Class Warfare Blog

March 2, 2018

Why Trump Stated He was For Gun Control

 

When Mr. Obama was elected, the drum beat was “Obama is going to take your guns away!” or “He is coming for your guns!” (The latter was more effective as the target audience didn’t want Black people in their neighborhoods.) Of course, there was no evidence supporting this whatsoever, but, hey, a meme is a meme, it doesn’t have to be true. Gun sales soared as people rushed to get theirs before they were outlawed.

Then President Trump was elected, a Republican and a gun supporter(!), gun sales plummeted. (Since a small fraction of gun owners own the majority of guns in the U.S. maybe they had full arsenals at this point.) Well, we can’t have that, gun sales in this country can only go up by NRA rule (their funding is dependent upon that, don’t you know). So, President Trump announces that he is willing to support gun control legislation! This is clearly not true, but Mr. Trump has worked hard to create a reputation for unpredictability, and he is depending upon it right now.

Gun sales should be soaring soon and then shortly thereafter any legislation making its way to Mr. Trump’s desk will be spiked and the world will be made right again.

Government and business were made to act hand in glove. I believe Mr. Trump is the glove.

“Fear, fire, foes, awake, awake!” Motto of the NRA

November 20, 2017

New Resource for Social Justice Found

It has been recently noted that most Americans do not own a gun, nor is there a gun in their household, rather there are many guns in the hands of a few. Apparently “… America’s gun super-owners, have amassed huge collections. Just 3% of American adults own a collective 133,000,000 firearms – half of America’s total gun stock. These owners have collections that range from eight to 140 guns, the 2015 study found. Their average collection: 17 guns each.

Really I think we need to start considering these people a national resource. Since they reject the idea that the Second Amendment to the Constitution refers only to militias, maybe each of these super gun owners could be tab as a militia of one, to help defend the country, you know, when the liberals attack.

Maybe we could have these militias patrol the streets of our most dangerous cities, where all of them mynoritees is.

Maybe we could have them fight ISIS. I would be willing to buy a one-way ticket for one of these guys, but we would have to get some sort of dispensation to allow them to take their own crate of guns and ammo with them.

Apparently the Second Amendment is not about allowing individual citizens to own a gun, but about a very small minority to own their own armories.

I wonder what happens to the NRA when these gun nuts run out of room to store their hoards and stop buying guns. Are they going to sponsor the building of secure, high tech, gun range and armory combinations on the lot next to their houses? Gotta find a way to keep those “collectors” buying.

September 19, 2016

NRA Identifies New Challenges

Wayne LaPierre, the spokesman for the National Rifle Association, in a blistering speech yesterday took on one of the most dangerous challenges to freedom in the USA. Mr. LaPierre noted that gun ownership had expanded substantially over the last twenty years and finally there is now in circulation more than one gun per adult in this country. “Make no mistake about it,” said LaPierre, “this is a major milestone on the path to freedom.

“But,” he continued, “Americans aren’t free yet, because it seems that 130,000,000 of the 265,000,000 million guns in the U.S. are in the hands of just 3% of the populace.

“We must be vigilant in our efforts to ensure freedom in America, he said, and we will overcome this new threat, the threat of gun hoarders.

“If these people weren’t so selfish and weren’t stockpiling so many of our guns, we would have that state in which each law-abiding American, and yes, each criminal would have their own gun and disputes would get settled right where they happen. We would need far fewer police, fewer judges, and prisons if this were to come about, so the NRA is putting up $2,000,00 to study the problem of gun hoarding in the hopes to find a solution and hopes that every red-blooded American will support that effort.”

April 24, 2014

The Cliven Bundy Conundrum

If you haven’t been following the news or are from out-of-country, Mr. Cliven Bundy is a cattle rancher in our state of Nevada, who has been grazing his cattle on federal land for 20 years without paying the required “grazing fees.” He has been taken to court numerous times and each time he has lost. His defense is that he doesn’t believe in the existence of the federal government. (Really!) Most recently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) showed up to confiscate his cattle but they were met with armed resistance, not only from the Bundy family but by hordes of right-wing militia toting guns. The BLM officers wisely backed down from a confrontation to pursue other efforts. Maybe this would be just another odd news note about an odd happening out in the wild West, but for some reason the “issue” got picked up by the right-wing media machine (Fox (sic) News, Rush Limbaugh, etc. but strangely not Glenn Beck). They made Mr. Bundy out to be some sort of patriot instead of the violent radical scofflaw he clearly is.

