Secrets of ‘Big Hammer’?

GunVsHammer

I saw this on the internet.  I have to tell you, I’m convinced.  But it got me to wondering: who would have an interest in squelching such important and relevant information?  At first, I thought it might be ‘Big Hammer’ but, no.  If revealed, information like this would spur hammer sales so, if anything, Big Hammer would want this information out there, spread as far and wide as possible so…no, not Big Hammer…

When it hit, it hit HARD: it must be the Government, right?  I mean, who else?  Imagine the hue and cry if people were to realize the fraud, waste, and abuse that went into this particular government choice.  Consider: some…moron (what other word can be used) armed our Marines with guns – when they could have just as easily acquired the far more deadly hammers!  GUNS!  Can you believe it?  Guns sometimes jam and require a regular and constant infusion of cash in the form of ammunition.  Imagine the egg on their face…

But then I got to thinking; it’s bigger than just covering up an error.  It’s a matter of social control!  Imagine if word got around about how much more lethal hammers are than guns.  That Vegas shooter actually had a hammer with him, did you know that?  The fool only used it to break out the windows in his hotel room.  Then, he put the hammer down and opted, instead, for the clearly less effective modified semi-automatic weapons.  Can you imagine the difference in the body count if he had thrown HAMMERS from his thirty-second floor window at the concert-goers?  I can only guess but, clearly, based on the above meme, it would have been vastly different…

THEN, my mind being what it is, I realized that the revelation contained in this meme is a tremendous recommendation for removing guns from our society completely.  Who, after all, would want to rely on a stupid old gun when you could grab a hammer?

And…hammers are everywhere, man!

Imagine waking up late at night to the sound of breaking glass.  You grab your Glock 19 and quietly make your way to the living room.  As you move around the corner you realize – TOO LATE – your mistake: the burglar…brought a hammer.  You’re stuck with a Glock.  OMG!  You brought a gun to a hammer fight!

Dummy…

So I’m glad the truth has finally been revealed.  Which should be banned?!?  Well, it would have to be that impractical, nearly useless gun, right?  Clearly we, the people want to keep the most effective self-protection option available and, statistically (according to the meme), that option is the hammer!

Thanks, Dems…

Well, that’s that, then.  I’ve been listening to Democratic loyalists deride supporters of Bernie Sanders for…quite awhile, now.  The 2016 Democratic primary, they insist, was the purist, most perfectly fair electoral process that has ever occurred in the history of electoral processes and so-called “Bernie Bros” were just sore losers.  I’ve felt all along that the narrative is false but the argument has been limited to the speculations of loyalists versus the speculations of Progressives.

But then, Donna Brazile put out her book, ‘Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House,’ and confirms that the DNC was, in fact, working FOR Hillary and against Bernie.  Berners, of course, seized on the revelation and claimed vindication.  As it happens, Progressives were right.  The loyalists were wrong.

Of course, the Democratic Party issued a bit of push-back against the charges, sending out their talking heads to opine that the deal that gave Clinton control of the DNC only applied to the general “election.”  The push-back only lasted about a day, though, as it was revealed that the agreement was signed in August, 2015 – nearly a full year before she became the nominee.

…and then, in Willie Brown’s Chronicle column dated November 4, 2017, he wrote this:

Former Democratic Party Chair Donna Brazile told the truth about how Hillary Clinton’s operation took over the Democratic National Committee and used it to help her beat Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primaries.

And guess what? There was nothing wrong with that.  Nothing corrupt or dishonest.

Like it or not, political parties are private businesses.  The DNC was broke, and Clinton bailed it out.  And like any investor in a business being saved from bankruptcy, Clinton had the right to do what she wanted to do with the operation. After all, she was paying the bills.

She not only took over the operation, she turned it into an extension of her campaign-fundraising machine, through which millions of dollars could be collected over and above the usual limits on presidential candidates.  That was smart – and legal.

She did what Barack Obama should have done a long time ago – try to put the Democratic Party in a position to be of assistance to the top candidate.

Yes, Bernie Sanders was the loser in the play, so now his followers are screaming. But Bernie is only nominally a Democrat. He’s always held himself apart from the party operation, and the party owed him nothing.

The real loser in the Clinton party takeover was then-Vice President Joe Biden, who realized too late that the game was tilted and decided not to get into the race.

It’s too bad for Joe, but he was asleep at the switch.

The fact that the Democratic Party was almost bankrupt was common knowledge in the Obama camp.  the fact that they didn’t do anything about it was also common knowledge.

Clinton offered to do something about it – and as a result, she got something out of it.

That’s politics.

