“The evenly-divided Senate approved the legislation – formally known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – on Wednesday in an 88-11 vote, garnering strong support from both Democrats and Republicans. The House of Representatives passed it by 363-70 last week.”
Do Americans really think politicians who eagerly approved a $777 billion military-industrial complex bill by an 8-1 margin in the Senate and a 5-1 margin in the House will “do something” about civilian gun violence? Democrats and Republicans have their priorities on which they are unequivocally “bipartisan.”
‘The most perverse version of Groundhog Day’: After another mass shooting, Senate remains stalled on gun safety legislation
Boston Globe – May 25
… “It’s enormous, my level of frustration, just enormous,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who has been working to reinstate a ban on assault weapons that she helped push through Congress in 1994 but that expired 10 years later. Senator Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat, was less diplomatic.
“It’s [expletive] nuts to do nothing about this,” said Kelly, whose wife, former representative Gabrielle Giffords, was seriously injured in a 2012 assassination attempt during which six people were killed.
Senator Elizabeth Warren said lawmakers were abdicating their duty by not acting immediately to try to stop future mass shootings.
“This is one of the basic functions of government, keeping people safe,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “And I get it, we’ll never be able to keep everyone 100 percent safe. But we can do better for our babies than we are doing right now.”
Speaking at the White House, President Biden said he was “sick and tired” of inaction and urged Congress to do something, echoing the plea he made in a somber speech to the nation on Tuesday night.
“Where’s the backbone? Where is the courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby?” he said at a signing ceremony for an executive order on policing, referring to the National Rifle Association and other gun rights lobbying groups. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, and former president Donald Trump are scheduled to attend the NRA’s annual meeting in Houston this weekend.
Biden said reforms such as expanding background checks would not prevent every mass shooting but would help curb them, and argued that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an “absolute” right to own any kind of weapon. “The idea that an 18-year-old can walk into a store and buy weapons of war designed and marketed to kill is I think just wrong,” he said. …
Other liberals renewed their calls for Democrats to eliminate the filibuster to pass reforms. Manchin reiterated Wednesday that he opposed such a move, arguing it would make it easier for a future Republican majority to repeal any gun safety measures. A Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday in the wake of the Buffalo shooting found that 59 percent of registered voters said it’s important for elected leaders to pass stricter gun control laws. …
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
With the polls showing the country evenly divided on the question of more gun laws (depending on how the question is asked), it is expedient for most lawmakers to continue to coddle guns and the ammosexual lifestyle. Forget about the filibuster. Until the SCOTUS right-wing majority disappears, most gun control laws will be invalidated anyway, as this SCOTUS is about to do in NY.
Actually, most voters favor background checks on gun purchases, and they would help.
But gun-rights are a curse on America, and we are stuck with such, probably for the foreseeable future.
At least it remains true that relatively few of us die every day from gun violence, and far, far more stay alive every day, even though gun violence is rampant.
Stay low, keep moving out there, people.
Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans support some restrictions on firearms, but GOP lawmakers fear they would pay a steep political price for embracing them.
Why Republicans Won’t Budge on Guns
NY Times – May 26
So much for ‘overwhelming majorities’, who are (mostly) unarmed.
“This year, only 36% of Americans said they were dissatisfied and wanted stricter gun control laws. Sixty-one percent were either satisfied (41%), dissatisfied but wanted less strict laws (13%) or dissatisfied and wanted no change (7%).”
“This year only 36% of Americans…”
Well, right here we have a formula for Democrat electoral success! Be 36% in favor of stricter laws, 13% in favor of less strict laws and 41% in favor of doing nothing!
Yep. The DemocratIC Party has become the conservative party. The GOP is the party of right-wing extremism. There is no moderate-liberal party in America today.
Will those of us who are super concerned about ‘gun-control’ settle for stringent background checks even if assault weapons are NOT banned? Even a majority of NRA members supposedly support background checks. Banning assault rifles is something that will be most hard to accomplish. There’s a vast number already in the hands of the afficionados. Talk of confiscation does not sit well with them. Nor even buy-backs, for that matter.
In Texas, it is illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion, but legal for a mentally disturbed 18yr boy to buy an assault rifle.
i have bee against all wars since Vietnam, so I find it ironic that I now believe fighiting Putin in Ukraine is a matter of life-or-death American security.
