Category Archives: Guns

Saturday Odds & Sods: What’s Going On

Jazz Fest is in its second weekend. I used to love this event, but it’s like an ex-girlfriend who I still like but am not always eager to see.  It’s become just another pop/roots rock/kinda sorta jazz festival in the last decade, which has made me lukewarm about attending. I broke up with Jazz Fest a few years ago and have an awkward relationship with it. I still may go this weekend but the thrill is gone, y’all.

In other New Orleans news, a water main broke a few miles from Adrastos World HQ. We had no water pressure for a few hours and are still under a boil water advisory. The pipe was laid in 1905. I should make a crude joke at this point but I try to ignore my inner Beavis and Butthead.

This week we celebrate the music of Marvin Gaye who would have turned 80 on April 2nd, which was the day that the USPS issued the Marvin Gaye stamp. I remember the dark day in 1984 when I heard about Marvin’s death at the hands of his father. It was April Fool’s day so I wondered briefly if the news was a cruel hoax. It was not. I even shed a few tears. I rarely cry but I wept that day. Rage, jealousy, and firearms are a toxic combination. For Marvin, they were fatal.

This week’s theme song was the title track of Marvin’s best album.  We have two versions of What’s Going On for your listening pleasure: Marvin’s original followed by a swell 1986 cover by Cyndi Lauper who really rocks Marvin’s composition.

Now that we’ve seen what’s going on, let’s jump to the break with our eyes wide open. I’ll skip the obvious Kubrick joke.

Continue reading

We’ll Do Literally Anything To Avoid Gun Control

Is there a right this doesn’t trample on? 

A company called ZeroEyes out of Philadelphia markets a system to police departments that can detect when a person is entering a given facility carrying a gun. It integrates with any number of closed-circuit surveillance systems.  But machine learning algorithms don’t just come out of a box knowing how to recognize a firearm any more than a drug dog arrives from the breeder knowing the difference between marijuana and oregano. To teach the algorithm, a team from the company shows up on location and proceeds to stage mock attacks. Slowly, the algorithm begins to learn what a gun looks like in that specific setting, depending on light, angles, and other conditions. They’re currently working with New York City Schools and have a contract with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, but are not yet deployed to the border, said Kenny Gregory, a software engineer at the company.

We’ll stage mock attacks on schoolkids, shoot teachers and call it a training exercise. We’ll further stigmatize the mentally ill, suggest that everybody with a diagnosis is just a murderer in waiting. We’ll make people carry bulletproof backpacks and put dogs and guards on every train. We’ll create fucking PRE-CRIME SOFTWARE in order to watch people every second of every day.

We will do all of that, to avoid doing the one thing that might make a difference.

While some polls show that 70 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws, that number is far lower, about 31 percent, among conservatives. And so the political debate, while fiery, has stalled. Gun-detection algorithms that alert security personnel when an armed person arrives might reduce the number of victims — though likely not as much as if there were no armed shooter in the first place.

Because of the gerrymandered stranglehold the dying GOP and the fascist NRA have on our discourse, we have to have fucking mind-reading algorithms tell us if someone’s carrying a gun because literally anyone might be carrying a gun.

Let us never underestimate our willingness to avoid solving a goddamn problem. Do we really not see how stupid this sounds?

A.

Post Mayhem Rituals

There are things that happen after every mass shooting. Right thinking people deplore the violence and call for changes to gun laws. If the incident involves a minority religious community, the outcry is even more fervent and leads to shows of inter-faith solidarity and unity. These are positive post mayhem mass shooting rituals, and they’re happening in the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque attack.

As to negative post mayhem rituals, right-wingers sent their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims but refuse to acknowledge any role their pro-gun, Islamophobic ideology might have played. When Barack Obama was president, they insisted that he use the T word (terrorism) to describe every incident in which white people were hurt. He did so whenever it was appropriate, but Obama liked to think things through as opposed to the daily flow of diarrhea spewed by the Current Occupant.

These right-wing post mayhem rituals are writ large in President* Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacy. He usually claims ignorance despite his conspicuous cable news consumption. His response to the Christchurch massacre is similar to his reaction to Charlottesville. While it’s true that white supremacists who shoot up mosques are a small group, that’s precisely why it should be easy to condemn them. Trump will not because he sees them as part of his base, which should be worshiped and deferred to at all times. This is, of course, crazy but so are they.

My post mayhem ritual is to write a post deploring the violence and urging people not to be comfortably numb. I did so after the 2015 San Berardino massacre and the 2017 Vegas concert bloodbath. I wish I didn’t feel compelled to write but I do. I wish to retain my capacity for outrage in the face of repetitive violence.

These sort of attacks are even more shocking when they occur in countries we don’t associate with gun violence such as Norway and New Zealand. But white supremacists are everywhere and the Norwegian butcher, Anders Breivik, has become a demonic hero to many.

I applaud the response of Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the mosque massacre. She’s proposing common sense gun control reforms, which will ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons. But the mosque murderer was able to buy his weapons legally, which he could not have done in his native Australia, which is why he exported his crime to New Zealand. Score one for the Aussies.

BUT white supremacist thinking is widespread in Australia and has gone mainstream there in recent years. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a noted xenophobe and has whipped up Islamophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment nearly non-stop since being ousted from the top job. That’s why it’s no surprise that this happened:

Good on the egg teen and boo to the racist senator. We have more than a few of the latter and need more of the former.

