Friday, June 17, 2016

The big divide on guns

There are people I respect in other areas who I consider completely unhinged on guns.

One  example is a well known Libertarian filk songwriter. After the Orando massacre at a gay bar she said the problem was that the bar and patrons were not carrying their own guns. The problem of anyone being able to quickly buy a civilian version of a military assault rifle converted to semi automatic and having a large magazine she refused to acknowledge or consider a problem.

When I pointed out that the bar had an armed security officer who was immediately killed she blamed the stupid security officer and the bar for only having one.

She also blamed the FBI for not keeping track of "Jihadists" because surveillance of religious minorities even if born in America should be a priority according to this Libertarian.

I also found similar opinions among the leaders of the Sad and Rabid Puppies attacking diversity in the Hugo Awards and their followers. Some of these are talented in writing if on the wrong side of a culture war.

A few decades a very fringe idea that the 2nd Amendment was an unrestricted right for all Americans to have any type of gun started being pushed by a few of the radical right. It took over the NRA which had been a mainstream group supporting gun owners and manufacturers. It infiltrated the Republican Party which was beginning its sharp right turn with the influx of Southern conservative racist Democrats fleeing a party which supported Civil Rights. It entered the more conservative legal schools. And it made it to the Republican judges on the Supreme Court.

My position is clear. Weapons solely designed for killing people quickly and easily and on a mass scale do not belong in civilian hands. If you believe they do there is something wrong with your values.

I do not know how to get this attitude of gun rights over human lives back under the rock from whence it came. Sad and dangerous times.

Monday, June 13, 2016

William Safire - "Habitual Liar"

For some reason William Safire was a highly respected conservative opinion columnist at the New York Times after being Richard Nixon's speechwriter. He also wrote other columns on language and writing. He wrote a highly influential column, completely unsubstantiated, that Hillary Clinton had always been a serial "habitual liar" and corrupted everyone around her to lie as well. The column was never substantiated and was itself lies although Safire may have believed it. He never apologized or confessed that the column had been proven wrong. Later he was a leader in the allegations of Al Gore's "habitual lies and exagerations" and strongly supported George W Bush for president. Once Bush was president Safire spread the lies of the Bush administration that Iraq was a threat to Israel and the United States, the big lies it was violating the peace treaty and possessed illegal weapons of mass destruction.

Safire made a long career out of being a talented liar skilled with words whose favored tactic was accusing others of lying. The widespread belief that Hillary Clinton and Al Gore were completely untrustworthy can be traced back to him. His lies and the tactic of always calling liberals and Democrats and convenient outsiders serial liars were repeated by the conservative media and Republicans and repeated often enough to become "common knowledge". His numerous writings about Iraq led to a an illegal unnecessary disastrous war based on lies. The widespread belief that climate change is a lie caused by lying scientists can be traced back to his tactics used on Al Gore, the first well known popular figure to warn of climate change.

When you think of lies and the lying liars who tell them always place Safire near the top of the list.

My simply writing this history will be shocking to many, as corporate media and the Republican Party gave him the status of elderly beloved spokesman before his death.

More of Safire's misdeeds can be found in this column by Eric Boehlert.