370 Comments

And then there’s another mass shooting. It’s guns. The more we have, the more innocent people die. Guns are for killing. Automatic weapons are for killing people. Australia and New Zealand removed automatic weapons from their countries and their democracies continue without this mayhem. We should have the same right to live without fear. We need to end this now

Expand full comment

The police of Australia, New Zealand and every other democracy: NOT ONE kills their own people in their streets and in their homes at the rate of a thousand people a year like the police in the USA. Not one. This is institutionalized killing. It happens no matter which cartel party is in control because both of them want to maintain the institutions that kill and a culture that will accept this as normal. There's nothing normal about any culture that permits killing others elsewhere or its own in its own communities as "heroic" or "patriotic." There is nothing normal about designing an economy reliant on exporting the implements designed for killing. The culture is adopting the example of its leaders. I don't know how anyone can read this Letter and not realize we have become tolerant of being governed by gangsters. Yes, we do need to end nurturing this culture of killing now.

Expand full comment

I was twice excused from jury duty here in LA when I told the DA that I wouldn't believe a member of the LAPD if they testified it was the day it was. Have watched that collection of crooks and con artists since their first police riot back in 1967 in Century City and seen them go through four "reforms" that each needed another reform within a few years of that reform being instituted because it didn't reform anything, I really have no hope they'll ever be anything but the thugs they were organized to be back in 1880.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

If we don't want to be fearful in our streets, homes, schools, concerts, clubs, and dance halls, we cannot tolerate governments' institutionalizing violence of thugs as a solution to curbing aberrant individuals' violence. We have a problem when we have a society living in fear of each other, even in fear of seeking medical help. I wanted to scream when the first response wanted to divert this into a partisan finger-pointing contest to promote more fear and loathing of each other. Other nations, other democracies don't live in fear of each other or their institutions. It is time to end this "not invented here" nonsense and actually enact some standards and policies rather than finger-pointing and diverting to whataboutisms that lull us into tolerating the do nothingness.

Expand full comment

You nailed it.

Expand full comment

Thanks Ed, for pointing out that other democracies don't live in fear. You are correct. This current 'fear-mongering' is planned to lead the way to an authoritarian regime, controlled by misfits like trump, desantis, mccarthy, gaetz, and too many others to name. If the Democrats, particularly the leadership, don't call this out loud and clear, get the excess guns off the street, reform police to peace officers, it will happen. Thank goodness I'm very, very, old.

Expand full comment

I did not know of you back in 1967 but, outside the Century City Hotel at the LAPD riot LBJ got the message & later said, "I will not seek ..." or run for President.

Expand full comment

ahhh... yes, he did. remember watching that address live on TV. never thought of it in that context till now. (of course, i was a kid then.)

Expand full comment

McNamara & the not-so "best & brightest" were leading Lyndon into a

"quagmire". LBJ had big ears & he would listen even if you had to shout at him outside the Centuty City Hotel.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

I worked for 4 years in a Buffalo, NY charter school (middle and high school) where 90 percent of the students were Black, and that's where I learned what it's really like to be Black. Most of the students lived with police harassment. I remember one of the students, a 14 year old boy, had an encounter with a cop while he was skateboarding on private property. The kid didn't understand why the cop was yelling at him, so he asked why. The cop slapped him and sprained the kid's arm, then took him to the police station. His mom picked him up and brought him to school the next day. When she signed him in, she told me what happened, and I asked her why she didn't lodge a complaint against the cop. She said her son would be getting his driver's license in a couple of years, and she didn't want to risk what could happen to her son should he be pulled over by the police.

I don't trust police. There are enough of them out there with their own agendas.

Expand full comment

I don't trust them either; policing in the US is a racist institution--as well as homo- and transphobic, mysogynist, and all the other hallmarks of kyriarchic power. The few individuals who go in with good intentions are worn down quickly and either burn out or join the boy's club.

Expand full comment

It is a reality that those living in upscale HOAs and gated communities and furnishing money to dark money PACs to support party corruption have no empathy with because they have never lived that reality. Militarizing police while resisting demands that they have civilian oversight by those being policed in the community in which they operate and citizens live has been signature to both cartel parties. That's not democracy.

Expand full comment

Good ole Darrell Gates.

Expand full comment

Good point but your lumping Dems in with rethuglicans is a bridge too far.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

Mine is not a partisan observation. Two parties have maintained us in a state of undeclared wars for decades. Two parties have militarized our civilian police force. Both parties make no effort to reduce the budget dedicated to manufacturing of a weapons based economy. Both parties maintain a murderous healthcare system that deprives people of care and bankrupts and renders citizens homeless at the rate of several hundred thousands of us each year. Being partisan about these things is a way to avoid saying "Yes, we are involved in doing that," which is the first step needed to STOP doing it.

There are ways in which the condition of the leadership of our two parties are certainly different. But in wanting to end enacting violence, eliminating possibility of a police state, wanting to end the murderous health care system contributing to the violent nature of our society and ending the corruption, the members of the parties in every citizen poll taken do not want this cartel "business as usual" to continue. Poll after poll has shown that to be true.

In actually doing what we say we are actually about, what I see is that the parties' leaders are too much alike in meeting the desires of the wealthy and not different enough in effectively meeting what rank and file citizens want and need.

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-politics/article/testing-theories-of-american-politics-elites-interest-groups-and-average-citizens/62327F513959D0A304D4893B382B992B

Expand full comment

With all due respect, if you are not picking a partisan position, you are helping nobody but yourself by venting.

Your points are well taken. Democrats have allowed this nightmare to continue when in power. But Republicans thrive on the horror. There is a difference. So while I don't disagree that both parties have brought us to this point, what is the solution?

Neither party is going away any time soon. So if we are to affect change, it isn't going to happen by railing against the entire system. There will never be a third option. It will require supporting those within the most reasonable party - get them into power and then hold their feet to the fire.

I could write pages and pages about how our healthcare system is not focused on health but on money. About how we stupidly handle mental health issues at the point of a gun. About how the "war on drugs" is a war on people and we have created a profit center for thugs and officials connected to thugs. And how we sell WMDs to Mexico's gangsters and then complain about drugs coming into the country to feed the appetite for such that is created by the same damned war.

My list of complaints will compete with anyone. But if the Democrats are not doing enough, then we need better Democrats and we need to get into the streets to pressure them to make real change. Workers need to get some kahunas and strike.

The question is: How do we break these patterns? How do we affect real change and become a society for all our citizens and not just the oligarchs?

It ain't by becoming an anarchist. It's by choosing the best option to support and demanding action from that option. Hint: it is not the GQP.

There are many Democratic politicians who if you had a beer with them - they would agree with what you say. But they can only do so much if they aren't supported by the vast majority of Americans.

My suggestion is that rather than finding blame, you consider finding a few good politicians and ask them to make some good trouble - start with voting rights. We are in a war. If we don't choose a side, we all will go down in flames. Doesn't mean you can't criticize the side you choose. Just layer something on top of that criticism - like support for those that are trying to help.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

Nice comment, Bill.

Children (in terms of mentality, if not age) pout and make excuses for why they didn't vote, while adults slog to the polls (or to their laptops as the case may be), take a deep breath, shake their weary heads, hold their noses and then choose the lesser evil. Again. And again if necessary.

Failure to vote, to not make a choice, does more damage than anything else to our democracy, and taking to the streets can become a solemn duty.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

"With all due respect, if you are not picking a partisan position, you are helping nobody but yourself by venting. "

Well, I do confess that I am here for the information Heather and other discussants offer and to provide feedback in kind. I also confess that I do not view this as a partisan cheerleading site. If it became that, I probably would not subscribe. I have too many of these invading my Facebook space right now. Yet, I am not responding to flame. I do agree with a main point you made about making a party better by electing better people.

But there are other things we can do. I actually do these. I am not seeking to only help myself and am not needing or seeking anyone's permission to continue doing them.

But I draw a line in feeding "my side" bias by being too afraid to hold my own party's elected accountable and bowing to pressure to try to silence or marginalize others for daring to do that. Activism such as marching for women's rights, science, or black lives matter is NOT marching for the Democratic Party or any other party. It is marching to support the issue, the cause, and the people.