I have also thouht the defense budget was too high, or wasted, for over sixty years. But if that defense budget has bought us the weapons to decisively defeat Russia, I am all for them. I don’t believe they have materially affected American living standards or what we can do for the poor… though the Congress crying “the deficit” all that time may well have.
I hate to have to say “as tragic as it is…” because that is what the hypocrites and other bad people always say, but
the actual number of people killed in mass shootings is [i think] quit a bit less than those killed by bad drivers or otherwise negligent parents. does not mean we should ignore the problem. does mean we can’t expect everyone to agree that it is the most important problem.
There are a lot of people who beive the hysteria is a plot to enable the government to seize our guns. I don’t agree with them, but we should recognize they are going to be hard to convince. Meanwhile the R’s are winning too many elections by pandering to those fears to expect them to “solve” the problem even by rational solutions that would probably satisfy everyone.
i am not in favor of the R who suggested turning school into “man traps” that would isolate potential shooters by some elaprate system of automatic door locks activated by the sound of gunshots, or a switch turned on by a school administrators… no doubt locking the kids in the same room with the gunman. But I think schools might create pretty good security by locking doors (and gates) from the inside, and requiring visitors to check in at the desk and not entering the “student space” at all..easy enough to call a kid to the office to meet their parent if needed.
There are other steps i can think of that the voters might accept, but as long as both parties gain votes by keeping the hysteria going, I won’t bet on seeing them enacted. Maybe it’s something schools themselves could achieve, or local governments.
I don’t think you can isolate and treat every potential insane killer, but i wonder if you could, without violating anyone’s “civil rights” identify potential “problems” and keep track of them, offering “counseling” where that won’t appear invasive and might help.
Problem is a bit delicate. I don’t think I have the answers, but there are better ways to start thinking, and doing something, that don’t involve shouting to each other about what someone else should be doing.
I just saw a chart showing that car crashes caused more than twice as many child deaths as guns in 2000. By 2022 this had changed to gun deaths caused 25% (or so) more deaths as cars.
But these are small numbers; a change of one death per hundred thousand would reverse the conclusion…and be just as meaningless. also deaths by gun include accidents and suicide…and one supposes death by homicides that are not “mass homicide”..possibly even gang shootouts.
meanwhile any laws that limit the urchase of guns will be got around by the overwheming number of guns already in the hands of private citizens not averse to selling without background checks.
still, 4or 5 kids per hundred thousand is a real problem whether by guns or cars, but you won’t solve either of them by calling people names. or threatening their irational fears.
[i need to back and look at that chart, something in my memory isn’t addeng up. stay tooned.]
nah, i had it right.
It is not easy to have an informed public conversation on important policy when the public is woefully lacking in knowledge regarding both the historical and technical aspects of the subject matter as well as insufficient in the usage of their own language. These conditions were the intention of the mass public education system implemented in the US after the UnCivil War as designed by Horace Mann based on the pedagogical system of Prussia previously derived from ancient Egypt. We were only meant to be soldiers and common laborers, not informed citizens implementing self-government. In the infamous words of W Bush, “Mission accomplished.” My primary source for this is John Taylor Gatto, but I completely ignore his politics. Before I ever knew of Gatto, then I had found evidence of his claims about the pedagogy throughout the history of education in the US and Britain prior to the central government’s public school systems were created. It is an incredibly difficult problem to solve because the Zeitgeist is heavily weighted by its hysteresis. IOW, you can’t get there from here.
Economics is a bigger and broader example of this public information problem than gun control, but guns makes a much better wedge issue for voters. In any case, what would be the point of elitism if ordinary people were capable of self-determination in the affairs of state?
Ironically enough or maybe justly (but not quite enough), then elites are drunk from their own Kool-Aid. Witness Elon Musk’s flirtation with buying out twitter. Technically, Musk is quite brilliant, but he appears lacking in basic human judgement. When Musk waffled over free speech and reinstating Donald Trump on twitter, then he demonstrated a lack of understanding with respect to shouting fire in a crowded theater. It appears that Musk had mistaken being a moral idiot with taking the moral high ground. There is nothing unique about that among elites. They believe it to be their birthright.
I agree with you about public education at least as I experienced it. I don’t know about the history. I think in Britain “public” schools were actually private schools and were intended for the education of the upper class, but perhaps not for the rulling class. Those schools, by all reports I have read were brutal both from the teachers and from fellow students. But training for the upper class would probably include training for brutality. I may even have read somethng along these lines once regarding Victorian era “training for empire.”
