Republicans,Truth About Sequestration, And The Impact On You

I’ve been asked a lot over the past few weeks why in the world the US Congress would allow rather unfocused budget cuts to come into effect.

New to the term Sequestration?  CNN explains it for us nicely.

It’s a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The cuts would be split 50-50 between defense and domestic discretionary spending.

Another cliff!  (I will avoid the obvious Lemming/cliff connection…)

Yes, Sequestration is the same sort of poison pill packaged we just witnessed with the tax portion of the fiscal cliff.

And letting these cuts happen, when they were designed to be so painful that nobody ever envisioned they would be allowed to transpire, seems borderline insane.  Congress was supposed to come up with a real, targeted plan of budget cuts. They did not.

What’s worse, is that letting these cuts happen will most certainly have a negative impact on a economy that is precarious at best. Lawmakers know this.

But here we go again anyway.

Why?

Politics of blame looking toward 2016?  Certainly.

A sign of the incredible disfunction now crippling Washington? Absolutely.

Will damage to the economy through these cuts help the GOP in 2016 and the next Presidential election cycle?  They think it will.

But it really boils down to this:

Republicans, led by Paul Ryan, want to “Starve The Beast“.  That is, to shrink the Federal Government to its smallest possible size and allow the private sector to take over the vast majority of public services.

One needs only to look at the wonderfully low cost of healthcare to see how this would look in the Education Department, the FDA, the EPA (likely DOA) and so on.

The Republican dream of a country run by the markets would be realized all via a trojan horse.

And how does this impact you?

Well, the folks at the Washington Post have an excellent breakdown of each State and what is at stake.

It is a must read.

And you shouldn’t be surprised that it will be felt hardest in the area of education. Cuts to school budgets mean the real loss of teachers and the elimination of programs that benefit the youngest and neediest. (Education should be any country’s greatest priority, for the benefits are indisputable.)

But hey, why should that bother lawmakers?  It certainly won’t be felt by their families.

So bravo Congress!

Keep up the good work.

 

 

Mentally Ill South Carolina Woman Shoots Down NRA’s Gun Control Positions

UPDATED

Welcome to the NRA’s America.

A mentally ill South Carolina woman is charged with attempted murder after she showed up outside a local school, pointed her gun at teachers and pulled the trigger.

The gun did not fire.

Alice Boland, a 28-year-old Beaufort woman with a long history of mental illness, was arrested at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday, February 4th 2013 in the midst of gun control debates in the US.

According the The Post and Courier:

About 50 students and school officials were standing outside the gate on Rutledge Avenue waiting for parents to pick up children. Boland walked up to Mary Schweers, director of the upper school, pointed a Taurus PT22 with eight rounds in the magazine at her and pulled the trigger several times.

The .22-caliber didn’t fire. The semi-automatic has a capacity of nine rounds, but there was no cartridge in the chamber.

But is was loaded and it was functional. Thankfully, she had no idea how to use it. (so much for gun owner education)

What’s worse is that she had a long, documented history of threatening mental illness:

In 2005 she was indicted in a federal court and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation after an incident at US Customs pre-screening at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport.

“I am going to kill President Bush with a gun,” she said, according to an arrest affidavit. “Just give me a gun. I am going to come back and shoot you all.”

Doctors deemed her mentally unfit to stand trial and forcefully injected her with anti-psychotic drugs.

You really need to read the whole bizarre story to understand how incredibly lucky those teachers and students are.

And now the part that completely destroys the core arguments made by the NRA and other gun support lobby groups:

She legally obtained the handgun two days earlier.

Let that roll around in your mind for a moment.

Yes, because there are no universal background checks, because there is no mental health database linked to it, because of the ridiculously easy access to semi-automatic weapons, this delusional psychopath almost killed a number of people, including possibly, young girls waiting for their parents.

Is this your America NRA?

And with all due respect to the stupidest of the NRA’s ideas – no – armed guards would not have stopped her from getting off a number of rounds before reacting, thanks to the nature of the gun and the element of surprise. It would have been too late for the victims.

I want you to really think about this situation the next time you hear some lobbyist for the NRA or other such gun groups spout off about the root causes of the problem.

They will blame violent video games, but then release a shooting game of their own.

They will blame mental health “issues” but then block any form of national database and universal background checks that could have prevented this woman from obtaining this gun legally.

And if she had been successful, if she had known how to fire this loaded weapon, the lack of these sensible laws, the common sense ideas being blocked by the NRA would have been one of the root causes of this tragedy.

And the NRA would have blood on its hands.

The other root cause would be what is always the single, common thread in all of these incidents.

The common denominator.

Ridiculously easy access to guns.

Eliminate this one thing, make it far more difficult to qualify to carry, limit the automation of these weapons, and you go a long way to solving the problem.

The time to act is now, before the next gun fires as planned.

 

UPDATE

It appears this young woman, Alice Boland used her parent’s old checkbook to spend the $320 required for the Taurus PT22.  Worse, the gun shop failed to notice that the name on the check did not match the name on her drivers’ license.  That one small step should have prevented the sale.

Attempts to contact Walterboro Gun Shop and its owner, Robert Mock, were not successful.

Despite her very troubled mental health history – reported by the Post and Courier,  Boland passed a background check and correctly answered that she had never been deemed “mentally deficient,” which would have prohibited her from buying the gun. She has never been convicted of a crime, though she faced a felony charge in 2005 for reportedly threatening the president.

Does anyone else see a huge problem with the system as it is?  Can anyone honestly say that it doesn’t need fixing?

This proves, with certainly, that guns are far to easy to purchase.

 

 

NRA’s Wayne LaPierre Proclaims No New Gun Laws – Ever

Now that the control of semi-automatic weapons appears all but dead in the current US gun debate, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre has proclaimed that there should be “no new gun laws” whatsoever.

As if inexplicably changing his mind on universal background checks wasn’t enough, (having previously embraced them wholeheartedly) Mr. LaPierre even defended the NRA’s controversial TV ad referencing President Obama’s children when challenged by Fox’s Chris Wallace. (One of the dumbest ads ever unloaded upon the public)

Since this organization has a mere 4.5 million members, one must ask a very serious question:  why does his opinion matter?

Why does this one, small group hold such sway over American public safety?

Why does Mr. LaPierre and his administration ignore the sentiment of even his own members employers?

And why do US voters continue to allow their elected officials in Congress to cower from such a small, albeit vocal minority?

It’s time to answer these questions in a factual, clear and honest manner.

Before it is too late.