Additional recommendations to be an active participant in the process of democracy by putting democracy BEFORE being partisanship follow.

1). Work locally when we cannot support malfeasance occurring at the national level. Often we can make a difference. Support locally BOTH your party's and citizen initiatives that accord with your values; oppose those that do not. I confess it is easy to commit to support Democrats in my state after seeing how badly this same party serves its constituents in other states. It's not serving us badly here, and we have retained a strong initiative process in spite of partisan power-mongers' attempts to eliminate it.

When possible, serve as a precinct officer, a county, district and state delegate for a candidate and advocate that supports issues and places nation, citizen, and planet before party . I will not actively support the Wasserman Shultz in Florida or the Henry Cuellar in Texas just because "They are Democrats." Wanting to keep their kind of Democratic party out of my state IS an inspiration to support the good we have as much for me as it is to keep right wing neo Nazi Republicans from having power.

2) When possible, donate to good candidates in other states. It is not possible to donate like a dark money plutocrat, but it is an affirmation that reminds us of who we are and to think for ourselves rather than let a party manipulate and think for us as if we were children. I believe that a citizen genuinely defending democracy will certainly donate to a good Democrat trying to primary out a bad Democrat in another state, even when the partisans and horrors like AIPAC are pouring in the money to try to prevent their bad Democrat from being primaried out. To support the likes of Joe Manchin because senior Democrat operatives tell us to support such people is, to me, being a mindless partisan, not a citizen acting from evidence and reasoned thinking. Don't support evil policy or evil people.

3. It is not partisan to be informed. It is partisan to seek the solace of approval by hiding in confirmation bias. In taking action, supporting independent journalists like the HRC page we are on, is NOT partisan, and should hardly be our only source. Yes, read NYT, but temper that with the investigative journalism of David Sirota, Popular Information, New Republic, American Prospect, Breaking Points, Common Dreams, etc. These are mostly investigative reporters, not partisan stooges afraid to hold their own accountable. It takes an act of will to not support the corporations that manipulate with misinformation and promote a pack of lies promulgated by insiders and their allies like MSNBC on cable news. Believed Russiagate? How does that feel now to have succumbed to the pressure to "believe" as in a faith-based religion? It should make you angry if you fell for a massively constructed appeal to authority without a scrap of evidence. Try cutting cable for three months. Life will likely be better for it. I did and remain there five years later.

Informed also means learning what the worst elements of this country are trying to do and say to their followers. Judicial Watch makes me want to vomit, but reading it exposes the evil they do to me and I am informed from it. Don't look to learn what is being said there from the NYT or MSNBC or even FOX. They all are corporations with a narrative to persuade and not always to inform.

Have you ever read a perspective in NYT that informed you about history like you get from this site? Realize that other sites are run by equally accomplished and dedicated scholars behind them too. Find them. Use them. Support them with a paid subscription if you possibly can.

Follow banned comedians like Lee Camp and banned authors like Chris Hedges too. The reasons they are banned by corporate media at the behest of party operatives have the same deficit ethics and morality behind them as Ron DeSantis' threatening teachers with job loss and lawsuits if they allow access to banned books. Banned sources are banned because they have substance that speaks to power, and power wants our attention directed from that substance and into my-side bias. My-side bias partisanship does not make our side more informed or morally superior.

Support initiatives like this below. We can make the nation and planet better through joining efforts whether or not our parties are behind them. In honesty, some bought out politicians in both parties are likely to be our worst opponents in such efforts to strengthen democracy or make the lot of people and planet a bit better.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/eu-court-bans-bee-killing-pesticides

There is a huge brainwashing effort by partisans to convince us that a two-party system and first-past-the-post elections are conducive to democracy and are the only thing possible. Neither is true. I recommend joining Jesse Kumin's Best Democracy site on Facebook to see suggestions for overcoming oligarchy and becoming active in reducing gerrymandering etc. through proportional representation. See https://www.facebook.com/.../permalink/3182562082054367/

Expand full comment

Ed!

That's a great post loaded with many good points and fine ideas. As to cable TV, we haven't watched that in many years. I support gathering news from multiple sources.

As to being disappointed with or even disgusted with some Democratic politicians - I could write pages on that.

My point in this discussion has been not to deny that there are bad actors on the "left". But to clarify what seems to be lost by many. The GQP or whatever you want to call it is no longer a political party with a philosophy of governance. It is an exercise in revenge and chaos creation. It is an existential threat to our nation and the world as a whole. They have wasted precious years that could have addressed the Climate Crisis. They are planet assassins.

Therefore, dwelling on the difficulties of the Democrats and their failings may be an exercise in fairness. I'll engage that when needed - but not when we should devote most of our energies to defeat what is essentially the reincarnations of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin.

When you are standing on the railroad tracks and a freight train is bearing down on you, you are not thinking about how you are digesting your lunch. You get off the tracks. And find a new path.

An analogy could be Ukraine. The war against the enemy must be fought simultaneously with battling internal corruption. But if you lose the war, you have also lost the opportunity to clean house. There will be no house.

Expand full comment

Thank you for this level-headed reply. I cannot make one right now. Of course we can rail against the entire system--and must if it is to be rebuilt in an equitable way. It may be a more complex task, but it is a necessary one.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

Hear here Bill. I am with you.

Expand full comment

Here in Oregon we passed measure 110 which at least is a start to reckoning the gun problem. Immediately we had many people in LE, mainly sheriffs, speaking out against it and refusing to do any of it. Then a judge (elected) in eastern Oregon put a stay on all parts of it. Within a day there were lawsuits. Now there's an appeal to the State Supreme Court to lift the stay. At one point they refused to do anything, but this is another attempt to get them lift the stay. In the meantime, gun murders continue at an unholy pace in Portland especially. Everyone wrings their hands and says what can we do. Yesterday there was a shoot out in South Salem in a very busy area where there was a robbery and attempted car jacking. The suspect shot at the police who managed to shoot him and kill him. The news had an eye witness report, an older man, who gave a blow by blow, and he was clearly delighted by the whole thing and that the police got their man.

Expand full comment

Thanks Bill, so true.

Expand full comment

Ed, your two posts together are a startlingly clear and fair statement of our national political reality and of why we remain such an unjust, unequitable society. Thank you.

Expand full comment

Completely agree, Jacquie and Ed. Pretty simple, actually.

Expand full comment

Sticking with guns and not expanding to other topics, Democrats with very few exception have always supported and pushed for limits on the types of guns people could own, called for universal background checks, registration, training, and supported cities that have restrictions on when and where civilians can carry guns.

It is not a both sides thing at all. One wonders at the need to muddy the water.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

Weapons of war have no place on our streets. Police are being militarized with weapons of war for one purpose, and it is NOT to repel an invading army. The purpose of these weapons is to kill citizens . There is no other target. Those of us who watched a Democrat administration on prime time television use a military TANK against civilians in Waco TX and decades later heard a Republican president suggest police and federal agents shoot black lives matter marchers in the legs understand that militarization is dangerous and it needs to be opposed. There is no muddying of waters here. Weapons of war belong in the hands of the military and national guard with both of these entities under civilian oversight.

Expand full comment

i think they obey their corporate donors... not us. and these days, corporations are more on the side of establishment Dems. water is already muddy... just acknowledging it.

Expand full comment

The gun corps don't donate to Democrats. Good grief!

Expand full comment

Ed, perhaps corruption is the common denominator. And perhaps there are better and worse ways to be corrupt.

Expand full comment

Like the rationalization for our leaders who for decades have supported a list of dictators in Latin America and South America! ‘They are dictators, but OUR dictators!’ Some how I see a direct link to that policy and the thousands of immigrants seeking asylum from ‘OUR dictators’ countries!

Expand full comment

They were against communism and so we supported them. Plus we had to help companies like United Fruit.

Expand full comment

"Some how I see a direct link to that policy and the thousands of immigrants seeking asylum from ‘OUR dictators’ countries!"

I also see a direct link between U.S. foreign policy supporting dictators in Latin America and the ever-increasing tide of immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. Not only our policy of supporting those dictators, but further our policy of overthrowing democratic governments in that region in order to install dictators who will supprt U.S. foreign policies. Of course, all too often, U.S. foreign policies are based on corporate interests.

