Friday, April 14, 2023

Last Call For Welcome To Gunmerica, Con't

Recent mass shootings in Lousisville and Nashville this month went completely ignored by DOnald Trump and the rest of the ammosexuals at this year's NRA Convention in nearby Indianapolis this weekend, because the solution to guns killing people in Gunmerica is always more guns!
Amid an advertised “14 acres of guns & gear” on display in Indianapolis, a phalanx of announced and unannounced 2024 GOP candidates paraded in front of rank-and-file members of the National Rifle Association’s leadership forum.

Pummeled by lawsuits and scandal in recent years, the NRA show went on this week in the shadow of a pair of mass shootings. In 2019, this event took place in the belly of the cavernous Lucas Oil Stadium. Now it’s reduced to a ballroom at the Indiana Convention Center and tiered ticket prices were dropped for free admission to fill out the room.

But the annual cattle call—which drew the likes of former President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, among others—stood out for its red-meat policy pitches on guns. (Former ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina all appeared by pre-recorded video messages.)

Even after recent mass shootings in Louisville and Nashville, none of the candidates staked out middle ground — thus shaping the contours of a familiar gun control debate ahead of 2024. Prior to the most recent shootings in Louisville and Nashville, a Gallup poll showed 63% of Americans are dissatisfied with gun laws.

You wouldn’t know it from listening to the speeches or the lusty applause they received inside the hall here this afternoon. The two parties seemed farther apart than ever on guns. Pence — who just four years ago came to Indianapolis and declared Indiana’s first-in-the-nation red flag law a possible national model to prevent mass shootings — made no mention of them from the stage. Instead, he called for expedited executions of perpetrators. Businessman and author Vivek Ramaswamy, who boasted about owning an AR-15 and received perhaps the warmest welcome of the crowd behind only Trump, called for the abolition of the FBI and ATF. Noem even went so far as to sign an executive order on stage, flanked by NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, putting an end to some banks’ recent efforts to stop lending to gun retailers and manufacturers.

And Trump, meanwhile, proposed reimbursing any teacher for the full cost of a concealed-carry firearm and training from highly qualified experts.

Elect Trump, the former president told the red hat-flecked crowd to close out the confab, “and no one will lay a finger on your firearms.”

“This is not a gun problem, this is a mental health problem, this is a social problem, this is a cultural problem, and this a spiritual problem,” Trump concluded, all but ending any prospect of gun control legislation among the GOP field ahead of 2024.
There will never be "moderation" in the Gunmerica Party. Stop pretending otherwise.
Until Republicans are voted out, nothing will happen.

Ron's Gone Completely Fucking Wrong

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed law one of arguably the most horrific, dystopian fascist decrees in the country right now, and understand that no matter who the GOP candidate for the White House in 2024 is, they will run on bringing this fascism to every corner of America.

On Thursday, DeSantis announced that he signed the Heartbeat Protection Act into law, which will now require a woman to provide proof that the pregnancy was a result of rape, incest or human trafficking in order to receive an abortion up until 15 weeks of gestation.

Documentation can include a restraining order, police report, medical record or other evidence.

This restriction is an exception to the new law, which states that otherwise, abortions will be banned after six weeks unless done to save a pregnant person's life.
Read that again. Go on, I'll wait. 

You have to have documented proof of your rape, or you have to bear the rapist's child. The burden of proof is on the victim.

"We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida," DeSantis, 44, said in a news release.

"I applaud the Legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families," he added.

The legislation comes exactly one year after the Florida governor signed a bill prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks. That law is currently being challenged before the Florida State Supreme Court. The new law would only go into effect if the previous 15-week law is upheld.

On Thursday, The White House issued its own rebuttal to the news that the bill had passed in Florida.

"This ban would prevent four million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks — before many women even know they're pregnant," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement issued Thursday.

The statement added, "This ban would also impact the nearly 15 million women of reproductive age who live in abortion-banning states throughout the South, many of whom have previously relied on travel to Florida as an option to access care."

Florida’s Senate Bill 1718 is much worse than even Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 in 2010, which turned every police officer in that state into an immigration agent. The wide-ranging assault would make it a felony for anyone to give someone they know or should “reasonably” know to be an undocumented immigrant a ride, a job or shelter, punishable by up to five years in prison — and up to 15 years if the immigrant is a minor.

In addition, the bill would ban out-of-state tuition waivers at colleges and universities for undocumented students; invalidate out-of-state licenses given to undocumented immigrants, such as those issued by California; prevent undocumented immigrants from becoming attorneys; require hospitals to collect data about the immigration status of patients and the costs they incur; and require that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. The bill would also make it a felony for someone to use false identification to obtain a job and punish employers who don’t use the federal E-verify program to check immigrants’ documents.

