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by brasch

An Assault On Our Civility

6:04 am in Uncategorized by brasch

For a while, it appeared the NRA leadership committed an act of sanity. But, a few hours later, the pills wore off.

NRA Logo

“Everything’s now just hunky-dory between the NRA and the reactionary right-wing gun nuts.”

The story begins with a group called Open Carry Texas (OCT). This fringe group rubbed both its brain cells together, wrapped itself in what it erroneously believes is the Second Amendment, and decided it would be great theatre to bring semi-automatic carbines into family restaurants. Waving the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, a common sight at Tea Party rallies, OCT members handed out leaflets, proclaimed their rights to carry weapons and confronted citizens who had little desire to be in a place where civilians were carrying weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, any one of which could shred any one of their internal organs.

Openly carrying handguns in Texas is illegal, but the law permits anyone to openly carry long guns, from BB guns to semi-automatic military weapons. Almost all OCT members are white men, but there are a few white women who also believe in their “right-to-carry.” Among them was a woman in Dallas who openly carried her 10-month-old twins and a semi-automatic assault weapon.

When Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Starbucks, and other coffee shops, restaurants, and department stores told these thugs, who can even make the rural folk of “Deliverance” appear to be civilized, they were welcome to eat, shop, and browse—but leave the weapons at home—Open Carry Texas escalated its public demonstrations.

The Open Carry people are the same folk who believe in states’ rights and the rights of private enterprise to do what they want when they want to do it because—well, business is what-fer makes ’Merika GREAT and the gummint ain’t no good nohow.  Of course, when individuals and businesses exercise their own rights to refuse service to gun-toting menaces, then individual liberties and freedom don’t apply because these businesses, obviously, have been compromised by them lib’ral whackos who believe intimidation and fear should not be prevalent American cultural traits.

In an unsigned 1,400 word editorial, the NRA called Open Carry demonstrations “weird” and “scary.” That editorial also said such demonstrations were not “a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself.” It stated these outrageous demonstrations could cause open-minded folk to “feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.”

The editorial further stated that “using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners. That’s not the Texas way. And that’s certainly not the NRA way.”

That set off explosions of anger among the Open Carry Texas gaggle, who had apparently sprinkled an extra dose of steroids in their morning beer and cereal. They stomped their feet, held their breath, typed spurts of hatred onto Twitter and their Facebook page, tore up NRA membership cards, and said the group would stop supporting the NRA if it didn’t retract the editorial. Among the tweets, Open Carry Texas declared “The NRA has lost its relevance and side with #guncontrolextremists and their lapdog media.”

Within a couple of days, Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, posted a statement on the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action website. He said that the original editorial “was a mistake.” Cox said that the alert “shouldn’t have happened,” that calling Open Carry Texas “weird” and “scary” was “a poor word choice.” The retraction was clear—the NRA “unequivocally” is behind open carry laws. The chief lobbyist even said he had a “discussion” with the writer of the editorial and “explained” that the NRA doesn’t criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners.

Everything’s now just hunky-dory between the NRA and the reactionary right-wing gun nuts.

During the week of the NRA/Open Carry Texas dust-up, and the NRA’s sloppy retreat from sanity, about 200 Americans were killed by firearms, about 350 Americans used guns to commit suicide, and about 1,000 Americans who were shot were treated in hospital emergency rooms, according to statistics compiled by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and based upon reports from the Centers for Disease Control.

Perhaps the next action by Open Carry Texas will be to take their weapons into ERs and claim that guns in hospitals are necessary to protect the critically wounded from being further assaulted by nurses carrying sawed-off shotguns in their smocks.

Dr. Walter Brasch’s latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an in-depth look at the economic, political, health, and environmental effects of fracking throughout the country.

by brasch

The No News News Media

8:55 am in Uncategorized by brasch

by Walter Brasch

 

There was a lot of news this past week.

Ostli News

News

Some of it was even reported by the news media.

First, there was a football player from Notre Dame who either did or didn’t know that his girlfriend was or wasn’t real, but died sometime during the season. Six column headlines for several days announced the fraud. Network news and talk show hosts rehashed it almost daily.

Two weeks ago, Lance Armstrong admitted he was a dope. Or maybe he just took dope. The news media kept sending urgent flashes all week of what he was going to tell Oprah. And then he told Oprah, and now we’ll be reading stories about it until Schwinn adds a jet engine to a 3-speed.

