Posts Tagged ‘Solutions’

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Prosperity Movie

 

You can trade your email and watch the full movie.

 

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The program, called “There’s a Better Way,” was started by Berry’s administration to connect homeless people with employment, substance abuse, mental health, and housing services, and it recently expanded to include a program to connect homeless residents with jobs for the day.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry saw it as a way to help, not punish, people in need.

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Save the world from the banksters…

 

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You guys want to go there?  I’m sure Kieran will weigh in positively on Jim Carrey’s satire.  The rest of you?

Is there anybody out there?  Talk to me.

I’ve seen Cold Dead Hand a couple of times, and I also watched the hysterical responses over at Fox News (sic).  The skit is a well done satire, but suffers from two problems: it’s simplistic, and Carrey himself is guilty of hypocrisy.  The reductionism of the anti-gun lobby is crass and relies on appeals to emotionalism.  Whenever you toss the ball to the other side, and they can respond with reason and logical argument, you’ve essentially shot yourself in the foot.

So, like Stephen King before him, Carrey is outed as hypocritical: he travels with armed bodyguards, something you and I don’t have the luxury of sharing.  One might easily say that armed bodyguards are better than having your own gun.  Now I’m sure Carrey needs this protection in a world of lunatics and star obsessed freaks.  But, aren’t you entitled to some level of protection too?  What makes the fart jokester’s life so fucking important compared to you and your family?

I pointed out previously how Stephen King’s rant exposed him for clinging onto 3 guns himself.  His argument then tried to shift onto large ammunition magazines, without a shred of introspection.  With 3 firearms, could not Stephen King commit a rampage worthy of the evening news?  Even with his limited magazine capacity?  That argument is hollow, particularly when he’s writing to deliberately offend other law abiding gun owners.

Now Jim Carrey has a right to his opinion, and at least he’s making a definitive statement about non-violence.  His band in the clip includes Gandhi, John Lennon and Abraham Lincoln – all murdered by firearms, and thus appropriate to elevate his message and make the point felt.  But narrowing his target to Charlton Heston and the NRA is a simplistic exercise in demonization.  Heston and NRA may be prominent faces, easily understood, but they are representative of many, many millions of Americans who share a similar perspective on self-defense and the right to bear arms (much like Carrey’s bodyguards).

Trying to paint self-defense and the causes of violence in black and white terms is doomed to failure.  That is what I’ve argued previously.  Even Barack H. Obama released a photograph of himself shooting a shotgun, which seems more reasonable than many of the other knee jerk responses floating around the national consciousness lately.

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It’s also debatable whether Hollywood sells more guns than the NRA ever could.  Can anyone even recall a gun-free Hollywood film?  Guns are the national aphrodisiac, worshiped on television, in films, in video games, and children are encouraged from a young age to act out violent scenarios, pretending to use guns.  This is the culture we actually live in, a militaristic culture, but it’s so much worse.  The real America is a violent, brutal place of cold blooded competition at every level, where the poor are disposable and left to fight amongst themselves for the scraps of a glutinous, oblivious hyper-power.  The drug war policies have made drug trafficking one of the few real economic opportunities for millions and millions of the underclass.  Education has been gutted, and the manufacturing sector has been off-shored.  America swiftly descends into a third world plutocracy / dictatorship, where violence is the normal everyday reality.  These problems are quite a bit larger than Charlton Heston’s nearly forgotten legacy.

Of course, I haven’t proposed specific policy changes here, but then neither has Jim Carrey.  No one is happy with the status quo, but people keep electing completely corrupt individuals who would be more deserving of prison cells than the esteemed halls of power.  That’s a problem magnitudes greater than anything else we can discuss, because it affects all the other issues.  Nothing legitimate or moral can come from the United States congress when bribed, corrupt charlatans are the majority there.  The White House is more concerned with world domination and monkey-wrenching the Constitution in opposition to the rights of the people, and no one should trust them to do anything positive either.

How many are aware of the new 1.6 billion rounds of 40 caliber hollow point ammunition purchased by “Homeland Security” (sic)?  The 7.000 fully automatic machine guns and the nearly 3,000 Iraq tested, IED resistant armored personnel carriers, laughably painted with the word “Rescue?”  Or even the indefinite detention, drone assassination program, FBI provocateurs creating false terrorism plots all over the nation, the “Disposition Matrix” and total illegal government surveillance of their lives? I’m of the opinion that we have much bigger problems than the occasional maniac, but we can still attempt to address the maniacs.

So what is to be done?

