Rachel Maddow video: GOP statements vs. GOP policy

This is one of the most powerful “political” videos you are likely to see. It deals with the upcoming intense debates about fiscal responsibility, an issue that affects every part of  our society. If your blood isn’t roiled by the time you get to the end, check for a pulse.  I was angry at the stunning hypocrisy of the GOP, but angry too that the Democrats – and the press – allow the GOP to continually say one thing and do the complete opposite.

It’s long – around 14 minutes. And it begins with a silly skit (in which, inexplicably, the sound effects are different from what was heard on TV). But once Rachel sits down, she dramatically builds a case that smashes most Americans’ perceptions about which party does what. Her final point, a look at benefits for the unemployed, is the perfect exclamation point to her controlled anger.

Important: Notice how all her facts are facts, backed up either by in-context video clips or statistics from unimpeachable sources.

I would love to hear a Republican response to this video.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/40225485#40225485

Gun Control: Who Are the Real Terrorists?

The National Rifle Association is the biggest terrorist organization in America.

This powerful lobbying organization loudly opposes every attempt to legislate rational gun control. And with help from the Republican Party – and some Democrats – they are usually successful. As a result, each year around 30,000 Americans die by guns, according to federal statistics. That’s ten times the deaths of the 9/11 attacks – every year!

Many thousands more, of course, are severely injured.

The rate of death by gun is significantly higher in the U.S. than in other industrialized countries, most of which have much stricter guns laws than the U.S.

Some examples:

Firearm-related death rate per 100,000 population in one year is

  • United States – 11.66.
  • France – 6.35
  • Canada – 4.78
  • England – 0.38.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

Imagine if 30,000 Americans died from swine flu, or food poisoning. The outcry would be deafening.

But things are about to get worse for Americans, thanks to a horrendous 5-4 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, handed down on June 28th, 2010.

As the New York Times editorialized, “About 10,000 Americans died, in the four months that the Supreme Court debated which clause of the Constitution it would use to subvert Chicago’s entirely sensible ban on handgun ownership. The arguments that led to Monday’s decision undermining Chicago’s law were infuriatingly abstract, but the results will be all too real and bloody.”

The average right-to-bear-arms advocate (I’d rather call them nut jobs) will tell you that their “rights” are guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Really? Ask that person to tell you how long that Amendment is — in pages, paragraphs, or sentences. Most, I’d bet, couldn’t give you the answer.

The Second Amendment is one sentence long:

“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.”

(There are several versions of the text of the Second Amendment, each with slight capitalization and punctuation differences. The version cited above is the one distributed to the states, and then ratified by them. (source: Wikipedia) Since no Amendment becomes law until ratified by the states, this, it seems to me, should be the official version.)

The first four words of this sentence are “A well regulated militia …” What part of “well regulated” is not clear? Why would those two words be there if not to mean exactly what they say? In one sentence, containing no hyphens, colons or semi-colons, the second part of the sentence must relate directly back to the first part. And the first part calls for a well regulated militia. (A militia was understood to be composed of “the People” in the various states, as opposed to a Federal army.)

If the Founders wanted all citizens to have unrestricted gun rights, they would have written this sentence: “The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

But they didn’t!

How, then, can the conservative majority on the Supreme Court justify its ruling to in effect strike down almost all regulations? Here’s a quote from the Fox News web site (it was regarding an earlier, similar anti-gun control ruling) …

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by “the historical narrative” both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,372041,00.html

The “historical narrative” phrase sounds impressive. But to buy that argument you need to say that men who wrote the Bill of Rights were not capable of writing a simple sentence! To accept Scalia’s logic you must deny the actual words of our Founders and insert your own meaning!

It’s nonsense. It’s maddening. And it will kill thousands and thousands of Americans.

For people who think politics don’t matter – remember that the President nominates candidates to the Supreme Court, and the Senate confirms those nominations. (And don’t forget the Supreme Court rulings on abortion rights, environmental causes, campaign finance reform, and other issues that were decided by a 5-4 vote.)

Rational gun control is just one more reason why we need to keep Democrats in control.