Archive for voting

Bullets & Burgers... and Brains Blown to Bits

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Nicole Sandler

 

And after you witness an instructor get his brains blown out by a 9-year old shooting an Uzi sub machine gun, you can eat a giant, juicy burger. Mmmmm.

This is what we've apparently come to. Welcome to America.

 The website for Bullets & Burgers was down this morning. I expected either to see an apology and notice that children would no longer be able to shoot these lethal weapons - or a memorial to the now-dead instructor, Charles Vacca. Sadly, the website is now back up - with pictures of all the weapons that you can go there to shoot, but not a mention of the tragic and preventable shooting death that took place there less than 48 hours ago.  Interestingly, there is no phone number on their site either.

This is only the latest sickening gun story to emerge in a country that offers multiple similar stories each day. If you're looking for that kind of blood lust, just follow David Waldman's #gunfail blog over at Daily Kos. 

I had already invited my friend Cliff Schecter to join me on the show today to talk about Bill & Melinda Gates getting into the gun fight 

[They] have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

I also wanted to speak with Cliff about the NRA's continued hypocrisy, this time in the wake of Ferguson and their failure to defend the African American community there. 

But, of course, we talked at length about this tragedy that killed a 39-year old man, and will forever haunt a 9-year old little girl.

Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars joined me in the first hour of today's show. She pointed out that accidents preventable shooting deaths like this have happened before. 

We also spoke about the racial divide, not only in Ferguson, MO but all over this nation, that's been amplified since the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Susie has a piece up at C&L , "In Ferguson, Black Drivers Are Profitable Cash Cows For Town's Coffers," about the racial makeup of traffic stops in that town, something that's echoed in small towns across the USA.  We also discussed the plight of TV & film producer Charles Belk, in LA for the Emmys, who was detained by Beverly Hill police for being a tall, bald, black man. He posted his first hand account of what was done to him  on Facebook. It's a travesty.

Then there's the shooting death of John Crawford III in Ohio, killed by police in Walmart for carrying a toy gun he got off a shelf in the toy department.

These stories are all too plentiful, and they must stop.

I've been asking what the spark that'll light the fuse to get Americans off our asses to make sure things change. I think Mike Brown's death was the spark, but it's a very, very long fuse.

Anonymous is trying to take the lead. Operation Ferguson is calling for a General Strike this Friday in the state of Missouri. They've set up a website at OperationFerguson.cf with all the info. But here's a taste:

A Message From The Protesters In Ferguson To Anonymous - READ HERE

Press Release READ HERE

Communique READ HERE

Operational Information CLICK HERE


 ACTION ALERT 1: White House Petition To Enact "Mike Brown's Law" - SIGN HERE

ACTION ALERT 2: White House Petition To Remove Governor Nixon From Office - SIGN HERE

Missouri Statewide "Hands Up & Walk Out" General Strike - READ HERE

Real-Time Updated List Of Solidarity Protests - CLICK HERE

 

I hope the people of Missouri join in. If they don't and this goes nationwide, count me in!

I'll be back tomorrow for the Thursday show. I'll speak with journalist Steven Thrasher and The Brad Blog's Brad Friedman, Radio or Not!

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Rand Paul Turns To Felons To Boost GOP Voter Registration

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Rand Paul

You gotta hand it to Rand Paul. He marches to another drummer. That doesn't make him a bad person. His politics do.

One thing Republicans (and calling Rand Paul a Republican is misleading-- he's a self-professed Libertarian) are fearful of is that as voting registration increases, the GOP is becoming more and more irrelevant. As if the Tea Party branch hasn't already destroyed any unity of message that could be considered Republican tenets, immigrants, people of color, and women are becoming the bane of its existence.

The GOP solution has been voter restrictions. Making it harder they make it for legal voters to reach the polls or vote absentee is the only solution they have been able to come up with until now: From Raw Story:

CNN host Candy Crowley noted during an interview with [Sen Rand] Paul that he had proposed restoring voting rights for non-violent felons, and wondered if it was an effort to gain minority Republican voters.