  • We can limit the size of magazines.  Perhaps 6 is safer than 10.  Then again the “West was won” with six shooters, that means the west was also lost by those on the receiving end.  Keep in mind that passing a law does not mean that criminal elements can’t acquire large magazines.  Even 3-D plastic printers have created gun magazines, a new technology that is impossible to contain.  But, let’s say this magazine limiting law passes; it could affect some small number of real world spree shooters.
  • We can require psychological background screening.  This would entail a brand new national database of all psychological treatments.  At present, I don’t believe this exists, at least not in daylight.  A way of tracking prescription medications may exist, but of course these are supposed to be subject to confidentiality between doctors and patients.  What would the net effect be of enacting new tracking and surveillance of psychiatric care?  Would this not discourage people from seeking help in the first place?  How will the nuts and bolts of this surveillance work, and how can it be abused and used against the people?  I really do want to know.
  • We could ban guns, and have the “Homeland Security” Gestapo attempt to confiscate the nation’s 300,000,000+ private firearms.  If you thought the violence epidemic was bad now … whew.  That could signal instant Civil War, and will not unfold in such a manner.  They prefer the boiling frog strategy.
  • We could require locks on all firearms stored at home, with serious penalties for unsecured weapons.  This could reduce some incidents, however keys do end up in the wrong hands.  In the case of a disturbed young man who kills his own mother and uses her weapons to go on a killing spree, this locking up may arguably have done nothing to prevent the rampage.
  • We could also form an emergency task force to examine the effects of anti-depressant drugs and their known links to violent rampages.  The FDA’s own warnings scream about violent episodes, suicidal thoughts and irrational behavior.  If we are serious about addressing the issue, the little matter of why people snap and go on murder episodes deserves more than a passing comment.
  • We could end the drug war immediately and learn from places like Portugal and The Netherlands.  The RAND Corporation told us nearly 20 years ago that drug treatment is “23 times” more cost-effective than interdiction.  Drugs are primarily a health issue, not a criminal issue.  Their prohibition has failed with alcohol and it has failed with other drugs.  The prohibition fuels the violence and underground economy that tears apart the fabric of society.  Other strategies are called for, immediately.  If the money wasted on the anti-drug police state and prison system was put toward educating the next generation to rise above their poverty and hellish urban slums the problem would mostly disappear.
  • We could end the plutocracy, and enact a system where the 1% super rich who defrauded America go unhappily off to jail, while their pillage is redistributed to rebuild our society, its infrastructure, its education system, its health system.  America could start giving a damn again about its majority, rather than the decrepit ghoul billionaires who corrupt everything they touch, beginning with the cesspool called Washington DC.
  • We could end the empire, the system of dominating, threatening, invading, occupying, coercing and covertly overthrowing everyone the elites of America don’t like.  We could disempower the plutocrats and their militarism, downsize the war machine and put the military to work developing clean, renewable energy and efficient transportation.

As for the half-truths of the raging gun debates, spewing from both sides routinely (clichés really), I’m not impressed.  Say something plainly, real solutions, real impacts, taking into account the state of the world today.  Battling propaganda snips like Cold Dead Hand are more bluster than solution.  Both sides resort to poor argument and weak scattershot salvos.  Just try counting the number of times the Bill of Rights 2nd Amendment is butchered.  The pro-gun lobby says only the part after the comma; the anti-gun lobby says only the part before the comma, then stops.  Every single time.

 

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What is a semi-automatic gun?

I’ve heard a lot of odd arguments, many of them based in “political realities” rather than reality realities. This oddball singling out of “semi-automatic” weapons seems to be a completely ignorant misunderstanding about what they actually are. Nearly all firearms today are semi-automatic. That is, any gun with a removable magazine, is semi-automatic. The spring inside the weapon and the action of the firing moves the next round into the chamber once it is discharged.

Stephen King should know this. He says he owns 3 handguns. Are they revolvers, which are arguably also semi-automatic, as a rotating chamber advances the next round into the firing position? The alternative is some kind of 18th century flintlock?

“Single shot percussion pistol”Allen and Wheelock Center Hammer Single Shot Pistol

So, this is pretty basic fact finding, determining what we’re discussing in the first place. A semi-automatic pistol is certainly a danger, and a lethal weapon. It is a problem, one that I’ve studied for quite some time in terms of self-defense, rights, tyranny, spree killings, insanity, etc.

The cognitive dissonance comes into it when people who apparently own semi-automatic weaponry, say things like this:

“If that’s the case, let me suggest that ‘fuck you, Jack, I’m okay’ is not a tenable position, morally speaking.”

But King makes no effort to rid himself of these semi-automatic firearms that he in other places argues in favor of.

“Autos and semi-autos are weapons of mass destruction. When lunatics want to make war on the unarmed and unprepared, these are the weapons they use…”

Yes, guns are destructive … and?

(They aren’t “weapons of mass destruction” however, ie. nuclear weapons.  That is clear hyperbole.)

