Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

BREAKING NEWS

Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Monday, July 30, 2012

‘Low-Effort Thought’ Promotes Political Conservatism, Study Says

"A new study suggests that people’s first response tends to be one that reflects a more politically conservative view. Published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, it notes that conservatism is tied to “low-effort thought.”


The study suggests “that political conservatism may be a process consequence of low-effort thought; when effortful, deliberate thought is disengaged, endorsement of conservative ideology increases.” In a statement released by the University of Arkansas, psychologist Dr. Scott Eidelman said, “People endorse conservative ideology more when they have to give a first or fast response.”


In an email to The Huffington Post, Eidelman clarified that this conclusion does not imply that conservatives are intellectually lazy. “Our research shows that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism, not that political conservatives use low-effort thinking,” he said.

From The Huffington Post:
For the study, a team of psychologists led by Dr. Eidelman asked people about their political viewpoints in a bar and in a laboratory setting.

Bar patrons were asked about social issues before blowing into a Breathalyzer. As it turned out, the political viewpoints of patrons with high blood alcohol levels were more likely to be conservative than were those of patrons whose blood alcohol levels were low.
Alcohol isn’t solely to blame: “Keeping people from thinking too much…or just asking them to deliberate or consider information in a cursory manner can impact people’s political attitudes, and in a way that consistently promotes political conservatism,” Eidelman said in the email."

SOURCE

More:

The study suggested that political conservatism "may be a process consequence of low-effort thought. When effortful, deliberate thought is disengaged, endorsement of conservative ideology increases.”

And this:

"The University of Arkansas released a study which is sure to rile the Conservatives up into a furor. The study examined Conservative ideology, thinking processes, and intelligence scores.

The connection between the three showed lazy thinking and low IQ scores translated into believing Conservative ideology. The study was very clear in stating that Conservatives do not necessarily have a lower IQ or conduct lazy thinking, only that lower IQ and lazy thinking processes lead people towards Conservative beliefs.

There is a difference between people choosing something based on IQ or thinking compared to people presenting the ideas as being lazy thinkers or having low IQ scores.

Let me state the studies main theme again, in a clearer manner for the readers. Conservative politics are not the product of lazy thinking or low IQ scores. Conservative politicians are not lower IQ’d individuals or lazier thinkers. Conservative voters are not less intelligent or less complex thinkers. The ideology put forth by Conservatives is easier to process, bringing lower intelligence voters and lazy thinkers into the fold."

And this:

"Remember that the rough conclusion of the experiments was that slow/simple people are more likely to be conservatively minded because it's easier to say "I like things this way because my Father/God/Teacher likes things this way" than to actually consider all the implications of any given political subject like left wing thinkers might think of."

Romney's Love Affair With Socialized Medicine

We all know that as governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney passed "The Massachusetts health care insurance reform law, St. 2006, c.58, informally referred to as Romneycare, enacted in 2006, mandates that nearly every resident of Massachusetts obtain a state-government-regulated minimum level of healthcare insurance coverage and provides free health care insurance for residents earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL). The bill aims to cover 95% of the state's 500,000 uninsured within a three year period. The law was amended significantly in 2008 and twice in 2010 and major revisions related to health care industry price controls were introduced in the Massachusetts legislature in May 2012 with expectation that some version of these controls will pass by July 2012.

Among its many effects, the law and its amendments established an independent public authority, the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, also known as the Health Connector. Among other roles, the Connector acts as an insurance broker to offer private insurance plans to residents. The reform legislation also included tax penalties on residents for failing to obtain an insurance plan and tax penalties on employers for failing to offer an insurance plan to employees. In 2007 Massachusetts tax filers who failed to enroll in a health insurance plan which was deemed affordable for them lost the $219 personal exemption on their income tax. Beginning in 2008, the penalty became pegged to 50% of the lowest monthly premium for insurance available from the Connector Authority."

Visiting Israel over the past few days, Mr. Romney praised Israel's national health care plan [OMG! Socialism!] which has been in effect since 1948:

Romney Praises Israel's Socialized Health Care System

No to ObamaCare, but Israel's mandate is working, Romney says.
posted

[Mr Romney] "marveled at how little Israel spends on health care relative to the United States.
"When our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation," Romney told donors at a fundraiser at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, speaking of a health care system that is compulsory for Israelis and funded by the government. "We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs."

Romney has explained that he opposes ObamaCare because what worked in Massachusetts may not work for other states. Highlighting the success of the Israeli system — in a country that enjoys one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world — could complicate matters for Romney at home.

Rights of the Insured under the National Health Insurance Law

-—Every Israeli citizen is entitled to health care services under the National Health Insurance Law.

—Every resident has a right to register as a member of an HMO of his/her choice, free of any preconditions or limitations stemming from his/her age or the state of his/her health.

—Every resident has a right to receive, via the HMO of which he or she is a member, all of the services included in the medical services basket, subject to medical discretion, and at a reasonable quality level, within a reasonable period of time and at a reasonable distance from his/her home.

