The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 30, 2013: Is the U.N. Really Coming to Take Our Guns?

To hear some people on the Right tell it, the United Nations is going to be sending troops with light blue helmets door to door to confiscate your guns. But is that even remotely true? Well, I did start this post with “To hear some people on the Right tell it…” so that should be a clue. The answer is a simple “No,” but if you want something more complicated than that, then “No, and can I have some of what you’re on?” The United Nations is not about to do anything of the sort. In fact, it would be just as accurate to say that the Wicked Witch of the West is sending her flying monkeys to everyone’s house to confiscate the guns of law-abiding citizens and to fling poo at them. Let me be as clear as I can be: The United Nations is NOT going to take your guns, nor are they going to fling poo at you. Period. Anyone who tells you differently is either deliberately lying or sadly misinformed. Speaking of deliberately lying or sadly misinformed, Fox News Channel is helping to spread the fear that the U.N. is coming for your guns. And they are joined by, who else, the National Rifle Association (which, contrary to what any of their leadership says, actually lobbies on behalf of gun manufacturers, not gun owners.) But more on that later.

Back in July of last year, the United Nations met to discuss the international arms trade and how they could help keep guns from getting into the hands of bad people (like, you know, terrorists.) Contrary to early reports from the right, flinging poo was not on the agenda for these meetings. From that meeting emerged the Arms Trade Treaty, “to elaborate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms.” And it makes sense. If you want to stop guns from getting into the hands of bad governments and international terrorists, you need the cooperation of everybody involved, otherwise the bad guys could just go to the country that didn’t sign the treaty and get their guns from them. This negotiation would have started sooner if not for the Bush Administration, which opposed the treaty on the illogical and unsubstantiated claim that “national controls are better.” Fortunately, the Obama Administration reversed that position. So the U.N. did meet but were unable to come up with an agreement. So they agreed to meet again this past week to conclude the work done in July. It’s important that the United States be a part of any such treaty because we are, by far, the largest exporter of arms in the world.

Much of the opposition to the treaty (and it didn’t all come from the U.S.) was over the issue of national sovereignty. There are some countries that have constitutions guaranteeing their citizens certain rights. (Quick quiz: Name one such country.) The fear was that an international treaty would override those rights. Well, I can’t speak with any authority on what other countries’ constitutions say, but I can promise you that no international treaty can ever supersede the United States Constitution. If it did, it would be struck down by our own Supreme Court (and then be forced to gay marry a treaty from another country.) But, to make sure that wasn’t an issue, our own State Department issued, what they call, “red lines.” According to the dictionary, red lines are “lines that are colored red” (well, that was no help), but they are also what you could call “deal breakers.” To allay the fears (real or imagined) that this treaty would empower the U.N. to send their famed “blueberries” to your door, the United States State Department issued these key red lines:

KEY U.S. REDLINES
——————————————————————————–
The Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld. There will be no restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution. There will be no dilution or diminishing of sovereign control over issues involving the private acquisition, ownership, or possession of firearms, which must remain matters of domestic law.

The U.S. will oppose provisions inconsistent with existing U.S. law or that would unduly interfere with our ability to import, export, or transfer arms in support of our national security and foreign policy interests.

The international arms trade is a legitimate commercial activity, and otherwise lawful commercial trade in arms must not be unduly hindered.

There will be no requirement for reporting on or marking and tracing of ammunition or explosives.

There will be no lowering of current international standards.

Existing nonproliferation and export control regimes must not be undermined.

The ATT negotiations must have consensus decision making to allow us to protect U.S. equities.

There will be no mandate for an international body to enforce an ATT.