True, that.  But why let someone run in the Democratic primaries if you’re not really going to simply facilitate a fair process?  I imagine the Democrats thought Bernie would come and go – flash in the pan kind of thing.  Then it turned out HE was the more popular candidate – SO popular the DNC had to resort to…machinations to get Hillary the nomination for which she had already paid.

Party loyalty.  SO loyal, in fact, that by the time Hillary fainted with Pneumonia in September of 2016, Brazile feared the Clinton campaign had taken on “the odor of failure.”  Brazile considered trying to replace Clinton as the nominee.  She writes that she considered Joe Biden.  Party first, you see.  She set her sights on a party guy – not even a candidate – not the actual candidate she’d had to cheat to beat.

I like Biden but he hadn’t participated in the primary process.  I’m glad they didn’t do that.  Leapfrogging Biden over Sanders would have caused the Berners to actually throw the actual chairs the loyalists pretended had been thrown.  Anyway, we know now that Brazile couldn’t have made the switch.  Clinton had already bought the nomination…

The irony, here, is that Trump wasn’t elected because Progressives refused to align themselves with the group that had just so thoroughly screwed them (right along with the rest of the country) as the loyalists charge.  The ACTUAL problem was that the Democrats refused to align themselves with an independent who had always worked with the Dems but wasn’t a “party man.”
So…thanks to the Democrats – the official arm of the party along with the willfully blinded, lock-step loyalists, Trump is President.  None of these revelations will change that.  But I’ll tell you this: I’m glad I don’t have to listen to them pretend it was Bernie’s fault anymore…

The Keep Your Gun Act…

This piece is about guns so I’m forced to start with the obligatory disclaimer: I’m not against guns and I’m not interested in taking everybody’s guns away from them.  Statistically, I believe the data indicate that MOST gun owners qualify as “responsible.”  I know, statistics.  I’m not fond of them, either.  They’re so…malleable.  So I won’t try throwing a bunch of stats at you to prove one point or the other.  Let’s go with ‘anecdotal’ instead, since it’s so much more reliable.  (Okay, the truth is, the actual numbers are less important than the general idea I’m trying to express so ‘anecdotal’ is good enough…)  Just think about the number of people you know who own guns and have NOT killed anybody or been in any kind of gun incident.  Lots, right?  Most, in fact…

But because the subject is guns people’s knees started jerking.  My Gun Rights Advocates (GRA’s) will be certain my first sentence was a feint.  My Gun Control Advocates (GCA’s) will insist that every gun owner is a danger to himself and society.  I say the truth lies somewhere in between.  The NRA has championed the term “responsible gun owners” but they use it as a blanket term, as though “gun owner” naturally equates to “responsible.”  The thing is – and yes, I’m repeating myself – most gun owners ARE “responsible.”  The OTHER thing is, though, some are not.

Recently, here in the bay area, an eight year old took a loaded handgun to school in his backpack.  I’m not prepared to consider an eight year old a responsible gun owner.  (Taking the weapon to school surely makes the point, yes?)  Okay, so the gun didn’t belong to the kid and an arrest has been made.  The ACTUAL “responsible” gun owner will have his day in court.  And that – right there – the “responsible” part…that’s the part I want to address.

In my mind, this gun owner is clearly irresponsible.  I mean, come on; he left his loaded gun where an eight year old could get it.  GRA’s have a tendency to dismiss such incidents as accidents or isolated events.  I would bet money I don’t have (I wouldn’t really) that the guy who actually owns the gun STILL considers himself a “responsible gun owner.”  That’s because people deceive themselves into believing they’re awesome all the time.  (We’re really a very confused species…)

So, to me, it doesn’t make sense to allow people to designate themselves “responsible gun owners” any more than it does to denigrate actual responsible gun owners as the result of some anti-social behavior committed by the smaller number of irresponsible gun owners.  Then I got this idea: what if we pass a law that sets a standard and violating that law self-identifies “irresponsible” gun owners.  We take THEIR guns (because they DO endanger everybody, after all) and leave everyone else out of it.  I toyed with some ideas about how to implement such a thing and then I realized I’d already been given the answer – by the NRA no less!

