The New York Times Writes About the Gun Business and Gets It All Wrong – Again.

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              I guess it’s just too much to ask The New York Times to exercise a little self-control and withdraw from the liberal stampede to promote the idea that fascism is just around the corner thanks to all those crazy insurrectionists who show up at various political events toting their AR-15’s.

              Of course, these militia groups are smart enough to leave the guns at home if the place they want to show off how important they are happens to be a location which doesn’t allow anyone to walk around with a gun. 

              So, for example, the jerks who wanted to chase Mike Pence around the Senate chamber last January 6th knew enough to leave their guns at home. Ditto the fifty putzes or so who demonstrated to ‘free’ the January 6th bunch last September but also knew to leave their guns at home.

              This wasn’t the case when a handful of Nazis paraded in Charlottesville back in 2017 and then learned that the President of the United States thought the swastika-mounted gang were some of the ‘good people’ on both sides of the line.

              And it was exactly Trump’s failure to condemn this bunch of shitheads which gave the militia groups a new lease on life all over the United States.

              These great patriots had been pretty quiet and kept mostly to themselves after Timothy McVeigh spent some time with the Michigan Militia before he went down to Oklahoma City and bombed the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.

              They had a brief renaissance in 2014 when they showed up at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada, but that incident quickly folded into nothing when Fox News and the rest of the alt-right media decided they just couldn’t give that idiot Bundy license to tell everyone about ‘the Negro’ on prime time.

              I never thought that Trump didn’t know what he was doing or saying when he defended the Nazis who showed up in Charlottesville with their AR-15’s. To the contrary, Trump openly solicited support from the militia movement because his entire MAGA narrative aligned itself with what these militia schmucks believe, most of all the idea that America will remain great as long as it remains White.

              What Trump didn’t appreciate (or maybe he did) is how the liberal media would make such a big deal out of the so-called militia ‘threat’ after January 6th.  And a perfect example of how Fake News is trying to  make something out of nothing is an article, ‘Out of the Barrel of a Gun – How Armed Protests are Creating a New Kind of Politics,’ which appeared in the NYT Sunday Magazine back in January and has been selected by our friends at The Trace as one of the most ‘memorable’ articles on gun violence published this past year.

The Trace tells us that this article “improved our understanding of a unique American crisis.”  I happen to disagree. And I disagree because the author, Charles Homans, has spent about as much time hanging around militia groups as I have spent in Weight Watchers meetings over the past few years.

In fact, his article is based on some interviews he allegedly did with some of the schmucks who showed up at the Virginia State House the last couple of years to participate in Lobby Day, when anyone who wants to can get 30 seconds to stand in front of a state legislator and complain about this or complain about that. The militia guys love to come around for such events because there’s nothing better than to look at the expressions of shock on the faces of people who can’t believe that someone would actually parade around the State Capitol building with an AR-15. 

And know what happens after the milling and the massing is over and done with?  Everyone goes back home, including the so-called militia members who appear at rallies organized by a pro-gun group known as the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), which has been around for more than 25 years.

Back in 2016, another gun expert, Katie Couric, did a documentary on guns which featured an interview with several members of the VCDL.  What she didn’t know about this bunch was that they don’t believe in background checks because the words ‘background checks’ don’t appear in the Constitution. And if it doesn’t appear in the Constitution, whatever it is, it doesn’t exist.

That’s who you’re dealing with when you interview members of the VCDL.  In other words, you’re dealing with jerks. Be that as it may, The New York Times would like you to believe that an article based largely on interviews with those morons should be taken as a legitimate representation for what gun ownership in the United States is all about.

Not only are members of the VCDL as stupid as can be, but the members who are involved with the various militia groups are also as law-abiding as can be.  Why? Because if they are charged and convicted of any criminal offense, not just offenses involving guns, but offenses involving anything else, they can’t buy, own, or carry a gun for the rest of their lives. 

And the whole point of being in a militia, pace what Charles Homans and his editors at The New York Times would like you to believe, is that if you can’t show up at the shooting range, wolf down a slice and play with your guns, there’s no point in being involved with any militia group or not.  If you can’t own a gun, you can’t have any fun.

I’m willing to bet you that if you ask the average reader of my columns what they like to do on a Saturday afternoon, they’ll say they want to go to a museum in the Winter months or during the Summer read a good book at the beach. Ask a member of a militia where he can be found after he mows the lawn on a Saturday, and he’ll tell you that he’s going to hang out at the local gun shop or if necessary, drive a hundred miles or so to go to a gun show.