I first heard the term "Our dictator" in reading of a U.S. diplomat's private comment during the Korean War (1950-53). We supported the South Korean dictator, and the USSR/China supported the North Korean dictator. The diplomat agreed with the journalist that the South Korean leader we supported was also a dictator as was the leader of North Korea. "But," the diplomat added, "He's our dictator." Seems nothing really changes.

Expand full comment

Please don't use "it's overwhelming" to avoid voting and working for the changes you see as necessary. Most need encouragement to help others think through, learn, and plan for what creates genuine peace and happiness for all beings. What counts is what one does to enable that quality to grow and be shared.

Violence does not work to create happiness. Inclusion at the table, learning about one another, standing in the way we expect others to stand and refusing to be bribed, bought, or humiliated into an untenable position gives one power to effect change. A wise friend used to say "clean up your own back yard first" .

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

"The police of Australia, New Zealand and every other democracy: NOT ONE kills their own people in their streets and in their homes at the rate of a thousand people a year like the police in the USA."

In the 1619 Book Project, in the Chapter entitled "FEAR", we learn that the modern US Police Force has its roots in slavery. The modern US police force was born in the south by whites to ensure that a brutal response would occur to any slave who attempted to free himself, attack his owner or rapist, or try to defend himself in any way. Since it was legal to kill a slave, the origin US police force routinely killed blacks at will and whim.

So, now? We cannot be shocked that our history matters and that (some) of our ancestors bequeathed us a police system bathed in violence and the routine murder of innocent people.

Expand full comment

Roots in slavery in the south and protection of corporate property in the north near Boston.

https://time.com/4779112/police-history-origins/

Expand full comment

our politicians do what we allow them to do.

Expand full comment

if only

Expand full comment

Semi-automatic weapons are specifically for killing a lot of people in a short period of time, sort of the definition of war, or a "mass shooting".

Expand full comment

Yes, J.L. The automatic M-16 is a dreadfully devastating weapon when used against unsuspecting civilians, and the various semiautomatic "civilian" versions often called AR-15s -- the ones any evil bastard or inadequately diagnosed sociopath can buy in most municipalities in the US -- are the most frequently used for our weekly mass-shooting events.

In a sane world, the desire to own one of these diabolical devices would be proof enough of mental illness.

Expand full comment

Not mental illness, just “my grievance means your life.”

Expand full comment

Well, and the media they follow keep dinning into their ears that everything they hold dear is at risk of being wrested from their virtuous grips by wicked, powerful, dangerous, evil folk like... um... first graders, and Black folk at Bible study, and (who'd believe it?) little old ladies like us who think inclusivity is a -good- thing.

Expand full comment

Outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his last full day as the top US diplomat, slammed progressive identity politics as “not who America is.”

“Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they’re not who America is. They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about,”

https://nypost.com/2021/01/20/mike-pompeo-slams-woke-ism-in-final-day-as-secretary-of-state/

Expand full comment

This seems to be a sign of a mental illness. It reflects a lack of empathy and external locus of control, which is also only how children ought to think. Adults should be able to see that it is madness to slaughter others because you feel aggrieved. And there's something weird about thinking it's okay to own a weapon designed to kill a lot of people in a short amount of time. And that we believe it's fine that weapons designed to kill are widely distributed among the population and are easily accessible is also really mind boggling.

Expand full comment

What is at the root at the lack of empathy among (mostly, but certainly not exclusively) young white men? Why do they blame everyone else for their problems? Is there a biological cause? Why does this sociopathy seem to be increasing?

Expand full comment

Most babies are born with the foundation for developing empathy. When kids are responded to with empathy they strengthen their own capacity for empathy. However, how many boys are treated with empathy especially by their fathers? When empathy is linked to femaleness, boys will often need to distance themselves from it, so as to protect their masculinity. If we raise boys to "suck it up" and to only be able to express anger as a substitute for their vulnerable feelings then it's no surprise that some will take it to the extreme.

Expand full comment

Mostly....but the last two in CA were elderly Asian men.

Expand full comment

There is debate about the degree to which lack of empathy can be inborn vs learned, but from what I observe, the degree of compassion in a society has a lot to do with key, reinforced cultural values. American culture once reinforced genocide and slavery, and still visibly maintains dual standards with regard to race. 1930s Germany maintained a different, dominant standard of empathy than Germany today, right-wing holdouts notwithstanding. Predatory narcissism is probably our species' most serious enemy, and we are fools not strive far harder to discourage it.

Expand full comment

Jeri, I think believing "my grievance means your life" is something we are all accustomed too, but it is crazy nevertheless.

Expand full comment

= I am entitled and better than you.

Expand full comment

after having to ID children shot to death with automatic weapons—shredded to death, really—I would think parents, police, etc. Would scream STOP! But we don’t.

Expand full comment

We have been having a lot of DAILY mass shootings for a while now. Damn guns! And don’t get me started on those people who think they need 10 or 20 “for protection”.

Expand full comment

I am sorry that my ability to gift this article is no longer available; I have gifted it in the past, and am currently arguing with The Atlantic about my subscription status. It is an amazing article that details a lot of what went on during Vietnam and the M-16 debacles along with how and why the AR-15 was developed.

The AR-15 does not belong in civilian hands. The only reason it belongs in Law Enforcement hands at the moment is because of the AR-15's that are already in civilian hands.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1981/06/m-16-a-bureaucratic-horror-story/545153/

Expand full comment

OMG. This article makes my heart hurt. It also is enraging. Thank you for sharing.

Expand full comment

I was stunned when I read it. The hubris!

Expand full comment

Thanks Ally

Honestly - I have never been law enforcement nor military but I've always read a lot which I guess has made me less naive.(sp?) I just am not that surprised at this article. Bureaucracy in action. Remember the huge costs to hammers, toilets etc. years ago - stuff we the taxpayers paid hugh amounts for?? Like I said bureaucracy - military, of course governmental, corporate & elsewhere. Look at the current hospital corporations! And its worse than ever today.

The shame is: in this case (and likely many others) the human tragedy.

Expand full comment

Which means that if you are going to clear weapons of war off the streets, you have to clear them from police and keep them only in the military. If the police are justified to keep a weapon of war because the "bad guys" now have them, then your argument supports that a person who owns a single weapon for home defense should be at a disadvantage to the "bad guys." That argument is easy to object to. Technically those charged with domestic violence are not allowed to possess firearms. Like red flag laws, that law is not enforced by those charged with law enforcement. The profession where the highest rate of domestic violence occurs is police. If the law were enforced equally for all a sizable portion of the police force at every level would be disarmed and out of a job. No, I don't want weapons of war in the hands of domestic abusers, even if a political party does.

Expand full comment

My opinion here is based upon having been “outgunned” by someone who was trying to kill me. Please excuse me if the argument isn’t as reasoned as you might wish.

Expand full comment

The Swiss have already addressed the problem for both their public and their police successfully. We know how they do it, we know what they do not do, and we know what the outcomes are.

Expand full comment

While I agree with the first part of your comment. I'll have to politely disagree with the 2nd half of your statement. Not everyone who owns a firearm is a sociopath, even a semiauto version. I'm a progressive, gun toting liberal. I don't conceal or open carry but definitely keep one at home. The reason being is that we live in America, where we have a police state with military grade weapons, the same police that can also kill you because they "think" you are armed. Additionally, I've been to a few protests where alt right people have rolled up on women and young people (Women's March, or Roe vs Wade protests) and pointed guns at them. Unless we change the whole system, I don't think it makes sense to be unarmed in a country where about 15-20% of the population is okay with committing acts of violence against those that they constantly "other". Unfortunately, like you said, we don't live in a sane world...

Expand full comment

I am an armed liberal as well. I do carry concealed, but I was a cop in the area where I live for 30 years, and there are some folks out there who remember me in not-so-good ways.