—Each member has a right to receive the health services while preserving the member’s dignity, privacy and medical confidentiality.

—Every Israeli resident has the right to transfer from one HMO to another.

—Each member has a right to select the service providers, such as doctors, caregivers, therapists, hospitals and institutes, from within a list of service providers who have entered into an agreement with the HMO to which the member belongs, and within the arrangements in place for the selection of the service providers, and which the HMO publishes from time to time.

—Each member has a right to know which hospitals and institutes, and other service providers, are included in the agreement with the HMO, and what are the selection processes at the HMO.

—Each member has a right to see and to receive a copy of the HMO regulations.

—Each resident has a right to receive from the HMO complete information concerning the payment arrangements in place in the HMO for health services as well as the HMO’s plans offered for additional health services (CIP).

—Each member has a right to complain with the Public Inquiries commissioner at the medical institute that treated the member, to the person in charge of investigating member complaints at the HMO of which s/he is a member, or to the complaints commissioner for the national health insurance law in the Ministry of Health.

—Each member has a right to file suit at the district labor court."


More:

"Israel has universal health care that is mandated, heavily subsidized, and substantially controlled by the government. And Mitt Romney thinks the United States has a thing or two to learn from Israel on that front."  --dailykos

Romney praises socialized medicine!

Mr. Romney was positively enthralled with how well and efficiently Israel's socialized medicine program works.


This is the same guy who vows to overturn the ACA as soon as he's elected president [even though he can't.]


But what's a few more contradictions and flip-flops in an already bungled foreign policy tour?

Meh.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Romney in Israel

LOL!

TEL AVIV (The Borowitz Report)—The Mitt Romney Gaffe Express pulled into a new station today, leaving its conductor’s hopes of proving himself to be a nimble statesman in tatters.
Mr. Romney’s troubles began in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to whom he presented gifts of a HoneyBaked ham and a wheel of cheddar cheese.

After Mr. Netanyahu ordered both gifts removed from his residence and destroyed, Mr. Romney went on to address the Knesset, where he congratulated the Jewish people on building the pyramids.


“Ann and I saw them during a cruise we took to the Middle East, and they were magnificent,” he told the stunned legislators. “As accomplishments go, building the pyramids isn’t up there with saving the Olympics, but you should still feel very, very proud. Nice job.”

Sensing that his remarks were not going over as well as intended, Mr. Romney improvised: “No, really. Incredible building job you did. If any of you would like to work on our house in La Jolla, just say the word. Only thing is, you’ll have to work Saturdays.”

Mr. Romney’s day concluded with an awkward moment at the West Bank, where he attempted to deposit ten million dollars.

The above report is, of course, a parody, but what is reported below is real--and Romney continues to embarrass himself on foreign soil:

"In an attempt to criticize and attack President Obama on foreign soil, Romney ended up attacking the Religion of America's Middle-East Allies and ended up telling the world that Romney would bring back the failed Bush/Cheney Foreign Policies.

Romney told the conservative Israeli News, owned by Rightwinger Sheldon Adelson, 'Israel Hayom' that he is 'very concerned' about the 'Islamic Leaders' being elected in the Mid-East.

ROMNEY: We're disappointed in seeing Tunisia and Morocco elect Islamist governments. We're very concerned in seeing the new leader in Egypt as an Islamist leader.

Romney's Comment Disturbing on many Levels.

Romney is saying he disapproves of letting people elect their leaders and Romney is tossing out bigoted comments about the Religion of most of America's Mid-East Allies in order to fearmonger against members of one religion. By the way, who is this 'We' Romney refers to?

Also disturbing in Romeny's comment is that he is insulting America's Mid-East Allies as most of America's Mid-East Allies have Islamic Leaders and some of those Allies are even Islamic Republics.



U.S. Allies in the Mid-East with Islamic Leaders:

 Saudi Arabia: Islamic Absolute Monarch
Jordan: Islamic Leader, King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein
Turkey: Islamic Leader, President Abdullah Gül
Egypt: Islamic Leaders for decades. current Islamic Leader: Mohamed Morsi Isa al-Ayyat
Pakistan: Islamic Republic
Qatar: Islamic Leader, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Algeria: Islamic Leader, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Afghanistan: Islamic Republic put in place by Bush/Cheney
Iraq: Islamic Leader, Jalal Talabani under Bush/Cheney's watch
Kuwait: Islamic Leader, Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

How can any of America's Mid-East Allies trust Mitt Romney when he fearmongers and tosses out the boogie-man words like, 'We're very concerned' about the Religion of American's Mid-East Allies? Um -- also, is Romney a bigot against one religion?"
 
h/t dailykos

Saturday, July 28, 2012

MRS. OBAMA SHOWS MR. ROMNEY HOW DIPLOMACY IS DONE



via Politicususa

"As if things weren’t bad enough for “Mitt the Twit” as he was dubbed by The Sun, The London Evening Standard ran an article entitled, “London 2012 Olympics: Are you watching Mitt? Michelle Obama gives a fun masterclass in diplomacy”.