One answer to mass shootings are tighter gun control laws BUT New Zealand’s laws were already restrictive and it happened there. We need to stop othering people who look, act, and pray differently than ourselves. It won’t be easy with leaders like Trump, Abbott, and Orban whipping up hatred but nothing worthwhile is easy. It beats the hell out of being comfortably numb.

The last word goes to Pink Floyd with a song that the band described as part of “the violence sequence” as it was written for Michelangelo Antonioni’s movie Zabriskie Point. The director rejected the song as “beautiful but too sad.” We need more beauty and less sadness in the world, y’all:

 

Butina Your Lip

Former Gret Stet Governor Bobby Jindal with Maria Butina.

I have been accused of constructing posts around a punny title. I plead guilty as charged. There’s a lot of that going around this week. The latest to cop a plea is Maria Butina. I have abandoned my futile attempt to popularize the Russian spelling of her name. She’s Two-I Mariia no more. Life goes on and on and on; much like this introduction.

The facts of the Butina case have become somewhat murky. Initially, I compared her to Elizabeth Jennings of The Americans but it looks as if she was more of an influence peddler than a spy; as much K Street as Kremlin.

The prosecution has even withdrawn some of the more sensational characterizations of her activities:

Yet even as prosecutors secured Ms. Butina’s conviction and cooperation, they faced questions about their initial portrayal of Ms. Butina as something like a character out of “Red Sparrow,” the spy thriller about a Russian femme fatale.

Prosecutors had already been forced to back off the most salacious accusations against Ms. Butina — that she used sex as spycraft — and acknowledged in court filings this week that she genuinely wanted a graduate degree, and was not simply posing as a student to live in the United States. They also dropped accusations of her being in contact with Russian intelligence agencies, and that she was only using Mr. Erickson to gain access to other influential Americans.

Agents come in many forms: from the covert to the overt. Butina appears to have been the latter. She bamboozled American gun nuts in broad daylight, revealing them as gullible fools willing to fall for a pretty face and a ridiculous story: a gun rights group in Putin’s Russia? Yeah, right.

There was even a memorable public exchange with the Insult Comedian:

While I still hope that Butina can damage the NRA, it’s unclear how much she knows and who, other than her boyfriend/whatever Paul Erickson, she can hurt. She certainly played them for fools, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. Those pictures with PBJ, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, and Wayne LaPierre are priceless.

The minute I heard that she’d agreed to co-operate, I knew that she was not a spy. We usually trade their spies for our spies. I’m puzzled by Butina’s motives in co-operating with prosecutors as she still faces deportation. Failed Russian agents tend not to have a long shelf life when they return home.

Our readers have surely noticed by now that my mind works in weird ways. This time, it has connected Maria Butina and the Rolling Stones. Her American adventure involved making connections with the NRA in the hopes of influencing the Republican party. That, in turn, evokes a song from the 1967 Stones album, Butina the Buttons:

The album’s real name is Between the Buttons and, in the end, the real connection Maria Butina made was with federal prosecutors.

The post title is also Stones inspired. The opening line of Mixed Emotions is “button your lip, baby.” It wasn’t much of a leap to Butina Your Lip.

The Rolling Stones get the last word:

Tweet Of The Day: PBJ Meets Mariia Butina

I keep waiting for former Gret Stet Goober Bobby Jindal aka PBJ to re-surface as a member of the Trump administration. I believe he’s already grovelled his way out of trouble for calling the Insult Comedian names when PBJ was a presidential candidate. PBJ is an expert brown noser when need be. It’s part of his kiss up, kick down persona.

Thanks to Shannon Watts, PBJ is back in the news after the indictment of Russian agent/NRA fan girl Mariia Butina. FYI, I conferred with a Russian speaker of my acquaintance and was informed that Butina is a 2-i Maria. You’re not seeing double, it’s spelled Mariia. That reminds me of the fine Louisiana name Couvillion. There are two-i and one-i Couvillions. My main man Eddie was a two-i Couvillion. The ayes apparently have it.

Ms. Watts is a pro-gun control/anti-NRA activist with 245K twitter followers. This week she posted a series of pictures of the Russian redhead with well-known wingnuts including the man who sacrificed the Gret Stet’s economy on the altar of his futile national ambitions.

One of the ginger influence peddler’s specialities is posing for pictures with defeated GOP presidential candidates. Here’s one with former Senator Man Dog Sex:

Rick Santorum is still a colossal dick as well as a Russian dupe.

Here’s Doc’s buddy Scott Walker with the gun nut femme fatale:

Finally, it’s the Grand Vizier of gun nuttery’s turn in the Butina barrel.

I’d like to thank Shannon Watts for posting this treasure trove of tweets. Keep up the good work.

I suspect PBJ may even be grateful for the attention. Unlike, Mariia Butina, he can’t even get arrested.

All This … Or The Guns

We’ll take away every civil right you have, in the name of safety, before we pass some fucking gun laws that make sense in this country: 

Under the Salem method, threats are evaluated at a Level One stage by a school-based team that may include school police. If it is determined that parents would be constructive, they can be brought in during the process, the handbook says.

The handbook outlining the Salem method that Parkrose uses advises that aggression exists on a continuum, from a low end of “scratch, bite, hit” up to “rape, strangle, stab, shoot, bomb, kill.”

