Republicans who would kill

This is a news story originating in a tiny sleepy village called Westport on the North Coast of California, where hippies and retiring liberal yuppies have been making their way up into the countryside for several decades leading to a small scale culture war.  The demise of the logging industry has been a factor in bringing many people into the marijuana industry - it's not just for hippies anymore.  The North Coast Journal, a paper based in Arcata a couple of hours to the north of where these amazing events took place.  This is a story involving a man who headed up the Mendocino County Republican Party, recalled from a utilities district board for what the voters believed to be incompetence, and most recently convicted for conspiracy to murder.  You see, he tried to arrange for a political assassination of his liberal political opponent.

Why should we be nervous when right wingers show up at presidential events with guns?  Read the story.  It has everything.  Thomas Pynchon couldn't have done a better job in Vineland.

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250 Million

     I recently heard that there are an estimated 250 million guns in the United States. There are an estimated 111 million households in America. Using these numbers that would mean there are 2.2 guns for every household in America. That seems like a lot of guns to me. As I began to ponder these numbers I wondered with all of these guns are we a safer nation? Have all of these guns provided us with the security many of us are seeking?

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Guns Fail to Sway Voters

It turns out that District of Columbia v. Heller, the so-called DC gun rights case in which the Supreme Court established that the second amendment is an individual rather than group right, might have been a political disaster for the GOP even as it achieved one of the party's long-standing policy ends. Here's First Read's Carrie Dann writing about Barack Obama's "cling to their guns" comment and its effect -- or rather striking lack thereof -- on Tuesday.

The comment also put an exclamation point on Obama's record on guns, which has drifted to the center since his days as an Illinois state senator. As the general election heated up, the National Rifle Association announced an eye-popping $15 million ad campaign intended to serve as a loudspeaker for suspicions about Obama's alleged hidden intention to limit gun ownership.  

But as the vote margins of the presidential race rolled in, the one-time wedge issue of the Second Amendment did not seem to pack the national-stage punch for which the influential gun lobby had aimed. Nationally, gun owners broke for McCain by almost the identical margin that they broke for Bush in 2004.  But in the states where the NRA Political Victory Fund's toughest efforts against Obama were concentrated -- gun-rich regions in states like Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico -- Obama's victory was decisive. The Democratic nominee won those states by eight, 11, and 15 points, respectively.  Of the 11 states where the NRA's anti-Obama ads were reportedly aired, McCain won only one: Texas.

Down the ballot, the NRA backed all six of the Republican Senate candidates who lost to Democratic challengers. And in several high-profile House contests, NRA-backed candidates like Ed Tinsley, Bill Sali, Steve Chabot, and Phil English came up short.

Just four years ago, when John Kerry lost, and certainly eight years ago, when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the until-then traditionally Democratic states of Tennessee (Gore's home state), Arkansas and West Virginia, the thought was that the power of the National Rifle Association was unmatchable, that the NRA's sway over elections was unquestionable. Yet while it's fairly clear that the NRA's policy goals have been achieved to a great extent, with even Obama concurring with the SCOTUS' reasoning in Heller, the NRA's position as an effective campaign arm of the Republican Party appears to be on the wane, if not over. Yes, this was a tremendously successful year for the Democrats, with the nation clearly predisposed to throw the Republican bums out. Nevertheless, in even some of the reddest parts of the country where the power of the anti-gun control movement should have been the strongest, Democrats were still able to claim victory.

I'm not ready to write an obituary for the NRA's electoral efforts because of the sheer hubris of the act demands me not to. But the time of the left obsessing about the power of the NRA over all others may be drawing to a close.

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NM-02: Talking About Guns, Tinsley Says He Has a "Rude Awakening" for Obama

Ed Tinsley, the GOP's Congressional candidate in NM-02 who's running against Democrat Harry Teague, has been caught in the act again. Tinsley's latest inflammatory remarks -- and what can be perceived as a threat to Barack Obama -- came at a recent candidate forum in Roswell. Tinsley was asked about his views on gun ownership and the Second Amendment. Instead of talking about his or his opponent's positions on the issue, Tinsley launched into a disturbing attack on presidential candidate Barack Obama, as you can see in the video clip above. Ed Tinsley said:

Well, I'll say this, somebody that certainly doesn't get it is Barack Obama when he says that our district clings to our guns and our religion out of frustration.  I have a rude awakening for him and we'd love to have him as a guest at our ranch.

Check out Tinsley's demeanor when he says the words "rude awakening." What do you think he has in mind when he says it? What do you think his words are meant to convey?

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Guns and the White Foundering Fathers

Cross-posted in the AfroSpear.

America's Glock, Smith and Wesson chickens are coming home to roost once again, with the shooting death of the chairman of the Arkansas State Democratic Party, Bill Gwatney.

Witnesses said the gunman entered the party offices shortly before noon and said he wanted to see Gwatney about volunteering. Party officials said the man forced his way into Gwatney's office and fired three shots, then fled in a blue truck.

House Majority Leader Steve Harrelson was at the state Capitol for a news conference on crime and that he didn't know of anyone who would want to harm Gwatney.

"You never think of something like this happening here in Arkansas," Harrelson said. Yahoo News

Some of the United States' culture just doesn't make any damned sense, and the results speak for themselves.  One such aspect of American culture is the belief that you can never have too many guns, and that any disadvantage that comes from having guns in the hands of those who are mentally unstable, hooked on crime and/or drugs is balanced by the warm and reassuring knowledge that every one of our neighbors has at least two guns in his house, maybe three.

So, although we are endangered by the massive firepower in the hands of lunatics, the lunatics wouldn't dare use that fire power because so many good and decent people are also armed to the teeth.  Yeah, right.  As it says in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous,

This brave philosophy, wherein each man plays God, sounds  good in the speaking, but it still has to meet the acid test: how well does it  actually work?  One good look in the mirror ought to be answer enough . . .  Step Three, AA's Twelve Steps
Well, today America looks in the mirror and sees that a leader of the Democratic Party has fallen and there's blood all over the floor.  The National Rifle Association says that even more guns is the answer, but we already have more guns than any other nation in the world, and we also have higher murder rates, as well as rates of many other types of crimes.

Some of us continue to insist that the Founding Fathers were not criminally insane when they barred women and Blacks from the Constitutional Conventions, and then enshrined in our Constitution the right to each "keep and bear" as many arms as they had hands, feet, arms and fingers.  And more.

One of my chief arguments against the Second Amendment is that, although the right is supposedly fundamental, it's a right that Blacks have NEVER been thought to have in equal measure or really any measure at all.  How many times have we heard police say that they shot a Black man dead because they thought he had a gun?  Well, if the Second Amendment guarantees the right to "keep and bear" guns, then why should being perceived as having a gun be an instant and wholly justified death sentence for Black men? (Careful.  Any answer you give may support the proposition that the protections of the Constitution only apply to white people.)

Fact is, as a practical matter, white men have the right to keep and bear arms while women mostly don't want to do so, except to defend themselves, and Black people are killed on sight when they are found to be doing so, or merely purportedly perceived to perhaps have been doing so.

Meanwhile, Bill Gwatney is dead and that is part of the mean legacy of the clearly Foundering Fathers.

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Diaries

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