Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why the NRA is a Terrorist Organization and Why Nobody Should Give Them Money

On the Manchin-Toomey amendment:

"This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution," NRA spokesman Chris Cox said in a statement.

Yes, it would have criminalized private transfers to friends and family who are convicted felons or severely mentally ill. By the NRA spokesman's own words, they are against criminalizing gun sales to convicted felons or the severely mentally ill.

This is an organization with members who have made our lawmakers addicted to bribery and threatened to replace the bribery with attack ads against our lawmakers if they fail to vote how the organization demands. That is terrorizing.

The Manchin-Toomey amendment which the NRA spoke out against would have closed the gun show loophole which an al-Qaeda spokesperson told aspiring terrorists to exploit and excluded extending background checks to sales and transfers between friends and family. The NRA protected terrorists by lying about the amendment. The amendment even banned the creation of a national firearm registry which fearmongers in Congress also lied about.

An Onion article which claimed "Next Week's School Shooting Victims Thank Senate For Failing To Pass Gun Bill" is sadly, more true than fiction.

Why do people support the NRA? Why do people continue to be members of it and why do our lawmakers lack the courage to stand up to them? Frankly, because people are still gullible enough to believe what the NRA says.

This failure happened despite 74% of NRA members supporting some form of universal background checks. More than that, Americans overwhelmingly support expanding background checks.

Increasingly, the NRA has become an organization which doesn't support the interest of its members.

"We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone." - NRA ad from USA Today, 1999

Organizations change, just as political groups do. It's disturbing how the NRA , which once attacked Bill Clinton for being soft on crime, is now the one being soft on crime.They're now protecting the Second Amendment rights of thugs and terrorists by making people think what is reasonable is unreasonable and merely expanding what we're already doing is somehow bad. Heaven forbid, we should make something we're doing actually more efficient and effective.

Now, I have guns, I like to shoot guns (I think it's fun), and I would use guns to defend my home against intrusion (though statistically, it's more likely it will be involved in a gun related accident than be used for defense). According to a recent poll, about half the people in the US (44% of Republicans anyway) think an armed revolt may be necessary soon. I'll gladly use my guns to defend this country against those people; however, I don't think I'd need to as the US military would have my back.

I certainly think everyone shouldn't have a gun. The mentally unstable, violent felons on parole, people convicted of domestic abuse with restraining orders against them, raging alcoholics, and people I wouldn't trust with sharp objects are on that list. This flies in the face of gun fetishists and 2nd Amendment worshipers who feel preventing escaped convicts or people in jail from buying a gun is infringing their 2nd Amendment right. After all, at what point did they lose their Constitutional rights? If the right "shall not be infringed" then it mustn't ever be infringed, right? Or maybe, these fetishists are just cherry picking the words of the 2nd Amendment to match their own deranged viewpoint.

I've already written elsewhere on the need for a multi-prong approach to gun violence in this country. This isn't that article. This article is about exposing NRA lies and background checks.

Background checks work. See the below statistic.

"In 2010, nearly 80,000 Americans were denied guns after providing false information about their criminal histories during the background check."

Since the Brady Act was passed in 1994, around 1.8 million gun sales have been denied to unqualified buyers.

There is no evidence that all the individuals denied the legal sale of a gun acquire them elsewhere. Despite what some say about how easy it is to get a gun, closing the loopholes in legally buying guns would leave those who can't get guns legally with the black market. Not all such individuals know where the gun black market is or want to enter the criminal underworld. Do you?

I recently watched The Courier. In one scene, the courier (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) goes to his underworld friends to buy untraceable guns. Everyone says how easy it is to get guns. However if I were to fail a background a check, I don't know how to find my local criminal gun dealer. Closing the background check loophole would be somewhat effective as others also don't know where to find their local underworld contacts. Anyway, the movie was decent, with some unfortunate usage of CGI blood.