Beneath the image, they write: “She’s a winner: Michelle Obama raises her arms in delight as David Beckham applauds during a football game with children as part of the Let’s Move-London event at Winfield”

With Mitt Romney being compared unfavorably to Sarah Palin by the Daily Mail and insiders who met Mitt, and #RomneyShambles still trending on twitter (day 2) in acknowledgment of his epic fail, and Gold medalist Carl Lewis saying Mitt should go home if he doesn’t know what to say, Romney must be embarrassed – or rather, he would be embarrassed if he had any real relationship to other people’s reactions – by Michelle Obama’s ease, grace, and genuine enthusiasm for her role leading the U.S. Olympic delegations.

The British love her.

Michelle Obama won hearts and minds with her good attitude and fun spirit.

Mrs Obama joined a sports carnival for about 1,000 US military children and underprivileged children from London neighborhoods on the lawn of Winfield House. She told the children, “The stories of these athletes remind us that being an Olympian is not just about winning a gold or setting a record. It’s about pushing yourself and believing in yourself and refusing to give up. No matter what obstacles you face, keep pushing.”

The Evening Standard called our First Lady a smashing success, “As a lesson in good natured statesmanship – if not to say simple manners – it was a masterclass.” They continued, “For Michelle Obama cast aside stuffy protocol to join in the fun and games to celebrate today’s opening of the Olympic games with more than 1,000 children.”

This suggests that it’s not about the diplomatic gaffes, but rather about the intention of the person. People appreciate Michelle Obama’s sincerity and engagement, whereas about Romney they said, “Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive.”



Now all we have to do sit back and wait for the outraged, anti-Obama malcontents to come here and explain to us how awful all of this positive goodwill for America, generated by First Lady Michelle Obama, is for our country.


One, two, three...


Check out these great photos of the First Lady interacting with the athletes and their families.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

ROMNEY ANGERS BRITS

Bungler is too kind a word, and bumbler isn't serious enough to describe Mitt Romney and what is being described as his "car crash" of a visit to the U.K. where he implied that their handling of the preparations for the Olympics has been poor.  Romney managed to anger our ally and make a fool of himself at the same time.  Something he apparently is getting better and better at.

From the Huffington Post:

"Mitt Romney, in his first trip abroad as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, is trying to walk back comments he made questioning London's Olympics preparation -- comments that have drawn a sharp response from Prime Minister David Cameron.

The dustup began Wednesday, as Romney, who ran the 2002 Salt Lake City games, said there were 'disconcerting' signs in the days before this year's games.

'The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials -- that obviously is not something which is encouraging,' he told NBC News.

'Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that's something which we only find out once the games actually begin,' he said.

Cameron soon rebuked Romney. 'We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere,' he said.

'I think we will show the whole world not just that we come together as a United Kingdom, but also we're extremely good at welcoming people from across the world,' Cameron added. 'I will obviously make those points to Mitt Romney. I look forward to meeting him.'

UPDATE: 3:35 p.m. -- Mitt Romney's disastrous British trip continued Thursday when, according to The Huffington Post UK, he "caused amusement" by saying he had spent a great day in the "backside" of Downing Street, rather than the back garden.

In another faux pas, Romney announced his meeting with MI6, the U.K. Secret Intelligence Service whose existence was only acknowledged by the British government in 1994.

"I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI6," he told reporters.

MI6 was mum about the meeting, according to the Wall Street Journal. "[MI6 Chief] Sir John Sawers meets with lots of people," said an aide in the British foreign press office, "but we don’t give a running commentary of any of these meetings."

London Mayor Boris Johnson hit back at Romney's comments about the Summer Games before a crowd of 60,000 in Hyde Park. "There is a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Yes, we are," he declared.

Romney also seemed to break the longstanding rule for U.S. politicians not to criticize the president overseas. At a fundraiser for American expats, he reportedly said, "I'm looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again," referring to the White House returning the artwork to the British Embassy in early 2009. President Barack Obama replaced it with a bust of Abraham Lincoln.

Romney Opens Global Swing With Critique of U.K. Over Olympic Planning


Romney in London for Olympics: Candidate Angers Brits


"Mitt Romney isn't on track to bring home the gold in Diplomacy from London.

He hasn't been in London for two full days and already he's been verbally upbraided by London's mayor and been the subject of a snide comment by the British prime minister.

He referred publicly to the head of the British spy agency MI6, which apparently in England is just not done.

And he's had an unnamed staffer criticized for comments about a shared "Anglo Saxon heritage."


From a reader on Andrew Sullivan's blog:


  1. Dishenfreude

  2. A reader writes:
    1. So, Mitt Romney is rebuked by a Tory Prime Minister famous for backing gay marriage, then he's openly mocked in front of a stadium-sized London crowd by the mayor, and he reveals what he talked about with the head of MI6, and to boot he calls the country by the wrong name. This has got to be a 10 on your personal Schadenfreude meter.
One Londoner writes:
In ANGLO SAXON terms: tone-deaf, shit-for-brains, gormless, charm-free. Going down like a cup of cold sick and featured in the first 3 minutes of the BBC ten o'clock news, in a highly disparaging fashion. FAIL. (Actually just the kind of wanker we need to FINALLY get behind the games!)