“Republicans have been unfairly tarred as, oh, trying to suppress votes,” Paul asserted. “Here’s a Republican who wants to enhance the vote. This is a much bigger problem than anything else limiting voting right now. Nearly a million people can’t vote, and I want to help people get the right to vote back.”

Okay, a little trip down Fact Check Lane. First off, as he himself pointed out “Three out of four people in prison are black or brown for non-violent drug use."

That being the case, why would the minority population after jail want to vote Republican? They're the party that put the bills in motion that placed them in jail in the first place. As a voting block, Blacks and Hispanics are registering in overwhelming numbers as Democrats because the GOP consistently legislates against these oppressed people. So the thinking by Sen. Paul is specious.

Rand Paul questions whether or not it's institutionalized policy that the Republicans are pushing to limit voter registration and access to polling places.

According to the Brennan Center, at least 92 bills restricting voting were proposed by largely Republican-controlled state legislatures during 2013. And that trend has continued

So, it looks like the Junior Senator from Kentucky once again has some faulty thinking going on in his head. It's not surprising.

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Don't Let This Nightmare Come True

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Nightmare

Nightmare

With a h/t to our own, Lucian Dixon...

Last night I had the most horrible of dreams -- a nightmare. Well, it was a nightmare in the sense that it caused me to wake up in a panicked state with a veneer of sweat across my forehead.

It went something like this. My son came home with a document -- the results of his psychological testing that was mandated in his application for a full time work position that he really wanted badly. He was a little concerned, so as a loving dad, I asked him what's up? He handed me a paper, the test results. Stamped across it was the word, "APPROVED."

Hell, I couldn't see anything the matter with that. I had more problems with his potential employer administering a psych test to see if he was qualified for this job -- the assistant director of IT for a middle-sized company. It wasn't anything that would have so great an impact that it required this kind of examination.

But it was done. And he was approved. So, the dream was going along just fine until my son asked me to look at the questions -- more of a profile assessment. My son was found to have all of the traits listed below, which were attributed to Psychology Today:

  • American exceptionalism and the need to protect it by strict immigration policies;
  • Anti-abortion under all circumstances (”Life begins at conception”);
  • Pro-capital punishment;
  • Pro-gun rights;
  • “Law and order” attitudes favoring harsh penalties for criminal behavior; Supporters of the “war on drugs;”
  • Anti-affirmative action;
  • Anti-reductions in nuclear weapons;
  • Anti-entitlements; anti-gay;
  • Anti-science (e.g., denial of evolution and climate change);
  • Belief in the promulgation of “Christian values” in schools, courts, and public ceremonies;
  • Reverence for people in uniform; given to patriotic display;
  • A fondness for military solutions to international problems;
  • Biblical certainty in matters of morality;
  • A conviction that those who disagree politically should be the objects of coercion; A view of oneself as beset by evil forces conspiring to take what one has;
  • The equation of compromise with “weakness.”

Oh my God. My son, whom I love, was a conservative. A friggin' Republican right-wing conservative! I panicked. What had I done wrong? I had raised him with love. I had never laid a hand on him and seldom even raised my voice with him. I had traveled with him to many countries to see and experience the world. We'd participated in many charity events. He was a good team player in baseball and soccer. He learned American Sign Language as his foreign language requirement so he could help those who might not be able to hear. He went to university and got his Bachelor of Science degree. He has a long-term girl friend. How could this happen to me -- or more importantly to him?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

And then I woke up. My son heard me yelling and rushed in, joining my wife with great concern. I hugged them both when I realized this was a dream. A horrible dream. My son never took such a test. And he assured me that he was still very much a left-leaning Democrat.

Now that should have been the end of it right there. But as with most good spooky stories, it's not.

In an email from Lucian to me which I read last night before retiring, was this study. And these qualities listed above are actually the traits Psychology Today compiled after vast studies and assessments, which best sum up today's right-wing conservative.