If school professionals remain unsure at Level One, the protocol goes to Level Two. A broader team completes a second analysis. In Sanders’ case, that included representatives from local police agencies, the county mental health office, a  child welfare agency and the county developmental disabilities office.

Proponents of threat assessments say they’re more effective than security measures that make a school feel like a prison. But their impact on students assessed as threats, rather than their value to the school as a whole, is rarely considered.

The impact on this student and his family is horrifying, and the impact on the school, equally so. I’d like to talk about the money.

Because of course, capitalist, but bear with me.

The school spends on school police. They spend on threat assessment protocols and handbooks and they spend on staff time going to meetings and trainings and I’m sure somewhere in here was a seminar/webinar with an insufferable powerpoint and the word “utilizing.”

When, if we had gun laws that made any sense at all in this country, if we had any kind of laws that made any kind of sense, we’d have guidance counselors, not threat assessors. For students with special needs like the one described in the story above, we’d have trained aides and accommodations that would make school and everything that goes with it a learning experience, not a motherfucking gauntlet.

Yes, we’d still worry about violence, about kids with knife collections or irrational grudges, but we wouldn’t worry about them re-enacting the opening of Saving Private Ryan on Senior Skip Day, because we’d do what these idiots up in that story are trying to do with “threat assessments,” and take care of our goddamn kids.

We could do all of that with the money we spend on the things we do instead of taking the guns. We are making these endless end-runs around the thing we think we can’t address and it’s so exhausting watching us lie to ourselves that we’re powerless, that we HAVE to do the threat assessments and the stupid meetings and spend more on school police when what we have to do is take away the guns.

It would be CHEAPER, Jesus, if that’s your only metric, if the flagrant civil rights violations aren’t apparent, if the counterproductive nonsense detailed above isn’t enough, if all that persuades you is the spreadsheet, think of how much time it would save.

We can do all of that, or we can take the guns. You tell me which sounds better. And then you vote in November for the people most likely to SOLVE the problem, instead of assessing the threat.

A.

Malaka Of The Week: Ralph Norman

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A friend asked me the other day why I’m doing fewer malaka of week posts. Surely, he said, malakatude is not decreasing. It is not. There’s been an explosion of malakatude in the Trump error era. Norms are being discarded willy nilly, especially on the subject of guns and that is why Congressman Ralph Norman of South Carolina is malaka of the week. Yeah, it happened last week but let’s not be pedantic about dates. Genuine malakatude is timeless.

It’s a pity that the Congressman’s parents didn’t name him Norman Norman. Not only would that get him a shout-out at Cheers, I could call him Norm Norman while pointing out the pulling out a loaded gun in a room full of constituents is not normal, Norman.

From the Charleston Post & Courier’s Palmetto Politics section:

A South Carolina Republican congressman is not backing down from critics after he pulled out his own personal — and loaded — .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun during a meeting with constituents Friday.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, told The Post and Courier he pulled out the weapon and placed it on a table for several minutes in attempt to make a point that guns are only dangerous in the hands of criminals.

“I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords,” Norman said afterward, referring to the former Arizona Democratic congresswoman who was shot outside a Tucson-area grocery store during a constituent gathering in 2011.

That was a real low country low blow as Malaka Norman seems to imply that it was Ms. Giffords’ own fault that she was shot. A scathingly polite reaction to that came from Jeff Flake who served in the House with Giffords:

Palmetto state pols have long been known for their bravado, bluster, and bullshit. Who among us can forget Joe (You Lie) Wilson? Then there was that Southern charmer Congressman Preston Brooks who attacked Senator Charles Sumner with a cane in 1856:

That may be a low country low blow but Malaka Norman deserves whatever he gets for mocking Gabby Giffords and for this bit of Palmetto state poo-poo:

Norman said he pulled out the gun, pointed it away from the meeting attendees and put it on a table for about five minutes while they continued their conversation over breakfast.

The move, Norman said, was intended to prove “guns don’t shoot people; people shoot guns.”

Norman is a state concealed carry permit holder and said he regularly brings his gun with him when out in public.

If anyone walked into the diner and started shooting, Norman told the attendees, he would be able to protect them because of his gun.

“I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back,” he told The Post and Courier.

I’m not sure if that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard but it’s on the list. Repeat after me: gun nuttery is an ideology and the NRA is a cult. What would this bozo do if an angry white man with an assault weapon came after him? It’s unclear if Norman can do anything but shoot off his mouth. He’s good at that. In my experience, braggarts are rarely heroic. Remember the last politician who waved a gun around in public?

Norman may not be a pervert like Roy Moore but he *is* a real estate developer. That figures: they’re world-class assholes who make car dealers look honest. Exhibit A is the Insult Comedian, the braggingest man on the planet. Norman is on that list as well. And that is why Ralph Norman is malaka of the week.

They Can’t Help Themselves

In the spirit of the week after Holy Week, I thought I’d write about the disgusting attacks on the Parkland kids by adults. The attacks keep backfiring, leading to apologies from Frank Stallone, Laura Ingraham, and others. Ingraham famously apologized  in the “spirit of Holy Week.” Does that mean she wouldn’t apologize for sliming David Hogg on another week? All Ingraham and her lorons care about is saving advertisers and her shitty show.

