We did it to ourselves

Remember how pretty much the entire principled argument for engagement with Communist China was that it would become more democratic as it got exposed to our multi-national corporations, freedom, values, etc.?

Yeah, not so much.

https://nyti.ms/2sRVTh3

Assuming this hypothesis was ever more than just cover for increasing business profits, it’s been proven completely wrong.

Xi Jinping is now part of the growing trend of authoritarian leaders – which has proven to be comfortably compatible with capitalism. (The shock!)

I don’t like to give Trump credit for much, but when he stood in China and said we ourselves were to blame for our position relative to China, he was right. And it’s been bi-partisan policy for decades.

And it was a contributing factor to the backlash that got Trump elected – which the Democrats still don’t seem to grasp.

The 21st Century will prove to be an interesting one.

Pot meet kettle

While I don’t want Russia – or anyone else, for that matter –
interfering in our elections, don’t think for one second that we’re innocent actors. Here’s former CIA director James Woolsey pretty much admitting that we’re actively interfering with other countries right now. But it’s always for a “good cause”, of course – as if other countries don’t see their actions as being for a good cause, as well. To this day, we as a country remain blind the blowback we create through our foreign policy choices. That’s true of the voters, but especially of our “elites”. And this is thoroughly bi-partisan. In fact, sometimes the greatest dangers come from what is bi-partisan, instead of what the two main parties argue about.

2nd Amendment extremism for the 1st Amendment

A note to the lunatic, NRA-type 2nd Amendment absolutists out there. Here are some ideas I have on how to exercise my absolute 1st Amendment rights.

Given my rights under the 1st Amendment, I will stand outside your home on the public street shouting obscenities all night long. Neither the state nor you have the right to cut me off. Oh, and I will use a bullhorn, because the tool doesn’t matter, only the right to use it.

Given my rights under the 1st Amendment, I will get all of my friends to peaceably assemble around your home, also shouting obscenities all night long. Using bullhorns. We will also march everywhere you go. There is nothing you can do about it under our absolute rights.

Given my rights under the 1st Amendment, I’m going to start a religion. Like those good, old-timey religions, it will require human sacrifice. There will be nothing you can do to stop it under my absolute right to religious freedom.

Given my rights under the 1st Amendment, I’m going to start a newspaper that publishes every day that you have joined this new religion and that you have the sacrificed the most people. Doesn’t matter if it’s true, because I am asserting my absolute right to a free press.

Now, I’m sure you and maybe even some unpatriotic libtards will object to my interpretation of the 1st Amendment. Something about setting reasonable limits on time, manner, or place on the exercise of our rights, or some other such nonsense.

But I know, in the end, 2nd Amendment NRA-style absolutists, that you will join me in defending our 1st Amendment rights against these grave attacks. I look forward to your support.

Time to demand more

After the Parkland shootings – and, of course, Newtown and so many others – I’m tired of conversations about halfway measures on gun control.

I’m tired of only discussing things like background checks, waiting periods, closing gun show loopholes, etc. (These seem to be the top priorities of most established gun control groups, it seems to me.) It’s time to change the conversation.

Instead, I want a complete criminalization of the possession of guns in our shared, public spaces. Ultimately that should include regular (non-emergency) law enforcement personnel, but as a bridging measure, we might have to let that stand.

That said, it might seen odd, but I’m actually fine with the ownership of powerful personal firearms. People have hobbies – even dangerous ones. But they should be kept at federally (definitely not state) licensed and monitored facilities. The high-powered weapons should not be allowed to leave those facilities or transported by the civilian owners themselves. Also, ownership of ammunition for these weapons should be strictly limited.

Among the more common restrictions on gun-owners (in some states) – like licensing, background checks, etc. – I would also require comprehensive insurance policies (likely expensive) and annual training programs and psychological evaluations.

Per the Second Amendment – “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” – I would also require any gun-owner to sign up for mandatory national duty. This could be designed similar to the National Guard – or be part of it.

Here’s where I go wobbly: the possession of handguns and non-semi-automatic (hunting) rifles in the home. The home being a private space, I can let that go for now, and hunting is a valid sport, in my mind. But in either case, there should be strict limitations on the ownership of ammunition.

As I said, it’s time to change the conversation and thoroughly criminalize the arming of our public spaces.

Oh, and while I’m at it, we’re going to have to be willing to make this personal. We have to call people who are unwilling to do what is necessary to protect the American public immoral or even evil. The time is now.

Teachers as gun control advocates

Here’s an interesting idea in the gun control fight – a nationwide strike by teachers. But one commenter said this is a lot to ask of teachers. I agree. They didn’t sign up to be gun control organizers. They signed up to educate our children and give them a better future. Sadly, they and the students are too often the targets. I would contribute to a strike fund to help teachers and their families. Maybe a portion of it could be used by the teachers to run tutoring sessions for the kids likely to fall behind. This all seems extreme and complicated, I know, but desperate times. How much easier would it be for Republican politicians (and some Democrats, too, by the way) to stand up to the NRA and the gun extremist supporters?

In the wake of the Parkland shootings

Today I have become something I never thought I would: a single-issue voter. I will never vote for a candidate that doesn’t support strict gun control legislation, even if that means withholding my vote.

As an atheist, I don’t usually use this word, but anyone who supports our current gun laws or advocates for looser ones is evil. It’s hard to walk back that word, but I’ve had enough of school shootings and a hyper-armed society.

You’re not free if you fear for your child’s life or your own. We share our freedom in our public spaces. Once your freedom impinges upon mine, it’s gone too far.

The best solution to mass shootings and gun violence is to restrict personal firearms and ammo. Period.

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