Subway is accused of making foot-long hoagies that are 11 inches, a problem that the executives wisely didn’t say was due to shrinkage in cold weather. The media seized this major fraud and, ignoring anything Congress or Wall Street was doing, slathered layers of hype on a story that should have died with three paragraphs in one day.

Of course, there was the inauguration. That became another way for bloviators and pretend-journalists to push their own agendas. They told us how unpopular this President is—attendance was way down from the first inauguration. Only 500,000 attended.  They didn’t tell us that second inaugurations always have much fewer people watching them in person than first inaugurations. And, that figure of 500,000? A little short of the actual number of one million. They said the inauguration was over-long and overpriced, although most of it was paid for by private donations. Something they didn’t mention was that the costs and day’s activities were about the same as for the previous president, and most presidents of the latter 20th century—Democrat or Republican.

Some of these pundits suggested that the President didn’t have a mandate, although he easily won by more than five million votes, and a near landslide in the Electoral College. A few of the more extreme even suggested he had stolen the election—how else could he have won over the nice businessman who bought and sold companies and helped improve the economy of Switzerland and the Canary Islands?

For the rest of the networks, the focus was on a constant blather of what would Michelle Obama be wearing. Whose dress? Whose gloves? This, of course, was mixed into all kinds of gushes and comments about her new ’do. You know, the one that had bangs. The day after the inauguration, the media was all over the story of the Beyoncé kerfuffle. Did she or didn’t she lip synch the National Anthem? Truly great news coverage there.

Hillary Clinton testified before the Congressional Inquisition of Televised Republicans trying to make their bones to either enhance their own chances for re-election or to block what they think may be her plan to run for the presidency in 2016. This would be some of the same people who thought she was faking a concussion to avoid testifying in the first place.

The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, scheduled for Harrisburg, Pa., Feb. 2–10 was cancelled this past week. The Expo is the largest in North America, but the organizers decided that in the wake of the Newtown murders, they would put a temporary moratorium on the sale of military-style assault weapons because they believed “the presence of MSRs [military style rifles] would distract from the theme of hunting and fishing, disrupting the broader experience of our guests.” Only a dozen or so of the 1,200 vendors were affected; most were selling clothes, rifles, turkey calls, tents, and anything related to outdoor sports. But, one by one vendors, the media, and dozens of celebrities—all with NRA encouragement and support—decided not to attend, somehow believing that a hunting and fishing exhibition that didn’t allow the purchase of assault weapons was somehow anti-American and gave a message that those who did attend were opposed to the Second Amendment. The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported that the cancellation led to a loss of $43 million in the local economy.

More than 32,000 will die from gun violence by the end of the year, according to the Brady Center. This past week, 78 Americans, including four pre-teens, died from gun violence. And, during this past week, as has been the case for hundreds of previous weeks, the NRA leadership, with the egos of a gang of schoolboys who overdosed on testosterone, continue to defy all attempts to reach sensible solutions to allow the purchase of guns, yet reduce the violence.

A 38-year-old sergeant died from wounds received near Kabul, Afghanistan. The U.S. had invaded Afghanistan to find Osama bin Laden, but he became a lower priority less than a year later. The Bush–Cheney administration almost abandoned the war in Afghanistan and turned to Iraq. More than 7,600 American and allied soldiers were killed, and more than 50,000 wounded in both wars. President Obama, fulfilling a campaign promise, ended the war in Iraq and is months from ending the one in Afghanistan.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who numerous times promised to reign in the abuse of the filibuster that blocked any meaningful legislation or presidential appointments, turned wimp this past week. He and minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who once vowed his top priority was solely to prevent Barack Obama from serving a second term, may have been last seen hugging, kissing, and preparing to be married in Massachusetts.

This past week, the stock market hit new records, and it looks President Obama may receive some of the credit for helping to stop the Great Recession, something that upsets Republicans, delights Democrats, and has no meaning to anyone homeless or unemployed.

Yes, there was a lot of news this past week. Some of it may some day actually be reported.

Dr. Brasch’s latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania: Flirting With Disaster. It is available from www.greeleyandstone.com at a pre-publication discount.]
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