The M14 rifle, which was the predecessor the M16 (and MSRs in general) was chambered in a much larger and more powerful round, the 7.62×51 NATO. (This is one of the rounds I hunt deer with; the 5.56 NATO round is actually too wimpy to guarantee humane kills on deer-sized game.) Although the standard M14 magazine is roughly the same length as the above magazine, it holds only 20 rounds – strictly a matter of cartridge size and ergonomics.

        Anyway, most of us who actually *shoot* these rifles find magazine capacity restrictions utterly pointless. Magazines can be swapped in a second or so; the death toll in these incidents is NOT going to be lowered by banning 30 round magazines in favor or 20 or 10 round magazines. It makes NO difference.

      • “…without being impressed at all that anyone cares to develop a skill like that.” Because it’s *FUN*, 1mime. You did notice a good time was had by all in those videos, right? Those of our ancestors who could hit game with a projectile survived and passed on their genes; those who could not starved to death. There’s an atavistic pleasure in hitting *any* target. We are pre-programmed to enjoy hitting targets. You really ought to give it a try, 1mime. You might even like it. 😉

        My Navy SEAL brother often repeats an aphorism common to his community, “One is none, two is one, three is a spare.” Even monsters can figure that out; they carry multiple weapons in case their primary fails.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      That’s only half-true, Pseudo. Essentially, the point that your link makes is that FAR more people are killed by handguns in this country than assault weapons. I agree with that, but that’s still no reason to say that we shouldn’t ban assault weapons, because to conflate the two is comparing apples and oranges.

      As pertaining to the role of assault weapons, the point is whether or not ordinary citizens should be allowed access to weapons that were specifically designed for mass slaughter on the battlefield. I believe that I speak for the majority of Americans when I say that that isn’t how it should be and that we should get these weapons off the streets and away from people.

      Now, with respect to handguns, I’m more apt to go with Lifer’s route in that we should have registration of firearms with a tough but fair insurance and liability requirement, much in the same way as we do with cars.

      And while we’re on the subject of cars, let’s put things in perspective and make a comparison. You don’t see people (or at least I never have) take drag racers or monster trucks out onto ordinary roads, because that’s not where they belong. Much as in the same way with assault weapons, which belong only in war and on the battlefield, bad shit happens when you take something out of its intended environment and, effectively, try to force the proverbial square block into the round hole.

      • 1mime says:

        Pseudo, You’ve just been “gunspained back” (-;

        Good rebuttal, Ryan. Wish I had said that!

      • 1mime says:

        Damn,,,,,”gunsplained”….my fingers are typing faster than my brain is thinking….now, don’t take advantage of this juicy piece of information….

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        If insurance was the plan of action, I probably wouldn’t have too many issues. I’m not against gun control. I know little about guns themselves. If someone wants to make guns “designed for killing people” (aren’t all guns designed for killing? :P) go away, fine, but it’s fixing a problem that doesn’t exist – it’s a moral position, not a practical one.

        The problem that does exist is that the number of people whose deaths and injuries each year that are attributable to guns and guns alone is higher than what many people are willing to tolerate. Banning “assault” weapons isn’t going to fix that. It’s the equivalent of being angry at deaths due to drunk driving and banning sports cars.

        “Insurance and liability requirement” is not on the table. If that was on the table I’d be in full support of it, and probably many other means of gun control which would make it harder for someone unstable or otherwise unable to lead a stable life to either randomly buy a gun, or to maintain and keep a gun past the purchase – just like with a car.

      • Actually, Ryan, pretty much *all firearms* were designed for the battlefield, from matchlocks all the way through fully automatic machine guns. Note that fully automatic firearms have been very heavily regulated since 1934, and no U.S. manufacturing of the same for the civilian market has taken place since 1986. Semiautomatic rifles, on the other hand, have been continuously available to the public for over 100 years in this country.

        So called “assault rifles,” in military terms, are rifles capable of fully automatic fire. (You pull the trigger and bullets just keep on comin’.) What the left likes to call “assault rifles” are actually semi-automatic rifles (pull the trigger, fire one shot) built on the AR (Armalite Rifle) platform; these are referred to as Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) by the people who actually own and shoot them. They are popular for a variety of reasons, the most pertinent one being their extreme modularity – they can be extensively customized without specialty gunsmithing tools and equipment. Note that the confusion of the non-shooting public is understandable; our troops’ M16 and M4 service weapons are also built on the AR platform. However, the latter are capable of fully automatic fire, and the former are not. The M16/M4 *is* designed for modern warfare; the MSR is most definitely not.

        In terms of *semiautomatic* weapons being “designed for war,” the last time we sent troops into combat with semiautomatic rifles was in the Korean War, with the M1 Garand rifle. If memory serves, that was some six-plus decades ago.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        I don’t know about the last bit, Tracy.

        This comic and the blog post below say otherwise (author is a vet).

        Though you could argue that burst fire IS automatic fire, just artificially limited.

      • You do realize he was making fun of Gersh Kuntzman, right? There’s a thing about Marines – they’re cheap. They invented copper wire by stretching pennies. They make do with all the old, used up crap that none of the other service branches want anymore. And they are proud of that. They are *riflemen*. They don’t waste ammo (and they never miss; just ask), so no full auto for them. Actually, most shooting *is* done semiauto. Then again, the funny thing about full auto is that you don’t need it until you need it. The M4A1 is the current select fire variant – it shoots semiauto, 3-round burst, and full auto.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Pseudoperson Randomian: With all respect, let’s not miss the forest for the trees. Yes, all guns are designed for killing, but there’s an obvious difference between a handgun that has a very limited capacity and a military-style assault weapon that can mow down swarms of people in less than a minute. You want to keep a handgun for your own personal defense? As long as you’re responsible and careful about it as a gun owner, be my guest.

        >] “The problem that does exist is that the number of people whose deaths and injuries each year that are attributable to guns and guns alone is higher than what many people are willing to tolerate. Banning “assault” weapons isn’t going to fix that. It’s the equivalent of being angry at deaths due to drunk driving and banning sports cars.”

        Um, no it’s not. In that case, you’d be angry at alcohol and try to ban alcohol (incorrigibly stupid though that would be), not the car.

        That aside, you’re sidestepping the critical issue which I’ve raised, which is the point that military-style weapons which are designed for war and being on the battlefield have no place among civilians. Period, end of story. Name me one reasonable, legitimate reason that those weapons should be on the street and accessible to you or me. I have no reason whatsoever to ever lay my hands on a gun like that, do you?

        @Tracy Thorleifson: With all respect, getting into an argument of semantics about which weapons belong on the battlefield of war will have us here all day, so let’s agree to give a little to get a little. You want access to comparatively powerful weapons for sporting purposes and hunting? Fine, just have them under lock and key in a secure location (perhaps a sporting facility or some other agreeable location) or have said gun equipped with smart gun technology so that you, and only you, can fire that weapon. Let’s stop this nonsense of toddlers and little kids blowing their brains out and respect people’s sportsmanship at the same time, agreed?

      • “…Fine, just have them under lock and key in a secure location…”

        Ryan, my guns are under lock and key in a secure location… in the gun safe in my bedroom closet, which is anchored to the concrete slab of my home. If you want to store your store your guns where they’ll be absolutely useless to you in time of need, knock your lights out. With respect to my guns, with all due respect, piss off.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Tracy Thorleifson: Always keeping it classy, eh, Tracy? Well, thanks but no thanks, and I’m not particularly inclined to let your smart mouth off the hook that easily.

        And just to be clear, I’m also inclined to think that you didn’t read my comment very carefully. I never said anything about taking all your guns, as your reply would seem to infer, and keeping them locked up somewhere else. I spoke specifically with respect to weapons used for sporting and hunting. You want to keep a few extra handguns in your home for your defense? Have at it, be my guest.

        So, with all respect, please try to read my comments more carefully next time or at least ask for some clarification on my part if you’re not sure.

        Furthermore, your reaction was precisely the reason why I made it a point of offering an alternative in the form of smart gun technology, something I noticed you conveniently forgot to even mention. Even for a dedicated gun owner like yourself, surely this is a point of agreement, isn’t it? After all, is there any good reason why you’d want anyone other than yourself being able to handle and even firing your own guns?

        To be fair, I’ve brought up the topic with some… er, rather enthusiastic gun owners in the past and one argument I’ve heard more so than others is that it would be counterproductive to a family’s protection if only one person was able to fire a gun in the house. Two obvious flaws in this argument are that, first you have more than one gun registered to more than one person in the house, and secondly and far more relevantly, studies show that having a gun in the house increases one’s risk of dying from a firearm homicide; in other words, having one’s gun taken away and being killed with it.

        That being true, smart gun technology would, of course, go a long ways in alleviating that risk.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:


        “Yes, all guns are designed for killing, but there’s an obvious difference between a handgun that has a very limited capacity and a military-style assault weapon that can mow down swarms of people in less than a minute.”

        An automatic weapon can mow down a swarm of people, whether it is an machine pistol or an assault rifle doesn’t matter – but we don’t have them in circulation.

