A way to cut the supply of guns

From The Reality-Based Community, a gun control proposal that I’ve never heard before:  nationalize the gun industry.

The ownership strategy would not be profit-maximising. It would include:

  1. Maintaining current sales to the military and (with less marketing effort) law enforcement;
  2. Dropping all sales to civilians of semi-automatic weapons, keeping only two-shot shotguns, one-shot bolt-action hunting rifles, and revolvers;
  3. Selling only through retailers committing to an enforceable code of practice including full background checks;
  4. Setting up an attack-dog legal department to protect patent and trademark IP very aggressively, to discourage new entrants;
  5. Dropping all connection with the NRA or other gun advocacy organisations.

For a few years, the gunmakers would lose money. So you have to add maybe another $1bn for restructuring costs. These would never be recovered, and represent the permanent net cost of the operation.

Notice what isn’t here: repeal of the Second Amendment.  A Democratic Congress could, and should, pass this program with a simple majority vote.  It would slow the spread of weapons of mass shooting, and give us time to deal with the huge inventory of dangerous weapons (perhaps by a voluntary buy-back program).

Sen. Ernst is suddenly opposed to sexual predators

Republican Senator Joni Ernst has called for an investigation into USA Gymnastics after the former team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing female athletes.  She’s not wrong about USA Gymnastics, there should be an investigation.

But she’s been very selective about which sexual predators she thinks need to go to prison.  For example, she had her chance to pull her support from Donald Trump when it became clear that he had bragged about sexually assaulting women, and she stuck by him.  And when child molester Roy Moore was endorsed wholeheartedly by Donald Trump, Joni Ernst sat quietly next to Trump (photo of that moment, above) and didn’t object.

It’s almost as if she thinks it’s OK if you’re a Republican.

Ex-GOP chair to Trump-supporting evangelicals: “Shut the hell up”

I have several bones to pick with Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee.  But now that he’s out of power, he seems to have some clarity about the Party of Trump that he helped create.

Evangelicals love a president who cheats on all of his wives, brags about assaulting women by grabbing their pussies, and pays hush money to a porn star to keep her from talking to the press about his sex affair with her. Tony Perkins of the right-wing Family Research Council, said Trump gets “a do-over” because evangelicals “were tired of being kicked around by Barack Obama and his leftists.” But Michael Steele, the former Republican National Committee chair, has one thing to say to evangelicals about their unwavering support for the unfaithful Trump: “I have very simple admonition: just shut the hell up and don’t preach to me about anything ever again,” he said on MSNBC.

“After telling me who to love, what to believe, what to do and what not to do and now you sit back and the prostitutes don’t matter, the grabbing the you-know-what doesn’t matter, the outright behavior and lies don’t matter, just shut up!” Steele blasted.

“They have no voice of authority anymore for me,” Steele concluded.

Ernst defends Trump, audience guffaws

Joni Ernst embarrassing herself in Red Oak:

Republican senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley have been back home in Iowa to hold small town halls in rural areas, places they probably thought would be ‘safe spaces’ from angry voters. WRONG. The rural voters who turned out were not happy with Donald Trump and they unloaded on Ernst and Grassley. In one particularly embarrassing moment for Sen. Ernst in Red Oak, Iowa (population 5,476), she drew laughter and scorn after this exchange:

SEN. ERNST: “He is standing up for a lot of the countries, um… where we have seen…”

CONSTITUENT: “Name a few, could you name a few?”

SEN. ERNST: “Yeah, you bet. Norway…”

 

Trump: “…if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

This reminder of who wants to shut down the federal government is brought to you by the President of the United States.  Trump was already threatening a government shutdown back in August.

Now, the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.

And if the government shuts down at midnight tonight, it will be because there aren’t enough Republican votes to prevent it.

Republicans defend Trump’s “shithole countries” comment

You know by now, because everyone in the world now knows, that the President of the United States called African countries and Haiti “shithole countries,” according to “several people briefed on the meeting.”  Trump later bragged about it to friends.

In the minds of Republican lawmakers, this is a problem.  Not the racist garbage the President said, but the fact the someone repeated it to the public.  Rand Paul is now telling us there can’t be an immigration compromise if people are running around calling the President a racist.

The premise that racist sentiments spoken by party leaders in private should not be repeated in public because allowing party leaders to be racist in private is important for legislative comity is word-for-word the argument used by decades of past southern Republicans. Presenting the two as equal sins—speaking racist things, and informing the public when racist things have been spoken—using the rhetoric of “both sides” behaving badly is the sort of moral grease fire Republican senators have long loved to simmer in.

And why would they turn on him now, after backing Trump for so long?  It’s not as if they didn’t know he’s a racist; white supremacy is his brand, and a core value of the Republican Party.

Congressional Democrats vote to give Trump unlimited spy powers

Thanks for nothing, Adam Schiff.

When Congress voted last week to renew the NSA’s controversial Section 702 powers, which gives the spy agency the power to conduct mass, secret, warrantless surveillance on Americans, they also voted down a bipartisan amendment that would have limited the president’s ability to abuse these powers, injecting the barest minimum of accountability and proportionality into a system that Republican and Democratic presidents alike have abused for decades.

The amendment was voted down because Democrats didn’t support it. The same Democrats who show up on the news every night, telling us that Trump is a dangerous authoritarian who can’t be trusted, just caved to the “intelligence community” and gave that dangerous authoritarian virtually unlimited powers to spy on every one of us.

When racism is accepted, this kind of thing happens (over and over)

When deportation is a death sentence

Sarah Still man of the New Yorker documents the deaths of people who were deported from the United States to their deaths.  Customs and Border Patrol agents have been emboldened by Trump’s overt racism, but many abuses took place quietly during the Obama administration.

Allegations abound of Customs and Border Protection officers dismissing asylum seekers more brazenly. According to a 2014 American Civil Liberties Union report based on conversations with nearly a hundred people who were removed without seeing an immigration judge, “Fifty-five percent said they were not asked about fear of persecution or torture,” while “forty percent who were asked and said they were afraid were ordered deported without seeing an asylum officer.” For years, the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has documented Customs and Border Protection’s noncompliance with asylum-seeker protections, including, in more than fifty per cent of cases, officers at ports of entry neglecting “to read the required information.” More recently, after Trump’s election, civil-liberties groups began documenting an apparent increase in rejections in some places on the border. According to a recent lawsuit, C.B.P. officers have told prospective asylum seekers, “The United States is not giving asylum anymore,” and “Trump says we don’t have to let you in.”