Have you ever heard of the Four Rules of Gun Safety?  They’re really good.  They work.  Here, take a look:
1)  All guns are always loaded and should be treated as such.
2)  Never point a gun at something you aren’t willing to destroy.
3)  Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4)  Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Strange as it seems, if everyone followed these rules there would never (okay, rarely) be accidental gun deaths.  They’re good rules…

Perhaps you’ve noticed they don’t cover an eight year old getting hold of the gun.  I did, too.  But in fairness, IF the eight year old obeyed those rules (he didn’t) he couldn’t hurt anybody, either.  So, today, I’d like to introduce ‘The Keep Your Gun Act’ – an effort to allow irresponsible gun owners to identify themselves…

Basically, it’s a two-part law.  The first part elevates the Four Rules of Gun Safety to the Four LAWS of Gun Safety and prohibits law enforcement agencies from dismissing violations as “accidents.”  There are no “accidents” with guns.  If somebody’s gun “goes off”?  They clearly violated Part 1, section 3 of the ‘Keep Your Gun Act.’  If the round goes through a wall and kills some kid sleeping in his bed?  It’s NOT a “tragic accident.”  It’s negligent homicide.  The Keep Your Gun Act requires the “incident” to be charged appropriately…

Part 2 requires gun owners to keep their guns.  If someone takes off with one (or some) of your guns – be it an eight year old boy who wants to show off for friends or some crackhead burgling your home for a quick influx of cash – you clearly didn’t have the weapon properly secured.  You didn’t keep your gun.

Violations of ‘The Keep Your Gun Act’ result in – at minimum – a substantial fine for each violation and surrendering your weapons…because if you couldn’t even KEEP your gun, you’re clearly NOT a “responsible gun owner.”  A legitimate defense would consist of proving you had secured the weapon in a reasonable and prudent way.  “I stuck it in the nightstand drawer!” isn’t going to fly…

Now, I’d be okay giving people one chance.  That is, a first violation would result in confiscation of weapons but a person could recover the right by participating in an approved gun safety course and proving their ability to secure the weapon.  A second violation, though, and one loses their guns for good – that is, the good of the community.

So there you have it: ‘The Keep Your Gun Act.’  An effort to allow irresponsible gun owners to identify themselves.  I’d like to hear thoughts on the topic but I would ask that people think about ‘The Keep Your Gun Act’ and not just throw out the standard tropes because I’ll tell you this: We’ve all heard them all and we can repeat them all by rote…

 

Crapitalism – Fire Edition…

I live in the Wine Country of Northern California – known, for now, as “Fire Country.”  Parts of the city I’ve lived in most of my life went up in flames.  Everyone I’ve spoken to knows someone – often many “someones” – who got burned out and lost everything.  I have family who escaped with their lives but nothing else.  I was luckier.  I was without gas for a week.  No heat, no cooking, no hot water.  Comparatively, I can only say, “big deal.”  Layers kept me warm and, in the best Daniel Boone survival tradition, I bought a hot plate, solving problems 2 and 3.  Some people weren’t touched at all.  Well, at least, that’s what they think right now…

People keep using the word “surreal” and I can’t think of a better one.  The fires have been pushed away from the cities and are slowly burning out.  The local media covered every minute of the first couple of days.  Then, the “regularly scheduled programming” began to creep back in.  Now we’re pretty much just a mention each day.  We get our own graphic, ‘The North Bay Wildfires’!  The fires are still burning but the “news cycle” is moving on…

I was struck by the camaraderie being exhibited by most people.  Everyone pulled together for a short time.  All conversations ended with “Stay safe.”  In many ways, the fires brought out the best in many of us.  Many of us – myself included – didn’t know what to do.  We hunkered down, stayed out of the way, and provided shelter to those ordered to evacuate.

The fires will serve as a new “timestamp” on when people came to Santa Rosa.  I can “date-check” people by asking where they were during Loma Prieta or if they know where the old Holiday Bowl was.  This will be a new one.  It will also be a timestamp on when people came to the end of their ropes and were forced out, once and for all.  The way I see it, we have bigger problems looming on our horizon than the fires still burning in the distance.

I mentioned how most people pulled together during the actual emergency.  But the cops caught one asshole stealing a pair of sunglasses out of a burned-out car.  When they investigated, they found equipment that had been stolen from the very firefighters who were working so ridiculously hard to save everybody else’s…everything.  I imagine he just fancies himself a clever opportunist.  Our society has named that kind of a person – “looter” – but it doesn’t feel…strong enough.  Picking through the ashes of other people’s lives to see how HE can profit before the victims of the fire get a chance to see if anything – even a pair of sunglasses – remains from their lives “before” seems, to me, to be among the basest of behaviors.

But at least it’s straightforward.  The next thing I expect we’ll see is the metaphorical “looters.”  Santa Rosa was already struggling to house it’s citizens, for example.  Now we’ve lost thousands of homes.  Rents are going up; more “clever opportunists.”