Clearly the conservative media have lost their minds because the law Mr. Bundy is flaunting was put in place by none other than the GOP saint, Ronald Reagan. Which makes it even stranger that U.S. Senators (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, etc.) got involved on Bundy’s behalf, one of whom referred to Mr. Bundy as a “patriot.”

Now, let me put this in perspective. Would the right-wing media gone to bat for a deadbeat scofflaw like Mr. Bundy, if he . . .
. . . were African American?
. . . were Hispanic?
. . . were a Muslim?
. . . were an Indian?
. . . were a woman?
Anybody? Really? It seems that the population of aggrieved white people is ever growing. (I grieve for my people.)

And the small community near Mr. Bundy’s ranch is now overrun by pickup trucks full of members of right-wing militia groups sporting loaded AK-47s. Would you want that in your community, Mr. Hannity?

Really?

My evil mind says that the BLM officers should fly over the federal land he is using illegally and shoot all of his cattle, then send him notice to remove the remains of his cattle which were trespassing on our land (yes, federal land is land owned by the people of the United States). But I rarely give in to my evil mind and why should those poor cattle have to pay with their lives for the bad judgment of one asshole not even of their species.

February 26, 2014

NRA: “Mission Accomplished!”

This is the title and first paragraph of a recent NRA press release:
U.S. Firearm Production Sets Record in 2012: AR-15 Production Up Over 100%
“The number of firearms manufactured in the U.S. for sale to American customers hit an all-time high in 2012, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (BATFE) new Firearms Manufacturers and Export Report. American firearm manufacturers produced roughly 8.3 million firearms for sale in the U.S., a new record, up 33 percent from the 6.2 million produced for American customers in 2011.”

Wikipedia says this about the AR-15:
“The AR-15 is a lightweight, 5.56 mm/.223-caliber, magazine-fed, air cooled rifle with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation. It has been produced in many different versions, including numerous semi-automatic and selective fire variants. It is manufactured with extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.
“The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a small arms rifle for the United States armed forces. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt. After modifications (most notably the relocation of the charging handle from under the carrying handle like the AR-10 to the rear of the receiver), the new redesigned rifle was subsequently adopted as the M16 rifle. Colt then started selling the semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle as the Colt AR-15 for civilian sales in 1963 and the term has been used to refer to semiautomatic-only versions of the rifle since then. Although the name “AR-15” remains a Colt registered trademark, variants of the firearm are independently made, modified and sold under various names by multiple manufacturers.”

The phrase “adopted as the M16 rifle” means adopted by the U.S. Military. In other words, this is not a hunting weapon or a self-defense weapon, this is a weapon designed to kill a great many people as fast as possible, a military weapon. The rate of fire of the fully-automatic AR-15 was 800 rounds/min. The rate of fire of the semi-automatic version, the only version legal in the U.S., is indeterminant because it depends on how fast you can pull the trigger. Some say it is as low as 12-15 rounds per minute and that if you go faster, the barrel will overheat and the gun will jam. This seems a preposterous claim for a weapon designed to shoot 800 rounds/min. Also, a technique called “bump firing,” was devised that, while inaccurate, allows the trigger to be pulled at a very fast rate.