        What we are dealing with is semiautomatic weapons – and I will agree that limiting magazine capacities might work (to say, 10 – this will limit rifles and some handguns too). Some states already do. Or, as tracy suggested, regulate reloading mechanisms.

        I don’t own a gun. And I don’t intend to own one. The only reason I’m interested is because both “ban assault weapons” and “no fly no gun” are horrible approaches to solving the problem of large numbers of deaths due to guns.

        “Um, no it’s not. In that case, you’d be angry at alcohol and try to ban alcohol (incorrigibly stupid though that would be), not the car.”

        In this case, the alcohol is the radical jihadist ideology, and the car is the gun. In general terms, the alcohol is a disposition to violence and the car is the gun. Sports cars are “assault rifles” in the sense that, yes they can cause death and injury, and yes, they might even plausibly cause more death and injury because they have more powerful engines, but they really aren’t that common. Limiting access to sports cars would do nothing. But limiting access to regular cars (licences) and regulating safety (Ralph Nader) definitely do help.

        “That aside, you’re sidestepping the critical issue which I’ve raised, which is the point that military-style weapons which are designed for war and being on the battlefield have no place among civilians. Period, end of story. Name me one reasonable, legitimate reason that those weapons should be on the street and accessible to you or me. I have no reason whatsoever to ever lay my hands on a gun like that, do you?”

        Which firearms have a place among civilians according to you? And which of those has not been designed for a battlefield? If your answer is “all of them”, fine – that’s a reasonable position, and so is the logical conclusion of repeal the 2nd amendment. But none of that has anything to do with specifically banning “assault weapons”, nor does it have anything to do with “no fly lists”. In fact. they’re spectacularly bad ways of reaching that goal, the first because it won’t work, and the second because it has the massive side effect of creating large pieces of legislation based on “guilty until proven innocent”.

        If you want to talk about why they are accessible, then we can go back to cars, and ask why any car with over 300 horsepower is accessible to average people. Most people can’t handle that much power, and nobody trains them to handle that much power. That much power is only legally usable on designated tracks, and those are typically the only places which will give you any training on handling that much power. So why? Well, at least one of the reasons can be best answered by this swedish guy (some NSFW language in there)

      • 1mime says:

        OK, if I am understanding your comment clearly, we agree that semi automatic weapons and high capacity “mags” should be limited for military and law enforcement use.

        What are your proposals to address gun violence in America, Pseudo? Where would you begin and what are the highest priorities in your list?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        >] “What we are dealing with is semiautomatic weapons – and I will agree that limiting magazine capacities might work (to say, 10 – this will limit rifles and some handguns too). Some states already do. Or, as tracy suggested, regulate reloading mechanisms.”

        First of all, and with all respect, let’s get off this argument of semantics about what, specifically, to call these weapons. If I call them “assault weapons” and you understand what I’m talking about in the appropriate context, then that’s all that matters for the purpose of this discussion.

        Secondly, I agree with you that we should have a reasonable limit on magazines. Awesome.

        >] “I don’t own a gun. And I don’t intend to own one. The only reason I’m interested is because both “ban assault weapons” and “no fly no gun” are horrible approaches to solving the problem of large numbers of deaths due to guns.”

        We can get into the nitty gritty of the “no fly no gun” list later, but as far as banning assault weapons, you would still seem to be missing the point. The point is to try and curb the abhorrent number of mass shootings we have in this country (in which the United States stands above all others). This is a problem in which banning assault weapons, which are quite often used in these tragedies, would help to some degree.

        >] ” Which firearms have a place among civilians according to you? And which of those has not been designed for a battlefield? If your answer is “all of them”, fine – that’s a reasonable position, and so is the logical conclusion of repeal the 2nd amendment.”

        I don’t want to repeal the 2nd Amendment. When it’s interpreted correctly, all it says is that, for the purpose of defending the country, a “well-regulated militia” shall have rights to arms that shall not be unfringed on. I’m all for that. So when I say that I’m fine with ordinary people having handguns and the like, I’m already giving ground when I don’t have to. Constitutionally, no one aside from the military has a right to arms.

        As for what arms should have a place among civilians and what don’t, I think of it like this. Generally speaking, one would want a reasonable access to arms for only a few purposes: self-defense, sporting or hunting. Agreed?

        Now, with respect to self-defense, neither you nor I nor anyone else has any need for more than one or two handguns in a household (equipped with smart gun technology, of course). That’s it. The only ‘rationale’ you hear from others for more extreme weapons is the sheer paranoia that comes from the idea that evil federal government is coming to take all your precious guns away or that, for whatever reason, they think a swarm of killers is going to ransack their house and butcher their whole family.

        Batshit. Crazy. Kooks. Every last one of them.

        Now, as far as sporting and hunting goes, frankly, if I had my way about it, I’d limit types of guns used to air rifles and actual sporting guns. And at risk for sounding incredibly naive about it (and admittedly, I am when it comes to knowledge of guns), if it’s a weapon designed for mowing down numbers of people in less than a minute, that kind of gun is absolutely unnecessary for either sporting or hunting. Call it an assault weapon or a semi-automatic weapon if you want. If it falls into that general category, out with ’em.

        >] “If you want to talk about why they are accessible, then we can go back to cars, and ask why any car with over 300 horsepower is accessible to average people. Most people can’t handle that much power, and nobody trains them to handle that much power. That much power is only legally usable on designated tracks, and those are typically the only places which will give you any training on handling that much power. So why? Well, at least one of the reasons can be best answered by this swedish guy (some NSFW language in there)”

        Because we don’t have an outstanding problem with powerful cars in this country that requires us to mourn as a nation every couple of weeks and/or months (depending on how you look at it). We’ve shown that we can handle and regulate that kind of power appropriately. This is an area in which we CAN have nice things.

    • johngalt says:

      PR, I think you underestimate the significance of a ban on “assault weapons” (and spare me the protests that this is not an accurate term – it has been used so often in this context that it has come to mean what we all understand it to mean). Such weapons may not be often used in the average heat-of-passion murder or in run of the mill crimes involving guns (most of which are handguns), but they are overrepresented in the headline grabbing mass shooting category.

      There is another matter to consider as well. Horrific violence in Mexico and Central America stems from our idiotic war on drugs. The cartels get most of the weapons with which they commit atrocities from the United States (75% or more according to some estimates), buying them through straw man purchases and smuggling them across the border. We do not have the ability to track purchases of these weapons: the same individuals can buy dozens of them by working different stores and cities, because we intentionally destroy any records of the background checks themselves and keep no registry of the buyers.

      So, we provide the market for drugs, the lucrative incentive for criminal gang activity, the money with which to buy the guns, and the stores in which to buy them with few restrictions. We are then horrified at the level of violence, looking down our noses at the uncivilized third world. Oh, and then we express our disgust that the people who live there would seek to escape the very violence that our unchecked appetites help create. God Bless America!

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        Yes, I understand the stupidity of it all, and maybe even sympathize with the symbolism of it.

        But tell me what the expected result of such a ban would be. We are spending a lot of time on it. So, I assume some research has been done on the likely effects of such a law (or not, thanks to the GOP banning research 😛 – that’s something that really SHOULD be fought for).

        What do you think will happen? Will the number of deaths go down by any appreciable number? Will mass murders stop? Will someone motivated by ideology really find it difficult to replace those giant heavy weapons with, I dunno, 4 semiautomatic handguns with reloads?

        It’s purely a symbolic law. It’s a moral stance. It’s a law designed by lawmakers to signal their tribal identity and help others signal the same tribal identity, and strengthen tribal identity just before an election. It is utterly useless.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Pseudo,
        “But tell me what the expected result of such a ban would be”


        A test case – with very positive results

      • johngalt says:

        It’s one small step of many that need to be taken.

      • 1mime says:

        But, my god, let there be a “beginning”!!

    • fiftyohm says:

      So – Suppose if you will that this becomes the law of the land. Do you see a due process issue here? Could/should I be denied a firearm were I to want one based on some government functionary’s reading of a post I made the other day calling the US Attorney General an asshole?

      This is not really a rhetorical question.

      • 1mime says:

        There is due process as I read the article, with all attorney costs covered if the petitioner wins. I cannot imagine any assault weapon bill having any chance of passage without strong due process, Fifty, and I agree with its importance.

  14. vikinghou says:

    This is OT but I just had a belly laugh. Hillary’s speech on the economy slammed Trump in a hilarious way. “Donald has written several books on business, but they all end at Chapter 11.”

    • fiftyohm says:

      Some of them should have ended at Chapter 7! He’s such a DB.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Bravo, Mrs. Clinton. Perhaps that’s the best way to deal with Mr.Trump — with humor and grace — instead of letting him get to you, being intimidated by him or going down to his level. Ask how would President Obama handle him and follow that example. Totally cool and composed.

        I will miss President Obama’s wit and graceful sense of humor. A class act through and through.

