Congratulations America!


You’ve done your job and done it magnificently! You said no to the haters and doubters among us; those who preferred division to unity and common purpose and interest.  Too many of us wanted to point fingers at evils that didn’t exist or at groups of people who are just like us except in gender or skin color or religious belief or the lack thereof.  We too quickly threw off the mantle of our own innate divinity and instead embraced hatred and rancor.  Somehow, through all that…..we overcame.  Now that we have done what we are supposed to do as a Nation….make Obama do what he’s supposed to do as a President.  Hold him to his promises, make sure you call his attention to mistakes in decisions or errors in policy; push your local elected officials to do the same.  Your ballots are just the first step in this process called democracy.  It doesn’t end with the election of any one official, it is an on going process.  Choose the high ground of civility in the national discourse; don’t give in  to the forces of darkness, hatred and FoxNews. This is only the beginning.  Celebrate it but move on to the real work at hand of re-building America or if you like, improving it. At some point in the very near future…I’d like to think at the end of this week, we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and get busy.  For now, enjoy the moment.


Poetic justice, karma, what goes around comes around, call it what you want.

English: Official Congressional portrait of Co...
English: Official Congressional portrait of Congressman Peter King. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is rich….abandoned by his own party Peter King, R.NY takes to the airwaves to make his case against his own colleagues in the #DemonicGOP.

Rep. Peter King said many of his fellow House Republicans made New York representatives feel like “third world beggars” in pushing for the $60.4 billion post Superstorm Sandy relief package.

King, filling in for John Gambling on WOR-AM, said during an interview Gov. Cuomo that he found it “disgraceful” that many of his fellow Republican House members who were trying to block the post Sandy relief package for New York and New Jersey came form states that got emergency funds in the past.

He cited a New Jersey congressman who said on the floor that Congress now needs a “hypocrites conference” for those whose states received funding the past and now sought to deny the New York region what it was seeking.

“Quite frankly it’s going to be difficult going back and working with people you sit next to and whenever they were in need,, we responded immediately,” he said.”Not one member of Congress every voted against or said one word in opposition to aid going to other states  when the money was needed.”

“We were going around like third world beggars. At least they put us in that position.”

I have a lot of scorn for King however, who led hearings in the House of Representatives….at tax payer expense to prove something that actually doesn’t exist to the extent King says it does.  (You know, the Islamist threat) That bit of grandstanding however didn’t do him much good when it came time to rely on help for Hurricane Sandy relief that many of his colleagues scoffed at.  Back at ya’ pal.  Perhaps King should have called on help from some of his Muslim constituents who were on hand to help their fellow Americans, unlike King who chooses to denigrate his.

America’s pressing problem

Guys like this aren’t our problempolls_MaskedTerrorist3_5615_644163_poll_xlarge







ImageProcessorbut guys like this are.








So says Juan Cole in his blog here.

Number of Americans killed in domestic terrorist attacks, 2002-2011: 30

Number of Americans murdered by firearms, 2000-2011: 115,997

Gun Murders vs

Cost of the War on Terror since 9/11: $5 trillion

Cost of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms since 9/11: $12.32 billion

In the combined [pdf] US and European Union statistics for 2010, percentage of terrorist attacks that occurred in the US: .008

Among 23 developed OECD countries, percent of all firearm deaths that occurred in the U.S. in 2003: 80

Number of [pdf] 249 terrorist attacks in 2010 in European Union carried out by Muslim extremists: 3

Number of whites killed by other whites, primarily by firearms, in US, 2000-2009: 46,171

Requirement to board an airplane: Being viewed naked by the TSA.

Requirement to buy a gun from a private seller at a gun show: None.

So what are we going to do America?!?