 
Another is more polite:
My view is that the British will first of all think of Romney as showing very poor manners. He's a visitor - and a private citizen at that. He's our guest in London, and as you will know from your British childhood, if you're a guest, you have responsibilities. The transatlantic politics geek in me also thinks this may play appallingly with exactly the US voters Romney needs.

My imagination of an independent or swing voter is someone suspicious of government, deeply wedded to American exceptionalism and firmly of the belief (for reasons varying from the war to Downton Abbey to the Beatles and the Stones and many other shared cultural and political experiences) that while the British don't run US policy, they are always, always deserving of complete respect and invariably worth agreeing with. This is exactly Obama's attitude to the Brits - and he can be trusted to be a polite, dignified guest.
  1. The Right And Romney's Crash Landing Abroad 

  2. Crickets at NRO. Nothing at the Weekly Standard, except a note on his determination to bring the Churchill bust back to the Oval Office. Zilch at Malkin. Nothing at Insta. Drudge sees a huge story when it is in front of his nose. But it's at times like these when you realize how so much on the online partisan right is simply propaganda.


Oy!  What a disaster!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ROMNEY'S SHAME

All Americans understand that you don't criticize your country or its president while on foreign soil.  All Americans except Willard Romney.  He, apparently, believes he's above that expectation.  He believes Americans like to hear their president being torn down while making points with a country that is not his own.

Mitt Romney would restore 'Anglo-Saxon' relations between Britain and America

Mitt Romney would restore "Anglo-Saxon" understanding to the special relationship between the US and Britain, and return Sir Winston Churchill's bust to the White House, according to advisers.


In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.

President Obama met his father once in his life, when he was a child.  Mr. Obama was raised by his mother and her parents--who were from the very heart of America--Kansas.  This is a rank race-baiting attempt on Willard's part to make Mr. Obama out to be a "foreigner" or "the other."   Willard's father, BTW, was born in Mexico.  I wonder how Willard's father's Mexican heritage influences Willard's attitude toward his Anglo-Saxon heritage.

Shame on Romney and his staff for promoting this anti-American tactic.


“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”.



The "special relationship is special?"  And that stupid remark is stupid, Mr. Adviser."


Willard just can't stop himself from insulting America.  Yes.  It is an insult to  America when on foreign soil he says such nonsense about the POTUS.  Willard may not like President Obama's policies, but he is our American president, and Willard needs to learn some manners.

Imagine if a Democratic politician went abroad and made absurd claims about the Republican president that put him or her in an unfavorable light.  The GOP would have screamed bloody, dirty, scandalous partisan politics!

But IOKIYAR!

Romney is clearly a rank amateur in foreign protocol, imagine how more embarrassing he'd be as the POTUS.

Oh, and did we mention Willard makes up stories?

Mitt Romney and Australian official disagree on comment that U.S. is ‘in decline’

The Republican presidential candidate said he was relaying comments made by the Aussie foreign minister, but Bob Carr says he meant to express confidence in the U.S. economy, not undermine it.


While it is frowned upon for politicians to criticize a sitting U.S. president while overseas, Romney will be looking to contrast Obama’s international policy with his own foreign policy agenda.

But that won't stop the GOP candidate from making stuff up.  If that's all he's got [and it appears it is], he's got nuthin'.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The NRA

Derrick Jackson:

Gun control has so completely disappeared from debate that John Rosenthal, founder of the Newton, Mass.-based Stop Handgun Violence, told me this week before the Aurora shootings: 'I’ve never seen more spineless cowardice and lack of national leadership. Can you imagine the outrage if instead, 83 Americans a day died from hamburgers?'  ”

From Open Secrets:

 "National Rifle Association goes to great lengths (and spends a huge sum of money) to defend the right to bear arms. It is opposed to virtually every form of gun control, including restrictions on owning assault weapons, background checks for gun owners, and registration of firearms. NRA’s influence is felt not only through campaign contributions, but through millions of dollars in off-the-books spending on issue ads and the like. Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the NRA supported proposals to arm airline pilots with guns.

Between 2001 and 2010, the NRA spent between $1.5 million and $2.7 million on federal-level lobbying efforts.

During the 2010 election cycle, the NRA spent more than $7.2 million on independent expenditures at the federal level -- messages that advocate for or against political candidates. These messages primarily supported Republican candidates or opposed Democratic candidates."

National Rifle Assn: Lobbying



Check out where and to whom the NRA sends all its blood money:


National Rifle Assn: Totals

Recipients:  The GOP is the NRA's BEST FRIEND.

Money to Congress: 2012 Cycle
Dems:Dems: $67,550$67,550
Repubs:Repubs: $438,596$438,596
Others:Independents: $0$0
Incumbents:Total to Members: $477,796$477,796
Non-Incumbents:Total to All Candidates: $28,350$28,350




NRA-led gun lobby wields powerful influence over ATF, U.S. politics


Gun money pushing some Democrats to vote against Holder?