Expand full comment

Philly T, you're right, not all owners of firearms are necessarily sociopaths, but sociopaths and other crazy or just plain evil folks having easy access to extremely lethal weapons designed for close jungle combat is clearly a big problem in our imperfect and teetering democracy. I admit I sometimes paint with too broad a brush, and your comment does not sound at all like a 2nd Amendment tirade, in any case.

That said, I am curious what use an AR-15 might be to someone who doesn't go out in public either openly carrying his weapon or concealing it in some way. Is there another way to "tote" a gun, as opposed to simply owning one?

Under our present circumstances, I am okay with people owning a firearm for home protection as long as they can do so safely and legally, and I'm afraid I can also imagine a future America in which our social order has collapsed into chaos and we are required to fight it out with crazies already armed to the teeth, though I hope to be dead and well scattered long before such a situation arises.

Part of avoiding such a grim future is to make gun ownership extremely rare, so rare that our few extremely well-trained police will be able to safely walk their beats greeting all citizens with a smile and being of real service in emergencies, and this presupposes somehow ending racism, bigotry and the extreme wealth disparity causing so much of our fear and mistrust of one another and... well, Utopia can't be built in a day or even overnight.

I appreciate your comment Philly T. Thank you.

Expand full comment

I’m an old liberal who held her first pistol when I was maybe 25? That would be 50 yrs ago, fyi. Today, after giving it a serious thought, I’ve about decided to make a purchase and head to the range to get back up to speed.

Expand full comment

I am not for banning guns entirely, but I see a lot more negative than positive arguments for free circulation of so called "assault rifles". Who does one imagine assaulting with that type of weapon? Why are fully automatic weapons banned?

Expand full comment

David H

Weekly mass shooting events have become daily mass shooting events. My gun-loving friends say "it's not guns, it's mental illness." Meanwhile they vote for Republicans who cut funding for healthcare, including psychiatric services.

In the 70s, Ohio Repub Governor James Rhodes, closed state mental hospitals. He promised the patients would receive outpatient services, including group homes. This was the start of a wave of homelessness that persists to this day. It was a lie, everyone knew it was, yet he got re-elected. This is the hard-azz mentality we're dealing with when people say it's not guns, it's mental illness.

Expand full comment

It's been years but i recall reading a study that indicated that people with "mental Illness" were responsible for violent crime about as often as the rest of the population.

Expand full comment

The one mental illness that worries me most from a public safety perspective is antisocial personality disorder, AKA sociopath, but they would be less a of problem were we to cease electing them to public office.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

Which is why Russia invested so heavily in the NRA.

Expand full comment

Clearly, you do not understand that the Framers of the Constitution believed that any man (now we would say any person) has a God-given right to walk around carrying a weapon with more firepower than the King’s best battalion had in 1776. If that’s the way you feel, then I am afraid there’s no talking to you.

Expand full comment

For an eye opening look at the American myth regarding gun ownership I recommend Ortiz book Loaded. She is also the author of the Indigenous Peoples History of the united States.

https://birchbarkbooks.com/products/loaded

Not so much 2nd amendment as genocidal land grab. Our entire ethos regarding fire arms begs a closer look.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Laurie, for this recommendation. Looks to be an important read to grapple with our ongoing gun culture that is definitely getting worse by the second. Not sure I have ever learned the history of guns from this perspective.

Expand full comment

I'm adding that book to my list right now!

Expand full comment

Exactly. IT’S THE GUNS.

Expand full comment

The guns, yes, but please don't forget the meticulous and unremitting cultivation of chips on shoulders.

Expand full comment

Yes. Yes. Yes. Our culture accepts chest beating, ground pawing, fist waving as a way to express one's unhappiness instead of seeing that this is only "normal" for children. These adults who engage in deadly tantrums because they're unhappy haven't matured. But we seem not to recognize it as such. There's something about our acceptance of how we see masculinity in particular. Most of these shooters are men. Men who appear to have been stuck in childhood and who have embraced the worst aspects of masculinity. It's time we changed our definition of masculinity and how we raise boys. And it's time we stopped electing politicians who pander to the worst of us instead of actually doing what most of us want - reasonable gun regulation.

Expand full comment

I retired from running a mental health clinic and community program in 2016. Every time there was a mass shooting, I'd get a call from some poor media tool asking about mental illness. I always said, We only talk about mental illness because we don't want to talk about guns. Mental illness is evenly distributed around the world but the US stands out alone in mass shootings. The other US attribute we have all to ourselves is easy access to guns, particularly guns whose only use is killing people. So why do you think we have mass shootings?

I'd also like to address police violence. When I was younger and more activist political, before I reached the age where police could not casually abuse me, I had a number of unpleasant encounters, which led me to conclude that if the police weren't the police, we'd need police to defend us from the police. And heck, I'm a white guy. Just stop and think how many communities never get to the point where they can feel safe.

Expand full comment

I think it's complicated, but I can't help but notice the way we glorify solving problems with guns in this society as a natural, go-to solution as opposed to a last, desperate choice option. I know that in some other counties the US is considered extreme for it's gun violence. I don't have real evidence, but it is my impression that the incidence of police using guns in inappropriate circumstances*, and shooting first and assessing the situation later after the declaration that suspicion alone justified bombing Iraq.

* This story I read some years ago is ridiculous, but also seriously scary: https://www.alternet.org/2014/12/jim-hightower-frightening-swat-team-raid-called-business-barbering-without-license

Expand full comment
Jan 26, 2023·edited Jan 26, 2023

That article was so like something from a frightening alternate reality that I felt the need to fact-check it before saying anything. It checks out not just on its own but as one of many.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/19/federal-appeals-court-stop-using-swat-style-raids-for-regulatory-inspections/

Thanks for sharing it.

This suggests that police actually need to be smarter than soldiers in that they need training to judge when to disobey an order and the mental acuity to perceive when behaving as a mindless mob requires halting violence. A number of lives in high profile situations we have known in the past decade would have been saved. Instead, citizens already under control and posing no threat were viewed as "the enemy" as in a military engagement and their lives expendable. My-side bias promoted by parties seems to encourage such dehumanization by encouraging taking sides according to whose goons are being employed and against whose likely voters.

One should follow closely the "Police City" facility now under construction in Georgia. A party seeking to govern rather than to rule through violence should require public oversight of that facility and the kinds of training provided.

Expand full comment

Then there is this mentality:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2017/02/14/a-day-with-killology-police-trainer-dave-grossman/

https://newrepublic.com/article/141675/professor-carnage-dave-grossman-police-warrior-philosophy

I regard policing done right as a very noble profession, and my great grandfather (who I never met) was a British Police Chief, and a policeman from his teens. According to family lore, he was kind, measured, and did things by the book. Allegedly he was a stickler for stopping any sort of police misconduct.

Expand full comment

I see the problem as the result of a culture that in the last 40 years has focused only on rights, and not on the responsibilities that go with them. We have had increasing vandalism, theft, other various more violent crimes, culminating in the first school mass shooting at Columbine in 1999.

We’ve had lots of guns throughout our history, the vast majority owned and used by responsible owners. I grew up with a loaded .22 rifle tucked in the entryway closet and knew from age 5 not to touch it. I learned to shoot it when I was 9.

My mother and grandmother smuggled guns to the resistance fighters in Austria during WWII. That history makes me leery of banning “assault” rifles, especially with January 6 and the way the MAGA right is going. It does seem logical to me to strictly limit what kind of weapons may be purchased by persons under 21. Don’t tell me that I should tolerate/forgive/give second or umpteenth chances to violent offenders under 21 because their brains haven’t matured yet, and still sell them “assault” weapons and large capacity magazines.

We have grown a culture that focuses on self and wants instead of the common good. How do we turn it around?

Expand full comment

"Don’t tell me that I should tolerate/forgive/give second or umpteenth chances to violent offenders under 21 because their brains haven’t matured yet, and still sell them “assault” weapons and large capacity magazines."

That makes sense to me, as does policies aimed at enforcing responsible uses of guns. I still wonder about the overall impact of making extraordinarily dangerous weapons widely available because they might be needed in a civil war.

As for our culture, I think we pursue self interests of necessity but emotional maturity needs to integrate our interests and rights with those of others, and society as a whole. The Constitution attempts to define certain rights and responsibilities. There are more. Liberty isn't liberty unless it's for all. The same for justice. I don't think our society talks enough about that.