      • 1mime says:

        Me, too, Tutta. Me, too.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tutt – On a completely unrelated note, and you obviously needn’t answer, how’s Cap?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Cap’s doing well, posts on the Houston Chronicle website (the paid version), is obsessed with playing Angry Birds. He’s taken in yet another stray cat we found in a hotel parking lot on one of our recent road trips. Thanks, I will let him know you asked about him.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        And BTW, you’re not the only one who’s 50!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tutt – If I take your meaning correctly, that bird has flown for me, but happy birthday to Cap.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Fifty, I’m the one who turned 50 a couple of months ago. I know it’s “old” news, but I am still delighted over that development.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Damn whippersnappers all over the place – 50!

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, the nerve!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Ain’t it so, Duncan? My goodness!

    • 1mime says:

      That’s a hoot, Viking! Who knew Hillary had such a sense of humor (-;

  15. Griffin says:

    It’s looking increasingly like Newt Gingrich is going to be Donald Trump’s running mate. It’s seems like a good offset because Donald Trump is often entertaining to watch (in a trainwreck kind of way) while Gingrich is always insufferable.

    People think Marco Rubio would be more dangerous to the Democrats but no, I think having him attached to the Trump ticket will just sink any chance of him being President in the future. It would be best for the Democrats to ruin Rubio’s national career now, before he can con anymore people into thinking he has is even remotely fit to be in the Oval Office (Republicans say Obama is a “weakling” but Rubio has amazingly little backbone).

  16. texan5142 says:

    This is terrorism in my book,

    • texan5142 says:

      Just to be clear, so was the egging of the Trump supporter. Terrorism comes in many forms and free speech can be a form of terrorism when directed at someone with uncontrolled anger.

      • fiftyohm says:

        With all due respect, old buddy, that’s a pretty low bar for the term.

      • I agree that speech can be used to intimidate political enemies and create a climate of terror in those who may otherwise have opposed you; the campaigns against Ed Schultz and (more recently) Zoe Quinn are good examples of that.

        However, let’s be cautious about using the word “terrorism” to describe all violence by people we dislike, or indeed all political violence. Setting up false equivalencies does not contribute to helpful discussion.

      • duncancairncross says:

        You guys are going the wrong way!

        You should be raising the bar – not lowering it

        “Default” should always be that these are “Criminal Acts” – to be sorted by law enforcement

        The exception should be “Terrorism” – and the requirements to qualify an act as Terrorism should be very specific
        My thoughts
        An organisation – more than 10 people – more than one family
        A specific and published “Aim”
        Actual and intentional serious injury or death – property damage does not count

        By treating criminal acts as terrorism we muddy the waters and make things more difficult for law enforcement

        And it is even worse if we start treating things like threats or property damage as “terrorism”

      • I’m hesitant about the “aim” bit. Are we including fairy-tale aims like Dylann Roof’s, or is it only realistic achievable aims like that of the IRA or Hamas?

        If we’re restricting it to achievable aims, then that means that Al-Quaeda might not cut it. Their dreams of a caliphate and a lack of western education are about as unrealistic as one can get.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi EJ

        I’m inclined to say all/most of the “aims” are not achievable – so I would go back to the

        “An organisation – more than 10 people – more than one family”

        If all 10 loonies have the same aim then it can be terrorism

        Terrorism should be the exception – so if there is a question of doubt – then it should be treated as criminal

        99% of the time the most effective way of dealing with these problems is NOT to treat them as terrorism

    • As my dearly departed father-in-law would say, “Isn’t he lovely?”

    • johngalt says:

      Religious extremism in all forms has the potential to lead to abhorrent actions and I’m not sure why anyone would pretend differently. We have plenty of examples from most religions of this capability, whether it be Eric Rudolph, Omar Mateen, the IRA, ISIS, or Hindu extremists massacring Muslims in India. One difference is that most Americans do not associate Hinduism or Christianity with this sort of violence while a sizable number think this is par for the course for Muslims, so perhaps there is a reflexive need to counter this amongst some “tolerant” liberals. Whatever the proximate trigger for his attacks, Mateen was clearly under the influence of radical Islam, so let’s call a spade a spade.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Yes. And it’s extremely curious that the American Left, a voice so critical of ”reactionary ideology’, (and rightly so), is so guilty of it in this case.

        I’d add though, that Christians and Hindus lack the doctrinal meme of jihad, and recent atrocities committed by those groups pale absolutely white by comparison in scale to those of ‘radical’ Islam.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        JG wrote: perhaps there is a reflexive need to counter this amongst some “tolerant” liberals.
        Well said. I do think that when liberals make excuses or downplay certain facts, it’s usually a defensive reaction to counter the knee-jerk critical view of the Right.

        Ironically, sometimes liberals will make excuses unnecessarily, to counter something that hasn’t even been expressed, perhaps out of habit, in anticipation of something expected, or perhaps they are projecting and betraying their own ingrained critical beliefs.

      • Tom D says:

        Liberals don’t like or support “radical Islam” (a questionable term, but I’ll use it here for the sake of brevity), but we also don’t support the agenda that lies behind the very frequent and intense criticism of “radical Islam” by conservatives – an agenda that includes support for unnecessary wars, torture, and discrimination against all Muslims (and others who are perceived as Muslims) in immigration and law enforcement. It really goes without saying that “radical Islam” opposes almost everything that liberals stand for. If we were to keep reiterating this obvious fact ad nauseam, we would in effect be lending support to a conservative agenda we oppose. Instead, we tend to put our emphasis on tolerance and support for the Muslims who don’t agree with ISIS or similar ideologies.

        Hopefully this explanation makes it less “curious.”

      • 1mime says:

        Well said, Tom. I agree.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        It is possible to acknowledge one point while focusing on another, with both points being equally true.

        Which point we choose to focus on shows where we stand personally.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tom D – Arm-waving about discrimination of *all Muslims*, wars, torture, and all the other things you seem to think are the Left’s exclusive province and duty to oppose clarifies absolutely nothing. And if you think, as your rhetoric seems to suggest, that there is really no such thing as ‘radical Islam’, (at least among your cocktail-party Muslim friends), you have nothing to add to the conversation, and only demonstrate the point that the reactionary Left is disconnected from reality regarding the problem with Islam worldwide.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I’m going to stick my neck way out there and stand up for Tom’s comment. Painting all liberals as radical Muslim deniers is flat wrong. Likewise, painting all Muslims as radicals is also wrong, IMHO. I know you are well traveled and have more world experience than I do, but I cannot accept your blanket denouncement of all Muslim people. Please correct me if I misunderstood you.

      • Tom D says:

        Fifty, I do not think it is the left’s *exclusive* province or duty to oppose bad things. I like it when people of other political stripes oppose unnecessary wars, torture, and discrimination! Hopefully, you also oppose those things.

        On “radical Islam”: I don’t like that term because I think it employs the word “radical” in an ambiguous and politicized way. Not all radical beliefs are bad, and not all of the things that Muslims believe are bad. A Muslim for whom God is the center of his/her life, who spends many hours praying and doing charitable things, who fasts and makes pilgrimages often, can be fairly termed “radical” even if he/she does not support any kind of violence or oppression of others. A Muslim who has a strong commitment to social justice or anti-racism and who thinks major social change is needed can also be fairly termed “radical,” again even without any connection to violence. A Muslim who believes that Israel should be transformed into a secular state where Jews and Arabs of all faiths have equal rights – and who wants to accomplish this goal through nonviolent resistance – can likewise be fairly termed “radical.”

        As a liberal, I’m opposed to what might be called socially conservative Muslims (those who are anti-feminist and/or homophobic), and to Muslims who support violence against civilians, and to Muslims who do not respect freedom of expression. I acknowledge that there are many Muslims who hold views that I oppose. But I also oppose discrimination against Muslims as a class, including those Muslims with whom I have fundamental disagreements. I recognize the existence of progressive Muslims around the world, and I believe progressive Islam can gain popularity and influence over time if it is not drowned out by “clash of civilizations,” us-vs-them rhetoric.

        I think people who talk about a supposed “problem with Islam worldwide” are, perhaps unintentionally, contributing to an atmosphere of mutual fear, distrust, and incomprehension, and are making an unjustifiable generalization about 1.6 billion diverse people.

        I don’t know what kind of person you think I am, but I don’t go to cocktail parties. I don’t care for your hostile tone, and if you think I have nothing to add to a conversation, then feel free to ignore me – you are not the only person I’m trying to talk to.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – I didn’t say any of that, nor do I believe any of that. The phrase “all Muslims” was a response to Tom D’s specific wording. Nor did I say liberals were “all radical Muslim deniers”. I was in reference to “the Left” in general, and not suggesting that each and every individual member is guilty. OK?

      • 1mime says:

        I guess I misunderstood you, Fifty. It seemed like a very strong statement on your part. I’m glad you don’t feel that way.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tom D – I responded to a post I found absurdly sanctimonious. To review: the ‘Left’ seems for all the world to be closeting the underlaying ideology of radical Islam and giving it cover. Of course you could conjure no set of ideas less ‘liberal’, but your response was pretty much, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. (A phrase somewhat ironically, though somewhat ambiguously attributed Arabic origin.)