To make matters worse, while the interior parts of the commercial AR-15 have been redesigned so that the fully automatic parts from a military AR-15 cannot be just dropped in, consider this comment from January 2013 (Source: This Simple, Legal Add-On Lets an AR-15 Rifle Fire 900 Rounds Per Minute, Slate.com, 1-7-13):
“. . . a company called Slide Fire Solutions introduced a replacement rifle stock called the SSAR-15 that, for $369, allows you to bump fire your AR-15-style rifle from your shoulder while still retaining accuracy and control. The stock, in the simplest terms, is the part of the rifle you hold and brace against your shoulder. According to the Slide Fire website, “unlike traditional bump firing, the Slidestock allows the shooter to properly hold the firearm and maintain complete control at all times. As a result of the forward movement required to discharge each round, the shooter naturally corrects their point-of-aim for each shot and prevents recoil from pushing the firearm’s muzzle upward in an unsafe direction.” Or, as the subhed more concisely puts it, the SSAR-15 lets a shooter “unleash 100 rounds, in 7 seconds.” A product review at a site called Guns America notes that the SSAR-15 “installs in one minute with no special skills.”

Ah, that’s more like it. The NRA is crowing about record sales of a rifle that for a fraction of its original purchase price can be converted in just a few minutes to a fully automatic weapon capable of killing hundreds of people in just seconds.

Why would anyone think this was a good idea?

Ah, according to the Christian Science Monitor, “The estimated economic impact of the US firearms industry in 2012 was $31.8 billion, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. That’s up from $27.8 billion in 2009.” You can always determine the “whys” of American politics by following the money.

The NRA is a shill for the U.S. firearm manufacturers. When they make money, the NRA makes money. The next time you hear of a mass murder, remember it was not a crime of passion, but of greed.

Postscript Many people claim being able to fire automatic rifles is great fun. I agree. I have done so myself. This can be enjoyed by one and all at licensed establishments designed for such pleasures. There is no need for individuals to own such weapons.

January 5, 2014

Gun Nuts and “Conservatives” United!

Filed under: History,Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:43 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have posted before that much of the current conservative ideology is driven by racism. The GOP’s support for the NRA has always been characterized as a political necessity for fear of the backlash of that organization but . . . check this out.

www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/24/the-history-of-the-nra-is-really-interesting/

It may well be that the movement conservatives with their neocon brothers and the NRA wing nuts are “fellow travelers.”

May 2, 2013

May 1, May Day, International Workers’ Day (An American Invention)

Chris Hayes (All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC) last night provided some details about the industrial building, home to many garment factories, that collapsed in Bangladesh recently killing at least 400 people. The details supplied were that the multi-story building was built on swamp land, that three more stories had been added without permits, that is illegally. It was known that the day before the collapse cracks opened in some walls, explosively so. An engineer was called in who after inspecting three support pillars of the building recommended immediate evacuation. This was not done and workers who reported for work the next day saying they didn’t feel safe going in the building were threatened.

Mr. Hayes pointed out that the right to work in a safe workplace, the right to have workplace representation, the right to complain without repercussions were not rights that were granted, they only came from struggle.

And that’s how International Worker’s day was highlighted.

What the Bangladeshis experienced is not far removed from the dangers faced by workers in a West, Texas fertilizer plant. Did they know they were working in an unsafe workplace? Did they have a right to know that?

One must ask who is on the other side of this “struggle?” Who is against safe workplaces, fair wages, and reasonable representation? Why, in this country, are they the same people who want to make guns more available to criminals and mental defectives? Is the message that to achieve such reasonable goals will require armed conflict? Is it similar to the Congressman who stated “If babies had guns, there would be no abortions?” Is it “If workers had guns, they would be treated with respect?”

We have been down this road before.

April 22, 2013

An Experiment in Truth Telling

The drafters of the Constitution had a soft spot for “the press,” the printing press that is. The publication of the debates surrounding revolution and the formation of our federal government were important, sure, but the founders felt that if the people were to truly rule, it was critical that they be informed and that meant a press free from government control.

Fast forward to today with our corporate news media, held in the hands of extremely few people and we have grave concerns over the independence of such news agencies. We do not have government controlled media, but we have corporate controlled media which is hand in glove with corporate controlled government.

I have an experiment that may somewhat redeem these news conduits. In the 60’s and 70’s it was considered a national disgrace that 50,000+ people died every year in auto accidents. Measures were taken so that in recent years, that number has dipped to the low 30,000s even though the population has doubled since the 1960’s.

