Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Last Call For Ammo-merica The Beautiful

Welcome to the United States of Gun Fetishization, where our completely logical response to deadly firearm violence in our schools is training teachers to kill in self-defense.

In the heartland of a nation worn raw by school shootings, these teachers are now students, learning how to kill an armed intruder.

Most of their bullets find the intended pings; a few kick up red dirt of a berm. It’s a process.

In the year and a half since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, as America has struggled to find the answer to its epidemic of school shootings, some districts have decided that teachers are the ultimate first responders and need to learn to shoot back.

Four Missouri school districts recently sent staffers to this hilltop range for five days of firearms training. The instructors, all current law enforcement officers, refer to the teachers’ “unique situation” — essentially close-quarters combat while youngsters scream and run about.

“You have to pick your environment apart,” Jason Long, a lieutenant with the Howell County sheriff’s office, stresses to the class.

So, are these teachers ready to pull the trigger on a shooter? How about if it’s a kid they’ve had in class?

“None of us would be here if we haven’t already answered that question,” one man said

There now.  Don't you feel better? 

Instead of the problem being guns in schools, the answer is more guns in schools.  That makes perfect sense, like saying "the problem with arson is we need to train people to burn down more buildings in order to try to kill arsonists before they can start fires."  I mean fire just a tool, fires don't kill people, people kill people.  Your local disposable lighter factory thanks you.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article595097.html#storylink=cp

Like A Kansas Tornado

Kansas Republicans, led by Gov. Sam Brownback, have all but destroyed the state's revenues with massive tax cuts for the state's wealthiest citizens and obliterated corporate taxes.  The stated goal was pure supply-side Laffer-curve madness: cut taxes enough and the resulting skyrocketing growth will create more revenues than lost through lowered taxes.  The reality has been a complete disaster, as predicted.

Kansas is the poster child for cutting taxes sharply in line with recommendations of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Its calls for deep tax cuts and limits on revenues and spending reflect extreme "supply side" and anti-tax arguments that mainstream economic research discredited long ago, as my Center on Budget and Policy Priroties colleagues explain here
Now, we see that these policies have been a budgetary disaster for Kansas. So much so, my CBPP colleague Nick Johnson reports, “that leaders in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and other states are expressing concern about the Kansas results and distancing themselves — at least rhetorically — from the Kansas failures.”

Cut taxes so steeply that government cannot do its job, then complain that the fix is to cut more government to make room for more tax cuts.  That part is working as intended.

How badly is Kansas faring? State revenues have plummeted, employment growth continues to lag the national average, and the state’s credit rating has been downgraded. Kansas’ tax cuts this year are costing the state about 8 percent of the revenue it uses to fund schools, health care and other public services, a hit comparable to a mid-sized recession, according to this CBPP report. The revenue loss, state data show, will rise to 16 percent in five years if Kansas doesn’t reverse the tax cuts.

While most states are restoring school funding after years of significant cuts due to the recession, Kansas continues to cut (see chart). Funding for colleges and universities, libraries, local health departments and other services, which also were cut sharply, continues to fall. 
The largest tax cuts went to those at the top, and Kansas actually raised taxes on the lowest-income families. Nothing in the Kansas economy’s subpar performance since these tax cuts were enacted suggests the benefits have “trickled down” to ordinary Kansans.

In other words, Kansas was ground zero for Republican economic policies at the state level, and surprise! They failed totally.

But Kansans will continue to vote for the GOP because government is bad.

Mississippi (Voter Card) Burning

Today's GOP Senate primary runoff in Mississippi is going to get ugly as incumbent Republican Sen. Thad Cochran faces a strong primary challenge from Tea Party darling Chris McDaniel.  Cochran is trying to recruit anyone he can get to vote to keep McDaniel out, particularly black Democrats.  And McDaniel is doing everything he can to intimidate black Democrats from even showing up, saying he'll have "election observers" on hand to make sure these Democrats aren't allowed to vote.

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars backing Mr. Cochran’s Tea Party opponent, State Senator Chris McDaniel, said in an interview on Sunday that his group was joining with Freedom Works and the Tea Party Patriots in a “voter integrity project” in Mississippi.

By the way that's the same Ken Cuccinelli who lost the Virginia governor's race to Terry McAullife last November.  You thought he wasn't going to immediately get a wingnut welfare job?  Oh, and by "voter integrity project" he means "voter suppression through active harassment of black voters".

The groups will deploy observers in areas where Mr. Cochran is recruiting Democrats, Mr. Cuccinelli said. J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official and conservative commentator who said he was advising the effort, described the watchers as “election observers,” mostly Mississippi residents, who will be trained to “observe whether the law is being followed.” 
After nearly 42 years in Washington, Mr. Cochran is facing a dire political threat from Mr. McDaniel, a former radio talk show host. Under state elections law, Democrats may vote in the runoff if they did not vote in the Democratic primary on June 3
“The laws in Mississippi are unusually open to poll watching from the outside,” said Mr. Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general. “We’re going to take full advantage of that and we’re going to lay eyes on Cochran’s effort to bring Democrats in,” he added. “And of course, if they voted in primaries, that’s illegal.”

So expect every black voter to have their eligibility to vote questioned by angry poll workers.  Things haven't changed much in 50 years, have they?  Rick Hasen at TPM:

The idea here appears to be that because poll workers cannot discourage Democrats from voting in the election (based upon an unenforceable Mississippi law which says that only those who intend to support the nominee of the party in the primary can vote in the primary), these outside election observers led by Adams may make such encouragement. That is what Adams must mean about “the law” “being followed.” That’s very troubling and I hope DOJ has some observers now heading down there too.

I hope so.  Not that Thad Cochran hasn't been a complete pain in the ass for the last three decades or so, but McDaniel is certifiable, and if he's willing to pull this crap to win a primary, imagine what he'll do in order to win a general election.

Luckily the Justice Department is very aware of this and is keeping an eye on the situation today.

The U.S. Justice Department says it’s keeping a close eye on a plan by conservatives to send poll-watchers to Mississippi for the state’s U.S. Senate race Tuesday—a “voter integrity” project that’s sparking fears of intimidation and racial profiling. And now, Mississippi’s attorney general and secretary of state are chiming in, too.

The department is aware of concerns about voter intimidation and is monitoring the situation,” a Justice Department spokesperson told msnbc. “Voters that experience problems are encouraged to call 1-800-253-3931.”

Here's hoping that this number won't have to be used.  I'm betting it will be used, and often today.


Related Posts with Thumbnails