        None of this was removed any “curiousness” from the discussion.

        Much like Matt and Trey, “I hate the Right, and really can’t stand the Left”. If that makes sense to you, you understand where my ‘loyalties’ lie. My “tone” was entirely commensurate with yours. Hopefully in the future we’ll not need to air our political credentials as if they actually meant anything regarding the point at hand. You’re a leftie. Great! Who the hell likes talking to a mirror?

      • Tom D says:

        Fifty, if you think your tone was commensurate with mine, then please quote where I said anything personal about you, and where I attributed to you any beliefs you did not yourself express. That’s what you’ve been doing towards me, and it’s pretty unhelpful.

        I leave it to anyone else still reading this thread to determine whether anything I’ve said amounts to “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I sure don’t see it that way.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tom D – Let’s deconstruct this a bit. The only thing I said that could be in anyway considered ‘personal’ was with regard to *your* cocktail party Muslim friends. This is a device meant to suggest you likely were unfamiliar with the Islamic world at large, but rather like most Americans, know only Americanized Muslims. If this is untrue, you have my apology.

        The tirade about wars, torture, and discrimination seemed pretty clear to me that any who opposed your view were associated or at least tolerated same. This was a very, very inaccurate statement.

        So let’s start over: The Left seems to be completely resistant to recognizing that Islam has a problem. That belief system can, in many but not all adherents, result in antisocial, indeed anti-civilizational behavior. It is not rare. It seems to me that a rational solution must come from within the religion itself, but such a solution will not be accelerated by, and only impeded by, denial and that the problem itself lies elsewhere. How’s that?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Bobo! I don’t think anyone should be required to day anything. So I agree. It’s *ideas* that matter!

        Now, to more important matters, I’m awfully sorry to hear you’re ailing, or about to be. Beer is the best thing! We’ve got a special bitter on cask in the cold room I brewed from English two-row malt, Challenger, Golding’s, and Fuggles hops. It would fix you right up, and you’re welcome to all I have! Really. Come on up! I’d enjoy Tom D’s company as well. (Well, if he likes craft beer…). 😉

      • Mmmm. Fuggles hops. Yet another sign that God loves us, and wants us to be happy. 🙂

      • fiftyohm says:

        Yes sir! And I’m actually growing hops, too! I couldn’t get Fuggles rhizomes, but I (smuggled) East Kent Golding’s up here, along with Crystal. Well, after some issues with groundhogs, or raccoons, or some other varmints, I’ve got three plants going strong. There will be no usable product this year, but definitely some next. (“Green Acres is the place to be…!!!)

        I’m no gardener as Mrs. Ohm is the one for that, and I’ve never grown anything – well except in the 70’s, and you’ll forgive me that – but this is pretty swell!

        BTW – What do you think of the new Bonneville T-120?

      • fifty – absolutely *love* the new Bonnies – especially that sexy little Thruxton beast! Still, think the next bike to add to the stable might be the Africa Twin. 🙂

      • fiftyohm says:

        Ah! The Africa Twin! As hard-over, peg-grinding an English motorcycle guy that I am, I have to admit it’s pretty cool. And about 5K less than the Tiger, too.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      50, you know what I don’t like about the phrase ‘radical Islam’?

      That in the land of free speech, some people insist that particular phrase must come from the president’s mouth.

      These days, the phrase is a cudgel, that’s all. And if a cudgel could be transparent in its motivation, it would be.

      The president — a writer of some talent — is free to choose words and phrases that best communicate his message.

      As am I. As are all writers and communicators. Including you, Tom D, mime and tutt.

      As for the examples noted in the link, I have to say to me the whole thing reads like a inside-the-beltway commentary designed to keep the writer visible in his chosen career path and perhaps get him some paid gigs as a talking head. There are a lot of articles like that from writers all over the political spectrum.

      There is much to be ignored in politics land.

      PS-What kinda beer you got in the fridge? I’m getting over a flu and the thought of a cold beer is thrilling.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Dammit. Please see above!

      • Tuttabella says:

        Kiss the Bobo and make it better!

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        🙂 tnx

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Mr. Ohm, the only thing I know about hops is that too-hoppy beer is not my favorite. It did take me several months of trying different brews from a place near Austin before I could conclusively say that. I kept moving through their varieties because during the holidays they made a coffee porter that was simply kick-ass.

        Departing now to check north bound flight schedules and to look up Fuggles.

    • And that is so cool that you are growing your own hops! Honestly, I didn’t think they would do well here. Let me know how it works out, and maybe I’ll give a go, too. 🙂

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Fifty, I think that we just don’t have enough facts yet. Many people think the terrorist thing was a cover to hide his homosexuality from his father. His father being far more vehement in hisndenials that his son was gay then that he was a terrorist supports this.

      The fact that he invoked three different groups, all of whom hate each other and are actively fighting each other also supports this.

      Now, we have articles of former lovers coming out. More will come in the coming weeks, I’m sure of that.

      So far, the only evidence of his radicalization is what he said the night he killed those people. All the evidence from his actual private life are pointing to a deeply disturbed, deeply repressed homosexual man.

      Time will tell, but this doesn’t feel like primarily a terrorist act, at all.

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – Do you know what’s going on with this wife?

      • To me it sounds as though he made the call about Daesh more as a spur of the moment thing than anything else, as a way of trying to be even more outrageous. I’m guessing though – I don’t know what goes through the mind of a person who decides to do things like that.

        It seems a little absurd that the defining mark of whether it was terrorism or not was which particular trollish warcry he chose to use. If he had shouted about “a free Britain” like the man who killed Jo Cox, then we’d have been saying that it wasn’t terrorism. If he had shouted about the Confederacy rising again or God hating gays or whatever, there would have been disagreements. If he had shouted about My Little Pony, we’d have been nonplussed. As it is, the particular thing that came into his mind was Daesh, and because of that it’s terrorism.

        This seems to be a strange heuristic.

      • 1mime says:

        And, aren’t we getting a little over-involved in sematics? The point is: 49 people were killed; and as many were wounded. Let’s focus on them and on what can be done to prevent someone like this from doing this again. I don’t give a flip what you call it. That’s window dressing of the worst kind.

  17. johngalt says:

    Perhaps this link has been posted before; if so, my apologies (I was a bit out of touch on a combination vacation/work trip last week). This is a fascinating article about our political dysfunction.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      This excerpt from the Atlantic article brings to mind what Lifer is saying in this blog entry, about the movement from centralized power to individuals running amok:

      “Chaos syndrome is a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organization. It begins with the weakening of the institutions . . . politicians, activists, and voters all become more individualistic and unaccountable.”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Lifer is referring to terrorism, and the article refers to the political system.

        It’s a theme I keep seeing again and again, how the decline of groups, both good (family, church) and bad (terrorist organizations) results in somewhat dubious individualism.

    • 1mime says:

      JG, I just had time to read the Atlantic piece by Rauch. What insightful, deep analysis of our political system. His experience and understanding of the process is obvious. This is an article I will share with those who will take the time to think deeply and are open to changes. As I read through the piece and its astutely organized sections, I couldn’t help but appreciate how well Lifer understands the political process. Many of the themes and observations Rauch makes have been presented by Lifer in previous postings. I hope everyone here will read this. It is most deserving and timely. Each segment offers worlds of discussion potential for future posts. I’m left with both amazement that Rauch is able to see both the big picture and the weeds of the problem and that his proposed solutions basically reinforce institutions rather than destroy them. Really quite a nice piece of writing and analysis.

  18. 1mime says:

    It is rare that I find myself in agreement with Senate Republicans, but this step has merit. There may be hidden issues that I am not seeing, but the revolving door needs to close. It would be nice if the same Senate would close that door on themselves as well….transitioning into lobbyists has become a pattern for members of both parties. Who knows, maybe they’ll become inspired……

  19. It’s strange to think that we are now looking back on Baader-Meinhof as the golden age of terrorism, and complaining about the low quality of the terrorism that the modern generation get up to. I feel old.

    I’ve heard it said that terrorism should be thought of not as a problem but as a tactic; and like all tactics it can be resorted to by many different groups with different agendas. The ANC under Mandela indulged in terrorism; so did the IRA under Collins and (later) Adams; the LTTE under Prabhakaran; and now the Daesh under Al-Baghdadi. Many states have also indulged in terrorist-like tactics, including western states. Each of these groups had a different goal and resorted to that tactic for different reasons. Conflating them leads to sloppy thinking.

    Thinking of it as a tactic does not make it any less repugnant, or any less contemptible.

    Unhelpfully, a lot of people use “terrorist” as shorthand for “Muslims with guns” or “non-state groups which indulge in violence.” This not only leads to sloppy thinking but risks legitimising terrorism by diluting the term.

    • goplifer says:

      By the way, speaking of the Golden Age of Terrorism, I wanted to work this into the piece but it just didn’t fit.