Expand full comment

Switzerland seems to have a model that would meet 2nd Amendment criteria. Its characteristics are intense training, close regulation, and civilian ownership of semi-automatic rifles. I say 'proven" based on the stats: incredibly low numbers of killings by both citizens and police. Neither party seems to want such a solution. I believe the extremist power-mongers find the problem too valuable as a tool to keep people divided, frightened, and fighting to actually want to solve the problem.

We seem to fail our constitution on the words "well-regulated." We don't respect any need for training or to restrict access based on intelligence/psychiatric limits. Red flag laws are common sense gun control. They remove, temporarily, the firearms from a person who has indicated that access poses a danger based on their own behavior. That is about as much "deprivation of rights" as taking away the car keys from an inebriated person so they don't pose a danger driving drunk..

Our own Democrat governor advocates red flag laws and enforcing them. I'm totally behind that.

Semi-automatic weapons with small capacity magazines are not "assault" weapons. The government itself sold semi-automatic M1 WW2 military rifles with an 8-round capacity to citizens under the Civilian Marksmanship Program. It was never classed as an "assault" weapon.

Expand full comment

Apart from the 2nd Amendment, there seems to be little public discussion of what the body of the Constitution has to say about militias:

"To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

Whaoa. Discipline? Governing? Blaspheme!!

Expand full comment

Plus - the musket was what the Constitution was aware of - NOT the assault rifles with 30 round capacity!

The thought of what that weapon would do to a deer, squirrel, rabbit, turkey? We already know what it does to the bodies of children, dont we?

On that note, I'm shutting down for the night.

Expand full comment

I agree that Switzerland could be a good model. I do believe that the rifles go home with the soldiers after they’ve completed their mandatory one year of military service. While I don’t think the US could pull off requiring a year of military service right now, I’d have no problem with requiring proof of mandatory safety, etc. training before purchasing a gun. I took NRA safety/personal protection training and my children took NRA Hunter Safety training in elementary school. (Back in the days of Eddie Eagle and responsible gun use/ownership being the focus of the NRA.)

My state also has a red flag law. It needs to be done properly with a court order and assurances that the weapons won’t disappear, that they will be returned to the owner in the same condition as when seized, upon satisfaction of due process that the crisis is over.

It’s a stopgap, but a necessary one right now. What we really need to work on is instilling a sense of personal responsibility in our children, starting with toddlers.

Expand full comment
Jan 25, 2023·edited Jan 25, 2023

The last time i researched this, about four years back, the Swiss soldiers had a choice to keep their issued arms at home or in an armory if they didn't want it in the home. In the home, it had to be secured and inspections made certain securing it was done. At the end of service, the rifle, a true fully automatic assault rifle, could be returned to the state or retained. If the citizen chose to retain it, a gunsmith removed the fully automatic capacity to semi automatic (civilian) mode.

The Swiss have another clause in their constitution. They don't let their military out of the country. Their corporations cannot use their military to secure or procure resources in other nations. No Vietnams, Kuwaits, Iraqs, Afghanistans for them.

In an earlier issue, Heather accurately covered the history of the NRA's change from a firearms safety and marksmanship educational organization to becoming an irrational voting block of the Republican Party. She is one of the few people I've seen present that history honestly.

In undergraduate college I was on our varsity rifle team, so I, like you, lived through that period in which firearms ownership was treated by the general community as a responsibility and ownership, training and care were not yet stigmatized. Afterwards, both parties used firearms ownership in a sickening way to polarize neighbor against neighbor and deliberately created hate-on-command disciples to gain voting blocks. Through partisanship, we lost the community of responsibility, respect, educating, training, and caring.

Expand full comment

For a while, in the mid 1960s, I earned a number of NRA sponsored awards at summer camp. I thought of them as a "firearms safety and marksmanship educational organization" at that point.

Expand full comment

That is what the NRA was at the time. The 60s are the same time I was a competitive small bore member on my varsity college rifle team. Only much later was the NRA taken over and made into a political pawn. Another participant here, "Danielle NM," has been discussing living and experiencing that same transition.

Expand full comment

More guns in USA than people! And that does not include ghost gun.

Expand full comment

A senior counter intel FBI agent doesn’t go to work for a sanctioned Russian oligarch without political cover. He thought he was above the law, protected by powerful “friends”. I think we are going to see a lot more decoupling from Russian interests that are hobbling Western democracies. Erghhh

Expand full comment

It appears to me that since Nixon's "pardon", the former "Party of Lincoln" has organized around racketeering-like corruption, using the law to defeat it's purposes. Republicans were positively gleeful in their refusal to even go through the motions of considering serious and documented charges against Trump. No wonder his followers felt entitled to invade the Capitol or excoriate (or attack) black people for just being in their vicinity.

They blather about 'freedom" and "patriotism" is just a distraction from their narcissistic claims of extreme entitlement; think of Cliven Bundy for example. They bellow, as Trump did, about supporting "law and order" yet their idea of law is autocratic. They scurry with excitement over regulating the behavior of anyone else outside of their cult, yet bristle and stonewall if asked to comply with law themselves.

And they talk out of both sides of their mouth to claim whatever is convenient to their agenda. That's corrupt as hell, and I hope we are really turning a corner here, rather than just another pothole filled on this highway to disaster. We the People need to up our game.

Expand full comment

It goes way back. Stupid me thought that repubs had learned their lesson with Nixon. All they learned was to be more crooked and not get caught, AND never say anything bad about another Repub…NO MATTER WHAT. Cliven Bundy should have been in jail all this time…my heart sank when he was turned loose. An omen for our times…

Expand full comment

I’m an old “folk song” guy, Jeri, and what keeps ringing in my ears (besides the tinnitus) when my brain tries to confront mass shootings (huge outbreak in CA lately) and suspected FBI and Presidential sons-in-laws (etc.) bad guys getting $500,000 personal recognizance bonds and huge “loans” is Woody Guthrie’s song “Pretty Boy Floyd.” Toward the end is this phrase: “Some will rob you with a six-gun and some with a fountain pen.” It is pretty apparent that one end of the wealth spectrum gets caught and “pays the price,” while the other end of the money trail simply rides off into the sunset - untouched!

Expand full comment

I’m reminded of a phrase in a Dylan song…”. Steal a little they put you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king!”

Expand full comment

Perfect, Martha! Perfect!

Expand full comment

“Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.” - Balzac

Expand full comment

As well as a line from an Eagles song: "A man with a briefcase can steal more money than any man with a gun."

Expand full comment

And create far more misery. I imagine Putin has a fancy one.

Expand full comment

Cliven Bundy was the beginning of publicly no responsibility for some people.

Expand full comment

I may attach too much significance to it, but it seemed to me that the the lesson that created the nominally "Republican" mob we see today came with Nixon's so-called pardon, that it was possible for a party to misapply the law to cheat due process of law, and get away with it. It's not that this concept is new, and there is a lot of corruption in in the back of the Democrat's resume, but it was a crucial moment that the Republican Party (Which still had a conscience in the run up and hearings of Watergate) decided to go for broke.

"Trump’s personal counterattack strategy to sexual misconduct allegations, as cited in Bob Woodward’s White House memoir. You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” Trump said, according to Woodward. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead. That was a big mistake you made.” -https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-mocks-al-franken-resignation

As for the heavily armed and threatening Bundy gang, had they not been white and right wing...??

Expand full comment

In theology, what you are seeking is called Systematic Theology—consistency across the playing field.

Expand full comment

What do they call what the Christian right is seeking, in theology and all?

Expand full comment

One of Dante's inner rings of Hell.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

It's more likely the Christian right is a pawn for some oligarchs of various mobsters, competing for Catholic clients.

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9nYXNsaXRuYXRpb24ubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/YzNhYzE5ODQtMmQ3ZS00YzBhLTk0MGEtNzNiM2M1NjFmNWIx?ep=14

Expand full comment

Ted, you might be correct! Trump had not won the election when Comey was worried about a 'leak' harmful to Hillary which was thus pretty aggressive (maybe paid for?) and I am sure got 'noticed' (rewarded-protected) by Trumpers once their fellow criminals moved into government. Law Enforcement guys are usually the first to cooperate 'flip' once the ca ca hits the fan, but in this case Russian death threats might leave him speechless. DOJ needs an insider to 'flip' and layout the roadmap to sink Trump criminal organization and take all fellow criminals down together.