Regarding “Musk is quite brilliant, but he appears lacking in basic human judgement” I would have said something along these lines in response to another post which appeared today but did not seem to allow comments, Just as well, what I would have said would likely have hurt feelings and provoked a hate response. But essentially the author was what I would have called “caught in a logic trap.” This may sound strange to people who “believe in” logic. It has been apparent to me for a long time that logic and even what is usually called intelligence is in some ways and for some purposes less intelligent that what you are calling basic human judgement. Logic is at the mercy of “facts” assumed or not noticed and therefore dangerous or mostly useless in a world where all the facts are never known and perhaps half the known “facts” are false.
I should add that some of the teachers i knew, and some of the “education reforms” i heard about did seem to try to introduce an element of freedom, creatvity (not the sunday supplement kind) and possibility to their kids. So all is not lost, but it always seems to be lost in the inevitable “way things are.”
I was somewhat loath to mention the early free schools because my original sources seem to have disappeared from the http://WWW. In any case, the free British schools for the peasant folk were gifts either from monks or a small group of benefactors associated with some church. In the colonies and early US, then they were community projects. Since funds were limited, then they utilized such efficient techniques as self-guided study with teachers more as just helpers for students and hierarchies where the older children taught the younger children under limited supervision. Especially in Britain when elites became aware of rampant cooperation among the lower class, then they took steps to shut down such programs including in one case spreading malicious rumors of adultery about its primary sponsor.
good lord, adultery is “normal” compared to what went on in the “public” schools.
i was trying to find the book i read about victorian education for empire and found the one you mentioned about american education for empire. haven’t read it, probably won’t. wyes are falling out. many, many other books on victorians say about the same thing. don’t think it was cynical; they believed in what they were doing. the rest is just human nature… as illustrated, perhaps, in Lord of the Flies, where, oddly, the grownups were the good guys.
without really knowing too much about it i think the role of a “teacher” is to provide inspiration and friendly guidance to willing students. “teaching” as p0uring knowledge into mostly unwilling heads does not work.
on the other hand, such civilization as we have may depend on just that, but it should at least be subject to effective means of preventing actual abuse.
Prepare to be disappointed yet again.
Senators Grasp for a Bipartisan Gun Deal, Facing Long Odds
NY Times – May 26
“Times change,” Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania and a sponsor of that bill, said on Thursday. “And there’s a possibility that might work this time.”
Leaders in both parties signaled tentative support for the effort, even as they sounded heavy notes of skepticism after years of failed attempts by Congress to address gun violence — each of them following the same cycle of outrage and optimism for a deal giving way to partisan division and, finally, defeat.
Democrats said they would allow the talks to play out for only so long before they would insist that Republicans, who have opposed or blocked successive efforts at enacting gun control measures, take votes on the issue. …
I would rather give credit and link to the authors of the above commentary, John and Nisha Whitehead, who style themselves the “Rutherford Institute.” I removed your link to zerohedge’s reposting.
Thank you for the information.
your analysis is pretty much standard left wing rhetoric. may be true enough for all i know. on the other hand violence has been with us since the stone age in every culture i ever heard of [including the Hopi, who have to be carefully taught to resist it in themselves.]
probably so do we, and so we hav done to a greater extent than you might realize. Europeans seem to be doing better these days, but their memories of WW2 may yet be sharper than ours. Don’t know if you count Serbia-Bosnia, or pre-Gorbachev Soviet, or China-Uyghur (or china-china, or india-pakistan, or guatemala…or….or hutu-tsutsi as “american exports” but they probably aren’t.
i have nothing against left-wing myself, but i get a little tired of the rhetoric that blames “America” [and yes, I know “blame America” is Right wind rhetoric, but it woudn’t be if there wasn’t enough truth in it for it to be credible] , and i have seen left wing proto-violence very close to home.
“Left wing,” eh? Actually, coberly, rjs’s comment is an excerpt from a blog post that originated from the Rutherford Institute, which is a CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN civil rights law organization. If you bothered to look into their background, you would discover that they are quite conservative on most issues.