In 1996, Australia introduced numerous gun regulations, including background checks, following a mass shooting which killed 35. Prior to 1996, there were 13 mass shootings in the previous 14 years. Following the new gun regulations, there have been no mass shootings. Gun crime dramatically decreased (nearly by 60%), gun suicides decreased by 65%, and overall homicides decreased as well. In 2007, homicides decreased to the lowest number on record. Now, some people may argue about those percentages so pay attention to the important part: "No mass shootings." You can even watch John Oliver of the Daily Show confront someone claiming this was a failure.

However according to the most extreme gun rights advocates who are the people who control the debate, it is better for you, your friends, and children to die in gun violence than for the 2nd Amendment to be infringed or for others to imagine it is being infringed. They like to forget about the whole "well-regulated" part of the Amendment. When those people say that the 20 children who died in the Newtown shooting are just the price we pay for the freedom to have guns, I say, "Then, sacrifice yours first. Let me know if you feel the same afterwards."

If Americans can't be responsible about the 2nd Amendment, then maybe we shouldn't even have it. Even our Founding Fathers felt we shouldn't be restricted by our founding documents as if they were written in stone. Thomas Jefferson felt we should rewrite the Constitution every 7 years to keep it current with the times. I actually enjoy 2nd Amendment freedoms; however, arguing with "gun nuts" certainly makes me wonder about it. Those so-called "law-abiding citizens" are as irresponsible and dangerous as the criminals on the street. They certainly give reasonable gun owners a bad name.

Let's put it this way. Nuclear arms are "arms" so the 2nd Amendment gives an American the citizen the right to have one (so argued one 2nd Amendment advocate to me). Do we really support no background checks for "arms?" When the Founding Fathers added the 2nd Amendment, an "arm" was an inaccurate musket which could fire about once a minute. Trained elite infantry could fire between 4 and 5 shots a minute. We already restrict the type of arms people can buy. We even draw the line at certain types of guns which can fire fully automatic. I don't hear many gun rights advocates raising a stink about the need to repeal the fully automatic gun ban. See, they're OK with "infringements" just so long as it's the "infringements" they think are good. That's hypocrisy in action (inaction, actually).

How do criminals get guns?

Though the exact statistic is debated, 10-20% of gun crime is committed with legally obtained guns. Both the Aurora theater shooter and Virginia Tech shooter passed background checks to get guns because their mentally ill status wasn't reported.

That identifies flaws in our information network that common sense says we should correct. One can also legally buy guns without background checks by buying guns from individuals at or outside of gun shows. Only high volume sellers need to be licensed and conduct background checks. If closing these holes in the background check system could prevent 10-20% of gun crime, only the most negligent individual could argue against it. Forty-six Senators did just that and voted to let more Americans die in gun crime. That should be considered accessory to homicide.

Obama said, "“The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks, and over the last 14 years that’s kept 1.5 million of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun, but it’s hard to enforce that law, when as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check. That’s not safe. That’s not smart.”

The ATF says that the two biggest ways criminals get guns are straw purchases and legally-licensed (FFL) corrupt dealers who don't conduct background checks. Stealing guns isn't at the top of the list.

With those two methods, guns go to criminals and the black market. Since September 13, 1994, over 23,775 guns have been reported lost, missing, or stolen from FFL dealers. That's after a law was passed requiring dealers to report missing guns within 48 hours. Several states also make straw purchases extremely easy by not restricting the number of guns a non-FFL dealer can purchase. Obviously, a citizen doesn't need to purchase 30 guns in a single day in order to exercise 2nd Amendment rights. One person can't "bear" that many arms or shoot that many guns at once without some ridiculous contraption connecting a bunch of triggers to a string. However, they can supply those guns to the black market.