Three Democrats who have said they plan to break party ranks in a historic rebuke of Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday are among the members of their party in tight races who have received the most money from the National Rifle Association's political action committee (PAC) over the course of their careers.
The National Journal reported Wednesday that Democratic Reps.

 Jim Matheson of Utah, John Barrow of Georgia and Nick Rahall of West Virginia have said they will vote with Republicans to find Holder in contempt of Congress because the attorney general has not released all the documents that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has requested on the gun-running "Fast and Furious" case. The influential and well-heeled NRA, along with a smaller but more aggressive Gun Owners of America, have signalled that they consider Thursday's vote a key one on gun rights, one that could determine which candidates will draw the groups' support -- or opposition -- in November
.
In a letter sent to Congress last week, NRA Executive Director Chris Cox cited the attorney general's "anti Second Amendment advocacy" as a reason the organization "does not admire" him. The Gun Owners of America, a smaller but more aggressive gun-rights group, is urging readers of its website to email their members of Congress in support of the contempt resolution.

Congressman from Aurora Urges Congress to Address Gun Laws

"...the NRA’s lock on our gun laws is so strong it would be foolish to think we could actually get movement on this issue, especially in an election year.

Not only does the NRA throw money against candidates it perceives as even considering pro gun regulation, but just take a look at state laws like Stand Your Ground, which were funded by the NRA and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). According to The Wall Street Journal, these state laws “have resulted in an average 50 percent increase in “justifiable homicides” in the years after their passage, while other states experience little or no change.” But we still can’t have a real discussion about policy because the NRA scares our Congressional members into silent complicity.

[skip]

Though the NRA is a non-profit 501(c)(4) lobbying group, they are thought to be the most powerful lobbying group on the country. In a 1999 Fortune survey, lawmakers and congressional staffers said they considered the NRA the most influential lobbying group. In 2008, the NRA spent $10 million on the Presidential election circulating widely discredited accusations against President Obama.

Former President Bill Clinton wrote in his book My Life about the NRA’s successful take down of congressional targets, “The NRA was an unforgiving master: one strike and you’re out. The gun lobby claimed to have defeated nineteen of the twenty-four members on its hit list. They did at least that much damage and could rightly claim to have made Gingrich the House Speaker.”

However, Ed Rendell recently called out the cowards in Congress on failing to stand up to the NRA. Jason Easley pointed out in that article that the NRA has lost much of its influence since it became a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, violating its own principles in order to support Republican candidates:
What members of Congress don’t comprehend is that the NRA’s power is vastly overstated. Since the organization became nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, they have lost a great deal of their influence.
How hypocritical has the NRA become?
They welcomed Mitt Romney and his record of limiting gun ownership to their convention with open arms. The NRA supported John McCain in 2008, even though McCain has never been shy about his anti-gun positions.

With the NRA controlling Congress, gun laws are impervious to fact. The NRA’s stance seems to be that the rights of gun owner come ahead of public safety. While in reality, even members of the NRA favor some gun regulations, the organization itself refuses to broker even the smallest nod to public safety concerns. The New York Times reported:

In flat rebuttal of N.R.A. propaganda, the findings showed that 69 percent of N.R.A. members supported closing the notorious gun-show loophole that invites laissez-faire arms dealing outside registration requirements.


Even more members, 82 percent, favored banning gun purchases to suspects on terrorist watch lists who are now free to arm. And 69 percent disagreed with Congressionally imposed rules against sharing federal gun-trace information with state and local police agencies.


**********


"Every country has, along with its core civilities and traditions, some kind of inner madness, a belief so irrational that even death and destruction cannot alter it. In Europe not long ago it was the belief that 'honor' of the nation was so important that any insult to it had to be avenged by millions of lives. In America, it has been, for so long now, the belief that guns designed to kill people indifferently and in great numbers can be widely available and not have it end with people being killed, indifferently and in great numbers."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

OUR NATIONAL DISGRACE

"...the gun murder rate in the U.S. is almost 20 times higher than the next 22 richest and most populous nations combined.

Among the world’s 23 wealthiest countries, 80 percent of all gun deaths are American deaths and 87 percent of all kids killed by guns are American kids."

**********

One of my commenters, Silverfiddle, was hoping to draw me into a discussion on gun violence on a "his-state [Colorado] vs. my-state [Massachusetts]"  basis, which would prove nothing, since gun violence is a national problem.  We can talk about gun violence statistics state by state in a hundred posts, but that won't change the fact that America is the most gun violent nation on the planet.

A note of caution:  Silverfiddle has said he got his statistics from the FBI on gun violence for his state and for Massachusetts.  Before you look at what he's posted, read the FBI's OWN CAUTION about those stats that Silverfiddle has posted:


Note:
Caution against Ranking—Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use the figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment.

**********

Here are the national stats on this national disgrace:

"The National Rifle Association is quick to associate more guns with less crime, saying that since the early ’90s, when many states relaxed their weapon laws, violent crime has dropped 70 percent.