Oh, and the horror of it all? How can we survive with thinking like that running rampant among us?

I'd go back to sleep if I wasn't so worried about that dream becoming a reality.

Lesson here... don't go to sleep and let the right wing run free. Let's sleep but do it in shifts. It's the only protection we've got against mass insanity. That and our vote. Keep these Republican wackadoos from reaching office, local, state and national. Don't let the fact that the upcoming elections are "only" mid-terms. They are more important now than ever before. Get your asses out of your chairs and vote.

Don't say you weren't warned.

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Cartoons of the Day- GOP Agenda

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Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett

gopagenda3

David Horsey

gopagenda2

Bruce Plante

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett

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Are Some Companies Really Anti-Gay?

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anti gay

We all have an opportunity to make our voices heard everyday, not just election days. We get to vote with our patronage by buying from one retailer over the other. Sometimes the decision is based on location, its proximity to where you are when you're in need of buying something. Other times you choose your destination based on price or sales. That sure makes sense to your pocketbook.

It also makes great sense to the companies that sell to you. They want/need your business, whether a mom & pop store or a large national chain.

But how strong is your brand allegiance? Would you change brands or retailers if they gave family discounts or special promotions? Would you choose one company over another if they didn't treat you well or gave bad service?

If you're like most people, you would. But sometimes what goes on behind the scenes needs to be considered as well. If a store promoted bigotry and hate, would that bother you to the point you'd go elsewhere? I'm going to make that answer a little tougher for you. I'm going to give you the names of eight companies or organizations and ask you which on this list, if any,  is homophobic/ anti-gay?

1. Chick-fil-A
2. Domino's Pizza
3. Urban Outfitters
4. Exxon
5. Salvation Army
6. Purina
7. Boy Scouts of America
8. Cracker Barrel

How many did you find in that list, two? Four?

Well, according to HUFFPO, all of them. All eight. That's right, these are companies you may not have realized have been promoting anti-gay business practices, either in promotion or in employment practices.

A short reason associated with the above list, by number:

1 - Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy came out as being "very much" against gay marriage
2 - Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino's is anti-gay. He financed a ballot initiative to have the discrimination of sexual orientation removed from a town in Michigan.
3 - Founder Richard Hayne donated $13,150 to Rick Santorum's campaign and had his store pull an "I Support Same Sex Marriage," t-shirt from the shelves after only a week.
4 - The huge oil company has been fighting for years against non-discrimination protection and equal benefits coverage for their employees. For the 14th year, the issue was on the table for the shareholders' meeting this past spring, and for the 14th year, Exxon wouldn't budge.
5 - Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, the manual used to train Salvation Army "soldiers" and members. Several chapters refer to the sin of homosexuality, including a section that cites Romans 1:18-32, which includes a admonition that homosexuals "deserved to die."
6 - The company doesn't provide a policy that protects gender identity or expression, nor does it offer health care coverage for partners of their gay employees.
7 - the BSA decided to allow openly gay boys to join as of January 1st, 2014, but there is still no budging on letting openly gay men be leaders.
8 - In the past, more than 11 employees were fired for not displaying "normal heterosexual values," as was prescribed by an intra-company memo.

The point of all of this is simple. Make your feelings known about human rights by shopping where everyone is treated equally. Is it worth driving a few more miles or bypassing a weekend special to vote with your dollars of purchase? That's up to you. Times are tough. But they're even tougher when you're not treated equally.

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Graphic of the Day- Why It's Easier To Buy An Assault Weapon Than To Vote

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NOTE: Oops! GottaLaff posted the same thing here along with Clinton's remarks: Infographic: “A great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon.” Ours does.

Thanks to the brains at TP for this mind boggling graphic. I can't think of how we could screw up our priorities more.

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Cartoons of the Day- Roadblocks To Voting

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roadb2

Matt Wuerker

roadb1

Joe Heller

roadb

Mike Luckovich

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