      Our earliest historically documented terrorist organization was probably the Sicarii in first century Judea. They were Jewish rebels who used assassination tactics to terrorize their political rivals.

      • 1mime says:

        IMO, terrorism today is more effective because we have developed into a society of laws and order. People don’t “expect” terrorism, and it shocks and frightens because we have organized our society so that these kinds of things are “managed” by personnel specifically trained for that. Other than arming every person as some advocate, terrorism will always be effective in our civilization – and it should be. America is a land of relative peace although I submit there is a tremendous amount of anger simmering below the surface and plenty who foment it for their own purposes.

      • Kenneth Devaney says:

        Closer to home and more recent, Mississippi closed the cases of the 3 slain civil rights workers murdered during the Freedom Summer.

    • 1mime says:

      And, therein lies the problem, EJ. Depending upon how one “manages/responds” to terrorism, it is certainly also a problem. It is difficult for a civilized society to grasp terrorism, that’s why it is so shocking. Except, of course, for those here who want a gun in every hand, skilled and reluctant or not….and those who for whatever sick reason seek to harm innocent people in the name of whatever demons they prefer.

  20. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    So the Clinton Machine looks like it’s going to end the month with a little over 40 million dollars on hand, ready to unload on Trump (which it’s already started doing, to be fair) like a freakin’ tidal wave, and the Trump… er, presumptive presidential nomination apparatus comes out with the comparatively teeny tiny sum of just over a million dollars. Just to put that in perspective, that’s less cash on hand than some Republican House members have in their campaigns.

    More relevantly though, what’s November going to look like if we keep seeing numbers even close to this? GOTV efforts alone aren’t some standalone effort that are done on the fly. Coordinated efforts take months of consistent targeting towards key groups that respective campaigns want to turn out on Election Day. Naturally, Clinton is already going full steam ahead with a 50 state strategy, but just how far could Republicans fall if they don’t even met out even the basics of getting their own voters out?

    Is there even a precedent for predicting that kind of comparatively nonexistent effort?

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Not to mention, Trump is spending much of his money (estimated at over $5 million in his campaign to date) at his own businesses.

      This really is starting to look like it was just a scam after all. A way to raise his name recognition and promote his brand. I don’t think he ever thought he could win, but somewhere along the way, his ego got swept up in this whole bizarre cult of personality “movement” and he thought he could win. Which of course was never really possible. There’s a lot more to winning a general campaign then what you see on TV.

      To put even more in perspective, the Veronica Mara kickstarter campaign raised $2 million more in May then the GOPs presidential nominee.

      • 1mime says:

        By funneling his “donations” back into his own businesses, don’t overlook the fact that it pays the bills, also. Given that Trump has refused to release his income tax returns, we don’t really know what his cash flow situation is, but many have speculated that he doesn’t have much liquidity. One thing is certain, he has less now than he did before he started his campaign.

        Has anyone thought about all the money from the mega donors that is sitting on the sidelines? I know some is being spent for down ticket candidates, but there is still a huge pool of revenue out there….wonder if this is part of the Never Trump scheme and will materialize post convention?

    • 1mime says:

      Do not forget that one mega donor could drop one hundred million into the pot for Trump. I’m speaking of Sheldon Adelson who is a Trump endorsee. One has to wonder, however, if this is part of the “No-Trump” squeeze play. After all, Republicans have perfected the art of killing programs and divisions simply by refusing to fund them……

      Just sayin’……..

  21. 1mime says:

    “Establish precedence with one of these things, and no constitutional right is safe.” I feel that way about Roe v Wade, and Citizens United, since we’re talking about constitutional rights.

  22. duncancairncross says:

    IMHO this is one of Chris’s best posts
    I agree entirely
    In fact I would go further the “Default” should always be that these are “Criminal Acts” – to be sorted by law enforcement

    The exception should be “Terrorism” – and the requirements to qualify an act as Terrorism should be very specific
    My thoughts
    An organisation – more than 10 people – more than one family
    A specific and published “Aim”
    Actual and intentional serious injury or death – property damage does not count

    By treating criminal acts as terrorism we muddy the waters and make things more difficult for law enforcement

  23. Griffin says:

    My mother’s side is made up of Scottish Catholics (they were apparetly Irish wayback in the day and moved to Scotland) and it’s amazing to hear from my Great Aunts what they had to go through. Scotland is almost entirly made up members of the Reformed Church of Scotland and signs would be put up outside many buildings saying “we don’t hire Catholics”. They were treated like second-class citizens. England, of course, turned a blind-eye to it. It’s so baffling they couldn’t see, or didn’t care, they were causing so much resentment.

    That said Gerry Adams and all those other IRA nutters should be in prison. It frustrates me to no end that smug prick Adams get away with everything he was involved with, but I’m also frustrated with Great Britain for the aristocratic attitudes it promoted making the situation even worse. Still it’s somewhat weird to me that so many lives were lost over who got Northern Ireland, a historically poor territory run by fanatical religious fundamentalists. From what I’ve heard from family in England Great Britain almost seems to regret holding onto it.

    • 1mime says:

      I take it you’re no fan of Downton Abbey (-:

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Gotta marathon that show someday…

      • 1mime says:

        Skip the last season.

      • Griffin says:

        Never seen it sadly. But I can’t stand the sort of classism that involves needlessly angering those “underneath” you. I think the stupidity of it annoys me more than the immorality of it, to be honest. Any “aristocrat” with half a brain should be able to know that poor people massively outnumber you and that making them hate you should be the last thing you want to do if you want to retain power or wealth. But they’ve gotten away with it for so long they can’t seem to understand how precarious their position really is.

        Look up the Bullingdon Club sometime. It’s basically a rich kids club in Britain which is known for trashing restraunts while screaming things like “FUCKING PLEBS”! Like I said before pointlessly angering people who vastly outnumber you and coudl at the very least easily vote in a government that taxes you at thrice the current rate is annoyingly stupid.

      • 1mime says:

        In the era of Downton Abbey, the poor had no voice at all. Their aristocratic, house/land poor leaders could have cared less.

    • johngalt says:

      “No Irish Need Apply.” Imbibe a couple of pints with certain Bostonians of Irish descent and you will start to hear the same stories. The prejudice against the Catholics, particularly the Irish given their colorful stereotypes, lefts scars on that community that remain even today. Irish immigrants could not get into Harvard and other Ivies, so they started Boston College (the Brahmins weren’t fond of Jews either, which is why we have Brandeis). This is despite Boston having a mayor of Irish descent for 50+ years now. Old injuries do not heal quickly.

    • rightonrush says:

      I got a chuckle out of this. Apparently the Scottish have no use for “The Donald” like so many of us.

  24. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    This is terrorism, and whether it’s conducted by trained agents, or by people inspired by or seeking to imitate those agents is immaterial. It is encouraged by those peddling the propaganda and they provide reasons, and justification for it – a complete ideology. That’s an information war – essentially turning citizens against their own. Trying to impress Jodi Foster doesn’t fall under that category, but acts of the IRA were, killing of abortion doctors is, and so is blowing up black churches.

    But let me back up for a minute – before ISIS (or ISIL, I rather like the fact Obama prefers that – it’s less cool and that’s important…) and today’s world and all that. From my perspective, all ideologies are imperfect tools of mind control. Some work better than others, and some people are more receptive than others. Bad living conditions predispose people to mind control. And religion is the longest lasting and most effective of them all – because the promised rewards and benefits are intangible (unlike, say, communism). It has always been easy to get people riled up on the basis of religion – this has been proven time and time again throughout history. It’s just so awfully easy to create an ingroup and an outgroup – and then justify all manner of atrocities using God as an excuse. Pretty much every religion has done this at one point or the other in the long march of history. We’ll focus on the jihadist ideology, which is the most concerning one today.

    The jihadist ideology, which is a small subset of the Islamist ideology which itself is a small subset of conservatism in Islam is no different. Whether the average Jihadi on the street understands all of the nuances is immaterial, just like it’s immaterial whether the average voter understands all the nuances of modern liberalism or conservatism. What does matter is that they do provide seemingly coherent worldviews that help people understand the world around them, and some of these worldviews are convincing enough, and some people are receptive enough to take action based on that worldview.

    The jihadist ideology is based in scripture and, just like the bible, there are plenty of…troublesome…passages in the Koran. Seriously, read the English translation online. It’s an interesting read. There are enough people around the world giving metaphorical explanations, theological explanations, and other creative interpretations, but all of that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it is entirely possible to read it in such a way, taking the words literally and/or cherry picking, that it provides a coherent worldview and justifies it for the average extremist. At least, it justifies it well enough to ensure compliance. And that compliance can convince the otherwise normal and peaceful person to commit acts of violence, or push people with pre existing predispositions to violence over the edge – it’s all a continuum of human psychological states.

    Now, I don’t believe it was always like this. Here’s an interesting video

    I’ll note that if you go back just ~40 years or so, you’ll find a kinder, more moderate version of Islam in most parts of the world. The kind of violent radicalism we see today simply did not exist, or only existed only in tiny cultish pockets. Modern Islamic radicalism was manufactured.