However, individuals who don't sell a lot of guns per year don't need to get a FFL or conduct background checks. Many normal citizens may, in fact, be participating in straw purchases and not realize it, such as anytime someone buys a gun for someone else. By requiring everyone to conduct a background check on a gun recipient, it both eliminates an easily exploitable hole in the background check system and informs those gun sellers who may have previously been unwitting accomplices in gun crime. Under current law, you could buy 50 guns from a store, and go sell them in the parking lot. It would only be a crime if you knowingly sell them to people who are not legally permitted to have guns. That makes prosecuting such sales to criminals almost impossible (just claim ignorance) and gives those conducting straw purchase a great defense. Making it a crime to not find out whether a gun sale is criminal would change that. Most people don't want to be criminals, and most people don't want to knowingly sell guns to a criminal.This is another simple reason why universal background checks would work.

However, the NRA lied about universal background checks.

Obama slammed the National Rifle Association, declaring that the organization “willfully lied” about the legislation’s effects. “They claimed that it would create some sort of big brother gun registry even though the bill did the opposite,” he said, adding “This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry, plain and simple, right there in the text. But that didn’t matter. And unfortunately this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose…Those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators.”

Universal background checks could easily work without a registry. The same infrastructure can be used as with FFL dealers. Private sellers can go with the buyer to a FFL to have the check done. Currently, FFL dealers keep background check records for 20 years. This is already done. The records are kept safe and private unless subpoenaed for a specific legal matter.

Some people soaked up the NRA propaganda and claimed that background checks violate the 2nd Amendment despite our Supreme Court having said otherwise. Universal background checks only make our current system more effective. They don't change what a background check is or the types of record kept. Once these individuals start claiming that we shouldn't deny guns to felons or the mentally ill, we can consider them taking a principled stand on their misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment rather than merely being people that believe anything they hear which reinforces their prejudices and biases.

Now that the current battle to pass gun control legislation (even if only background checks that fall short of truly universal) has died, where are the ignorant gun fetishists calling for a repeal of all background checks? After all, don't they infringe on the right of criminals and the mentally ill to have guns? My guess is that they're too busy drooling on their own shoes while waiting for the next round of propaganda to tell them what to do. Meanwhile, some of the 46 lawmakers are enjoying their financial contributions from the NRA while a criminal, somewhere, is using a loophole to a buy gun that will be used to kill someone's child. No doubt, these are the same types of people who bought the ex-girlfriend target that bleeds when you shoot it (you got guns in my misogyny, you got misogyny in my guns!)

Who profits from the NRA's lies?

Gun manufacturers and sellers profit from the fear-mongering about gun control. Gun sales are up under Obama and exploded during discussion of gun control legislation in the Senate, due to the all the lies being told. Ammunition shortages have even occurred.

Gun manufacturers would also have profit-driven reasons to oppose background checks. They'd lose sales to both criminals and the mentally ill. A drop in crime may also lead to less gun purchases by law-abiding citizens. I'm not saying this is actually the case; however, it's where the money would be.

It certainly seems gun makers should be happy when Democrats are elected as it lets people spread lies about guns being taken in order to spur increased sales.

"Brian Rafn, a gun industry analyst and director of research at Morgan Dempsey Capital Management, said gun companies are going to have to figure out how to remain profitable now that the "visceral political craziness is removed from the equation."

It's a common claim that the NRA represents gun manufacturers more than they do gun owners. Even Cracked, a humor website, waded into the argument on that, backing up its researched article.

About 90% of gun owners don't belong to the NRA.Of 50 million gun owners, only about 4.5 million belong to the NRA.

Since background checks only infringe your 2nd Amendment rights if you're a criminal, insane, or a terrorist, perhaps all the people opposing background checks are either one or all of those things. Should we really listen to them or give weight to their arguments? I say, "No."

Fortunately, not all gun rights group are like the NRA. Unfortunately, the NRA is the biggest and most powerful.

Better gun regulation reduces suicides.

People intent on killing themselves won't just find another means if their preferred method is taken away.