So you’d think that would satisfy those “gun enthusiasts” (a/k/a “gun nuts”) who fear the U.N. is going to be coming for your guns. But, sadly, no. You see, removing the controversy by explicitly stating that the United States will not be party to any treaty that takes away your Second Amendment rights is too inconvenient for a network that wants you to live in fear. And that’s why the folks at Fox News Channel conveniently ignored that statement and pretended it didn’t exist. Instead, they reported the opposition to the treaty as if its rationale was based in facts. They reported the lies that the treaty could be interpreted as giving the U.N. the right to come to your home and take your guns as if they were old, settled issues (which is a common tactic of theirs.) That the industry that stands to lose a lot of money is opposed to the treaty should come as no surprise, nor should the fact that you’re not hearing their chief lobbyists, the NRA, explain it that way. Instead we get the lies. But we also get surprises.

For example, the National Rifle Association and Fox News Channel are vehemently (dare I say “violently”?) opposed to the Arms Trade Treaty. You know who else is, to the point of possibly thwarting the whole effort? Iran, North Korea, and Syria. Yes, you read that right. Fox News is on the same side as Iran, North Korea, and Syria. And they say we’re the ones who are un-American. And that we fling poo.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss the Arms Trade Treaty, Fox News, the NRA, poo-flinging, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, January 23, 2013: Breaking Gnus! Obama to do a 180 on Guns!

Twitter, The Zoo's Top Investigative Journalist

Twitter, The Zoo’s Top Investigative Journalist

This just in: President Obama plans to announce a new White House Policy on gun control. In response to Republican calls for his impeachement even before he takes the oath of office for a second time, President Obama has decided to do a stunning about-face in his stance on gun control. Twitter managed to get an advance copy of the draft of the President’s upcoming speech.

     “My fellow Americans. And that includes you old white guys that voted for the other guy.

     “It is time to acknowlege that our government has failed you, the honest, hardworking, God fearing American Citizen. We can no longer keep you safe in your homes, on your streets, in malls and movie theaters, and in your schools.

     “A few days ago, I introduced a package of Executive Orders and legislation I thought would help. You responded with outrage, and calls for my impeachment. I got the message. You don’t want any restrictions on your right to bear arms.

    “Now I know there are a great number of Americans who hold President Ronald Reagan in high esteem. But lately I’ve heard that they believe he was senile when he signed the bill outlawing machine guns. So, effective immediately, I am ordering law enforcement to stop enforcing all laws that impinge on your right to bear arms. If you feel you need a fully automatic machine gun to protect yourself from criminals, outlaws, or a takeover by your government, feel free to go out and buy one.

     “I am ordering the Justice Department to draft a legal challenge to those laws, to have the Supreme Court strike them all down as unconstitutional.

     “And I am asking all members of Congress to join with me in bipartisan support and pass a new, revised version of the Militia Act of 1792. As you might know, the Militia Act of 1792 required all able bodied men to buy muskets and keep a store of musket balls and gunpowder. Well, we’re beyond the days of muskets. I want every able-bodied adult, not just you men, but women-folk too, to own at least one assault rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition. And I want Congress to pass this legislation immediately.

     “We cannot wait. The bad guys have had this kind of firepower for far too long. It is time we, as a nation, come together and stand united in our support for the Second Amendement, united in protecting ourselves and our loved ones, and united in gun ownership.

     “Thank you, and God bless America.”

A spokesperson for the NRA merely said, “It’s about time.” But, as Twitter was leaving, he heard the man pick up his phone and say, “Bud? Yeah, it’s me. You know that national chain of funeral homes you want to start? Count me in.”

Foreign car makers Aston-Martin and BMW are quietly working up plans to introduce commercial versions of their “Bond Cars” for the American market. They will come as fully armed as their movie counterparts. Prices are expected to start at over $2.4 million for the BMWs and over $6 million for the Astin Martins.

Democrats, by far and large, applauded the President’s move. One aide spoke, on condition of anonymity, “The President knows that Republicans cannot help but oppose everything he wants, and will propose the exact opposite.”