 Despite the rampages on campuses and military bases, as well as the hail of gang bullets in Chicago that has killed over 200 so far this year, the national murder rate is at a 47-year-low.

But on the other side of the argument, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a non-profit organization, points out that Americans still kill each other with guns at a level that is staggering compared to the rest of humanity.

A study in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery found that the gun murder rate in the U.S. is almost 20 times higher than the next 22 richest and most populous nations combined.
Among the world’s 23 wealthiest countries, 80 percent of all gun deaths are American deaths and 87 percent of all kids killed by guns are American kids."


From Scientific American after the 2011 Arizona massacre:

"Here are some facts from the Brady Center: About 100,000 Americans are wounded or killed by firearms each year in the U.S.—which has the highest levels of gun ownership in the world—and more than a million Americans have been shot to death since 1968. Although gun supporters tout the benefits of self-defense, a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a suicide attempt; criminal assault or homicide; or unintentional shooting death or injury than for self-defense. Higher household gun ownership correlates with higher rates of homicide, suicide and unintentional shootings."



Scientific American after the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, massacre:

"Every time a deranged American male goes on a rampage, shooting down dozens of people, gun lovers trot out the familiar excuses: Guns don’t kill people, people do. If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. If some of the victims had been packing heat, they could have shot the bad guy before he shot them.

[skip]

Although gun supporters tout the benefits of self-defense, a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a suicide attempt; criminal assault or homicide; or unintentional shooting death or injury than for self-defense. Higher household gun ownership correlates with higher rates of homicide, suicide and unintentional shootings."

From the Boston Globe:

"In a nation of common sense, these tragedies would break the national silence over our insane acceptance of guns. But the 1999 Columbine school massacre in Colorado did not do it. The 2007 Virginia Tech massacre did not do it. The 2011 Tucson massacre that severely wounded Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords did not do it.

The near-death of a congressional colleague failed to wake up Capitol Hill. Since then, there have been more than 50 mass shootings across the United States, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence."

States with Strong Gun Laws and Low Rates of Gun Ownership Have Lowest Firearm Death Rates

April 2012

"Washington, DC—States with low gun ownership rates and strong gun laws have the lowest rates of gun death according to a new analysis by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) of 2009 national data (the most recent available) from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The analysis reveals that the five states with the lowest per capita gun death rates were Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Each of these states had a per capita gun death rate far below the national per capita gun death rate of 10.19 per 100,000 for 2009.

 Each state has strong gun laws and low gun ownership rates. By contrast, states with weak gun laws and higher rates of gun ownership had far higher rates of firearm-related death. Ranking first in the nation for gun death was Louisiana, followed by Wyoming, Alabama, Montana, and Mississippi.

 (See rankings below for bottom and top five states. See http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart12.htm for a ranking of all 50 states.)

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Massachusetts’ low gun death rate stands as proof of how long-term, comprehensive firearms regulation can increase public safety and protect communities and families.”

States with the Five LOWEST Per Capita Gun Death Rates:

Massachusetts--Rank: 50; Household Gun Ownership: 12.8 percent; Gun Death Rate: 3.14 per 100,000.

Hawaii--Rank: 49; Household Gun Ownership: 9.7 percent; Gun Death Rate: 3.63 per 100,000.

New Jersey--Rank: 48; Household Gun Ownership: 11.3 percent; Gun Death Rate: 4.72 per 100,000
.
New York--Rank: 47; Household Gun Ownership: 18.1 percent; Gun Death Rate: 4.90 per 100,000.

Connecticut--Rank: 46; Household Gun Ownership: 16.2 percent; Gun Death Rate: 4.92 per 100,000.



States with the Five HIGHEST Per Capita Gun Death Rates

Louisiana--Rank: 1; Household Gun Ownership: 45.6 percent; Gun Death Rate: 18.03 per 100,000.

Wyoming--Rank: 2; Household Gun Ownership: 62.8 percent; Gun Death Rate: 17.64 per 100,000.

Alabama--Rank: 3; Household Gun Ownership: 57.2 percent; Gun Death Rate: 17.63 per 100,000.

Montana--Rank: 4; Household Gun Ownership: 61.4 percent; Gun Death Rate: 17.03 per 100,000.

Mississippi--Rank: 5; Household Gun Ownership: 54.3 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.50 per 100,000.

The VPC defined states with "strong" gun laws as those that add significant state regulation in addition to federal law, such as restricting access to particularly hazardous types of firearms (for example, assault weapons), setting minimum safety standards for firearms and/or requiring a permit to purchase a firearm, and restrictive laws governing the open and concealed carrying of firearms in public.

States with "weak" gun laws were defined as those that add little or nothing to federal restrictions and have permissive laws governing the open or concealed carrying of firearms in public. State gun ownership rates were obtained from the September 2005 Pediatrics article “Prevalence of Household Firearms and Firearm-Storage Practices in the 50 States and the District of Columbia: Findings From the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2002,” which is the most recent comprehensive data available on state gun ownership."