"The Israeli Defense Forces, much like American troops, was seeing a disturbing number of suicides in the ranks in 2006. In an effort to bring down the numbers, the IDF banned soldiers from bringing their rifles home with them on the weekends. Suicides fell by 40 percent, according to a study by Israeli psychiatrists."

"In the first half of the 20th century, ovens in England used to burn coal gas, which happened to be completely lethal in concentrated doses and was thus the preferred way to commit suicide. By the late 1950s, sticking your head in the oven accounted for nearly half of all suicides committed in England. By the early 1970s, these ovens had been phased out, so nobody was surprised to see coal gas fall out of the top ten British suicide methods (one of's least popular recurring articles). So what did all of those suicidal people do instead? In a startling number of cases, they just went right on living. The suicide rate dropped by a third, and it never went back up."

The laughably bad lies from those who voted in support of more Americans being shot by guns

These are the traitors who voted to keep loopholes open for terrorists and violent criminals.

Republicans: Lamar Alexander (TN); Kelly Ayotte (NH); John Barrasso (WY); Roy Blunt (MO); John Boozman (AR); Richard M. Burr (NC); Saxby Chambliss (GA); Daniel Coats (IN); Tom Coburn (OK); Thad Cochran (MS); Bob Corker (TN); John Cornyn (TX); Michael Crapo (ID); Ted Cruz (TX); Michael B. Enzi (WY); Deb Fischer (NE); Jeff Flake (AZ); Lindsey Graham (SC); Chuck Grassley (IA); Orrin G. Hatch (UT); Dean Heller (NV); John Hoeven (ND); James M. Inhofe (OK); Johnny Isakson (GA); Mike Johanns (NE); Ron Johnson (WI); Mike Lee (UT); Mitch McConnell (KY); Jerry Moran (KS); Lisa Murkowski (AK); Rand Paul (KY); Rob Portman (OH); Jim Risch (ID); Pat Roberts (KS); Marco Rubio (FL); Tim Scott (SC); Jeff Sessions (AL); Richard Shelby (AL); John Thune (SD); David Vitter (LA); Roger Wicker (MS);
Democrats: Max Baucus (MT); Mark Begich (AK); Heidi Heitkamp (ND); Mark Pryor (AR); Harry Reid (NV).
(Note: Harry Reid's "no" vote was only procedural which permits him to bring it up again and didn't represent opposition.)

Some of their choice lies are below:

** Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio):
“Having carefully reviewed the Manchin-Toomey legislation, unfortunately, I do not believe it would be effective in preventing the kind of heartbreaking loss of life seen in Newtown or in other recent tragic incidents. It does, however, contain several provisions that would make it more difficult for law-abiding Ohioans to exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed rights.
“I do believe there are actions Congress can and should take to reduce gun violence without infringing on Second Amendment rights, and I look forward to supporting such amendments.”
"This includes legislation that not only helps ensure those suffering from mental illness have access to the treatment they need, but also enforces and improves rules already on the books that limit their ability to threaten themselves and their communities. For instance, I will be supporting amendments to improve background checks by strengthening state reporting of individuals who courts have found to be mentally ill.”

Yes, Rob. Expanding background checks wouldn't have prevented the Newtown school shooting. Less than 20 people died there. Over 10,000 people die a year in America due to guns. As of April 17th, 3,531 were killed by guns in the USA. It seems to you that preventing some of those deaths aren't important.

The fact is, there is no golden bullet to solve violence in America. Background checks are just part of a well-balanced approach. America has a culture of death.

** Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.):
“Gun control is a legitimate issue for our country to debate and decide where and how we can fix the problems of violence,” Paul said at a breakfast with reporters in Washington on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, the effort to push through legislation that no one had read highlights one of the primary reasons we announced our intention to force a 60-vote threshold. We believe the abuse of the process is how the rights of Americans are systematically eroded and we will continue to do everything in our power to prevent it.”