Republicans, when asked for comment, were uniformly outraged. “He can’t do this!” said one, who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s unconstitutional! He has to enforce the laws we have! And who is he to order everyone to go out and buy guns! We can’t have everyone armed! The Second Amendment was all about State’s Militias! If he dares to have someone introduce this legislation on the floor of Congress, I will file articles of impeachment the very same day…the very same minute!” With that the Congressman rushed to his office to begin drafting articles of impeachment.

READY, AIM, POST!

 

UPDATE:

Ok. So I wrote this over the weekend and scheduled it for today. Who knew?

Tea Party Congressman: Citizens Should Have Same Weapons As The Military

Yes. Sadly, there are those who want an arms race here in America, with civilians lining up to buy the latest and bestest killing machines available. Fear begets fear. Carnage on an unimaginable scale awaits. Will calmer, saner heads prevail?

Sorry to bring in a downer on what was supposed to be a lighthearted satire…..but, really…civilians with military grade hardware?

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, January 9, 2013, The case for repealing all gun control.

The Second Amendment reads:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Those who oppose gun control cite the 2nd Amendment as their Constitutional source for their right to bear arms, and oppose any legislation that restricts that right.

Ok. Fine. Let’s repeal all legislation that restricts the “right to bear arms.”

Individuals, and terrorist groups, within the United States can then own nuclear, chemical and biolgical weapons. The same would go for surface to air missles, drones, fully automatic weapons, anti-personal mines, anti-tank mines, tanks, artillery, you name it. Repeal all those bans, all those “infringements” on the “right to bear arms.”

Let the carnage begin.

Perhaps then, and only then, will we be able to take a fresh look at the 2nd Amendment…we, being the survivors of the cataclysmic Civil War that follows allowing free reign to kill whomever you happen to disagree with at the moment…we will be able to say “never again.”

Or are we wise enough to say, “never again” now and not wait for another mass murder of kindergartners?

THIS, AGAIN, IS OUR OPEN THREAD.

AND THANK YOU, JON STEWART, FOR DEVOTING MOST OF YOUR SHOW ON JANUARY 8, 2013 TO THE TOPIC OF GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA.

YOUR TURN

The Watering Hole: Monday, December 17, 2012 – Can We PLEASE Talk About Guns In Our Society Now?

On the morning of December 14, 2012, it was Newtown, Connecticut.
Before that it was Clackamas Town Center, Oregon.
Before that it was Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Before that it was Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Aurora, Colorado.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Before that it was Oakland, California.
Before that it was Seal Beach, California.
Before that it was Carson City, Nevada.
Before that it was Tucson, Arizona.
Before that it was Manchester, Connecticut.
Before that it was Fort Hood, Texas.
Before that it was Binghamton, New York.
Before that it was Carthage, North Carolina.
Before that it was Northern Illinois University, Illinois.
Before that it was Kirkwood, Missouri.
Before that it was Omaha, Nebraska.
Before that it was Virginia Tech, Virginia.
Before that it was Salt Lake City, Utah.
Before that it was Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Red Lake, Minnesota.
Before that it was Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Meridian, Minnesota.
Before that it was Fort Worth, Texas.
Before that it was Atlanta, Georgia.
And before that, on the morning of April 20, 1999, it was Littleton, Colorado.

These are all places where someone, or several someones, took a gun, or several guns, and began shooting people at some location, or several locations. Does this list strike you as being rather long? These are just ones since Columbine. There were others in between and before that. Many people died in those mass shootings. Too many. And too many were children. Far, far too many. And yet, we can’t seem to have that talk about all these mass shootings and the prevalence of guns in our society.

How many people have to die in mass shootings before we are allowed to talk Continue reading

The Watering Hole – Saturday – July 21, 2012 – It’s Not 1787 Anymore

Yesterday morning, in Aurora, Colorado, a 24-year-old named James Holmes unleashed the largest mass shooting in US history using ammunition, weapons, and clips that were all legally purchased. Had the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban still be in effect, he would not have been allowed to possess some of that weaponry legally. It is desperation to try to argue that he would have found a way to get them anyway.