From Political Research Associates:
The Rutherford Institute – John W. Whitehead
John W. Whitehead, head of the Rutherford Institute, has gone to great lengths to conceal the ideological leanings of his Christian Right legal center in statements to the mass media. He told the New York Times that “Oh, gosh, no,” he had no political agenda in representing Paula Jones, and that he had founded the Rutherford Institute by himself. The New York Times reporter described The Rutherford Institute as “a kind of evangelical Christian civil liberties union.”118
Whitehead’s claims misrepresent the group. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is blunt, “Our files on the Institute go back 10 years. After examining the material, we can safely say Whitehead is not being honest in his description of his organization.”119
From its founding, the Rutherford Institute has pursued a highly-politicized ultra-conservative agenda. A review of Rutherford Institute newsletters, reports, and direct mail appeals going back seven years shows a long pattern of attacks on liberals in government and President Clinton in particular. Whitehead consistently puts forward an apocalyptic conspiracist vision of devout Christian activists under concerted attack by corrupt and repressive government officials in the service of godless and immoral secular humanism.
In the late 1990s Whitehead claimed he had changed his earlier views, giving a detailed interview on the subject to Christianity Today in December of 1998.120 Yet Whitehead’s shift is more tactical rather than a shift in basic ideology, and reflects the trend in the Christian Right toward re-applying the principle of “hating the sin, but loving the sinner,” even when the goal is still theocratic and monocultural.121
From time to time Rutherford’s periodical carries broad-based articles to buttress the organization’s claim that it is just like an American Civil Liberties Union for people of faith. In the September 1996 issue, which carries a cover story on “Politics & Religion: A Recipe for Disaster,” there are interviews with centrist political commentators such as E. J. Dionne, Jr. and Larry Sabato-as well as a column by Barry W. Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, rounds out the issue of Rutherford magazine with a litany of all the reasons he hates government under Clinton and his liberal allies. Claiming that “Liberals have dominated politics in this country for more than sixty years,” Weyrich paints a paranoid picture of life in the US where “God-fearing, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens” live under a statist globalist tyranny. He then concludes that a nation with a government that is in opposition to his hard right view of Constitutional and godly laws, “will deserve the hatred of God and its people.”122
In Facing the Wrath: Confronting the Right in Dangerous Times, sociologist Sara Diamond describes the political activism of the Rutherford Institute:
The politics of the Rutherford Institute, at least until recently, represented a form of theocratic Christianity that characterizes the hard right of the evangelical world. There is little reason to believe that a change in tone means a change in the underlying philosophy.
118 Neil A. Lewis, “Group Behind Paula Jones Gains Critics as Well as Fame,” New York Times, 1/18/98, p. 18.
119 Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “Rutherford Institute, Other Religious Right Groups Have Long Track Record Of Vicious Attacks On Bill And Hillary Clinton, Says Church-State Watchdog Group,” News Media Backgrounder, January 1988.
120 Ted Olsen, “The Dragon Slayer,” Christianity Today, Dec. 7, 1998, pp. 36-42.
121 John Whitehead, “Point of View” column, Action, Rutherford Institute newsletter, August 1996.
122 Paul Weyrich, “Fear & Oppression: American Birthright?” perspective, Rutherford magazine, August 1995, p. 16.
123 Sara Diamond, Facing the Wrath: Confronting the Right in Dangerous Times, (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1996), pp. 110-111.
If I bothered to look into everone’s background I would have no time for more intersting things. I said “left wing” because that’s where I mostly hear it from.
I don’t look into “everyone’s background” but if I am going to endorse or attack a position, I try to know what I am talking about rather than relying on some vague notion of “where I mostly hear it from.” In short, you have the right to remain silent if you “have no time” to do your due diligence.
Interesting that at the beginning of his blog post, the Christian conservative activist, John Whitehead, quotes from Henry Giroux’s “Gun Culture and the American Nightmare of Violence“:
Giroux is indeed “left wing” (if one insists on stereotyping arguments rather than examining them). So here we have a fascinating convergence of critiques of American culture from the “right” and from the “left” that is nowhere to be seen in the corporate media and Democrat/Republican discourse on gun violence.
Whitehead, I should note, is a defender of the individual right interpretation of the second amendment and thus — presumably — would find common cause with Heller and with the NRA. Giroux, based on his comments in the 2016 article, would be a supporter of gun control legislation.
“in a language that sounds like hate”
Ahem. That there is “language that sounds like hate.” I would tell you what you can go do to yourself but I am afraid that would be redundant. This conversation is OVER.