Attacking teenagers, tweens, and even younger chirren is not a good look for grown ass adults, but it’s not uncommon on the right. Fox News is a repository (suppository?) of attacks on younger Americans. (It’s particularly  weird for those of us who experienced the young conservatives of the 1980’s who saw Reagan as their political grandpa and became tribal Republicans.)  And it’s not just in the more out of sorrow than anger”kids today” manner, it’s out-and-out hostility:

In the month and a half since the shooting in Parkland, FL, Ingraham herself has said the Parkland students should not be given “special consideration” on gun policy; told her viewers that the March 14 student walkout wasn’t some sort of “organic outpouring of youthful rage,” but rather “nothing but a left-wing, anti-Trump diatribe”; and complained that anti-abortion protesters didn’t get the same attention. Two of Fox’s other primetime hosts, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, both dismissed the students as pawns being manipulated by gun control advocates. Carlson went a step further, calling the students “self-righteous kids” who “weren’t helping at all” and comparing them to Mao’s Red Guards. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, who is also a Fox News contributor, dismissed the students as just “children, not founts of wisdom,” and Fox & Friends Weekend host Pete Hegseth responded to the student-organized March For Our Lives by angrily commenting, “Spare me if I don’t want to hear the sanctimoniousness of a 17-year-old.” Fox’s sustained and hostile attacks on students in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting fit right into the network’s years-long pattern of insulting and belittling students and children.

Wingnuts have only one mode: attack mode. They do it when it won’t work and when it will backfire with anyone *outside* the bubbly right-wing echo chamber. Carlson, Hannity, Ingraham, and their ilk don’t understand how they sound to average Americans because they seem to only talk to people who agree with them. They certainly only care about those people. It’s why they can’t help themselves.

The 24-hour (minute? second?) news cycle and social media can be wonderful things. They can also be dangerous when used by people with no impulse control who don’t seem to realize that what they say and/or tweet is public and archivable. It’s getting harder and harder to trash talk people behind their backs because slurs live forever on the interweb. Impulse control is out of fashion because of the Current Occupant who was born in a bubble and basks in the glow of the bubbly right-wing echo chamber. The Insult Comedian sets the tone for his acolytes, which is why it’s ugly out there and getting uglier every day.

Remember when we had a president who thought before speaking and didn’t trash everyone who disagreed with him? It wasn’t that long ago. It can happen here again.

When I say that the wingnuts and gun nuts can’t help themselves, I’m not excusing their malakatude and verbal diarrhea. It’s a feeble attempt to explain why they do the things they do.  Attacking the Parkland kids is not going to work. It would be better for the flying monkeys of the far right to say something like, “I’m sorry they’ve been traumatized but I disagree with them.” How hard is that? Too hard for them, apparently. Since they live inside the bubbly right-wing echo chamber, they can’t help themselves.

Rise Up

We forget, all the time, what we’re capable of.

How often, how many times a day, do we tell ourselves won’t, can’t, doesn’t? How many times do we say inevitable, impossible, never?

And then a girl stands in front of the whole world and she shakes their windows and she rattles their walls.

Do you know what it takes to hold a stage, to hold a crowd in your hands, for even one minute? To have them breathing with you, every indrawn breath yours to control? There are veterans of Broadway who can’t do that, not on nights when they’re visited by God himself.

I get the cynicism. I get the fear. I get the worry that somebody else will succeed where we’ve failed and I get the shame that drives us to push that away and I don’t care about any of it anymore, I reject it wholeheartedly, I shaven’t it, you can see what I see. Something happened there and when the world brings you a moment like that you thank God you were alive to witness it and you put your feet flat on the ground and you stand up.

We have been telling these children stories, telling ourselves stories, all our lives about those who rise above, about becoming heroes, about fighting back, and we’re still so astonished, almost offended, when someone listens. You told me I could be anything, so I became, and you don’t believe? How dare we?

We have eight months, and then the rest of our lives. Listen to that silence, and I don’t want to know you if you don’t hear the roar.

A.

We Understand Gun Gulture Just Fine

This shit again: 

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — As Democrats have fled rural America — or rural America has fled Democrats — many of them, living in cities, are left without an understanding of rural culture and its core values. If it isn’t on abortion, our deepest cultural divide might be on guns. The guns issue also has a profound political dimension, reliably driving rural Americans into Republican arms.

You know, Democrats in cities understand gun culture just fine. Here, let me explain it to you:

There are hunters who like to hunt. There are hobby shooters who go to ranges. And then there are racist paranoiacs who drive around in vans covered in HITLERY stickers who can’t stop waving every single gun they own around, who eat Fox News and InfoWars for breakfast lunch and dinner, who can just never SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THEIR STUPID GUNS.

Those are three distinct groups, and when I, a city Democrat, was growing up, the first two laughed their asses off at the third and there was no major lobbying group to tell them to make common cause against the evil conspiracy of reasonable regulations on 5-year-olds owning M-16s or whatever it is milquetoast thing Democrats stand accused of these days.

If all people did with guns in “rural America” was hunt animals and protect their houses from horror-movie villains breaking in, that might not be every city Dem’s bag but it would be fine. You know why?

BECAUSE NOBODY WOULD HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT THE FUCKING GUNS THEN.

God almighty, I am right up to here with the guns right now, how much you love them and how sacred they are and your great-great-grandpappy who fought for slavery in the Confederacy and whatever else. I understand gun culture just fine and it bores the living shit out of me and the only reason I bother engaging with it at all is that lots of people are getting DEAD.