Expand full comment

“Once their fellow criminals moved into government.” Says it all and what made my blood run cold on Nov 9, 2016. That and having a known con man behind the Presidential podium with keys to the kingdom…

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

Comey’s mistake was not informing the public sooner and better of the scope and reach of Russian interference , Active Measures, and the seriousness of these effective tools of both influence and money. Russia attacked us with more than 1 type of Cyber Weapon, and they won, and are still winning today. This Former FBI agent is one example, Manafort, TFG, Kushner, Rudy & Steve Banon, Wilbur Ross, Eric Prince, are too stupid and greedy to realize how they are being used and manipulated. But I think it goes deeper than any of us realize. We are talking a trillion dollars of influence that Putin must launder around the world before he can repatriate that stolen/embezzled cash ( Bill Browder, Red Notice). This is why Nalvany is in the gulag. This is why so many Russian Journalist and dissidents have been killed. This is what the oligarchs are for Putin, and for 20+ years! Paying off Judges and buying political influence, favors, loans, is part of every organized crime/ money laundering scheme. You don’t start laundering hundreds of billions of dollars until you buy off law enforcement, pay off Judges, donate politically, and threaten violence as last resort insurance. Corruption is like a cancer. “How metastasized it is in America”, this is what AG Garland is working out. That is why J6 and other investigations are taking so long. The J6 violence it is intertwined with corruption and Russian Active measures.

Expand full comment

Interesting take on that. Must ponder.

I have long held that Russian manipulation of our social media platforms is at the root of the severity of the national divide that we are experiencing.

Expand full comment

Not Social Media. That’s not really what it is. It is social manipulation. As a commercial application it’s the most effective advertising/marketing tool ever. As an influence and radicalization cyber weapon it is the equivalent of a nuclear weapon. Of all the books written about warfare, the most important is Carl Von Clausewitz. “Get your enemy to do what u want without him knowing it”. This sums up the GOP. It is high time we regulate mass communications that is the root manipulation of our discontent.

Expand full comment

Ah, yep. Take the $$$ out of it. NPR on steroids?? A thought.

Expand full comment

Charlie, it’s like we have opened Pandora’s Box.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

Freezing Order by Bill Browder is his newest book about Russian money laundering. Browder builds on the Panama and Paradise Papers, bank of Cyprus and Malta and how the embezzled oil money flows out of Russia through Ukraine to Bank of Cyprus ( Wilbur Ross chairman) , Malta, Austria, Panama, Bahamas, Grand Cayman, into shell corps in Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Delaware, where dark shell companies are legal, before it finds its ways into London, NYC, and Flordia real estate. Trump Properties have been vehicles for Russian money laundering for more than 25 years. The scope of these crimes can’t happen without payoffs, Bribes, violent intimidation and blackmail to law enforcement, judges, and politicians.

Expand full comment

Despite your identification of systemic corruption by the repubs, they will now investigate H Biden’s laptop. Well known that there are porn files in the memory, perhaps gym Jordan hopes to find new ones picturing boys!

Expand full comment

Now I’m curious about the Chinese connection to this FBI Agent. Could he have sold out CIA assets? Could the Chinese be using Pegasus software to root out dissidents like the Saudis and Orban/hungry, and the Mexico Cartels?Could the Russians be using Pegasus for both espionage, counter espionage, blackmail, as their newest active measure? Maybe it is as easy as offering money. What a mess the world is when dictators have such exorbitant oil and gas profits.

Expand full comment

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9nYXNsaXRuYXRpb24ubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/?ep=14

I find this appauling.i don't know how or where to escape to get away from this dilemma. I guess I'm glad I'm 75 and hopefully will not see the consequences.

Expand full comment

How to two former FBI directors when to work as attorneys representing the Russian Mafia:

( a similar thing is happening today with former Generals and Admirals going to work as consultants and lobbyist for authoritarian regimes)

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh

https://www.businessinsider.com/fbi-director-louis-freeh-russia-prevezon-money-laundering-2017-11

Former Director Sessions

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB117674837248471543

Expand full comment

Great podcast on this subject! It’s the cliff notes of the corruption that Russia has slipped in under our door. There are entire books on each person and events that tell a deeper story of how consistently effective the Russians are at turning Americans and other Westerners. When we say “Russians”, that should include: Russian Oligarchs, Putin’s Cronies, cyber and hacking experts, troll farms, propagandists, Political Technologists, Russian intel, soldiers, paramilitaries and police services, Russian Mafia, Russian money Launderers. These groups are not independent of each other. They are all working collectively with the same nefarious goal under Putin’s direction.

I think the FBI is learning this over the last 25 years. I don’t think we should think that all of the FBI is corrupted it’s not. It is made up of human beings with their own vulnerabilities and ideologies, the majority of which are Republican and therefore those vulnerabilities can be exploited just like in the general population. It is painful to watch and when someone so senior like Mcdongal falls so far, it is shocking, and it needs to get fixed. To me Comey ( like all directors a Republican) is one of the naive R’s in charge. He walked the middle ground, not wanting to rock the GOP boat. He should have sounded the public alarm in 2014 when the Russians began their Acive Measures campaign. Because he didn’t, a 1/3 of our population has been radicalized beyond recovery, including leadership at the FBI, almost the entire GOP, it’s billionaire donor class, and the ignorant everywhere. Ukraine and “Russia are ghosts of America’s future”- Fiona Hill

Expand full comment

Wow...ghosts of America's future.Thstscreakkybstretching my imagination to a place I don't want to be.😔

Expand full comment

Have to say that "decoupling from Russian interests" seems like a quant euphemism for what used to be called corruption, and what might actually be closer to treason. Just how deep and how wide have the Putin crime family's tentacles slithered into our government? Seems pretty clear how far they've dug into one of our political parties. Though I know it's not nice to say such things out loud among polite company, it sure looks like there's a there there, and has for a while. BTW, on debt default: cui bono?

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

Citizens United makes bribery legal from all quarters, foreign and domestic, at least according to Chief Justice Roberts.

Expand full comment

Red Notice Bill Browder. Warning, this is the red pill to Wonderland Alice, all the way down the rabbit hole to Citizens United, then keep going.

Expand full comment

Speaking of ethics and lack of….

Here is Leigh McGown, Politics Girl. Spot on as usual and reminding us what we are to be really concerned about. To put it mildly.

https://youtu.be/tZ0kSN1sCnk

Salud, Ted

🗽

Expand full comment

“Ill fares the land,

To hastening ills of prey.

Where wealth accumulates,

And men decay” - Oliver Goldsmith

Nothing has accumulated wealth for the GOP like Citizens United. Thanks Justice Roberts. Thanks a lot.

Expand full comment

Exactamundo. And/or directed by said politcio's to run the operation.

As a former conterintell guy I find tis absolutely incredible. Film at 11 folks.

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

"Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York told Magistrate Judge Sarah Cave that they had agreed with McGonigal’s attorney for him to be released on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond, co-signed by two other people."

So, a white guy (McGonigal) becomes a mole for the Soviet Union, while employed by the FBI, takes money from an old Soviet warlord to do his bidding WHILE AT THE FBI, then, goes to work for that Oligarch's criminal enterprise for a while, gets caught stealing money, is arrested (NOT shot dead) and RELEASED ON PERSONAL RECOGNIZANCE BOND.

In the meantime, if I steal a Baby Ruth Candy bar from a gas station, a cop will shoot me in the upper torso, doing his best to kill me, outside the store after the store keeper calls it in via 911.

Seriously, that EXACT scenario just happened in the small city I live in. I am not making it up. Except, the guy shot was not me. He just looked a bit like me.

America. I guess it is better than a lot of places, especially for white people, but, it ain't no picnic for most people and it positively sucks for a huge number of people.

Anyway, if anyone asks you nice folks what I think about this guy they just arrested? Yep, death penalty.