CONCEALED CARRY KILLERS

'Pro-Gun' States Lead the Nation in Per Capita Firearm Death Rates


Stand Your Ground Law -- Miami Herald, March 2012:

The controversial law which police have cited in their decision not to charge the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has been invoked at least 130 times statewide since 2005.
A Tampa Bay Times survey, compiled from 31 Florida newspapers and public records, shows that the number of cases in which "stand your ground" has been invoked has climbed dramatically in the past year and a half. The analysis shows that police and prosecutors continue to apply the law unevenly.

As pressure mounts to charge George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who ignored police advice not to confront the unarmed teen on Feb. 26, Gov. Rick Scott announced he would convene a task force to study the law. No group keeps a tally of cases in which Florida Statute 776.013 (3) — commonly known as the "stand your ground" law — is invoked.
    
The law expands a citizen’s right to use deadly force anywhere that he has a right to be if he "reasonably believes" it is necessary to stop another person from killing or hurting him badly.
The Times analysis shows that more than 70 percent of the 130 cases involved a fatality. In the majority of the cases, the person who plunged the knife or swung the bat or pulled the trigger did not face a trial.

In 50 of the cases, the person who used force was never charged with a crime. Another nine defendants were granted immunity by a judge and nine cases were dismissed.
In 10 cases, the defendant pleaded guilty to lesser crimes.

Of the 28 cases that made it to trial, 19 people were found guilty of a crime.

Twenty-two cases are still pending. (The outcomes of two could not be learned by press time.)
The Times analysis also shows that 'stand your ground' is being invoked with greater frequency."

Why Is The Equivalent Of A 9/11 Every Six Weeks Something That Americans Can ‘Live’ With?

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/22/2708767/number-of-stand-your-ground-cases.html#storylink=cpy

So what does this all mean?  What does it mean that with 300,000,000 firearms in the country, that the NRA touts as keeping us safe, our country still has more staggering numbers of gun deaths than any other western democracy?  What does it mean that we've now become inured to massacres at schools, churches, malls, and theaters, and that we accept that more of these massacres will continue to kill us?

Some who read this will mistakenly assume that I want to abolish the 2nd Amendment, but they'll be wrong.  What I want is a rational discussion of how many guns, AK-47s, gun clips, are enough, and how many more lawmakers will cower before the NRA as it demands that firearms be allowed to be concealed and carried into every public sphere in this country:  churches, schools, hospitals, airports, bars?  What is the purpose?  What madness allows Americans to accept the ever increasing arming of this country.  What is the purpose?  We've seen with our own eyes what the results of easily purchased firearms bring to a civilization:  more and more and more carnage.   And this carnage will continue, unabated, until citizens and lawmakers have the courage to stand up to the NRA and its devastating stranglehold on the spineless lawmakers who've allowed them to deliver us into evil.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Colorado Shootings





From Conservative David Frum's blog:


"The map above charts firearm deaths for the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Note that these figures include accidental shootings, suicides, even acts of self-defense, as well as crimes. As of 2007, 10.2 out of every 100,000 people were killed by firearms across the United States, but that rate varies dramatically from state to state. In Hawaii, at the low end, it was 2.6 per 100,000; in New York and New Jersey it was 5.0 and 5.2 respectively. At the high end, 21.7 out of every 100,000 residents of the District of Columbia were killed by guns, 20.2 in Louisiana, 18.5 in Mississippi, and 17.8 in Alaska. Arizona ranked eighth nationally, with 15.1 deaths per 100,000.

With these data in hand, I decided to look at the factors associated with gun deaths at the state level. With the help of my colleague Charlotta Mellander, we charted the statistical correlations between firearm deaths and a variety of psychological, economic, social, and political characteristics of states. As usual, I point out that correlation does not imply causation, but simply points to associations between variables.




And what about gun control? Frum asks:



"As of July 29 of last year, Arizona became one of only three states that allows its citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Might tighter gun control laws maa difference? Our analysis suggests that they do.

The map overlays the map of firearm deaths above with gun control restrictions by state. It highlights states which have one of three gun control restrictions in place - assault weapons' bans, trigger locks, or safe storage requirements.   

Firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons (-.45), require trigger locks (-.42), and mandate safe storage requirements for guns (-.48)."


Our hearts go out to the victims and families of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado. 

But we Americans have become accustomed to these massacres.  We're saddened and heartbroken over the lives lost and maimed, but understand that a country that hasn't the courage to do anything to lessen this carnage will see more shootings that will take more and more lives. 

Count on it. 

Americans love their guns and the rapacious NRA will continue to threaten any Congressman or woman who dares speak out in favor of any form of gun control.  So Americans, tragically, will have to continue to live with the fact that those guns that are so easily acquired will continue to kill their children. 



Commenter Silverfiddle came here and called me disgusting for talking about this country's insane obsession with guns at this time.  He wants us all to keep quiet as we witness this recurring bloody nightmare that the NRA has delivered to this country; keep quiet as we see the bodies carried out of the theater; keep quiet while we hear the heartbreaking sorrow in the mothers' and fathers' voices as they ask why? Why my child? Silverfiddle believes we should not express our anger over seeing more people die at the hands of a crazed gun owner who was able to purchase deadly weapons as easily as buying a pack of gum.  We shouldn't express our frustration and anger and humiliation?  Why?  When will it be the right time to finally say enough, enough of this slaughter?  When?


