On Systemic Violence, Misconceptions, and How We Fail Ourselves

Considered Exclamations has a guest post by Brendan Murphy, treasurer of the SSA’s board of directors, which analyzes the political reactions to previous mass shootings and the fallout thereafter. It’s what I was asking for yesterday: for people to look at these shootings as a trend, and deal with them appropriately.

The above sign is a decoration of Fenway Park, well-known to many Bostonians, and sponsored by the Massachusetts-based organization Stop Handgun Violence. After this morning’s violence in Connecticut, those big numbers will tick upwards by 18. And yet, White House press secretary Jay Carney had the following to say this morning:

“Today’s not … a day to engage in the usual Washington policy debates. That day will come, but today’s not that day.”

I agree – today is not the time to have ineffectual discussions peppered with political platitudes and unfulfilled promises of resurrecting bygone legislation. Now is the time to substantively discuss exactly what systemic forces lead us down this road time and time again. If all we do is grieve and mourn without addressing the why, we have failed the victims, and ourselves. Let’s look at some 2012 history, and what’s been said politically.

Keep reading.

An anniversary to remember, with a thumb to Harper’s eye

Today’s the 23rd anniversary of the Montréal Massacre, which has of late been a focus in Canadian politics with Harper having successfully destroyed the long gun registry.

Except, as it turns out, in Quebec. The provincial government kept their copy, with the help of a sympathetic judge, and plans on implementing their own registry, according to Stephane Bergeron in statements made marking the anniversary of the deadly shooting at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.

Bergeron also mentioned the deadly shooting at Dawson College in 2006, as well as the fatal shooting that disrupted Premier Pauline Marois’ victory speech on Sept. 4.

“Quebec believes in a system of firearms registration, essential to the administration of justice, to police work and to the safety of the population,” he said.

[Read more…]

More Republicans believe in demonic possession than global warming

Yeah.

Alternet reports on a Public Policy Polling Hallowe’en poll (pdf) and cross-references this poll on global warming:

A staggering 68 percent of registered Republican voters stated that they believe demonic possession is real. Meanwhile, only 48 percent of self-identified Republicans believe in another equally if not more scary natural phenomenon: climate change.

I would say it’s more scary, because it’s real. And the evidence provided by actual scientists is ironclad.

The scientists are unanimous, as long as you include actual climate scientists and not geologists or meteorologists or other pretenders at authority on the complex subject of climate. And yet, only 45% of all people agree that scientists generally agree about global warming. The misinformation efforts by liars like “Lord” Christopher Monckton are working.

To make matters even worse, 49% of Democrats also believe in demonic possession, even while 85% of Democrats say there’s solid evidence for global warming. It’s not that they’re smarter, it’s that they’re only marginally less prone to superstitious belief and more prone to trusting scientific evidence.

I’d say “let the mouth-breathers secede”, but it’s not like they’re all Republican secessionists.

Write your local MP: No more Canadian aid for Uganda while they’re murdering gays

Update: Please read Melanie Nathan’s caution on what should and shouldn’t be done to fight this initiative — she strongly urges that countries not withdraw aid because of this bill, because the LGBTI community will be scapegoated and targeted as a result.

I leave the rest of this post intact because I am concerned that they are already in trouble — every activist in Uganda risks being arrested as it stands, with or without economic sanctions from countries opposed to Uganda’s declared murderous intentions. Her advice is excellent for outsiders like us looking in, though.

Uganda’s apparently delivered an early “Christmas gift” — their words, not mine– to all the homophobic Christians in their theocratic regime. Thanks to GOP members, Catholic pastors, and other outside interference by various and sundry religious bigots, Uganda’s finally built enough momentum and passed the two-year-old proposed bill that will require the death penalty for the high crime of “aggravated homosexuality”. Update: Apparently Kadaga declaring that it will become law doesn’t make it set in stone. There’s a chance this won’t be passed despite her sabre-rattling.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the anti-gay bill will become law by December since most Ugandans ‘are demanding it’.

Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population, she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals.

The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.

[Read more…]

World Nut Daily founder, election fraudster, files complaint of election fraud

Via Joe.My.God, Joseph Farah, the braintrust behind World Net Daily and its infinite improbability engine powering every right-wing nutter conspiracy since its creation, has apparently filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission over the Obama win.

Am I suggesting that the recent presidential election was stolen through voter fraud and manipulation? Without a doubt. Do I have evidence? Yes, I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that it was committed by one side in the election in various ways. And I am convinced that at least 5 percent of the Democratic vote can be attributed to fraud – illegal voters, illegal campaign contributions, rigged balloting, intimidation at the polls, you name it. I’m challenging the Obama campaign on the acceptance of those illegal donations. I’ve filed a Federal Elections Commission complaint at considerable cost. I have no illusions that it will be easy to challenge a sitting president within his own bureaucracy. But I’m doing it. Meanwhile, some in the press would prefer that I be charged with voter fraud for efforts to expose the system. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the Democrat machine tries something like that. That’s why we need your help. We’re fighting to preserve America’s freedom here – nothing less.