You know, for the past two years we’ve been hearing about how Republicans were so sick of having basic respect for others “shoved down their throats” that they had to vote in the current racist monster and his gang of ten-a-penny fascisti in the White House. They were so, so sick of political correctness that they had to burn the whole world down. Their dicks all fell off because women were writing words on the Internet and they had no choice but to yell LOCK HER UP and vote for Trump.

Political correctness and women voting having killed exactly nobody, I would then turn that deep understanding of others’ culture right back around and offer this.

You can have all the guns you want.

Provided you don’t shove them down everybody else’s throat all the time.

A.

That’s Why I Call Him The Kaiser Of Chaos

The word of the week in the MSM was chaos. I’ve been calling Trump the Kaiser of Chaos since last July so I guess I’m ahead of the curve. It’s not much to brag about given how many pundits and news writers are still waiting for the president* to grow in office or pivot. He shows no signs of either and seems to be shrinking the office’s stature, especially in foreign affairs.

Last week, the Kaiser of Chaos declared a trade war on steel producers thinking it was against China when it would impact friendly countries such as Germany and Australia. He also see-sawed between pro-gun control lawmakers and the NRA. It’s classic Trump: he sides with the last person he speaks to and the NRA’s lobbyist was there last. It continues to amaze me that he has an image as a tough guy when he caves at the slightest opposition from his party or the interest groups who finance it. It reminds me of an old baseball aphorism I first learned in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four: He’s has an alligator mouth and a hummingbird ass.

It was also the week that extent of Slumlord Jared Kushner’s corruption went public. Bigly. While I’m not shocked that he’s used his proximity to the president* to save his financial ass, the blatancy of these efforts surprised me. The Javanka-Kelly war was another thing that led the MSM to call chaos on Team Trump. It looks as if the kids may be losing to the asshole Marine general. I think it helps that Kelly is as big of a bigot as the boss. Believe me.

Trump spoke at the Gridiron dinner in Washington last weekend. He trotted out his Insult Comedian persona but stepped on the jokes with lame, incoherent ad-libs. Here’s one about outgoing New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu:

“And I know Mayor Mitch Landrieu feels right at home in Washington coming from Louisiana. I love Louisiana. … Not too bad right? Not bad Mitch! … It’s a beautiful swamp. I like that swamp. … That’s a much more legitimate swamp. But I have to say Mitch, that while you’re here in Washington, only one request. … They already hit him on the statues. I was going to say, ‘Don’t touch our statues.’ But they’ve already hit you three times on the statues. … But Mitch you did a good job tonight and honestly I love the way you finished. … I really did. I thought it was very appropriate. … Thank you.”

A swamp and statue joke from the leading swamp thing in Washington? Draining the swamp seems to be the ultimate lost cause.

A note on my use of the word Kaiser. It started back in the days of my eponymous blog. Then New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin had just appointed a windbag named Ed Blakely as recovery director. The local press insisted on calling him the Katrina Tsar. I offered Katrina Kaiser as a more alliterative alternative but it never caught on. That’s when my war on the word Tsar began It’s been a losing battle but I’ve enjoyed pointing out that Tsar and Kaiser are both rooted in Caesar. And both the last Tsar and Kaiser were world-class incompetents and losers. One of them, however, survived to a cranky old age in the Netherlands. I wonder if the Kaiser of Chaos has a golf course there?

Finally, I had some fun with the featured image. On one side, the Kaiser of Chaos with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. On the other side, Kaiser Wilhelm II with a pickelhaube atop his head and a dead animal pelt serving as a furry sash of sorts. Kaisers are kooky in a way that Tsars never are.

Today on “Obsession” – “Who’s a-fraid of the N-R-A – the N.R.A. – the N.R.A?”

Last Thursday, Michael F said :

“Hmm…you don’t often hear the person who’s job is to see the laws be faithfully executed say fuck the law…

But, best as I can tell, the wingnut response has been…crickets. Nothing.”

Well, let’s go to Wingnut Central and have a look-see. (composite thread)

‘I think you’re afraid of the NRA’: Trump blasts Republican lawmakers in bipartisan meeting
businessinsider ^ | February 28, 2018 | Michelle Mark

Posted on 2/28/2018, 3:25:32 PM by Berlin_Freeper

President Donald Trump held a freewheeling White House meeting on Wednesday to discuss various gun-control measures, at one point jabbing a Republican senator over his reluctance to raise the age of all gun purchases to 21 from 18.

“I think you’re afraid of the NRA,” Trump said to Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, arguing that raising the age limit was “something we have to think about.”

“A lot of people are afraid to bring it up,” Trump said, referring to the National Rifle Association’s vehement opposition to the proposal. Some Democrats, such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, smiled and nodded at Trump’s remarks.

Toomey said his reservations were due to fear that such a regulation would punish the “vast majority” of 19- and 20-year-olds in his state who own rifles or shotguns and are “law-abiding citizens.”

1 posted on 2/28/2018, 3:25:32 PM by Berlin_Freeper
Aaand – we’re off!
To: Berlin_Freeper

 

Dumb move. He is being ill advised.

4 posted on 2/28/2018, 3:27:45 PM by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)

To: facedown

 

Ill advised? Try, these are his beliefs which is far more troubling

7 posted on 2/28/2018, 3:32:40 PM by Jarhead9297

To: Berlin_Freeper

 

Trump’s burning political capital with a blowtorch. Watch his approval ratings plummet.

9 posted on2/28/2018, 3:34:30 PM by Paine in the Neck ( Socialism consumes EVERYTHING!)