The people of this country need to have an honest discussion about guns. It’s not 1787 anymore, and we don’t depend on state militias to defend our nation against invasion, which is what the Second Amendment is about. It’s about national defense, not personal protection and not protection from our own government. That may be a side-benefit, but it was never the main purpose, no matter what anyone from the NRA says. The “right to keep and bear arms” is clearly predicated on the idea that the arms bearer was going to be part of “a well-regulated militia,” not just someone who liked having, as former Senator Phil Gramm once put it, “more guns than I need, but fewer guns than I want.”

A loaded gun is dangerous, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. (I said “loaded.”) A loaded gun can kill or seriously injure even when it’s in nobody’s hands. Please don’t tell me guns are safe.

But enough about me. This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about this or anything else you want.

It’s Time To Talk About Our Guns

On Feb 26,2012, in Sanford, Florida, 17-year-old, 140-pound, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by 28-year-old, 250-pound George Zimmerman. Zimmerman has said that it was a case of self-defense. Despite the many facts that have come to light since the shooting, Zimmerman remains a free man, who hasn’t yet been arrested. The Sanford Police report also raises some questions on its own, such as why less than one minute elapsed from the time 9-1-1 was called until the time the police arrived to find Trayvon Martin face down and dead. If accurate, it would mean that George Zimmerman could not wait one single minute from the time he was told they did not need him to follow Trayvon until the time he killed him. [NOTE: Many people have brought up the racial aspects of this case, but since race has nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion I am having here, I have intentionally left those aspects out. I completely agree that had Zimmerman been black and his victim a 17-year-old white male, he would have been arrested immediately. But let’s save the racial aspects for another discussion.]

Although Zimmerman’s lawyer has said his client would not be invoking it, at the middle of this controversy is a law known colloquially as the “Stand Your Ground Law.” It says, in essence, that if you reasonably believe your life is in danger, you can use deadly force to defend yourself. The law was modeled on laws designed and written by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group of legislators and corporations that propose bills to be passed by the states. Believe me when I say they are not acting in your best interests. They are dangerous, and the laws they’ve helped pass have put innocent people in danger. They must be exposed and dealt with, but for now we as a nation must once and for all settle this matter of what the true meaning and intent of the Second Amendment is, and what role guns should have in our Society.

For the record, and so that there is no misunderstanding about the topic Continue reading

Watering Hole – September 13, 2010 – I Want My Country Back

Yes, you heard me.  I want my country back… back from the Tea Party and the big corporations that financially support them.  I do NOT want my country to return to the Tea Party and Republican principles of:

  • Repealing the Civil Rights Act because the central Government should not tell States how to treat American citizens.
  • Eliminating the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.  Women should not be voting.  They don’t have time for politics because they need to be in the kitchen cooking and they should be waiting on their husbands.  The bible tells us that women are subservient to men.
  • Returning to slave labor and sweat shop labor practices because businesses should be free to abuse their employees without Government interference.
  • Dismantling Social Security because seniors should have planned better for their retirement.  Too bad and too sad if Wall Street bankers stole most of their IRA money.  Tough luck if the seniors worked at jobs that didn’t have a pension program or 401K program.  If these seniors worked for minimum wage, they still should have thought ahead even if it required providing less food and clothing for their children so that they would have that extra money to save for their retirement.  Some Republican candidates are claiming that Social Security is unconstitutional.
  • Dismantling Medicare because health care is not a right, it is a privilege and the Tea Party does not approve of privileges except when it comes to their idols and themselves.  Besides, only the privileged deserve health care.
  • Eliminating disability payments because people need to be more responsible and not get injured on the job.  This includes our military veterans.  They should stop whining because after all, they volunteered.
  • Forcing Catholics, Jews and Muslims to commit sins by having to read and study the protestant bible in public schools.
  • Allowing property owners to create toll roads.  People have a right to collect money from anyone that crosses their property line.  Good luck with getting to work on time and having any money left over from your paycheck after paying all the tolls.
  • Supporting “Second Amendment” solutions as a means of conflict resolution.  This might also work as a method of population control.
  • Returning to the glory days of lords and serfs.