Start treating these white guys selling out our country like a guy stealing a candy bar at a gas station TODAY. How hard is that? (pretty hard it looks like).

Expand full comment

Got ya, 100%

Expand full comment

It keeps getting deeper and darker.

A twenty-two year veteran FBI agent turns agent provocateur to subvert an election on behalf of a foreign government and succeeds in helping to install a psychopath in the White House. Hopefully McGonigal will see his best interests lie in making a deal with SDNY prosecutors and tells all he knows in exchange for a reduced sentence. Oh, and kiss your pension goodbye.

At last, Jared Kushner’s name starts popping up. I think he’s as dirty as his father-in-law. We need to know what he traded and gave away in the Middle East in exchange for bailing him out of his various failed real estate/business ventures.

Expand full comment

McGonigal should receive nothing more and nothing less than a quick firing squad. See my other post on comparison of his crime to another local crime where I live.

Expand full comment

Mike, I read your post and I agree with you 100%. A whole lot of people sold out their country for TFG, and continue to do so. As much as I would like to see McGonical “stood up before a firing squad”, there are bigger fish. I would trade a slap on the wrist for the likes of McGonical if I could see TFG go to jail.

Expand full comment

Yes, thanks. I would like to see TFG in jail too, but, Ralph, it will never happen so give it up.

I have.

Expand full comment

As the old yankee said on the "Bert and I" record, "Not yet."

Expand full comment

No. You want him to squawk. You want him as a case study to use to teach lessons from. To better understand how he was turned.

Expand full comment

Looks like Jared hand delivered state secrets to MBS for his father in law.

Expand full comment

And let MBS off the hook for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

In exchange for…?

Expand full comment

in exchange for money. Trump openly said, on video, that he loves the Saudis because they give him a lot of money. I don't remember if it was while he was disgracing the Oval Office or shortly before.

Expand full comment

More money.

Expand full comment

Did he learn that loan forgiveness technique from Paul Manafort?

Expand full comment

Grrrrrrrrrr

Expand full comment

How many Jared Kushner's are there hidden in plain site as was Jared before 2016.

Expand full comment

I don’t think there was a single decent, honest, honorable person in the whole crowd.

Expand full comment

Or McGonigal will be charged, yet magically end up in a tropical non-extradition country, and the "two other people" will be paid handsomely for their efforts.

Expand full comment

Perhaps it is getting lighter and lighter Ralph. These folks have been operating for years. Now they are being exposed.

Expand full comment

Barbara, Jared Kushner had an office in the White House where visitors were required to stop prior to meeting with Trump to drop off bags of money.

Now, just because we KNOW that was happening, does not mean that there will be any correction.

Expand full comment

It's unrealistic to think that every instance of wrongdoing will be exposed and punished.

Bags of money? Really? I hadn't heard of that one. Nothing would surprise me with this gang.

Expand full comment

Dirtier.

Expand full comment
Jan 25, 2023·edited Jan 25, 2023

And it will get worse until we fix it. Like most police forces, the FBI being one is made up of a majority of Republicans with an ideology that has gotten stronger even Radicalized. what then? It’s not that hard to see that there’s probably FBI Agents WITH Rudy Giuliani‘s worldview. In their radicalized worldview, they see Vladimir Putin, as a fellow ideologue, who doesn’t put up with business regulation, or any regulation or laws that get in the way of profits. This worldview is aligned with the billionaire class that controls much of our monopolistic economy.

Expand full comment

Keep our eyes on DeSantis. Republicans by hook or crook have created and used their own outrageous behaviour as a distraction to advance their malicious politics.

DeSantis rejected an African American AP History program, saying its unlawful, pushes political ideology and is indoctrination when a long list of AP classes already exist about arts, sciences and culture, including several immigrant and foreign histories and culture. But nothing has existed concerning African American history and culture. Nor Native American history and culture that I could find.

DeSantis is clearly a culture war general that I contend is part and parcel to the emotions, grievances and licence that such politicians give to gun and police violence in America. Not only does DeSantis promote grievances on all sides, but he dismisses the humanity and value of our many non-white cultures while encouraging white racism. African American and Indigenous American history are two of our most important and dominant histories needed for a full, honest and accurate American history

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023

When a commenter that lives in FL chooses to comment on their Governor, Ron DeSantis, it is prudent to consider their comment. I cannot emphasize enough how “in one’s face” DeSantis intrudes into the personal, civic space of every FL citizen.

Robert Hubbell states today in his newsletter….(in response to the classic DeSantis fumbling of the AP African Studies course being trashed on the heap of “no educational value”)….

“Put simply, Ron DeSantis is ignorant and stupid—and I use both terms advisedly. He is slow on his feet, easy to anger, and a one-dimensional checkers player.

None of that means that we should write him off for 2024, but can we please stop acting like he has superpowers and charisma? He has neither. His peculiar brand of racist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-education demagoguery has appeal in some quarters of the MAGA universe. But he is trying to outflank Trump by slithering to the farthest reaches of the MAGA hellscape, which will reduce the pool of people who can tolerate his extremism.

DeSantis is beatable in 2024, so don’t unwittingly add to an unwarranted buzz by trading rumors about his superiority to Trump. You may discourage or alarm people unnecessarily. Let’s stay calm and carry on.”

I trust that some of us are in this particular corner regarding DeSantis. It’s no small feat either to those of us that live in the “republik” of Florida.

Robert Hubbell’s “A New Litmus Test” essay today.

https://open.substack.com/pub/roberthubbell/p/a-new-litmus-test

Salud!

🗽

Expand full comment

Thank You for this. I agree.

Expand full comment

Let me simplify it for us. He is a mean, ugly, hateful little prick. I could go on.

Expand full comment

Ron’s the mini me of Hitler.

Expand full comment

I used to worry about DeSantis. Now I am thinking that just perhaps he has become a victim of extremism and ego. He is going the way of the election deniers in the last election. Put him on a national stage of a Presidential election and he will look just like the rotund school yard bully in a too tight suit that he is.

Expand full comment

Sorry. Besides being a bully and aggressively anti-Black, he’s refused to criticize Neo-Nazi rallies in Florida or investigate the shining of swastika images in Florida college football stadiums this fall. He does not deserve to hold public office.

Expand full comment

You do realize we are in agreement, right?

Expand full comment

Yes!

Expand full comment

Don't underestimate G.O.Public and their friends. They don't need a majority. Just the Electoral College (not to be confused with education or intelligence).

Expand full comment

I hope you're right, Barbara. Next to TFG, DeSantis may not seem so extreme, but he's just as bad... and more polished.

Expand full comment

When I look at him out of the Florida bubble he operates in he doesn't look polished or smart at all.

He comes across to me as not too bright nor personable. Can you imagine him on a National debate stage? Take him out of his cherished role as the bully in Florida and I think he may look really stupid.

Expand full comment

One can hope that he'll fall flat-faced on the national stage.

Expand full comment

It doesn't take national standing to do a lot of damage locally.

Expand full comment

Nationally Ron is a kook. But with the right gerrymandering, the right social manipulation techniques, the right amplification from bots and trolls, enough ad spending… well then we know how the electoral college works against the majority thanks to Charles Koch, and Robert Mercer and peter Thiel and Rupert Murdoch.

Expand full comment

DeSantis’ latest action is removal of all books from Florida’s public schools. Only books approved by his fascist cohort will be allowed. See Judd Legum’s Substack Public Information for details.

Expand full comment

I believe he mandated teachers close their classroom libraries until they could be audited. I try not to follow every heinous thing DeSantis says and does but this particular nasty thing made me so sad. As a former classroom teacher I remember the personal expense, time and heart that all teachers put into their classroom books. This man is unceasingly cruel.

Expand full comment

Not just "audited". Teachers risk felony prosecution for the presence of an "unvetted" book found in their libraries.

Expand full comment

Speechless and sad over this.

Expand full comment

Governor Hitler.

Expand full comment

Not remove. Just keep them out of sight and not available to students.

I talked to several teachers last week. They have all been told different things by their media specialists and/or principals. Depending where people are in opinion of the order.