One thing, people read it. Another thing, if less people had read it than Paul liked, they might have had a chance if he hadn't filibustered it. He also mocked the families of victims of the Newtown shooting who came to Washington by calling them props. So, he claims we can debate gun control while filibustering the chance to discuss it. With those disgusting remarks, he's making fans of those who believe the government is merely using gun violence victims as excuse to take away everyone guns. How does he sleep at night? No doubt very well and in comfort with taxpayer money from a well-paying position given to him by the disgusting and the gullible.

** Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):
“In my view, we should focus on keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and those with mental issues that could cause them to be a threat to our society,” McConnell said in a speech of the Senate floor. “The government should not punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their Second Amendment rights.
“And it’s that focus, on protecting communities and preserving our constituents’ constitutional rights that will be my guide as I vote on amendments to this bill.”

So, he said we should keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but he voted against a bill to do that. As the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, McConnell truly is a piece of human filth and a big reason why nothing gets done. To him, dead Americans are a small price to pay for a political "win" for Republicans.

** Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.):
“Reducing gun violence in our country is an important discussion, and I am glad we are having this debate in Congress.”
“While I appreciate the good-faith effort of many senators to address this significant issue, I will not support legislation that fails to address the real problems that lead to gun violence and would infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens."
Again, how do background checks infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens, and why isn't he arguing to repeal current background check law?

**Sen. Kelly Ayote
Erica Lafferty, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, confronted Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) Tuesday over her vote against expanding background checks for firearm purchases.

"You had mentioned that day you voted, owners of gun stores that the expanded background checks would harm," Lafferty said, during a town hall in Warren, N.H. "I am just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn't more important than that." Ayotte told Lafferty she was sorry for her loss but did not directly answer the question.
The reason Ayote gave for opposing expanded background checks was "inconvenience." Lafferty asked a very good question. Why is shortening a gun purchase by 5 minutes worth letting Americans die?

Unrelated to background checks . . .

Well, one person's common sense is another person's paranoid delusion of a conspiracy.

Because of that, the NRA, its apologists, and greedy politicians are putting the rights of criminals and terrorists above the value of American lives. So please, stop giving those assholes money.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Your Rights

Or, do they?

I've gotten complaints by saying this before, but I'll say it again.

You have no natural rights. You have no God given rights (that matter anyway, except to you and your God).

The only natural rights you have are what you can enforce yourself.

Our rights are what we as a society agree are our rights to the degree that they are enforced. If you're fortunate, you have such rights.

Now, I'm not saying our rights come from the government. In a place like America, its people (its representatives anyway) made our list of rights. In more tyrannical places, they're whatever you're allowed to have (or take by force). Of course, people in America who voted for the losing person/issue often claim its tyranny whenever they were outvoted.

In a world without society or governments, your only rights are what you can enforce yourself. Sure, you can claim you have a right to life or freedom, but your philosophical argument won't stop the roving brigands from killing or enslaving you. Your "rights" have no power. They mean spit. In such a world, might makes right (or rights). Anyone can claim any rights they want to claim. It doesn't make them anymore true than the superpowers you claim to have (unless you actually have superpowers).

Don't let Libertarians or Conservatives take your rights away with their goal of shrinking government and removing its protections for people such as yourself.

It is truly vital that we make sure everybody has equal freedoms and protections at the highest levels of governments. Basic civil freedoms such as not being enslaved or being able to marry aren't matters that should be decided at the state level. We should have lots of rights and freedoms, but we must fight for them. We must accept no conciliation prize, such as letting states oppress us and calling it a state's rights issue. People's rights are more important than states' rights.

What some people call "Natural Rights," I instead call, "The Way Things Should Be." We must to put forth effort to make sure that's the way things are.

Taxes are Theft

This article isn't about healthcare.
When I hear people say, "Taxes are theft," I have to shake my head. Since theft is bad, we'd have to eliminate income and sales taxes. Any fee from the government can also be considered a tax.