    From about the 80s or so, we begin to see these fundamentalist ideologies spread, starting (I believe) from Saudi Arabia and Iran. The US govt helped these along too – funding and helping extremists to fight off the Soviets in Afghanistan. This was done via the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI. We should also note that Pakistan was a dictatorship in this period, under Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who also had an Islamization program for Pakistan.

    Anyway, the war ended, but the radicals didn’t disband and disappear. The Pakistani ISI decided to use these extremist elements against India on one frontier, and maintained Influence in Afghanistan via the Taliban on the other frontier. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia was exporting Wahhabi clerics to everywhere it could. The 90s were mostly a buildup with a bunch of minor incidents, and we step right into familiar history from the 2000s onwards.

    What’s important to note is that all of those attacks – the big planned ones like New York, London, Mumbai, Paris, and the smaller, more lone wolf types like San Bernardino and Orlando might have been performed by different people, different ethnicities, slightly different listed goals (Israel, Kashmir, or a caliphate) and so on, but the underlying framework, the underlying worldview that justifies the killing of innocents and kidnapping of girls is the same – it’s the same jihadist ideology. It doesn’t matter what the divisions are (Al-Qaeda, ISIS, one of the three letter ones that attack Kashmir, Hamas), or what their differences are – they’re all running off the same engine.

    That’s the Islamist part.

    They also kill and kidnap innocents in service of their ideology. That’s the terror part.

    Now, how do you go about dealing with this? I don’t really know, but I do know it’s most definitely not what the right’s doing, which is basically yell and scream for persecution of Muslims, thereby successfully feeding the Islam under threat and Muslims under persecution narrative (boy, does that sound familiar…) that’s being spread by Islamist propaganda. And it most definitely is not what the left is doing, which is pretend the problem doesn’t exist at all or pretend the problem is completely unrelated to Islam. Frankly the only people I see who’ll talk about this honestly are liberal Muslim speakers like Maajid Nawaz, Asra Nomani and others, but they’re not trusted by the right because Muslim, and they’re not liked by the left because they question orthodoxy and do say uncomfortable things like the stuff I just talked about. So, the right ignores them and the left tells them they’re not real Muslims (which makes about as much sense as calling a liberal Christian who takes issue with a conservative on, say, gay people “not a real Christian).

    Sigh. At this point, I’ve given up. I don’t really care what happens. This really isn’t my battle and 99.99% of Americans have 0 reason to worry about this shit.

    • 1mime says:

      I care because innocent people are being randomly killed. It is all our battle and I worry about it every time someone I love climbs on a plane. Ignoring the problem solves nothing. Surely you can’t look at history and not notice that the problem is getting worse, not better. Frustrated, disheartened, disgusted, yes; not care what happens? Never.

  25. “Terrorism is designed to provoke an enemy into foolish choices…”

    Indeed; behold the Senate today as it considers four gun control amendments. The *least* odious of these, the Cornyn amendment, at least covers the lack of due process with a fig leaf, requiring the collusion of the courts in stripping U.S. citizens of their constitutional rights in the absence of a criminal conviction, or even an indictment. And even the NRA is backing this monstrosity…

    The spirit of Jim Crow and the Japanese Internment is *alive and well* in this country. Without so much as a by-your-leave, majorities in both parties are apparently quite willing to trample under foot the 2nd, 5th and 14th Amendments all *at the same time*. God help us all if any one of these pieces of excrement gets to 60 votes.

    • 1mime says:

      Well, you can check off bill #1 from Sen. Grassley. It failed.

      • 1mime says:

        You can now check off bill# 2 from Sen. John Cornyn. It failed. Feinstein up next.

      • Barring sections 9 and 12, the Grassley amendment had some useful items.

        Everybody in this country ought be scared to death of this nonsense. Establish precedence with one of these things, and no constitutional right is safe. 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th – kiss ’em goodbye. And then just wait for it: “Mr. Ladd, by order of Department of Justice and the Attorney General of the United States, the blog,, is deemed inflammatory and likely to foment political unrest, presents a clear and present danger to the general Welfare of the United States, and is henceforth shutdown. Failure to comply shall result in immediate apprehension by federal law enforcement authorities, and subsequent confinement at a designated federal internment facility.”

      • Really, 1mime? As far as I can see, we dodged a bullet to the heart of the Constitution. And just barely, at that.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Tracy Thorleifson: Not to worry, Tracy, I and the rest of the Constitution-trampling public (of which, iirc, represent, at a bare minimum, 80+% of the American people) will get our day.

        Rather than coming together to pass common-sense reforms so as to assure our people’s safety, today’s defeats only adds more to the swelling pressure that will eventually come to an inevitable boom, and who’s to say what will pass when that comes? A permanent assault-weapons ban? Limitations on all weapons beyond handguns for any citizen? Who knows? Whatever the end result turns out to be, expanded background checks will be the least of your worries when that day arrives.

        So let those who stood as a wall, by way of cowardice of sheer ignorance, remember today. One more battle that will lose them the war.

      • And 1mime, don’t fret. If the general election goes as we all expect it to at this point, we can kill the Constitution next year, after the next terrorist attack/mass shooting.

        I wonder if, when it comes to it, you’ll be hiding *your* Muslim friends in your attic. My beloved was accompanied on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela a couple of years back by a Muslim friend, a 2nd generation American of Pakistani descent. Her father, an immigrant, was so proud when she completed her PhD in Eng. Lit. that he threw a magnificent party for her, kinda like a wedding reception. It was a marvelous and lovely evening; it made me proud to *be* an American, and proud that *her* family were Americans, too. After taking in the unseemly shenanigans of the past week, I’m beginning to feel a tickle of fear for her.

      • 1mime says:

        If I hid any Muslim friends in my attic about now, I wouldn’t be doing them any favors since it’s probably 120 degrees. I don’t have token friends. I don’t care what ethnicity they are, I care about what kind of people they are. And, yes, Your wife’s Muslim friend should be afraid – very afraid. That’s the paranoid world that is being created all around her.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        1mime, I truly believe this time it’s different. I think the GOPs refusal to pass even these basic measures is going to hurt them politically, big time. These votes were on CNN live (or at least, the results). Most ppl don’t see the things Congress does that makes them look like corporate lap dogs.

        Not this time. I think the reaction will be quick, and I think it will be fierce, and I think with the LGBT activist groups involved now pushing it again and again, it will be SUSTAINED.

        This time, the GOP will suffer. They never have suffered politically before, so it’s been a no brainier to blindly fall in line with the NRA. Once they see they will be punished, things are going to change. Real quick.

        The NRA just jumped the shark, and they could have avoided it by allowing their House members to vote for at least one of them. Too late now.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Rob Ambrose: I’m always wary of the lasting impact of events, even ones as horrific as Orlando, particularly with respect to politics, though I do believe all of this is coming to something of a perfect storm this November.

        You have immigration being a major issue (thanks, Donald Trump!), the Supreme Court, the GOP splintering apart before our very eyes, along with so many other things and now gun rights and/or restrictions in the wake of Orlando. One of those likely wouldn’t be enough to do much at all, but all of them together… who’s to really say?

      • 1mime says:

        Don’t forget women’s rights. The onslaught of the right against Roe v Wade is despicable and women are paying attention. Listening to that discussion today on NPR on how TX medical colleges are refusing to train doctors on abortion procedures is making a social statement, and it is a violation of their medical oath to save lives. I cannot help but believe that these insidious attacks on womens’ rights is going to hurt the GOP as well it should.

        The other irritant is that Bernie Sanders has been such a disappointment. By choosing to endorse HRC, and continuing to fundraise and encourage his followers to oppose her (by his abject failure to support her in even the smallest way), I have lost whatever respect I had for his campaign.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: Apparently, Sanders’ logic (from the way pundits and others have described it, anyway) is that the longer he holds on, the more leverage he supposedly has and the more time he has to pull Clinton more to the left. Obviously, that quite literally begs the question as to just how much further Sanders thinks he could pull her, particularly now when his media exposure has been marginalized to the point of nonexistent and the focus is increasingly on Trump.

        Others flaunt the idea that Sanders is sticking around by way a last-ditch hope that Clinton is indicted and he can magically become the nominee.

        Whatever the reason behind Sanders’ thinking is, frankly I can’t believe that much of anyone beyond his die-hard supporters would think that he’s just being a cranky old guy who doesn’t know when to call it quits.

      • 1mime says:

        Agree. He’s failing to be constructive and, in my eyes, has become quarrelsome and bitter. He ran such a fantastic campaign that I hate to see things implode this way, but he’s asking for it – big time. Hillary won fair and square – both pledged delegates and popular vote. He needs to step up and be a bigger person than he’s exhibiting. This opportunity is too important to the very progressives he claims to support to do anything but unite.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi 1mime

        From here it does not seem too bad that Bernie continues to campaign

        (1) He is a “grumpy old man” and as such is allowed to behave like it
        (2) He is still pushing the Dems to the center (what the USA thinks is the left)
        (3) He is still there in case something happens – candidates have worse life insurance odds than normal people and in this election…….