I want my country back from hate mongers like Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, Malkin, Kristol, Bachmann, Rove, Cheney, and all the rest that appear on Fox News, the opinion network.  The goals for these people are to divide our country and to make piles of money while undereducated people do their dirty work for them.

I want my country back from racists such as Beck, Laura Schlesinger, the Tea Party and the Larouches.  These people are so upset because there is a black family living in, what they perceive as, the White(‘s only) House.

I want my country back from people that profit from the suffering of others (Beck, Palin and Limbaugh).

I want my country back from politicians that place Wall Street above and before Main Street.

Yes, I want my country back.  The one where everyone is treated with respect and  equality, the one where everyone receives good health care, the one where everyone receives a livable wage, and the one where everyone is free to practice their religious beliefs without interference from other religions.

I want back, the country that was progresing forward.  Not the one that is currently heading in Reverse.

This is our Open Thread.  What do you want back?  Speak UP!

The Watering Hole: April 20, Columbine

On April 20, 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School in Littleton. They carried shotguns, rifles and explosive devices. They killed twelve students and one teacher and twenty-four other students were injured as a direct result of the massacre. Three more were injured indirectly as they attempted to escape the school. Harris and Klebold are thought to have committed suicide about forty-five minutes after the massacre began.

Yesterday on the anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing the militias were coming out strong.

I am not afraid of guns, but very much so of those who are prepared to use them on fellow men. And my fear hyperboles when assholes like Timothy McVeigh are put on pedestals and made into Horst Wessels or Edwin Kerns.

Make sure to visit the Timothy McVeigh thread below. Thanks Zooey for posting it!

This is an Open Thread, go ahead and tell us all.

Man Ousted from Job for Supporting Obama

USA Today reports:

Montana gunsmith Dan Cooper has been ousted as chief executive of the rifle company that bears his name after pressure from gun owners who are angry that he is supporting Democrat Barack Obama.

Cooper, founder and part owner of Cooper Firearms, told USA TODAY in a story published Tuesday that he has voted for Republicans for most of his life, but he is backing Obama “probably because of the war. And also because the Republican Party has moved so far right in recent years.”

Cooper said, “I don’t believe that what’s being said about Obama and his policies about guns are accurate. I have had a conversation with the senator … he is a stanch supporter of the right to hunt and the right to bear arms.”

The company posted a statement Wednesday night on its website that said:

“The employees, shareholders and board of directors of Cooper Firearms of Montana do not share the personal political views of Dan Cooper. Although we all believe everyone has a right to vote and donate as they see fit, it has become apparent that the fallout may affect more than just Mr. Cooper. It may also affect the employees and the shareholders of Cooper Firearms. The board of directors has asked Mr. Cooper to resign as President.”

Obama has repeatedly said that he supports the 2nd Amendment for individuals.

“It’s a really McCarthyism at its worst,” said Bob Ricker, executive director of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, which has endorsed Obama. “That’s really why our organization was formed, was to deal with this craziness. If you’re a gun owner, but you have a contrary view to some of these wackos, they will go out and try to destroy you.”

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, said in a phone interview that he was disturbed by the backlash against Cooper.

“It’s the silly season,” Schweitzer said. “There are people who have partisan interests here, and they are using the gun issue.

I agree with Schweitzer.  These wedge issues that are supported by the Republican’s do nothing but incite and divide.  Between guns, killing babies, and the common calls of socialism, Marxism, communism, “pallin’ around with terrorists,’ and the other lies being told, there is a great fear for the scary black man who would be president.

The most ironic part is that Obama is nowhere near as left leaning as many liberals would prefer.  An Obama presidency would move our country back towards the center from where the ultra right-wing crazies have taken it over the last eight years.

Potentially losing your livelihood isn’t the only thing you have to look forward to.

Continue reading