You think dressing up in some stupid, camouflage outfit and trotting around with an AR-15 on your shoulder is any different than getting into a Boy Scout uniform and slinging the sash with your merit badges over your arm?

If you do, you might consider writing an article about the gun business for The New York Times.

Trump For President In 2024? Yea, Right.

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              There’s a story floating around that Trump is going to boycott the ceremony on Inauguration Day, and instead fly down to Florida (his last free Air Force One trip) and hold a big rally to kick off his 2024 campaign. Boy, do I hope the story is true. In fact, I think I’ll contact the Tik Tok kids and tell them to send Trump a couple of million emails pledging their support for his 2024 run.

              If Trump actually goes ahead and pretends that he will try to get re-elected in 2024, what he’ll actually accomplish is to wreck the Republican Party for the next 8 – 10 years. Not such a bad idea. I believe in the two-party system, but as far as I’m concerned, the two parties should represent Socialism on the one hand, Social Democracy on the other.

              I’m sorry Bernie, but Socialism doesn’t mean a cheaper medical plan. It also doesn’t mean free college tuition. It means that private property no longer exists – we all share equally in all material things.

              Of course, you’re not about to end up with Socialism in a country where so many people have done so well, materially speaking, over the last two hundred years. Fine. Let’s move towards real social democracy instead. The Socialists can be like the Liberal Party used to be in New York – reminding us that there’s something out there which is better than what we have.

              What has the GOP given us over the last 50 years? From the sainted Ronald Reagan we got a massive tax cut for the rich, and a pullout of the Marines from Lebanon that sparked the appearance of Hezbollah. George Herbert Walker Bush didn’t do so bad because he only had four years to screw things up. His son, on the other hand, sent 200,000 American kids into Iraq even though he didn’t know the difference between the Shiites and Sunnis who are still fighting a civil war.

              Don’t get me wrong. The Democrats haven’t for the most part been my cup of tea. Kennedy and then Johnson committed the single worst, most horrific policy decision of all time – the war in Viet Nam. It wasn’t the first time (read: Korea) the Democrats started a useless war that Republicans had to end.

              As for Clinton, he was so trailer park that he even tried to steal the White House silverware when he left town. And for all his talk about a rational foreign policy, we had more American troops stationed outside the country when Obama left office than when he first arrived in D.C.

              Be that as it may, I’m still going to vote blue every chance I get for one reason and one reason only, namely that the Democrats believe in equality and the Republicans don’t. Yea, yea, some of the GOP bunch occasionally give lip service to the Bill of Rights, but the one right they seem most interested in promoting is the right to walk around with a gun.

              I happen to walk around with a gun from time to time as well. But the fact that I live in the first state which legalized gay marriage is a lot more important to me than whether I take along my Glock 17 when I go to Starbucks for a latte later today.

              Trump will fly off from the South Lawn in one of those Marine helicopters that will take him to Andrews Air Force base. That night he’ll no doubt post a video on Twitter showing all his adoring supporters standing (unmasked) in front of the newly refurbished Rose Garden and wishing him goodbye.

              There’s an old Stephen Foster song with lyrics which went, ‘Massa’s in de cold, cold ground an’ de darkies is cryin.’ Remember that? Langston Hughes reminded us that the ‘darkies’ were crying not out of sorrow, but out of joy.

              And that’s exactly what’s going to happen to Trump after Joe and Kammie are sworn in on January 20, 2021. The Republicans will begin looking for a candidate to represent their party in 2024.

              Anyone want to give me the short odds that it won’t be a worn-out blowhard named Donald Trump?

The President Battles On.


 Remember Michael Moore’s great movie – Where’s Roger? – about the collapse of Flint? The 1989 movie, which made Michael Moore famous, covered what happened to the city of Flint, MI after GM closed a big assembly plant and their CEO, Roger Smith, refused to discuss the company’s decision with Moore or anyone else.

Now we seem to be entering a similar phase in the goings-on within the White House and the virtual disappearance of Donald Trump.  With the exception of a silent walk past the Tomb and the Eternal Flame in Arlington, Trump hasn’t made a single, public appearance in the last – ready? – nine days!

So Trump continues to tweet. So what? There happens to be a team in his office that works his Twitter feed, including posting videos and writing text. I notice that the header photo is from a rally that was held ten days ago, and the tweets are largely retweets from the latest nonsense from Sean Hannity, as if anyone’s watching him.