One of our supervisors, Susan Gorin, pointed out that Sonoma and Napa counties are tourist destinations meaning, they create jobs – but they’re low paying jobs.  The people who work those jobs were already struggling to make ends meet.  We already have a huge homeless problem here.  Now…rents will go up.

Supply and Demand, right?  Simple Capitalism.  Demand for housing has soared, the price for housing should be expected to soar with it.  Eventually, Capitalism dictates, “the market” will balance everything out.  SO many people will be forced out, not enough people will be seeking housing so the prices will drop.  It’s true.  I guess we’re just supposed to ignore the wreckage the process leaves in it’s wake.  This kind of thing is my strongest argument for a “living wage” law.  In my mind, actual realities always outweigh economic theory…

Civilized people know the Capitalists are going to take advantage so laws intended to prevent price gouging are in place.  One can’t raise prices more than 10% in the aftermath of the emergency.  But a sudden 10% increase on top of an already overpriced rent right after your job has been burned out just guarantees the pain keeps coming for most.  Oh, and the gouging laws don’t prevent someone from accepting offers over the 10% threshold.  That means people with resources will simply outbid workers for available housing leaving those with the least – literally – out in the cold.  THEN, the next “area review” of prevailing rents will build in those increases – all legal and proper.  Income inequality in action…

There are, of course, laws of Physics working against us as well.  A house can only be built so quickly.  Again, I imagine people with resources will get theirs first.  But leaving low paid workers to fend for themselves is going to have a ripple effect on the two counties – and so the entire north bay itself – for, perhaps, years to come.

The fires might well represent a timestamp but they also represent a “last straw” for many.  Housing will simply be unavailable and if one does find a place, it will be too expensive.  Workers in the area will have no choice but to “evacuate”…again.  This time, MUCH farther away and this time…permanently…

Aside from the living wage I mentioned earlier, I don’t have a solution on offer.  The current state of our once-great nation doesn’t provide for those who fall between the cracks and it seems the entire goal of our economy, these days, is to force as many people to fall between the cracks as possible.  “The Land of Opportunity” is increasingly becoming a “Land of Desperation.”  Until the fires, it’s been a bit of an abstract reality to me.  Now I’ll watch it play out in real time with real people’s lives.

I’ll tell you this: Surviving the actual flames in no way indicates one has survived the fires…

Scorecard Issues…

I’m going to need a ruling on this from the NRA.

Does the Las Vegas shooter get to keep his title for record killings in one shooting event (not associated with a military operation) or is he going to be disqualified for modifying his semi-automatic weapons into full auto, thereby giving himself an unfair advantage previous shooters haven’t had?

I’ve currently got it scored as him getting full credit for the record – he DID do the shooting, after all – with a special achievement award for the modifications.  Apparently, it’s not all that tough to do.  If you know how, semi-automatic weapons can be modified into fully automatic…but one has to do the work.  You HAVE to do the work…

Same Ole, Same Ole…

Ho hum.  Just another responsible gun owner exercising his 2nd Amendment rights.  At least 50 dead, over 400 injured, a new “high score”!  Fortunately, the shooter was white so we don’t have to worry that it may have been a terrorist attack.  (C’mon, how could using semi-automatic weapons to rapid-fire from the 32nd floor into a crowd of 22,000 be “terrorism”? )

Fear not, NRA…I know NOW is NOT the time to discuss gun control…

On Megyn Kelly…

I’ve got to tell you – well, no, I don’t HAVE to tell you, you haven’t even asked – but I’m GOING to tell you: I don’t know who Megyn Kelly’s audience is supposed to be.  People know who she is.  They know she used to be one of the shining stars of Fox “News”, the flagship of the conservative bubble.  The conservative bubble, of course, conditions it’s adherents to self-isolate and never, ever watch “mainstream media”.  Then, she leaves Fox “News” and moves to NBC?

Did she expect to take any part of her audience with her?  That would involve the unpardonable sin of tuning in mainstream media.  Did she (and NBC) think she could build a new audience, as though she hasn’t spent the last thirteen years contributing to the culture wars – representing the wrong side?

So…if thinking people won’t respond to her because of her known association with truth-twisters and her old (often, VERY old) audience won’t risk infection by tuning in NBC, who’s going to watch?

I’ll tell you this: NBC is paying her very well.  They’ll be patient as they try to recoup some of that “investment.”  They’ll try her in different situations and different roles; morning show host, “news” magazine host, that sort of thing.  Promotions will be heavy on the “she’s apolitical, now” bit but I suspect she’ll never build much of a following and by…let’s say…January of 2018, NBC will realize they’ve made a mistake and cut their losses.  I, for one, will not be sorry to see her go…