America’s gun culture has gone wild

I am an owner of firearms and the holder of a concealed carry permit for the state in which I reside, but the recent national discussion on guns has me convinced those who oppose any and all gun legislation are mildly racist and vehemently insane. President Obama has been forced by recent events to make a statement about the need to have some sort of regulation regarding gun ownership and you’d think he was instituting martial law and  the sky was falling.  As a result of a very tepid response by the Obama administration, we’ve got Americans walking around looking like Rambo with clothes on

Utah shopper carrying an AR-15 in a local mall
Utah shopper carrying an AR-15 in a local mall

but let’s not equivocate here, the issue of the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms is couched,  steeped in  blatant racist rhetoric that is being resurrected because America finds itself with a black president at the helm.  That’s not to say 2nd amendment types haven’t always been rabid about their desire to have unlimited access to firearms; just ask members of the Reagan and Bush I administration who took stands against the gun lobby after people were slaughtered by those who owned lethal weapons while the gun proponents demanded the government give their weapons of mass destruction a pass when it came to public/governmental scrutiny.

The pro-gun rhetoric has taken a life of its own.  Charlton Heston proclaimed to Michael Moore in the latter’s film ‘Bowling for Columbine’ that guns were responsible for more killings in America because of the country’s ‘mixed ethnicity’.  It’s hard to tell if he means mixed ethnicities kill more people than non-mixed ethnicities or mixed ethnicities have to be killed because they are mixed ethnicity and thus a threat to non mixed ethnicities. Heston’s very public pronouncement about what ails our country almost a decade ago has been repeated more recently by the Ann Coulter, who said  using equally coded language as Heston that ‘gun crime is a demographic problem’ which again raises the ugly specter of a divisive America under its first black President.  They are the heart of the 2nd amendment supporters….folks like Coulter and Heston before her have their pulse on the majority of gun owners who feel their need to own guns is for protection from ‘ethnicities’ and demographics that are different than their own.

There were some who tried to sugar coat the issue of gun control, trying to remove the racially divisive language of the Coulters,…The chairman of Gun Appreciation Day went so far as to say slavery may never have happened in the United States if African-Americans had owned guns.  What Larry Ward fails to recognize is there would have been no 2nd amendment if there wasn’t slavery, for as is pointed out here, the 2nd amendment was a by product of white southerners fears of black insurrection in states that legalized slavery.  In other words, the 2nd amendment was ratified to enforce slavery and the fears of whites of a ‘demographic’ problem are at the heart of gun ownership.

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote.  Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that.

In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states.

In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state.  The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.

Thus, the 2nd amendment was crafted to allow white southerners limitless access to firearms irrespective of federal government regulation to arm their ‘slave patrols’ and keep people, black people enslaved. It was not then meant to be inclusive of any but a white gentry class and most gun owners even today are more than a little suspect of people of color who embrace the notion of free access to firearms.

The alarm bells being rung by 2nd amendment advocates ring hollow when they make the point the 2nd amendment is a part of a holy notion of the Constitution that firearm ownership is nothing short of divine…..when in fact it is nothing short of subversive and was intended as an instrument of slavery. Not many raised the specter of the 2nd amendment as a tool to oppose Bush II era assaults on citizenship rights; to have done so would have been met with cries of treason and resisted in the most strident of ways, however, a black president, leading a revolt against gun ownership is viewed in much the same way as a slave leading a revolt against slavery, especially at a time when the firearm industry is perhaps more profitable than the agricultural industry of an agrarian South of the 18th or 19th century.  It is very easy to match the imagery of that time to this with an African-American in the White House.

But America is indeed a violent country, is there any doubt about that and that too has spurred the gun debate so that now the dastard peoples of color aren’t black they are immigrants; they aren’t slaves they are  terrorists, and the rationale for unlimited gun access is just as vapid now as it has ever been.  Indeed, too many Americans are dying from handguns.  Why anyone would advocate armed guards, administrators and teachers in schools is irrational……even trained armed guards can commit lapses that could lead to disastrous results.  In Michigan a trained firearms instructor left his unloaded hand gun in a bathroom for an unspecified time and one can only ask what are the risks for the uninitiated.  When I first read that news two things immediately leapt to mind; why was his firearm unloaded and why was it not on his person?  If a trained firearms instructor could make such a egregious mistake what are the expectations for one not so well trained?  But such examples don’t deter 2nd amendment types; this type of news is too easily dismissed and forgotten.