“Plummet”? How the hell do you “plummet” from < 40%?
To: facedown

>> Dumb move. He is being ill advised.

I have found that Trump’s “off the cuff” remarks are the ones that most illustrate his mindset, and Trump himself has said as much. I don’t think this is about being ill advised, I think this is what Trump believes.

Even if it’s not, Trump said it, and he’s the President.

19 posted on 2/28/2018, 3:40:14 PM by af_vet_rr
To: Paine in the Neck

 

I supported him. I have questioned some of his choices. This has done it for me. If he goes along with chipping away at the 2A, I am done.

21 posted on 2/28/2018, 3:41:20 PM by ozaukeemom (9/11/01 Never Forget. Never.)

Apparently, you’re not familiar with the Trump doctrine of “I already got what I want out of you, now fuck off”.
To: Berlin_Freeper

 

And you’re afraid of the Deep State, Mr. Trump. Hope Hicks just quit you and that just may be the beginning.

23 posted on 2/28/2018, 3:42:10 PM by TTFlyer

The Trump-fellators are quick to respond:
To: Lagmeister

 

all this fearmongering is silly.

Trump is on our side. He is playing these Demon Rat thugs.

39 posted on 2/28/2018, 3:51:41 PM by SoFloFreeper
TrumpHumpersBush
To: P-Marlowe

 

“Trump is a populist not a conservative. Sometimes popular ideas are conservative and sometimes they are idiotic. This is an example of Trump being an idiot.”

That kind of nails it.

41 posted on 2/28/2018, 3:52:10 PM by ought-six (Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)

To: Berlin_Freeper

 

He’s gone mad. Alas. If we wanted bs or threats against our constitutional rights we could have elected HilLIARy. We need to find a good honest reliable conservative non-GOP-e candidate asap for the next election

82 posted on 2/28/2018, 4:57:59 PM by faithhopecharity (“Politicans aren’t born, they’re excreted.” -Marcus Tillius Cicero (3 BCE))

I’m sensing a just a bit of dissatisfaction here…
To: Berlin_Freeper

 

6% approval rating by morning.

Great call. Stab your supporters in the back because CNN cries for a week.

WHERE’S MY ******* WALL!!!!

90 posted on 2/28/2018, 5:22:09 PM by The Toll

Where, indeed?
 .
After the jump – The Darnold suggests seizing guns first and worrying about due process later, and the Freeperati have a collective aneurysm.
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The most pernicious force in the world is inertia

Been doing a lot of talking lately about how beholden politicians are to the NRA, and why.

Money alone doesn’t explain it. We could crowdfund in an hour what it takes to buy Marco Rubio. Stupidity doesn’t explain it either;

And I don’t honestly even think malice explains it. I don’t think Marco wants kids to die, I mean actively wants to stab a first grader in the neck or anything.

I just don’t think he’s thinking about this all that hard.

I don’t think any Republicans are. I don’t think any Democrats are, for that matter, either. They’re just … this is what you do.

If you want to run as an R in a red district, if you want to rep a red state, if you want to get elected, here’s the process. For the past 50 years, here’s the process. You take the NRA’s donations and you take their reliable voters and you take their field operations, and you offer your thoughts and prayers, and you count on nothing changing because then you don’t have to change.

Truth be told, it’s more laziness than anything else. How many people are handcuffed to “this is the way things work?” I mean how many times in your real life do you contemplate the effort it would take to tear down a workaround and start doing something new? Very few people greet that prospect with anything other than exhaustion.

 

You’re Marco Rubio, and you’re a Republican, so you take the money and what comes with it. You don’t think you’re gonna be asked by a kid in a town hall why you’re such a soulless whore, nobody does that to you, so you have no answer prepared.

In a way it’s worse than if Rubio and his ilk really were passionate defenders of the unlimited right to firearms. At least then they’d be putting some kind of principle over the lives of their constituents.

As it stands, they’re looking at the spreadsheet, deciding the numbers work out in their favor, and asking if they can skip the rest of this meeting since they already know how it goes. For years, they’ve known.

Now they don’t. Not anymore.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Love For Sale

At The Moulin Rouge by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

It’s been a relatively uneventful week at Adrastos World HQ. My cold has gone; only to be replaced by allergies since we’ve gone from winter to late spring without skipping a beat.  It’s hard to believe how damn cold it was just a few weeks ago when we’re slowly moving into air-dish season.  The good news is that a cool front just arrived. It won’t last long but we can dream, dream, dream.

The Toulouse-Lautrec featured image was inspired by a local news story. Last month, some Bourbon Street dancers staged a protest after a police crackdown on strip clubs in the Quarter. They had a lot of support in the community because New Orleans has always had strip clubs and always will. We’ve also always had people who wanted to close or tightly restrict the clubs. The beat goes on.

I suppose I should apologize for using a Cole Porter song for the second time in a month. I decline to do so: Cole was the master. Love For Sale was my earworm when I wrote the Senator For Sale post last Monday. That’s why it’s the theme song. I hope you won’t give me a Cole shoulder for being repetitive…

We have two radically different versions of Porter’s Love For Sale. First,  Anita O’Day’s torchy and sultry version recorded in 1959 with Billy May and his big band. Second, Miles Davis from Kind Of Blue featuring some of his best sidemen: Trane and Cannonball among others.