        With the Donald continuing on his erratic path I don’t think Bernie needs to do much uniting – just stop attacking Hillary – and I think he has done that

      • 1mime says:

        No, that is not correct. Bernie is not holding rallies anymore, but in his last one, he railed against Clinton. Further, he is still conducting training sessions for disruption techniques for the convention. I consider that an attack on the party if not directly at Clinton. Finally, he has been very negative about her – which is his right except that now is the time to become a bigger person and acknowledge that she won – fair and square and that they can find common ground. It would be nice to have B’s supporters in the Clinton tent, but without his leadership, there are many who either won’t vote or will vote against H. Sanders chose to run as a Democrat. He used their platform, resources, and did very little to advance the party. It was all about Bernie. He has an obligation to honor what he gained from Dems by helping them now. So far, he has done squat. Grumpy I understand (this is Francis talkin’ as Tracy pointed out). Humble is what he should be now.

      • duncancairncross says:

        OK –
        Sounds like he needs to chill out

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      I simply cannot understand how any liberal can be in favor of no fly lists as they exist today.

      They’re literally a list of names that were created by a government agency with little to no oversight. And a list that can suddenly ruin your life because you might have name like “Barack HUSSEIN Obama” – not to mention the “due process”, from what I’ve been reading is a sham that barely works.

      They’re a bad idea in the first place, and laws should really not be based on them or any similar procedure. We shouldn’t be legitimizing this at all.

      Seriously, can’t anyone imagine what would happen if, say, Trump decided to put all Muslim sounding names on it? Or if a white supremacist that somehow got into the FBI sneakily starts putting in random Black people on the list and destroying livelyhoods? Doesn’t anyone find this utterly terrifying?

      • 1mime says:

        So, conceptionally, could you agree that a “quality” list could be helpful but that the list as constructed is a mess? How would you deal with this problem? When the CIA, FBI, etc are watching people for what they feel are legitimate reasons, how should this affect these “persons” ability to freely travel? This is a genuine question because I believe the intent is good even if the execution is not. And, yes, I’m a liberal, and I’m one of those people who would like America to do what England has done and put cameras on every corner, and increase airport and rail security provisions. Innocent people may get caught up but as I rarely travel these venues, my experience has not shown me people being abused at airports.

      • Let’s just call it what it is: the Precrime List, brought to us by the Precrime Bureau of the executive branch of the federal government of the People’s Republic of Amerika.

        How did you get on the list? You’ll never know. How do you get off the list? You’ll never know. Who are your accusers? You’ll never know. What do you stand accused of? You’ll never know.

        Really, there’s only one thing you’ll know for sure: U R *SCREWED*.

      • Yes, I find it *utterly terrifying.* I find it even more terrifying that so many seem perfectly OK with it. And Pseudo, it warms the cockles of my heart to see a person of the left genuinely concerned and alarmed by egregious attacks on due process. In a day and age where so many give scant credence to the Constitution, it refreshing to see someone like you buck the trend. And you are entirely correct to point out that that rights once lost, sooner or later will bear you to grief. I salute you.

        And for all the usual suspects, a gentle reminder:

        No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…
        – The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution (from the Bill of Rights)

      • 1mime says:

        Deprived of “life” Tracy? Tell that to the Sandy Hook parents and loved ones and all the other mass murders. Whose life we are protecting is the question.

      • The kids at Sandy Hook were deprived of their lives by a monster, because the government that both promised to protect them, and *prevented* their charges from protecting them, failed miserably at the first, but not the second. Therein lies a clue for you, 1mime.

        Now, in reaction to its abject failure at ensuring our safety, our government is bent on doing even more to ensure we can’t ensure our own safety, and, as an added bonus, it’s going to do away with due process at the same time. Simply marvelous! How cool is that?

      • 1mime says:

        At least you’re consistent, Tracy. I’ll give you that even as I firmly disagree with you. Others who share your gun advocacy lack your steadfastness – when it’s needed for the party good. Their purity of allegiance to NRA is unflinching until the real test comes – winning elections. Guess they got a pass from the NRA……how nice..

        “Republicans say they are wary of the political danger for their members. In addition to Kirk and Ayotte, GOP Sens. Pat Toomey (Pa.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) face reelection in states won in 2008 and 2012 by President Obama.

        Republican leaders appeared willing to give Ayotte, who is facing one of the most highly touted Democratic recruits, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, leeway to break from the party line.”

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I’m all for due process under the law, but at the same time you have to be pragmatic and deal with the reality that’s confronting American lives every minute of every day. Does that mean we trample over our own standards for the sake of convenience? Of course not, we make the process work better in a way that respects people and also keeps a watchful eye on those who, by all legitimate accounts, deserve to be watched.

        As you pointed out, we likely need more oversight; more transparency and cooperation from Congress. Would more resources (financial, technical, human, etc.) help in better refining the lists so as to avoid potentially implicating innocent people? At what point are the lists regularly checked and updated, and how can we better improve that process?

        Yes, the scenarios you raise are terrifying, no doubt about it, but we can cherry pick any number of government agencies and conjure up any scenario that would destroy a person’s livelihood. We don’t cower in our rhetorical corners in fear of the unknown. We get ahead of it by making the system work as efficiently and streamlined as possible.

      • johngalt says:

        “The kids at Sandy Hook were deprived of their lives by a monster, because the government that both promised to protect them, and *prevented* their charges from protecting them, failed miserably at the first, but not the second. Therein lies a clue for you, 1mime.”

        Tracy, you can harp on unfettered gun ownership all you want, but if your solution to school shootings is for kindergarten teachers to be armed, then you are utterly insane. And I do not say that facetiously – I mean you have absolutely taken leave of your senses. Forgive me, because I don’t pay that much attention to the between-the-lines details of posters here, but do you have kids? Have you been in a public elementary school recently? Do you remember what your first grade teacher looked like? If not, let me remind you. She (and almost always a she) has a class of 20-25 kids who are 5, 6, 7 years old, all of whom act like their age. They need hugs and have tantrums, and need reassurance. They all are curious and get into things they should not get into. They paint their shirts and glue their fingers together. They have potty accidents and spill things. They have fits about nothing and wrestle their “friends” into the corner of the nearest desk. The teachers have little support – sometimes a part-time aide – and they do a magnificent job, for the most part.

        What part of this scene suggests that a gun in that environment increases the safety level overall? What are the statistics you can point to that say a lone adult in a roomful of semi-sentient beasts can ensure the security of a weapon? What common sense do you use to believe that putting 1.5 million guns in kindergarten classrooms will lead to zero (or near-zero accidents)? Is this the same common sense that kills a toddler a week in home gun-related accidents? In what world does a child needing a hug also need a poke in the ribs from the butt of the pistol that Ms. Smith has to carry?

        At some point, denial of basic sense takes you from being an adult playing a responsible role in this discussion to that of those same 6 year olds, stomping your feet and demanding what you want now, now, now. Petulance and naivety is a poor combination. You seem smarter than this most of the time Tracy. But even smart people can get caught up in delusional nonsense.

      • johng, the armed presence doesn’t have to be a teacher or administrator; the armed presence is what’s required. Period.

        In all of these cases (Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando, Aurora, Ft. Hood, etc.), the goblins either obtained firearms legally, or gained access to legally obtained firearms. None of these orcs had prior criminal records. Although there were indications that some of these monsters were unhinged, in this country we still adhere to the benighted practice of not stripping citizens of their rights unless they are convicted of a crime. In other words, there was no way to stop these animals prior to the event.

        In the final analysis, the only thing that has stopped these ghouls was men and/or women with guns arriving on the scene, i.e. the proverbial good-guy-with-a-gun. Prevention is all well and good, but when prevention fails mitigation is required. There are only two proven mitigation strategies when you are faced with such a situation: a) have a gun on or near your person (or with some other person close by), and use said gun to deal with the problem as it arises, or b) order out for a good-guy-with-gun delivery, and let them take care of your problem when they finally arrive.

        The only shortcoming of option b) is that by the time your good-guy-with-a-gun delivery order arrives, you’ll likely be dead. Or a bunch of elementary school kids. Or a bunch of office Christmas party attendees. Or a bunch of gay nightclub patrons. Or a bunch of moviegoers. Or a bunch of marines. Take your pick. For my part, option a) makes way better sense.

        And johng, I forgive you for not having enough sense to figure out how to keep a weapon secure, but readily accessible. Thank goodness, all sorts of enterprising entrepreneurs have solved that problem for you:
        etc., etc.

        I use the GunVault and Hornady products in my home and truck. They’re pretty darn skippy. 🙂

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        @1mime, see I’m a little flexible as far as the “watching” goes, whether that be by surveillance cameras or algorithms or whatever modality that comes up, except for some protections to the privacy of your own home and/or email account. There is no expectation of privacy when you step out your front door, nor should there be.