Every teacher I’ve talked to stands in personal defiance of these efforts. Most “libraries” in rooms are results of years of efforts of gathering books to enhance literacy. To this point, those efforts have always been applauded, not vilified.

Suddenly, and I mean suddenly, books are locked up. And teachers are being told not to read anything to students unless it is listed “approved” by state. Whatever that is supposed to mean. Threats are not well defined in FL. There is always an element of “implied”.

Salud, Joan.

🗽

Expand full comment

Yes, the books do not have to be physically removed at this time - just removed from being used. I suppose burnings of non-approved books will come later. As a parent, a reader, a former teacher, and daughter of a retired school librarian, I am appalled and very sad that the teachers and children of Florida are being subjected to this fascism.

My guess is that only books with white supremacist content, preferably sold by friends of the governor, will get "approved." All that talk of indoctrination gives away the game: our current crop of Republican Party politicians learned from the role models they so admire to accuse others of whatever they themselves are doing.

Expand full comment

note: "role models" is a substitute for a word beginning with N and continuing 'a z i s' that substack would not allow.

Expand full comment

Loud and clear, Joan.

🗽

Expand full comment

It’s the libertarian assault on public education. Florida is a pilot study for Charles Koch.

Expand full comment

Today I woke up in tears over the loss of reading in those classrooms. Which helps the teachers and children not at all.

Expand full comment
Jan 25, 2023·edited Jan 25, 2023

Did you see how DeSantis did that in the same sentence? He was racist and turned the issue of racism (an inequality issue) to sexual exploitation. This is very Russian. It’s more than 100 years old from the time of the czars. When the issue is equality, Ron pivots towards sexuality and some kind of sexual deviance. This excites and activates his base, and instills fear in minority communities. We usually don’t notice this technique because usually it’s not in the same talking point let alone sane sentence, so I don’t know if Ron’s getting bolder, or the Public has gotten dumber, or who knows what.

Expand full comment

"Culture War General" What an amazing turn of phrase! Inciting further racial/religious divide.

Expand full comment

I love when the chooks come home to roost. But until frump is in prison there will be no resolution. It doesn’t matter if some people get their knickers in a twist, presidents, all people in public office have one job. One bloody job - look after the people. If they betray that oath there must be very serious consequences

Expand full comment

Misusing entrusted public powers for personal or partisan gain at the expense of the public and the common weal is how I define "corruption". And corruption kills; just look at our COVID stats for starters. Think about the crime against humanity of children ripped from their parents arms as a deterrent to immigration, and the fact that many families are not yet reunited. Think about the moral implications of bombing a nation that never attacked us (but does have oil). We have let things slide quite a way in an ugly direction. Follow the money.

Expand full comment

‘Final report of Ga. grand jury investigating Trump may be released soon’

(excerpts from today’s Washington Post)

‘ATLANTA — For the better part of eight months, they gathered inside the Fulton County Courthouse, reviewing evidence in a sprawling criminal investigation into whether former president Donald Trump and his allies broke the law when they sought to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia.’

‘Perhaps the biggest unknown beyond the grand jury’s findings is how Willis will use the report and how quickly charges, if they are filed, could come. To charge someone, Willis would have to present her case to a regular grand jury that has the power to issue criminal indictments.’

“One of the biggest questions is how she will sell this — not just to the people of Fulton County or the people of Georgia. She’s going to have to tell people all across the country why she is pursuing this and jettison any idea or criticism that this is partisan or political,” said Anthony Michael Kreis, a Georgia State University law school professor.

Both Trump and Willis are expected to be on the ballot in 2024 — the former president seeking to reclaim the White House and the district attorney in pursuit of her second term as the lead prosecutor in Fulton County.

“That’s why I think she will move quickly,” Kreis said. “To let this linger, even an extra month, inches this closer to the 2024 election … And it comes more and more political. And I think she is mindful of that [because] her legitimacy and the legitimacy of the justice system is on the line.” (WAPO)

Expand full comment

Thanks for this update Fern. Fingers crossed.

Expand full comment

Either for them or for the people. (This is in reply to Diana King's post, above).

Expand full comment

Excuse my nonsequitur, but it's 9am here in Germany and I'm truly amazed at the arrogance of US pundits I've been reading this morning, who are acting as if Scholz et.al. are being anti-Ukraine. Wiesbaden, where I live, is a city in central Germany 1,200 miles from Moscow. The size of Germany is 26 times smaller than the United States. Doesn't it make sense that the German government is being cautious?

Expand full comment

And the Soviets occupied a large part of Germany for over 40 years. The Germans know the Russians far better than we in the US do. The targets of any nuclear attacks will likely include strategic bases in Germany (which has the largest numbers of US troops in Europe), not Poland, et. al. Still, this is a "stand together or hang separately" moment for Europe and the world. I understand the need for caution, supplying first-rate tanks will be another ratchet-up of the pressure Putin has put himself under. If Putin "loses" this war, Russia will likely devolve into 20 or so separate entities, some with nuclear weapons (some might say the real nightmare scenario) - that is what the German government is grappling with.

Expand full comment

The problem with your argument is that much smaller vulnerable countries closer to Russia are ready to send tanks. Germans did not learn the consequences of appeasement in the face of dictator invasions in the 20th century? Love 21st century Germany and Germans, but some are still living in the 20th century.

Expand full comment

The stakes are high here, and while I believe our (US and other) support of Ukraine is essential, its a very dangerous game being played by the aggressor, and some may need to look before they leap. Ultimately we are all in this together.

Expand full comment

The history of military support for Ukraine since Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 in lots of 'looking'...'together', with little or belated baby steps 'leaping'. This has convinced Putin that time is on his side because eventually the West 'together' will never sufficiently support Ukraine long enough with sufficient weapons to be victorious. Two alternatives: 1) let Putin rollup Ukraine, consolidate his gains and then keep moving west...or 2) stop Putin now. Other than arming Ukraine sufficiently to win, there is no other option to achieve option 2).

Expand full comment

The closer it is to the action, the better one can see the smoke. This is likely to be a Russia/Castro/Kennedy playout. For the first time in a while, I'm glad my daughters and their families are in Texas (okay, Austin to be clear.)

Expand full comment

Germans are well aware of appeasment of dictators, and sadly enough we have our own passel of right-wing extremists right now. Just recently, an attempt to take over the country, establish a pre-WWI Reich and kill Bundeskanselor Scholz was thwarted. I sense a bit of "looking into the box" in your safer worldview of Germany without stepping inside.

Expand full comment

Which smaller countries are really ready to send top-grade tanks? As of yet, this is mostly talk.

Expand full comment

Non sequitur sequitur. I got lost in Wiesbaden once trying to get to Koenigstein. Road signs in Germany are confusing to Americans. Have you visited the Kastle in Fishbach?

Expand full comment

That's what is so nice about GPS on cellphones! You can be led to the restroom at the opera house in Frankfurt from anywhere in the world! I've never been to the Foschbachtal castle, but I'll put it on my list. I live near the Rhein River, where there is another castle around every bend. The local wine (Riesling) is among the best in the world - yum!

Expand full comment

My sister in law lived near Bonn for four years whilst working as a pilot for FedEx. We visited several times, and had the opportunity to take a Rhein River cruise down river on a delightful summer day (we took the train the other direction). It is indeed beautiful, with castles everywhere!

Expand full comment

ICH bin run Berliner.

Expand full comment

Closer still to the action. I have many friends in Berlin...

Expand full comment

It has been previously established that "just following orders" may not shield one from prosecution for illegal and unethical actions. That said, the oafish, selfie-taking manner of the insurrectionists implies that they never expected to be held accountable. After all (up to now) their dear leader has not; but rule-of-law demands that he do so.

Expand full comment

Thank you Heather.

Although not mentioned in today's letter, I watched an interview with Dick Durbin over the weekend regarding the daily dump of new classifed documents coming from Bidens residence. This should not, nor will it be swept under the rug by the GOP. Even a long time colleague of Biden won't justify this debacle.

This elephant in the room will ultimately give Trump that pass he desperately wants.

It truly is a shame. If only swift Justice was brought upon Trump we wouldn't be standing so decidedly flat footed. Again.

Be safe. Be well.

Expand full comment