The Watering Hole; Thursday October 8 2015; Pigs, Wings, and the GOP

’The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
‘To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.’
~Lewis Carroll (1872)
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There)


I’ve always liked the metaphors that Lewis Carroll embedded in that little excerpt, especially the last line — MOST especially since the “launch” of the GOP’s 2016 Clown Car.

But it took the Washington Post’s October 7 ‘Opinion’ article by Paul Waldman — entitled Ben Carson perfectly explains the Republican position on guns — to cast the image in concrete. Here are a few of the more salient and definitive excerpts from one of the best ‘tonal’ summations of America’s gun-worship idiocy I’ve yet run across:

Carson is in the hot seat for comments he made about the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. But the real question is, why is everyone so upset with Carson? What he said is nothing more than the logical outgrowth of what nearly every Republican candidate and officeholder believes about guns. You can say he’s wrong, but you can’t say that his views should be any kind of surprise.

There were two things that Carson said that drew condemnation, one on television and one on his Facebook page:

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson attracted criticism Tuesday for appearing to suggest in an interview that the victims of last week’s tragic school shooting in Oregon should have acted more forcefully to prevent the attack.

“I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Carson said on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning. “I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’”

Carson on Monday night took to Facebook to denounce calls for increased gun regulation in the wake of another mass shooting, saying that the problem is not caused by Second Amendment protections and accusing gun-control advocates of politicizing the tragedy.

“As a Doctor, I spent many a night pulling bullets out of bodies,” he wrote. “There is no doubt that this senseless violence is breathtaking – but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”

Waldman adds,

Let’s take these one at a time. Was it unspeakably insulting to the victims of the Oregon shooting and their families to suggest that they were killed or injured because they didn’t have the physical courage and quick thinking that a hero like Carson would have displayed had he been in their shoes? Of course. And is it an absurd fantasy that in the instant he was confronted by a gunman, Carson would in the space of seconds organize a bunch of terrified strangers to mount an assault on someone ready to kill them? You bet it is

But this fantasy is nothing unusual at all. In fact, it lies at the heart of much of the efforts Republicans have made at the behest of the National Rifle Association in recent years to change state laws on guns. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” says the NRA, and Republicans believe it, too. So they push for laws to allow guns to be brought into as many places as possible — schools, government buildings, churches, anywhere and everywhere. They advocate “stand your ground” laws that encourage people to use guns to settle arguments. They seek both open-carry and concealed-carry laws on a “shall issue” basis (meaning the government presumes that you should get the license unless it can prove you fall into certain categories of offenders) to put guns in as many hands as possible.

All of this is driven by the fantasy of the gun owner as action hero. Sure, the world may see you as just a middle-age middle manager with an expanding gut and a retreating hairline, but at any moment you could be transformed into Jack Bauer! Woe be to the al-Qaeda commando team or deranged shooter who comes to your town, because you’ll be ready for ’em! The world is divided into the sheep who cower while waiting to be killed, and those possessed of the courage and firepower to stand up at those life-and-death moments. This is what the gun industry, the NRA and the Republican Party encourage people to believe. So, of course, Ben Carson believes it, too.

As for Carson’s assertion that “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away,” that, too, is the natural outgrowth of the contemporary Republican position on guns.

Think for a moment about how we reorganized our government, our airline industry and entire swaths of our society, spending hundreds of billions of dollars, creating a new apparatus of surveillance, all because nearly 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11, 2001. We didn’t like spending all that money, creating all that fear, compromising our privacy and constitutional principles and making everybody take off their shoes at the airport, but it was a price we had to pay because of those 3,000 deaths, right?

It takes about a month — every month, month after month — for that many Americans to be killed with guns. Just imagine how we would have reacted to an attack 10 or 11 times the scale of 9/11, which is but a single year of the death toll guns place on our country. In 2013, the latest year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released data, 11,208 Americans were murdered with guns, and 505 Americans died due to accidental firearm discharge. Another 21,175 Americans killed themselves with guns (having a gun in the home dramatically increases one’s risk of suicide), for a total of 32,888 gun deaths.

. . .

But unlike their position on terrorism, the position that the entire Republican Party now adopts — not necessarily all its voters, but virtually all its elected representatives — is that a toll that size is simply not meaningful enough to justify any action to not even restrict, but merely to inconvenience Americans’ ability to own as many guns as they want and to get them as easily as they want.

And don’t forget — wingnuts everywhere are ANGRY at Obama because he POLITICIZED the Oregon mass murder by calling for more strict gun laws. They’re also ANGRY at him because tomorrow he’s going to be in Roseburg on an official visit to the site of the atrocity — all in the interest of gun privilege restriction, probably confiscation, of course.

And whilst on the topic of Pigs with Wings, this l’il tidbit popped up as if an additive to Carson’s nonsensical blathering:

Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, joined Mark Walters on Armed America Radio this week, where the two concluded that President Obama got emotional during his speech responding to last week’s mass shooting in Oregon not because the president was upset that nine people had died but because he was sad he couldn’t take people’s guns.

Right. Conclusion obvious: “Pigs” do indeed “have wings.” AKA the GOP (apologies for the implicit insult to pigs, btw).