        My problem is when laws are created purely based on this “watching”. A no fly list is precisely that. Someone decided to create a law based on what’s been seen about a person. That is madness. If we had an in depth conversation of violent passages in the Koran and bible and/or other religious texts, and someone or some algorithm somewhere could put us on a list that would suddenly prevent us from flying today, guns tomorrow, higher insurance rates the day after, and public speaking next week.

        So, no I will never be in favor of a “no fly” list. But I might be okay about a surveillance/watch list assuming it goes through all the checks and balances and judicial oversight.

      • 1mime says:

        It was pointed out earlier, that the No Fly List was created following 9/11. I am in favor of such a list but totally agree that it needs to be very carefully crafted with clear due process rights. We will simply have to disagree on this. With the new pre-check security clearance option that most airports are allowing, this should make it easier for someone to avoid hassle. For those who fly frequently, this is a no brainer. Grandma’s like me don’t get hassled at the security check points…but probably should!

    • goplifer says:

      For Chissakes Tracy… You are disqualified from complaining that I harp on racism.

    • goplifer says:

      “Also, I don’t like anybody touching me…”

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Tracy, if you’re stance is that the 2A can have no limits,no restrictions, or no infringements under almost any circumstances, you must be aware thats a losing position.

      Support for more gun control is up 10 points (!) from December and i s higher than it was after Newton (!!). Look at some of these numbers:

      “But support for specific gun control measures was very strong, with 92% saying they wanted expanded background checks, 87% supporting a ban for felons or people with mental health problems and 85% saying they would ban people on federal watchlists from buying guns. Among Republicans, that number is even higher — 90% say they favor preventing people on the terror watch list or “no fly” list from buying a gun. That number is at 85% for Democrats.”

      In a democracy (which America still is) anything that has that kind of support is only a matter of time. The Pulse shooting changed things. It FEELS different this time.

      Part of it is the “this can’t keep happening” dynamic. Another big part is that now the LGBT community is involved. Most of the most powerful groups have officially made it part of their movement. Thw NRA has never been up against an opponent like that. The community is large, mobilized , well funded, and effective. These groups know how to win battles like this (see: Obergfell).

      The attitude that any gun control is an infringement of constitutional rights is frankly an untenable position, and an insistence on it will only result in the NRA side to be completely left out of the gun control that will most definitely happen in the very near future.

      Not even the NRA can stop policies that have such deep and broad support as gun control.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Tracy certainly does not need my assistance here, but I believe a majority of Americans supported a ban on immigrants from Syria (and a majority of Republicans broadened that out to Muslims in general).

        A majority of Americans want some restrictions on abortion.

        It wasn’t all that long ago that a majority of Americans didn’t want gay folks to get married.

        Loving v. Virginia was during the lifetime of several folks on this blog, and a majority of folks in Virginia didn’t want Blacks and Whites getting married.

        I’m pretty uncaring about whether a majority of folks want to curtail constitutional rights.

        I wish more folks on the right had concerns about the no-fly lists when the GOP controlled gov’t created them. To be fair, Tracy likely had concerns then.

        November is a long time away, and I recall that “it felt different” after Sandy Hook as well. This won’t be anything but a minor issue come November.

      • 1mime says:

        Homer, Sandy Hook will never be a minor issue for me, nor the assassinations of the nine Black parishioners in their church, nor, nor,…

        I can appreciate what I think is your point, i.e. times change and peoples’ views with them. But, the underlying issues of equality and fairness didn’t change – whether the majority supported or objected to them. In my mind, how many people oppose a wrong doesn’t make them right and the wrong less so. I am hopeful that our young people who are more inclusive will help move all of us stodgy old folks onto a path of greater tolerance. It’s a journey our country needs to make.

      • Tracy,

        Apparently the Supremes do not agree with your guns for all opinion of the Constitution. They just agreed, with Clarence not in the mix, to again allow state bans on assault weapons. Personally, if someone wants to have a gun or guns, a good friend of mine has 17, that’s fine with me. But just like anything else, no right is absolute.

        And the idea that teachers should be armed because society, meaning congress, doesn’t have the nerve to stand up to the NRA, is absurd! I seriously doubt you would find many teachers teaching if they had to carry a Glock into the classroom. You would find the only people teaching, a job that is hard enough already, would be a bunch of gun nuts!

        Just what we all need:-)!

      • No, Rob, it’s not my stance “that the 2A can have no limits,no restrictions, or no infringements under almost any circumstances,” and if you’d been paying any attention at all to the threads I’m commenting in, you’d know that.

        As for how Americans are feeling, try these on for size:

        “Hunter’s Warehouse Owner Tom Engle told the FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney, his online operation consisting of 300,000 to 400,000 weapons has sold 30,000 AR-15’s since Sunday.”

  26. dsc1964 says:

    Another well written article! This triggered my memory about an old commentary written by the War Nerd about the difference between Al Qaeda and the IRA. Even though both were labeled terrorists groups by western governments, the IRA behaved far more rationally since they were focused on a political goal.

    • goplifer says:

      Wow. That was an impressive piece. Thanks for posting.

    • flypusher says:

      IIRC, even bin Laden was starting to worry the al Qaeda had tainted its “brand” beyond repair, because of all the casualties among Muslims. For all fretting Americans do about terrorism, they are not the most likely victims.

  27. Call it whatever you want, but here are “Christian” pastors saying not enough people died in Orlando! Does the term Christian terrorists come to mind???

    • 1mime says:

      And here is Sen. Chris Murphy’s (CT) response to no action from Republicans for sensible gun legislation. Ordinarily, I’d not agree with this….but, if Republicans refuse to take “any” action, aren’t they complicit in the tragedies? Compare it to the beefed up security screenings at airports and the no fly lists. Both measures have fallacies but at least government is trying to enhance detection and thus prevention of violence.

    • 1mime says:

      I read these statements a few days ago and decided against posting them because they were so vile and stupid that I didn’t want to spread their ugliness. That is not to criticize anyone from posting it, it’s just that people like this are so beyond the pale of sanity that I simply cannot acknowledge their existence. Obviously, they “think” they speak for many others. I’m not religious but I respect the deep, sincere faith many people have. How can anyone who purports to represent Christianity (or any faith, really) make statements like this? This is the height of despicable action.

      • They may be beyond the pale, and i guess i agree they are. But they are all around us, and they multiply.

        i think what is most important about the article is what is said in the article. What chance does a kid have, especially a male, who grows up in a family who believes this rot, who goes to a church where this stuff is spewed out to the parishioners by the pastor.

        that child is taught his parents are right, his pastor is right. So if that kid is just a little unbalanced, like the guy a week ago, he goes off and does stuff, thinking he is doing God’s work!

        In a way it is like domestic violence, a subject i know a little about. a male child who grows up in a household, a family where the husband beats the wife, is very likely to abuse his wife and family! It is almost a law of nature. This guy 10 days ago grew up in a family where the parents supported the Taliban!

      • 1mime says:

        Did you happen to watch Mateen’s father’s lengthy comments when he made his formal statement? I didn’t see a great deal of sympathy there, mostly anger. Maybe I took his remarks the wrong way but that was my take. As for the second wife, she needs to be charged as an accomplice, hands down. She knew what he was doing and failed to alert authorities. I will be watching to see what happens in this regard.

  28. 1mime says:

    At its core, this is still an issue about availability, education, misuse, profit – as this New Yorker piece plumbs. Note the role of the NRA when one brave gun manufacturer “tried” to be responsible.

  29. tuttabellamia says:

    A question along the same lines: Is it a hate crime?

    • goplifer says:

      Yup, and where you draw that line matters. When the Klan bombed the 16th Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham it was a very different political challenge than when two white ex-cons dragged James Byrd to death. Many similarities, but a sound response to one incident would have been dangerously inappropriate for the other.

      • 1mime says:

        Can you elaborate on that point Lifer? The Birmingham bombing and the dragging?

      • goplifer says:

        That church bombing was committed by an well-organized terrorist group with the assistance and protection of local law enforcement. It had a specific, tactical political objective, eliminating that church’s role as a protected space from which the SCLC could organize its local and even national activities. The bombing was followed by a wave of less organized attacks on the black community, aimed at halting the organizers’ momentum.

        It might have worked had the FBI and the national news media not descended on that place in force. Even with a massive federal effort, few of the perpetrators were ever brought to justice. And the first conviction didn’t occur for another 14 years. Perpetrators of the peripheral killings in the days after never served any jail time.

        Byrd’s murder was motivated by racism, but carried none of the hallmarks of terrorism. There was no coordination beyond a couple of drunks on a binge. Law enforcement and the community were cooperative. The conventional criminal justice system operated as it should to achieve justice.

        What was necessary to respond effectively to one crime would have been unnecessary in dealing with the other.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Lifer. That makes sense.

  30. flypusher says:

    This fits in with a topic in the previous post- that people with agendas will cherry pick one aspect that fits their agendas. The Orlando mass murders are an intersection of multiple issues/ causes. People trying to oversimply aren’t helping.

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