( http://www.wnd.com/2012/11/did-voter-fraud-swing-election/ )

No, I’m not going to link that. You can damn well copy and paste.

The Head Nutter is, as he implied in his last few sentences, apparently already being charged with election fraud for having built a Pakistani account through which he placed two donations to the Obama campaign — under the name Osama Bin Laden. So he’s doing this, I’d expect, to throw up chaff; to provide his nuttier fans with a “plausible” reason (to varying definitions of the word, naturally) why he’s actually being charged with the very thing he’s complaining about.

The worst part is, the wingnuts and conspiracy theorists will likely eat it right up, and will surely never notice that evidence of Farah’s own wrongdoing came to light eight days prior to this article. Meanwhile, all of Republicans’ failed voter suppression efforts and other failed attempts at tilting the playing field in their favour go completely unnoticed by these crusaders against liberalism. What is wrong with America that this kind of immunity to reality has gained such a foothold?

Republicans’ Greatest Hits: The Rape Album

While Republicans point the fingers at all sorts of ridiculous scapegoats for Mittens’ crushing defeat (303/332? to 206, depending on Florida’s outcome!), from Hurricane Sandy, to Chris Christie, to Black Panther voter intimidation, to the oncoming End Times, there’s a few very real reasons Obama won. One of those reasons is Republicans’ war on women.

Protecting blastocysts from evil murderous doctors is surely a greater priority than protecting women’s bodily autonomy and self-direction. Surely bodies have ways of shutting down legitimate rape pregnancies (like a uterine on-off switch?), don’t they? And if they don’t, that’s because God wants you to to have those babies. Never mind that God might have allowed humans to develop contraception and abortion in the first place so we could carry out his will without it seeming supernatural. If we like it, God did it; if we don’t, it’s humans being sinful. If rape happens, that’s God’s will, but the rapist is a sinner for doing God’s will. Legitimate medical procedures to protect a woman’s bodily autonomy are murder, but being forced by the government to carry a rape baby to term? Well that’s just a gift from God — a consolation prize. Sorry about your rape, here’s nine months of agony and eighteen years of financial and emotional dependence.

The contortions you have to go through to make sense of this worldview are simply mind-boggling. These people all need to be drummed out of office. Every last one of them. None of ‘em are fit to serve me french fries, much less manipulate the levers of power.

Via The David Pakman Show, whom I’d never heard of before I saw this video.

All hail our new reptilian overlord

Well, it was bound to happen, as Travis Irvine so ably points out in this pre-election video — both Obama and Romney are reptilians, humanoid lizards, so no matter how the election panned out the new leader of the free world was bound to be a lizard person.

Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos. Err, I mean, I’m Canadian and couldn’t vote.

Ohio’s election results will be suspect, thanks to an untested last-second voting machine patch — UPDATED, TABULATION MACHINES ARE APPARENTLY ISOLATED

UPDATE:
Evidently, there are some fundamental errors made by the original reporter that change the timbre of this story altogether. This report has Joseph Lorenzo Hall of the Centre for Democracy and Technology in DC, asserting very strongly that the tabulation machines are “air-gapped” — the tabulation results from the original voting system are in actuality walked over manually (via a data export to, say, a thumb drive or flash card) to the tabulation machines. Apparently, no code run on those machines can access the primary system because they’re isolated. So what the code has write access to, then, is apparently the export of the database, not the originals in any way.

It still means that processes should be followed to ensure the integrity of the data, to ensure that the exported data matches the CSV conversion. But I suspect these folks are more “with it” than I’d originally thought.

See below the fold for my original story.

[Read more…]

Harper government celebrates destruction of long gun registry… quietly

Via Winnipeg Free Press, a spokesperson for the Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed that the long gun registry has been destroyed — at least, except for Quebec’s, where legal battles are ongoing. Interestingly, the Harper government did not issue a press release on the matter; it took gun enthusiasts rumoring about the registry’s destruction before the spokesperson would confirm.

No formal news release appears to have been issued by a Conservative government that has made repeal and destruction of the long-gun registry one of its bedrock promises.

Nor has the government said exactly how much taxpayer money will be saved by repealing the registry, although a study by The Canadian Press suggests it is a small fraction of the millions spent annually on gun licensing.

Could it be because the suggested “savings” are a total canard? A non-starter? A… dare I say it… complete line of bullshit?
[Read more…]

Paul Ryan’s new Old Spice ad

I’m doing an overnight tonight for work. Yes, tonight. Saturday night into Sunday morning. When I should be adjusting the time on my various clocks and catching up on sleep. Lucky me.

So, click this image to behold what a Paul Ryan Old Spice ad might look like. Via the Mansplaining Ryan tumblr.

"Hello, ladies. Look at your abortion rights. Now, look at me. Look back at your abortion rights. Your abortion rights are now beans. Look down. Now I'm Jack Kennedy.

Ryan Spice turns your abortion rights into a hill of beans. I’m on a horse.

It’d be funny if it weren’t so true.