Here is a President who has gone from being the most powerful media presence in the history of American politics to a media presence who all of a sudden doesn’t exist. But what does exist is the corona virus, and at least three people who were at the shindig had subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.

But don’t worry. Trump isn’t done planning super-spreader events. He’s got one coming up this weekend which is being billed as the ‘Million MAGA March,’ which will fill the capitol with an army of supporters who still believe in Trump. And which groups are going to bring what Kayleigh McEnany said yesterday would be a ‘big crowd?

Among other patriotic groups assembling in front of the White House will be the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys, all of whom have been promoting Trump’s alt-right bullshit and racism even before there was a Donald Trump.

The best announcement came from the Oath Keepers, who claim they will send some ‘battle-hardened’ veterans to the demonstration to protect the crowd from left-wing terrorists and thugs. The picture above is what these battle-hardened veterans look like today. All I can say is that if the schmucks who are allegedly planning this event want anyone to show up, they better have plenty of pizza around for the patriots to eat.

Going forward, Trump has two big problems, neither of which is there really any way to solve. Problem number one is that his campaign is broke, ditto the RNC. This may be the reason why not one, but two law firms have decided to not go forward representing Trump in his battle over the election results. Who’s now representing the President in Pennsylvania? A divorce attorney [thanks Paula] with absolutely no experience in election or public law.

Oh I forgot. Trump’s new lawyer has been working on a PhD in Public Administration at West Chester State University since 2018. She ‘anticipates’ completing her dissertation in 2022.

Problem number two, and this is the bigger problem, is that every day, drip, drip, drip, another Republican announces that he’s sick and tired of all Trump’s post-election nonsense and wants this crap to end. The latest pronouncement came from a GOP Congressman in Illinois, Adam Kinzinger, who referred to Trump’s recent tweets about election fraud as ‘insane.’

I continue to hope that Trump refuses to concede, because I really want his rock-ribbed supporters to end up as nothing more than the guys who show up at Oath Keeper meetings, eat their pizza, drink their beer, and go home. I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate Trump’s four years in office than asking him to inspire the patriotism and love of country that the Oath Keepers represent.

And let’s not forget the Proud Boys, whose chief acolyte happens to be Roger Stone.

Is This A Real Political Campaign?

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              It was Karl Marx who said, “History repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce.” As far as I’m concerned, this year’s election certainly proves Marx to have been correct. 

              Let’s go back to 1988. George H. W. Bush runs against Mike Dukakis, the latter starting off with a huge lead. Bush is a nice guy but he’s no Ronald Reagan, even though that’s who he pretends to be.

              So what does Bush do?  He demonizes the opposition by running an entire campaign around a decision by Dukakis to grant a furlough to a lifetime felon named Willie Horton who left the penitentiary in Massachusetts and celebrated his release by committing armed robbery, kidnapping and rape.

              The Bush campaign began running an ad which had Bush saying he supported the death penalty followed by a picture of Willie Horton and a voice-over which said that the bad guy was released from jail because of a furlough program devised by then-Governor Dukakis who also had refused to sign a death penalty bill.

              Bush’s numbers began climbing from being 17 points behind in August to a victory in which he got 53% of the popular votes and carried 40 states. You can read a good column about this race written by Adam Nagourney in The (failing) New York Times.

              The 1988 Presidential campaign is considered the first national election campaign that was basically won by using attack ads. Which is exactly what Trump did in 2016 against Hillary. His entire campaign was just a series of personal swipes against her, including but not limited to the so-called ‘corruption’ of her husband’s foundation, the emails, the death of Vince Foster and everything else.

              Trump also got some last-minute help from James Comey, whose announcement about more emails re-invigorated the issue that dogged her entire campaign.

              Clinton spent the entire campaign reading from various briefing books that contained voluminous research on all sorts of policy things. Nobody cared at all. The 2016 campaign was devoid of even the slightest bit of debate about policies, it was simply a question of who could make more noise.

              So what Marx said about history first repeating itself as tragedy is a good way to understand what happened in 2016. We ended up with a President who not only didn’t get a majority of the popular vote, but received the lowest number of electoral votes since the 1960 election which produced the ill-fated Presidency of JFK.  