"In a web-exclusive video essay, Bill Moyers says Friday’s deadly shooting in Colorado is yet another tragic indication that our society — and too many of our politicians — covet guns more than common sense or life itself. The National Rifle Association in particular, Bill says, “has turned the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a cruel and deadly hoax.”


EJ Dionne of the Washington Post destroys the idiot reasoning that it's not appropriate to talk about gun control after a madman slaughters dozens of people.

MORE AMERICANS KILLED BY GUNS THAN BY WAR IN THE 20TH CENTURY

1.4 Million Known American Firearms Casualties Since 1933




Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ann Romney Tells American People They're Too Nosy

In her very bestest uber class, multi-molto-millionairess way, Mrs. Romney told the American people to butt out of her and her husband's financial affairs and that

"We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life."


Well now. 


YOU people need to take your right to know and your concerns about the man who wants to be POTUS and stuff them. 

YOU people need to trust us. 

We know what's best, even if YOU, the little people, don't.

We are not amused that YOU people expect us to do what every presidential candidate in modern times has done. 

Don't you know who we are?  We're rich and of the privileged class.  Don't YOU understand?

We are NOT like YOU!

(Mrs. Romney didn't actually say that last part, but we're pretty sure that's what she meant by her little patronizing huff.)


And don't forget what Newt Gingrich, a fellow conservative, said about Mr. Romney:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

FAMOUS AND POWERFUL


Some right wing bloggers squeal long and loud about what an out-of-control ego Mr. Obama has, what a narcissist he is, and that he thinks he's the king of the world.

But this is what someone who actually thinks like that says in a moment of honesty about the fact that he "desired" to be famous and powerful, but doesn't anymore [don't tell the GOPers, they'll just say that Bush isn't the president!]:






"Eight years was awesome, and I was famous and I was powerful. But I have no desire for fame and power anymore," he said in a new interview with the Hoover Institute's Peter Robinson.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

THERE THEY GO AGAIN!

They really cannot help themselves. 

It's embarrassing. 

And infantile. 

And a tactic losers employ when they know they're being outsmarted and outpoliticked.


This is how the GOPers behave when the person they want to vote out of the Oval Office actually plays politics like every other politician who has ever sought the presidency:

I'll start with the slanderous and malevolent comment Silverfiddle left here about Mr. Obama:


"Time to send this corrupt Chicago pol back to the stinking sewer he crawled out of."

Of course, like the other hysterical people who are deeply offended because Mr. Obama has had a few good weeks and Mr. Romney has not, SF has been extremely shy about backing up his slander with, y'know, actual evidence of Mr. Obama's "corruption."  So all his little hissyfit amounts to is calling the president he doesn't like a "poopyhead."


Here's the titular head of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, barking at what's left of his audience:

Limbaugh: “…I’ll tell you what. I think it can now be said, without equivocation — without equivocation — that this man hates this country. He is trying—Barack Obama is trying—to dismantle, brick by brick, the American dream. There’s no other way to put this.

There's no other way to put this.

There's no other way to explain this.

He was indoctrinated as a child. His father was a communist. His mother was a leftist. He was sent to prep and Ivy League schools where his contempt for the country was reinforced. He moved to Chicago. It was the home of the radical-left movement. He hooks up to Ayers and Dohrn and Rashid Khalidi. He learns the ruthlessness of Cook County politics. This is what we have as a president: A radical ideologue, a ruthless politician who despises the country and the way it was founded and the way in which it became great.

He hates it."


And today, Mr. Romney's surrogate, John Sununu was in fine foaming-at-the-mouth form as well:

"He has no idea how the American system functions,” Sununu said on Fox News Tuesday. “And we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent … another set of years in Indonesia.

John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire and a leading Romney surrogate, told reporters that Obama’s recent defense of public infrastructure shows he “doesn’t understand how America works.

I wish this president would learn how to be an American,”

Politics is not for sissies, that's for sure, but what is it about the GOPers that make them go after Mr. Obama with such malice and snarling hatred? 

Can you guess?

Fill in the blank_______________________________.



What happened to attacking his ideas and policies?  All of the above attacks are ad hominem and a direct assault on Mr. Obama, the man. 

The attacks are a pathetic reflection on the people making them and are always an indication of their obvious lack of the ability to intelligently and forcefully argue the issues.

It's also a losing tactic. 

No one likes loud-mouthed bullies.


Michael Tomasky:

"Who, in this context, is Mitt Romney? An ex-governor who can’t discuss his record, and an ex-capitalist who ... is getting close to the point where he can’t discuss his record. And who has been afraid for two years, or more, lest he offend Rush Limbaugh and Fox. This is not his Republican Party. It’s theirs. And Romney has given us no reason to think that will change."