“[Stephen King] said blanket opposition to gun control was less about defending the second amendment of the US constitution than ‘a stubborn desire to hold onto what they have, and to hell with the collateral damage’.” (Guardian)

Why hasn’t King himself started the disarmament by getting rid of his own weapons?

“He assured gun owners that no one wanted to take away their hunting rifles, shotguns or pistols, as long as they held no more than 10 rounds. ‘If you can’t kill a home invader (or your wife, up in the middle of the night to get a snack from the fridge) with ten shots, you need to go back to the local shooting range.'”

Here is the crux of the problem. It’s a non-solution. It’s an empty, hollow, ineffective “feel good” liberal strategy which is in the politically feasible column, but not in the actually useful column. King has penned a halfway token gesture, insulting those — LIKE HIMSELF — who continue to own firearms, but pretending that the 10 shot cap (on individual clips) is the big moral question of the day. That’s a flimsy rationale, and the inherent bankrupt hypocrisy of his position discredits him.

That’s not the only cognitive dissonance found in the piece. King wrote a novel called RAGE, which was later quoted by a spree killer in a school shooting incident. King ordered the book removed from the market, but then had this to say about violence in the culture:

“The idea that US gun rampages stem from a culture of violence was a ‘self-serving lie promulgated by fundamentalist religious types and America’s propaganda-savvy gun-pimps'”

What? Come again? First of all it’s the “liberal” and “progressive” camps who usually seek violent culture as a motivator for acting out similarly. This is not without some support.

But, with the RAGE incident in evidence, King denies that this could have any affect on a spree shooting kid who quoted his own book, prompting him to self-censor it?

So why did he pull the book?

This is profound cognitive dissonance, possibly stemming from guilt. Guilt does a lot of strange things to people’s minds, and Mr. King is not immune.

“Plenty of gun advocates cling to their semi-automatics the way Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson clung to the shit that was killing them.”

The way Stephen King clings to his own 3 handguns?

“If this helps provoke constructive debate, I’ve done my job.” -Stephen King

I’ll take him at his word. Faulty reasoning is not “constructive debate” but calling out its logical inconsistencies perhaps is.

Trailer

Grassroots Solutions to American Crises
By BENJAMIN DANGL

When the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression hit the US on September 15, 2008, filmmakers Sílvia Leindecker and Michael Fox began a journey across the country to see how the economy was impacting people’s lives. Their interviews, which span two years and nearly 40 states, draw from farmers, truck drivers, homeless people, workers, immigrants and more. The result is the documentary Crossing the American Crises: From Collapse To Action, a film full of desperation, hope and grassroots solutions.

Leindecker and Fox are the makers of the earlier documentary Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas, and Fox was an editor of the book Venezuela Speaks!: Voices From The Grassroots. Like these earlier works, Crossing the American Crises highlights the voices of people participating in grassroots activism and everyday struggles for a better world.

The first stop of their trip is Detroit, where the camera cuts to empty store fronts and factories. “Detroit is what it is because of industry and the industrial revolution, and capitalism, and so-called democracy and how all those failed. And this is what we have left with it,” Jon Blount of the activist collective Detroit Summer tells Leindecker and Fox. Such bits of hard-won insight from streets, factory floors and living rooms across America are interspersed throughout the film.

The next visit is to the Rosebud Lakota Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where they speak with Alfred Bone Shirt. “We’re seeing that there’s a danglsegment of our society that feel we’re left out, neglected, abused; rights are violated. We’re in a depression down here so bad that people just wanna give up.” His words are underscored by footage of the reservation itself, a place crushed by economic depression.

After stops in Utah, Oakland and Los Angeles, they head out onto Route 66, where, Fox tells the camera they want to “see the direct effects on the local community.” And indeed, that is what they find at nearly every stop in their tour; very real life stories of how the US economy is making life difficult for people from coast to coast and everywhere in between.

In New Orleans, they speak with people in the Lower 9th Ward, a neighborhood that was destroyed by Katrina in 2005. Robert Green and his family lived in this community for 38 years before Katrina hit, and at the time of the shooting of the film they were still living in a FEMA trailer. Green is interviewed with his daughter and wife next to a string of empty lots – places where his neighbors’ homes used to be located before the storm destroyed them.

Fox asks Green what he thinks about the government bailout, the major issue of the day. Green tells him, “It’s ironic that it only took [the government] two weeks to issue a $700 billion check. It took them three years after Katrina and this is what you see.” He pointed to the empty lots, saying the names of the families that used to live there. “So basically every house, every family that’s gone actually was a family that should be here now. And if they would have been given the money in two weeks like the way they did in Congress, the way they did in Wall Street, then every last one of these families would have rebuilt their houses, and this whole Gulf Coast area would have been rebuilt because everybody in the Gulf Coast is basically like the people down here: family first.”
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