              What did Trump do after he started lying about the size of his inaugural crowd? He spent the next three years holding more than 90 mega-campaign rallies until the virus shut down his road show back in March. And at every rally he went on and on about how he was leading a growing ‘movement’ to bring America ‘back again.’

              Here’s a guy who, thanks to Ross Perot, gets elected with the smallest percentage of popular votes since Clinton’s first campaign in 1992. And he’s leading this big, new political movement? Covid or no Covid, Trump was a sitting duck.

              What do you do when you really can’t get past the fact that not only did the pandemic occur on your watch but it’s getting worse every day? You do what George Bush did back in 1988 – you demonize the other side.

              This time history’s repeating itself not with tragedy but with farce. And the reason this campaign’s a farce is what I heard both Trump and Rush Limbaugh say yesterday, namely, that Joe is a ‘tool’ of the ‘international Communist movement.’ Is there anyone alive except me who even remembers when there was a Communist movement anywhere at all?

              We’ve known the importance of social distancing to control pandemics since Boccaccio wrote The Decameron in 1348. But when the President of the United States wraps an entire campaign narrative around the idea that we don’t need to do anything about the pandemic because we’ve already ‘turned the corner’ without a vaccine, we’re not engaged in a political campaign.

              We’re engaged in a farce.

              VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN!

The Strange Case Of Luther Strange: Another Gun Nut Wants Your Vote.


Last week a special election in Montana featured television ads by the Democratic candidate, Rob Quist, who aimed his ‘old’ rifle at a television screen playing an attack ad run by his opponent, then pulled the trigger and the tv ad went away. This creative work of genius was put together by the Quist campaign to counter advertisements run by his Republican opponent, slugger Greg Gianforte, which accused Quist of being anti-gun.

quistI wrote a column about this ad which I found to be stupid, offensive and beyond the pale. I likened it to Sarah Palin’s Facebook page which showed target cross-hairs over the names and locations of various Democratic office-holders and candidates, one of whom happened to be Gabby the same week she was shot. I don’t care if the Democratic Party (and I’m a proud, yellow-dog Democrat, by the way) needs every Congressional seat it can get, you don’t use gun violence or an appeal to gun violence to muster up votes. You don’t do it.  As in don’t do it, okay?

Because here’s what happens when you do it. The virus spreads. And now we have another political jack-off who happens in this case to be a Republican, and he’s doing the same thing in his campaign as well. I’m talking about Luther Strange from Alabama, who was appointed on February 9 to fill Jeff Sessions’ vacated Senate seat. Given the news out of Washington yesterday that Sessions appears to have forgotten several other meetings he had with his Russian buddies during the Trump campaign, maybe it would have been better to leave his Senate vacant for a couple of months so that Session could honorably resign from the Cabinet, citing the need to return home and represent Alabama in the Senate again. But the bottom line is that there’s going to be a primary in August for a special election in the Fall, so ol’ Luther has started running campaign ads promoting himself as – guess what? – a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment because he’s been endorsed by the NRA.

You can view this ad on Luther’s Facebook page, which shows him shooting a pistol with a silencer in a shooting range at a bunch of targets that are supposed to represent various schemes of the Obama Administration which Luther fought against and won. I found this ad interesting for two reasons: first, Senator Strange doesn’t bother to wear hearing protection, even though a silencer doesn’t provide total protection for your hearing but Luther after all, is a real man; second, he states that he “fought the Obama administration’s unconstitutional infringement on our gun rights all the way to the Supreme Court,” when in fact he did no such thing. Even the NRA’s endorsement doesn’t list him as ever having participated in any legal action which ever went to the Supreme Court.

The use of guns as a vehicle to symbolize any political narrative whatsoever is dangerous and wrong.  Because it transforms a gun into something which it is – a mechanical device that propels a piece of lead into something at which the gun is being aimed – into something which it isn’t – a metaphor for disagreeing with a statement or position that you don’t like.  And the single most upsetting thing about those Klan campaign rallies over which Trump is still presiding as a way of avoiding any real work (or discussions with lawyers about impending indictments) is his constant appeals to violence both in terms of language and physical acts.

I can certainly understand why my friends at Fairfax would be exulting when they see such political ads. After all, the one group which above all says that there’s no connection between guns and violence is the same group that endorsed good ol’ boy Luther Strange to help him retain his newly-occupied Senate seat. Which is exactly the reason that such advertising is offensive and should be condemned. Because there’s no place for appeals to violence in a country which (I hope) is still governed by laws.

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