I should have mentioned the great Bill Evans but he didn’t have a colorful nickname. He was merely a brilliant pianist and arranger.

It’s title disambiguation time. That’s a big word but I bet the brainy members of Talking Heads know it:

Now that I’ve sold you love or some such shit, let’s jump to the break before you demand a refund.

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The Oaf Keepers

The Oath Keepers are a far right fringe militia-style organization that’s described thusly by the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The Oath Keepers, which claims tens of thousands of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members, is one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today. While it claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans.

In the wake of the Parkland massacre, this bunch of gun-toting nutters has volunteered to post armed guards outside schools. It’s a lousy idea cooked up by the group’s founder Stewart Rhodes:

Rhodes wants the military and police veterans who make up Oath Keepers’ membership to volunteer for unpaid, rotating shifts at schools of all levels, and colleges, throughout the country. He and two other representatives of the fringe militia community will hold a webinar Monday night where they plan to encourage Oath Keepers to station themselves at schools “to protect the children against mass murder, and to help train the teachers and staff.”

“I think it’s essential,” Rhodes told TPM in a Monday phone call. “It’s part of our responsibility to do what we can.”

“And what we can do is be outside of schools so that we’re closer if an attack happens, or when one happens,” Rhodes continued. “We’ll be there to be a fast response.”

Armed vigilantes outside schools? What could possibly go wrong? Everything. Sounds like a game of Russian roulette vigilante-style. Who you gonna call? Oaf Keepers? Hell to the no.

The Oaf Keepers held the aforementioned webinar at which they declared war, on the victims:

During a meandering Monday night webinar held by the far-right, anti-government group, the gun writer David Codrea referred to Emma González and David Hogg, survivors of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida as “the enemy.”

González and Hogg have been at the forefront of a student activist movement urging Congress to pass gun control legislation.

Codrea, a writer for the Oath Keepers and War on Guns blogs, also said that Gonzalez’s father is a “refugee from Castro’s Cuba,” and lamented that the National Rifle’s Association 595,000 Twitter followers paled in comparison to the one million that follow “this young Communist girl.”

Has this cretin ever met any Cuban immigrants? The chances of the daughter of a Cuban immigrant being a “young Communist girl” are slim and none and slim is hoping to buy an AR-15 at Dick’s Sporting Goods next summer. If the Gonzálezes were Communists, they’d still be living in the land of old cars and even older leaders.

Codrea’s declaration of war on the Parkland kids is one of the reasons I’ve dubbed his group  the Oaf Keepers. They’re idiots with a skewed take on the constitution and modern civil society. One might even call them the real crisis actors since they always show up when there’s trouble (Ferguson, the Bundy Ranch) and make things worse with their oafish posturing. Unfortunately, they’re well-armed oafs who think they know best. They do not.

As you may have noticed, I believe that satire and ridicule are the best weapons in dealing with groups such as the Oath Keepers. This proposal is the pernicious “good guy with a gun” myth writ large. I shouldn’t even dignify it with the word proposal: it’s showboating at its worst much like the Insult Comedian’s claim that he “would have gone in there” during the Parkland massacre. Yeah, right, a chickenhawk with 5 deferments is suddenly Charles Bronson in one of the Death Wish movies:

Shooting 80'S GIF by RETRO-FIEND - Find & Share on GIPHY

Of course, Bronson with a pistol wouldn’t have stood a chance against a white dude (it’s always a white dude) with an assault weapon. Besides, that’s a bad vigilante movie, not real life. Life is unpredictable. It doesn’t always follow the script.

Guns and schools don’t mix. The last thing we need are vigilante crisis actors intervening in this volatile situation. Who you gonna call? Oaf Keepers? Hell to the no.

Tweet Of The Week: Senator For Sale

Like the rest of you, I’m thrilled by the Parkland students’ activism. They’re pretty darn good at snark too:

Admittedly, Marco Rubio is an easy target. He’s as soulless, inauthentic, and robotic as Willard Mittbot Romney. The NRA has bought and paid for his thoughts and prayers.

Florida is a fascinating place for the gun control/safety (whatever you want to call it) debate to happen. Justice Brandeis famously called the states “laboratories for democracy” and Florida is where the NRA carries out its nuttiest experiments. That’s why it’s so bloody easy to buy a “Marco Rubio” in the Sunshine State.

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer is often called the real governor of Florida. Her power and influence with the lege is based on money and the power of single issue voters. Here’s how Mike Spies describes it in the New Yorker:

Hammer is the National Rifle Association’s Florida lobbyist. At seventy-eight years old, she is nearing four decades as the most influential gun lobbyist in the United States. Her policies have elevated Florida’s gun owners to a uniquely privileged status, and made the public carrying of firearms a fact of daily life in the state. Daley was referring to a law that Hammer worked to enact in 2011, during Governor Rick Scott’s first year in office. The statute punishes local officials who attempt to establish gun regulations stricter than those imposed at the state level. Officials can be fined thousands of dollars and removed from office.

Marion has the hammer and she uses it. The struggle between the NRA and the passionately aggrieved Parkland students will be a wonder to behold. Florida is holding statewide elections this year and it’s an excellent opportunity for voters to  break the NRA’s spell. If they can defeat pro-NRA members and elect pro-gun control legislators, it would go a long way to breaking the NRA’s hammer lock on the Florida lege.