As in all things that deal with race, we have an aversion to deal with it except in the most tangential terms; preferring to sweep it under the rug entirely.  People with mental health issues, psychiatric, domestic or medical problems should not have access to firearms.  Gun shows and other dealers should institute instant background checks with a data base that is updated as quickly as people are entered in the “system” and people who use firearms in a violent crime should bear the full force of the law and be ‘brought to justice’. (Now you can interpret the brought to justice part any way you want!)  Magazine capacities can be discussed and negotiated but I’m certainly averse to having anyone walking around with two 30 round mags strapped to his/her semi-automatic long gun in plain view of people just to make a point of the right to own firearms….such displays are immature, sophomoric and  might prompt me to draw my  concealed weapon in fear of my life with no obligation to retreat, nay the right to stand my ground!  Can you not see how far this thing can go?  America, fix this!

Is the GOP’s Islamophobia in retreat or is the whole of the GOP screwed?

3711525790_41aac3d736Mother Jones came up with the article, The GOP’s Anti-Muslim Wing Is in Retreat with several anecdotes they say point to such a decline, in which they claim

…after a November election that saw three of the party’s loudest voices on “creeping Shariah” defeated—and the GOP presidential nominee ignore the issue entirely—the anti-Islam movement within the Republican party may have peaked. Wary of further alienating a once-promising conservative constituency, mainstream Republican leaders have sought, publicly and behind closed doors, to distance themselves from the loudest of the Muslim-bashers in their midst.

…Randa Fahmy Hudome, a former Bush administration official, Washington lobbyist, and prominent Muslim Republican, notes: “There is a self-policing factor in the Republican party, when some members get a little off base on some of these issues. That’s the state of play right now.”

However the problem is not that racists are on the wane in the GOP and thus not able to mount an offensive against America’s Muslim population, the issue is one of the GOP’s own inadequacy in dealing with ANYTHING related to policy.  From issues of women’s reproductive rights, where GOP candidates for office put their foot in their mouths regarding rape and abortion, to issues of the economy where a disorganized GOP saw its House Majority Leader vote against a bill that the Speaker of the House voted for, the GOP is to today’s politics the equivalence of the Keystone Cops, bungling over themselves without any design or purpose.  It’s no wonder Islamophobia has escaped them……they can’t agree on anything nor make any effective statement about anything else!  And if you think this is hyperbole, watch how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did what has never been done before in the halls of Congress…filibuster his own motion in the Senate.

Even more recently Speaker of the House John Boehner was reamed a new one by Islamophobe Peter King over Boehner’s refusal to put on the floor of the House for a vote a bill for funds for Hurricane Sandy relief that directly affects King’s constituency.   King went so far as to say, the day after the bill didn’t appear, that he would urge everyone not to make  any financial contributions to his own Party’s coffers.  He’s  since ameliorated his remarks after being called an a$$hole by Boehner and being reasured the House would vote on relief funds; a really strange conflated way of dealing with matters of policy and collegiality if there ever was one. King as you remember was one of the Party’s stalwarts who led House hearings on the “threat” radical Islam posed to the Homeland and it seems almost like poetic justice that he would be snubbed and then insulted in much the same way he did to many of his Muslim constituents.  However, this points to the dysfunction of the Republican party in ways not seen in recent history.

There is still plenty of kindling available on the American landscape for the GOP to ignite as they gather allies in their march towards power.  In fact inciting racial animus has been a mainstay of political ascendancy in America and there’s no reason to think the party, once it gets its act together won’t resort to that tried and true tactic called demagoguery and whether you agree or disagree that hate crimes, i.e. those against Muslims, are on the wane or not, it’s still true that Muslims are targets of hate in America. A brief look at the headlines here, here and here are anecdotal evidence enough to point to the gold mine the GOP can cultivate when they have the presence of mind to get their act together and do so.