There was a debate over whether we should require seat belts to be installed in all cars! This was without a requirement that people actually wear them! It was later, much later, that states passed mandatory seatbelt laws requiring people to wear them. I remember one hearing in Congress in which the top U.S. automakers said it was economically impossible if not physically impossible to create a 5 mph bumper on a car. This testimony was followed by a lone inventor who made such a thing for $50. The Congress passed a law requiring bumpers that would sustain a 5 mph collision and voila it happened. (This requirement was eased, of course, under the Bush administration.)

We can and do act.

So, now we have 30,000+ gun deaths per year and our response is “Meh.”

So, let’s do an experiment in public policy. Let’s report each gun death in our communities. Each and every damned homicide, suicide, massacre, accident, etc. On the front page of newspapers and, maybe, like the PBS News Hour has done with war deaths, a weekly or daily scroll on their prime news venues.

Let’s report the truth about gun deaths and see if that informs the people.

If you think this can’t have any effect, compare the news coverage of the Viet Nam War with that of the Gulf Wars. During the Viet Nam War, reporters went around willy-nilly reporting the news. When people realized what was going on from those news reports, the anti-war movement exploded in size. During the Gulf Wars, the media were managed like a Broadway show. Reporters had to be “embedded” with a unit, that is placed where the military wanted them. The military had almost daily dog and pony shows. The media were packaged, managed, and controlled.

Let’s free up the media and have them do their job—report the news. When somebody gets killed with a gun, that is news that affects public policy, not just some stale statistic.

April 18, 2013

The Role of Cost in Effective Government

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:33 am
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Last night on Chris Hayes’ new program on MSNBC (“All In with Chris Hayes”) Mr. Hayes offered a couple of interesting statistics. Here they are:

Since 1980 there have been—
3000+ deaths due to Terrorism
and
900,000+ deaths due to Guns

That’s a ratio of 3000 to 1.

Mr. Hayes went on to contrast those facts with the amounts of money spent on combating terrorism (a lot) vs. combating gun-related deaths (only a little).

(Please do not write me about how much money we spend on police. The police are not a crime prevention agency, they are a law enforcement agency. The catch bad guys after the deeds are done and then, along with courts, enforce the laws by applying a penalty to the lawbreaker.)

There is a principle of business and I can’t remember if I heard it first from Peter Drucker or W. Edwards Deming but it goes like this: don’t invest more money trying to affect something than you can make from it. The example I remember was an employee pilferage problem: employees were taking office supplies home with them to the tune of $500 per year. The argument was that if a monitoring system to prevent the pilferage cost $1000 per year, you wouldn’t bother with it. Basically why spend $1000 a year to make $500?

The same rule of cost effectiveness applies in government. Why should we pay $1,000,000 to save one life from terrorism, but only $1,000 to save one life due to gun-related deaths. Why are those deaths more acceptable to us that the others?

This makes no sense. Unless it is deliberate (many of the victims of gun violence are suicides and/or black and brown citizens and/or gang members whose lives have little value to our representatives) or our representatives are stupid and venal. I suspect it is some of all of the above.

They Must Pay the Price

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:28 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Here is a list of all of the Senators who killed the Senate Gun Background Check Bill. It is important that they pay a price for their actions. When over 90% of the U.S. public wants something, their job is to not sit on their hands.

But don’t let the Senators who voted “For” the bill off the hook, either. They are responsible, too. The whole Senate is responsible. Those that voted “For” didn’t work hard enough to convince their collegues to do likewise.

And, the NRA needs to pay a price, too. Their lies and deceit are deplorable and we need to encourage members to quit them and political donors to donate their money to opponents of any candidate they support. They need to be cut out of the body politic like the cancer they are.

Senators Who Voted “No” on the Background Check Bill,
Thus Arguing that Criminals Need Easy Access to Guns

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.*

Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

*Senator Reid voted no as a procedural move so that he would retain the ability under Senate rules to bring up the measure again should supporters believe they’ve mustered enough votes to secure passage.

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