The NRA more resembles a cult than a special interest group. Its members, pet politicians, and leadership recite stale talking points about freedom and the Second Amendment; instead of Hail Marys, one could call them Hail Gunnies.

The NRA’s deep pockets have helped them sell a lot of toxic Kool-Aid to members of Congress and state legislators across the country. The spell will not be broken by some companies bailing out on doing business with Wayne LaPierre and company. It can only be broken at the ballot box.

Here’s hoping that the Parkland students have as much persistence as pluck. They have a golden opportunity to spill the NRA’s toxic Kool-Aid by breaking the hold of the gun lobby over the Florida lege and governor’s mansion.  It’s time to take the hammer away from Marion Hammer and bring some sanity to Florida politics. I know that’s a tall order but the kids are alright.

Trying to Beat Them

Pretty much:

If the past decade and a half has taught us anything it’s the futility of trying to find common ground with disingenuous peddlers of right-wing conspiracies who make money on not being convinced of anyone’s viewpoint but their employers’. Why on earth would we want to convert them? What would we get out of it?

Oh, I supposed we’d get the fickle loyalty of a group of voters whose hold on reality is so tenuous that they continually believe some Democrat is coming to take their guns even though THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED AND NEVER WILL. I suppose we’d bask in the temporary approval of people who think every Republican president is gonna singlehandedly outlaw abortion even though NONE OF THEM EVER HAVE NOR EVEN CAN REALLY AT ALL. That and a sack is worth a sack.

I don’t want a bunch of people around me who have to be converted to the idea that you shouldn’t be able to own a goddamn machine gun if you’re a wife-beating paranoiac who has a history of terrible behavior. I don’t need to get all snuggly with folks for whom that is a controversial position. If “not giving a dude who fantasizes about shooting up 5th grade a Howtizer” is a thing you have to be talked into, please take your flatware out of the toaster, and no you can’t sit with us.

And honestly, the time spent struggling to perfectly word the Facebook post that would make your gun-nut cousin take his TRUMP THAT BITCH sticker off his truck would be better spent registering your neighbor to vote and giving her and her mom a ride to the polls.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Hesitation Waltz by Rene Magritte.

It’s been a frustrating week at Adrastos World HQ. Every time I think my pernicious and persistent cold is getting better, I backslide. I would have preferred to be really sick for a few days and then better. Make up your mind, cold.

In local news, the lame duck New Orleans City Council has been up to all sorts of mischief: voting to approve a new power plant for Entergy that won’t solve our blackout  problems and allowing taller buildings to be constructed alongside the Mother of Rivers.  I suspect that the presence of Mayor-elect Cantrell on the Council is one reason they feel free to take such votes. It does not bode well for those who hoped the incoming Mayor would be more neighborhood/citizen friendly. Score another win for real estate developers who are the worst people in the world. Exhibit A for this argument currently lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This week’s theme song is a tribute to Temptations singer Dennis Edwards who died earlier this month at the age of 74. Papa Was A Rolling Stone was written by Norman Whitfield and Barret Strong and was a monster hit in 1972. Here are two versions for your enjoyment: the Temps and David Lindley.

Now that I’ve dissed real estate developers and my stupid cold, it’s time to roll over to the break. I’m too enfeebled to jump.

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Meme Of The Week: Teacher Of Fortune

The country has been buzzing this week over the notion of arming teachers. Let’s clear something up: it’s not Trump’s idea. The NRA has been floating this misguided and downright moronic idea for years. If the Insult Comedian ever had an original thought, his brain would explode thereby injuring the dead nutria atop his head.

This ridiculous idea is based on the “good guy with a gun” myth, which, in turn, comes from the movies as Michael F pointed out yesterday. Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch have obviously seen too many action movies: vigilante flicks have long been a Hollywood staple. Things don’t work like that in real life as we learned from the story of the terrified deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

I won’t go into the practical problems with this ludicrous idea because I don’t feel like writing a 2,000 word post on this subject. I think that this meme from my friend Michael Styborski sums up how preposterous the arm the teachers notion is:

Marry Me, Steve

This is a glorious evisceration of Chicago’s worst newspaper columnist, who’s typical of so many old middle-class scolds in that Kass thinks it’s just fine if people in “those neighborhoods” die so long as it doesn’t happen near him:

“Chicago police commanders aren’t supposed to be shot to death, not there, not at the heart of city business and politics.”

As with so many John Kass columns in this stage of his career, I can only wonder: Where to start?

1. Ignore the stats. Go by feel – perhaps the feel you get from Fox News.

2. People’s sense of safety is shaken by what happened Tuesday because it was downtown. What people? Downtown people, the only people who are actually people, in Kass’s construction, because a lot of other people have had their sense of safety shaken – if it ever existed – long ago.

Perhaps what Kass means is that his sense of safety has been shaken, because the killing of a cop happened so close to the office he has commuted to for decades from the suburbs.

3. Police commanders aren’t supposed to be shot to death. Who is? Thugs. They’re supposed to be shot to death.

It’s so predictable. Since, well, forever, the media expresses shock over terrible events that happen in places where they aren’t supposed to. The accretion of those events doesn’t seem to teach us that they actually happen everywhere, to all kinds of people.Certainly not with the same regularity, but then, that’s an equation the media ought to continue to examine with renewed vigor and compassion.

Go read the whole thing. The only possible response to “this shouldn’t happen here” is to ask, “Then where should it happen?” And somehow these sheltered pricks never do have an answer to that one.

A.