Taxes are part of the societal contract we all agree to and abide by as part of being Americans. Without taxes, we would have no modern government, no military, no police, no fire fighters, and no programs to help the poor. Without government, this would no longer be a country; it would just be anarchy. Laws are useless without someone to enforce them. But don't worry, the anti-tax guy with the belly hanging out of his shirt and the shotgun slung over his shoulders will defend you as he goes on about illegal aliens in this new Freedom Zone. Well, who will protect you from him?

"But wait," you say, our government used to exist purely on fees extracted to the rich. We could just return to that (said no Libertarian ever). Or maybe, vital small government services could exist purely via donations and charity from the rich (like what would now feed the poor). That's the real goal of these "taxes are theft" people. That would put the power and control of our country and the masses' survival fully into the hands of the few, the powerful, and the rich. Your end goal, as always, is to enable the powerful to steal as much money from laborers as possible (by paying them as little as possible and making sure they have no recourse). "But wait," you say, the masses will use the free market to fight that. Yes, it was fought. The victory was the current system with labor laws and other government protections which you seek to destroy, sending us back to the bloody beginning with your sad "everything was better in the old days" whining.

The gullible non-wealthy individuals who fall for the "taxes are theft" philosophy are merely pawns of our growing plutocracy. If they had their way, government would be eliminated, big business would take over, and soon we'd all be living in shanty towns and laboring around dangerous machinery without any safety gear again (alongside children) again. We'd be controlled by privatized police forces in a country patrolled by a privatized military. Don't even think about calling the future fire department or police if you can't pay up front.

These willfully ignorant "taxes are theft" folk are a sad, treasonous anti-American bunch. Get the fuck out of this country and go somewhere where there are no taxes. Enjoy it there.

Another thing, we have taxes because the people we elected created income taxes and haven't eliminated them. Therefore, the American people voted for them and haven't voted for someone to eliminate them. It's what the American people wants; therefore, it's not theft. By that argument, it still seems that what the "no tax" bunch really hates is America and our system of government.

Now surely, taxes could be used as a weapon of oppression, but you shouldn't be complaining when, last year, taxes were at their lowest in 47 years and are still damn low.

Further Reading:

"Modern libertarianism is the disguise adopted by those who wish to exploit without restraint. It pretends that only the state intrudes on our liberties. It ignores the role of banks, corporations and the rich in making us less free. It denies the need for the state to curb them in order to protect the freedoms of weaker people. This bastardised, one-eyed philosophy is a con trick, whose promoters attempt to wrongfoot justice by pitching it against liberty. By this means they have turned "freedom" into an instrument of oppression."
Why Taxation Is Not Theft
The Illogical Argument That Taxes Are Theft
He forgets that government is who we voted for and not just a random gang on the street. He also forgets that cops could taze you instead.
Some Somehow Think Paying Taxes on Land we Stole is Theft

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why I'm for the Sequestration: A Bipartisan Agreement for the Worst of Both Worlds

The whole sequestration thing has been in the news a lot lately. I just want to remind everyone that I think it's a good thing. If it goes through, it'll be one of the first major bipartisan things to happen in a while.

Democrats agreed to it by saying we can't balance the budget only by cutting domestic programs meant to help Americans, and Republicans agreed to it by saying we can't tax the wealthy one cent more even though taxes are the lowest in 67 years. So, we're going to get huge cuts to almost everything. We'll be cutting spending so, "Yay!"

A bunch of military personnel are going to be laid off. But since government spending doesn't create jobs, it's like how matter can't be created or destroyed. It breaks even. Programs that help Americans are going to get cut, but anyone who's not rich obviously has moral failings and doesn't work hard enough anyway. Social security and Medicare aren't getting slashed, but they really should be, immediately for all current and future recipients, since they're the biggest debt problem. At least, the rich won't be getting taxed more. That's the important thing. They have enough problems what with dealing with all that money and all.