Such changes would have a chilling effect on immigrant communities in Florida and turn good Samaritans or even family members into criminals. Clergy members who minister to undocumented immigrants would be forced to choose between helping those in need and their concern about potential criminal penalties. People who employ undocumented gardeners, nannies or housekeepers would have to fire them or face criminal charges.

Immigrants and immigrant advocacy organizations worry that the bill is so vague it could apply to mixed-status households, meaning U.S.-born children couldn’t give their undocumented parents a ride or allow them to stay overnight. And with a Republican supermajority in both houses of the Florida Legislature, the bill is likely to pass.

DeSantis said the crackdown is necessary “to protect” Florida residents from what he claims are President Biden’s open-border policies. That’s ridiculous. Of the 4.5 million immigrants in Florida, slightly more than 900,000 are undocumented. And they pay taxes — about $1.6 billion a year, according to the American Immigration Council.

Furthermore, the border is not open, and certainly not friendly to immigrants. Biden has continued and expanded the Trump-era policies of expelling migrants to Mexico or deporting them to their home countries, partly due to court challenges and pressure from Republicans.

Florida legislators eager to climb aboard the DeSantis hate train may laud him as a bold visionary, but this tired political ploy is just as likely to come back to bite them. That’s what happened more than a quarter-century ago after California Gov. Pete Wilson and the state Republican Party supported the rabidly anti-immigrant Proposition 187, which would have barred undocumented immigrants from receiving healthcare, public education and other services. The measure was declared unconstitutional and solidified Democratic control in the state. 
I'm hoping that the courts find both to be unconstitutional and that these laws cost DeSantis his political career. I'm probably wrong on the latter part, but if these stay as laws in Florida, thousands of regular people are going to go to prison for a very long time for helping women and undocumented immigrants, and it's going to make both categories of living, breathing human beings into subhuman pariahs.

Ron DeSantis is an absolute fucking monster, and I no longer hesitate to use that exact term to describe him.


Book Ban Bonanza, Con't

For now, a Texas county commission will keep their library open after a federal judge ordered the county reverse its book ban for the public library, which caused the Llano County, Texas county commissioners to consider closing the library rather than comply with the judge's order.

A small-town Texas library system threatened with extinction was spared Thursday after the Llano County commissioners said they would abide by a federal judge's order to restore the books they banned rather than shut the system down.

Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham, who is the head of the county commission, made the announcement after county leaders heard from more than a dozen residents at an emergency meeting.

"The library will remain open while we try this in the courts, rather than through the news media," said Cunningham, who said the county has already spent more than $100,000 on legal costs and vowed to appeal the federal judge's decision.

Outside the county building, loud cheers could be heard as jubilant opponents of shutting down the libraries celebrated.

"That's a victory," the Rev. Kevin Henderson of Sunrise Beach Federated Church declared. "That's a victory for free speech!"

A disappointed Eva Carter disagreed. She said she was on the side of those who wanted to close the libraries and predicted the federal judge's ruling would be overturned on appeal.

“We need to fight it in the court system and get this salacious material removed," Carter, 82, said. "We have God on our side, and we expect he will get the glory when this is said and done.”

Before the commissioners made their decision, residents were given two minutes apiece to weigh in at an emergency meeting. And some of the first to speak denounced the commissioners for threatening the century-old system that, they said, has long been a vital part of the community and a haven for students seeking to do schoolwork and research.

They also dismissed as nonsense claims some in the community have made that the targeted books are pornographic.

"These books are not pornographic," librarian Suzette Baker, who works at the Kingsland branch of the system, told the commissioners.

Jeff Scoggins paused from livestreaming the meeting to warn the commissioners that they will hear it from the voters if they bow to a "minority" that is pushing to close the libraries.

It will be a black eye for Llano County, and "this could domino" to other Texas counties where local libraries have been targeted by small but vocal groups of conservative critics, Scoggins warned.
Of course, as Republicans target public schools, public libraries, public transportation and public services for elimination, it's up to us to get involved locally and fight to keep even basic governance. Republicans don't want any of it.
What they want are dumb, uneducated slaves who are suffering while they profit. And in a lot of red states, they are going to get that. Everyone gets to deal with church-based everything: health care, education, social services who only help who they see as worthy of it. Don't want to play ball? Suffer without, die or leave, it's all the same to the "Christians" running the show.
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