57 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday October 8 2015; Pigs, Wings, and the GOP

  1. Son’s school had a gun scare yesterday. He spent about three hours hiding in a classroom. As you can imagine, there is now much talk of arming teachers and administrators and no discussion of whether an armed citizenry can ever be well trained enough to respond appropriately in a situation in which honest law enforcement officers admit it is difficult to make the necessary decisions correctly and quickly. Of course, there is also much discussion of the decay of society and failure of parents to control their children. As someone pointed out, this list of school shootings indicates that this is not a new problem: The one trend I noticed is that earlier school shootings had fewer victims, probably due to the weaponry available. More and better guns are not only not the answer to these tragedies, they are the problem.

    • As Virginian Jame Madison put it in 1787, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State . . .”

      The unfortunate and erroneous legal interpretation of the rest of that particular Constitutional entity is precisely the reason why today we seem to be in such need of a ‘well regulated militia’ — and also ” why the sea is boiling hot–And whether pigs have wings.’”

      Glad your son is ok — hope there is no embedded trauma either.

      • He’s fine. He did not panic and did exactly what we’ve discussed, including putting his hands up when police entered the classroom.

      • 1. When it comes to the 2nd, I’m something of a literalist. Which is to say, I believe you should be allowed to keep and bear as many single-shot, smooth-bore, muzzle-loading black-powder flintlocks as you like. These, after all, were the only sorts of arms the Founders could ever possibly have “intended.”

        2. I also like to keep and bear in mind the reason for the 2nd: the South didn’t trust the Federal army to be of any help when it came to suppressing slave rebellions.

        I, too, am glad your son is OK, OIMF.

  2. Good old crusty Murdoch likes Carson, you know. the “Real Black potential President”. Funny, everything he owns is fake. I guess it all adds up.

  3. Ben Carson has obviously not spent time in the military, nor in combat. When you are in a position where your life is at stake, only John Wayne (Marion Morrison) would sound the charge and get his troops shot.
    In the same situation, I’m sure Dr. Carson would shat himself.

  4. There is a growing segment of people who are doing this Google search: “Is The Martian a true story?”

    Yep, best Hollywood production since Capricorn One.

    • When I go to The Google and type “Is The Martian”, the following suggested finishes come up

      is the martian a sequel to interstellar

      is the martian based on a true story

      is the martian connected to interstellar

      is the martian a sequel

      is the martian a prequel

      I never saw “Interstellar”, but from the name of it I don’t see what it might have to do with interplanetary travel, but I don’t want anyone to spoil anything for me, so don’t tell me what it’s about.

      • I loved Interstellar. It’s a real mind-bender.

        That Matt Damon is in both movies may be confusing for some pea-brain types.

      • “I never saw “Interstellar”, but from the name of it I don’t see what it might have to do with interplanetary travel”

        Interstellar literally means “ocurring between stars.”

            • No, I haven’t. But a trip to Mars has nothing to do with traveling to other stars. That’s what I meant. Obviously if we’re traveling to planets orbiting other stars the term “interplanetary” could be misused to mean that. But if we’re talking about a trip to Mars, then it should have nothing to do with interstellar travel.

      • He should throw his asparagus into the ring! He might break through!

        Seriously, what happens if the Rs can’t come up with a consensus candidate? Does Boner hang around anyway?

    • My sense is that they’ll elect the most radical right winger who is crazed enough to take on the job of politically assassinating the president.

      • In 1933 they called it the Reichstag fire, the event which finally tore down the established government and imposed the radical right’s version of political hate- and fear-based Fascism.

        Maybe we in this country won’t need the fire part?

    • From what I’m seeing it appears that McCarthy just didn’t want the knowledge of his affair with Renee Ellmers to become public!

      • And the teabaggers were going to make it public by looks of it… and Darrell ‘Grand theft arson’ Issa is already out of it too?

  5. This just in from the NYTimes:

    Russian missiles fired at Syria have crashed in Iran, U.S. officials say

    Thursday, October 8, 2015 2:19 PM EDT

    Cruise missiles fired by Russia from warships in the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria have crashed in a rural area of Iran, senior United States officials said on Thursday.
    It was unclear exactly where in Iran the missiles landed, or whether there were any casualties. The officials said that the flight path of the Russian cruise missiles would have taken them across northern sections of Iran and Iraq on the way to Syria. But not all of them made it there, one official said.

    • In one week’s time we can expect the final MH17 report on the Malaysian Airliner shot down over Ukraine. I am almost certain it will name a Russian-made and supplied, if not also operated BUK missile killed those people on the plane.

      And here again the same people are lobbing missiles across another busy airway….. what could possibly go wrong?

      • I’m not certain that “surgical savant” is a recognized syndrome but it, or some variation of savant syndrome, fits Benny. Although, I suppose that it’s possible he had an diagnosed stroke, head trauma, or experimented on himself with anesthetics and the sheer insanity is a recent development. I do know that the thought of someone who doesn’t believe in science cutting into peoples brains makes my blood run cold.

    • I realize this is nitpicky, especially given the fact that Mr. Carson has forever dispelled the myth that one must be extraordinarily intelligent in order to perform brain surgery, but who in the hell says” I was in a Popeye’s organization”? It’s a freaking restaurant, not a meeting of some club.

  6. Boehner just cancelled on Jimmy Kimmel tonight. That’s too bad, Boehner could be inconsolable and we could really use the water out here.

  7. Please. please. please; someone tell me this didn’t happen. Barstool still has the unmitigated gall to make comments about birth control. If the female babies of sane and smart people were given IUD’s at birth she still wouldn’t have any right to make these comments.

    Birth control works. Telling the poor guy who is drunk enough to fuck a stupid slut that you are using some form of birth control, not to mention disease prevention, does not.

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